1 he marathon meeting Tbetween Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav to break the deadlock in the Samajwadi Party, that is facing a split, remained inconclusive on Tuesday. This was the first meeting of Akhilesh with his father after the January 1 emergency national delegate convention of the SP, where the Chief Minister was elected as the national president of the party while Mulayam was elevated as the `marg darshak of the party. That the meeting failed to break the ice was evident from the fact that Mulayam asked Amar Singh to submit a fresh memorandum to the Election Commission on Wednesday saying that the January 1 national convention was illegal and unconstitutional since it was called without his prior approval despite the fact that he was present in Lucknow on that day. Mulayam also said that it be conveyed to the EC that the memorandum should be treated as submitted by him, the national president of the party. Tuesday s one to one meeting for over two hours took place soon after Mulayam arrived in Lucknow from New Delhi in the morning and Akhilesh reached his father s residence on Vikramaditya Marg. Later, Shivpal Yadav and Transport Minister Gayatri Prajapati also joined the meeting. Sources said the meeting between the father and the son focussed on who would have the final say in the distribution of tickets for the Assembly elections, the future of Amar Singh and the role of Shivpal Yadav, who was ousted from the post of SP State president on January 1. According to sources Akhilesh wanted a fresh list of candidates to be issued by the party and stressed that only he and Mulayam should have a say in distribution of tickets. Akhilesh also wanted the authority to issue the election symbol to rest with Ram Gopal Yadav and insisted for the expulsion of Amar Singh from the party and ouster of Shivpal from the UP affairs of the SP. SP sources said Akhilesh was also willing to step down from the post of national president of the party provided his conditions on Amar Singh and Shivpal Yadav were met. However Mulayam appeared reluctant to relent and take the battle to the bitter end. Bhubaneswar: State Chhatra Congress president Itish Pradhan and niakhunta.compropitiator Pradeep Pandey on Tuesday prayed the Civil Judge (Senior Division) here for speedy trial of the defamation suit filed against them and five TV channels by BJD leader and city Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena in connection with a sex video allegedly featuring him. Both Pandey and Pradhan appeared before the court. Pradhan submitted his reply in the court responding the latter s show-cause notice. During an earlier hearing, Pandey had submitted his reply. Sources said that so far, out of the five TV channels named in the Mayor s petition, three have submitted their replies. After coming out of the court, Pradhan and Pandey reiterated their demand for examination of the video in the Central Forensic Laboratory. PNS SP sources said that time was running out for the party and if the contentious issues that led to the national convention on January 1 and subsequent developments are not resolved then big trouble is in the store. Continued on Page 4 Bhubaneswar: The State Government is seriously contemplating to allow students to change colleges even during the third phase of admission process into the engineering courses and considering a proposal to refund their part-admission fee once they withdraw from the admission process. The move is aimed at addressing the problem of seat vacancies in the State. A discussion to this effect was taken place at a meeting here on Tuesday chaired by Development Commissioner R Balkrishnan to tackle seat vacancies in Government engineering colleges. As per the proposal, students can now deposit their part-admission fee with the he State s ruling BJD and Topposition BJP continued to trade charges against each other for violation of the model code of conduct which is in force for the ensuing panchayat polls. Both the parties on Tuesday lodged complaints with the State Election Commission (SEC). BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty, who submitted the memorandum to the SEC, accused the BJD of using the State Government machinery and releasing new hoardings of the Niramaya and Aahar schemes, among others. The Government is issuing new hoardings under the Niramaya and Aahar schemes that feature the Chief Minister s pictures. Government officers are meeting the Chief Minister for reasons beyond official ohini Pal, daughter of arrest- Trinamool Congress MP Sed and Bengali film actor Tapas Pal, appeared before the CBI here again on Tuesday in connection with the Rose Valley Group chit fund scam. Sohini appeared before the Central investigating agency for the second time. Earlier on Monday, she had appeared Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) Committee rather than with the concerned colleges. The deposited fees would remain with the OJEE authorities till the completion of the third phase of admissions. As per the existing process, the fee was being deposited by the students in the colleges of their choice after the first phase of admission. From now on, admissions into to colleges will be done on the basis of rank upgradation. A lot of seats are falling vacant and we are taking steps to ensure that the seats are filled up. We are taking cues from other States and trying to see how we can improve our own admission process, said Skill Development and Technical Education Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Sanjay Singh after the meeting. OJEE Chairman Tushar Kumar Nath said whenever there are vacant seats, students would be upgraded basing upon their ranks and they can get into Government seats. PNS business, said Mohanty, adding that opposition parties were yet to receive the voter lists in many places. The BJD, on the other hand, argued that no new hoardings have been issued. Aahar is a two-year-old scheme that has benefited thousands. All the hoardings were issued back then. Neither have we issued any new hoarding nor have we promoted them in any newspaper or television advertisements. We have always respected the model code of conduct, said BJD spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda, who submitted the memorandum to the SEC Ṫhe party also took objections to use of picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the advertisements issued for the Atal Jyoti Yojana. the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav as it has majority of MLAs support. Talking to reporters, Ram Gopal said that he told the Commission that since the Chief Minister has the support of 90 per cent of the elected representatives and 80 per cent of delegates and he is also the party president, the faction ttar Pradesh Chief Minister led by him should be considered the real Samajwadi Party. UAkhilesh Yadav camp on Tuesday knocked on the He was accompanied by Election Commission of India s Naresh Agarwal and door to stake claim to the party symbol, the bicycle. After meeting with the Commission, SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said they asked the EC to consider as real the faction of Kiranmoy Nanda. All three who represented Akhilesh before the poll panel were expelled from the SP by Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday. before the CBI, which wanted some documents and clarifications relating to the scam committed by the Rose Valley. Sources said the CBI quizzed Sohini on the designation she held at the Rose Valley Group and the monetary transactions by her during her tenure in the company. On the other hand, after the completion of the three-day remand of MP Tapas Pal, the CBI produced him before a court here and sought a fourday fresh remand. The court allowed the agency for a threeday remand period of the lawmaker. During his remand, the MP blamed singer and Union Minister Babul Supriyo for his arrest, triggering threats of legal action from the latter. He alleged that Supriyo and some n a move to ease the cash Isupply situation in rural pockets, especially for the poor and marginal farmers, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday directed all banks to distribute at least 40 per cent of currency notes in those areas. The directive came just a couple of days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on the New Year eve had said banks should make efforts to restore normalcy as fast as possible and should focus on rural areas. I have asked all officers concerned in the Government to focus their attention on this task. They have especially been told to proactively resolve the problems in rural and remote other politicians are involved in the Rose Valley scam. Meanwhile, the CBI arrested another TMC MP, Sudip Bandopadhaya, for his alleged complicity with the Rose Valley company in Kolkata. He is being brought to Bhubaneswar for interrogation. Notably, during interrogation, Tapas Paul revealed the name of Bandopadhaya. A five-member CBI team left for Kolkata and arrested him. Tapas Pal while working as a director at the Rose Valley Group had given appointments to his wife, daughter and niece in different positions in the company. Notably, Tapas Pal was arrested from Kolkata by the CBI on December 30. He was brought to Bhubaneswar by the CBI on December 31. he Odisha Human Rights TCommission (OHRC) on Tuesday asked Odisha Government to pay 5 lakh as compensation each to the next of kin of Dubeswar Naik and his wife Budi Naik, who had allegedly been killed by security personnel during an anti-maoist operation on July 26, 2015 in the Mgaduda Reserve Forest in Kandhamal district. The right panel s working Chairperson Justice BK Mishra gave the direction while hearing a petition regarding the incident. The tribal couple sustained bullet injuries and died on the spot while they had gone to the hilltop (Trapa mountain) to talk to their son over phone due to lack of connectivity at their village on the night of July 26, Their son Rahul was staying somewhere in Kerala then. The Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Southern Division had submitted his findings to the administration after an inquiry into the incident. The OHRC observed that whatever has been paid to the next of kin of the deceased persons by the State Government appears to be not adequate; and, hence, 5 lakh be paid to each of the kin of the deceased. Justice Mishra wanted that this order be communicated to the Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department for compliance of the recommendations of the OHRC within two months. areas, Modi had said. As the 50-day demonetisation drive ended on December 30, the cash supply situation did not improve as it was expected by the public. For, the Government did not lift the withdrawal ceiling of 24,000 per week, though it increased withdrawal limit to 4,500 from 2,500 in ATMs. On observing that bank notes, being supplied to rural areas, are not commensurate with the local requirements, some steps have already been initiated, the RBI said in a notification. With a view to ensuring at least 40 per cent bank notes are supplied to rural areas and mitigating the issue in a more enduring manner, the banks maintaining currency chests are advised various steps, including liberal issuance of the existing stock of other denomination notes below 100. Banks should advise their currency chests to step up issuance of fresh notes to rural branches of regional rural banks (RRBs), district central cooperative banks (DCCBs) and commercial banks, white label ATMs and post offices in rural areas on a priority basis which are considered as main rural channels of distribution, it said.
2 n a statistical record of sorts, IOdisha is the only State in the country where, despite one of the worst-ever droughts in 2015, hardly any farmer took the extreme step of killing self for the cause of farm distress. The neat fact is suicides in the farm sector have shrunk by half vis-a-vis 2014! Such a revelation has been made by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its 2015 farmer suicides report. Now, consider this. When the State Agriculture Department has officially pegged the total farmer suicides in 2015 at a whopping 139, the NCRB report relying on the State Home Department data (police records) has put the total farmer suicides at a mere 23 only, which, however, is a 360-per cent jump from only five in 2014! Man of eminence like Benjamin Disraeli, therefore, has aptly said, There are three types of lies -- lies, damn lies and statistics. Moreover, as per the NCRB, at least two farmers in Odisha killed selves for the cause of indebtedness. The interesting pointer here is the NCRB report has been silent on indebtedness for what -- farming or non-farming. Interestingly, a majority of 139 suicides recorded by State Agriculture Department has revealed that they have a loan burden and, that too, the loan was crop loan. For this, Ron DeLegge II had said, 99 per cent of all statistics only tell 49 per cent of the story. The reason: Nationally, when 39 per cent of farmers committed suicides owing to he Raj Bhavan gardens will Tbe opened to the general public and students from January 5 to 22 in the first phase and from February 1 to 10 in the second phase. Visitors will be allowed to enter the gardens from the Gate No.2 near the Main Gate of Raj Bhavan from 3 pm to 5.30 pm everyday including Sundays and other holidays. Several water fountains, hree traffic police person- were attacked by two Tnel youths with a knife at AG Square here on Tuesday. An exchange of words took indebtedness, only around 19 per cent farmers killed selves for failure of crop (which NCRB defines as farm-related). In contrast, of the total 23 farm suicides in Odisha, as per the NCRB, around a whopping 50 per cent farm suicides were due to other or unknown causes! And another major 26 per cent were due to family problems! The NCRB statistics, thus, show there is no farm distress in Odisha, and whatever suicides happened have nothing to do with farming or indebtedness. Significantly, the NCRB n view of the number of ele- deaths increasing in Iphant the State, the Odisha Krushak Mahasangha (OKM) has once again urged the State Government to frame stringent laws to check killing of jumbos and protection and conservation of forests at the earliest. Reports of elephant deaths and trampling of villagers are being published in newspapers frequently. All these are happening as poachers are not getting stringent punishment and elephants are being forced to enter human habitations in search of foods. place between the youths and the cops after the latter intercepted the duo at the square as helmet checking was going on at the spot and they were riding a bike without wearing the protective device. The incident soon turned violent as the youths attacked the policemen with a knife. Odisha Armed Police 2015 report revealed that in Odisha more agricultural labourers (27) have committed suicide than cultivators (23). And here, toeing the national trend, Odisha too had family problems as the single major factor behind farm labour suicides. However, the significant fact about farm suicides in Odisha is where 50 per cent such cases are for other or unknown causes, almost 60 per cent suicides are by marginal farmers and the incidences of suicides decline as the landholding size increases with not a single suicide case in farmer households with large landholdings. The inference: Financial condition of a farmer is, therefore, the major triggering factor behind suicides; and farm distress is, therefore, evident in marginal farmer households. Significantly, in Odisha a whopping 57 per cent of agricultural households are indebted, finds the NSSO survey, which the Odisha Government recently quoted to show it has doubled farmers income in a decade ( ). If adequate forests are available, elephants will never come to human habitations. Similarly, poaching can be checked if stringent laws are framed and implemented. The OKM s repeated demands in this regard have fallen in deaf ears only, lamented OKM president Bibhudhendra Pratap Das. In a letter to the Chief Secretary, Das stated that all elephants, tigers, bears and other wild animals will disappear in 10 years time appropriate measures are not taken from now. A special court should be established for quick disposal of wild animal crime cases, Informers of poachers should be rewarded an amount ranging from 50,000 to 1 lakh and their names be kept secret. A 24-hour patrolling system should put in place and animal hunters and forest mafias should arrested under the NSA. Required laws should immediately be framed in the musical fountain, the ayurvedic garden, the rose garden and the deer park and, above all, the greenery and varieties of flowers will be the major attractions for visitors. The visitors have been requested not to carry cameras, fix arms, weapons, alcoholbased drinks, etc., inside the Raj Bhavan premises. They are further requested to keep the Raj Bhavan premises clean and to cooperate with the security personnel on duty. Service (OAPS) officer Mahendra Biswal, constables Rohan Swain and Gyanaranjan Das sustained injuries on their necks and hands and were admitted to the Capital Hospital here in a critical conditions. Police detained the assailants, and a case was registered against them at the Capital police station. ank employees associations BAIBOA and AIBEA held a dharna here against the sudden demonetisation decision without adequate supportive steps by the RBI, the IBA and the Government, which has put the bank employees in a very difficult position. They alleged that despite appeal to RBI no perceptible measures have been taken so far. The bank staff unions demanded supply of adequate cash to all banks and branches without discrimination, restoration of all ATMs, CBI these regards, suggested Das. To conserve forests, Das suggested that a restriction should be imposed on use of forest wood for making doors, windows and furniture by private persons. People can be encouraged to use aluminium and iron instead, he stated. The Government should disconnect electricity and impose fine on those who would use wood in housemaking, suggested Das. To create adequate food and drinking water sources, the Government should undertake bamboo plantation activities through private agencies keeping bank guarantee from them. It has been seen that bamboo plantations undertaken by Government have failed due to corruption. Hence, bamboos should be grown on one lakh hectare of land every year though private agencies keeping security money from them. Besides, ponds and trenches should be dug in forests to provide he Chhatra Congress on TTuesday threatened to attack CM Naveen Patnaik with eggs for allegedly shielding BJD leader and BMC Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena for his alleged involvement in the drinking water to animal, said Das The former MLA too suggested that solar fencing should be erected on both sides of railway trams in forest areas to protect elephants from railway accidents. The Railways should be asked to do this, added Das. Forest officials should be armed with modern arms and ammunition and police power to protect them from mafias as the latter uses powerful weapons. Besides, Government should cut tusks of male elephants regularly so that killing of the animals can be checked to a great extent. The Thailand Government cuts tusks of elephants regularly to check poaching, Das stated. Das too urged the Government to provide attractive compensation to farmers who lose crops due to elephants and 10 lakh each to kin of those who would be killed by elephants. 41-year-old man here Aattempted to commit self immolation inside a nationalised bank on Tuesday allegedly after failing to avail a loan from the bank. He was, however, prevented from committing the suicide by the bank staffers after he had poured petrol on his body and was about to set him on fire. The police said Padhi was detained and interrogated. We are yet to receive a written complaint from the bank after which necessary probe into huge new cash recoveries at various places, safety of bank officials, and extra payment for extra work and late sitting. They threatened if RBI was not able to supply adequate cash, then all cash transactions will be suspended till sufficient cash was supplied to all banks. AOBEA and AIBOA State Committee general secretaries Prafulla Kumar Tripathy and Ajay Kumar Routray, besides union leaders Pradip Pattnaik, Sanjib Pati, Ramesh Chandra Mansingh, Surendra Mohanty, Prabodh Ranjan Biswal, Ashok Das, Debashish Ray, Sitanshu Behera, Dasarathi Patttnaik, Prabodh Mishra, Janmejaya Mishra and Ashok Sahoo participated in the dharna. suspicious death of engineering student Asutosh alias Rishi Mohanty and a controversial sex clip purportedly featuring him. Chhatra Congress president Itish Pradhan told reporters here the activists would resort to hurling of eggs at the CM during his visit to different parts of the State for campaigning for the party candidates for ensuing panchayat polls. "There are certain evidences against the Mayor which proves his (Mayor) complicity in the crime. But the CM is silent and protecting him," rued Pradhan, adding that the CM would face the wrath of the Chhatra Congress activists wherever he would go for campaigning. action would be taken, said Town police station IIC Dilip Das. The person, identified as Sarat Padhi, is a resident of Badakia under Chandipur police station. According to sources, Padhi runs a medicine counter at Azimabad under Town police station. He had availed 50,000 loan from the Central Bank of India, main branch, for his business about one and a half years ago which he had paid off except a small amount. About 3 months ago, he had again applied for a loan of 2 lakh. Padhi alleged that despite running to the bank for a number of times, the same did not materialise. On Monday, after coming to bank while he had threatened to take drastic action if the loan was not sanctioned. n the January 3 edition, the Iheadline of the interview of the week should read Depoliticising educational campuses very much necessary and not what is published. The mistake is regretted. cash holding being exposed or terrorists being got in the net. In the national suffering, both in rural and urban sectors, for the simple reason he was permitting time up to December 30, 2016 for the old currency to be deposited in the banks, but he put restrictions on withdrawals. The facts will speak for themselves. The Reserve Bank of India is yet to disclose fully the situation after December 30. But by that date, almost 90 per cent and above of the currencies November 8 onwards till the end of December whereas Rs lakh crore of old currency has been deposited in the banks by December 23. The availability was of a meagre Rs 5.92 lakh crore by that date. This shows improper planning and does not behove a welfare state and does not reflect well on the RBI. The other reason can be that there was some theory which was accepted that starving the economic system of new currency returned to the banking system by December 30 that could be termed as black money or fake currency. Therefore, it is reasonable to hold that probably by December 30, leaving aside a negligible percentage of the old currency, had come into the banking system. The gain to the exchequer out of putting the entire machinery into inconvenience and the poorer section into a harassing situation is not forthcoming from any of the statements of the promised, it is insufficient to their requirement. The request of the bankers of Noida is yet to be accepted, but a substantial share is hoped to be forthcoming. But that would not meet the requirements of the local economy, which has resulted in investments by about one lakh buyers who are stuck in 50 delayed real estate projects. In the Yamuna Expressway Authority area, 20 builders have failed to complete their projects, and the investment projects. Twenty real estate builders in Noida have failed to complete their projects and requested the project authority to exit from them. The push that the Government has promised to the section, especially in rural areas and urban areas, would not be ameliorating these elements. The PM in general analysed and preached without pinpointing or answering the specific benefit that has accrued to the economy in general and populace. The last part of the speech was fight against corruption, and the Prime Minister said that the battle against corruption would continue. Neither were any programmes spelt out nor any future plan laid out so that black money holders were identified, and there was no indication of funding of any new ventures to help the innocent and honest. There was an appeal to the youth to stand by the Government in the Suddhi one can remain indifferent to what has gone on and what is further being planned out. It has been tragic not to hear a word of rumour regarding the loss of around 100 innocent lives. It has been nobody s case that they were corrupt and black money hoarders and deserved to die on account of the indifferent action of the state. Total silence in this regard in the reasonably long speech of the PM smacks of insensitivity on the part of the stood deposited in the cy would itself be a curative probably such an assessment Yajna, but what Suddhi was to Government regarding the of around 20,000 home before undertaking such a ven- plan of action. The youth has, ture. The citizens at large can- banks. However, the availability of new currency was less bad administration and a little was no appropriate study closed through any concrete because of an economic adven- measure. The first speaks of has been avoided because there be undertaken was not dis- death of innocent citizens he Prime Minister s speech than half the quantum required indifference towards the citizens, and the second reflects a Minister. The reasons for the buyers is at stake. Similarly, ture. therefore, a reason to be more not ignore this and cannot be Government or from the Prime Ton the New Year-eve complimented for convenient functioning. In the citizenry as if there was a peoples participation in a war effort. If there was a war, it was professed to be against black money and corruption, fake currency and currencies in the hands of terrorists. The manner in which the Prime Minister chose to thank what is called the support base for the Suddhi effect, for whatever the reasons (which we shall discuss a little later), the banking sector and economy were cash-starved in so far as the new currencies are concerned. This caused immense harassment and, more so, to the poorer sections of the society, especially in the unorganised sector. This situation could have arisen because total lack of appreciation of the manner in which black money flows. This dearth of new currency has been a lingering problem even today when 86 per cent of the currency has been demonetised. There is a corresponding obligation to remonetisation in such a manner that no genuine depositor is inconvenienced. restrictions and withdrawals were obviously conditioned by the inability of the Government that they were not able to provide adequate flow of new currency into the banking system. Even, as on the New Year s Day, bankers in Noida called upon the Reserve Bank to immediately fund them because economic activity had been badly there are about 95 under-construction real estate projects in Greater Noida and around one lakh home buyers in 80 of these projects are estimated to be affected. The Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway areas are to recover a total amount of around Rs 25,000 crore from the builders in land dues and the builders have A part of the PM s speech was related to announcement of the Budget proposals and nothing was great new in them repackaging of the old projects; and then, additional burden was assured to be taken by the Government relating to the housing interest for subvention. No gain as such was indicated of the massive measure of the concerned as the currency has received a jolt in the international market, which he hardly any so-called black money being brought out and there is no co-relation between the present steps and the future plan which would bring about a fillip in the economy and give a kick start to the growth. Rather, growth has been hugely unconcerned regarding its implementation. This involves all of us, more so the youth. And surely this concerns us all! (The writer, a Senior Advocate, is a former All India Service officer, a former diplomat, a former editor, a former President of Orissa High Court Bar Association and a former Yajna did not spell out or relate the RBI was not ready with as There was no indication in affected and a meagre Rs 680 turned defaulters and the de or demonetisation causing damaged and the future Advocate General of Odisha. to any fake currency being unearthed or illicit corrupt much cash and ready till as much of cash as required from the PM s speech as to the quantum of the prescribed curren- crore had not even been promised to them. Even if it is re-monetisation have caused a dislocation in the real estate immense pain, difficulties and harassment to a majority of may be costly to all of us where young, middle age or old
