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‘Lost by 1314 votes with 104% polling’: Here’s why Kiren Rijiju’s ‘blood boils’ when Congress accuses EC

Original post:   ‘Lost by 1314 votes with 104% polling’: Here’s why Kiren Rijiju’s ‘blood boils’ when Congress accuses EC

India cabinet backs bill to criminalise Islamic instant divorce

The bill proposes jail of up to three years for a Muslim man who indulges in “triple talaq”.

‘All in Well, not well’: When Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s one-liners livened noisy RS proceedings

It was Day One of the Winter Session for Venkaiah Naidu as Rajya Sabha Chairman and the VP didn’t disappoint regaling the Upper House with his witty one liners. However, Congress MPs still fuming over PM Modi’s Pakistan remark during Gujarat campaign might have been too livid to see the funny side. On not finding Tiruchy Siva, a DMK MP from Tamil Nadu in RS, the VP quipped that Siva was missing and made a joke about Lord Shiva’s omnipresence as he remarked, that ‘Shiva was everywhere but not here in the house’.Also readNo need to beg, we are independent: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks members to get rid of colonial terms Another funny repartee came when SP’s Naresh Agarwal tried to raise a point regarding the disqualification of two former JD(U) members of the House.The Chairman did not agree with him saying there is no “point … in your point of order”. He also said the matte cannot be discussed as it is a decision of the Chair.Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionJoining the issue, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the opposition was not challenging the decision taken by the Chair and wanted to say something more, but Naidu repeated that it was not a matter up for discussion.Meanwhile, when Naidu asked A Navaneetha Krishnan (AIADMK) to go ahead with his Zero Hour mention regarding cyclone in Tamil Nadu, Congress and SP members trooped into the Well raising slogans.Also readPM Modi attacks Congress, Kapil Sibal for linking Ram Mandir with Lok Sabha electionsThis angered the VP no end, as he asked them to return to their seats but they continued to raise slogans. “You want to do like this on the first day…All in Well not well…,” he said and adjourned the House till noon. And that ended a nondescript day in Rajya Sabha where no work was done but the mood was certainly livened up by our quirky new Chairman who has a way with words. Opp leaders protest rejection of notice to discuss PM Modi’s Pakistan remarkOpposition leaders today protested the rejection of their notice in the Rajya Sabha demanding an explanation and apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “conspiracy with Pakistan” remark involving his predecessor Manmohan Singh.The leaders termed the comment “unfortunate” and told reporters outside the House it was “disappointing” that Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow a discussion on the notice.They also objected to the “illegal disqualification” of rebel Janata Dal (United) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari.In place of Yadav and Ansari, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar should be disqualified for breaking away from the grand alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, they said.”We gave a notice, but the chairman adjourned the House and did not let us raise the issue. We are disappointed. The chairman should have given us permission. This is a national… international issue,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.At an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the state assembly polls.He had claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6.Azad said the prime minister should come to the Rajya Sabha and explain his remarks to its members.His party colleague Anand Sharma, Naresh Agarwal of the SP and D Raja of the CPI said the people concerned should be punished if the allegations levelled by Modi were true.”But if it is false, if he levelled such a big allegation to polarise the people in view of the Gujarat polls, then he should apologise not only to the House but also to the people of the country,” Azad said.Raja said it was “not correct” on Modi’s part to cast aspersions on Singh.The CPI national secretary said Modi should have called up his predecessor if he had any information on the “conspiracy” issue.”He should have done it, but the way he raised the issue in an election campaign… It is highly objectionable. It is not good for democracy,” Raja said, asking the government to respect the Opposition.Sharma said it was “undemocratic” that the Opposition’s voice was being “muzzled”.He said the prime minister was “aware” of the notice and could have “used the opportunity to clarify his remarks, express regret and apologise”.”But the prime minister and the dispensation are arrogant and confrontational. And this is most unfortunate. This attitude does not augur well for democracy. It is an ominous development on the first day itself,” Sharma said.With inputs from PTI

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No term like ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ in our lexicon, say Defence and Home Ministry

There is no term as “martyr” or “shaheed” in the Army or the police and instead a soldier or a policeman killed in action is called a “battle casualty” or “operations casualty” respectively, the ministries of defence and home have submitted before the Central Information Commission.The issue surfaced after an RTI applicant approached the Union home ministry seeking to know the meaning and detailed definition of word “shaheed” (martyr) according to the law and the Constitution. He also asked about the legal provisions to ensure restriction on its misuse and punishment for violation. The application was transferred to different officials of the home and defence ministries but when the applicant could not get a satisfactory response, he approached the CIC, the highest appellate body in matters relating to the Right to Information Act.The respondents from the ministries of defence and the home affairs were present and heard, Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said. “The respondent from the Ministry of Defence stated that word ‘shaheed’ or ‘martyr’ is not used by the MoD. Instead the one used is ‘battle casualty’. The respondent from the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that in the MHA the word used is ‘operations casualty’,” Azad said.Also readFacing heat for limiting education aid to martyrs’ kids, MoD doubles gallantry award moneyQuoting the submissions, he noted that the decision to declare cases of ‘battle casualty’ and ‘ops’ were taken after a report of a court of inquiry in both the matters.”After hearing the respondents and the perusal of the record, the commission finds that the averments made by both the respondents have duly explained the correct usage of the terms and directs the respondents to send a revised reply to the appellant accordingly,” he said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: SC dismisses Cong plea seeking cross-verification of VVPAT

The Congress had moved the top court earlier in the day and were represented by lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal in the top court. The voting for the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election ended on Thursday and counting of votes will be held on December 18. ”
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Former ISRO chief UR Rao, man behind India’s 1st satellite Aryabhatta, passes away
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Friday 15 December 2017 15:48 ISTMust readAfter Saudi, now Kashmir wants cinema halls reopenedMinor set ablaze by neighbours for opposing molestation in UP’s Mainpuri<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the Congress Party’s plea seeking directions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to count and cross verify at least 25% of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) with votes cast with Electronic Voting machines (EVM).The apex court said that it finds no merit in Congress’ plea and asked that the Gujarat Congress could approach it through filing a writ petition for electoral reforms. It further maintained that electoral process in a democracy is of utmost importance and the Supreme Court cannot interfere only to allay apprehension of a party. The Congress had moved the top court earlier in the day and were represented by lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal in the top court. The voting for the two-phase Gujarat Assembly election ended on Thursday and counting of votes will be held on December 18.

