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Amar Singh taunts Akhilesh for going against father Mulayam, asks SP members to support party supremo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after the feud in the Samajwadi Party widened with the suspension of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the party’s general secretary Amar Singh on Saturday said he is supporting party’s chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and going against his decision is unconstitutional and immoral.Quoting a line from Srimad Bhagwat Puran: “Ram chandra keh gaye siya se aisa kalyug aayega, beta karega raj bechara baap jungal ke jayega,” Singh said that Mulayam is not only the father of the party but also the father of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. “Those who are going against him are unconstitutional, immoral and are incorrect and I condemn them,” he said.Dubbing the rift taking place in the Samajwadi Party as ‘unfortunate’, Singh appealed to the party workers to support Mulayam in this crucial situation. “I appeal to the party members to stand with Netaji Mulayam Singh. Whatever is happening is very unfortunate,” Amar, who had recently made a comeback to the party after a long exile, said.Amar said, “The foundation of this party was laid by Mulayam Singh with much dedication and hard work. I have said this earlier and will say it now, that Mulayam Singh is the chief of SP and the father of Akhilesh Yadav as well,” he said. Meanwhile, Mulayam has called a Samajwadi Party’s Parliamentary board meeting today.The Samajwadi Party boss yesterday expelled Akhilesh and National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years over indiscipline. “I solely founded the party, what is their (Akhilesh and Ram Gopal) contribution? They are destroying the party,” he said. “To save the party, we have expelled both Ram Gopal and Akhilesh Yadav for six years from the party. No one has the right to call for a national executive meeting other than the party chief, and by doing this, you (Akhilesh and Ram Gopal) have hurt the party’s interest,”he added.This move comes after Akhilesh had released a list of 235 candidates out of the total 403 seats for upcoming state assembly elections on Thursday, rejecting the list announced by Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday. “We have declared a list of 325 candidates for the 2017 assembly polls; 78 seats still remain. Names of the candidates for the rest of the 78 seats will be announced soon,” Mulayam had said on Wednesday.Akhilesh’s name did not figure in the first list. Mulayam said his son being the chief minister, can contest from any assembly seat he wishes to. With inputs from PTI)

Mulayam expels UP CM Akhilesh: Here’s a timeline of the Yadav clan Dangal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling Samajawadi Party was on Friday on the precipice of a split with party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav expelling his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and cousin general secretary Ramgopal Yadav for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet on Sunday. Ahead of the 2017 UP Elections, Mulayam’s announcement may have been sudden but the feud in the Yadav family have been taking a turn for the worse since the past few months. The latter half of this year has seen the family at constant loggerheads. Here’s a timeline chronicling the disintegration of the Uttar Pradesh’s Samajawadi Party:August 15: Samajwadi Party plans to merge with with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal(QED). As a result, brother Shivpal Yadav threatens to resign from the party, which is averted by Mulayam Singh Yadav in view of the UP elections.
ALSO READ Yadav vs Yadav Dangal: Mulayam Singh expels Akhilesh and Ram Gopal from SP for six years September 13: Akhilesh steps down from his position in the party as the UP unit chief and Mulayam appoints Shivpal as the Samajwadi Party’s State President. On the same day, Akhilesh strips uncle Shivpal Yadav of key portfolios.September 15: Ramgopal Yadav, another brother of Mulayam and Samajwadi Party general secretary says there is no ‘sankat’ (rift) in the party and it was a wrong decision to remove Akhilesh Yadav as the president of the Samajwadi Party. The day also sees Shivpal resign from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet and quit as the state unit president of Samajwadi Party. This was a result of Akhilesh deciding to sack two ministers from his cabinet – Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh over allegations of corruption. Both the leaders were considered close to Shivpal.September 17: Akhilesh Yadav announces that Shivpal will continue as the SP State President. Sacked Mines Minister, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati re-inducted in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.September 18: Shivpal Yadav expels Ramgopal Yadav and another leader for their alleged involvement in land grabbing. Additionally, Shivpal also expels party MLC Arvind Pratap Yadav, who is a nephew of Ramgopal Yadav and former village head in Etawah.September 19: Shivpal’s firing of seven youth leaders result in a number of youth leaders close to Akhilesh Yadav quitting the party.October 14: “The Chief ministerial candidate will be decided by the elected party legislatures and parliamentary board. This is our job,” Mulayam snubs Akhilesh by saying that the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate will be decided by elected party legislatures after the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. October 17: With much hesitation, Akhilesh is endorsed by Mulayam as the presumptive chief ministerial candidate of the party ahead of state Elections.October 23: Akhilesh sacks Shivpal along with three other ministers from the government.December 25: Akhilesh submits his own list of 403 probable candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.December 28: Mulayam announces his own list of candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seat.December 29: Akhilesh revolts and releases his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.December 30: The Yadav feud reached its peak on Friday when Mulayam expelled Akhilesh along with cousin Ramgopal for anti-party activities. “We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal,” Mulayam said.(With agency inputs)

UP Elections 2017: SP headed for virtual split, Akhilesh Yadav releases own list of candidates for 235 seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The feud in Uttar Pradesh’s first family appeared to be worsening, with an unhappy Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday meeting legislators who have not found place in the list of 325 declared candidates and then conveying his objections to his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who had announced the nominees yesterday. After the meeting, SP MLA Indal Singh said that UP CM is likely to come up with his own list of candidates for the upcoming UP elections.According to ANI, Akhilesh Yadav has released his own list of candidates for 235 constituencies. Of them, 171 are seating MLAs and there are 64 new faces. Hectic political activities began in the morning with party leaders gathering outside the residences of Akhilesh and Mulayam. A big crowd assembled outside Shivpal’s residence also. Akhilesh, clearly upset over being apparently kept out of the process to select candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls, met at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence here his supporters, including legislators and office bearers who do not figure in the list, party sources said. Later, he spoke to Mulayam to convey his displeasure over the list of candidates from which names of his close confidants are missing, the sources said.Mulayam, along with his brother and state party chief Shivpal Yadav, yesterday declared candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out projecting Akhilesh as the Chief Ministerial candidate.Akhilesh was away on Bundelkhand tour when the list was released at a hurriedly-convened press conference. The Chief Minister and Shivpal have been involved in a power struggle for several months now. The list, which includes 176 sitting MLAs, announced by Mulayam and Shivpal in the absence of Akhilesh, has left out several pro-Akhilesh ministers, including Ram Govind Chaudhary, Pawan Pandey and Arvind Singh Gope, and does not carry names of over 50 sitting MLAs.Besides, 10 ministers, including Shivpal, sacked by the chief minister over the past few months have got tickets. These former ministers were in open defiance of Akhilesh and it paid off. Within hours after release of the list, which clearly bore the stamp of Mulayam and Shivpal, Akhilesh had said he would take up the choice of candidates with the party chief.”The list does not include names of certain candidates who are sure to win. I will take it up with the SP chief and tell him that some of them have done really good work and they should be given tickets,” an upset Akhilesh had said last night. In a late night tit-for-tat action, the Chief Minister struck back sacking two Shivpal loyalists — Surabhi Shukla, vice-chairperson of UP Awas Vikas Parishad and her husband Sandeep Shukla from the post of advisor of Rajkiya Nirman Nigam. Sandeep has been fielded from Sultanpur Sadar seat.With agency inputs

Govt, BJP say the worst is over on demonetization front

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Within a fortnight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to ban high currency notes, several ministries in his government went into a tizzy tackling problems, particularly in labour-intensive sectors.However, the government now feels the storm has passed. The string of complaints and representations that came last month owing to cash crunch from various trade and industry bodies have slowed to a trickle, a senior union minister said. As the 50-day timeline sought by the Prime Minister, who had promised a “new India in the new year” nears its end, the central government and BJP are heaving a sigh of relief saying the “worst is over”.The BJP was hoping to cash in politically on demonetization and the Prime Minister’s assurance to fight black money. Some party MPs had expressed apprehensions about the impact of the inconvenience faced by people because of the cash crunch on the party in the forthcoming elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. Internal ground reports also indicated that demonetization would give the BJP an advantage. The party national executive is holding its meet, the last before assembly elections in five states, next week in the Capital. Ahead of the meet, Modi will be holding a rally in Lucknow.The government has indicated that various departments have received reports from the ground showing that things had started improving over the past fortnight and the story of demonetization woes was nearly over. While it was not entirely ruling out the flip side of its impact on the economy, it saw it as a temporary phase that was waning faster than expected, the sources said.One by one, the woes of various sectors because of cash crunch in the aftermath of demonetization had to be addressed, but the situation is now returning to normal, sources said, adding that the labour force which had migrated was getting back and the use of digital mode for transactions was picking up.The worst affected were around half a dozen labour intensive sectors including handloom, carpet weavers and metal pickers, where payments were made in cash.Worried that the cash crunch would hit farmers in the northern states, including poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, where the sowing of the rabi crop was just starting, the government had asked NABARD to ensure credit flow in rural areas in the end of November, sources said. The money flow into metropolitans was cut down to increase availability in rural areas.The government had also faced demands from the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) to withdraw the decision to scrap import duty on wheat or give an assurance that the rabi crop would be bought at the prevailing MSP. Government sources said the move was aimed at avoiding any knee-jerk reaction in case of shortage of wheat and that import was not mandatory. It is understood that the government has given an assurance that the concerns would be kept in mind.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Anil Baijal likely to be new Delhi LG, Mulayam rules out alliance with any party; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union Home Secretary Anil Baijal likely to be new Delhi LGCareer bureaucrat Anil Baijal looks set to become the next Lt Governor of Delhi, a post which has fallen vacant after sudden resignation of Najeeb Jung. Read more here. Uttar Pradesh assembly elections: SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav rules out alliance with any partyAmid speculations, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of an alliance with any political party for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Read more here. Kalmadi defers Life President post of IOA, Sports Ministry issues showcause noticeFaced with a barrage of criticism, scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi declined the position of the Indian Olympic Association’s Life President even as the Sports Ministry issued a showcause notice to the IOA for its controversial decision. Read more here. Cabinet clears ordinance: Face jail time, Rs 50,000 penalty for holding old notesThe Cabinet on Wednesday approved promulgation of an ordinance to impose a penalty, including a jail term, for possession of the scrapped 500 and 1,000 rupee notes beyond a cut-off. Read more here. Scrap cash withdrawal limit, reveal how much black money recovered post demonetization: Rahul to ModiUpping the ante on the government’s demonetization drive, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sacrificed the common man in ‘yagna’ against black money. Read more here. Shocking: Ram Gopal Verma SLAMS Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan!Ram Gopal Verma took to Twitter to post a series of tweets, giving a thumbs up to Aamir’s brilliant performance. But while doing so, he took a serious jibe at the other Khans- Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. Read more here.

Talk to real people about demonetization, you will get beaten up: Lalu to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Narendra Modi over his remark that people can punish him for demonetization after the 50-day window, Lalu Prasad on Monday asked the Prime Minister to choose a “chauraha” (roundabout) where people can punish him for triggering a chaotic situation in the country. “PM should chose his favourite ‘chauraha’ (roundabout) where people could punish him for leading the country to a chaotic condition in the name of demonetization to fight black money,” RJD President Lalu Prasad told reporters after flagging off Rath to drum up support for party dharna across Bihar on December 28.Prasad was reminding the PM of his utterances at Goa where he had asked people to give him 50 days for fight against black money through scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes. Launching a scathing attack at the PM, the RJD chief said “Madari ka khel bana diye hain kabhi notebandi to khabi cashless economy (he is re-enacting play of monkeys in the name of demonetization and than cashless economy)”.Prasad said the PM was under “illusion” that people are appreciating him by chanting “Modi, Modi”. It’s a few RSS men who occupy front seats in his rallies and shout Modi, Modi which he is reading as voice of masses”. “If election is held in the country today BJP would draw a nought,” the RJD chief said.Prasad said that the saffron party would bite dust in Uttar Pradesh poll. “BJP ka koi ata-pata nahin rahega Uttar Pradesh ke chunav mein (BJP will be no nowhere in UP polls),” he said.The RJD chief predicted victory for Samajwadi Party in UP and said like in Bihar he and other leaders from the state would campaign for Mulayam Singh Yadav party to ensure its victory in UP. Asked if family feud in SP would mar his chances in the election, Prasad who is related to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, dismissed it and said minor fight happens in every family.

People will teach BJP a lesson in UP polls: Raj Babbar on note ban

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the demonetization decision to “benefit a few of his friends”, causing distress to people who will teach BJP a lesson in the upcoming Assembly polls.Addressing a rally at Purkazi town in the district last evening, he said the entire nation is in distress because of the note ban and every section of the society is facing the brunt of it.”Prime Minister is changing rules on demonetization as if he is changing clothes. A man wearing suit worth Rs 10 lakh cannot call himself a fakir,” Babbar said.State congress vice president Imran Masood also hit out at Modi during the rally, saying, “Narendra Modi has failed to fulfill his promises and caused problems to people after demonetization”.

Uttar Pradesh: BJP takes jibe at Yadav family, says Samajwadi Party should focus on law and order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday taunted the ongoing feud between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his b’te noire uncle Shivpal Yadav, saying the first family of the Samajwadi Party should resolve the ‘mahabharat’ and focus on law and order, corruption and lack of administration in the politically crucial state.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also used the occasion to take a jibe at reports suggesting about the possibility of a ‘mahagathbandhan’ in the run up to next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.”However, in the first family of the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh a ‘mahabharat’ is already on for quite some time. Now, it appears that there are multiple lists – one by the uncle, one by the nephew who is the Chief Minister and there are all sorts of disputes. They should resolve that,” Kohli told ANI.”As far as the people of Uttar Pradesh are concerned, they are obviously going to vote on the track record of the Samajwadi Party. The substantial issues are law and order, corruption and the lack of administration,” he added.The tussle in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling family reignited yesterday after Akhilesh drew up his own list of poll candidates and submitted it to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, bypassing his uncle and state president Shivpal Yadav.The Chief Minister’s surprise move angered Shivpal, who is officially in-charge of ticket distribution in consultation with the party president.Shivpal tweeted that ticket distribution would be decided by ‘victory potential'”The party will not tolerate any indiscipline that might hurt the party’s image,” he tweeted.According to sources, Akhilesh while reviewing the list of candidates for 403 assembly seats expressed concern over the party giving 181 tickets to ‘tainted’ persons.This is not the first time that Akhilesh and his uncle have clashed over tickets distribution. The Chief Minister, who is of the view that his image and record is party’s strength, had earlier this month expressed displeasure over the decision to field don-turned politicians Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibaqtullah Ansari for next year’s elections.The Ansari brothers belong to Quami Ekta Dal, which recently merged with the party despite opposition from Akhilesh.Mulayam has so far made all attempts to engineer a truce between his son and brother, but seat allotment has remained a thorny issue in the Samajwadi Party.