3 Every year Sulia Yatra is Bargarh district.as my wish held on the first Tuesday of was fulfilled I offered a goat to the Odia Pausha month at the Sulia deity. We had asked Khairguda in Kultapada gram the mother goddess to help us panchayat in the district, 20 so that my sister is married off km from here. The tribal and she fulfilled it, said devotees have been worshipping Jayadev Matari of Saharapali. Sulia Budha at the village Another devotee, by the side of Sulia Dangar hill Satyapriya Sethi of Dumerpali for over 100 years. The Yatra village said, I have been coming to Sulia for the last four undreds of animals were has been also observed in the Hkilled at the altar of Sulia locality for over 100 years. years. As my brothers skin ailment deity at Khairguda, which is known as Badkhala in Deogaon block, on Tuesday irrespective concerns of animal lovers and environmentalists across the State. According to a legend, Sulia Budha deity came from Vindhybasini area. A Nishi puja used to be held first at the mountain top. But later, it was held near the foothill. was cured, we offered a hen to the deity this year. Th Yatra was also held at Kumria, Bihibandh and Mirdhapali. Meanwhile, Balangir Sub Hundreds of hens, goats Despite prohibition of animal Tribals are nature lovers mountain, said Maya Collector BimalPrasad and sheep were slaughtered as a mark of a long going tribal tradition to appease the goddess at the Sulia Buda site. Reports of killing of buffalos were also received from Saan Khala, another place of the Sulia Yatra. killing by the adminis- tration for some years and protests from various quarters to stop the inhuman act, the tribals are unconvinced. Rather they allege it as interference on their freedom to religious practice. and worshippers. The tribal villagers collect voluntary donation and with that money they arrange an animal for killing. Tribals also offer milk to tigers with a payer that the animal being the king of forest guard the forest and Pradhani. The tribals are of the opinion that those who do not understand the tribal culture are opposing animal killing which is an integral part of the festivities. I have come from Mohanty said that all arrangements were made for a hassle free yatra. Four platoons of police, senor police officers, besides Executive Magistrates, have been deployed to maintain law and order, informed SDPO Narayan Naik. Baripada: The people of Mayurbhnj, the youths in particular, were in a festive mood for the New Year While the young boys of the district headquarters town of Baripada as well as those of other Mayurbhanj towns like Rairangpur, Karanjia and Udala thronged the streets of their respective areas at the stroke of the midnight on Saturday-Sunday for dancing and singing to welcome the New Year, others too had their own way of celebrating the occasion. Even though the old people preferred to stay indoors in view of the biting cold, the young ones went for picnics early on Sunday. Picnic sites of Khiching, Ramateerth, Devkund, Bhimkund, Lulung, Suleipat, Badjod, Haldia and Kaliakhal etc were crowded with picnic parties on both fter a Royal Bengal Tiger Awas found dead in a forest in Balangir district recently and a hyena was killed by locals in the Balipatna area on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, the carcass of a leopard was recovered from the Rashpur forest under Raighar block in Nabarangpur district on Monday. This was a day after a resident of Taraidihi village under Khuduku panchayat in the block, Rupasingh Ganda was critically injured in a leopard attack while grazing cattle in the forest. The cause of the death of the leopard was yet to emocracies need active, Dinformed and responsible citizens; citizens who are willing and able to take responsibility for themselves and their communities and contribute to the political process. In a country like India, which enjoys the world s largest democracy, our roles and functions should not merely be limited to awareness about our rights and responsibilities but we also are informed about the social and political world and we articulate our opinions and arguments as active citizens. To do so, we need to know about our socio-cultural ethos, historical background and our rich tradition of our secularity and sovereignty as well as religious diversity. We all have a notion that the citizenship education develops in a person through ordinary experiences; maybe after we are eligible to cast our votes or the older we grow. We believe our jobs as limited once we have already chosen political representatives to do on our part. But the capacities needed to be an active citizen do not develop singlehanded. We need to learn Sunday and Monday. The first two days of the New Year, Similipal saw a steep rise in the number of its visitors. A total of 1,031 tourists thronged the park on the New Year day itself. The newly-wed couples of the district, on the other hand, preferred a devotional path instead of going on a picnic. They visited different temples and had Darshan of their presiding deities. They also sought blessings of their superiors. However, the youth wing of the BJD opted for an altogether different style - better to say, a humanitarian way - to welcome the New Year. The party workers, under the leadership of State Youth BJD general secretary Debasish Mohanty distributed a large number of blankets among the poor and helpless people of Baripada on the occasion on Sunday. PNS be ascertained. According to reports, Rupasingh came face to face with a tiger on Sunday afternoon while grazing cattle in the forest and was brutally attacked by the wild animal. However, the buffaloes grazing nearby retaliated and attacked the tiger following which it fled leaving the victim in a critical condition. Later, he was rescued by the villagers and rushed to the Hatabharandi Community Health Centre (CHC). On the other hand, forest officials recovered the body of a leopard from Rashpur forest after local residents informed about a tiger carcass lying there. It is suspected that the same leopard had attacked Rupasingh. A probe is on to find out the cause of death of the wild animal. it. While citizenship may be picked up through ordinary experience in the home or at work to some extent, it can never suffice us to equip as citizens for the sort of active role required of them in today s complex and diverse society. If citizens are to become genuinely involved in public life and affairs, a more explicit approach to citizenship education is required. Because there are numerous citizenship issues that warrant people to know and react to. Citizenship education essentially stresses upon increasing people s capacity or enabling them to make informed choice or have their own decision as well as to take responsibilities for their own lives and communities they live in. Very importantly, citizenship education helps build our character and the required skills to communicate, intent to initiate, improve our social interaction and teamwork. While it is commonsensewise relative to have citizenship education for adults, there are experimental evidences that ask for introducing citizenship education for children and youths. Because that would help them develop self-confidence and successfully deal with significant life changes and challenges such as bullying and discrimination. Also, it enables them to make a positive contribution by developing the expertise and experience needed to claim their rights and understand their responsibilities. Schools being the core platform of nation building tasks, education on active citizenship would yield motivated and responsible learners who relate positively to each other, family members and to the neighbourhoods. For society, it helps create an active and responsible citizenry, willing to participate in the life of the nation and the wider world and play its part in the democratic process. Even though several topics on the Constitution, political processes, laws/acts and roles and responsibilities of a citizen are taught through social science subjects in schools and sociology/political science subjects in colleges. But citizenship education involves many more than that. It teaches them the knowledge and understanding, skills and aptitudes, values and dispositions which Jharsuguda: Protesting against transfer of 16 doctors from MCL Central Hospital to Talcher, AITUC secretary Anit Chakraborty began a fast-untodeath stir here on Monday. Earlier, although the MCL management was requested to keep on hold the transfer order till alternate arrangements were made, no assurances received. The strike was supported by other labour organizations. They alleged that step motherly attitude was always shown to the Ib Valley coalfields by the management. Besides, the medical service is being affected due to doctors not willing to come to MCL Hospital from Talcher on transfer, they said. Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Dipak Ambasta of Central Hospital(MCL) held discussions with the striking members. Ambasta said for ensuring stability in medical services, the transfer orders of helps them understand their rights and responsibilities, diversity, social justice, adherence to rule of law, environmental conservation and gender equality and empower them to be change-enablers who meaningfully participate in the decisions of the society. Also, it teaches on our national values. We have successful examples of active citizenship education being incorporated in European, African and other several countries. In our country also, such initiatives by nonprofit organisations like the Children s Movement for Civic Awareness are being undertaken to prepare young children as active citizens. Now, it s time to replicate and universalise in the school curriculum in our country to cherish a more inclusive society. All that we need is to emphasise the importance of citizenship education and make effort to create a critical mass of citizens who have the knowledge, skill and confidence to participate in our democracy as effective citizens. (The writer is an author, social activist and freelance writer. He can be mailed at: Dr Anil Ranjan and Dr Samrendra Mahanayak are being considered for stay temporarily. While 31 doctors were on the muster roll of the hospital, three have been sent on study tour. Another three have been transferred to Talcher. On January 2, another five doctors have been directed to join at Talcher. Two doctors have since resigned while one has gone on long leave. In this background, against 31 available doctors, 17 are practically available in the hospital. Meanwhile, though there is a steep rise in dental patients due to cold waves, Dr DP Singh has already joined at Talcher and his reliever has gone on leave after joining in MCL hospital here. Nine doctors from Talcher Nehru Satabdi Central Hospital have not joined here till date. Only one doctor has gone on leave after joining. PNS he Balasore Forest Division, Tin order to attract more tourists and tap the natural potential, is expanding its ecotourism project in Kuldiha. The project has been undertaken in Gohirabholo in the buffer region of the Kuldiha sanctuary. Under the project s estimated cost of Rs 98 lakh, the department has added five more tents to the existing four and added other facilities like wash rooms and kitchens. Each tent accommodates two persons. Besides, providing tent accommodation, for amusement of tourists, the department has made provision for boating, swing and hammock. It has constructed a watch tower and for safety against wild animals attack trenches and solar fencing have been made. Besides, round the clock water through bore well, hot water is provided through solar heating panels for the tourists. The forest authorities he Brahmapur Municipal TCorporation (BMC) is likely to face a new challenge as a Central team is scheduled to visit the city in January third week to inspect the Swachh Abhiyan programmes implemented under the Amrut Yojana. According to information, the Union Government has decided to conduct surveys in nine cities of Odisha, which have been included in the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut Yojana), to assess implementation of the programmes. The team would inspect toilets, dustbins and dumping yards of the city undertaken under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and give mark. Though the BMC had undertaken a month-long cleaning drive, involving MLAs, Ministers, Officers and local leaders, during the last month, the scheduled visit of Central team has once again put the civic body on its toes. he Dhenkanal Rationalist TForum launched a trimonthly magazine Hetubadi Chintan with an objective to spearhead scientific temper and eradicate blind beliefs and dogmas from the society. Chief guest humanist Purnachandra Satpathy inaugurated it in the presence of ike every year, the Paradip LPort Trust (PPT) observed its foundation day on January 3. On this occasion, a marathon race was organised in which 888 persons from Odisha and other States participated. Among the participants, 826 were men and 62 women. PPT Chairman Rinkesh Roy flagged off the 12-km-long marathon in the morning at Atharbanki Square which ended at the Gopabandhu Stadium. During the competition, inhabitants of the port rationalist and bureaucrat Gangdhar Sahoo, internationally-acclaimed rationalist Prof Dhaneswar Sahoo, Prof Dambarudhar Behera and Prof Sankarsan Jena. Satpathy advised that one should not accept anything blindly, rather seek the logical reason behind a happening. Sahitya Akademi awardee Prof Sahoo said a rationalist township, schoolchildren and many organisations encouraged the marathoners. In the men s category Mukund Banra and women category Samsad Ara Begum stood first and were awarded with a cash prize of 12,500 each. Similarly in the men category, Yogendra Tiriya and Budra Bisi Nayak and women category Sobha Nayak and Heera Majhi stood second and third, respectively, and were awarded with a cash prize of 9,400 and 6,300 each. Attending the valedictory function at the Gopabandhu can think far ahead of present values of society and lamented that the rationalists are neglected by the present society. Well-known researcher of Mahima cult Prof Jena said that there are lots evidences that human has created all religion, cast and creed where we are indulged. Manmohan Mohapatra proposed vote of thanks. provide night stay facilities in a patch, inside the Kuldiha sanctuary which is about eight km from the entry gate. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Harsh Bardhan Udgata said The objective is to close the core area stay facility to keep the wildlife free from human movement disturbances. With addition of five more, nine tented accommodation, to house 18 tourists, is available now. Rs 2,500 is charged for two persons per tent which include accommodation and food. In the next phase similar facilities would be made in Bhograi, he added. One can see herd of elephants near salt pits during morning and evening time. Other species of wild animal near the water tanks, said an officer of the sanctuary. As Kuldiha is connected to the Simlipal sanctuary, the Stadium as chief guest, PPT chief Roy thanked all the participants in the marathon making it successful. He gave away the prizes. PPT Deputy Chairman N Vaiyapuri attended the function as guest of honour. PPT FA &CAO SK Sahu presided over the meeting and conducted the prize giving ceremony. In the marathon, 21 participants each from men and women categories securing up to sixth position were awarded cash prizes. Gopabandhu Kreeda Sansad secretary Rabi Das offered a vote of thanks. habitants from the latter escape to the place via Natu, Satkosia and Hathgarh. The sanctuary is home to various floras such as sal, asan, kurmal and bandhan and houses animals like leopards, elephants, deer and other endangered species such as porcupine, bison and pangolin. Apart from other snakes, big pythons too are found in the sanctuary spread in an area of sq km.
4 aleni (fire material)" is a play Jthat describes the Dibyangas can never be treated as burden for the family or the society. On the second day of Natyadhara series, the play was staged here at the Bhanja Kala Mandap. The story is about a family headed by a father who after retirement engages himself only to run his family. He has two sons and one daughter. Of the two sons, one is blind and another is jobless. The marriageable daughter is at home as the father can't meet dowry demands. Once a young lecturer comes and gives consent to marry her without any dowry. But the father has not that much of money to do the minimum preparation. n a bid to boost rural, tribal Iand heritage tourism, the State Government signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) with the Stay Zilla, a private organisation, to provide all facilities to tourists intending to visit these sites. The MoU was inked between Tourism Director Nitin Bhanudas Jawale and Stay Zilla vice-president Ankit Rastogi in the presence of Tourism Special Secretary Arti Ahuja here on Tuesday. The Stay Zilla, which has expertise in the field, would create home stay facilities and guides to tourists coming from inside and outside the country. It would provide local foods to tourists. When home stay facilities will be available at all tourist spots in rural areas, tourists will be encouraged to visit Odisha. The programme will be very beneficial where hotels are not available. Tourism in rural, tribal and craft-heritage villages will get a boost, said Ahuja. By now, the Stay Zilla has identified 80 places, including Puri, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Chilika, Konark, Nuapatana and Raghurajpur, for constructing awaases for tourists, informed Jawale. Krushak Adhikar Diwas held in Jagatsinghpur he Navanirman Krushaak TSangathan (NKS) on Tuesday observed a Krushak Adhikar Diwas. NKS activists held a demonstration in front of the district Collectorate here and demanded 'prestige, price and pension' for the farmers. The agitating farmers lashed out at the State Government for arresting the NKS activists and sending them to jail during the rally held in Bhubaneswar on December 14. NKS district coordinator Rashmi Ranjan Swain led the agitation along with hundreds of farmers from the district. Meanwhile, NKS convenor Akhay Kumar called off his 23 day fast unto death stir and it was decided that the organisation would further intensify its stir to press for their demands. he multi-crore chitgate Tprobe tended to max out on Tuesday as the CBI arrested Trinamool Parliamentary Party Leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, prompting a retaliatory attack by Mamata Banerjee on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a planned invasion by thousands of armed lumpens on the Bengal BJP headquarters. Bandopadhyay was arrested after a four-and-a-half-hour marathon grilling during which he showed no signs of cooperation. Central forces had to be rushed in to secure senior trapped saffron leaders, including Rahul Sinha, Locket Chatterjee and 11 party men injured and half-a-dozen cars smashed in Trinamool attack that continued intermittently well into the evening. All hell broke loose within minutes of Bandopadhyay s arrest. As though things were pre-planned the local lumpens allegedly led by local MLA and Minister Shahsi Panja and a councilor awaiting a greensignal from the Chief Minister who gave a circuitous go-ahead warning popular reprisal descended on the BJP office with brickbats. Things could have been uglier with the police continuing to look the other way had there not been a timely phone call from Union Home Ministry to State DGP, Surajit Karpurakayastha, sources said. Subsequently a section of central forces was also deployed at the State BJP headquarters. Apparently alarmed by the speed of the investigations a tetchy Chief Minister resorted to blank fire warning the Centre and the CBI of administrative retaliation. If you arrest our men then I can also retaliate by arresting your men. But I would not do that, she said threatening the CBI officials with appropriate action case by casewhen this Government goes. The BJP was not going to remain in power she reminded the CBI sleuths. On the attack on BJP office, TMC MP Derek O Brien said, Protests have just begun and will intensify and expand in the coming days. The Chief Minister said her party MPs would start a dharna in Delhi from Wednesday while other senior leaders, including Subhendu Adhikary, Firhad Hakim, Kalyan Banerjee, Mukul Roy would stage protests inbihar s Kishanganj, Tripura, Assam, Fortunately a local leader looks for a dead body for the inauguration of an electric crematorium. The two brothers go to him and get Rs 5,000 promising that they would arrange the body. With that money, the daughter's marriage is solemnized. As the inauguration day arrives, the brothers fail to arrange the body. Finally the blind son prepares himself to do something for the family. He offers his body instead of a dead one for the crematorium. The audience was overwhelmed by the lively acting of the artists. Sunil Nayak, who played the role of the blind son, was excellent. The play, written and directed by Umesh Das, was staged by Theatre Marathon, one of the premier theatre institutions in Cuttack. Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Punjab, Arunachal and Manipur. Apparently charged up by the Chief Minister s no-holdsbarred tirade on the Prime Minister and Shah whom she termed the biggest thief, dacoit and goonda a second team of MPs and Ministers descended at the CGO complex housing the CBI office where Bandopadhyay was detained after he sustainedly avoided questions on his and his colleagues involvement in the Rose Valley chit fund scam. Even as the CBI grappled with Chief Minister s pressure tactic (to disarm it from making future such arrests) inside sources referred to a multitude of documents and CDs that were retrieved from inside a secret chamber of the Rose Valley headquarters. The CDs and documents including vouchers mentioning Bandopadhyay s name suggested his unlawful patronage to the chit fund group --- through a promotional speech in a Rose Valley meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata --- in lieu of favours youth was killed and four Aothers sustained injuries as a car carrying them collided head on with a speeding truck at Barghat Square on the NH- 143 under the Chandiposh police limits in Sundargarh district on Tuesday morning. The youths were going in the car to Khandadhar on a picnic when the mishap occurred. While one of them died, the rest four are undergoing treatment at the RGH now. Condition of one of the injured is stated to be critical. The deceased was identified as Abhijit Bhuyan (31) of Sector 5, Rourkela. While the truck sped away from the spot, some locals managed to note down its registration number. The police are now trying to nab the driver. that included foreign trips, vehicles, jobs for relatives etc, sources added. Inside reports said Bandopadhyay was to be flown to Bhubaneshwar where he would be questioned face-toface with another incarcerated MP Tapas Paul who was arrested last week. Even as reports did rounds that an additional bevy of top Trinamool names may soon be called for interrogation Banerjee who was coming out of the State secretariat at Nabanna exploded pouring most of her venom on Modi Babu, wondering why the Prime Minister will not be questioned on how he could get a suit worth Rs 4 crore or Rs 10 Jagatsinghpur: The Ersama police on Tuesday arrested a woman in connection with the alleged murder of a youth of Bhuinsahi village under Japa gram panchayat two days ago. Notably, the body of Mithun Sahoo had been found hanging from a tree near the Tigiria river on Sunday wee hours. His parents and villagers crore or whatever it may have cost. Tuesday s was the strongest attack from Banerjee on the Prime Minister in recent times. Modi and Amit Shah were the biggest thieves, dacoits and goondas and the notebandi scam is the biggest scam which has to be answered by them. They have to give details of the total amount involved in this scam she said alleging the Prime Minister had involved Adanis in the notebandi scam and he has been entrusted to get new notes printed from abroad. She also wondered why Minister Babul Supriyo will not be arrested for his association with the Rose Valley. rime Minister Narendra PModi s assertions that only a handful of people were unhappy with the demonetisation drive was based on the feedback he received from 82 odd senior officers who had been dispatched across States and Union Territories to assess the impact of the note ban at the grass-roots level. In a report to the Prime Ministers Office (PMO), they pointed out that common people soon came to terms with the note ban decision. They also threw light on some interesting means adopted by people to mitigate the hardship caused by cash crunch. The report revealed that people adopted a barter system in many rural areas of North Eastern States -- including Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh. In some bordering areas, people even used Bhutanese and Burmese currencies to take care of their day-to-day needs. There were also instances of shopkeepers and buyers entering into a written agreement to square up outstanding payments. Top Government sources told The Pioneer that people adopted different measures to beat the currency woes with the hope that those possessing piles of black money would face the music in near future. This report emboldened the Prime Minister to strike hard on those involved in black money hoarding as only per cent of the population are not happy with note ban, the sources said. According to sources, total of 32 teams of nearly 82 Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary-level officials as well as those working as Director or Deputy Secretary were formed to access the impact of demonetisation. Teams of three officers each visited Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab. had blocked the Kujang- Ersama road alleging that Mithun was murdered and demanding an impartial probe. The family had also filed a complaint naming a woman, with whom Mithun had extramarital affairs, and suspecting her hand. Meanwhile, autopsy has been conducted on the youth's body. PNS From Page 1 The EC can announce the poll schedule for the UP Assembly elections any day and if that is announced then the poll panel will hear the dispute in the party only after the polls and in the meantime both the name and the poll symbol of the party could be frozen by the commission, said a senior SP leader. Sources close to the CM said a senior SP leader and member of Rajya Sabha met Akhilesh and expressed concern over the prospects of the party losing the election symbol ahead of the crucial elections. The CM s camp is weighing all options before it. It will not only be difficult but amount to political hara-kiri for Akhilesh to retreat from the position he has already taken on January 1, which was widely endorsed by the rank and file of the party, sources said. Another round of negotiations is likely to be held on Wednesday, sources added. Meanwhile, Ram Gopal Yadav ruled out the possibility of a compromise saying, No compromise will be made in the SP and we will fight the UP elections under the leadership of Akhilesh. Meanwhile, even as Mulayam, is struggling hard to regain the control of the party, most of his trusted colleagues, whom he had groomed in the last three decades, have deserted him and joined Akhilesh s camp. In his home town the common people and the members of his extended family are overwhelmingly supporting Akhilesh. They say it s time for Mulayam to hand over the mantle of the party to his son and act as his guide. Kironmoy Nanda, the vicepresident of the party and Rajya Sabha MP, who owes his existence in politics to Mulayam extended the most crucial help to Akhilesh in providing legal validity to the national delegate convention here on January 1. As national vice-president of the party he presided over the convention in the absence of the national president as per the constitution of the party. Others supporting Akhilesh are Ahmed Hasan, Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, Rajendra Chowdhary, Ram Govind Chowdhary, Balram Yadav, Brahma Shankar Tripathi, Durga Prasad Yadav, Avadesh Prasad and Reoti Raman Singh. New Delhi: The Budget Session of Parliament will begin on January 31 and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will present his Budget a day later. The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) on Tuesday took this decision, advancing the holding of the Budget Session. Both the address of the President and tabling of the Economic Survey are likely to take place on January 31. The first phase of the Budget Session will run till February 9. The CCPA, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, made these recommendations to President Pranab Mukherjee.