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No show on Day 1 of Winter Session as RS and LS adjourned

The proceedings of the Lok Sabha on the first day of the Winter Session were adjourned today after the House paid tributes to three sitting and seven former members who died during the inter-session period.Rajya Sabha also adjourned for the day as uproar by Cong members continued. Opposition leaders protested the rejection of their notice in the Rajya Sabha demanding an explanation and apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “conspiracy with Pakistan” remark involving his predecessor Manmohan Singh.The House would now meet on Monday.Also readWinter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remarkAs soon as the House assembled, newly-elected Congress member from Gurdaspur Sunil Kumar Jakhar was administered the oath, which he took in Punjabi.Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Jakhar with a handshake when the former greeted him with folded hands after taking oath.Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionThe Gurdaspur bypoll was necessitated following the demise of BJP member and cine star Vinod Khanna.After the oath of the new member, Modi introduced new ministers to the House. These included Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman who were elevated as Cabinet ministers in the September 3 rejig of the council of ministers.The new faces are ministers of state (independent charge) R K Singh, Hardeep Puri, K J Alphonse and ministers of state Shiv Pratap Shukla, Virendra Kumar, Ananth Hegde, Gajendra Shekhawat and Satyapal Singh.Making obituary references, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan informed members that three sitting Lok Sabha MPs — Sultan Ahmed (TMC), Chand Nath (BJP) and Tasleem Uddin (RJD) had passed away recently.Seven other former members — Vikram Mahajan, Ram Singh, R Keishing, P C Barman, Dhanraj Singh, Amal Datta and Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi also died during the inter-session period.The House was also introduced to the new Secretary General, Snehlata Shrivastava, who took over on December 1. A former IAS officer, she is the first woman Secretary General of the Lok Sabha.Before the proceedings began, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met leaders of various parties.When the Prime Minister entered the House, he greeted the members from the opposition benches with a ‘namaste’ and bowing his head.Rajya Sabha also adjourned for the day as uproar by Cong members continued. Opposition leaders today protested the rejection of their notice in the Rajya Sabha demanding an explanation and apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “conspiracy with Pakistan” remark involving his predecessor Manmohan Singh.The leaders termed the comment “unfortunate” and told reporters outside the House it was “disappointing” that Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu did not allow a discussion on the notice.They also objected to the “illegal disqualification” of rebel Janata Dal (United) leaders Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari.In place of Yadav and Ansari, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar should be disqualified for breaking away from the grand alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, they said.”We gave a notice, but the chairman adjourned the House and did not let us raise the issue. We are disappointed. The chairman should have given us permission. This is a national… International issue,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.At an election rally in Gujarat on Sunday, Modi had suggested that Pakistan was trying to influence the state assembly polls.He had claimed that some Pakistani officials and Manmohan Singh met at Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6.Azad said the prime minister should come to the Rajya Sabha and explain his remarks to its members.His party colleague Anand Sharma, Naresh Agarwal of the SP and D Raja of the CPI said the people concerned should be punished if the allegations levelled by Modi were true.”But if it is false, if he levelled such a big allegation to polarise the people in view of the Gujarat polls, then he should apologise not only to the House but also to the people of the country,” Azad said.Raja said it was “not correct” on Modi’s part to cast aspersions on Singh.The CPI national secretary said Modi should have called up his predecessor if he had any information on the “conspiracy” issue.”He should have done it, but the way he raised the issue in an election campaign… It is highly objectionable. It is not good for democracy,” Raja said, asking the government to respect the Opposition.Sharma said it was “undemocratic” that the Opposition’s voice was being “muzzled”.He said the prime minister was “aware” of the notice and could have “used the opportunity to clarify his remarks, express regret and apologise”.”But the prime minister and the dispensation are arrogant and confrontational. And this is most unfortunate. This attitude does not augur well for democracy. It is an ominous development on the first day itself,” Sharma said.

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New Year revelry without fireworks in Delhi NCR as SC refuses to lift ban

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to lift the ban on bursting of firecrackers in Punjab, Haryana & Chandigarh.The apex court added that itwould hear the case against the ban on January 5.Earlier, the court had banned the bursting of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) during Diwali.The court gave the verdict on a plea seeking restoration of the apex court’s last year order.The top court, through its November 11 order last year, had suspended all licences which ‘permit a sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR’.The apex court had last month temporarily lifted its earlier order suspending licences for sale of firecrackers, saying a complete ban would be an ‘extreme step’ and a graded approach was needed to curb pollution caused by them.The court, however, had said its order lifting the ban on sale of firecrackers might require a ‘review’ after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality after the festival.

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Indian-origin man killed at gunpoint by armed robbers in Ohio

An Indian-origin man has been killed during a robbery by two hooded attackers in Ohio, becoming one of the the latest victims of gun violence in the US.Karunakar Karengle, 53, was working last Monday at the Jiffy Convenience Mart on Camelot Drive when two men came in with a firearm around 10 pm, police said.Fairfield Fire Department first responders arrived and brought Karengle to UC West Chester Hospital.Police said that Karengle died of his injuries on Friday. His identity had been withheld until his family in India was notified, Journal News reported.No arrests have been made, making nearby businesses and employees a bit uneasy.Fairfield police Lt Ken Gerold said they believe Karengle did not have relatives that lived in the area.Also read21-year-old Indian man shot dead in USA description of the suspects was unavailable, police said, except that they both wore hoodies covering most of their faces. One wore a dark jacket while the other wore a light coloured jacket.”I’m sorry that it happened,” Kim Cannon said. Cannon works across the street from Jiffy Mart at Laundry Station.”It scares me even more knowing that the guys, or whoever it was, were parked behind our building and I was working that night and could have walked out.”It was shocking to hear that somebody was actually killed,” Cannon said.The shooting comes amidst growing attacks on Indians and Americans of Indian descent in recent months.Earlier this month, a 30-year-old Indian national pursuing his masters in Chicago has been seriously injured after he was shot in his right cheek by an unidentified assailant.Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a software engineer from India, was fatally shot in Olathe, Kansas, in February by a US navy veteran who had told him and his friend at a bar to go back to their country.Weeks later, a Sikh man was shot in his arm in his driveway in Kent, Washington state, by a masked man who had told him go back to his “own country”.There were 58,491 incidents of gun violence across the country in 2017 in which 14,763 people were killed and 29,888 others injured, according to Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a not for profit corporation providing public access to gun-related violence.

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No need to beg, we are independent: RS Chairman Venkaiah Naidu asks members to get rid of colonial terms

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu brought minor changes in the conduct of the Rajya Sabha on the first day today after taking over as its Chairman, asking ministers and members not to use colonial terms while laying papers on the table.Presiding over the Upper House proceedings on the opening day of the winter session of Parliament, Naidu said no one should use the word “I beg to” while laying papers on the table.”Just say I raise to lay on the table” the listed papers, he said. “No need to beg… This is independent India.”Also readManmohan Singh meets Venkaiah Naidu on eve of Parliament sessionHe made the observation after the ministers called to lay the listed papers on the table, began their sentences by saying “I beg to lay on the table the papers listed against my name in today’s revised list of business.”Naidu was however quick to clarify that this was only a suggestion and not an order.Also readWhat’s wrong with Vande Mataram? If not mother, will you salute Afzal Guru, asks Vice President Venkaiah Naidu This was not only the change that Naidu brought in on the first day as the presiding officer of the House. He also stood up while reading out obituary references.His predecessors Hamid Ansari and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to read the obituary references while being seated.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too stands while reading out obituary references.Naidu took over as the Vice President of India in August. Vice President is also the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha.