UP: BJP mocks ‘Mahabharat’ in first family of Samajwadi Party over poll tickets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday taunted the ongoing feud between Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his bete noire uncle Shivpal Yadav, saying the first family of the Samajwadi Party should resolve the ‘mahabharat’ and focus on law and order, corruption and lack of administration in the politically crucial state.BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli also used the occasion to take a jibe at reports suggesting about the possibility of a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in the run up to next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. “However, in the first family of the Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh a ‘Mahabharat’ is already on for quite some time. Now, it appears that there are multiple lists – one by the uncle, one by the nephew who is the Chief Minister and there are all sorts of disputes. They should resolve that,” Kohli said.”As far as the people of Uttar Pradesh are concerned, they are obviously going to vote on the track record of the Samajwadi Party. The substantial issues are law and order, corruption and the lack of administration,” he added.The tussle in Uttar Pradesh’s ruling family reignited yesterday after Akhilesh drew up his own list of poll candidates and submitted it to Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, bypassing his uncle and state president Shivpal Yadav.The Chief Minister’s surprise move angered Shivpal, who is officially in-charge of ticket distribution in consultation with the party president.Shivpal tweeted that ticket distribution would be decided by ‘victory potential’. “The party will not tolerate any indiscipline that might hurt the party’s image,” he tweeted.According to sources, Akhilesh while reviewing the list of candidates for 403 assembly seats expressed concern over the party giving 181 tickets to ‘tainted’ persons.This is not the first time that Akhilesh and his uncle have clashed over tickets distribution. The Chief Minister, who is of the view that his image and record is party’s strength, had earlier this month expressed displeasure over the decision to field don-turned politicians Atiq Ahmed and Mukhtar Ansari’s brother Sibaqtullah Ansari for next year’s elections.The Ansari brothers belong to Quami Ekta Dal, which recently merged with the party despite opposition from Akhilesh.Mulayam has so far made all attempts to engineer a truce between his son and brother, but seat allotment has remained a thorny issue in the Samajwadi Party.

Rajnath Singh expresses confidence about BJP sweeping UP polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday expressed confidence about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sweeping the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next year with an absolute majority.BJP will win the Uttar Pradesh election with an absolute majority, Singh said while en route to Lucknow.Singh, who will address parivartan rally in Lucknow, added, ‘BJP’s parivartan rally has laid the foundation of change in Uttar Pradesh and people of the state also believe that change is certain.”Speaking on demonetisation, Singh said the decision to impose a ban on Rs 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes should not be seen as an election issue.”Demonetization is not about electoral loss or victory. The demonetization decision has been taken keeping national interest in mind, and therefore, it should not be associated with the election,” Singh said, adding that the demonetization decision has been taken to curb corruption, black money and to strengthen the economy of the country.He further said that the demonetisation also helped fight terrorism as many accounts of the Naxalites have been seized post the announcement of the drive.

Lunch pe charcha: When PM Modi brought his own tiffin to lunch with booth workers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday brought his own tiffin to lunch with BJP booth workers’ in Varanasi where he addressed a rally and shared his own experiences.”Everyone including PM Shri Narendra Modi brought their own tiffins and had discussion over a meal,” said BJP on Twitter.It also added that ‘such equality’ was possible only in BJP.The party said that Modi interacted and had lunch with more than 26,000 booth workers belonging to over 1700 booths in Varanasi.On his first visit to his Lok Sabha constituency since demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP cadres in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh to tell people about the central government’s initiatives.Modi, who interacted with party cadres and had lunch with them, sought to enthuse them by sharing his own experiences and telling them how he rose through the ranks, according to Piysh Vardhan Singh Rajkumar, co-convener of the BJP’s IT cell for Kashi region.This was Modi’s first visit to his constituency Varanasi since announcing demonetization decision on November 8.(With PTI inputs)

Two-day GST Council meet to end today: Key points over the vexed dual control issue

The two-day GST Council meet that began on Thursday (22 December) and will continue today would take forward the discussion on the remaining 7 chapters of the model GST law.

The council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, which is meeting for the seventh time so far, will also take up the dual control issue and try to iron out differences on the vexed issue of jurisdiction over assessees in the new indirect tax regime.

Consensus has so far eluded on the model GST law in the previous meetings of the all-powerful GST Council. The subsequent GST legislations — CGST, IGST and compensation law — could not be introduced in the Winter session of Parliament that ended last week, and this has threatened the April 2017 rollout target of the GST.

Experts now say that implementation of GST should be postponed by three months to July next year as industry would need time to prepare their IT infrastructure.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Although, the Centre plans to implement the GST from 1 April, due to Constitutional compulsion the GST now could be rolled out by 16 September next year as the existing indirect taxes will come to an end, and it would not be possible for either Centre or the states to collect indirect taxes.

Day one of the two-day Council meet ended on Thursday with no discussion on dual control but discussed the GST bills.

However, Friday’s meeting will be important as the integrated GST Bill will discuss the contentious issue over the dual control of assessees. Besides this, the three GST bills – Central GST (cGST), Integrated GST and State Compensation Law – need to be approved by the Council before they can be tabled in the Parliament.

Failure to get a consensus on the issue would make it impossible for the government to implement the ambitious indirect tax reform from its target date of 1 April 2017, said a report in the Mint.

Already, finance minister Arun Jaitley has been emphasising that the luxury of time is not available for the GST implementation for the reason that if 1 April 2017, is the first possible day it can be implemented, then the last date also is constitutionally defined as 16 September, 2017.
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“So the discretion as to when to implement is only five months and 16 days and that’s why we don’t have the luxury of time because after five months, the curtains will come down on the old taxation powers,” Jaitley had said earlier.

The dual control has been a sticking point between the Centre and the states, which has so far delayed consensus amongst the council members.

Here are the key points over this vexed issue.

1) The government wants to weigh on the pros and cons on the issues of cross empowerment to ensure single interface under GST, which will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies.

2) Dual control pertains to the issue of administration of transactions above Rs 1.5 crore. At the September meeting, it was decided that states would have exclusive jurisdiction over transactions below Rs 1.5 crore. For transactions above this amount, it was decided that a mechanism would be worked out to ensure that the same transaction would not be subject to dual audit/inspection by the centre and the state. This has resulted in tug of war between the Centre and states and has become a contentious issue.

3) State governments of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Kerala want exclusive control over small taxpayers below Rs 1.5 crore threshold. While the Centre has agreed to forego control on goods, but it is not yielding on services.

4) The GST council also arrived at an option of two proposals– horizontal division and vertical division to overcome the issue. a) Horizontal Division means tax payers would be divided both for administrative and audit purposes based on a cut off turnover. Those with a turnover over Rs 1.5 crore would be administered both by the Centre and states, while those with below Rs 1.5 crore would be administered solely by the state. b) The Vertical Division based on ratios assigns tax payers to a tax administration, Centre or state, for a period of 3 years for all purposes including audit. Tax payers could be divided in a ratio which would balance the interest of the Centre and the state, both with respect to revenue and spread of numbers.

5) The Centre, however, feels that horizontal division would be lopsided as 93 percent of Service Tax assessees and 85 percent of the VAT tax payers have a turnover below Rs 1.5 crore.

6) Last month, GST Council had failed to reach any conclusion on the dual control issue as states objected to non-availability of updated data on assessees of service tax, excise and VAT.

7) The updated figures shared by the Centre with the states shows the likely taxpayer base in GST would be 107 lakh, of which states account for 67 percent (71.7 lakh) and Centre is estimated to account for 33 percent (35.3 lakh). There are around 81.4 lakh VAT dealers, out of which active dealers are 66.5 lakh. For service tax, there are 38 lakh assessees, out of which 26 lakh are active assessees, while there are around 4,00,000 assessees for excise. Around 4,00,000 taxpayers are common to the Centre and the states, The Indian Express report said.

With PTI inputs

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 12:56 IST

Watch | Very happy our young leader is learning how to speak: PM Modi trolls Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after the Congress vice-president accused him of receiving crores in kickbacks as the Gujarat Chief Minister, Prime Minister Modi today taunted the former and said that he is “learning how to speak”.‘They have a youth leader; he is learning how to give speeches. Since the time he has learnt to speak, my happiness has no limits,’ he jocularly said at an event in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.”There would have been an earthquake had he not spoken… good that he has started speaking, we now know that there’s no chance of an earthquake,’ he added.Silencing his critics, the Prime Minister in an apparent reference to those questioning his government’s demonetisation drive said that he never imagined politicians would “stand with the corrupt”.”The commotion created in Parliament is like the ‘cover fire’ that Pakistan uses to ensure terrorists infiltrate into India. Similarly, the ruckus in Parliament lets cheats get away,’ he said while referring to Parliament’s just-concluded Winter Session.Prime Minister Modi also criticized the opposition for “protesting everything.””Our army makes us proud but some people have questions even on their bravery. Is it good to view institutions like this’” he said.The Prime Minister also cornered his predecessor for his disagreement over demonetisation, saying the latter by doing so is exposing his own misdeeds. ‘(Congress) PM Manmohan Singh said that ‘in a country where 50 percent of people are poor what can things like technology do’’ Now tell me, was he giving his own report card or mine’ Whose legacy is this 50 percent poverty’’ he asked.

Ahead of elections, UP govt gives assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Playing the caste card ahead of Assembly elections, the Akhilesh Yadav government on Thursday gave its assent to include 17 Other Backward Castes in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list.A Cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday morning cleared the proposal in this regard, officials said.The proposal, considered to be aimed at wooing the OBCs in the coming elections, will now be sent to the Centre for clearance, they said. The 17 sub-castes which the government wants included in the SC category are Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua.Earlier in March 2013, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly had passed a resolution asking the Centre to include 17 castes of the state into the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) category.In the resolution presented by Social Welfare Minister Avdhesh Prasad and passed by the voice vote in the House, it was stated that in a detailed study by UP SC/ST Research and Training Institute, these 17 castes have been found ‘deserving’ to be included in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC).The Mulayam Singh Yadav government too had passed the resolution in the state Cabinet in February 2004 and had sent recommendation to the Centre for inclusion of these castes in SC list in December 2004.Later, Mulayam went ahead and issued a government order on October 10, 2005 giving SC benefits to these castes, which was, however, struck down by the High Court.Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are likely to be held early next year.

Watch: Woman brutally beaten for resisting molestation in Uttar Pradesh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh police has arrested a man for brutally beating a woman in a market place for resisting molestation.A case has been registered at Kishani area police station in Mainpuri against the three miscreants.One of the suspects, Anand Yadav, has been arrested. A special team has been made to nab the remaining two culprits.”I was asking a few persons about Ajay’s shop, but they said that come inside with us, we will tell you. I asked him to talk with respect. But he started abusing us and started fighting. The person used a stick to beat my husband, but hit me instead,” the victim said.Superintendant of Police Sunil Saxena said, “We have registered the case and after that the medical checkup was done. We have taken the preventive action by arresting the accused. The accused was arrested within hours of the incident and after that a special team has been made to arrest the remaining culprits. We have made a team which includes the surveillance team and sub-inspectors. I am monitoring that; soon we will complete the remaining proceedings.”

UP polls | Problems faced by people due to demonetization will lead us to victory: Akhilesh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav feels the days of caste-based politics in the state are over and now the two Ds — development and demonetization problems — will work in favour of the Samajwadi Party in the upcoming assembly polls.According to him, his family feud is no more a factor and all issues have been changed post demonetization. “That is a thing of past now. We are working together to win the elections. Issues have changed and post demonetization nobody remembers that (family feud) now. All the other issues have been left behind and demonetization has emerged as the key issue,” he said.He asserted that Uttar Pradesh will vote for his work, image and not on caste equations. “Our work in last five years and the problems people are facing due to demonetization will lead us to victory in upcoming elections. Jo kataarein ATM ke bahar lagi hai wo polling booth ke bahar lagegi (polling booths will see long queues like ones outside ATMs now),” Akhilesh.When asked who he considers the bigger rival — BJP or BSP, he said people of Uttar Pradesh have lost faith in both of them. “BJP has done nothing for Uttar Pradesh in last two and a half years. The Prime Minister was elected from UP, home minister and defence minister are also representing UP. They have maximum number of MPs from UP but they have given nothing to the state apart from Adarsh Gaon Yojna and nothing is happening on that front also,” he said.”As far as BSP is concerned, people are not interested in getting elephants installed everywhere,” he added.His father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has already ruled out any pre-poll alliance with Congress but Akhilesh said it will be premature to predict anything as of now. “Of course the party president will take a call on that but I believe that we will get 300 plus seats if we enter into a pre-poll alliance with Congress. I know that netaji (Mulayam) has said there will be merger, no alliances but there is still time for the elections and you must wait and watch. Politics is full of surprises and you never know what will happen tomorrow,” he said.”I do not have any doubt on getting an absolute majority but we can get 300 plus seats if we fight together. Samajwadis believe that Congress is their best friend when it is weak,” he said.