5 n a major push to the local IDefence industry as part of its Make in India policy, the Government plans to export weapon systems worth over 13,000 crore (USD two billion) by the end of 2019 from the present figure of nearly 2,060 crore. At least 16 to 17 countries have evinced interest in Indian systems like Brahmos, Akash and Astra missiles apart from howitzer guns. Disclosing this policy decision, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said here on Tuesday that India was keen to sell weapons systems to friendly countries and Vietnam, UAE and Mauritius figured in this list. Moreover, the Ministry is pushing private and public sector defence undertakings to promote products like bridge laying machines, he maintained. An independent export promotion body will help the Indian industry to achieve the target of two billion US dollars by 2019, the Minister said in a Press conference, adding the Government will initially hold the export panel s hand and later it will be self-sustaining body. New Delhi: The Government will soon put in place an institutional mechanism to tackle child pornography, which has recorded a rise over the past few years. The Ministry of Women and Child Development will set up a National Alliance against Child Abuse, which will comprise of members from the Ministry of Home, Law, HR, IT, civil society organisations and major web portals. 37 per cent of all internet is pornography and a major portion of it involves children. Child pornography has to be dealt seriously. All the stakeholders will meet on January 16 to deliberate on the contours of the National Alliance against Child Abuse, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday. The Minister also proposed setting up of a Women helpline, akin to Childline to help women in distress. Highlighting the Ministry s agenda for the year, Maneka said her Ministry will take potting an unhealthy trend Samong lawyers to join the race for becoming judges and senior advocates, outgoing Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Tuesday told advocates at the Supreme Court that such distinctions must come uninvited. Taking a lesson out of his life to show how he struggled as a lawyer and rose to this position, Justice Thakur recalled that the best years of his life were those he spent as a struggling lawyer and failed to understand why lawyers are in a race to first become a senior lawyer and then a judge. If I had half the number of cases that some lawyers here Maintaining that export never got priority in the past, he said the present regime was determined to give a fillip to promote Make in India products through exports and managed to touch the Rs 2,060 crore mark for the current fiscal year from Rs 1,100 crore two years back. India was already exporting ships and off shore patrol vessels manufactured by some private players and the defence ministry wanted the industry to aggressively explore the possibilities in the ship building sector, Parrikar said. Countries like Vietnam had already shown interest in buying the indigenously designed and manufactured Brahmos supersonic missile capable of hitting a target at major steps to regulate preschools that are part of Anganwadi centres as also those run by private agencies in the wake of complaints about violation of child rights. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has recommended a set of regulatory guidelines which will decide on various issues such as teacher-student ratio, curriculum, infrastructure and the age of admission apart from the safety and security aspects. Maneka said that her Ministry was in talks with Law and Justice Ministry over setting up of a Central Tribunal for Adoptions. Forty per cent of the adoption cases are stuck in various courts and this has worried me. As per CARA guidelines, a court has to dispose a case within a period of two months from the date of filing of the adoption petition by the specialised adoption agency and in two hearings but it often takes much longer, she said. PNS 290km. Asked if the deal was in the offing, Parrikar refrained from giving a direct reply and said Vietnam is a friendly country. He added that India was training Vietnam pilots for SU-30 fighter jet flying and helping that country in capacity building. Replying to another question if India was considering supplying arms to Afghanistan, Parrikar said if is a sensitive issue but added Afghanistan is a friend. Elaborating upon various facets of exports, the minister said the Government was already holding dialogue with friendly countries to help them upgrading their weapon systems by Indian industries adding some countries were also ready to buy locally made self-propelled tracked artillery gun manufactured by a private company. On setting up another production line for single engine fighter jets, Parrikar said a decision will be taken once the Strategic Partnership clause for producing weapons is finalized in the next few months. This partnership entails selecting a foreign equipment manufacturer who will forge a joint venture with an Indian company to build strategic systems like fighter jets and warships. efending the selection of DGeneral Bipin Rawat for the post of Army Chief superseding two senior officers including Lt General Praveen Bakshi and Lt General PM Haria, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said due procedures were perfectly followed by the Government. He also said seniority was not the only criteria in the procedures to select Army Chief adding if seniority was the principle, then a computer could have selected Service chiefs based on date of birth. Moreover, there would not have been need of any due process or Cabinet Committee of Appointment if seniority alone was the criterion, he said. First of all, I do not know where there is principle of seniority. There is a procedure set wherein all commanders are verified for their performance. I can assure you that those who were considered were all good. Too good and probably that is the reason why we could not take decision early, Parrikar said in a Press conference here. If seniority was the yardstick, there would be no requirement of any Raksha Mantri, there would be no requirement of Cabinet Committee on Appointment because then it is a computer job. Date of birth decides who becomes General, he said. Parrikar also said laid down procedures were duly followed and no violation took place. rime Minister Narendra PModi is expected to yet again raise the issue of electoral reforms, including changes in poll funding rules and holding of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies, in the all-party meeting before the Budget session. Modi, who had broached the issue in such a meeting before the last session as well, wants to build a consensus due to the significance of the exercise. The Prime Minister will call a meeting in this regard. We are in power and still pushing for reforms in poll funding. I do not think any party will be against it, a top BJP leader told reporters. Modi has been underlining the need for poll reforms time and again but the matter could not make any serious headway as the last session was washed out due to protests over demonetisation. With key State Assembly and local polls happening virtually every year, the Model Code of Conduct coupled with deployment of senior officers hits developmental programmes adversely, he has contended while pushing for simultaneous polls. The Election Commission has also sought reforms in poll funding and said the amount political parties are allowed to accept under anonymous donation should be reduced to Rs 2000 from existing Rs 20,000. It is alleged that parties use the provision to break large sum of money into multiples of Rs 20,000 to avoid scrutiny. It has also sought powers from the Government to deregister parties and to countermand polls where it has sufficient evidence to believe that money power was used to influence poll outcome. have, I would never have become a judge, Thakur said, sharing that at heart, a judge remains a lawyer and if there is any possibility of an amendment in Constitution to permit a retired SC judge to practice law, he would love to join at the bar. The lawyers did not mind even the admonition by the retiring CJI as the gathering, the biggest ever witnessed in the history of Supreme Court, was overcome by the affection and generosity shown by Justice Thakur over the years evident in his patient disposal of cases, raising infrastructure for lawyers longue and litigants canteen, and showing respect to court staff, bar association leaders, and lawyers alike. The Chief Justice-designate Justice JS Khehar started his speech by addressing Justice Thakur as handsome recalling the first meeting with him at Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said he and the outgoing CJI were as different as chalk and cheese and admitted that he needed to learn from his predecessor how he was so open and affable to all people who met him. Justice Khehar recalled his farewell speech given to Justice Thakur at Punjab and Haryana High Court. He had then told Justice Thakur, When you adorn the office of CJI, your father DD Thakur (former judge and Governor of Assam) will be known because of you. Except for CJI-designate, other speakers who addressed on the occasion - Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, Supreme Court Bar Association President RS Suri, SCBA Vice President Ajit Sinha, and SCBA Secretary Gaurav Bhatia, shared an Urdu couplet, reminding the audience how the Supreme Court shall miss such shero-shayari, a penchant of Justice Thakur. Justice Thakur, who came with his family - wife, daughter and two sons, was candid to admit that his years as a lawyer and then as a judge taught him to be hard working, persistent, courteous and humble, that kept him in good stead throughout his career. gainst the backdrop of the ASupreme Court order barring politicians from seeking votes on caste, creed or religion, Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said his party never did nor will it do politics of religious polarisation. After the Supreme Court order, the so-called secular parties should be cautious, he said, adding that the court was absolutely right and politics should not involve caste or religion. BJP neither did politics of polarisation nor will it do in future. I feel if it was doing politics of polarisation, it would not have got clear majority in Parliament. It is for the first time that a non-congress party has got clear majority in Parliament. Now to accuse that political party and its workers and volunteers is not right, he said in an interaction with the media. Politics should not be on the lines of caste, cult or religion. Politics should be only in the name of humanity and justice, he added. Asked if his party will raise New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday held a meeting with chief electoral officials (CEOs) of five poll bound States- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttrakhand to assess the preparations for the upcoming Assembly polls. After meeting with CEOs, the Commission may announce polling dates any day now. As of now, the Commission is planning to hold sevenphased Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and single-phased in the other states. But with situation in Manipur assuming alarming proportions, the poll body may go for multiple phases in the north-eastern state. But there is no official word on it. Sources in the Commission said that CEOs of five poll bound states have made it clear that they are ready for polls and all necessary arrangements have been made. At the meeting, the assessment of the law and order situation, charge sheet has been filed Aby CBI against social activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and an NGO run by them for alleged violation of foreign funding rules. The charge sheet, which has listed the firm Sabrang Communications and Publishing Private Limited and a man named Sushma Raman, was filed on Saturday in a court in Mumbai, CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said on Tuesday. The probe agency had in July 2015 registered a case against Ms. Setalvad, who was at the forefront of campaign for 2002 Gujarat riot victims, and others for alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in receiving funds from abroad without taking prior permission from the Home Ministry. The charge sheet has been filed under Section 120 B of Indian Penal Code (criminal conspiracy) along with FCRA 2010 and FCRA 1976, the spokesperson said. he National Green Tribunal Tissued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Urban Development on an application challenging a recent notification that exempts real estate projects of all sizes from the process of environment impact assessment and prior environmental clearance before beginning construction. The application that was filed by environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta highlights that the final notification issued on December 9, 2016 is significantly different from the draft notification which was published on April 29, The final notification states that the consent to establish and consent to operate under the provisions of the Air act 1981 and the Water act 1974 will not be required from the state pollution control boards for large building projects. But there was no mention of the exclusion of such projects from the statutory requirement of obtaining consents from pollution control boards in the draft. The application points out that other clauses that were missing in the draft notification include provision of dealing with violation of environmental conditions under state laws and not under the provision of the environment protection act, air and water acts. Constitution of an environmental cell under the local the issue of Ram temple in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, Singh said the matter is sub-judice. On the issue of demonetisation s impact on Maoists, he said It is correct that Naxals have weakened post- demonetisation... The intelligence information received by us shows their problems have increased. Their strength has reduced. He, however, refused to give any specific estimates about the damage inflicted on the guerillas but said the information suggests that massive problems are being faced by them post notes ban. With China again blocking India s bid in getting Jaish-e- Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the United Nations, Singh said New Delhi was hopeful that China will agree with its position. We still expect China to support our stand, he said. India had termed China s move as an unfortunate blow and a step that confirms prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism. China was the only member in the 15-nation UN body to put a hold on India s application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi s bid to place Azhar on the sanctions list. deployment of polling personnel, safety and electronic voting machines and strict implementation of the model code of conduct also came up for discussion. The law and order situation in Manipur due to road blockade by some Naga groups was the focus of attention of the Commission in the meeting, sources said. In its report to the EC, the Union Home Ministry has conveyed that ground situation in Manipur following the blockade of National Highway 2 by United Naga Council and the state Government s alleged failure to resume normal traffic even after 60 days. The Commission has directed Ministry of Home Affairs to relieve three IPS officials from Delhi who have been transferred to Goa. Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry will provide around 85,000 security personnel for deployment in the upcoming Assembly elections in the five States. PNS urban body which will apprise and approve building projects and accreditation of environmental auditors are additions made to the final notification. The application highlights that under current laws the Centre must give time of 60 days, to any person for filing any objection to any notification which has been issued under the provision. Even though the draft notification was issued in April 2016 for public scrutiny, it submitted that if the final notification has been substantially altered from what was put in public domain for comments and objection, then the whole objective of prior consultation is vitiated. It states. The application also suggests that provisions in the notification are contrary to the purpose stated in its preamble. The preamble states that easing of regulations is important for providing houses under the scheme of housing for all by 2022 with an objective of making affordable housing to weaker sections in urban areas, to cover 20 million households by But the application points that a 2013 K Kasturirangan report on EC for building projects states that the ministry of housing and poverty alleviation doesn t have any statistical data on the size of urban housing projects for the poor which are waiting for environmental clearance (EC) or have already received EC, it adds.