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Union cabinet clears Triple Talaq bill, 3 years jail proposed for offenders

The Union Cabinet on Friday cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 to criminalise the instant divorce practice. The bill is likely to be tabled in the current session of Parliament. Here is all you need to know about the triple talaq bill:1. Maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment and fine to men pronouncing ‘talaq-ebiddat’.2. The new proposed law will become a cognizable and non-bailable offence. 3. The bill says that triple talaq in any form either verbal or writing by any means like email, Whatsapp and SMS would be illegal and void.Also readMuslim organisation oppose single-step criminalisation of triple talaq4. The provision of maintenance and custody of minor child has been incorporated to ensure legal and financial protection in case husband forcibly throws the victim out of the house. It would empower women to approach magistrate seeking maintenance and custody of minor child.5. The bill is set to be tabled in the Parliament to be passed by both the houses to finally become a law.Also readTriple Talaq law: Govt mulls 3-year jail term for offenders 6. All states, except Jammu and Kashmir will be part of the law once it is passed in both houses of the Parliament. 7. The states that have supported the proposed bill are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Assam.8. Earlier, the five-judge Constitution Bench had struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in a 3:2 judgment. The top court had called the controversial practice of instant divorce as “arbitrary and unconstitutional”.

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Three-member RS panel acquits Madhya Pradesh HC judge accused of sexually harassing colleague

A three-member panel set up by the Rajya Sabha to probe the impeachment of a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge over allegations of sexual harassment of a lady judicial officer found him not guilty.The committee comprising Justices Bhanumati, Manjula Chellur and AG KK Venugopal also said if the lady judicial officer, who resigned due to sexual harassment, wants her job back, she should be given it.The complainant made the charges against the high court judge days after she was transferred and resigned from her position subsequently. In 2015, while the apex court case was pending, 58 members of the Rajya Sabha sought to initiate impeachment proceedings against the high court judge.An additional district and sessions judge at Gwalior had alleged that the high court judge sent her a message through the district court registrar to “perform a dance on an item song” at a function in his residence. She also claimed that she was “victimised” later by being transferred from Gwalior to Sidhi.The panel, however, found evidence that is “suggestive of the respondent judge’s interference with the transfer and rejection of the representations of the complainant… but since charges of sexual harassment are not proven, it cannot be said that this interference is on account of not submitting to his immoral demands”.

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Bomb hoax at upscale Khan Market in south Delhi triggers panic

A phone call claiming that a bomb was planted in the upscale Khan Market in south Delhi triggered panic in the area today, prompting a rush of bomb and dog squads to the spot. Security officials were sent into a tizzy when a person called up the police control room around 6:40 am and claimed a bomb had been planted in the market in the heart of the capital, police said. Bomb and dog squads were rushed to the area. No suspicious item was found during checking, they added. Further details are awaited. The market, a popular shopping and culinary hub, is the most expensive retail location in India. Meanwhile, US Embassy New Delhi recommends individuals monitor local media closely and avoid the Khan Market area until the police give the all clear. Also readSecurity agencies in tizzy after bomb hoax at Delhi airport

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Madhya Pradesh: Carol singers’ car set on fire in Satna

A case has been registered against ‘unknown people’ for burning a car that belonged to a group of carol singers in Madhya Pradesh’ Satna town, NDTV reported.As per the report, the carol singers and two priests had been detailed after Bajrang Dal activists alleged that the singers were indulging in forced conversions. During the detention, unknown people set fire to the car that belonged to the singers, prompting the case registered.The carolers – about 30 of them – were picked up by the police from a road as they were moving around the town singing carols for Christmas.The carolers are from the St Ephrem’s Theological College in Satna.

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Sonia Gandhi retires as India Congress party president

Her son, Rahul Gandhi, has been elected unopposed as the new Congress leader.

Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority forms teams to amicably settle matter between home buyers and realtors

The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) has decided to form 15 conciliation teams, where the home buyer and the builder amicably settle the matter.Each team will be comprising of two members, one from the developers’ body and one from consumer forums representing home buyers.10 conciliation teams will be located in Mumbai Thane and Navi Mumbai, (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) and the remaining five will be for Pune.The benefit of these conciliation teams will be that if the developer or the home buyer wants they can amicably settle the matter even before reaching the authority.“We are in the process of setting up an Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism through these conciliation committees. We are optimistic that we will be able to start operations of these from January 1,” said Shirish Deshpande, president of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP).For now, the aim is setting up conciliation teams for Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune as most of the complaints received from homebuyers are for projects from these markets. If this is successful then the authority may go to other areas like Nagpur, Nashik and others.”This is being done in the backdrop of MahaRERA receiving a lot of complaints and wants to set up a filter. This body can be approached by homebuyer and builder for reaching a consensus, thereby leaving only matters that cannot be resolved for MahaRERA’s intervention,” said Deshpande.Members of Realty developers’ associations including pan-India bodies such as National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) and the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) apart from state level body the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) will be part of these benches.To represent home buyers, the bench will have members from Mumbai Grahak Pnachayat.Under this mechanism, home buyers’ complaints against the builders can be resolved through a consensus. If the consensus is not reached, the home buyer will have an option available to lodge a formal complaint against the builder in MahaRERA.The authority has been swift in its hearings of the home buyer complaints and has been delivering verdicts at the earliest.The authority has now decided to set up these benches to ensure that numbers of complaints reaching them are fewer after taking care of such cases that can be resolved through consensus.

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Techfest 2017: IIT-Bombay gears up for its biggest event; Hamid Karzai, Pranab Mukherjee to address students at the fest

Hamid Karzai, Former President of Afghanistan along with Pranab Mukherjee will address thousands of students of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) on like various topics including the Indian Economy, Sustainable Development and Digitalisation during its annual science and technology festival between December 29-31.Along with them, Manohar Parrikarl, Chief Minister of Goa and Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation will also address the students at the convocation hall of IIT-B. While Mukherjee, Parikar and Sinha will address on December 29, Karzai will address on December 31.”The themes of the festival are Digitalisation, Sustainability and Biotechnology as we identified that technological advancement in these segments need to be stressed upon considering the current nation’s scenario and the world at large, said IIT-B in a statement.”Apart from futuristic exhibits coming from all over the world, Techfest will have the honour to host some of the best machines and equipment from Indian Army, Indian Navy and DRDO,” IIT-B said in a statement. Techfest is scheduled to take place on 29th, 30th and 31st December this year, that will see many international students participate in various events of the festival. Students from USA, Canada, UK, China, Italy, Afghanistan, UAE will participate for the festival, however students from Pakistan will not be among participating country for techfest this year too.