Sheroes to get honoured for selfless service

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an attempt to recognise the efforts of women who have chosen unconventional life paths for the betterment of society, Stop Acid Attack (SAA) has decided to confer upon them an award named ‘Sheroes Samman’.“We are planning to give ‘Sheroes Samman’ award to women who have broken the stereotype and are engaged in unconventional jobs, such as driving a bus or an auto, or those who have been educating other women in rural areas,” said Ashish Shukla, one of the founding members of the SAA campaign.The name of the award has been derived from name of a chain of cafes — ‘Sheroes Hangout’ — opened in various parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Udaipur to rehabilitate acid attack survivors from across the country. The group has called for nationwide nominations and the final results will be declared in March next year.“We will choose the women by taking into account suggestions and entries online. We are still working on the list. The results will be declared in March 2017,” Ashish said.Razi Sultan, winner of the United Nations (UN) Malala Award, has already been shortlisted. The rest of the names are still being discussed.“We launched the award last year, but this time, we are doing it at a larger scale and on a bigger platform. We have invited entries and are also sending invitations to a lot of ‘Sheroes’ ourselves,” Ashish added.Last year, Vineeta Arora had won the award for her selfless work to better the lives of street dogs. Having grown up witnessing the discrimination between pet and stray dogs, and the cruel treatment meted out to the latter, the Gulmohar Park resident had decided to become the voice of the defenceless creatures while she was still in college.At the time, she used to write articles to spread awareness regarding several issues, including treatment of injured dogs, among people.Then she started feeding and treating stray dogs by getting associated with various NGOs, shelter homes and pet houses. She, however, faced strong resistance from local people. “Many people picked fights with me while I was feeding the dogs and the cows. At least in case of cows, religious factors cropped in, but no one cared about the dogs,” Vineeta said.The journey became even more difficult after she got married. “In the initial years of marriage, I could not work for these dogs as my in-laws raised objections. I could not keep dogs at home as well,” she said.But gradually, the opposition fell away.Vineeta’s hardwork finally paid off when she started her own shelter home in Agra in 2014, with the help of her husband. “I started the shelter home Caspers’ in the memory of my pet dog, who lost his life in a road accident. The home was registered as an NGO two years after its inception,” she said.Over 45 dogs have been adopted from Caspers’ till now. It is also home to 43 dogs, and care is provided to injured, paralysed and abandoned dogs.“We have proper rules and guidelines while giving the dogs for adoption. The team from our NGO goes to the owner’s house before the adoption. An inspection is carried out after the adoption as well. If dog is found chained, it is brought back,” Vineeta said.

Hyderabad twin blasts case: Yasin Bhatkal, four others sentenced to death by NIA court

An NIA special court on Monday sentenced to death five Indian Mujahideen operatives, including Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, involved in the 2013 twin blasts in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar area, which had claimed 18 lives, and injured 131 others.

However, Yasin Bhatkal’s brother, Riyaz Bhatkal, still remains at large and the NIA has issued a red corner notice for his arrest. Riyaz is allegedly the kingpin of the group and the prime conspirator in the case, according to NDTV. 

File photo of Yasin Bhatkal. AFPFile photo of Yasin Bhatkal. AFP

File photo of Yasin Bhatkal. AFP

The prosecution lawyer told NDTV that the NIA produced strong circumstantial evidence against the convicts in the court and the accounts of 157 witnesses, which helped in nailing down the charges against the Indian Mujahideen cadres in the terror case. He also said that the judges observed that the case fell into the rarest of the rare categories for awarding a death sentence.

Even as the convicts are likely to appeal in a higher court for relief, the NIA court’s ruling is being seen as a landmark judgement as this is for the first time that top cadres of the banned Indian Mujahideen terror group have been convicted in a terror case.

“It was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres,” an elated Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar had said at the time of the conviction ruling.

The NIA special court had convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on 13 December.

Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akthar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaik of Maharashtra, all of whom have been sentenced to death.

The final arguments in the case concerning the attack, carried out on 21 February, 2013 had concluded last month. Trial in the case had begun on August 24 last year.

In its chargesheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out the bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit.

The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had alleged.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 17:59 IST

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

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

Rahul baba can’t see change brought out by BJP because of his ‘Italian chasma’: Amit Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP President Amit Shah targeted Rahul Gandhi, saying instead of embarking on roadshows against demonetization, he should take out “yatras against unemployment, poverty and starvation”.Addressing BJP’s ‘Parivartan Rally’, he also hit out at other opposition parties, including SP, BSP and Trinamool Congress, for “ganging up” against demonetizationand disrupting parliamentary proceedings leading to a virtual washout of the winter session.”Rahul Baba is undertaking padyatras daily. It will be better if Rahul takes out yatras against unemployment, poverty and starvation,” Shah said while targeting the Congress leader who has been aggressively campaigning against demonetization.”He (Rahul) asks what change has come after BJP came to power… He will not be able to see as he has ‘Italian chashma’ (Italian glasses) on his eyes,” Shah said, in an apparent reference to Italian roots of Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi.The BJP chief likened the unity among opposition parties on the issue of demonetizationto all animals in a jungle climbing the same tree to save their lives from raging floods. He likened SP, BSP and Congress to “naagnath and saanpnath” (snakes) sitting over schemes for development of Uttar Pradesh forcing youths to migrate to other states for menial jobs, and asserted that “come what may, BJP will come to power” after the coming Assembly election. He said demonetizationhas taken the wind out of BSP supremo Mayawati’s sails.Shah said till November 7 these parties used to ask “Modiji what have you done to check black money. Now, these very parties ask ‘Modiji why have you done this to check black money,” the BJP chief said.The tough step has caused discomfort to those having lakhs of crores of rupees ill-gotten money, Shah said.Noting that it was his duty to answer the questions being raised by the opposition parties on note ban, Shah said every single paisa being deposited after deducting the 75 to 85 per cent penalty by the black money holders will be used for the development and welfare works.Attacking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Shah said he should give an account of his achievements during his nearly five-year rule rather than trying to divert the people’s attention by raising the issue of demonetization.”SP, BSP and Congress and at some places Ajit Singh (RLD) are together stalling the development of Uttar Pradesh as saapnath and naagnath,” the BJP President said.Shah was particularly critical of Akhilesh and said central assistance for the welfare of the poor and farmers in Uttar Pradesh went in vain as the benefits did not reach the targeted people and instead swelled the coffers of Samajwadi Party leaders. “You can see that their dwelling units had changed to palaces during the SP rule.. Massive dose of financial assistance was given to the state but it was usurped by ‘chacha-bhatija’ (uncle-nephew),” he said, referring to Akhilesh and state party chief Shivpal Singh Yadav.Akhilesh will have to answer for the “wrongs” done during his five-year rule, the BJP chief said.”Akhilesh will first have to answer for Mathura where government land was encroached for years, Bulandshahr where gangrape was committed and his minister Azam Khan made mockery of it and here in Etah 100 people lost their lives in hooch tragedy,” Shah said.”I feel bad to see youths from UP drive taxis and work as labourers in other states as there is no opportunity in their home state,” he said, adding only a BJP government can ensure that they work in their native district, stay with their parents and family. “It is corruption, corruption and nothing but corruption in Uttar Pradesh,” he rued.Referring to the CM’s claims of getting more that 300 seats in case of an alliance with Congress, Shah said he should not leave his ‘Buaji’ (Mayawati). “But, it will be BJP which will come to power in UP,” he asserted.Claiming that incidents of rape increased by a staggering 161 per cent during the Akhilesh Yadav regime, Shah recalled that when the state had a BJP government headed by Kalyan Singh, criminals kept a low profile.He said senior SP leader and UP minister Azam Khan made a mockery of law and order with his comments on rape cases.Shah said the Modi government had done away with interview of youths for Class III and IV jobs, but the SP government was so deep into corruption that it did not comply with the order unlike BJP-ruled states.

India’s cash crackdown linked to drop in child trafficking | Reuters

By Roli Srivastava and Nita Bhalla

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Business has been slow at the Thakkar Bappa Colony shoe manufacturing hub in eastern Mumbai since the Indian government withdrew high-value bank notes last month in an attempt to curb tax evasion and counterfeit currency.Orders to the numerous shoemakers lining the slum’s narrow streets have almost dried up due to a dearth of bank notes in circulation, say the businesses which mainly rely on cash transactions.Yet while factory owners complain of a slump in profits and a dip in productivity, child rights activists say “demonetisation” drive has a silver-lining: it has stemmed the steady stream of children trafficked here to stitch shoes. “Children came from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan to work here,” said Sugandha Patade from the charity Pratham which rescues and rehabilitates child workers in the area.”In the last month, no new child workers have come and those who were working here have been sent back to their villages as there are no orders for them to work on.”Police agree the cash crunch could be hitting traffickers who buy and sell children for labour, but say more detailed analysis is required before they can make a direct link.India has almost 6 million child workers, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), but activists say this is a gross underestimate. More than half are employed in agriculture and more than a quarter in manufacturing – embroidering clothes, weaving carpets or making match sticks. Children also work in restaurants, shops and hotels and as domestic workers.

The children – mostly from poor rural areas – are taken to cities by gangs who sell them into bonded labour, force them into sex work or hire them out to unscrupulous employers. In many cases, they are unpaid.ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE
The shock currency move, announced on November 8 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to bring billions of dollars worth of unaccounted wealth which people are hoarding, or “black money”, into the mainstream economy and curb corruption.

High denomination 500- and 1,000-rupee bank notes have ceased to be legal tender for transactions and can only be exchanged at banks for smaller notes or the newly introduced 2,000-rupee note.Banks are meant to alert the Reserve Bank of India and tax authorities of any unusually large sums being exchanged which may be the product of illicit activities.There is no study on the impact of banning high denomination notes on child labour, but some children’s groups say they have anecdotal evidence of its repercussions in areas such as Mumbai, Delhi and other urban centres.Child rights activist and Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who has welcomed the demonetisation policy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that human trafficking and child labour were among the largest sources of black money.

His own charity – Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), or Save the Childhood Movement – has reported fewer children in areas where there are small-scale factories and ‘placement-agencies’ which often traffick girls and women for domestic work. “These days, they don’t frequently see transportation of children by traffickers in these areas and they are not able to operate so easily because they cannot use the black money which funded their illicit businesses before,” said Satyarthi.BBA has for example found no cases of girls being trafficked at three popular railway stations in the northeast state of Assam over the last two months, compared to a monthly average of six before the demonetisation policy.In Uttar Pradesh, the charity Safe Society says five children were rescued in the last month from the town of Gorakhpur, against a monthly average of 15 to 20.But Satyarthi warned that child labour would persist unless human trafficking is addressed in the impoverished areas where the children are taken from.”This means punishing offenders, providing protection on the ground such as introducing social welfare programmes for the poor, raising awareness on trafficking and child labour, and providing good quality education,” he said. (Reporting by Roli Srivastava and Nita Bhalla; Editing by Emma Batha. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

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

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 19:32 IST

In Modi’s cashless economy 5-6% from every transaction will go to rich people: Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking in Goa Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi hit out at PM Modi’s demonetization scheme. He said at a rally that 1% of the rich people have acquired 60% of the country’s money. He was quoted saying by ANI: “In the last 2 and half years, 1% rich people have acquired 60% of country’s money.” He further said: “All cash is not black money & all black money is not cash. Demonetization has targeted the poor, the cash economy of our country. Cong wants to eradicate corruption from country; If NDA govt wants to take a step against it, party will give its 100% support. But demonetization drama isn’t fight against corruption, black money. It’s an attack on India’s 99% honest people , cash economy, weak people.” He further said: “1% super-rich people usurped Rs 8 lakh crore from India’s banks. When they didn’t return money, you(Centre) called it non-performing asset.” He added: “Nov 8 ko khade hote hain jaise Obamaji khade hote hai aur kaha,”jo jebh mein paisa hai Hindustan k gareeb logon woh ab kagaz ho gye (On November 8, he stood up like Obama and said: “The money in poor people’s pockets is now paper.)He added: “Yeh surgical strike nahi thi yeh Hindustan ke imaandar logon pe “firebombing” thi (This wasn’t a surgical strike on India’s honest people, this was a firebombing.)”He added: “In last 2.5 years, PM Modi waived off Rs 1,10,000 crore of these people. After demonetization, he waived off Vijay Mallya’s Rs 1200 crore. Demonetization is all about “gareebon se paisa kheechon, ameeron ko paisa seechon.”Earlier, a Congress delegation today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to highlight the plight of farmers in the country and demanded a loan waiver for them. During the meeting, which came in the backdrop of Gandhi’s fierce attack on the Prime Minister over demonetisation, top Congress leaders presented a memorandum to Modi on demands of farmers including loan waiver, reducing power bills to half and remunerative MSP for farm produce.The delegation included Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, deputy leaders in both Houses Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar.After the meeting, the Congress Vice President said that Modi heard them patiently but did not commit anything.”We, Congress party delegation, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the plight of farmers of this country. Every single day, a farmer is committing suicide in Punjab. Farmers are committing suicide all over the country.”The government has removed the import duty on wheat.This is a devastating blow. So we went to the Prime Minister to request him on behalf of farmers of this country to waive their loans,” he told reporters.He said the Prime Minister accepted that the situation of farmers is serious but did not say anything on loan waiver.Sources said the Prime Minister gave the delegation a patient hearing and told Rahul Gandhi to “keep meeting him”.Gandhi has been targeting the Prime Minister often, with his latest offensive being on demonetisation. He claimed on Wednesday that he had information about alleged “personal corruption” of the Prime Minister, but the BJP dismissed it as a “joke”.Gandhi had raised the farmers issue during his recent Deoria to Delhi yatra in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. The Congress has collected over 2 crore “Kisan maang patras” from across Uttar Pradesh and over 34 lakh from Punjab which also goes to polls early next year.