6 7 State Home department Theaded by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday informed the lower house of the State Assembly over 1,800 orphans of killed militants have been receiving scholarships without any discrimination from the State Government. In the written reply the Minister-in charge Home department informed the legislators that 1,513 orphans of killed militants received scholarships in Kashmir valley up to March 2016 while 297 orphans received these scholarships across Jammu region during the same period. youth who took inspiration Afrom an American to turn his two bed rooms flat in Hyderabad into a Ganja cultivation field was arrested by Hyderabad police. 33-year-old Syed Shahed Hussain, an addict of narcotics and also a peddler was arrested by the police in Golkonda area of Hyderabad red handed when he was selling the substance to another person. In the subsequent raid and search at his flat in the posh Friends Colony in Mankonda Each orphan is entitled to receive monthly scholarship of 750 up to 18 years of age. The State Government spent 1.28 crores on these scholarships up to March 2016 while a sum of 1.70 crores was spent on funding scholarships of 1,626 orphans in Kashmir valley and 271 orphans across Jammu region up to March The highest number of beneficiaries are from Anantnag, Baramulla and Kupwara districts of Kashmir valley while hilly districts of Doda and Kishtwar tops the list across Jammu region. Srinagar and Jammu districts account for minimum number of beneficiaries. area of Hitesh city the cops were shocked while they find a large number of pots of Ganja plants neatly placed in the two rooms. Additional deputy commissioner of police N Koti Reddy told the media that Shahed Hussain got the idea if this Hitech method of growing Ganja within the confines of an American friend Garith Christopher. At his behest he watched online videos on how to grow Ganja plants inside the flat. He procured plants and hitech devices to create the right atmosphere in the flat, he added Shahed installed the LED There are only 19 cases from Srinagar and zero from Jammu district, the Home Minister said. Three other districts of Samba, Udhampur and Kathua also have zero number of beneficiaries. The Home department also informed the members of the lower house that a total number of 59 youth have joined militant ranks after July 8, To encourage misguided youth/militants to join national mainstream and lead a normal life the state government had announced Rehabilitation policy under which a fixed deposit of 1.50 lakh, payment of monetary incentive for surrender weapons and stipend for oogle honoured renowned Gsocial reformer from Maharashtra Savitribai Phule on Tuesday, by dedicating a doddle to her on the occasion of her 186th birth anniversary. Springing a surprise, Google came out with a doddle in memory of late Savitribai Phule, wife of one of the country s great social reformers Jyotiba Phule. Born on January 3, 1831 in a rich and influential farming family and married at the age of nine to the 13-year old bulbs to provide the necessary temperature fans for providing air to the plants and also air conditioned to keep the ambience of the flat right for the proper growth of the plants. He even brought the soil from north coastal Andhra where conditions were ripe for Ganja cultivation. He was using potassium and phosphorus as the necessary ingredients for the plants. To keep everything under the wraps Shahed never allowed any visitor inside the house and neighbours were also unaware of the goings on. ours after National HConference legislator Showkat Hussain Ganai triggered a fresh controversy by labelling Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani a martyr in the upper house of the State legislature National Conference was forced to issue a clarification saying the views expressed by MLC in the legislative council were his personal views and not those of the party. Participating in a debate in the Legislative Council on Kashmir killings and the a period of 3 2,000 per month from the date of surrender is given to them. Under the policy of 2004, 437 cases of surrendered militants were received from 2004 till date. 216 cases have been finalised and monthly incentive of 2.68 crores has been paid while 219 cases have been rejected, the Home Minister submitted in the form of written reply. According to another reply tabled in the State Assembly, a total number of 2632 FIR s were registered during the recent unrest in Kashmir valley. The highest number of 492 Jyotirao Phule, Savitribai along with her husband founded the first women s school in the country at Bhide Wada in Pune in Savitribai, who was taught to read and write by her husband, founded the girls school when she turned 17. She started the school with just nine girls from different castes, at a time when imparting education to women was a taboo in the society. Apart from teaming up her husband in launching a crusade against social discrimination based on caste and gender and equal rights for men and women, Savitribai also crusaded against child marriages, the practice of child widowhood, rape victims becoming pregnant and the practice of 'Sati'. Shahed, a graduate in psychology had developed the habit of weed smoking from his younger days and later turned a peddler. He used to procure the Ganja from Visakhapatanam and Tandur near Hyderabad at a price of 3,500 per kg and sell it in Hyderabad for 16,000 per kg. He had come under police scanner as the growing Ganja trade in Hyderabad and its supply to other cities had put the cops on alert. He was caught when he was selling the Ganja to a customer in Golkonda area. uprising triggered by July 8 killing of Wani, the National Conference MLC had claimed that Burhan Wani was a freedom fighter and that he had attained martyrdom while fighting for a cause. Kashmiris will continue to pick up guns and sacrifice their lives until the issue is resolved, he said. Ganai had even held centre responsible for not resolving the issue of Kashmir. During the debate PDP lawmaker Firdous Tak had even sought clarification from Ganai to confirm whether his remarks represented his party or were his esidents in Kashmir on RTuesday woke up to light drizzle in plains and snowfall in the hilly areas that ended a prolonged dry spell never witnessed in past four decades. The last downpour was recorded in August in the Valley and despite the onset of harshest spell of winter in the third week of December the weather seemed in no mood to terminate the dry spell. The dense cloud cover raised the temperature by a few degrees offering muchneeded respite to the residents. In the capital Srinagar, gentle rainfall continued throughout the day bringing freshness to the air and cleansing dirtcovered rooftops, roads and alleys. On the mountains, however, snowflakes began descending early in the morning and white drape enveloped hill stations of Pahalgam and personal opinion. Responding to Tak's query, Ganai had stated inside upper house, I am fully aware about the place where I made the statement and I stand by each word I have said about Burhan Wani. Burhan was a freedom fighter, a martyr and this is thinking of people of Jammu and Kashmir, not mine alone. He added that everyone was aware that even Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahuddin didn t cross over to Pakistan to contest elections, but for the resolution of long-pending Kashmir issue. stone pelting cases were registered in Sopore, 339 in Srinagar, 318 in Baramulla, 271 in Anantnag and 218 in Kupwara. Only three cases pertaining to excessive use of force by the security forces were registered during the recent turmoil. A total number of 463 persons were detained under Public Safety Act out of which 145 were released and presently 318 cases are under detention as on December 29, According to the State Home Minister a total number of 16 cases of weapon snatching/looting have been registered in various police stations across Kashmir valley from March 2016 till December 31, In these weapon snatching incidents a total number of 63 weapons including 19 AK -47 Rifles, 23 SLR rifles, 13 INSAS rifles, 1 TASER gun, 6 pistols and 1 Pika gun was looted. Ironically majority of these weapons have not been recovered and the local police authorities continue to investigate these cases.of all these looted weapons only 1 INSAS rifle, 3 AK -47 Rifles and have been recovered by the police. Kokernag in south and Gulmarg in north Kashmir. Hundreds of tourists, who had arrived at Gulmarg on the New Year eve, began frolicking on snow and dancing in ecstasy. n a major operation by the Iofficials of the Karnataka forest department eleven persons have been arrested for hunting two sambar deer in Kemmannugundi forest area in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka for their new year party. The arrested include a software engineer working for a reputed IT company, a sharp shooter and a coffee planter among others. Of the 11 arrested, four are from Bengaluru. Forest Department officials recovered two vehicles, a carcass of one sambar, and 70 kg meat of another. Rafeek, a resident of Richmond Town in Bengaluru, is absconding. Those arrested are Akhthar Ahmed (67), Mohammed Sameer Ahmed (29), both planters from Sakleshpur; Mohammed Rizwan (36) of Somwarpet in Kodagu; M. Ali (22); Meer Nair Ali (23); Meer Nazeer Ali (18), a student; Syed Aman (30), a software engineer; all residents of Bengaluru, and Arun (23), Prasanna (18), Chethan (26) and Harish (25), from a village near Kemmannugundi. The incident has raised concern ecurity forces shot dead a Smilitant of Pakistani origin during a gunfight in north Kashmir s Sopore area on Tuesday while an assistant sub-inspector of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was injured in an attack in south Kashmir s Pulwama district. Sources said that security forces laid an ambush in Akhoonpora, Haritar village in Tarzoo area of north Kashmir s Sopore pocket early on Tuesday following information that militants were on the move in the area. We had information that the militants were on the move and we laid and ambush, a police officer said. They crossed and were challenged by us. This triggered an encounter, he said. The exchange of fire led to the killing of one militant while his accomplice managed to escape. The slain militant was identified as Umar Khataab, a Pakistani national. Police said he was district commander of Lashkar-e- Tayyeba (LeT) outfit in north Kashmir. He was active in the area for the past four years. Police said they recovered This year, the snowfall kept people waiting for a longer span. The harshest spell of winter, known as Chillai Kalan that began on December 21 for 40 days till January 31, was running dry just like last year when there was no snowfall during this entire period. This year s dry spell was unique because the valley did not receive rainfall since mid-august. The experts say that changes in weather system have resulted into the unusual turn in the climatic conditions. The rainfall has improved the weather condition as the minimum temperature was recorded minus 0.6 degrees Celsius, much better than the last night s minus 4 degrees an AK 47, a grenade and a magazine from the slain militant. Sources said that Khattab s another associate escaped from the police cordon. Security forces cordoned off the area to track down the escaped cadre. In another incident, militants shot at and injured a CRPF Assistant Sub Inspector in Murran Chowk of south Kashmir s Pulwama, official sources said. Meanwhile, the security forces cordoned off parts of Kota Satri forest Belt in Bandipora district of northern Kashmir after gun shots were heard on Tuesday, reports said. n a major faux pas, two peo- from Kasaragoda district Iple in north Kerala, who were arrested last night by the State police while canvassing for a Salafi Muslim conclave in Karnataka later this month, were released on Tuesday, after the messages on the leaflets they were distributing, turned out to be anti-isis propaganda. The confusion, according to a senior police official was caused, because the content on the leaflets was printed in Kannada, a language which local cops were not familiar with. Late on Monday, the North Goa district police, Anti- Terrorism Cell of the Goa Police and the Intelligence Bureau were in a tizzy after they were informed by local residents of Dona Paula, a Panaji suburb, that two persons were handing out pamphlets with the word ISIS on them in English, while the rest of the content was in Kannada. The police reacted immediately, arrested both Ilyas U,34, and Abdul Nazir,24, but on Tuesday Superintendent of Police (North Goa) Umesh Gaonkar said that the duo had been released because they had no terror links. They are closely involved in Salafi activities. They believe in true Islam. The pamphlet in Kannada language, in fact condemns ISIS. Because it was in Kannada, we did not realize it immediately. We verified it later with a Kannada translator, Gaonkar told reporters at the North Goa Police headquarters. The pamphlet was printed in Kannada and there is ISIS mentioned on top which caused the confusion, Gaonkar further said. After the duo were grilled by teams comprising of IB, ATS and local police officials, the police on Tuesday, gave a written submission to the sub divisional magistrate North Goa, that their credentials were genuine. Celsius that had frozen the surfaces of Dal Lake at the edges and blocked water pipes in several localities. The bone-chilling cold is also dominating the Ladakh region where Leh district remained the coldest place with a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius night temperature. The neighbouring Kargil district has also recorded minus 9.3 degrees Celsius temperature. The authorities closed Srinagar-Leh national highway for vehicular traffic which was unusually open due to the continued dry spell. The snowfall has come as a big relief for local population especially the farming community in villages. over urban people going to forest for hunting, which is a very disturbing factor. According to forest officials the group have gone hunting near Nettichowka village and gunned down the two animals. They slaughtered one and decided to leave the place as it was already dawn. They were caught while transporting the carcasses in two vehicles, said a press release issued by the Forest Department. Forest officials said that their love for shooting and wild meat has now landed them in jail with officials booking them under various sections of the Indian Wildlife Act (Protection) Interestingly the accused include two software engineers working with globally reputed Bengaluru-based software firm, an M Tech graduate in environmental science, residents of upmarket Richmond Town. Most of these urban youth were trained in shooting and have won several awards in shooting competitions conducted by Karnataka State Rifle Association, Bengaluru. All of them were caught red-handed in Thanigebailu Range of Bhadra Wildlife Division in Chikkamagaluru district. According to Ullas, Range Forest Officer of Thanigebailu Range said, Out of the 12, 11 have been arrested while the main accused Rafeeq Ahmed is absconding and search is on. The forest offcials said Mir Mudassir Ali and Mohammed Samir have revealed that they were the employees of Infosys while Syed Ahemed has claimed to be an M Tech graduate in Environmental Science.
7 7 S amajwadi Party s Maharashtra unit president Abu Asim Azmi on Tuesday stirred up a hornets nest, by blaming the scanty-dress worn by women for the muchdiscussed Bengaluru molesta- tion incident. Coming out in support of Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara whose insensitive comments have sparked public uproar across the country, Azmi said: Hang all those who are accused of rape. But at the same time, I would like to say that girls should also take precautions...what has happened in Bengaluru is unfortunate. But what he (Parameshwara) said is a harsh reality. In a comment that earned him wide-spread social media. Azmi said: You have to keep petrol away from fire. And if there is sugar, ants will come automatically to it. Maintaining that he would stand by his views irrespective of criticism, Azmi said: In today's world, the more she is scantily dressed, the more she is considered modern and educated. Such trend is increasing. Western culture is a black spot on country's culture and it should be stopped. If anything, we need to focus on out famous Indian culture If my sister or women from the family are going outside home after sunset with a boy to celebrate New Year, it cannot be expected that people will behave with her in a respectable manner. I am sure several people would be disappointed with my remarks but I don't care. What I am saying is that no police force in the world can stop such incidents (fully). Ladies need to be properly dressed, the Maharashtra SP unit chief added. ujarat Chief Minister Vijay GRupani on overruled all speculations on early elections of Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday saying that the polls would take place on its schedule in December this year. Congress leaders are spreading rumours in order to keep their workers busy. There is no reason to hold assembly polls earlier, said Gujarat Chief Minister on the side-lines of a function in Ahmedabad. Over the period of around one year, post Patidar reservation stir headed by Hardik Patel coupled with flogging of Dalit youth in Saurashtra region, Gujarat Congress leaders were repeatedly quoted as saying that the BJP would prefer to contest assembly polls earlier. The congress leaders he initiation of a probe Tinto the corruption charges leveled against Kerala s Marxist Minister J Mercykutty Amma in less than three months since the resignation of another Marxist Minister over nepotism charges has triggered discussions on whether the CPI(M)-led LDF Government is pursuing the same path set by the former Congress-led UDF regime as far as corruption is concerned. Mercykutty Amma, Fisheries and Cashew Industry Minister and a member of the CPI(M) s State committee, is facing a quick verification by the Vigilance for her alleged involvement in a Rs crore corruption scandal related to the import of raw cashew nut. The probe against her was ordered by Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas the other day. The graft charge against Mercykutty Amma and the probe into it have turned out to be a huge embarrassment for the seven-month-old LDF Government which had suffered its first major jolt since assuming office last May in the form of nepotism charge against CPI(M) central committee member EP Jayarajan which led to his resignation as Industries minister on October 14. That the Vigilance probe against Mercykutty Amma has come just a week after a court in Thodupuzha had dismissed the discharge petition of CPI(M) s Idukki strongman and Power Minister MM Mani in a 34-year-old case pertaining to the murder of a young Congress leader is making matters further worse for the also suggested their party workers to remain prepared for early polls. Apart from opposition Congress party, a large section of media too reported that Gujarat may witness early polls after Anandiben Patel s exit as Gujarat Chief Minister. Even within the ruling party, many were murmuring on the early assembly polls. However, Rupani rejected all these speculations saying that the assembly polls would not only hold on its schedule but his party would win one more time with clear majority. Apart from Patidar and Dalit issues, opposition Congress party which is out of power in the state since 1989 is upbeat on returning to power post demonetization move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Marxist party and the LDF Government. Though the Opposition has not made a direct demand for the resignation of Mercykutty Amma so far, even top leaders of the LDF are privately admitting that she will have to step down if the Vigilance probe finds any substance in the allegation because the Left had been quick to raise demand for resignation whenever a minister in the former government was accused of graft. The UDF was voted out mainly due to alleged corruption. One minister had resigned, another had put in his papers and some others had reached the verge of resigning. The LDF seems to be going the same way and a talk is already on in the analysts circles that the LDF and the UDF are two sides of the same coin in this regard, said a former CPI(M) State committee member. The initiation of probe against her has not prompted Mercykutty Amma to express readiness to resign as Jayarajan had done after he was accused outhern and Central Tamil SNadu, especially the districts of Madurai, Tiruchirappali, Puthukottai, Thanjavur, Tirunelveli and Tiruvarur are raging with anger over the ban on Jallikkattu, the centuries old sport of bull taming. The Supreme Court banned the sport in 2014 following complaints from animal welfare activists who claimed that the ritual was a cruelty perpetrated on the animals. The Supreme Court order banning the Jallikkatu was delivered following the affidavits submitted by the then UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh. Though the Narendra Modi Government which took office in May 2014 tried to circumvent the Supreme Court ban by a special ordinance, the apex court shot it down and the ban is continuing. Seeing the public resentment against the ban on Jallikkattu, the DMK and the Congress launched a massive agitation on Tuesday at Alanganallur in Madurai, considered as the hub of the bull taming. Thousands of people A court in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday harshly criticised the Director of Kerala s Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) for the alleged delay in investigations against Ministers and top Government officials forcing him to convene an urgent meeting of officials and instruct them to take prompt action on complaints. While considering a petition seeking orders for a VACB probe into a serious corruption allegation against Marxist Minister J Mercykutty Amma, the Special Vigilance Court in Thiruvananthapuram expressed displeasure at the delay in investigations against Ministers and top officials. Petitioner P Raheem, a lawyer, had approached the court after the Vigilance failed to initiate action on his complaint against the Minister for a long time after he lodged it in November. The court asked the bureau why investigations were getting delayed even after receiving complaints and why petitioners had to approach it. When the Prosecution submitted that a quick verification had already been initiated against Mercykutty Amma, the court pointed out that this had happened only after the petitioner approached it three times. The Vigilance Director had ordered a quick verification against Mercykutty Amma on Monday. Special Vigilance Judge A Badaruddin reminded the bureau that such delay had occurred in launching inquiries against former Industries minister EP Jayarajan of the CPI(M) over charges of nepotism and Additional DGP R Sreelekha. He asked the bureau to submit the report of its quick verification against the Minister by February 17. Following the court s criticisms, Vigilance Director Jacob Thomas held an urgent meeting of his officials handling probes in important cases and issued some tough instructions. He reportedly told them that there should be no delay in starting follow-up actions on complaints received at the Vigilance headquarters. of making nepotistic appointments in the Government sector though she had announced that she would resign if the charge was proved correct when it was raised in the Assembly in October by Congress legislator VD Satheesan. Apart from Mercykutty Amma, her husband B Thulaseedhara Kurup, a former director board member of the Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Cooperative Society, and Xavier, managing director of the Cashew Development Corporation, also are facing quick verification by the Vigilance, which has been asked by a court to submit its report by February 17. The Marxist Minister is accused of facilitating the import of several metric tons of raw cashew nuts through companies that had quoted higher prices during the last Onam season leading to a loss of Rs crore to the Exchequer. It has also been alleged that the decision for import was taken at a specially held meeting in the Minister s chamber. ccusing Bharatiya Janta AParty leaders of indulging in corruption in the name of cashless economy, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha Member Pramod Tiwari, demanded resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on moral grounds for not ending the problem of the public due to demonetisation after 50 days. He said that BJP should issue a white paper on the expenditure made for Monday s flop rally in Lucknow. Cashless has now turned into a big scam for the BJP Government. Modi was asking people to go cashless and even promoting a Chinese company Paytm for his vested interest, charged Tewari while adding that BJP leaders were having their share for the participated in the event as Stalin, who is expected to be elevated as the working president of the DMK on January 4, declared that had the DMK been ruling Tamil Nadu, Jallikkattu would have been held with fervour. Stalin and leaders of the Congress blamed the BJP Government at the Centre for the ban on Jallikkattu. But H Raja, the national secretary of the BJP pointed out that the entire blame for the ban on Jallikkaatu lie at the doorsteps of the DMK and the Congress. It was the UPA Government in which the DMK was a major alliance partner which submitted a report to the Supreme Court demanding a ban on Jallikkaatu. Had they not laiming that Prime CMinister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have accepted defeat in the coming Assembly polls in the State, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati stick to Sarvjan hitai, Sarvjan sukhai motto by balancing her party s caste combination while choosing candidates. She also reiterated that her Party will not forge any pre-poll alliance. Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision to restrict political Parties in using religion or caste during the elections, Mayawati said the move was good and she accepts it. Claiming her sarva samaj ideology in the distribution of assembly tickets and ridiculing the charges of the Opposition Parties that BSP is a dalit based Party, Mayawati has given the highest ticket to upper caste followed by backwards, muslims and dalits. Noor( glow) of the face of included the bulls in the list of animals which they described as endangered species, the court would not have banned the sporting event, said Raja, himself a Jallikkatu fan. Leaders of the farming community in Tamil Nadu suspect that the ban on Jallikkattu is a fallout of the deep rooted conspiracy by international agencies who are out to finish off some of the rare native bull breeds. Each Jallikkaatu bull is like a member of the family. No cruelty is perpetrated on them during the taming as alleged by the animal lovers. In fact the possession of a pair of Jallikkattu bulls is a status symbol in the villages, said RV Giri, president, Consortium of Indian Farmers both Modi and Shah were missing during Monday's BJP rally in Lucknow and by announcing that UP elections would not be an issue of win or defeat but it would be a poll for responsibility shows that they have accepted the defeat before the elections," she said. "Could the responsibility given by the people in 2014 Lok Sabha elections have been fulfilled by Modi and his team. It is a big question and now they are again trying to confuse the people in UP. Not a single promise was fulfilled after BJP came to power at the Centre, and now they are again talking about Association (CIFA). Kattumannarkoil Kannan, general secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said the ban on Jallikkaattu was the biggest cruelty perpetrated on the animals. There is no record of any bulls getting wounded or killed during Jalikkattu. It is the tamers who get injured or at times get killed during the sport. There is a wrong notion that the Jallikkattu is similar to the Spanish bull fight, said Kannan. But the findings of Vedic Science Research Centre based in Chennai are startling. The main players in the conspiracy to get jallikkattu banned are Animal Welfare Board of India and PETA. These are the same organisations which went to the court and got orders to wind up the native dog breeding centre at Chennai which has led to the native Indian breeds like Kanni, Kombai and Chippipparai becoming almost extinct. But these organisations are silent over the dog shows featuring imported breeds. They also approached the court to get a ban on elephants in temples. Their motives are suspect and malicious, said Gautam Ramakrishnan, director, VSRC. profit earned through commission by such companies. He also asked that BJP should disclose the details of Monday's rally. The Party should disclose how did it made the payments of the buses and other expenditure during the rally, which they claimed was a historic and more than one million people have attended, asserted Tewari. Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday afternoon, the RS member said Narendra Modi has lost his morale to rule the country after his promise to end the problem of the people of the country after 50 days was turned out to be just a mockery. He further questioned Modi that the PM in his rally on Monday had said that the Kalyan Singh government in UP was the most efficient and honest Government. responsibility of UP," she said. Addressing her first press conference in 2017, Mayawati though did not announce the Party's candidates for the assembly elections but gave the details of the caste who would be fielded in the elections in all the 403 seats, thus ruling out any pre-poll alliances. According to Mayawati, out of the total 403 assembly seats in UP the major chunk of 113 seats will go to the upper caste with Brahmin getting the major share of 66 seats, Thakur 36 and rest 11 to Kayasth, Vaishya and others. The Other Backward Caste(OBCs) would get 106 seats while there would be 97 muslim candidates in the fray. The Dalit will have 87 seats, 85 in the reserved seats and two from the general seat. fter a taxi driver who had Aa deposit of 7 crore in his bank account, the Income Tax department has now stumbled upon another poor-rich man with a bank deposit of whipping 17 crore. Both the cases have come to light in city of Hyderabad. In the latest case the man, whose identity was not revealed by the authorities was being questioned to trace the source of his riches. According to the IT authorities the account in a public sector bank was opened in his name in September and an amount of 3 crore was deposited through wire transfer and later withdrawn in the same manner. After the announcement of demonetisation on November 8 last huge deposits of 14 crore were made in the account in old currency notes of 500 and 1,000 denomination. Authorities suspect that the man who belonged to the below poverty line category was used by one or more people to convert their unaccounted cash into white money. This has come at a time when the IT authorities have asked the crorepati taxi driver to cough up tax of 3.75 crore and deposit 1.75 crore as RBI bond against the deposit of 7 crore in his account. The notice was issued as he had failed to keep his word that he will pay 50% tax under the newly announced scheme of the Central Government. He had sought a week s time but did not pay the amount. The IT investigations so far revealed that after the money was deposited in the account he purchased gold at a price of 40,000 per ten grams against the market price of 30,000. On the whole he bought 4.9 crore worth gold for 7 crore and when tried to sell it could get low price. Now the taxi driver who claims the real owner of the money was pleading with the IT officials that the tax should be on 4 crore and not on 7 crore as the value of his wealth has come down. But IT officials were not In a mood to oblige him.