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Maha govt should remove anomalies in loan waiver list: Sena MLA after name appears in list of beneficiaries

A Shiv Sena MLA announced that he is a loan waiver beneficiary in what is a shock to the state government.Sena MLA Prakash Abitkar made the announcement during zero hour of the state assembly when Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that an online loan waiver system would ensure no wrong person could avail loan.Abitkar’s revealed that his name appeared in the list of beneficiaries and that the government should remove anomalies in the list of beneficiaries. He also pointed out that two teachers from his constituency were also listed in the people who would get a loan waiver.In September, Fadnavis announced the Rs 34,000-crore loan waiver scheme, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana and said that 89 lakh farmers would benefit.So far, 1,00,85,326 farmers have registered themselves with the government for loan waiver. Of these, 55,40,732 have filled the required form and uploaded it on the government’s website.

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Trinamool Congress’ core meet today: Panchayat polls, BJP on Mamata Banerjee’s agenda

After touring three districts, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee would return to Kolkata on Friday and would chair a core committee meeting at Trinamool Congress headquarters off EM Bypass.Besides the administrative stock taking in the three districts she visited, Banerjee is likely to draw a roadmap ahead of the panchayat elections next year.Party sources said that the Cheif Minister had also got the feelers from the grassroot-level after the former party second-in-command Mukul Roy defected to BJP and would now plan her gambit.The last core committee meeting took place on October 27, which makes this the first one after former TMC MP Mukul Roy joined BJP on November 3.It would be attended by the cabinet ministers, MPs, MLAs and zila parishad sabhadipatis among others.The Winter Session of Parliament would begin on Friday as well and a condolence resolution would be adopted for the death of party MP Sultan Ahmed. Which is why at least one MP of both the Houses would skip the meeting and attend Parliament.Sources also said that after Mukul Roy’s defection, many Trinamool leaders are also mulling of switching over to BJP. How this probable attrition could be stopped, would also be discussed in the meeting.Banerjee would also stress on countering BJP on social media. Along with personal interaction, she would tell leaders right down to the grassroot-level to get in touch with the mass through Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp telling people how BJP was trying to polarise people here on the basis of religion.Leaders who are unable to cope with smartphone usage would be asked to upgrade their technical knowhow and get used to smartphones. She would cite her example of how, in spite of her busy schedule, she manages to upload her activities on social media.Banrejee would also stress on making benefits of social welfare schemes to as many people as possible so that the party is able to reap political benefits ahead of the panchayat polls.She is also expected to give out a stern warning against in-fighting within the party.

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NGT bans sale of plastic items along Ganga belt from Haridwar up to Rishikesh

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday announced that it would be imposing a ban on the sale, purchase and storage of plastic items such as bags, plates, spoons, etc along river Ganga in Haridwar’s Hari Ki Puri Rishikesh up to areas in Uttarkashi.As per an ANI report, a Rs 5,000 fine will be imposed on violators.On March 30, the chairperson had directed that a meeting be held after the UP government informed the Tribunal about its willingness to discuss the scenario of shifting tanneries outside Kanpur. This is contrary to the stand of the previous government, under Samajwadi Party, which had submitted through former advocate general Vijay Bahadur Singh that paucity of land and dependence of lakhs on the tannery cluster made shifting difficult.A year after assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged his ministerial colleagues and three chief ministers to adopt an “uncompromising mission-mode approach” to halt pollution of River Ganga. Already in January this year, the PM had directed the water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation ministry to prioritise pollution control and taking remedial steps. But, on ground, the progress has been rather slow and effluent treatment plants have still been found wanting.In the key stretch of Ganga, between Haridwar and Kanpur, 30 drains are directly discharging 701 million litres/day (MLD) of waste water in the Ganga, a recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board has said. The report also highlighted that barring three of the 30 drains, all other drains directly releasing effluents into Ganga indicate the presence of pesticides. Also, four drains of Kanpur carried a high concentration of Chromium, ranging from 2mg/l to 84 mg/l. “It has been observed that Ganga receives 3,048MLD of waste water,” the report said.CPCB, the country’s pollution watchdog, submitted a ground report of these 30 drains on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT had ordered last October that the drains in the Hardiwar-Kanpur stretch directly releasing effluents into Ganga needed to be physically inspected to record the quantum and quality of effluents going into the river and its main tributaries.Along with the Ganga, the joint inspection team, comprising of CPCB, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), UP Jal Nigam, and National Mission for Clean Ganga, inspected 25 drains discharging effluents into Ramganga of which a majority release domestic wastewater into the river while 26 drains release effluents into Kali-east.The direct discharge of effluents from 30 drains has resulted in high levels of fecal coliform, above the CPCB prescribed standards. At Jajmau, a tannery hub in Kanpur, the fecal coliform was ten times higher than the prescribed standards.According to the report, disposal of industrial and domestic sewage effluent directly by drains or indirectly through tributaries is the chief cause for high levels of pollution. The storm water drains designated to flood out the storm water during rainy season, are now being used for disposal of sewage and trade effluents which ultimately joins River Ganga, the report added

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Sonia Gandhi’s retirement | Congress clarifies, says she has not retired from politics

A day before son Rahul Gandhi assumes charge as Congress president, mother Sonia Gandhi on Friday announced retirement from politics.’My job is to retire,’ the 71-year-old reportedly told media persons on the Day 1 of the Winter Session of Parliament.Even as the news reports announced Sonia Gandhi’s retirement, the Congress has put out a clarification.In a tweet, party spokesperson and Randeep Surjewala said that “Sonia Gandhi has retired as President of Indian National Congress and not from politics.”“Her blessings, wisdom and innate commitment to Congress ideology shall always be our guiding light,” he said.Also readFrom a reluctant politician to Congress president: Timeline of Rahul Gandhi’s political journeyThe longest-serving Congress president, Sonia Gandhi held the post for 19 years.The announcement, however, won’t affect her role as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party.Till 2019, she will remain the Chairperson of the CPC and carry out her duty.After that, she is likely to take up the role of party mentor.From a quiet daughter-in-law to a brilliant politicians, Sonia Gandhi has carved a niche for herself.The move comes just days after Rahul Gandhi was elected as the Congress president on December 11.But, while expectations are high, Rahul Gandhi will need to fill the shoes of his mother.Rahul Gandhi’s era begins at a time when the Congress has lost most of its political power. The Congress has been losing state after state since the 2014 Lok Sabha election with the exception of Punjab.Rahul Gandhi’s elevation would come just two days ahead of the counting of votes for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll.A sure-footed Rahul Gandhi powered a spirited campaign for the Congress in Gujarat, and a win in the election, which many analysts say could be dead heat between the two parties, would come as a massive boost for him.