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

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

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

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

Bulandshahr gangrape: Supreme Court to hear Azam Khan’s ‘unconditional apology’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court, which had earlier this month rejected Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s ‘unconditional apology’ for his alleged remarks on the Bulandshahr gang rape case, will hear the matter afresh on Thursday.The apex court had earlier on December 7 asked Khan to submit a fresh affidavit. An apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had asked the Samajwadi Party leader to file a fresh affidavit after noting that the earlier one filed by him has errors in it.The Attorney General also raised questions about the draft copy submitted by Khan in connection with the apology given by him. Earlier on November 18, the Samajwadi Party leader had told the apex court that he was ready to unconditionally apologise for describing as “political conspiracy” the gang-rape of two women near Bulandshahr in July.Appearing for Khan, senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that his client had made a general remark which was not targeted at the family of the victim. However, the judges were not convinced and they asked Sibal as to how a public figure like Khan could make such a comment.The apex court had earlier directed media organisations to submit the video clip of the press conference in which Khan had made this statement.The Uttar Pradesh Minister created a controversy after he alleged that a “political conspiracy” is involved in the gang-rape of a minor girl and her mother on the highway in Bulandshahr on July 29.On August 29, the apex court issued a notice to Khan for his reported comment. The case was subsequently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Corruption, caste keep poor from owning land in northern India | Reuters

By Rina Chandran

KACHHIDIH (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For decades, Kunta lived in a hut outside Kachhidih village in Uttar Pradesh, enduring the insults of higher-caste villagers who claimed her land – which she did not legally own – for grazing cattle.She dreamed of owning just a small piece of land for her family who belong to the traditionally low-caste Dalit group.Six months ago, Kunta got her wish when the state allocated her family and eight others small plots of land a few kilometres (miles) away from their old home, after months of delays.Kunta was finally a landowner with her name on the title.Reached by a dirt track through a field, the land is some distance from the highway. There is one solar lamp post and a hand pump spewing muddy water. Huts cobbled together with straw, mud and plastic offer scant protection from the winter chill.Yet Kunta, who goes by her first name, is hopeful.”The place we lived in before was our home for many years, but it did not belong to us. The villagers harassed us and officials asked us for bribes in exchange for titles,” she said.”This is our land; perhaps we can save some money, plan for our future, for our children. No one can chase us away because we own this land,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.Landless Dalits like Kunta are at the bottom of India’s age-old social hierarchy, denied land ownership and facing slights and discrimination every day from upper-caste Hindus.Despite evidence linking landlessness and poverty, and laws to help people secure small plots of land on which to build a home and eke out a living, roughly 56 percent of India’s rural households — about 100 million families — remain landless.Most belong to low-caste or indigenous communities.”The main issue is not non-availability of land, it is corruption and caste,” said Ramesh Sharma, a senior official at rights group Ekta Parishad, which has lobbied the government for years for land for the landless poor.”Getting land allocated is in itself a challenge, then local revenue officials often ask for bribes to release the titles. High-caste villagers may object and delay it further because they just don’t want these people to get land,” he said.

HOMESTEAD PLOTS
Uttar Pradesh is the country’s most populous state, with a population of about 200 million. Dalits make up more than a fifth of the state’s population, but wield little power.India banned caste-based discrimination in 1955, but centuries-old attitudes persist, and lower-caste groups including Dalits are among the most marginalised communities.But Sarnath Prajapati, a revenue officer of the state, denied that caste is keeping Dalits from getting land, or that there are long delays and corruption in land allocation.”We have allocated land to the maximum extent possible. It is a priority for the state,” Prajapati said.”Sometimes, the land that is allocated may be in use by someone. Then we talk to them, and that takes time. Sometimes we have to bring the police to resolve the situation,” he said.Activist Jignesh Mevani is leading a campaign for land, asking that states give 5 acres (2 hectares) of land to each landless Dalit family so they can earn a living.The previous federal government had drafted a National Rural Homestead Bill in 2013 to provide plots measuring about 4,400 square metres (47,361 sq ft) each to landless families.

But the draft bill was never presented in parliament for approval. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to power in 2014, met Ekta Parishad officials earlier this year and assured them that the bill remained a priority, Sharma said.A few states including West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka have drawn up their own laws for land allocation, giving government land and excess private land to the landless. Homestead plots, measuring just one-tenth of an acre, can deliver “significant economic and nutritional benefits”, with space to grow food, build a home, keep small livestock, and for other livelihood options, according to land advocacy Landesa.But in India’s fast growing economy, demand for land for industrial and development projects is increasing, and land allocation is beset with challenges, Landesa said.”Identification of the landless is challenging, available land for distribution is often encroached upon by dominant interests and land management committees are often not functional,” said Shipra Deo, Landesa’s Uttar Pradesh director.”Above all, caste is a big factor and very difficult to overcome, as it is so entrenched and so sensitive,” she said.

‘BAD PEOPLE’
In Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district, landless Dalits bear the brunt of this ancient caste discrimination.In Kachhidih village and Tardih village, Dalits are not allowed to work or live close to higher-caste people. In Kachhidih, one Dalit man was beaten up so badly after his goat entered someone else’s land that he is now bedridden and cannot work, Kunta said.Land allocated to Kunta and her neighbours was not handed over for months as other villagers argued over the proximity of the land to their fields, said village headman Madhukar Dwivedi. More than 100 families are still awaiting their titles for land that has been allocated to them, he said.”In our society, there are good people and bad people. Some people don’t want these people to get land, they just want them to live under them, in their control always,” Dwivedi said.”I want to give the titles, but I have to get the backing of the village council. There is a system, and not everyone in the system supports giving them titles,” he said.It is the same situation in Tardih, where members of the semi-nomadic Nat community who lived for decades near the village, faced harassment and delays in getting their land titles, said Najma Ahmed, one of the oldest residents.Five families recently received titles to small plots of land some distance from the village, and have built rickety huts a few metres from a stagnant pool covered in green slime.”The villagers said we were living on their land for free. But they wouldn’t let us work there,” said Ahmed, who like other women in this Muslim community wears glass bangles and a red sindoor on her forehead like married Hindu women do.”At least here we can build homes, give them to our kids. It isn’t much, but where else can we go? This is all we have.” (Reporting by Rina Chandran @rinachandran, Editing by Katie Nguyen. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)

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

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

Maharashtra to tap e-commerce portals for revenue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pointing to the loss of revenue, a powerful committee of the Maharashtra legislature has urged the state government to consider an entry tax on cross-border transactions on e-commerce portals.”E-commerce portals like Amazon and Flipkart mention the tax in their bills if the goods are sold within the state. But when goods from outside Maharashtra are provided directly to consumers in our state, sales tax is levied by the other state. Maharashtra does not get sales tax on it and is deprived of revenue. The (finance) department must study this way of functioning. If goods are received in Maharashtra from other states through the online route, details must be procured about where it was purchased, if tax has been paid and care must be taken to ensure that Maharashtra gets the necessary revenue,” said a report of the public accounts committee (PAC) which was tabled in the state legislature on Tuesday.The committee, which is chaired by Gopaldas Agarwal, Congress MLA from Gondia, noted that while the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) would mitigate the issue to a large extent, it was necessary for the finance department to oversee the working of e-commerce portals like Amazon and Flipkart.”With regards to this, (states like) Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have levied an entry tax for e-commerce. The department must study this tax system. In case of sale and purchase transactions where there is no record of where the goods have been purchased from or if the tax has been paid or not, it must be presumed that the goods have been transacted within Maharashtra itself and taxes must be levied accordingly,” the report said.It stressed that while details should be sought from various companies on sale and purchase transactions and where the goods were dispatched from, special attention needed to be paid to those companies whose go-downs were located on the borders of the state.”Considering these issues, the state government must take immediate measures to prevent tax evasion and submit a report to the committee in three months on the action taken,” the committee recommended.Officials said the measure was aimed at plugging tax evasion by sellers on these portals.Sales tax accounts for the highest chunk of the state government’s budgeted revenues (30.08%) at Rs 81,437.69 in 2016-17.States like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Assam and Rajasthan have also moved to charge entry tax on e-commerce goods from other states.Computerised recordNoting that many traders did not give computerised bills to customers, the PAC said that this led to the state and Centre’s revenue being lost. “…the department must start an online system for all purchase and sales to keep a computerised record of all transactions,” the committee recommended, adding that a call centre could be started for consumers to register their complaints about merchants who did not issue bills for purchases.

After Akhilesh’s broad hints, SP-Congress tie-up talks gain traction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prospects of a poll alliance between the ruling Samajwadi Party and Congress appeared to be brightening today with both showing inclination towards a tie-up, feeling that it will be beneficial for the two parties and would halt BJP’s march.Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said a tie-up between SP and Congress would fetch over 300 of the 403 Assembly seats in the upcoming elections while Congress said it is not averse to a “respectable” seat-sharing formula.”Though samajwadis are going to form majority government in the state, if an alliance takes place, it will win over 300 seats. The final decision in this regard will be taken by SP National president (Mulayam Singh Yadav),” Akhilesh told reporters here.Congress leaders of Uttar Pradesh, while sniffing a chance because of demonetization, are showed inclination towards an alliance, saying the party is open to a “respectable” seat-sharing formula with SP.Accepting that there are some back channel efforts to firm up an alliance, a Congress leader said his party will not agree to less than 100 seats which it has already identified. “Besides the 29 seats it won in the last Assembly polls and 31 others on which it had finished second, there are some 50 other constituencies where the party has good chance,” he said.The party, which has been out of power in the politically important state for 27 years, is trying its best to revive its electoral fortunes by pushing its vice president Rahul Gandhi to hold a ‘kisan yatra’ across the state.”The aim and target of Congress is not just to halt BJP in Uttar Pradesh but also in the country for which it believes that all parties having similar ideology need to come together,” said the leader who refused to be identified.”Such an alliance is also in the interest of Samajwadi Party which desperately needs to secure a strong platform to ward off division of Muslim votes in order to consolidate its position,” he said.BSP is posing a stiff challenge to Samajwadi Party and is going all out to woo Muslim voters and this is a concern for SP, he noted. ACongress had launched its poll preparations much in advance, roping in election strategist Prashant Kishor and announced the name of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate with an eye on Brahmin votes.

Those standing in line will queue up to vote against BJP: Akhilesh Yadav on demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said he is eagerly waiting for the Assembly polls as people who are now queueing outside ATMs will “queue-up once again to vote against the BJP”.”The Prime Minister’s demonetization move was without any planning. Everyone wants black-money to end but where is the money that should be in the market? People are still standing in queues. Poor labourers are unemployed and farmers are facing problems. This is a conspiracy against the people,” he said. Akhilesh stated that he was “eagerly” waiting for the state Assembly polls as “people of Uttar Pradesh will once again (stand in) queues, and vote against the BJP for giving them the pain (through demonetisation)”.He said three arguments were given in support of demonetization– it will help fight black money, counterfeit currency and corruption.”But you are mistaken. You (Prime Minister) said deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in banks and everyone did so. But you did not check which notes were being deposited. All of them went to the bank,” Akhilesh said.Akhilesh said he wanted to know from the Centre what preparations had been made to facilitate cashless transactions. “Where is the internet? If BJP wants a cashless economy, it should have distributed smart-phones for free as we (the SP) has planned,” he added.

Hyderabad twin blasts: NIA court convicts Yasin Bhatkal, four Indian Mujahideen members

Hyderabad: In the first ever conviction of banned Indian Mujahideen cadres in a terror case, a special NIA court here convicted Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and four others for being involved in 2013 twin blasts at Dilsukhnagar which had claimed 18 lives.

The NIA special court convicted Bhatkal and others under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Besides Bhatkal, the others convicted were Asadullah Akthar of Uttar Pradesh, Zia-ur-Rahman alias Waqas of Pakistan, Tahseen Akhthar of Bihar and Aizaz Shaik of Maharashtra. All of them are in judicial custody.

File image of Hyderabad police. APFile image of Hyderabad police. AP

File image of Hyderabad police. AP

The alleged key conspirator Riyaz Bhatkal, believed to be operating from Karachi, is still at large.

The court will announce the sentences for all the accused on 19 December.

The final arguments in the case concerning the attack, carried out on 21 February, 2013 in which 18 people were killed and 131 injured others, concluded last month during which 157 witnesses were examined. Trial in the case had begun on August 24 last year.

An elated Director General of NIA Sharad Kumar said “it was a wonderful investigation carried out by the team in which every evidence was examined minutely. This is the first ever conviction of Indian Mujahideen cadres.”

“We will be appealing for maximum punishment for the culprits,” Kumar said.

In its charge sheet, the NIA had claimed that Indian Mujahideen had hatched a conspiracy to wage a war against India and decided to carry out bomb blasts in Hyderabad to create terror in the minds of people and further the activities of the outfit.

The main operative of the module, Riyaz Bhatkal, who is named as the first accused in the case, had allegedly directed his associates Asadullah Akhtar and Waqas to find a place in Mangalore to be used as a hide-out for explosive materials sent by him, it had alleged.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 15:33 IST

SP-Cong alliance to fetch 300 seats in UP polls: Akhilesh Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said if such a tie-up takes place in the upcoming state assembly polls it would win over 300 seats.”Though samajwadis are going to form majority government in the state, but if alliance takes place, it will win over 300 (of the 403) seats. The final decision in this regard will be taken by party National president (Mulayam Singh Yadav),” he said when asked about possibility of his party’s alliance with Congress.Expecting a note-ban backlash against BJP, Congress has kept a back channel open for striking a pre-poll alliance or an understanding with Samajwadi Party for next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, sources in the party said.Desperate to be counted in the power stakes in Uttar Pradesh where it ruled 27 years back, Congress leaders might settle for anything between 60-70 seats, including the 20 sitting MLAs it has in the state Assembly, the sources said. Swept away to a distant fourth position, Congress leaders feel that its chances in the crucial state had dipped after the Narendra Modi government went public with the September 29 surgical strikes inside Pak-occupied Kashmir. They, however, feel that post demonetization the popularity of the BJP has declined.Downplaying controversy over ticket distribution in the Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh said, “Tickets are changed till last moment. We will only field those who can win elections. I will give my suggestions and advice on assembly tickets to the party president.”To a specific query on tickets to gangster-turned- politician Mukhtar Ansari’s brother and another mafia don Ateeq Ahmad, the chief minister parried a directly reply, saying hardships because of note ban was a bigger issue at present.On reports that he had allegedly pushed Ahmad at a public programme, Akhilesh said, “Such act is not in my behaviour… It’s the media, which says so. I might have asked him to speak later.”