8 Last Saturday, Gen Bipin Rawat became the 27th Army chief (COAS is a misnomer) superseding two Generals, both of whom have accepted to serve under him. This is a first, when overlooked officers have pledged to work under their junior and set a healthy precedent of honouring the Government s prerogative to select its chief on principle of primus inter pares. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in an interview to NewsX, confirmed that seniority alone was not the determinant for selecting Service chiefs. Room 194 E in South Block is the Chief s Lounge for visitors to meet the COAS. In it are pictures of all those, from Gen KM Cariappa to Gen Dalbir Suhag, who occupied the exalted office. Of the 27 chiefs so far, 16 are from the Infantry, six from Armoured Corps and five from Artillery. The Armoured Corps, compared to its size, has bagged a disproportionate share of the ultimate appointment, which reflects that seniority, competence and suitability have influenced the choice. Amongst the Infantry, Gorkhas, with 41 battalions, is the largest group of Regiments and has contributed four chiefs: two, back to back, now and in the mid-1970s. It is a great pity that, as in the appointment of the last three Army chiefs, Gen Rawat s elevation has got mired in needless controversy over the supersession of two Armoured Corps Army Commanders. Not a word though, was uttered when Admiral Robin Dhowan superseded Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha recently. The maximum criticism has come from Armoured Corps officers expressing fear that breaching the seniority convention will lead to politicisation. The ruling BJP-led Government, one will recall, objected to the UPA naming the Army chief (Gen Suhag), before the election results in In its previous avatar in 2000, it had dismissed the Naval chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, for defying the Government s appointment of a three star Admiral over his choice. No other Service chief has ever been dismissed, though Gen VK Singh came pretty close to that. In most democracies the trade-off for civilian political control over the military is autonomy for the latter in management of its internal affairs. When this was violated in the late 1950s by Defence Minister Krishna Menon by interfering in promotions and postings, Army Chief Gen KS Thimayya Sir This refers to the editorial, Letting the benefits flow (December 3). Most people were expecting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his December 31 address to the nation, would talk about re-monetisation efforts of the Government. However, the Prime Minister failed to live up to the hype. In an uncharacteristically low-key speech, he unveiled a number of subsidies for the poor, middle class, farmers, small businesses, would-be mothers and senior citizens. The incentives were either too trivial or were overblown in a bid to woo voters ahead of elections in various States. Padmini Raghavendra Secunderabad Sir This refers to the editorial, Advantage Akhilesh (January 3). In the stand-off in Uttar Pradesh, father Mulayam Singh Yadav is being depicted as a prisoner of the old order with its disreputable associations and allegiances; the son, Akhilesh Yadav is being portrayed as a purveyor of clean politics and a practitioner of vikas. Akhilesh Yadav is touted as the (Timmy) resigned, though soon he was persuaded by Prime Minister Nehru to retract his decision. Nehru and Timmy were good friends. Menon continued his wayward ways by appointing sycophants like Lt Gen Biji Kaul for plum appointments and hounded independent professionals like Maj Gen Sam Manekshaw against whom he ordered an inquiry that failed to book him. Menon, in cahoots with Nehru, provided such injurious political guidance to the Army high command which sadly did not demur leading it to the Himalayan blunder of The only other time there was palpable political interference was in the short-lived term of Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav. Supersessions in higher ranks are not uncommon when the political executive exercises the constitutional choice to appoint the Service chief. Nehru was advised by Generals Rajendrasinhji and Nathu Singh not to overlook Gen Cariappa who was senior to them, when he was thinking of appointing one of them as the first Indian Army chief. Timmy bypassed two of his seniors, Gen Sant Singh and Kulwant Singh without so much as a ripple. Gen Gopal Bewoor was to be succeeded by a fellow Rimcollian, Gen Prem Bhagat, the first Indian officer to win a Victoria Cross. In her book, Victoria Cross: A Love Story, Bhagat s daughter, Ashali Verma, writes that Bhagat was told by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that he would succeed Gen Bewoor. She had second thoughts and chose the Kashmiri General, Tapi Raina, for the mantle. This was engineered by giving Gen Bewoor a short extension. In those days, no one asked and no reason was given for extension or supersession. It was Lt Gen SK Sinha s supersession by Lt Gen Arun Vaidya from Armoured Corps on grounds of superior operational experience that caused tumult. Gen Sinha was the tallest among a sparse crop of cerebral officers and had served in Army Headquarters in every rank, from Captain to Lt Gen. He could outwit the brightest bureaucrats in the Defence Ministry and was feared by them. What he missed as the COAS was compensated by one ambassadorial and two gubernatorial posts. Sadly, Gen Vaidya in leader of the youth, eager to tap the votes of the young ones while his father believes he needs to be at the helm to ensure the old party faithful do not stray away. Mulayam Singh Yadav s insecurities are stoked by his brother and associates who are jealous of Akhilesh Yadav s rise and are desperate to get a large share of the party and its finances. At the core, the father is unfortunately not able to accept the inevitable generational transformation. JS Acharya Hyderabad whose term as chief, Operation Blue Star was launched (earlier Lt Sinha as Western Army Commander had refused to mount the operation), was gunned down by Khalistani terrorists in his fading days at Pune. The British routinely supersede in the selection of Service chiefs and CDS, discarding the seniority principle. It was patently wrong and unnecessary on the part of the Government to provide background information on the reasons why Gen Rawat scored over others due to his extensive counterinsurgency and Line of Control experience. Counter-insurgency is the Army s secondary task in aid to civil authority. The primary role of the Army is to deter and fight a war, including defence against external aggression. One could argue that Pakistan s proxy war in J&K is part of that bigger design, but it could not be the key determinant for merit trumping seniority. If seniority alone was the clinching factor, why would the Ministry forward to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, eight dossiers of seven Army Commanders including commander ARTRAC and Vice Chief of Army Staff? Only the senior most, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi s dossier ought to have been sent. The perception that Armoured Corps has been short changed by Infantry and Artillery in Higher Command, must be addressed by the Army before the Defence Ministry intervenes after the orders of the Supreme Court. Until the promotions system is institutionalised, every chief, regardless of arm, will intrinsically favour his own arm and Regiment due to the deeply ingrained and effective regimental system. The Ministry is adept at nitpicking and on the lookout for opportunities in getting intrusive. It directed that the Special Selection Board Maj Gen to Lt Gen not be held during last month s Army Commanders' conference. Not until Gen Suhag met Defence Minister Parrikar did the Defence Ministry relent. It was finally held on December 17. By continuing in service, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi may be chasing the mirage of CDS he is to retire in July Parrikar told NewsX in his whimsical style that CDS would be appointed in In mid-2015, he had put two months for its realisation. Still, good luck to Lt Gen Bakshi and happy hunting, Gen Rawat! (The writer is a retired Major General of the Indian Army and strategic affairs expert) Sir This refers to the article, This year, let s resolve to listen (January 3) by Kushan Mitra. In their famous song, ABBA, a pop group, said, Happy new year. Happy new year. May we all have a vision now and then. Of a world where every neighbour is a friend. This is the right note to begin the new year. We must listen and cooperate with others if we have to progress. Many countries have graduated from police states to welfare states. American author and political activist Helen Keller and Stephen Hawking are shining bright in our who s who. Slowly, but surely, we are realising that only cooperation and compassion can take us forward. Let us throw the survival of the fittest theory away. Sujit De Kolkata Sir This refers to the editorial, Mind your business, fine? (December 28). The editorial has rightly enumerated instances of medieval mindset on dress code in the 21st century when the world has moved ahead of puritan mindset. The portrayal of cricketer Mohammed Shami s wife in Western style dress caused undesirable reactions from Muslim clergies, who termed it as an attempt to defame Islam and treated Shami s wife as private property. Decent and graceful members from the Muslim community condemned the conservative mindsets of the clergies to keep their influence on ignorant and illiterate sector of their society abuzz with these inept outbursts. It is time the clerics, who are so eager to visit Western countries for joy rides, change their mindset. PN Saxena Via
9 To the surprise of many political observers around the world both critics and supporters alike Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States. Trump was so unconventional and unpredictable that some even among his Republican elites distanced themselves from the party s nominee. Because of his new entry into politics, some of Trump s comments were politically incorrect or considered unacceptable by social standards. If the President-elect is to go by his election campaign promises, he would focus on domestic politics over relations with the international community, including the US pivot to Asia, one of President Barack Obama s central foreign policy initiatives. The pivot was meant to be a strategic re-balancing of US interests from Europe and West Asia toward East Asia. With its pivot programme, the Obama Administration signalled a shift from its predecessor s focus on West Asia. In conjunction with its larger Asia policy, the Obama Administration undertook several significant initiatives toward Myanmar, which had been under economic and political sanctions by the Bush regime. The Obama Administration s Myanmar policy kicked off in September 2009, when it officially announced a ninemonth-long policy review to start engaging the military junta while retaining sanctions. The US policy shift materialised after having engaged in more than 20 high-level visits by the US Assistant Secretary, special representatives and other officials, meeting with people from different walks of life across the country. More importantly, the support of Aung San Suu Kyi was instrumental. The policy shift was followed by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton s visit to Myanmar in December 2011, which was the first such visit to the country in 50 years. It was made possible by Myanmar s progress toward democratic reform, particularly the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. The Secretary of State s visit was followed by the appointment of Derek Mitchell as the new US Ambassador to Myanmar on June 29, The US had downgraded its diplomatic representation in Myanmar to charge d affaires following a military coup in 1988 and a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests, as well as due to the nullification of the 1990 general election result, which was overwhelmingly won by the National League for Democracy (NLD). In a sign of progress in bilateral relationship, President Obama first visited Myanmar in November 2012, becoming the first sitting US President to do so. Obama then visited the country again in November 2014, partly because Myanmar hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the East Asia summit, which Obama had to attend. The bilateral relations improved further in the aftermath of the November 2015 election, which the NLD won in a landslide. The NLD s electoral victory eventually led to the lifting of the longheld US sanctions on Myanmar on September 14, Subsequently, the Obama Administration terminated the National Emergency with respect to Myanmar and revoked the Executive Order-based framework of the Myanmar sanctions program. The US also restored the Generalised System of Preferences trade benefits to Myanmar in light of progress on a number of fronts, including strengthening protection for internationally recognised worker rights. However, the US arms embargo under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and other stringent export controls remain in place. There is also a continued visa ban on a list of individuals viewed as being linked to the Myanmar armed forces, known as Tatmadaw. In addition, there are Specially Designated Nationals located in Myanmar who remain listed under authorities related to North Korea and narcotics trafficking. With the lifting of sanctions, the US commits to continued cooperation in addressing challenges, such as strengthening the rule of law, promoting respect for human rights, countering human trafficking, combatting corruption, and advancing anti-money laundering efforts and counter-narcotics activities. Until now, President-elect Donald Trump has not made any public statement on what his administration s policy toward Myanmar would be. But it can be guessed or speculated from his election campaign that he is unlikely to take a strong personal interest on Myanmar, unlike his predecessor. For example, Obama established a close rapport with Suu Kyi and also visited the country twice. But the overarching US policy on Myanmar will largely remain the same. With a Republican in the White House and both Houses of the Congress being dominated by Republicans, it will even make things easier if the US Government chooses to implement any new policies on Myanmar. Whether the Trump Administration will have an interest or focus on Myanmar will also depend on America s broader policy toward the Asia-Pacific region. But as the leading advocate of human rights and democracy around the world, the US needs to continue with its unfinished objectives in Myanmar, especially in areas of consolidation of democracy, the peace process between the Government and ethnic armed groups, and on the sensitive question of the Rohingya issue. Challenges remain in the democratisation process, especially in areas of institutional building, constitutional amendment, as well as the need for gradually reducing the role of military in politics. The second phase of the 21st century Panglong conference is due to begin in the month of February this year, but heavy armed clashes continue between the Myanmar Army and members of the Northern Alliance the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Ta ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Arakan Army (AA). Under the present circumstances, it is unlikely that a majority of the armed groups will attend and or participate in the upcoming conference. The first Panglong conference in 1947 failed partly due to the non-participation of all major ethnic nationalities of the time. Only representatives from the Chin, Kachin and Shan ethnic groups signed the Panglong agreement with the Myanmar Government representative Aung San to form an interim Government. Soon after the country s independence, the insurgency movement began. Another major problem where the Trump administration should diligently help or at least offer assistance is on the question of the Rohingya conundrum. One way to do that would be to encourage the Kofi Annan-led panel, which the NLD Government appointed, to find a long-lasting solution to the problem. (The writer is assistant professor and executive director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, and an author) T here are winds of change in Tamil Nadu politics, with both the Dravidian parties the AIADMK and the DMK opting for a leadership change as the old leadership is fading away. While the DMK has its second-generation leaders in place, the AIADMK has none in the aftermath of the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. So it is clinging to her long time companion Sasikala Natarajan in an emotional moment. Whether Sasikala could transfer that moment into a political moment, is yet to be seen. Almost after five decades, the DMK is going in for a generational change. This is significant in view of the vacuum created by the death of Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu politics. M Karunanidhi has been a long-time player as he has outlived AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran and now Jayalalithaa. Despite the AIADMK s vulnerability, the DMK is in no hurry to split the rival party. It needs just 20 more seats to form a Government but the AIADMK has 135 members and you need twothird of the party to split, which is difficult at present. The DMK leaders would like to see the AIADMK crumble under its own weight. The BJP at the Centre too does not want to upset the applecart right now. So, for the time being, all are playing the wait and watch game. The MK Stalin era in the DMK has just begun after he has been officially designated as the second-in-command. Karunanidhi will continue to lead the party on paper, but Stalin will cement his power with his new position. He has been functioning as the de facto chief for some time and even before the 2016 Assembly poll, he had campaigned for the party extensively. He has been given the credit for the DMK winning 98 seats, with the party emerging as a strong opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The DMK needs an active new leader to helm the party, owing to the failing health of the 93-year old party patriarch Karunanidhi, who had steered the party since the late sixties. Stalin has been in politics for four decades and has been his father s shadow and a backroom boy. Karunanidhi has chosen him as his political heir despite the claims of his older son MK Alagiri and also his daughter Kanimozhi. He had groomed Stalin carefully and given him positions in the party, overlooking his seniors. The senior leaders, including Durai Murugan, have accepted Stalin s elevation. There is no issue. Why is the DMK going in for a change now? First of all, Karunanidhi sees good future for the party in the aftermath of Jayalalithaa s death. Second, and more important, is that the DMK patriarch Karunanidhi is ailing and has been in and out of hospital. He was unable to do much campaigning in the 2016 Assembly election. He would like to see that the succession is ensured during his lifetime. Third, the DMK is a cadre-based party and Karunanidhi never allowed the growth of second-rung leaders and promoted his own family members. He got rid of Vaiko in 1993, when Vaiko found that he could be a rival to his son Stalin. Vaiko floated his own party, the MDMK, and is still around. The party has no one of stature who can take over the reigns. Fourth, the DMK patriarch has realised the need for a younger face to attract the new generation of voters who would not be satisfied with just ideological slogans. These voters want development and expect the party to deliver. Stalin went for an image make-over before the 2016 election and donned jeans and T-shirt to be in step with the younger voters; he also visited various temples. Fifth, though Stalin wants to become the party chief, Karunanidhi has consistently denied him that place claiming that he will remain in the post as long as he lives. So becoming the working president is the next best option. As for the AIADMK, the party has lost its most charismatic leader who had brought it to power four times 1991, 2001, 2011 and in Now it lacks both second-rung leaders and a powerful mass based leader. No doubt Sasikala Natarajan has become the general secretary of the party and O Panneerselvam, who had been nominated by Jayalalithaa herself twice before, has become the Chief Minister. But neither of them can control the party individually. It is quite possible that Panneerselvam could emerge as his own man or that Sasikala would try to show the Chief Minister his place. Sasikala is untested and it is not clear whether she can control the party in the same way that Jayalalithaa did. They are together for the sake of power now, as the AIADMK has another four--and-a-half years to go. The MLAs do not want to go for an election so soon. (The writer is a political commentator and syndicated columnist)
10 roubles don t seem to end for TGST rollout as other roadblocks came on the way on Tuesday with states demanding taxation rights for sales in high seas and also increasing the number of items on which cess is to be levied to compensate the states to deal with revenue loss estimated at 90,000 crore post demonetisation. Initially a 55,000 crore GST compensation fund was proposed to be created by levying cess on demerit or sin goods and luxury items, but post demonetisation the compensation amount is expected to go up to 90,000 crore as most states have seen revenue decline of up to 40 per cent, non-bjp ruled states claimed. Also, coastal states pressed for rights to levy GST on trade of goods within 12 nautical miles offshore, holding up finalising of the draft law for levy of Integrated-GST (IGST) on inter-state trade. At the eighth meeting of the all-powerful GST Council, TMC-ruled West Bengal, CPMled Kerala and Congress-ruled Karnataka pressed for including area up to 12 nautical miles in the definition of states within IGST law, a standoff that led to chairman and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley agreeing to seek legal opinion on its Constitutional validity. "We couldn't reach a consensus on a very important issue that relates to defining of a state. This is 12 nautical miles from the state. Can states charge GST from them or not? Right now states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Odisha are charging VAT or sales tax within 12 nautical miles. For eg when a ship is loaded with oil or products, the tax on that is charged by the states. "All the coastal states, irrespective of parties, combined in saying that we must have 12 nautical miles within the state jurisdiction. Whereas the draft IGST law was looking at having taxation rights with the Centre," West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra told reporters. The Day 1 of the panel meeting did not take up the contentious issue of control of assesses which had been till now holding up roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. The issue would be discussed tomorrow. While representatives of opposition-ruled states were unanimous in saying April 1 target date for rollout of the new regime is not possible, even BJP-ruled Gujarat said GST could become a reality from September.The Council, headed by Jaitley and comprising state representatives, agreed on most of the clauses of the draft IGST law, which along with Central- GST (CGST) and State-GST (SGST) have to be passed by Parliament and state legislatives respectively before the new tax regime can be rolled out. Mitra said some states earn as much as 600 crore and Gujarat gets 1,200 crore revenue from taxing sales in high seas. Asked about rollout of GST from April, he said today's meeting did not even "touch" on the issue of dual control, which was fundamental to the GST rollout. Also tax slabs on 1,500 items have remained to be decided. "We cannot have a GST that is non-sustainable, flawed and states will not give up their rights along with the Centre to bring it into effect," Mitra said, adding West Bengal was committed to GST implementation but the "demonetisation tsunami" derailed it. He said tax revenue grew 11 per cent in November 2015, but in November 2016, the month of demonetisation, it contracted (-) 2 per cent. "Every state said their taxes have fallen by per cent. (Post demonetisation) every states compensation would go up. We had initially estimated that at most five states would Niti Aayog vicechairman Arvind Panagariya on Tuesday said demonetisation would have some impact on the economy in the third and fourth quarter of this fiscal but the country would make up for those losses in FY "In the quarter in which the demonetisation decision was made and possibly even the quarter that follows which will be the last quarter of the fiscal , we might see some decline in the growth rate," Panagariya told CNBC-TV18. "...The impact is going to be small and subsequently as we get into the next fiscal , we would make up for what we lose in these two quarters," he said. Asked whether the government is contemplating of providing big stimulus postdemonetisation, Panagariya said it is too early to jump on any conclusion and one must wait to see the economic impact of demonetisation. "So whether or not we need a stimulus etc. The answer to that question will depend on what we observe," the Niti Aayog vice-chairman noted. Panagariya further said that some room for increased expenditure may nevertheless come from higher revenues and that is generally a good news. Asked whether the government should stick to its roadmap for fiscal consolidation, Panagariya said if there is no compelling reason then the Centre should simply stay course with the plan. Referring to Niti Aayog's recommendations of listing some unlisted public sector units, the Niti Aayog vicechairman said there is a decision underway on listing a large number of public sector units. Talking about Niti Aayog's proposal of setting up of Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs), Panagariya said he is hopeful of convincing the Finance Ministry to make a provision for these zones in the forthcoming Budget. "I really think that the time is opportune and we cannot afford to lose more time on this because the large companies currently operative in China, in the labour intensive sectors are beginning to move out and before they move out to countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh, we have to make a move and bring them over here." he noted. aking note of rising bad Tloans, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to give the list of "corporate entities" against whom outstanding loans were in excess of 500 crore, besides the "empiricial data" on recovery cases pending for last ten years in debt recovery tribunals (DRTs) and their appellate bodies. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud rued the lack of infrastructure and manpower at DRTs and debt recovery appellate tribunals (DRATs), which decide recovery cases and said the legislative changes on fast disposal of such matters will not yield results unless infrastructure is not "commensurate" with the burden of work. The bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit dealing with various issues and sought "empirical data on the pendency of cases for more than ten years and the list of corporate entities where the amount outstanding is in excess of 500 crore". The court asked "whether the timelines set down in the amended legislation are capable of being achieved with the existing infrastructure including judicial personnel and staffing pattern of the debt recovery tribunals and debt recovery appellate tribunals". The court also wanted to know whether any scientific In a first, the Department of Telecom will finalise this year a comprehensive policy on backhaul spectrum or airwave that connects mobile towers with each other. The policy for backhaul spectrum -- the work on which will start shortly -- will spell out aspects like the spectrum bands to be used for the purpose, system of allocation of such airwaves and the spectrum pricing. The backhaul spectrum works on higher frequency bands, between 3GHz to 70 GHz. "We have done most of the reforms with regard to access spectrum, which is the spectrum between the consumer and the mobile towers. But on backhaul spectrum, which connects the mobile towers amongst themselves, there are areas like what spectrum should be used, how should the spectrum be allocated... Those are the policy features we would like to work on, this year," Telecom study has been conducted on the availability of infrastructure and "what steps the Union Government intends to adopt to enhance the infrastructure of debt recovery tribunals and the appellate tribunals in terms of physical infrastructure, judicial manpower and non-judicial personnel required for the efficacious functioning of the tribunals". It has asked as to whether there was any specific plan of action including time schedules within which the existing infrastructure would be upgraded so as to achieve the time frame for disposal indicated in the amended legislation. In the judgement, the bench also referred to an incident in which the chairperson of the DRAT, Allahabad wrote to the CJI saying he was constrained to tender his resignation from the post due to absence of "infrastructure and facilities".dealing with the recent amendement in law which proividesfor speedy disposal of recovery cases by DRTs and DRATs, the bench said there should be adequate infrastructure and manpower to meet the statutory deadline which says that such matters are required to be disposed of in 180 days. "Legislative changes to provide for expeditious disposal of proceedings before the debt recovery tribunals may not by themselves achieve the intended object so long as the infrastructure provided to the tribunals is not commensurate with the burden of the work and nature of judicial duties," it said. The Centre, in its recent affidavit, had apprised the court that more than 70,000 cases involving an amount of 5 lakh crore approximately are pending before DRTs, of which many are pending for more than ten years. The bench noted that though the Act concerned provides for disposal of recovery applications within 180 days, the cases have remained pending for years Secretary J S Deepak told the news agency. Stating that the backhaul spectrum is as important as access spectrum, Deepak said any "clogging" in the backhaul would mean that a call would not be completed. "It has never been done before. It is a pioneering area because for this spectrum so far, its use has not been determined through a policy," he said. Asked if the Telecom Department would have to refer the policy matter to telecom regulator TRAI for its views, Deepak said, "No, this decision pertains to the Telecom Commission." The Telecom Department undertook a slew of reforms in 2016 aimed at facilitating the ease of doing business. This included formulating the Right of Way rules for faster telecom network roll-out, spectrum harmonisation, increasing the availability of spectrum through auction and introduction of Aadhaar-based ekyc for new mobile connections. The new backhaul spectrum policy, which is in the offing, will address areas like users, bands, system of allocation, and pricing, he pointed out. "We are starting work on it and in calender year 2017, you should see some outcomes," he said. Today, the backhaul connectivity between mobile towers uses other bands of spectrum, and mostly fibre. "Those which are not connected by fibre are connected through wireless and...that spectrum is also getting short, so we want to look at newer bands of spectrum which could be used for the backhaul," he added. Deepak further said: "Much of this spectrum has huge capacities...so, that will improve the backhaul capacity once they become usable." Google's India-born CEO Sundar Pichai will announce some key initiatives for Indian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on Wednesday as part of the tech giant's efforts to bring more businesses online in the country. Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will also join Pichai and other senior Google leaders during the event. "Small and medium businesses are the backbone of the Indian economy and are powering the next wave of the country's growth. At Google, we are excited about partnering with businesses to help them unlock exponential growth through the power of digital," Google said in an invitation. Pichai is also scheduled to visit his alma mater, IIT Kharagpur, on January 5. Google has been aggressively focussing on the Indian market over the last few years. With products like Google for Business and a new Cloud region, the company is betting big on tapping into the multimillion dollar opportunity in India. Its products compete with those from the stables of global giants like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. together. DRTs and DRATs "suffer from a lack of adequate infrastructure, manpower and resources. Having due regard to the important adjudicatory function which is entrusted to these tribunals, the efficacy of parliamentary legislation will depend in a large measure on the efficiency with which the tribunals discharge their duties," it said. Earlier, the court had reserved its order on one of the issues, raised in the PIL, relating to lack of infrastructure, manpower and other facilities at DRTs and DRATs which deal with banks and FIIs' loan recovery petitions. It was hearing the PIL, filed in 2003 by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which had originally raised the issue of loans advanced to some companies by state-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). The plea had said that about 40,000 crore of corporate debt was written off in The bench had clarified that the issue of loan defaults would be dealt with by it later During the hearing, the court had directed RBI to provide a list of companies which had defaulted bank loans of over 500 crore while expressing serious concern over the growth in bad loans. It had also asked RBI to provide a list of companies loans of which have been restructured under corporate debt restructuring schemes. In what could come as a good news for taxpayers in the new year, the Income Tax department has asked its officials to resolve their grievances within 30 days time. The department's new wing called the 'Directorate of Tax Payer Services' has asked all the regional heads of the I- T to ensure that "there are no grievances aged more than 30 days pending at any level" pertaining to complaints of refunds, PAN issues and other Income Tax-related subjects. In a communication, the Directorate has also underlined the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his review meetings in this regard has "stressed upon adhering to the timeline of 30 days for the redressal of a particular grievance". "One of the major reasons for delay in the grievance redressal is failure to identify need compensation, because 14 per cent rate of growth others would achieve. "Today many states would need compensation. If you need 80,000-90,000 crore, instead of 55,000 crore, where will it come from? That's a double whammy. States are interested that Centre should stick to its constitutional commitment," Mitra said. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said to get a reform like GST through, the Centre has to think in moderate terms. "I don't think GST can happen in April, there may be one or two months delay". Haryana Finance Minister Abhimanyu Singh Sindhu said the draft of model IGST was "more-or-less finalised" today. "I am optimistic that dual control will be resolved tomorrow," he said. On the rollout schedule, he said, "Realistically speaking it is difficult deadline (April 1). But I would still not say it is absolutely unlikely. I still see it as a possibility." The GST Council will again consider the draftcompensation law if the quantum of compensation goes up to 90,000 crore from the current estimates of Rs 55,000 crore, Mitra said. "If you assume 30 per cent decline in tax collection, instead of five states demanding compensation, states will need compensation. And therefore the amount of compensation required where will it come from?" he said. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac too said the revenue loss is going to be much higher than 55,000 crore. "Earlier the Council had decided on four commodities for levying cess. Now it has been decided that it would be as notified by Council and at the end of year five it would be merged with the GST rate or divided between Centre and states as the Council decides," Isaac said. Joining the rate cut bandwagon, several banks and housing finance companies, including HDFC, on Tuesday lowered their lending rates by up to 0.9 per cent -- which will lead to cheaper home and corporate loans. Among banks, Corporation Bank, Bank of India and Punjab & Sind Bank slashed their marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR). Taking a cue from State Bank of India and other major lenders, mortgage finance company HDFC Ltd, Indiabulls Housing Finance too reduced lending rate by up to 0.45 per cent. Loans up to 75 lakh will attract interest rate of 8.7 per cent per annum, while it will be 8.75 per cent for higher amounts, HDFC said in a statement. A woman applicant will get a discount of 0.05 per cent in interest rate. HDFC's earlier benchmark rate was 9.1 per cent. Besides, Bank of India reduced its MCLRs upto 0.9 per cent. For one year, the MCLR is now 8.50 per cent, down 0.75 per cent. However, overnight MCLR has been reduced by 0.9 per cent to 8.1 per cent effective January 7. Another public sector lender Punjab and Sind Bank lowered the one-year MCLR to 8.75 per cent, down by 0.8 per cent. He further said that Kerala continue to demand that dealer and service providers with turnover below 1.5 crore should be taxed only by the states. The state also demanded that IGST collections should be shared between Centre and states. As many as six sectors, including banking and insurance, IT and telecom, and civil aviation, today made presentations before the GST Council and pressed for single registration either with Centre or states under the GST regime. Sisodia said that while central government PSUs, infrastructure and service departments wanted centralised registration, State Government PSUs and Public Works Department wanted that control remain with states. Rajasthan Industries Minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat said he was hopeful that discussion on IGST law would complete on Wednesday. competent officer to redress the grievance and lack of knowledge of recent circulars or instructions," the communication said, adding if the person (tax official) dealing with the grievance identifies the competent I-T authority, "a lot of time can be saved". The Directorate has also directed the taxman that in case the grievance does not pertain to the authority directed by the CBDT, it "should be transferred back in not more than five days time." The Directorate, nodal wing for all taxpayer grievances pan-india, has suggested that the official handling the grievance should give "due attention to the grievance at hand" and ensure that the required action is undertaken without any delay. The communication added that any action like referring the matter to the Bengaluru-based Central At the same time, it also slashed base rate or the minimum lending rate by 0.05 per cent to 9.70 per cent effective on Tuesday. Corporation Bank also lowered 1-year MCLR rate by 0.7 per cent to 8.75 per cent. Spurt in deposit due to demonetisation has provided banks space for lowering lending rate. The reduction in lending rates may prompt increase in credit offtake which has moderated substantially putting burden on balance sheet of banks. More banks are expected to cut the lending rate in the coming days. Even fixed deposit rates are expected to come down and announcement to this effect would be made in the next few days. Banks have switched to MCLR as their new benchmark lending rate from June last year, replacing the base rate system for new borrowers. It is calculated on the marginal cost of borrowing and return on net worth for banks. It was introduced by RBI to ensure fair interest rates to borrowers as well as banks. MCLR also seeks to address the regulator's primary objective of expediting monetary policy transmission along with augmenting uniformity and transparency in the calculation methodology of lending rates. MCLR rates are revised every month. Processing Centre (CPC) of the I-T department (where I- T Returns are e-filed) or a similar centre for Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) processes in Ghaziabad near here, should be intimated in case the issue requires their intervention. "Sometimes the Assessing Authority fails to understand the processes and sends back the grievance to a wrong person. All these issues can be addressed if the assessing officer or the concerned authority gives due attention to the grievance at hand," it said. It noted that regular monitoring of grievances via the Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) by the field formations of the department has resulted in "better performance" by the department and the number of such issues pending between days has "substantially gone down."
11 MUMBAI: Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in India, on Tuesday tied up with the country's largest lender State Bank of India to Ltd was also among those identified, according to the NIOC web- and 5000 distributors to conduct enable its over 2.6 million retailers site. OVL is already present in Iran. business transactions digitally. The NGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), In 2008, it had discovered the bank will initiate the retailers in the Othe overseas arm of stateowned Farzad-B gas field in the Farsi digitisation process with its digital Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has won rights to bid for oil and gas development projects in Iran. OVL is among the 29 international oil companies from more than a dozen countries that Iran has pre-qualified to bid in the upcoming tender for oil and gas projects, according to the list put out by National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC). Others on the list include Royal Dutch Shell Plc, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Total SA of France, Russia s Gazprom and Eni of NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Budget, state-owned oil producer ONGC and private sector Cairn India have asked the Government to cut cess on crude oil saying the switchover from fixed to ad valorem rates had turned things from bad to worse. The producers want the Government to cut the cess to 8 per cent of the price they realise on sale of domestically produced crude oil. In the previous Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had converted 4,500 per tonne fixed cess on crude oil to 20 per cent ad valorem. The 20 per for a temporary period only up to moderate crude prices, their association PetroFed last month wrote to Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia. With the oil cartel OPEC deciding the cut production, global oil rates have started moving up. As a result the domestic producers of crude oil are again feeling the pinch with 20 per cent ad valorem cess and are in fact in a much worse off than before, PetroFed wrote. It said there was an urgent need to reconsider the issue and provide the much needed relief to the block in Persian Gulf. The discovery has an in-place gas reserve of 21.7 trillion cubic feet, of which 12.5 tcf are recoverable. We are in negotiations with Iran for development rights of Farzad- B field, a senior company official said. Discussions on continuing a development plan that we submitted to Iranian authorities. We are hoping negotiations will continue soon. Gas produced from the field can either be converted into LNG by freezing at sub-zero temperature and shipping in cryogenic payment options like Buddy P2P, Buddy Merchant, App, SBI Pay. We would train the retailers not only in our product but also about the loans that they could possible access. I am sure we would be able to get all of these people who are today dealing in cash to the digital payment, SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told reporters here. She said loans to the retailers would be given based on their actual turnover. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Bottling Italy. Iran, the holder of world's fourth-largest oil reserves and cent cess rate provided benefit domestic oil producers. PTI ships to India or transported through a pipeline -- via overland Investments Group regional director for South Asia T OPEC s third-largest oil producer, is hoping to attract as much as $150 billion in foreign investment in its oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors over the next few years. The list of prequalified firms also included Malaysia s Petronas, Russia s Lukoil, China's CNOOC and Sinopec, Inpex of Japan, KOGAS of Korea. Most of these companies have been involved in Iran s oil industry projects before the US- tailored sanctions were imposed against the country in Newcomers include Wintershall from Germany, Maersk from Finland, DNO from Norway and CEPSA from Spain, according to the NIOC list. US oil services provider Schlumberger passing through Pakistan or sub-sea. The official said the OVL will definitely look at participating in the bid round that Iran will hold using a new, less restrictive Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model. Krishnakumar said, While all of our payment to suppliers and more than 90 per cent of our collections from our partners are digitised, we propose to extend this facility to every retailer in the marketplace. PTI NEW DELHI: Realtors body NAREDCO on Tuesday hailed the Government s decision to provide interest subsidy under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, saying the move will help in accomplishing the vision of Housing for All by However, the association said that loans from banks should be available easily for people in the unorganised sector. To boost rural and urban housing post demonetisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced interest subsidy of up to 4 per cent on loans taken in the new year under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana. Announcing a slew of measures, Modi in his national address on New Year s eve also said 33 per cent more homes will be built for the poor under this scheme in rural areas. NAREDCO welcomes the Government s move to create two additional categories under Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY-Urban) for NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure adequate availability, state-owned CIL will this month begin the second phase of auction of coal linkages for the non-regulated sector and is likely to put on offer 14.5 million tonnes of fuel. Tranche II of auction of coal linkages for sponge iron sub-sector under non-regulated sector. Is scheduled to start from January 17 onwards, an official told PTI. The auction of the second phase will be held in the month of January and February, the official said. In the non-regulated sector, the auction of coal linkages will be for sponge iron, cement, steel and others, the official said. PTI NEW DELHI: Encouraging firms to enrol their workers under schemes run by retirement fund body EPFO, a 3-month campaign has been launched beginning January 1 where employers will get amnesty and pay just 1 as damages for not registering their employees earlier. To be called Enrollment and Establishment coverage campaign 2017, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation will hold meetings with the stakeholders -- employer and employee associations and states. The campaign will give wide publicity to the benefits the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) and the Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMPRPY). Besides, online enrolment facilities for workers will form a key feature of the campaign, an official said. Under the scheme, a three-month window will be provided from January 1 to March 31, It provides for the nominal levy of damages from the establishment for payment of contribution for the past period. As per the scheme, any employer during the campaign period may send declaration for membership of the employees who were required or entitled to become members of the fund on or after April 1, 2009, but before January 1, 2017, who could not be enrolled for any reason. For the declaration made under this campaign, the employer shall be responsible to remit the contributions and interest payable in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the schemes. It also provides that no administrative charges will be leviable for the past period in respect interest subvention, its President Parveen Jain said in a statement. Under this, home loans up to 9 lakh taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent and home loans up to 12 lakh will receive interest subvention of 3 per cent. The announcement of another new scheme for neo-middle class in rural areas which provides an interest subvention of 3 per cent on loans up to 2 lakh taken in 2017, for construction of new houses, or extension of old houses is also welcomed, NAREDCO said. Rural housing construction under PMAY has got momentum but urban housing is still struggling because of complexities of land acquisition, lack of infrastructure and nonavailability and affordability of housing finance from recognised banking channel. Government announcement of interest subvention on home loans up to 12 Lacs will be of great relief to LIG and neo middle class, Jain said. PTI NEW DELHI: Keeping prices of all essential food items under control and full digitisation of public distribution system (PDS) will be the priority for the Government in the new year, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday. With the National Food Security law being rolled out across the country, Paswan said the government will now focus on its proper implementation and complete major reforms in the PDS, including 100 per cent Aadhar seeding of ration cards. The Minister, who is also in charge of consumer affairs department, said the Government will make efforts to pass the new Consumer Protection Bill in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament after it remained hanging last year. During 2016, we were able to control the prices of pulses as well as sugar. This year, our focus will be to keep food inflation under check and protect consumers interest," Paswan told PTI in an interview. The Minister expressed confidence that there will not be a repeat of the pulses crisis this year as domestic production is expected to touch a record million tonnes. Moreover, the Government is creating a buffer stock of 2 million tonnes which will be utilised in times of price rise. PTI of the employees enrolled during the campaign. The necessary amendments will be carried out under the relevant provisions of the Employees Provident Fund & Employees Deposit Linked Insurance schemes. The official said the interest of workers enrolled under the campaign will be fully protected and they shall be eligible to get all eligible interest and benefits as laid down in the schemes run by the EPFO. In order to have uniform and nominal rate of levy of damages of 1 per annum, the Government has inserted an enabling provision under para 32(a) of the EPF Scheme 1952 and under para (5) of Employees Pension Scheme, 1995, and para 8-A of EDLI Scheme, It was notified on December 30, PTI NEW DELHI: With parent Suzuki s Gujarat plant set for commissioning later this month, the country s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) expects to significantly reduce the waiting period for its high selling models Vitara Brezza and Baleno. At present, the two models have a waiting period ranging between weeks depending upon the variants. Our major difficulty in 2016 has been inadequate manufacturing capacity, which resulted in quite large waiting period for the Baleno and the Vitara Brezza. The commissioning of the Gujarat plant this month should give relief in , MSI Chairman RC Bhargava told PTI. Suzuki Motor Corp s Hansalpur-based facility, which is the Japanese company s first whollyowned unit in India, would roll out Baleno from the first assembly line. He said MSI had to adjust production of all its other models last year in order to reduce the waiting time for Vitara Brezza and Baleno to the extent possible. PTI