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Mumbai NGO writes to BMC over LED light pollution at Juhu beach

Worried over the implications of Light pollution- due to high-mast lights put across Juhu Beach, Mumbai’s Awaaz Foundation, after measuring the ‘lux levels’, has written to the BMC as well as the environment department, stating that the difference between illumination levels throughout the beach highlighted the inability of these lights to provide security.In October this year, the BMC had installed LED lights at Juhu Beach that could change colour. The purpose was to beautify the beach and for safety purposes – a move that several environmentalists have been opposing. However, ever since the lights have been installed Juhu residents whose houses overlook the beach have been complaining about light pollution.Awaaz Foundation used a lux meter to measure and record light levels at Juhu Beach at about 7.15pm on Wednesday and it was found that the lux level underneath the mast light was 67,000 lux (equivalent of direct sunlight) and the lux level near the water’s edge was 0.03 lux (equivalent of a moonlit night.) “The great difference between the recorded lux levels throughout the beach highlights the inability of the installed lighting fixtures to provide lighting that will ensure safety as only limited portion of the beach was illuminated leaving several dark patches. This completely negates the biggest claims that of security by BMC for installing these lights on the beaches,” said Sumaira Abdulali, Convenor of Awaaz Foundation questioning that whether BMC conducted any study to understand the impacts of these lights on locals and the environment.She added that the high intensity of LED lighting in its immediate vicinity was causing disturbances to residential buildings that could lead to adverse health effects and was also blocking out the natural views of the stars and moon.Abdulali stressing on the need for a policy to regulate intensity or uniformity of lighting and specific lighting plan shared, “Through the letter we have requested BMC as well as the environment department to consider the harmful effects of light pollution while formulating any policies or projects for beautification of beaches or other natural areas, especially those placed close to residential areas and to also consider framing a suitable policy to regulate light pollution in Mumbai from various sources including street lighting, private security lighting, hoardings, beautification projects and others,” she said.Juhu based Filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit said that the beach has lost its sanctity. “It’s a natural place where one visits to be closer to nature and these lights have completely taken away the feel. There is no doubt that Juhu beach needed lights as there are often chain snatching and other cases of crimes reported but certainly not these kinds of light that have taken away the beauty of our beach,” he said.

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Supreme Court dismisses Teesta Setalvad’s plea for de-freezing of bank accounts

The Supreme Court today dismissed the pleas of activist Teesta Setalvad, her husband and her two NGOs challenging the Gujarat High Court order rejecting their pleas for de-freezing of their personal bank accounts.A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the pleas are dismissed.Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and their two NGOs — Sabrang Trust and Citizens for Justice and Peace — had challenged the October 7, 2015 verdict of the high court in the alleged misappropriation of funds received by their NGOs for Gujarat riot victims of 2002.The apex court had reserved its verdict on July 5 this year.Earlier the top court had questioned the source of money in the bank accounts of Setalvad and others which were frozen by the Ahmedabad Police in 2015 after the allegations of misappropriation had surfaced.One of the residents of Gulberg society, Firoz Khan Pathan, had filed a complaint against Setalvad and others alleging that money was raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in the memory of 69 people killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but it had not been utilised for the purpose.The freezing of the accounts by Ahmedabad Police had come soon after its crime branch had started probing a case in which Setalvad and others were accused of embezzling Rs 1.51 crore collected to convert Gulbarg Society into a museum.The high court had upheld the verdict of a lower court in this regard observing that the probe was at a serious point in the alleged case of Gulbarg society fund embezzlement.In the embezzlement case lodged by the Gujarat Police, the couple had challenged the cancellation of bail in the apex court, while in the alleged FCRA violation case, CBI has challenged the anticipatory bail granted to them by the Bombay High Court. Both matters are pending before the apex court.

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From selling books on the streets of Mumbai to studying in USA, this teen’s story is an inspiration to all

Salman Syyed’s story is a story that tells us that whatever the hardships, hard work, honesty, kindness and love will always ensure good things will happen to good people. From selling books at traffic signals in Mumbai, Salman today is studying at the Community College at Houston Texas.This is his story.Salman, grew up on the footpaths of Mumbai. His mother, a ragpicker, tried to make ends meet. “On some days, she would have money, but on others, it was tough,” Salman is heard saying in a video that was shared on Teacher’s Day this year, produced by Voice of Ram.Eventually, Salman had to drop out of school in Class II and help earn money. “I eventually graduated being a ragpicker to selling books on footpaths,” he is heard saying in the video. “During that period, I taught myself to read and write.”While speaking to DNA from Houston, he joked that there were some books I liked more than others because I sold them more. A fan of Khaled Hossaini’s writings today, Salman says he was a fan of the Kite Runner. “Back then, I would read the books to know, read and write some English words,” he said.Ram Subramanian, the head at Voice of Ram told DNA that he got a chance to speak to Salman while he was selling books at Haji Ali footpath. “We spent some time together and I was amazed at how he was able to perceive individuals. His observation skills are quite brilliant,” said Ram. “Salman was spotted by Caroline, a teacher with the NGO Akanksha, who encouraged him to go back to school. He passed his Class X and XII with flying colours and then studied sociology at KC College in Mumbai. To pay for his education, Salman worked as a tour guide in the city,” Ram added.Salman’s sense of righteousness has inspired Ram. “Normally, when a tour guide shows people around, they take them to a store where they have an understanding. It wasn’t the case with Salman. He did not mind that he wasn’t making an extra buck, as long as the tourist enjoyed the experience. Also, given his childhood, his interpretation of the city was quite remarkable,” he said.Salman attributes his success to Caroline Didi. “She was my guardian angel, who ensured that I studied and then helped me go abroad. I visited New York and it was an amazing experience,” said Salman in the video.The video was shot before Salman went to Community College in Houston Texas where he is studying entrepreneurship. “I have dreams of starting my own tour company. I will start in Mumbai, branch out throughout India, and then go global,” he said. Watch his story here

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Mehbooba Mufti clamps down on separatists to thwart ‘resistance’ march in Anantnag