Ahead of assembly polls, pay hike for UP govt employees gets cabinet nod

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a New Year bonanza for state government employees ahead of UP Assembly elections, Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday decided to implement recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.The decision is likely to benefit 16 lakh state government employees and six lakh pensioners.”Wetan samiti ka faisla liya hai. Aaney waley samay mey lakhon karmchairyon ko laabh hoga. Issey kai crore ka bhaar aayega (We have taken decision of pay committee recommendations. It will benefit lakhs of government employees. It will put additional burden of crores of rupees on the state exchequer,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said.He was briefing reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet charied by him.The pay recommendations will be implemented from January 1, he said, adding in the days to come these employees will help Samajwadi Party form government in the state again.

Varanasi, Allahabad did not have single good-air day in ’15: study

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Delhi has been in the spotlight as the world’s most polluted city, Varanasi and Allahabad did not record a single good air-quality day in 2015, a new study revealed on Monday. It also found a total absence of any action plan to tackle pollution and that there was only one air-quality monitoring station in Varanasi. The study, based on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, showed that the holy city and Allahabad had zero good-air days, out of the monitored 227 and 236 days, respectively. A good-air day is one when the air-quality index is below 50. The report, prepared by the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), IndiaSpend and Care4Air, brought out the severity of air pollution in the Indo-Gangetic plains, home to 11 coal-fired power plants. “The key industrial hotspots of Uttar Pradesh, starting with Ghaziabad, bordering Delhi, to the district of Sonbhadra, bordering Madhya Pradesh, which produces close to 10 per cent of India’s coal-fired electricity, are all located on the Key Ganges river basin,” the report pointed out. The Purvanchal region of UP has close to 11 coal-fired thermal plants that produce nearly 12,000 MW of energy. Aishwarya Madineni, the lead author of ‘Varanasi Chokes’, released on Monday, said that compared to Delhi, the absence of air-quality data and functioning monitoring stations was glaring. “CPCB monitors the PM 2.5 quality while UP Pollution Control Board manually monitors PM 10 levels. There were huge gaps as data was missing for several days,” Madineni told DNA. PM2.5 and PM10 levels are fine, but lethal pollutants directly enter the human bloodstream and cause upper respiratory diseases.

Dense fog kills 13 in road mishaps in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar

New Delhi: At least 13 people were killed in road mishaps in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with dense fog affecting visibility in north India even as cold wave conditions in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir intensified further due to a fresh spell of snowfall.

Early morning fog in Delhi led to the cancellation of 16 trains and 90 were running late. However, normal flight operations were reported at the IGI Airport.

The city recorded a minimum of 11 degrees Celsius and a high of 27.1 degrees Celsius.

Wintry chill tightened grip over parts of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and a thick cover of fog persisted over the region.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Eight persons were killed in separate mishaps amid foggy conditions in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida, Kakori and Malihabad areas, police said.

The MET department said shallow to moderate fog was witnessed at most places in the state in the past 24 hours.

Hamirpur district was the coldest with the minimum temperature settling at 8.2 degrees Celsius.

Five persons, including two women, were killed when their car rammed into a stationary truck on National Highway 2 due to poor visibility in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.

Dense fog hit normal life at several places in Haryana and Punjab though the minimum temperature was recorded above the normal limit at most places.

Normal movement of vehicular traffic was affected at many places in the two states due to fog and several trains were reported running late due to reduced visibility.

Fog and haze resulted in 15 vehicles crashing into each other near Dhantori village on GT Road in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district. There were no reports of injury to anyone yet, police said.

The cold wave sweeping parts of Himachal Pradesh intensified further following moderate snowfall in high
mountain ranges and passes.

The Rohtang, Kunzam and Saach passes, sprawling Dhauladhar ranges and higher reaches in tribal belt and Kullu district had another spell of moderate snowfall causing a drop of three to five degrees in the minimum temperature.

The high altitude tribal areas reeled under piercing cold wave conditions as mercury stayed between minus six and minus 10 degrees.

Moving further in north, the night temperature in the Kashmir Valley dipped after a day’s respite with the mercury settling below freezing point at most places, including Leh, which was the coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir at minus 11.4 degrees.

The Meteorological Department here has predicted mainly dry weather in the state for the week ahead which could lead to a further drop in night temperature.

Srinagar recorded minimum temperature of 0.1 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg in north Kashmir witnessed a fresh spell of rainfall and had a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius, while Pahalgam shivered at minus 4.2 degrees Celsius.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 21:27 IST

PM Narendra Modi slams Opposition for stalling Parliament over demonetisation

Bahraich: Expressing concern over virtual washout of the Winter Session of Parliament amid continued Opposition protest on demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said parties “discarded” by the people have stalled proceedings in both the Houses.

“Parliament has not been allowed to function for 20 days. We are ready for a debate on demonetisation but we are not being allowed to present our view point by those very parties that have been discarded by the electorate,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo. AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo. AFP

Modi was addressing BJP’s Parivartan Yatra through mobile phone from Lucknow after the IAF chopper carrying him failed to land in Bahraich due to poor visibility. “They (Opposition) come to the Well of the House…throw paper at the Speaker. We want to put forth the government’s view point…but they are not allowing us to do so,” he said.

On demonetisation, he said, “You must have seen that the government is after people who have stashed black money. The government is committed to empowering the poor. The people are also taking pain to ensure the country moves on the path of development.”

Attacking Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, Modi said both the parties are talking in the “same tone”. He said both the parties are facing “hardship” due to note ban.

Modi said only BJP could fulfill aspirations of the people of Uttar Pradesh and appealed to the electorate in Awadh region to vote for the party in the coming Assembly polls in the state.

“For Uttar Pradesh to progress, poverty and goonda raj need to be removed,” he said.

“Police are also helping those who are indulging in hooliganism. We have to crush those patronising goondagardi (hooliganism). The BJP will fulfill aspirations of the people of the state,” he said.

Asking people to learn to use mobile banking, Modi said, “I am addressing you through mobile. You can turn your mobile into your bank. You have to learn it slowly.”

Modi was national general secretary of BJP when he visited Bahraich in 2001 for the first time, and later in November 2013 for the second time. This was BJP’s 5th Parivartan Yatra to be addressed by the prime minister in the state.

Modi has earlier addressed four parivartan rallies at Ghazipur, Agra, Kushinagar and Moradabad. His next rally is scheduled to be held in Kanpur on 19 December.

State BJP President Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “The prime minister will try to come again to Bahraich when his schedule and weather allow.”

First Published On : Dec 11, 2016 16:58 IST

Cold wave in North India: Multiple flights cancelled in Delhi due to fog, 16 dead in 24 hours in UP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As cold wave sweeps over North India, nine international and 15 domestic flights were delayed in Delhi due to poor visibility resulting from fog. Dense fog cover was also reported in Amritsar, Punjab.In Uttar Pradesh, 16 people have died in the last 24 hours due to cold wave, ANI reported.In view of intense cold condition and fog, authorities in Gautam Buddha Nagar and Ghaziabad districts have ordered all private and government schools to change timings. Gautam Buddha Nagar District Magistrate N P Singh today ordered change of school timings for Nursery to Class VIII with effect from December 9. District Inspector of Schools (DIOS) Muneesh Kumar said, “New timing of schools are 9.30 AM to 3 PM. It will be effective till next order is issued by the DM.” Meanwhile in Ghaziabad, District Magistrate Nidhi Kesarwani order that instead of 8 AM, now schools will open at 9 AM.For Friday, the Met Department has warned of shallow to moderate fog at isolated places over Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland-Manipur-Mizoram-Tripura, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, Punjab, north Rajasthan and north Madhya Pradesh.

PM Modi’s note ban decision has turned people ‘fakir’: Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his ‘fakir’ remark, BSP supremo Mayawati said on Tuesday his note ban decision has turned a majority of the country’s people into pauper but not him, and it will lead to BJP’s defeat in Uttar Pradesh. “He (Modi) has not yet become a ‘fakir’, but has definitely turned 90% of the country’s population into ‘fakir’.”His demonetization decision has made the common people bankrupt,” she said addressing workers to mark the 61st death anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar at Ambedkar Saamajik Parivartan Sthal, a memorial built during her regime as a tribute to the Dalit icon.Addressing BJP’s ‘Parivartan Yatra’ rally in Moradabad on Saturday where he had attacked Mayawati and others for opposing demonetization, Modi had said, “What can my opponents do to me? I am a fakir (hermit/pauper)… jhola ley kar chaley jayenge (I will exit with my little belongings).” Taking potshots at the prime minister, Mayawati had reacted within hours, saying Modi is “bahut bade maldar” (very wealthy) and wondered how a “well-wisher of the affluent” can be a hermit.The BSP supremo today said that the note ban decision has caused so much hardship to the people that they will not only vote against BJP, but ensure that the party is relegated to the fourth spot in the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. “It is a travesty that people are being made to run from pillar to post to withdraw their own money,” she said, accusing Modi of adopting a “dictatorial attitude”.Asserting that BSP was not against black money and corruption, Mayawati said her objection was to lack of proper planning before demonetization.Cautioning people against designs of BJP and RSS, Mayawati alleged that the saffron party together with RSS was trying to divide society on lines of Hindutva as they did not have faith in the secular Constitution framed by Ambedkar.

Demonetisation: Retailers can’t be forced to accept old Rs 500 notes for mobile recharges, says COAI

New Delhi: Amid complaints about non-acceptance of old Rs 500 notes for mobile recharges at some places, cellular operators body COAI has said the companies have given strict guidelines to accept these notes from customers but retailers and distributors cannot be forced.

COAI Director General Rajan Mathews told PTI that operators have provided strict guidelines to their distributors and retailers for accepting and processing Rs 500 demonetised notes so that no inappropriate activity, contrary to the objectives of the government, takes place.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“However, these retailers and distributors cannot be forced to do something they do not want to do, if they believe the process is tedious. “This is unfortunate for customers who wish to use these distributor and retailer points of sale and companies are disappointed with this companies can only encourage their distributors and retailers to follow the guidelines and assist customers who are facing difficulties obtaining currency from banks,” Mathews said.

He said that company-owned points of sale are accepting these notes and hopefully this will help reduce some of these problems for customers. Government allowed use of old Rs 500 for pre-paid recharges to a limit of Rs 500 per recharge till 15 December after telecom operators requested it that dealers and distributors should be permitted to accept withdrawn notes till adequate replacement currency is available for the daily needs of ordinary citizens.

However, retailers said that company distributors and agents are not accepting old Rs 500 notes from them even as they are accepting them from customers along with ID proofs for recharges. “None of the companies is accepting old notes from us. So we are unable to entertain any customer if he comes with old Rs 500 note,” Jai Prakash, who runs mobile recharge shop in Nadesar area of Varanasi said.

Another retailer Nand Kumar Rai from Ghazipur said that telecom companies are accepting Rs 500 notes at their offices but not from retailers. “Collection agents are saying that they don’t have time to fill up forms required for accepting Rs 500 notes. I am accepting every currency note number with ID card and mobile number details but agents are not ready for it,” Vinay Popli, a retailer in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, said.

Anjeev Thakur, who runs a mobile recharge shop at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, said, “Retailers here are accepting old Rs 500 notes along with valid IDs preferably for high value recharges due to shortage of change. Distributors are accepting new currency notes only, and we are depositing old notes in our own accounts.”

Aijaz Ahmad from Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir said that he is required to deposit recharge amount in his bank account which has led to 10-fold rise in his deposits. “I get recharge balance from distributors only after paying from my bank account. Most of the customers these days are opting for entire Rs 500 recharge. I have to stand for almost entire day to deposit old Rs 500 notes in bank,” Ahmad said.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 15:11 IST

Pregnant woman delivers baby standing outside ATM kiosk in Kanpur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 30-year-old woman gave birth to a baby girl while standing in a queue outside a bank ATM kiosk in Uttar Pradesh Kanpur’s district.Sarvesha Devi was standing in the queue for three hours outside Punjab National Bank ATM in Vikas Khand Jhinjh​ak area to withdraw Rs.5, 000 when suddenly she experienced labour pains.The policemen who were positioned near the bank for crowd control drove the woman to a nearby hospital soon after she delivered.According to reports, the new born is healthy, whereas Devi is still weak.Incidentally, this was her second visit to the ATM after she failed to withdraw money the first time.Devi’s husband Ashvendra Sardar had died early this year in a car accident. She has five children, including two girls.The government’s decision to scrap Rs. 500 and Rs.1, 000 currencies has created a harrowing experience as people standing in long serpentine queues outside banks and ATM machines has become a daily sight.More than 70 people have reportedly lost their lives post demonetization.

Army deployment in West Bengal echoes in Parliament: TMC alleges dictatorship; BJP says routine exercise

New Delhi: The row over army taking over road toll plazas in West Bengal on Friday echoed in Parliament with Trinamool Congress (TMC) seeing “sinister” designs behind the move and the government vehemently denying the charge, saying it was a routine exercise conducted in full knowledge of the local authorities.

The issue was raised in both Houses of Parliament with main opposition Congress too seeking clarification on the army deployment at 19 toll plazas in West Bengal. In Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar termed it a “routine exercise not unique to West Bengal” and saying that similar operations to collect information on heavy vehicle movement that can be used during national emergencies had last month being conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Along with West Bengal, similar exercise was carried out in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghlaya and Mizoram, he said while responding to TMC and Congress MPs. He also stated that originally the exercise was planned for 28-30 November but was shifted to 1 and 2 December at the request of Kolkata police as those dates were clashing with the protests against demonetisation.

“It is shocking that a chief minister is saying this. The Army’s deployment was part of routine exercise which has been going on for last 15-20 years. Even last year it was held on 19 to 21 November,” Parrikar said.

Manohar-Parrikar_PTIManohar-Parrikar_PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The minister said Army’s Eastern Command has been carrying out the exercise in West Bengal, Assam and other North Eastern states and a similar exercise has already been carried out in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.  “Concerned officials were informed in West Bengal. The original date was fixed for 28 to 30 November but due to Bharat Bandh the local police had advised the army to shift it to 1 and 2 December,” he said. “Due to traffic congestion, the exercise is being done with the help of local police.”