12 sraeli police have questioned IPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for nearly three hours on suspicion of graft after the Attorney General said that the police had gathered enough evidence against him as a possible criminal suspect. The police investigating team questioned 67-year-old Netanyahu on Monday evening over suspicion that he and his family members received illicit gifts and other favours from businessmen running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Netanyahu has strongly denied all allegations against him. The Prime Minister also tried to play down the development telling his critics, don t celebrate yet, hours before he was to be questioned. Nothing will come (of this investigation) and you will continue to spew out hot air, Netanyahu had said mockingly. A statement issued by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said that police found enough evidence to support the questioning of the premier as a possible criminal suspect. The decision to question Netanyahu was made in light of evidence collected in the past month, Mendelblit said. The new development changed the evidentiary situation, the Attorney General said adding that it warranted a full-blown investigation, as opposed to a preliminary inquiry, on the Prime Minister. The statement chronicled the inquiry but did not provide details as of the nature suspicions in the graft case. The police has been examining a long list of claims against the PM since July, the Attorney General said. The enquiry developed and branched out in directions different from the ones that initially launched it, he said. The statement also detailed suspicions that were raised against Netanyahu but had been since dropped. Additional information would be released to the public pending the development of the investigation, the AG added. Israel police has interrogated witnesses abroad as well as in Israel about the graft case against Netanyahu and his family. One witness whose deposition, as per media reports, led to a breakthrough was Jewish American businessman Ron Lauder, a longtime friend of Netanyahu s. Lauder confirmed to police that he had given Netanyahu various gifts, including a suit, and that he had also financed a trip abroad for the PM s son, Yair. The police believe the value of the gifts Lauder gave Netanyahu is greater than what he admitted to and that they were not given in friendship, but in hopes of gaining some benefit. outh Korean President Park SGeun-hye refused to testify on Tuesday in the impeachment trial that will decide her future, prompting the prosecutors to question why she has publicly denied the charges of corruption but will not do so before the court. After Park s refusal, the Constitutional Court delayed the start of oral arguments and asked her to testify on Thursday, when some of her current and former aides are also scheduled to testify. hina continued to flex its Cmuscles in the South China Sea (SCS), with its first aircraft carrier conducting exercises in the disputed area with a flotilla of naval ships amid tensions with the US following President-elect Donald Trump s telephone call to the Taiwanese President. A naval formation consisting of aircraft carrier Liaoning has conducted takeoff and landing drills in the SCS on Monday, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted an official as saying. The formation, which is on a cross-sea area training exercise, involved J-15 fighter jets, as Ankara: The man suspected of shooting dead 39 people and injuring 70 at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year Eve before escaping is 28-year-old Kyrgyz citizen Iakhe Mashrapov, Turkish state broadcaster Trt said on Tuesday. Turkish Twitter users posted and retweeted a photo from Mashrapov s passport whose validity authorities in Kyrgyzistan were not immediately able to confirm, Kyrgyz news site AKI press reported. Mashrapov s date of birth shown on the passport is August 2, 1988 and the document was issued on October 21, 2016, a month before he arrived in Turkey, according to Trt. The Islamic State jihadist group claimed the attack during which a gunman opened fire from an assault rifle inside the Reina nightclub, which was packed with around 600 New Year revellers. At least 27 of the dead were foreigners. A manhunt is underway for Mashrapov. His wife was arrested in the central Turkish province of Konya early on Tuesday and said she did not know Mashrapov belonged to IS, according to police sources sited by Britain s ITV channel. Agencies Istanbul: Turkish media ran a selfie video of a man they say is the gunman who killed 39 people, including two Indians, at an Istanbul nightclub. The video broadcast on Turkish television shows the alleged gunman filming himself with a cellphone at Istanbul s Taksim square. It wasn t immediately clear if it was filmed before or after the New Year s massacre at the Reina nightclub. The court cannot force her to appear but can proceed without her if she refuses twice to appear at the hearings. Lawmaker Kweon Seong Dong, the chief prosecutor in the trial, questioned why Park cannot defend herself in court when just two days ago she vehemently rejected the accusations of corruption in a hastily arranged meeting with reporters at Seoul s presidential Blue House. It s not good etiquette to the justices and also inappropriate for the president, as the defendant of the impeachment well as several ship-borne helicopters, the official said without mentioning specific numbers. Complex hydrological and meteorological conditions in the SCS, as well as a cold front in the area, have posed some challenges, but the drill provided important experience in the build-up of combat capability of the aircraft carrier formation, he said. Chinese officials also say that the carrier is conducting a series resident-elect Donald PTrump has assured Americans that North Korea will not test an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the US even as he criticised China for failing to help rein in its reclusive ally s nuclear ambitions. His comments come a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in his televised New Year address appeared to try to put pressure on Trump by announcing that Pyongyang is in the final stages of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which can carry nuclear warheads. North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon trial, to say this and that to the media outside of court, Kweon told reporters. Lee Joong-hwan, Park s lawyer, said she does not plan to appear Thursday and will probably not testify during the impeachment trial. The trial in the Constitutional Court must decide within six months of her December 9 impeachment whether Park should permanently step down or should be reinstated to office. If the court formally removes Park from office, a presidential election will be held within 60 days. Istanbul: Turkish authorities intensified efforts to identify and detain a suspected jehadist who killed 39 people, and who reportedly fought in Syria alongside ISIS jehadists. So far, 16 people are being held over the attack, including two foreigners detained by Turkish police at Istanbul s main airport. Of the 39 dead, 27 were foreigners, mainly from Arab countries, with coffins repatriated overnight to countries including Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. The suspect who has not been named but was reportedly from Central Asia was staying in a rented flat in Konya before moving to Istanbul to carry out the attack, press reports said. The Dogan news agency said those detained included a woman suspected of being his wife with whom he had stayed in Konya along with two children. Reports said police have made progress in the investigation after speaking to the taxi driver who drove the attacker to the club and tracing calls he had made on the driver s mobile phone. AFP of exercises to test its systems and to work out an appropriate formation of ships and submarines to move along with it. Liaoning, a refit of a Soviet-era warship, has been pressed into exercises in the middle of last month during which it conducted maiden live fire drills on a massive scale along with a host of naval ships, aircraft and submarines, four years after it was commissioned. China is currently building its second aircraft carrier. top adviser to US APresident-elect Donald Trump said that he thinks the Russians were involved in US poll hacking a very different view than that held by the incoming administration, the media reported. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, an adviser to Trump on national security issues, told CNN on Monday that determining who was behind the hacks is difficult, but that he believes the Russians, and possibly others, were involved. I think the Russians were in there, but it doesn t mean other people weren t, too, he said. It s often not foolproof to say who it is because it is possible and sometimes easy to hide your tracks. There s lots of tricks. Asked if Trump is playing the media with his comments on who was culpable, Woolsey said it was a possibility, and noted that Trump is an expert in weaving around on issues like this. Woolsey s comments come even as Trump and his aides continue to cast doubt on the capable of reaching parts of the US, Trump tweeted. It won t happen! Seoul: South Korea said on Tuesday that US presidentelect Donald Trump had sent a clear warning to North Korea with a tweet dismissing Pyongyang s ballistic missile claims. Trump s tweet came a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un appeared to try to pressure the incoming president by announcing his country is in the final stages of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). links between Russia and recent hacks against Democrats, while US intelligence officials say that newly-identified digital fingerprints indicate Moscow was behind the intrusions. One official told CNN the administration has traced the hack to the specific keyboards which featured Cyrillic characters that were used to construct the malware code, adding that the equipment leaves digital fingerprints and, in the case of the recent hacks, those prints point to the Russian government. London: A wheelchair-bound Algerian terror suspect linked to Osama Bin Laden has won his 21-year legal battle to live in the UK, with the judge saying the threat of deportation has affected his mental health, it emerged on Tuesday. The man, who can only be referred to as G due to legal reasons, has defeated repeated UK Government attempts to deport him despite being accused of helping to send young British Muslims to terror training camps abroad, according to British media reports. The wheelchair-bound man came to the UK to claim asylum in August, 1995 using a false French passport. But in 2001, the UK Government decided to deport him after evidence emerged that he was a suspected terrorist and a risk to national security. The UK Home Office claimed he was an active supporter of the Algerian terrorist group Salafist Group for Call and Combat, which has links to Osama s terrorist network. PTI Washington: Republicans in the US House of Representatives have voted to weaken the body that investigates claims of misconduct against members of Congress. Under the change, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics would come under the control of the House Ethics Committee. Republican leaders in the House had opposed the change. The newly elected Congress meets later and the full House will vote on the proposed new rules. Democrats reacted angrily to the vote. The vote happened behind closed doors on a bank holiday, with no advance notice the issue was being considered. It came on the eve of the start of a major power shift in Washington, with Republicans now holding all the levers of power for the first time in nine years. Agencies
13 study conducted in 2011 revealed that cent. Given the demand for a quick and effective roll-out of such courses, they seem to be Aeveryone is bombarded with information worth 174 newspapers, every single day. In ubiquitous and why not? There s every reason to not just conduct, but also be a recip- fact, the finding showed a 200-fold increase in 24 years. According to a study conducted ient of short bursts of learning. Recently, we by Microsoft Corps in 2015, humans have an saw LinkedIn come up with a series of short attention span shorter than that of a Goldfish. online courses that people could take. No This means we now tend to lose concentration after a record eight seconds when a cacy in days when people seem to have less wonder these courses are high on their effi- Goldfish boasts of a 12 seconds. Given our and less time. Also, it goes without saying that fleeting attention spans, it is indisputable that less is more, at least when it comes to digital learning. micro-learning is the way forward in the training industry. Mobile learning: Smartphones have become It is a training methodology that provides our lifeline, always by our side. When it comes learners content in small chunks to prevent to learning on-the-go, they act as an effective tool to dispense micro-learning. There overburdening them with heavy-duty data and helping them retain more information. is no reason why training firms shouldn t tap Essentially short bursts of information makes on and focus their attention on mobile as a the most of a learner s ability to concentrate platform to disseminate information in a bitesized format. Besides, why should time and as compared to traditional e-learning courses that usually last from 30 minutes to about space come in the way of a learner s need to an hour or more. To improve learning outcomes, content-rich videos, images and desktop renditions, grow? From applications to messages and audio are incorporated in training modules. Why bite-sized learning has taken the corporate training world by storm? Millennials: By 2020, millennials are expected to constitute about half the global workforce and since they are multitaskers, it only makes sense to cater to this segment by delivering training in smaller bites so they can consume information in as less time as possible while still retaining more. Since a lot of micro-learning modules are in a digital format, it is perfect for this generation that doesn't switch off. Since they live and breathe technology, the short bites of information and learning keeps them going. Cost-effective: Microlearning tools in the form of short-timed courses cut down costs by about 50 per there's no dearth of learning possibility on our seemingly smart smartphones. Improves retention: With less content to absorb, learners find it easier to retain information. They are prepared to learn more and retain it for later because the modules are developed as such. An entire course material when broken down into manageable pieces helps learning become more focused, hasslefree and easier. There's no attention-deficit. Since the courses are concentrated, there s no space for fluff like introduction or conclusion which generally also doesn t have a magnetic effect. Learn anywhere, anytime: With technology to our rescue, micro-learning makes it possible for learners to tune into their course material from any part of the world and anytime. Whether it is on their desktops or smartphones, the ease of access makes learning more consumer-centric. Engagement quotient: Since rich media formats like videos, audio, images and games are used, learners enjoy learning and remain engaged because they are familiar with these mediums. They don t or won t lose interest and they immerse themselves in the training session. Outcomes are measurable: The results are data-driven and provide an insight into training efficacy. Besides, results are quicker since improvements are noticeable soon after the training. Since there s not a huge ground to cover as a learner, bite-sized learning helps them learn quicker than before. emonetisation has brought windfalls Dfor certain industry sectors like e- commerce, banking and financial services and technology consulting. These sectors have received a shot in the arm because of demonetisation and hence are expected to grow and intensify recruitments from B-schools didn t start on a positive note for the e-commerce companies that planned to recruit from MBA campuses. In 2015, there were instances of e- commerce companies who recruited MBA graduates from campuses but subsequently deferred joining dates. Flipkart deferred joining dates for IIM Ahmedabad graduates to December. Such things weren t restricted to IIM Ahmedabad alone. Other campuses also saw something similar happening. Given the fiasco of 2015, last year not only B- schools but even the engineering colleges were reluctant to give preferred dates to e-commerce companies. The preferred dates were being given to traditional and more stable companies. But with demonetisation coming in, the dynamics of placements seem to be changing. Demonetisation is a boon for companies like Paytm, MobiKwik, FreeCharge, IndiaMART, ShopClues, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. The current short supply of cash is expected to translate into a trend that will see more and more of digital channels being used for payments and a sharp rise in e- commerce transactions. In coming months, some of the e-commerce companies will see growth that would have normally taken years. Likes of Paytm are already seeing an exponential growth. Business growth obviously translates into quantum of money in bank deposits is also increasing. Interest rates are expected to go down and loans are expected to go up. The number of high net worth customers is also expected to go up. Additionally, many banks are coming up with innovative digital payment solutions like SBI Buddy, etc. All this would again translate into additional growth for banks and hence more recruitment from B-schools. If e-commerce and banks do well, the vendors providing technology and consultancy services to these industry sectors are also expected to grow. Consulting companies have been traditionally coming to B-schools for picking Demonetisation is leading to more online transactions and digital money. This in turn means more avenues for cyber crime. Technology consulting companies expect their customers to invest more into fraud detection and hence this will be another collateral area of potential recruitment. The job offers to the students are expected to be more transparent in packages and students will be able to evaluate packages much more objectively. Some companies used to promise cash bonuses, something which demonetisation will eradicate. While the traditional brick and mortar sectors will not get impacted negatively, sectors like e-commerce, banking and up graduates who financial services, technology more recruitment from B-school campuses. Early signs of e-commerce companies jump starting their B-school tional clients B-Schools so as to reap the can service interna- consulting will recruit from engagements are visible. will see consulting benefits of demonetisation Banking and financial services is companies like E & and thus meet the expectations of a Digital India. another sector where the recruitment Y, Deloitte, PwC, etc numbers are expected to increase. Banks pick up a lot more B- are struggling to cope with work. Not school graduates for only is the client-base increasing, the servicing Indian clients. ndian telecom industry has Igrown from feature phone to smart through the accessibility of optical fibre. This transformation is made successful with a huge human resource, hence, stating the growth of skilled workforce in the telecom sector in the past five years. This great leap, in both, number of consumers as well as revenues from telecom services, has not only provided sufficient contribution in Indian GDP growth but also a platform for the unemployed to become the part of the development. Digital literacy is a key component of the Government s vision in Make In India campaign. Online shopping is increasing its share in total internet usage in India. Improved data connectivity in both urban and rural parts of India, will further boost this trend. Similarly, the technology can be leveraged to offer high-quality remote education in high schools across the nation. Giant players in this industry are developing and enhancing networks to reach to each and every nook and corner. All this is ultimately leading to creating an environment with highend telecommunication means and sources. Not only the equipments are making its way to untouched areas, but the most high-end technology is penetrating. Data traffic powered by third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) services has led to rise in the number of usage across India. Players are setting up towers, connecting lines, spreading waves and signals. Setting up technology leads to creating a requirement of a huge amount of manpower that is able to set up and run the equipments. About 85.1 per cent of the broadband subscriptions are via DSL technology. While the other technologies such as fibre, leased line, wireless, ethernet, cable modem covers only 14.9 per cent of the market. Furthermore, providing service in the remote and rural areas also requires massive investment. Currently, the main technology used for broadband access is digital subscriber line (DSL). Setting up of the most advanced and updated technology all across also comes with a responsibility of sustaining. Sustainability is achieved with proper technical support to businesses and end-to-end customers, which requires skilled forces available 24x7 that is qualified and trained. The current tele-density in India is However, there is a large disparity between urban tele-density which stands at as compare to rural tele-density which is only. The reason for the slow growth in tele-density in the rural areas is that it is less attractive for the telecom service providers to invest. The very need to keep the pace ongoing in the telecom industry many he Chanakya IAS Academy Tannounces the advent of its new batches for Civil Services Prelims 2017 on January 10, 2017 and next batch on February 10, 2017 in South Delhi and North Delhi branch. The course aims to provide comprehensive yet a focused guidance to Civil Services aspirants in a span of three months. The Prelims 2017 batch will start with an introductory session by success guru AK Mishra, founder and managing director of Chanakya IAS Academy, who will provide students a detailed insight on the exam pattern, syllabus and will instill a ray of motivation in students by helping them eliminate several myths and doubts associated with the examination. After successful completion of short term course, the students would be eligible for both online as well as offline prelims test series and evaluate themselves. This online test series will also be available for all the other aspirants eying at CSE Apart from our extensive study material, the experts design special notes for students on the basis of research on current updates of UPSC along with analysis of the question paper from last two to five years to ensure students success in the examination following the current CSE trends. The academy will also invite IAS officers or successful candidates of Chanakya IAS Academy, who will motivate the students, share their journey to success and empower them with the right preparation strategies to successfully get through civil services prelims examination. educational bodies have come up in the country with the vision to support the fraternity. This could only be done once the rural India is skilled and equipped with the respective information and knowledge. The learning and skilling doesn t stop here. Upgradation of the same is required from time to time. The need of availability of 24x7 creates an advanced need of more than small number of workforce, which ultimately increases the demand of human resources in the telecom sector due to upliftment in technology. Time for Make in India to Move in India. With this campaign, rural India is focused to be benefitted. Serving the rural to participate in the vision of developing skills in every possible way. The need of qualified and skilled labour for satisfying the technology updates creates the need to training raw resources with required skills. Skills training through a preferred partner with mobile companies and telecom giants or Government vendors are making not only resources available to the companies, but, it is also opening doors to occupation and skills development to the unemployed rural sectors. Skill development and training is an ongoing need as and when technological updates keep happening. The role of a skill development training agency is superiorly played by making the manpower skilled, resourceful and tech friendly. he Technology Business Incubator T(TBI) of Amrita University is organising the 2017 edition of its pitchfest at the Bengaluru campus on January 27 and 28, The fifth edition of the annual Amrita TBI Pitchfest would provide a platform for start-ups to showcase their ideas, qualify to receive a seed investment of up to $200,000 and get incubation space at Amrita, TBI. The deadline for applications is January 7, If you have a great innovative idea or product and are looking for funding, then Amrita TBI Pitchfest is the perfect platform to showcase it to potential investors. The Pitchfest is a unique initiative by us to find the most promising start-ups in the country. The total seed investment outlay s the Navy equips itself with best-in-class the ranks of its officers. sequences due to the decision. Earlier, students solely relied on their Physics Aand technologically superior armada, the qualifying standards for making it onboard Chemistry and Maths (PCM) percentage for these state-of-the-art warships has also now increased. In its latest announcement pertaining to the issue, the Indian Navy has declared that it ll shortlist candidates for its 10+2 BTech Cadet Entry Scheme from 2018 onwards entirely on their JEE Main ranking. The remarkable move is a step away from its previous 10+2 criteria, and is an effort to ensure that only high calibre candidates appear for the Service Selection Board (SSB) and secure entry into the prestigious Naval Academy. Considering the change in mandate, students preparing for January 2018 SSB interview will now have to appear in the JEE Main exam in April The former assessment technique had caused multiple State Boards to overrate the percentage of their students, thus providing them an undue advantage in the recruitment process. Doing so limited the scope of highpotential candidates with comparatively lower percentages, while offering more opportunities to students favoured by a biased marking system. This inhibited the Indian Navy from harnessing the best talent available across the nation to augment It has been witnessed that even though after clearing the exam, a substantial amount of candidates are eliminated in the initial screening at the SSB. The decision will primarily boost the quality of the candidates that are eligible for SSB, thus paving the way for a more competitive environment during the entire selection. This will also standardise the candidates appearing for the SSB interview and training and will not just ensure optimum utilisation of the available resources, but will also see to it that candidates competing during the SSB have matching intellectual levels. The prospect of entry through JEE into the Indian Navy will also offer a backup plan to the students specifically preparing for the competitive exams. As the organisation offers very good professional prospects, it is very likely that some students preparing for JEE will enroll in the Indian Navy beforehand as a backup plan, and will appear for the Naval SSB if they don t get their desired college through JEE. This is going to further increase the level of competitiveness within the Indian Navy through direct entry. There will, however, also be direct con- enrolling into the Navy and hence focused entirely on their board preparation. The students who aim to join the Indian Navy will now have to take on the excess burden of preparing for JEE as well which isn t easy to crack. It demands proficiency in respective subjects and requires an in-depth conceptual understanding of the subject. Given that it is the preliminary common entrance exam for premier engineering colleges across the country, doing well in JEE can be immensely challenging for students who haven t been acquainted with the training mechanism for such exams. This step is inevitably going to improve the situation that the Indian Navy is facing today. It will ensure the entry of only the best candidates who have the right aptitude and attitude as required for the job. Furthermore, it will offer more opportunities to the JEE as well as Naval aspirants, and will equip the Indian Navy with quality officers that will not just be able to handle the modern stateof-the-art fleet, but also the future warships of the country s naval force. for Amrita TBI Pitchfest 2017 is $200,000, double that of last year, Dr Krishnashree Achuthan, CEO, Amrita University s Technology Business Incubator, tells you. On first day, the top 30 selected startups will go through a half-day mentorship programme, followed by selection of the top start-ups. On day two, the top startups will pitch in front of an elite panel of investors and C-level executives. The TBI will complete the required due-diligence on the three finalists and provide seed investments for qualified start-ups and incubation space. Prominent partners of the programme are Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India, Indian Angel Network, Freshers World and YourStory. T he five-day Nobel Prize Series 2017 will kickstart from January 9 that will witness to nine Nobel laureates taking part in conference, lectures, roundtables and other meetings together with experts and students from several universities. The event will take place at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru; The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Delhi; IIT Gandhinagar; Gujarat University & MS University, Vadodara. In the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the event will kickstart with the inauguration of month-long exhibition The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World at Science City, Ahmedabad, that will take the visitors through the history of the Nobel Prize. The Nine Nobel laureates are Prof David Gross, Physics 2004; Prof Michel Hartmut, Chemistry 1988; Prof Serge Haroche, Physics 2012; Prof William Moerner, Chemistry 2014; Prof Ventrakraman Ramakrishnan, Chemistry 2009; Prof Richard Roberts, Physiology or Medicine 1993; Prof Randy Schekman, Physiology or Medicine 2013; Prof Harold Varmus, Physiology or Medicine 1989 and Prof Ada Yonath, Chemistry For more information, log on to