Strict restrictions have been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s Assembly constituency of Anantnag to thwart the march of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists to the South Kashmir Township on Friday.“General Public is informed that restriction is imposed in certain parts of Anantnag town under police station Anantnag for mitigating any law and order situation”, tweeted deputy inspector general of police, South Kashmir Range.JRL had asked people to march to Anantnag for a rally to counter the narrative of the government that separatists have lost the battle for azadi in Kashmir.JRL is an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded the last year’s unrest in Kashmir Valley that left 100 people dead and thousands others injured and blinded.Authorities, however, went into an overdrive and placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house detention. Few days ago JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik was arrested when he defied orders and tried to lead a march from in Srinagar.Hurriyat hawk continues to remain under house detention at his residence at Hyder Pora.Authorities have also imposed restrictions in four police areas of old Srinagar city and two police stations areas of uptown to prevent people from marching towards Anantnag on Friday.Hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said police arrested and raided residences of several leaders to thwart the march to Anantnag on Friiday.“Such coercive measures and repression won’t break our resolve. Most of its leaders and activists succeeded and reached Anantnag”, said a spokesman of Hurriyat.Appealing people of south Kashmir for their participation in Anantnag rally, Huriyat said that it will symbolise their dedication and commitment with “freedom movement”.On the other side a crucial meeting of moderate Hurriyat Conference was held at the Awami Action Committee headquarters at Rajouri Kadal and it was decided in the meeting Mirwaiz will try to leave for Anantnag at 11 am on Friday.“JRL leaders will address the people and announce their future strategy,” a spokesman of Hurriyat said.

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Winter Session of Parliament begins, Congress seeks PM Modi’s apology over Pakistan remark

Day after the final phase of Gujarat Assembly Elections, the Winter Session of Parliament will begin today.The session will witness a stormy start with the Congress demanding apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Pakistan remark.During an election rally in his home state, PM Modi had alleged that former PM Manmohan Singh and other senior members of Congress were colluding with Pakistan for Gujarat Assembly polls.Talking to reporters, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said, “For the first time a Prime Minister has accused Former PM, former Vice President and diplomats of conspiring with Pakistan for Gujarat elections. PM must clarify in the Parliament.”Ahead of the session, PM Modi said that he expected a ‘fruitful session.” He also said that, “I hope for positive and innovative arguments.”Also readDay after Gujarat polls, Parliament’s Winter Session to begin todayOn Thursday also, after an all-party meeting, the Congress had demanded PM’s apology.Also readWinter Session: As Congress sulks over Pak allegations, PM seeks cooperation at all-party meet”Either the government should prove the claim or the Prime Minister must apologise… Nothing short of an apology will satisfy us,” Congress leader Anand Sharma had said.The BJP, however, has already rejected the demand. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in fact, termed the dinner at now-expelled Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s residence as a ‘political misadventure’.Interestingly, BJP president Amit Shah will make his Parliamentary debut in the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session today.The Winter Session will provide a total of 14 sittings spread over a period of 21 days including four Private Members’ days. Further, 25 Bills are pending in the Lok Sabha, while 39 Bills are pending in the Rajya Sabha

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Minor set ablaze by neighbours for opposing molestation in UP’s Mainpuri

A minor girl was set ablaze by three men, who earlier allegedly had molested her in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri.The accused, who were the neighbours of the victim, allegedly use to feed some intoxicating material to the parent of the victim and harass her.As per the police, the accused had been molesting the victim for quite a long time and when she reported about the incident, they broke into her house and set her ablaze.“She filed a report about harassment few days back and we were looking for the accused when this incident took place. A case has been registered and we are making efforts to apprehend them soon,” the police said.The victim was taken to a mini PGI hospital in Saifai for treatment and now she is said to be out of danger.

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Japanese tourist drugged, valuables stolen in Varanasi, as attacks on foreigners continues in UP

It’s not the best time to be a foreign tourist if you’re visiting Uttar Pradesh. In October this year, a Swiss couple was thrashed in Fathepur Sikhri near Agra. A few weeks later, a German national was beaten up by a man at a railway Station in Sonbhadra district a few days ago because he unintentionally ignored a man’s greeting. Four days ago, 11 French tourist were molested and assaulted in Mirzapur. And now the latest attack: a Japanese tourist was drugged and his valuables, including passport, were taken away from him in Varanasi.According to ANI, a case has been registered with the Varanasi police. The tourist says he was allegedly drugged before his valuables were stolen. “The culprit decamped with my belongings, including cash, camera, mobile, passport, visa and other documents’.A case has been registered against unknown persons.Also readFrench tourists assaulted in Mirzapur: Sushma Swaraj seeks report from UP government The attack on the tourist will also be an embarassment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been vocal about his friendship with Japan and its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Abe called Modi as a visionary leader and said that Indo-Japan partnership is special, strategic and global.Also readFortnight after attack on Swiss couple, German national beaten up in UP; accused arrested”Dear friend PM Modi is a far sighted leader. He made a decision of making New India and chose Japan as a partner, we completely support it. Japan is committed for ‘Make In India’,” he added.”If we merge Japan’s Ja and India’s I then it became ‘Jai’. If we work together nothing is impossible,” Abe said.Also readAttack on Swiss couple in UP: One person arrested near Rajasthan border; matter of shame, says culture minister Mahesh SharmaAttacks on foreign touristsEarlier this week, the group of French tourists was assaulted by a group of local boys in Ahraura area of Mirzapur. The injured tourists were shifted to the Mirzapur hospital for further treatment.The incident comes to light after a German national was beaten up by a man at a railway Station in Sonbhadra district a few days ago because he unintentionally ignored a man’s greeting.Also, a Swiss couple was thrashed at Fatehpur Sikri on October 26.The incident had sparked outrage with Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and KJ Alphons seeking a report from the state government.While Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had slammed the attack, he also ordered an inquiry.The Swiss couple, 24-year-old Quentin Jeremy Clerc and Marie Droze, were attacked near the railway station at Fatehpur Sikri by a a group of boys. The locals started chasing them and harassing them. They insisted they wanted to take selfies with Marie. When the couple refused, they rained stones and sticks on Jeremy. Marie too wasn’t spared in the brutal attack.