TMC leaders in both Houses alleged that neither the state government, nor local administration including police were taken into confidence on the exercise or their permission sought. Congress and BSP too wanted to know from the government how such an unprecedented move to carry out an army exercise without taking state government into confidence was done.

“It was very unfortunate that army has been dragged into an unnecessary controversy,” Parrikar said. “It was political frustration rather than projection of correct situation.”

As soon as Lok Sabha assembled this morning, TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay raised the issue of army deployment at 19 places in West Bengal, claiming that the move was a challenge to the federal structure of the country and completely politically motivated.

He said army personnel were deployed at these places, including near the state secretariat, “without informing anyone in the state secretariat”. “It is a fantastic situation. Army today said that it was a routine exercise being carried out in the North Eastern states. But West Bengal does not come under the territorial jurisdiction of the Northeast,” he said.

Bandyopadhyay said the people of the country have great faith in the Army but if indeed such an exercise was scheduled, the Centre should have communicated to the state government. He said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been staging a ‘dharna’ in the Secretariat demanding withdrawal of the Army. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar asked the TMC not to drag Army into politics and added that the defence personnel have been protecting the country as well as democracy.

“Whatever the army has done was part of a routine exercise. It is completely wrong to drag army into politics,” he said. Raising the issue in Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said army is India’s pride as it has upheld its unity and integrity beside protecting the borders. It has also come to the rescue during emergency situtions like flood and riots, he said adding that army is requisitioned at the request of a state government.

But in West Bengal, the chief secretary, administration and Director General of Police had no information of army taking over toll plazas at 19 locations in the state, he said. “This is probably the first time that the chief minister of West Bengal has lodged this kind of protest where she stayed put for the night in the State Secretariat and is still there,” he said. “This is a strange thing happening. Without asking state government, chief secretary or DGP, toll plazas of state government are taken over.”

Azad said it is being said that Army was collecting information on truck movements but such an exercise is not even done in Jammu and Kashmir. All such information is available with National Highways Authority of India or road transport departments. “This is an issue of grave concern.” Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said what happened in West Bengal has never been witnessed in the state’s history. Army seized toll plazas and started putting stickers on vehicles.

“I will not drag the army in any controversy. We are very proud of the army,” he said wanting to know under what provisions of law and Constitution was such a deployment carried out and alleging “sinister design” to “defame the leader opposing demonetisation” and creating “fear psychosis”.

Mayawati, BSP supremo and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh said the move to deploy army without the state government’s permission was an attack on the federal structure of the country. Terming the statements as factually incorrect, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said such exercises have been carried out in coordination with the local police.

Earlier the exercise was planned for 28 November but was shifted on specific request by Kolkata Police in view of the Bharat Bandh, he said, adding that the exercise was to ascertain availability of vehicles during national emergency. The annual exercise are carried out for collection of data and similar exercises were also carried out in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, he said, adding that letters were written to the Police Commissioner as well as District Magistrates for conducting it.

At this point, slogan-shouting TMC and Congress members contested the minister’s statement and trooped into the Well. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien had a tough time controlling the situation and even had an angry spat with Congress members including Pramod Tiwari as they continued to shout even when he stood up to control the noisy scenes.

“If you don’t know the basic rule of not disturbing the Chair, you are not deserving to be a member,” he angrily remarked without naming any member. “Mr Tiwari, I will take action against you.    This is unheard of that the Chair will not be allowed to say,” he said as members piped down and returned to their places.

Kurien said if the members found any part of the statement made by the minister as misleading or incorrect, they can invoke the rule book and give notice. Roy continued to insist that the minister was misleading. “If any member or minister misleads the House, give notice, chairman will consider it,” Kurien said.

As Roy continued to insist that the minister was misleading the House by saying that the state government had been informed, treasury benches joined in to protest. At this point, an angry Kurien snapped at Bhupender Yadav (BJP) saying “shut up… you are not in the Chair.” Roy said the minister was not stating if specific permission was taken for December 1 deployment and comparing
the exercise to national emergency.

I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the reference to emergency was to situations like floods or tsunami and said similar exercises are annually carried out and had happened in West Bengal previously as well. And recently, it has been carried out in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, and along with West Bengal it was also being carried out in North Eastern states, he said, adding “it
is a sensitive matter. Let us not politise it.”

Kurien told Roy that he can give a notice on any misleading statement being made in the House and he will consider it. Derek O’Brien raised a Point of Order under Rule 249 related to authentication of papers laid by the government on the floor of the House.

He claimed that it is “selective placing of papers” by the government and added that he will place some papers on the floor of the House to prove his point on Monday.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 15:13 IST

Uttar Pradesh: Akhilesh flags of fLucknow metro’s trial run; Mayawati says it’s cheap popularity

Lucknow: The trial run of the Uttar Pradesh government’s much publicised Lucknow Metro was flagged off today by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav even as BSP chief Mayawati alleged the project was completed in haste to gain cheap popularity ahead of polls.

The function was held at Transport Nagar depot for the trial run up to Charbagh railway station, a distance of 8.5 km.

Representational image. Pradesh18Representational image. Pradesh18

Representational image. Pradesh18

Addressing the gathering, Akhilesh said it was a challenge to start the project on time, and added that adding that they have “set an example before the country”.

“Metro was not in our manifesto but we initiated the project. The work for the same has also been started in Ghaziabad, between Greater Nodia and Noida, and also in Kanpur. If we come to power again, we will start work in
Varanasi too,” he said. Asserting that the ruling Samajwadi Party did not play politics on the issue of development, Akhilesh said his government gave land for establishment of Aiims in Raebareli and in Gorakhpur as well so that people could avail the best medical facilities.

“We don’t believe in blame game. We are for development and support every move initiated for it,” he said.

The trial run, however, evoked strong criticism from BSP supremo Mayawati, who said it was a decision taken in haste by the ruling SP, “as it knew very well that it would not return to power” in the upcoming UP Assembly elections.

“It was done in haste to gain cheap popularity and smacks of ‘bachkani zid’ (childish stubbornness) of the chief minister,” she said.

SP supremo Mulayam said he was glad the project was completed in a timely fashion.

“When I was asked to lay foundation for the project, I wanted to know how much time it will take and refused when I was told it will take four years. Them they said it will be completed in three years, but I again declined. When I was told it will be completed in 2 years, I agreed,” he said.

Terming it as “historic day”, Mulayam said he would be happy if metro will also be started in Varanasi and appealed to people to vote for SP so that it could form government again to resume developmental work.

“The work done in UP during present SP regime are historic and have set an example before the country. UP’s work is being appreciated everywhere,” he said.

“We have done good work but we don’t discuss it,” Mulayam said, asking party workers to propagate it.

The entire 23-km long North-South corridor will have 21 stations including eight elevated ones, and the estimated cost of the project will be around Rs 6,800 crore.

The primary section (between Transport Nagar to Charbagh) would be open for public on March 26 next year after three months of rigorous trial.

At the function, SP state president Shivpal Yadav was also present.

LMRC, a special purpose vehicle, was registered under the Companies Act by the state government in 2013 to execute metro-rail project in city. Padma Vibhushan E Sreedharan, who has successfully handled many mega projects in country, like Konkan railway and Delhi metro, is principal advisor of LMRC.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 16:53 IST

24 ISI agents arrested in 2016: Govt

Nine were detected in Rajasthan, six in Punjab, two in Gujarat, two in Jammu and Kashmir, one in Uttar Pradesh and four in Delhi, said the Centre. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 24 ISI agents have been arrested for spying for the Pakistani intelligence agency so far this year, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.”In addition to these 24 agents, one Pakistani spy agent detected in October 2016 was Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi based intelligence officer Mehmood Akhtar,” Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said replying a written question.Of those, who were arrested so far this year, nine were detected in Rajasthan, six in Punjab, two in Gujarat, two in Jammu and Kashmir, one in Uttar Pradesh and four in Delhi.Ahir said some of the staff posted in Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi is suspected to be involved in running espionage network.The official who was apprehended by the Delhi Police for spying was consequently declared persona-non-grata by the Indian authorities. “The Government is taking adequate steps to counter such incidents in future. The Government is resolutely committed to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the nation and the safety of our citizens,” he said.

I am pained by ‘intolerable abuses’, will speak to Mulayam, says Amar Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Rajya Sabha member Amar Singh has said he is pained by the unacceptable activities and abuses that he is being subjected to by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters.He said the matter has crossed all limits of tolerance and it was time for him to speak to party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has stood by him even against the wishes of his son.”A senior leader, while speaking against demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha, said action should be taken against me. At the time when the senior leader was speaking in the Rajya Sabha, an FIR was being registered against me in Azamgarh at the behest of a senior minister, as an SSP told me. Had I not registered a counter complaint in advance, and had I not informed the IB, and had I not informed a New Delhi DCP, then the Uttar Pradesh Government would have possibly arrested me on those charges,” Singh told ANI.”My effigies are being burnt in Azamgarh and Lucknow; a minister of the state government is doing so to please the chief minister, and the chief minister who is the son of a person whom I regard as a brother. In such a situation what would you feel? I am pained by such things. I have not threatened anybody, and I will speak to Mulayam Singhji,” said Amar Singh, a confidante and long-time friend of the SP’s national president.”Mulayam Singhji against his son’s wishes stood with me publically, which is a debt on me. Hence, I don’t want to hurt him, but now the matter has crossed all limits of tolerance,” he added.Recalling that he had said in an interview to a news channel that the political face of Uttar Pradesh will change by October-November, close to the state polls, he said, “My statement, which I had given as a political analyst, was interpreted as if I want to displace Akhilesh to reinstate Mulayam Singhji.””I had said that after observing Modiji’s working style. He gives a long leverage to his political opponents, and when there is an election, he comes to the field displaying his special skills,” he said.”In West Bengal, all stings against Mamata’s cabinet ministers were on corruption, it’s another thing that it did not have any surprising impact on the voters. Madan Mitra, a cabinet-level minister as the matter is in the court. I will not say that Modiji and Amit Shahji got him arrested due to some malice, but he was arrested just before the elections and has not been released till today,” said Singh to buttress his statement on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s style of functioning. But my statement was interpreted as if I want to displace Akhilesh to reinstate Mulayam Singhji. I have not threatened anybody, and I will speak to Mulayam Singhji,” he added.Speaking to ANI on October 27, Singh, who kept himself away from the media during infighting in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s clan and was portrayed as a villain by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, had said he might not be with CM Akhilesh, but would always be with Mulayam’s son Akhilesh.”I may not be with CM Akhilesh, but I will always be with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh. The father of the SP and the chief minister are the same, and god stands as a testimony that whenever I spoke to Netaji, it was in favour of Akhilesh, Netaji also knows this truth,” Singh told ANI, while responding to Akhilesh’s allegations.”When I was struggling for life and undergoing a dialysis, Netaji had come to meet me and he said there was a discussion on the issue of state president and when Akhilesh Yadav replaced Shivpal Yadav as the UP SP president, even then I was blamed for it,” said Singh.”When his (Akhilesh’s) family was opposing his marriage, I was the only one who stood by him, but today I am hurt by his words. There is no photo of his wedding, where this ‘dalal’ is not there,” an emotional Singh had responded then when was called a ‘dalal’ (agent).”It is possible to meet Rahul Gandhi, but meeting Akhilesh is difficult. If my ‘bali’ (sacrifice) can solve the problem, I am ready for it,” he had added then.

Punjab jailbreak: Accused arrested, two suspicious cars impounded

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the accused of the Nabha jailbreak was arrested by the Shamli Police and huge cache of arms seized from his Fortuner car in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli. Confirming the arrest Shamli Superintendent of Police Ajay Sharma said, “During police checking at Kairana, the accused, who identified himself as Parvinder Singh from Jalandhar, was arrested. He is being questioned.””Accused Parminder has been arrested with huge cache of arms, and he has confessed to his crime. There was a high alert in Uttar Pradesh since the morning, and we had information that accused might try to enter Nepal. During checking, we nabbed him,” Additional Director General (ADG) Daljeet Singh Choudhary said.Meanwhile, a suspicious black Verna car with Punjab number plates was found abandoned at Shamli and Solumajra village in Pundri Tehsil of Kaithal District, respectively. The Kaithal Superintendent of Police swung into action and reached the spot with a team. An investigation is on.
ALSO READ Punjab jailbreak: Special Investigation Team formed by the policeKarnal Inspector General of Police Subhash Yadav said, “A car with Punjab number plate was found abandoned in Sonumajra village in Kaithal. We suspect that the car was used in the Nabha jailbreak. An investigation is going on and we are in regular touch with the Punjab Police.”A group of armed men in police uniform broke into high security Nabha Central jail of Punjab and took along six inmates, identified as Khalistan liberation force chief Harvinder Mintoo, Amandeep Doda and gangsters Vicky Gonder, Gurpreet Sekhon, Neeta Deol and Amandeep Dhotia.
ALSO READ Punjab jailbreak: Khalistani terrorist escapes, high alert in Northern statesPolice said, all of the escaped are dreaded criminals and high alert has been sounded in entire Punjab. Following the incident, Haryana has also been put on high alert and all borders with Punjab have been sealed and police of both the states are working in coordination with each other. Meanwhile, high alert has been sounded in all jails of the state and Jail Superintendents have been asked to review the security in jails.

Rajnath Singh warns of violence during Assembly polls, urges police to stay vigilant

Hyderabad: Ahead of Assembly polls in five states, Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked security forces to guard against attempts to disturb peace through “vicious” political campaign or by external extremist forces during the election process.

Inaugurating the three-day annual DGPs/IGPs conference here, Singh said elections will be held in some states soon and it is the responsibility of police chiefs to ensure peaceful completion of the poll process.

Rajnath Singh. Reuters file imageRajnath Singh. Reuters file image

Rajnath Singh. Reuters file image

“We have to keep strict vigil against external extremist elements who may try to create disturbance in Punjab. There have been increased activities by Sikh terrorists in recent months. Similarly, in Manipur, we have to ensure peace keeping in mind the ethnic divide. In Uttar Pradesh too, there may be attempts to disturb law and order through vicious political campaigning. We have to keep strict vigil and take proper steps to ensure peace during elections,” he said.