14 T he year 2016 was a vibrant one for the education sector. Several new developments took place and a gamut of themes and issues gathered pace to further transform the education landscape for the better. The two biggest beneficiaries of these changes have been the learner, who is at the centre of the learning eco-system, and the teacher, who is the principal pivot in this eco-system. Below are the top themes that we believe dominated the education landscape in 2016 and will continue to impact the sector through 2017 as well. Integrated and theme-based learning: Integrated learning solutions that seamlessly combine print and digital modes have made their presence felt and will potentially disrupt the school education sector in a big way this year. In addition to print and digital integration, it is important for such solutions to be teacher-friendly, assessment-enabled, theme or activity-based, among other things. Theme-based learning modules enable contextual learning through a cross-disciplinary approach which aids conceptual clarity for the learner. Assessments: Assessments are today established as a potent tool to not just measure the learner s performance but also modulate the overall teaching strategy, especially with the help of analytics in formative assessments. Integrated and more developed assessment solutions that provide detailed analytics on student performance should get further traction in Professional development of teachers: There was a lot of focus on professional development of teachers in Shortage of trained teachers is a recognised hurdle in improving learning outcomes in the country. A continued focus on the professional development of teachers through a combination of online and offline learning modules is critical, given their pivotal role and contribution in the education eco-system. Bilingual as medium of learning for young adults: In order to expand reach, it becomes imperative for learning organizations to develop content that is either in the native language of the learner or bilingual recognising that commerce and industry uses the English language. Given India s young demographic and their linguistic characteristics, bilingual learning material is probably more relevant than ever before! Digital proliferation in education: The Internet and its proliferation, and affordable and accessible devices have redefined learning ability unconstrained by factors like time and place. Digital highways that are being created as part of the Digital India Mission will play an important role in connecting India and Bharat. We do believe that the full impact of digitisation in education will play out even stronger in 2017 and beyond. S ome of the workplace trends that will be reflective of the changing dynamics in this industry are: Employee engagement: This year the HR applications, services and third party connects will become integrated under one common platform to ensure that employees get the maximum benefit of the facilities provided by the company making "employee experience" an important factor to provide effective talent mobility strategy and control attrition. Appraisals: With connectivity going to the next level and social media platforms becoming centres of conversations and idea exchange there will be a demand for real time and instant feedbacks. This will gradually phase out annual reviews replacing it with regular feedbacks Working without borders: Flexible workforce will increase in demand and there will I n today s tech-centric environment, keeping abreast with the latest trends is critical for a student s continuous learning and development. More so, because technology today is disrupting all walks of life, education included. The top three trends that will impact education include Flipped Learning: It is a form of integrated learning, where the students access concepts and subjects, outside class, often through online channels. This concept repository, is interactive in nature, imbibed with videos, visuals and audios, and group assignments, which facilitate an immersive, experience-based learning rather than the conventional classroom type teaching. With limited teachers in our education system, this solution enhances the effectiveness of the teachers! Data Centric Decision Making: Data centric decision making is extremely critical, for schools, teachers, parents and students, when they have to make life-impacting decisions. Decisions like making a career choice or personalising/designing a curriculum, will be driven by data. The beauty of it is that decision making is extremely personalised, and based on validated and accurate metrics which is devoid of human bias. Given the need for customised quality solutions for mass audience, leveraging AI along with strategic human interventions is the way forward. Gamification and Virtual Reality: Is the concept of applying game-design thinking to real-life situation, to build critical problem solving. Coupling this with virtual reality, promotes immersive learning, amongst students, and challenges them to overcome an obstacle, with creative problem solving. With shorter attention span and increasing pressure on students the need for making learning fun is the need of the hour. Education is not just about grades, but to hard wire practical applications of concepts, and to facilitate a surreal learning experience. also be an increase in freelance workers hired by the company for select work profiles. Thus companies cut on costs and get the best of talent when the need arises. Thus remote management of employees and remote offices will increase globally. Data and technology: Digital is in and data analytics will play a major role in analysing employee performance. This along with the use of augmented reality will assist in forming HR policies and decisions in Virtual reality hardware and people analytics will increase engagement; get the job seekers attention and influence newcomers as well as potential employees during hiring or training. Wellness focus: Companies are focusing on continuous wellness engagement in order to create a relaxed healthier work environment, reduce stress and increase productivity. G iven the Government s regulatory upheaval and recent initiatives like Digital India, especially around land reforms, there exists huge opportunity for information management to come to the fore and simplify the way works gets done. The ubiquitous nature of data and the countless formats it is embedded in, has resulted in the coinage of the term data chaos. It is evident that businesses are relatively unprepared in the realm of data chaos. Businesses will need to focus on managing the data and information in a way that harnesses the value and enables them to better serve customers, improve decision-making and have a positive effect on the bottom line. The Association for Information and Image Management outlines engagement, automation and insights as core issues for enterprises when it comes to information and data. Companies will make concerted efforts to overcome challenges in these areas by way of evolved IT implementations. The regulatory landscape in India and across the globe has seen considerable upheaval in the last couple of years. As enforcement agencies enhance their collaboration, there is a growing need for the corporate space to adhere to a heightened level of compliance with regard to storage and formatting of data. The increasing efforts on this front, demonstrated in the form of stringent egovernance stipulations and more recent judicial acceptance of electronic formats in the form of ediscovery, has propelled organisations to ensure that data is captured and stored in appropriate methods. Organisations going forward, will consider compatibility and integration capabilities to be a basic requirement of any technological implementation. Today, the systems of engagement and insight have moved to the edge and it is crucial to have automated tools, which are web-based. This way businesses can integrate and leverage data regardless of the edges where it is created. Today, organisations have begun to realise that the management of every facet of information management, plays a substantial role in impacting client satisfaction. Categorically gauging the impact of any solution is therefore becoming more distinct, with organisations taking concrete measures to ensure these are identified at the outset. Macquarie University announced scholarship valued at more than AU$ 1.8 million for outstanding students in India, with a focus on support and opportunities for postgraduate female students and undergraduate students across all Macquarie courses. The Macquarie International Women s scholarship for post graduate women students will enable women in India to achieve their career goals by improving the affordability of acquiring an internationally renowned Masters degree from Macquarie. The scholarship will provide for up to AU$11,000 in tuition fees for the full duration of the course. The Macquarie University under graduate scholarship is being offered to applicants applying for undergraduate degrees and provides for up to AU$ 17,000 in tuition fees for the full duration of the course for academic session commencing in Applicants for both scholarships will be required to meet the English requirements for the course they have selected and meet a minimum academic score in their last completed qualification. Application deadline: A month prior to course commence date. Student must have an unconditional offer letter to be eligible for the scholarship. The university has intakes in February and July for most programmes. How to apply: nternational-students/how-toapply. For more information visit: study/international-students/scholarships. Canadian International School, Bangalore announces scholarships for high achieving students in The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) and The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for the August 2017 intake. We have one 100 per cent scholarship and up to two 75 per cent scholarships for applicants to Grade 11 and Grade 9. Students who have a minimum of 80 per cent or equivalent in the previous grade for the IB programme and a minimum of 85per cent or equivalent in the previous grade for the IGCSE programme can apply. Date of test: Saturday, January 21, Venue: Canadian International School, Bangalore. Application deadline: The deadline to apply online is by 4:00 pm Friday, January 13, To know more, please visit: It is essential for students to make informed decisions today. For a company that is looking at hiring immediately, browsing through thousands of resumes can be taxing and time consuming and to find an employee that matches the requirements perfectly in a time crunch is a challenge. Enter Grad Limited is a one stop platform for students, employers and course providers. Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Manipal Global Education Services (MaGE) to offer a customised General Insurance Training Program for participants at the Manipal Academy of Banking and Insurance in Bangalore. The training programme is a customised residential one-year full time training program comprising of four months on-campus residential training and two months of internship followed by six months of on-the-job training at Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited branch. It is designed to skill learners on various areas to equip participants with the necessary domain Founded by Abhishek Mehta and Avinash Rogye, it was launched with a mission to augment the way fresher s and industries interact with one another. It is a mentorship platform that provides students with a data driven system to assess what career is best suited for their personality. The website educates students about each step that goes into building their career. It works with a robust algorithm backed by a validated assessment framework that helps Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi (IIIT-D) is coming up with its new B Tech Courses in the next academic year BTech in Computer Science and Design and BTech in IT and Social Science. These courses are going to be very innovative and have never been provided by any other institution in India. Speaking about the courses, Prof Dheeraj Sanghi, Dean of Academics and External Relations said: We are excited to launch these unique programmes. We are the first institution in the country to provide such innovative courses. Both are four-year courses. The admission criteria is UCEED rank. UCEED is an entrance exam through which IIT Bombay, Jabalpur, Guwahati take students for their design courses. students identify the career avenues that are most apt for them. The platform has tied up with the Psychometric Centre, Cambridge University for the digital footprint assessments of the students. It assists students and employers alike. The portal facilitates a selection process that helps companies understand a prospective employee s competencies, behaviors, and attitudes as well as future aptitude. knowledge in general insurance and also to enhance their competency and business development skills. On the successful completion, students will be awarded a PGD in General Insurance. The aim of the programme is to mould officers of high calibre in the field of general insurance and create productive workforce. The first part of the programme will commence on March 2017 in Bengaluru. Speaking on the occasion, Neelesh Garg, CEO and managing director, Tata AIG General Insurance Company Limited said: This is a proud moment for us to be pioneers in the general insurance space, in initiating a partnership of such nature with MaGE. Students who take the exam can now apply for Computer Science and Design in IIIT-D from the next academic session. For BTech programme in IT and Social Science students can apply on the basis of their JEE Main rank and Class XII marks. Any student who has acquired pass marks in Mathematics in Class XII Board examination can apply for the course.
15 R io Olympic silver medalist Pusarla V Sindhu won her trump game after facing some anxious moments as Chennai Smashers drubbed Bengaluru Smashers 5-0 in a Premier Badminton League contest at the NSCI Stadium here on Tuesday. After Kashyap gave Chennai a 1-0 lead by outclassing his less experienced but currently higher ranked rival Sourabh Varma, Sindhu secured two points for her team by winning the trump game against Cheung Ngan Yi, also in straight games, to help Chennai take 3-0 lead. Then the husband-wife doubles pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock from Britain provided the Smashers with the winning 4-0 lead by edging out Bengaluru's Korea-India combine of Yeon Seong Yoo and Ashwini Ponnappa in three games in a thrilling mixed doubles match, to render the last two matches in the tie inconsequential. The victory was Chennai's first of the season as they had lost to Hyderabad Hunters 3-4 in the tournament opener on January 1 in Hyderabad. It was Bengaluru's first loss in two ties, after their 4-3 win over Delhi Acers. The top match of the day was Sindhu versus her Hong Kong rival Cheung. Although the Indian star won in straight games ( ) she, with a current world ranking of 6, had to come from behind in both games. The Indian shuttler trailed 0-5 and then 0-3 against her Hong Kong rival who is ranked 19. Sindhu had to save a gamepoint to win the first game over extra points and then fought back well in the second after trailing her rival before taking full control of the match. "This was a good game for me. Though I conceded a lead in both the game, I came back strong. I am happy to get my first win of the season. Against Marin too, I won the first game, but she bounced back wonderfully. In this match, I didn't look to change much, but stick to my aggressive avid Warner's historic hundred and a Dmaiden test century by fellow opener Matt Renshaw lifted Australia to a commanding at stumps on the first day of the third test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday. Renshaw will start day two on 167, having shared an unbroken 121-run partnership with Peter Handscomb (40 not out), with the hosts well-placed in their quest for a series clean sweep. After Australia won the toss the day started brightly for the hosts with Warner becoming the first player to score a hundred in the opening session of a test in Australia. Warner plundered 17 boundaries in a 78- ball century which he completed in the final over before lunch. The diminutive opener removed his helmet and did his trademark leap to celebrate his 18th test century, and third in Sydney, in front of an appreciative 30,305 crowd at his home ground. "I started last year with a hundred here and I started with another hundred here and I've got to capitalise on that," said Warner, who also paid tribute to former Australian opener Philip Hughes, who died after being hit by a short pitched ball in a domestic game at the SCG in "Every time I walk out here my little mate (Philip Hughes) is walking with us and it's always in the back of my mind here. It was just the fifth time in test history a century has been scored in the first session of a match, after Warner's fellow Australians Victor Trumper (1902 in Manchester), Charlie Macartney (1926 in Leeds) and Don Bradman (1930 in Leeds) as well as Pakistan's Majid Khan (1976 in Karachi). Warner was eventually dismissed for 113 off 95 balls by Wahab Riaz, who had the left-hander caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed. "I always ride my luck and I play it the way I see it," Warner said. "I live by the sword and die by the sword whether it's the first ball or the last ball. Whatever it is that's the way I play." Renshaw, in his fourth test, played with discipline in supporting Warner early, but was more attacking after his fellow opener's dismissal to raise his maiden test century off 201 balls, with eight boundaries. The Queensland state opener dabbed a Yasir deliver on the legside and raced through for a single to complete his century. The 20-year-old raised both arms to acknowledge the crowd before warmly embracing his batting partner, and fellow test newcomer, Handscombe. style of play," Sindhu said after her win. Sindhu's superior smashing power against the dogged retrieval of her rival enthralled the crowd. It was the lanky Indian star's first win in this PBL season after her lost to Olympic Games gold medal winner Carolina Marin, who plays for Hyderabad Hunters, in her home town Hyderabad in Chennai Smashers' first encounter. In the first game, Sindhu fell behind early on, narrowed the gap to 4-6 but then trailed again before catching up her rival for the second time at 9 with a winning smash. She was a game-point down by netting the 'bird', but drew level at 10 with another smash winner. A nervous Cheung netted the 'bird' twice in succession to concede the opening game. Sindhu caught up at 4-all in the second game after trailing in the beginning and then went arbine Muguruza, Karolina GPliskova and Elina Svitolina, who all had career-highlight victories over Serena Williams last season, are already through to the Brisbane International quarterfinals. A 16-year-old high school student, who was inspired to take up tennis when she was 5 after watching Williams on TV, also made a mark on Tuesday with a first-round win. Australian qualifier Destanee Aiava became the first player born in the 2000s to win a main draw match in an elite WTA event when she beat 31-year-old Bethanie Mattek-Sands 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a first-round match that spanned two days. She already has a wild-card entry to the Australian Open but, before then, will face twotime major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of the tuneup event for the season's first Grand Slam. "Pretty crazy," Aiava said of her first trip to the locker rooms in ahead with a fine smash winner. She did not look behind thereafter as she won three more points to lead 8-4 and then went up to match-point with a flat shot winner before clinching the next point easily. the main draw. "I walk in, and there is people I have watched on TV before and it's, like, 'Oh!'" Aiava grew up in Australia to parents of Samoan heritage. Her mother, Rosie, has been her coach since she showed interest in the game. She keeps the teenager grounded. Elsewhere, defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska reached the quarterfinals of the Shenzhen Open with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Sorana Cirstea. The opening clash between Kashyap, the quarter finalist in the 2012 London Olympics, and Varma was one-sided with the former well in control right through to win it 11-8, Kashyap led 5-1 with some good smashes and Varma could not come close as he lost the opening game tamely, the final point won by the Chennai Smashers player, fittingly with a smash. The second game looked a bit close initially before Kashyap stepped up the pace and went up to match point at A smash into the net by Varma ended the contest. The Adcocks, taking the court after Sindhu's victory, saved five match-points in the deciding third ndian Davis Cupper Yuki IBhambri provided a fillip to his comeback bid by steamrolling local hero Ramkumar Ramanathan as he walked into the second round of the ATP Chennai Open with a commanding 6-1, 6-1 win, here on Tuesday. Having lost crucial six months last season due to tennis elbow injury, Yuki made a good impression early in the season as he literally toyed with Ramkumar, who disappointed with his lacklustre show. It was the most-talked about match from India's perspective, considering that country's best singles players were playing but the match never rose to the expectations. Even as Yuki's real test begins now since he plays better opponents, qualifying for the main draw and then advancing to the second round would boost his morale. He also proved that the faith posed in him by selectors, who picked him in the Davis Cup squad game before putting it across Yeon and Ashwini 11-6, 8-11, in a nail-biting match to seal the Smashers' win. The Adcocks were down 6-10 in the decider before drawing level, faced another match-point at before saving that too and then won the tie on their fourth match-point. Dane Victor Axelsen pulled one back for Bengaluru by getting past Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto of Smashers to make it 4-1 before the Korean pair of Sung Hyun Ko and Yeon Seong Yoo lost Bengaluru's trump match, the last men's doubles encounter, against Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark) and secured a minus point. despite his low ranking, that if he is fit, he is country's best singles player. "Yuki played some smart and aggressive tennis. I struggled with my first serve. It was one of my bad days, I don't want to talk much about it. Yuki played solid, he had the initiative from first game, I had no first serve," Ramkumar said. "I had chances in the opening game of the second set when the guy hit two double faults but I was too defensive. He played clever. I need to go back and train hard. I know I have disappointed the audience," he said adding that he will take a few days off. Ramkumar said he would strive to play more Challengers as he aims to make the Australian Open qualifiers. singles NEW DELHI: MUMBAI: MUMBAI: SILIGURI: Yuki next plays fifth seed and world number 47 Benoit Paire, who pipped Russian Konstantin Kravchuk In other matches of the day, eight seed Yen-Hsun Lu from Taipei outplayed Moldova's Radu Ablot while Britain's Aljaz Bedene fought past Russia's Guillermo Garcia Lopez in his opening round. Sandeep Tomar and Amit Dahiya. On the other hand, Babita will be Gujarat were off to a bad start in their second innings with tournament's leading Areigning defending champions same as in season-1, where she out- fter a solid start to the season, eager to repeat her performance shank Jaggi led Jharkhand's spirited fight- with his 15th first-class hundred, and Priyank Kirit Panchal being run out in the al match, the Haryana Hammers are Tatyana Kit, who was representing run-getter and first innings centurion Mumbai Maharathis in the inaugurshone World No 3 Ukraine grappler Iback helped his side take the crucial first innings lead against Gujarat at stumps on day three of the Ranji Trophy semifinal, here on Tuesday. Jharkhand, who were trailing Gujarat's 390 by 176 runs with five down before play eighth over. Samit Gohel (49) and Bhargav Merai (44) took the innings forward with a 69-run stand before falling to the guile of Nadeem. Captain Parthiv Patel fell cheaply lasting only 12 balls. upbeat for their next encounter against UP Dangal in the second season of Patanjali Powervita Pro Wrestling League on Wednesday. It won't be an easy affair for them, as the star-studded UP team includes Haryana then. After the release of Bollywood film Dangal, all eyes are set on Geeta and Babita and they are expected to prove that they still have the same energy and aggression, which was portrayed in the film. began on day three, rode on Jaggi's brilliance Commonwealth gold medallist Geeta Marwa Amri is in good form to end their first innings at 408. Phogat, Babita Kumari, Maria after beating Sarita in the first bout, Left-arm spinner and this season's leading wicket-taker, Shahbaz Nadeem, then put Gujrat under pressure in their second innings, reducing them to 100 for four at Aditya Tare played a captain's knock while Abhishek Nayar and Shardul Thakur complemented their fine bowling effort with half-centuries to help Mumbai Mamashuk and marquee player Elitsa Yankova along with Amit Dahiya. The star encounters of the night will be the fights between Geeta and and it will be a close battle when she will take on Geeta on the mat. The way Geeta had brought down World champion Oksana Herhel of Ukraine close of play and just 82 ahead going into day four. But it was Jaggi's effort with the bat that allowed Jharkhand to comeback into the match. The 27-year-old, who scored his fourth century this season, has been instrumental in taking Jharkhand to their first ever take the all-important first innings lead over Tamil Nadu in the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy tournament. Tare made a fine 83 off 181 deliveries with the help of nine boundaries to held together Mumbai's first innings. Marwa along Amri, with in the previous season, nothing is impossible for the Dhaakad girl. Ranji Trophy semifinal alongside Ishan Kishan and Nadeem. Jaggi shared a 92-run stand with Kishan for the fourth wicket yesterday and today anchored a 70 and 97-run partnerships with overnight batsman Rahul Shukla (27) and Kaushal Singh (53) respectively. Jaggi, who was overnight 40 not out, went on to make a memorable hundred. It was a rather entertaining innings with a 70 plus strike rate and comprising 15 fours and a six. Kaushal too played his part well with a 92-ball 53 while Shukla frustrated the opposition with a 66-ball 27. Veteran pacer R P Singh was the stand out bowler for Gujrat with a six-wicket haul. He was ably supported by Nayar (58) and Thakur (52) as Mumbai made 406 in their first innings in reply to Tamil Nadu's 305 before being bowled out at stumps on the third day of the five-day marque encounter. Mumbai, thus, enjoy a lead of 101 runs over Tamil Nadu with the match interestingly poised with two full day's play remaining.
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