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Mumbai scribe killed after two auto rickshaws collide head-on in Kurla

A Mumbai-based journalist was killed after a head on collision between two auto rickshaws in the suburb of Kurla on Thursday morning, news agency ANI reported.The journalist has been identified as Prashant Tripathi. According to a Hindustan Times report, Tripathi, a television journalist, was returning to his house in Kalwa near Thane when the accident took place near Kurla’s Baba Hospital.Police say a Tripathi was travelling with a relative when the accident took placeThe rickshaw driver immediately fled the spot, but passers-by managed to record his registration number and handed it over to the police. The driver has been identified as Yasin Shaikh, a resident of Nalla Sopara. He was arrested later in the day

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Centre works on cyber safety for power sector

Amid an increasing number of Cyber attacks, Cyber terrorism, and data leaks across the country, the Centre has prepared a comprehensive Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP) exclusively for the power distribution sector which is the most critical link in the electricity market. This sector interfaces with the end customers and provides revenue for the entire value chain. The CCMP includes the framework for identification of various critical information infrastructure, cyber incident response coordination, and steps to be taken for its mitigation.The Ministry of Power’s move comes at a time when India has witnessed more than 27,000 cyber security threat incidents in the first half of 2017. Reported threats include phishing attacks, website intrusions, and defacements or damages to data as well as ransomware attacks. CCMP envisages a layered security approach to strengthen cyber security posture of distribution sector. This will provide a redundancy in the system with respect to cyber security.The power ministry officer told DNA, “Cyber threats to systems can take many forms such as failure of a system/element to act/react in designed way due to virus, software bugs, intrusion, and congestion in the underlying/supervising system. Dependence of normal system operation on ICT, so much so that, operators/ power system personnel are not aware of and not well versed in alternate method to control/operate the system.’’ He informed that the impact of cyber attack on the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and distribution management system can lead to disruption of services to critical customers like hospitals and metros.

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Meat prep, damage to temple during film shoot irk locals

Uproar among local residents of city was created after a jetty (chajja) of historic Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple got damaged during the shooting of a film on Thursday. The mishap happened while the movie Dhadak, the maiden film of Jhanvi Kapoor, daughter of Sridevi and Ishan Khattar, brother of Shahid Kapoor was being shot. Not only this, when the locals reached the spot they also found meat being cooked near the old temples.The temple is situated on Sagar road in Amber area of Jaipur. As the news of the damage done to the temple reached the locals, they got angry and rushed to the spot and called for police action. As if this was not enough, the locals also found meat being cooked near the old temples, making everybody very angry.Giving the information, Bharat Sharma from Dharohar Bachao Samiti informed that the temple comes under a very safe heritage and is about 5,000 years old. Sharma claimed that the unit of the movie had been camping at the Khirni gate on Sagar Road and were eating meat near the old temple hurting the religious sentiments. He also wrote a letter to police regarding this.Notably this is a very famous temple and people come here in large numbers as many folk stories are associated with the temple. However, this is not the first time that any such place has got damaged during film shooting. In 2009 , a wall of Amber fort had collapsed while a movie of actor Salman Khan was being shot.

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Alpha to Bravo

The joint exercises between the Indian and the British Armies, third in the series, culminated on Thursday at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges near Bikaner.Meanwhile, heli-borne exercises were also conducted while methods of insertions were also taught followed by actual practice for the intended target. As the days progressed officers of both the armies started focusing on specific counterterrorism operations with lectures and demonstrations by UK contingent on search and destroy mission while cordon and search demonstration by Indian contingent. Interestingly the contingents were shown handling of venomous snakes during jungle survival training.In his closing remarks, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh of the Indian Army conveyed that in the current flattened world and the ever-changing militancy environment, such joint endeavors are the need of the day to find a solution to this global menace and such exercise are a small but concrete step in the right direction.The closing ceremony was attended by observers and senior military dignitaries from both the Armies. Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner in India and Major General Robert Harry Talbot Rice from the United Kingdom and Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding STRIKE 1 and Major General Rupinder Singh, General Officer Commanding Cockerel Division from Indian Army were present.

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Cops caught between couple’s blame game

The police got trapped in the case of a woman leaving her husband’s house and staying separate with her husband’s friend. Police has filed a case under Section 497 of IPC but considering this case related to the adultery law, it is non cognisable and handed it over to the court to settle the whole case.It is noteworthy that while hearing a PIL in the past, the Supreme Court has also asked to consider a change in the old 497 section and asked for convicting women also with men in such cases.A person residing in Paharganj area lodged an FIR in the Mandore police station on Tuesday that he had been married for twelve years. He has two children from this marriage. He lived in Bawadi earlier but due to his job, he came to Paharganj and started living there.He became a friend of a contractor there. This man always kept coming to his house. During this, his friend made an illegitimate relationship with his wife. Now his wife left him and is staying with his friend in a different house. According to the police, this case under this section is non cognisable. In this case, we have handed the case to the court.

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Promotion, shuffle of police officers on cards in new year

State government will promote 27 police officers on the New Year. There will be three ADG, four IG and 20 DIG. Home department and police authorities have completed their homework and the list could be out on the eve of the New Year.As per information, three IG rank officers will become ADG, four DIG will be promoted to IG and 20 SP rank officials will get promotion to DIG rank. It is being learnt that the government is going to shuffle police force at top level in a big way. Those who are going to be promoted along with those who would get key responsibilities in election year will be part of the transfer list.Among them there are officers who are supposed to get new postings because they have been occupying same post even after promotion. An important change could be in Jaipur commissionerate. Around one dozen SPs in districts are likely to be changed including those promoted from RPS to IPS. Buzz is that the new DGP O P Galhotra is working on creating a new team. Talented officers would be sent to different districts keeping elections in mind.This year Govind Gupta, Sunil Dutt and Amrit Kalash would be promoted from IG to ADG.Three officers, Lata Manoj, Jyoti Gogoi and Umesh Dutta would be promoted from DIG to IG rank. All three are currently posted in the CBI. Since they are out of state their promotion will be on notional or performa basis.20 officers would also be included in the list who will be promoted as DIG from the post of SP. The names are Ravi Dutt Gaur, Gaurav Srivastava, Sharad Kaviraj, S Parimala, Santosh Kumar Tukaram, Omprakash I, KV Vandana, Vikas Kumar, Satyaveer Singh, Deepak Kumar, UN Chanwal, Rajesh Kumar Meena, Sanjay Shotriya, Mahmood Alam Tarik, Surendra Kumar Gupta, Dilip Kumar, Lalit Kumar Maheshwari, Prassan Kumar Khamesra, Laxman Gaur and Bharat Lal Meena.Election on mindGovernment is going to shuffle police force at top level in a big way. Those who are going to be promoted along with those who would get key responsibilities in election year will be part of the transfer list. Among them there are officers who are supposed to get new postings as they have been occupying same post even after promotion.