Assembly elections are due in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa early next year.

Around 100 directors generals of police and inspectors generals of police from several states and Union Territories and heads of central police organisations are attending the conference, taking place at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy here.

Maintaining that threats of self-radicalisation and lone wolf attacks have been increasing, the home minister said there was no let up in Pakistan’s support to terror and anti-India activities.

“We all know that a neighbouring country has been trying to instigate people in northern parts of the country to indulge in anti-India activities, providing training to terrorists and sending them to India to carry out in terror attacks. Despite all these efforts, the credit for maintaining peace in the country goes to security and intelligence agencies,” he said.

Referring to the threat of ISIS, Singh said due to close coordination between state and central forces, the youths, who were influenced by the terror group, have not been able to successfully carry out any strike in the country yet. “So far, 67 youths, who were influenced by the ISIS, have been arrested while planning to carry out terror attack. We have to be fully alert against any such design. The whole world is worried about the terror activities of the ISIS. This is a big challenge for our country. I am confident that in the we will be able to face the challenge posed by the ISIS together,” he said.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 22:54 IST

Odisha added in Japanese Encephalitis high-burden states this year

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After at least 31 of over 93 children that had contracted Encephalitis or brain fever in Odisha were confirmed to have died of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus, the Union Health Ministry has decided to roll out vaccination in four districts of the state. The vaccination drive for JE for children uptil fifteen years of age in Malkangiri, Kokrajhar, Jajpur and Mayurbhanj will occur after the state declares that the outbreak has ended. A team of officials from the Immunization department at the centre visited Orissa last month to assess the readiness of the state to conduct a vaccination drive. A population of up to 25 lakh children under the age of 15 years are slated to be immunized within two weeks, later this year, but only after Odisha declares that the outbreak has ended.India imports JE vaccine from National Biotech Group’s Chengdu Institute in China since 2006 after first cases surfaced in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh. One vial of injectible JE vaccine costs upto Rs 150 and contains five doses. “This vaccine contains live virus. It cannot be administered during an outbreak as we do not know it’s mode of interaction with the wild virus that is dominant in the region currently. Only after the outbreak has subsided that we can inject the vaccine into the community,” said Dr Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner, Immunization at the Health Ministry. Once a person is vaccinated it takes up to 4 to 6 weeks for the immunity against JE to set in. “If a person contracts the virus during the month of being vaccinated, community will blame it on vaccination, saying the infection occured due to immunization. This has happened in the past,” Dr Haldar said. A person at any age can be vaccinated against JE, however the disease burden is high in children uptil 15 years, with 90% of cases being reported in children uptil five years. Children are being immunized against JE in 199 districts of 18 states currently. After the recent spate of deaths, Odisha is the 19th state to be added to the list of high-burded JE states, this year. In 2015, India saw 1609 cases of JE of which 279 (17.34%) patients died.According to National Health Profile between January to December in 2014, Odisha had recorded 990 cases and 116 deaths due to Encephalitis. In 2015, Odisha recorded the highest cases of Encephalitis at 1451 and up to 118 deaths. However, no cases were recorded under the category of JE. “Not all cases of Encephalitis necessarily turn out to be cases of JE. In Malkangiri, we are seeing an atypical presentation of cases post-monsoon, this year. This has never been seen before,” Dr Haldar said. “Given poor testing facilities for samples and limited period of survival it has been tough to confirm cases of Encephalitis as JE, but there was no harm in immunizing children in the past,” argued a state health official at Orissa. “We have been asking for vaccines since 2012, it is only now that we will recieve them. This is a huge medical debate. We cannot consider vaccination until state confirms cases of JE and reports to the centre,” said Haldar. An expert panel of doctors constituted by the state are probing other causes of death and said that five patients may have developed brain fever after consuming a plant – ‘bana chakunda,’ which is deemed to be toxic. Japanese Encephalitis in India: In 2015Cases – 1609Deaths – 279Case Fatality Ratio – 17.34%High burden states in 2015 Cases Deaths Assam 614 135West Bengal 342 75Uttar Pradesh 351 42(Source – National Health Profile, 2016)Pigs and wild birds are hosts of the virus. Japanese Encephalitis Virus is spread by infected mosquitoes of Culex species. It infects humans when an infected mosquito bites the humanSymptoms include rapid onset of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures, spastic paralysis and ultimately death. Of those who survive, 20%–30% suffer permanent intellectual, behavioural or neurological problems such as paralysis, recurrent seizures or the inability to speak.JE has no treatment, preventive vaccination can help

UP polls: SP launches party’s election campaign from Ghazipur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday formally launched the party’s election campaign from Ghazipur.On November 3, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav started the party’s campaign with Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra. The election campaign of the Samajwadi Party’s was delayed due to the family feud and due to which Mulayam called off the rally from Azamgarh to start the poll campaign.In the last election in 2012, the Samajwadi Party won with the majority and formed government under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav, son of the party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. The legislative assembly election will be held in 2017 for the 403 seats of the Vidhan Sabha in the Uttar Pradesh.The dates of the election are yet to be announced.The Election Commission (EC), in January 2016, published updated electoral rolls in all 403 assembly segments. In July 2016, for the 2017 Assembly elections, the EC decided to increase the number of polling booths in Uttar Pradesh.New polling centres will be planned in the constituencies having more than 1,500 registered voters. Polling booths are in six constituencies of Purkazi, Muzaffarnagar, Budhana, Khatoli, Charthawal and Midanpur would be raised from 1,769 to 1,819 booths.

Jammu and Kashmir: 3 soldiers killed, India warns Pakistan of heavy retribution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shock, anger and outrage gripped the security and political establishment after the suspected Border Action Team (BAT) of Pakistan badly mutilated the body of an Indian Army soldier and killed two others when they ambushed counter-infiltration patrol on the Line of Control (LoC) at Machhal sector of Kupwara district on Tuesday.Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told DNA that three soldiers were killed in the action on the LoC in Machhal. “Body of one of the soldiers has been mutilated,” he said. “Retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act,” tweeted Northern Command of Indian Army.It is for the second time in less than a month that the body of an Indian soldier has been badly mutilated on the LoC in the Machhal sector. On October 28, militants badly mutilated the body of Rifleman Mandeep Singh of Sikh regiment. One militant was killed then while another fled back to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).The toll of jawans killed by Pakistan forces on the LoC and International Border (IB)—since the surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in POK on September 29—now stands at 18. Twelve civilians lost their lives and more than 50 others were injured in Pakistani firing and shelling during this period.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was briefed by Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat on the killings of soldiers – identified as Gunner Manoj Kumar of Uttar Pradesh, Riffleman Prabhu Singh of Rajasthan and Riffleman Shashank K Singh of Uttar Pradesh. All belong to 57 Rashtriya Riffles.Army has vowed to avenge the killings by Pakistani BAT, which is a mix of special forces and jihadis and are used as force-multipliers by Pakistan army.The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon when the Indian Army’s counter infiltration team was on a routine patrol between the fence and the LoC near Kumkari area. “The attackers who were hiding in the area first ambushed the patrol killing three soldiers. Later they badly mutilated the body of one of the soldiers before fleeing back to POK,” said an officer.Condemning the killings, Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh demanded that Pakistan should be declared a terrorist state. “Pakistan is a doing the acts which are the trademark of terrorists. They should be declared as terrorist state. Post surgical strikes, Pakistan is facing isolation and they are desperate,” said Singh.The BAT, on January 8, 2013, had breached the LoC in Mendhar sector and beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and badly mutilated the body of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh of 13 Rajputana Rifles. Head of Lance Naik Hemraj is still missing and the Army sources say Pakistani soldiers had taken it along after committing the heinous crime.Official figures reveal that Pakistan has carried out 367 violations along the LoC and International Border till November this year. Last year, around 405 incidents of cross-border firing have taken place along the Indo-Pak border in J&K that claimed 26 lives including 16 civilians, six Army men and four BSF men.

Kairana: Witness in gangrape and murder shot dead, police register case against six

Kairana, which was in the news earlier this year for the alleged exodus of Hindu families due to threats from a particular community, saw a witness in the gangrape and murder of a 35-year-old woman being shot on Monday.

According to The Indian Express, 55-year-old Brahmpal Singh was a key witness in the gangrape and murder of a woman in Shamli district, where Kairana is located. Singh was reportedly shot dead when he was sleeping in his house, the police said. The report mentioned that Singh was the brother-in-law of the woman who was kidnapped on 4 April who was found murdered three days later. This incident was highlighted by BJP MP Hukum Singh who then claimed that it led to the forced migration of Hindu families from Kairana.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

In June this year, BJP MP Hukum Singh released a list of 346 Hindu families, who he claimed had left their homes and fled because of “threat and extortion by criminal elements belonging to a particular community”. Political parties such as the Congress and Samajwadi Party, slammed BJP for trying to stoke communal tension in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the state Assembly elections.

On 10 June, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Akhilesh Yadav government on Friday, seeking a response. The NHRC observed that the allegations made were serious and also directed the state’s DIG (Investigation) to depute a team of officers for a spot inquiry in the matter covering all the allegations made in the complaint and submit a report within two weeks.

The complaint noted that a woman belonging to the Kashyap caste was abducted, gangraped and killed, but no action was taken by the police against the offenders. The complaint also stated that in 2014, two businessmen and brothers, Shankar and Raju, were shot dead in broad daylight at a market, when they refused to  pay ‘protection money’ to a Muslim gang, the complaint also noted, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.

The late Brahmpal Singh’s brother, Ramesh named six people in his complaint, of which two were related to the accused in the gangrape and murder case, The Indian Express report mentioned, which added that MP Hukum Singh would visit the spot after the Parliament session. The police have also registered a case of murder against the six named in the complaint.

After Hukum Singh’s allegations, the Uttar Pradesh government ordered a probe on the same. The NHRC found that the exodus was indeed a reality and that many families “migrated” from Kairana due to threats relating to “increase in crime” and “deterioration” of law-and-order situation. Based on the findings, the commission sent a notice to the chief secretary and director general of police of the state to submit an action taken report, on the observations and recommendations of the team within eight weeks.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 16:01 IST

Former UP CM Ram Naresh Yadav dies after prolonged illness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and ex-Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav died on Tuesday after prolonged illness in Lucknow.Yadav (90) breathed his last at PGI Lucknow this morning, an official said here. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Public Relations and Water Resources Minister, Narottam Mishra have expressed grief over the demise of Yadav.Yadav held the post as the UP CM when he belonged to the Janata Dal from 1977 to 1979. He later joined the Congress and ran for CM in 2004 and lost.He was appointed as the MP Governor in 2011 by the UPA government. He was alleged to have been involved in the Vyapam scam.

‘Dictator’ Modi unwilling to defend demonetization in Parliament, says Congress

if Prime Minister Modi could comment on demonetisation in Japan, Goa, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, what prevented him from doing so in parliament? said Congress party leader, Dinesh Gundu Rao. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Congress party leader, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Tuesday labeled Prime Minister Narendra Modi a dictator who was unwilling to be accountable to anyone. “This is completely unbelievable. He does not want to make a comment in Parliament. He is becoming more and more like a dictator,” Rao said.He said the Prime Minister has no respect for parliamentary procedure, the Constitution, the judiciary or the media.Escalating his diatribe, Rao said if Prime Minister Modi could comment on demonetisation in Japan, Goa, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, what prevented him from doing so in parliament?”Unfortunately, he (Prime Minister Modi) doesn’t seem to be interested in attending Parliament and talking to his fellow Members of Parliament that what was his reason, why he did this, the logic and try to convince the members,” said Rao.

Indore-Patna Express derailment: Passenger heard strange sound one week prior, asked to depose

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after he claimed that wheels of Indore-Patna Express had made some strange sound long before it derailed in Kanpur Rural district of Uttar Pradesh, Prakash Sharma, who had travelled between Indore and Ujjain, was on Monday asked to depose before competent authority. “A railway officer from Kanpur rang me up and asked me to be ready to depose before the competent officer regarding my statement that wheels of Indore-Patna Express made some strange sounds on November 19,” Sharma (35), a resident of Kherkheda village in MP’s Mandsaur district, said on Monday.Sharma said he was ready to cooperate and record his statement in any probe “though I have not been informed when and where I am supposed to depose.” He said four officers of Ratlam Railway Division under Western Railway came to his place on Monday and connected him to a higher official, whom he apprised about his claim in detail.”On November 19, I boarded (sleeper coach) S-2 of Indore-Patna Express around 2 PM at Indore and after an hour I alighted at Ujjain. I informed an officer in railway uniform in my coach about the strange sound of the wheels. But he didn’t take it seriously,” he had told reporters on Sunday.
ALSO READ Indore-Patna Express tragedy: Toll mounts to 146, probe into derailment beginsSharma had said that he didn’t know the name of that official. In the worst rail accident in recent years, 146 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured, when 14 coaches of the Patna-bound train derailed near Kanpur rural district early on Sunday due to suspected rail fracture.The probe into the accident began on Monday with Commissioner of Railway Safety, PK Acharya visiting the accident site and inspecting the broken track and the mangled bogies. Earlier on Monday, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu told Lok Sabha that a statutory inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety has been ordered to find the cause of the accident.

Rape videos on Whatsapp: SC raps govt for not filing reply in 11 months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the government for failing to file its response in a case relating to the posting of rape videos on social networking sites like WhatsApp for 11 months.”What have you done in past eleven months? You have done nothing. Don’t you think it is a public interest and something needs to be done,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and U U Lalit asked after it was informed that the concerned officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs were busy in Parliament. Advocate Bala Subramanium, appearing for Centre, sought a weeks time to file the reply and said he needed to seek instructions from the officials who were busy in Parliament.”If the concerned officials are busy in Parliament, then what are we doing here? Do you think that we are sitting here for nothing. It can’t go like this,” the bench said while refraining from imposing cost.It also pulled up the government for not framing schemes to conduct probe in cyber crime cases and directed the government to file an affidavit within a week. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.The court was hearing a letter sent to then Chief Justice of India H L Dattu by Hyderabad-based NGO Prajwala along with two rape videos in a pen drive. It had taken suo motu note of the letter on posting of these videos on ‘WhatsApp’ and had asked CBI to launch a probe forthwith to nab the culprits.Earlier, the apex court had asked the Information Technology Ministry to respond on how to block videos of rape cases, circulating on social network websites, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The ministry’s reply was sought after social activist Sunitha Krishnan had submitted that there should be a particular place where one could report the circulation of such rape videos and seek their blocking.Krishnan, the co-founder of NGO Prajwala which is engaged in rescue and rehabilitation of victims of sex trafficking, said apart from the nine complaints which CBI was probing, she had another 90 cases but there was no single authority before whom she could lodge a complaint for blocking of such videos. The apex court had earlier sought responses of the Centre and the governments of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Delhi and Telangana.The NGO had said that one video, which was 4.5 minutes long, showed a man raping a girl while another person was filming the heinous act. The other video, spanning 8.5 minutes, related to the gangrape of a girl by five culprits who have been shown smiling, cracking jokes, making a video and taking photos while they went about sexually assaulting the victim, it had said.The court had issued notices to the union ministries of Home Affairs and Information Technology and asked the MHA Secretary to “forward the pen drive/DVD” to the CBI Director “forthwith” for the investigation. It had taken cognisance of the letter referred to it by the CJI and ordered that a proper petition be filed later. The NGO’s letter had also suggested that a task force be set up to look into sexual offences and a mechanism be evolved to ensure that citizens’ report such crimes in a “fearless” manner and their identity be protected.It had mooted the idea of maintaining a National Sex Offenders’ Register which should contain details of persons convicted for offences like eve-teasing, stalking, molestation and other sexual assaults. The NGO had also suggested that the MHA should have a tie-up with ‘YouTube’ and ‘WhatsApp’ to ensure that such offensive videos are not uploaded and the culprits are punished as well.

UP Elections 2017: After Mulayam’s no, RLD, JD(U) stitch alliance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janata Dal(U) and a local outfit BS-4 on Monday announced their alliance for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, a move which comes after SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav ruled out entering into any alliance.RLD chief Ajit Singh, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and BS-4 leader Bachan Singh Yadav held a joint press conference here to announce their alliance which will contest on all the 403 Assembly seats. “There is no name of this alliance as of now but it will be an honest alliance. Though this is an alliance of three parties, talks are on with other smaller outfits,” they said.Attacking Mulayam, Ajit Singh said during Bihar Assembly polls all ‘Lohia wadi’ and ‘Charan Singh wadi’ parties had agreed for an “alliance with SP” but then SP declined. “Now when alliance talks were on with SP, Mulayam talked about merger,” he said, wondering, “Why Mulayam does not want any alliance against communal forces.” JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said they were trying for unity for a long time and “Mulayam was projected as a leader but it did not materialise.” “I would have merged my party with SP on Mulayam’s call but no time is left for this,” he said. The SP supremo had recently ruled out any alliance for the UP Assembly polls, but had said mergers with his party could be considered. Yadav said on invitation of the SP supremo he, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Ajit Singh, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda had attended the silver jubilee celebrations of SP here on November 5. “At that time, it appeared that alliance talks have started but nothing came out of it,” he said.Appealing to the people of the state to support the new alliance, the JD-U leader said it wanted to take the politics of the state on the right track and people should “support” it. JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi said at the time of grand alliance (formed during Bihar polls) leaders had accepted everything what Mulayam said but even after that he left it. Asked about possibility of Congress joining the alliance, Ajit Singh said, “No talks have been initiated with Congress in this regard.”

Agra-Lucknow Expressway: Akhilesh, Mulayam inaugurate India’s first road to function as airstrip

Bangarmau: In a first for any road launch, six fighter jets of the IAF on Monday made a touchdown barely skimming the road before taking off to mark the opening of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway which can be also used for war-like emergency situations.

The 302-km-long six-lane expressway, which is India’s longest, is expected to considerably reduce the travel time between Lucknow and Delhi which usually takes 12 to 14 hours.

The dream project of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was inaugurated in Bangarmau by his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on the eve of latter’s birthday.

Fighter plane Sukhoi touches down  during the grand opening of Agra-Lucknow expressway on Monday. PTIFighter plane Sukhoi touches down  during the grand opening of Agra-Lucknow expressway on Monday. PTI

Fighter plane Sukhoi touches down during the grand opening of Agra-Lucknow expressway on Monday. PTI

Three Mirage 2000 and three Sukhoi-30 jets of the Indian Air Force(IAF) carried out the ‘touch and go’ on a portion of the newly constructed Expressway which has an RCC construction and reinforced and appropriately marked to facilitate aircraft landings. The portion used for the operations is located at Ganj Moradabad in Unnao District in UP.

The aim of the exercise is to check feasibility of Expressways being used as alternate airstrips in case of dire emergencies or non-availability of runways for any reason, a Defence official said.

Mulayam congratulated officials for completing the Expressway in a record two years time along with the chief minister who took personal interest in it.

“At the time of laying of foundation stone of the Expressway, I had asked as to when it will be completed and when four years were asked for its completion I had refused to lay the foundation stone. Later, however, it was done giving 22 months for completing it. The result is before everyone to see that today the road is ready in two years,” SP chief said.

“Earlier, it used to take 12 to 14 hours to reach Delhi and now the distance will be covered in far less time. It will be very beneficial for the people,” he said.

Akhilesh said the project would prove to be an example before the country as no other state had such a vast expressway. “Samajwadis will go to the polls on the back of such great work,” he stressed.

“When roads are laid they lead to development…this road will connect capitals like New Delhi to Lucknow…it will have industries, petrol pumps and mandis along the route…on returning to power in UP, the SP government will take this expressway further till Ghazipur and Ballia in record time… it will connect one end of the state to the other,” he said.

Thanking IAF officials, Akhilesh said this is the first road in the country on which any aircraft can land and take off.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 18:31 IST

JD(U), RLD, BS-4 to ally in Uttar Pradesh polls after Mulayam scraps coalition offer

Lucknow: Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janata Dal(U) and a local outfit BS-4 on Monday announced their alliance for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, a move which comes after SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav ruled out entering into any alliance.

File photo of Sharad Yadav. PTI

File photo of Sharad Yadav. PTI

RLD chief Ajit Singh, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and BS-4 leader Bachan Singh Yadav held a joint press conference in Lucknow to announce their alliance which will contest on all the 403 Assembly seats.

“There is no name of this alliance as of now but it will be an honest alliance. Though this is an alliance of three parties, talks are on with other smaller outfits,” they said.

Attacking Mulayam, Ajit Singh said during Bihar Assembly polls all ‘Lohia wadi’ and ‘Charan Singh wadi’ parties had agreed for an “alliance with SP” but then SP declined.

“Now when alliance talks were on with SP, Mulayam talked about merger,” he said, wondering, “Why does Mulayam not want any alliance against communal forces.”

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said they were trying for unity for a long time and “Mulayam was projected as a leader but it did not materialise.”

“I would have merged my party with SP on Mulayam’s call but no time is left for this,” he said.

The SP supremo had recently ruled out any alliance for the UP Assembly polls, but had said mergers with his party could be considered.

Yadav said on invitation of the SP supremo he, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, Ajit Singh, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda had attended the silver jubilee celebrations of SP here on 5 November.

“At that time, it appeared that alliance talks have started but nothing came out of it,” he said.

Appealing to the people of the state to support the new alliance, the JD-U leader said it wanted to take the politics of the state on the right track and people should “support” it.

JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi said at the time of grand alliance (formed during Bihar polls) leaders had accepted everything what Mulayam said but even after that he left it.

Asked about possibility of Congress joining the alliance, Ajit Singh said, “No talks have been initiated with Congress in this regard.”

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 18:06 IST

Demonetization has hit parties that take money for tickets: PM Modi takes subtle dig at Mayawati

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his demonetization decision had severely hit the parties whose leaders seek money in lieu of tickets for contesting Assembly polls, in a veiled attack on BSP chief Mayawati who has been facing such allegations. Addressing a rally in Agra, he said the decision to scrap notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination was not intended to cause harassment to the common people but they will have to take the “trouble” for 50 days for ensuring a bright future for the coming generations.He expressed confidence that the objective of ending corruption and black money, which was the reason behind the decision, would be achieved.”I know some people have lost everything (because of demonetization). (if) you have to become MLA, bring so many notes, then you will become an MLA. Notes had been stashed.What will happen to these notes? Whom did these notes belong to? Did these not belong to the poor and honest people? This game should come to an end,” Modi said here in the poll-bound state.He did not name anybody but the comments are seen directed at Mayawati who has been accused of taking money in lieu of giving tickets for the upcoming Assembly polls due early next year.Some of Mayawati’s former party leaders, like Swami Prasad Maurya, have accused her of “auctioning” tickets for the 2017 Assembly elections. Maurya made the allegation while announcing his decision to quit BSP on June 22. Mayawati has denied such allegations. “This is our effort to ensure that the middle class gets its due, aspirations of the poor are fulfilled and exploitation of the middle class comes to end. This black economy is making the country hollow from within,” Modi said.”I have taken this decision not to cause harassment to anybody. I have taken this decision for the coming generations and change the fate of our youth,” the Prime Minister added. He said he had stated on the first day of the announcement on November 8 that it will take 50 days for the changeover. “Had I sought 50 days or not? This is such a big country and the decision is so huge that there will be some trouble,” he said. BJP’s Acche Din are over: MayawatiTaking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for addressing a party rally in Agra instead of visiting Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district, the site of the rail mishap that claimed over 100 lives, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati on Sunday said had Modiji visited the injured, it would have give them some satisfaction, but ‘sharing others’ grief is not his nature’.‘It is the BSP’s firm belief that the BJP and Prime Minister Modi’s good days are over, and bad days will be coming soon,’ said Mayawati.‘Similarly, if Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, instead of making statements, had visited the accident site, it would have lessened their grief. But he too did not visit there. Any criticism would not be enough to deplore him,’ she said.Stating that the BJP, which contests election on money provided by capitalists of the nation, is not going to win a single assemble election in the country, including Uttar Pradesh, BSP chief said, ‘The people of India, including the people of Uttar Pradesh, will take Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government to the task for implementing their demonetization drive without any prior planning.’‘Even the inaugurations and announcements made by the BJP government at the Centre now will not help them win even a single assembly election,’ she added.Taking about the Kanpur rail tragedy during the launch of the ‘Pradhanmantri Grameen Awas Yojna’, an ambitious housing scheme for rural poor in Agra, the Prime Minister said, ‘This morning, there was a rail accident near Kanpur. The relief work is going on in full swing and the Centre will also investigate matter. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish those injured a speedy recovery.’With innputs from PTI and ANI

Clean Ganga | How can you regulate tanneries, if you can’t enter there, says NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> has questioned the Uttar Pradesh government and its pollution control board over regulation of tanneries on the banks of river Ganga in Kanpur, asking how could they regulate them if their officials “can’t even enter their premises”.The NGT said industrial effluents, which contain high chromium, emanating from tannery clusters were polluting Ganga and even UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) was not aware of the actual number of tanneries till now.”You (UP and pollution control board) say that operation of tanneries should be regulated. But tell us one thing, how can you regulate them if your men cannot even enter their premises,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.The observation came after UPPCB informed the bench that there were 400 tanneries in Kanpur which released effluents into the Jajmau drain and there was an urgent need to monitor their functioning to clean Ganga.The tribunal noted that all tanneries in Jajmau were not equipped with chromium recovery plants and immediate effort should be made to trap pollutants coming out of them.The tribunal had earlier asked the tanneries at Kanpur to clear their stand on shifting to some other place to stop uncontrolled discharge of effluents into the river. On November 15, the tribunal had stopped the government from spending “a single penny” for Ganga rejuvenation work between Haridwar and Unnao, saying a whopping Rs 20,000 crore was being spent on the entire national project by officials who did not even know about the river. The matter was listed for next hearing on November 21.The green panel has divided the work of cleaning the river in different segments — Gomukh to Haridwar (Phase-I), Haridwar to Unnao (termed as segment B of Phase-I), Unnao to border of Uttar Pradesh, border of Uttar Pradesh to border of Jharkhand and border of Jharkhand to Bay of Bengal.

Priyanka Gandhi to play ‘major role’ in Uttar Pradesh campaign: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Priyanka Gandhi will campaign for Congress and play a “major role” in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election to be held early next year, party leaders said on Friday. “She (Priyanka) is going to play a major role. Let everything be finalised,” UP Congress campaign committee chairman Sanjay Singh said. “It has been decided that she will campaign for the party in the state elections. She has accepted our request to campaign. Whenever we will get her schedule, we will use her time accordingly,” Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar said. He added that once the elections schedule will be announced, it will bring more clarity on her plans for campaign in the state.Earlier, Babbar had said Priyanka’s presence will give confidence and energy not only to the party men but also to the people across the state. He had also mentioned that if she gives enough time then Priyanka could campaign in all the 403 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. In the past, Priyanka has not campaigned in elections outside Amethi and Raebareli Lok Sabha constituencies, represented by her brother Rahul Gandhi and mother Sonia Gandhi respectively. A large section of Congress leaders believes that the party will gain immensely if she campaigns across the state.

Uttar Pradesh: Man dies standing in queue to exchange notes after taken ill

Fri, 18 Nov 2016-03:40pm , Uttar Pradesh , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 70-year-old man standing in the queue for getting his now-invalid notes exchanged died after he was taken seriously ill in Hathras.Siyaram, resident of Balapatti, who had been standing in the queue for the past three days, failing to get his old notes exchanged was taken seriously ill yesterday and was rushed to hospital where he died, Superintendent of Police Dilip Kumar Srivastava said.The victim had been standing in the queue before the Canara Bank branch near Burz wala Kuan, the SP said, adding that police has been deployed in view of huge crowds collecting in front of banks.Meanwhile, the locals have sent a fax message to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi demanding a compensation of Rs 20 lakhs for the family of the deceased.

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