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Bogged down by weather, Pooja Express upsets plans of many

Pooja Express which takes about 5 hours to reach Delhi from Jaipur was on Thursday running 5 hours late. The train 12413 Ajmer-Jammu Tawi Pooja Express, departs from Jaipur junction at 16:15 hours so as to reach Delhi by 21:55 hours. However, on Thursday the railways informed that the train was expected to depart from Jaipur at 21:17 hours.This is the time by which passengers who board the train actually reach Delhi. This enormous delay in the train schedule disturbed the travel plan of many people.After they got the information of the 5-hour delay, many of the passengers got the tickets cancelled and looked for alternatives. Though there are a few flights from Jaipur to Delhi during evening hours, the fares were as high as Rs 5000-Rs 6000 per person.“We have got the reservation cancelled for this train and will now travel by bus. There is no use sitting and waiting for the train,” said a bank professional who was travelling to Delhi to attend a marriage function to be held on Friday.As such the rush for the roadways buses and lo parivahan buses was seen for going to Delhi by the passengers. Sources informed that the reason for this delay was the arrival of 12414 Jammu-Tawi-Ajmer in Jaipur. This train came more than 6 hours late on Thursday owing to poor weather condition in north IndiaApart from this train, 8 more trains were late due to weather conditions and many passengers who were not updated about the changed schedule were seen waiting for their respective trains at the platforms. Dibrugarh Lalgarh train was late by more than 14 hours while Marudhar Express which runs between Varanasi and Jodhpur was late by 3 hours apart from other trains.PICKY EATERS A passenger travelling by New Delhi-Ajmer Shatabdi complained about no non-veg food being served on Thursday. Joydeep Chakraborti complained this through twitter to the Railway authorities. In his tweet sent from the twitter handle @joydeepchakra he said, “No non-veg breakfast in Ajmer Shtabdi C9 coach coz its Thursday !” Reacting on his tweet, @RailMinIndia sprung into action and asked the IRCTC to look into the issue.

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During 1947, leadership was influenced by western ideology: Suresh Joshi

The number two leader of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Suresh (Bhaiya JI) Joshi said that the development model adopted in the country after independence is not our model. This is a foreign model. After independence, the leadership of the then country was influenced by western ideology.Bhaiya Ji was addressing the lecture organised on the topic “Relevance of Ekatma-manavvad (integral humanism)”. Joshi said that Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay has done the task of keeping basic thinking in front of the society, and that is what we know as integral humanism.The country became independent, but we could not distinguish between the Suraj and the Swaraj. Therefore, the need for remembering those great men once again was needed. Pandit Upadhyay placed this thought in front of everyone. An opportunity came in 1947. Considering all the development plans taken on the basis of contemplation of Western thought could have been the matter of adding to the original stream. But unfortunately, this country’s leadership of that time was influenced by western ideas and western education. Considering the development model which was going in the world that time, it was accepted in the country also. From the legal point of view, India emerged as an independent country, but our country did not run independently nor did it run on its ideology. There was an opportunity in 1947 which we lost. Following west became our destinyExpressing his concern over environmental damage due to modernity and industrialization, Joshi said that we have to work for the reconstruction of the environment. The more you take, the same should be taken from nature.On this occasion, Mahesh Chandra Sharma, President of Ekatm-Manvvad Research and Development Institute, said that the path Independent India should follow was shown by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. DIGNITARIES PRESENT DURING EVENTChief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan University Prof RK. Kothari, RSS leader Durgadas and Nimbaram and other dignitaries were also present during the occasion. Expressing his concern over environmental damage due to modernity and industrialization, Joshi said that we have to work for the reconstruction of the environment.

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Soon, ancient havelis, forts to be in commercial use

Ancient heritage havelis and forts can be used for commercial purpose now, with a rider of not altering their traditional look. The user will have to file affidavit for this. Soon, the state government will implement state heritage conservation and protection rules.Local self-government department has prepared draft of state heritage conservation and protection rules for conservation of heritage buildings, folk art, culture, dance and paintings. The proposal has been sent to LSG minister Srichand Kriplani’s approval.The BJP government had tabled Rajasthan heritage conservation bill in the state assembly two years ago. However, it faced opposition from its own ministers and MLAs who belonged to erstwhile royal families. They were not happy about government interference in conservation of private heritage buildings forcing the government to withdraw the bill.Now, the government has come up with state heritage conservation and protection rules, which unlike the bill does not have strong provisions regarding government interference.Notably, any heritage building can be used commercially, even if it is in non-commercial zone in the master plan.The owner of the building will have to give affidavit for not distorting the heritage look of the building. However, repair will be allowed, keeping the traditional look of the building intact. While the owner will get 25% rebate in urban development tax for conservation of building. All concessions entailed in tourism policy will be extended to heritage conservation projects. While the proposed state heritage council can enter an agreement with the building owner for heritage conservation, government will not be responsible for heritage conservation of private buildings. Also permission for commercial use will be withdrawn if the heritage look is distorted.Highlights of rules to beState heritage council to be constituted Principal Secretary LSG will head the council Council will categorise heritage on basis of aesthetics, history, culture, scientific, social and spirituality State heritage centre to be formed to give technical advice Heritage buildings will receive grades 1, 2 and 3 City heritage cell to be constituted in all cities headed by municipal body chairman Unified building bylaws to be issued for construction in heritage buildings and their vicinity Construction permission as per advice of council Conservation area to be notified in periphery of the building

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Rajasthan innovations shine, DLB Pawan Arora receives award

It was a proud moment for the state as the director of local bodies of Rajasthan, Pawan Arora received National Energy Conservation Award 2017 of union energy ministry on Thursday. The award has been bestowed on Rajasthan DLB for exemplary work in ‘Street Light’ category. The state with 8.67 lakh LED street lights is ahead of all other states.The national level award was presented to Rajasthan DLB, Pawan Arora at a function of Union Energy Ministry held at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi on occasion of Energy Conservation Day on Thursday. The Directorate of local bodies was also awarded the Rajasthan Energy Conservation Award 2017 by the Rajasthan energy department at a state level program held at Jaipur on the day.It has been for the consecutive year that the DLB has bagged the state level award for energy conservation through replacing traditional road lights with LED lights. The initiative has helped the Directorate to save on Rs 146.56 crore in expenditure on street light electricity consumption and saved 1832 lakh units of electricity for the state at large. Until December 12, 2017, there were 4130007 units of LED lights and Rajasthan has maximum share of these.REIL AWARDEDA ‘mini ratna’ public sector enterprise based at Jaipur, Rajasthan Electronics and Instrument Limited (REIL) has been awarded the National Energy Conservation Awards 2017 in Office and BPO Building category. The award was presented by President Ramnath Kovind to REIL managing director, A K Jain at the award ceremony held at Delhi. Replacing its older machinery and equipment with energy-efficient equipment, REIL has been able to reduce its consumption by 1 lakh units in 2016-17. It has also been awarded by the Rajasthan Energy Conservation Award 2017.FOR JMRC TOOThe Jaipur Metro Railway Corporation (JMRC) has been awarded in two categories of the Rajasthan Energy Conservation Award 2017. The metro corporation has been awarded in government department category and the JMRC Chandpole station has been awarded for energy conservation in the commercial building category. The metro through various innovations such as keeping down the standby transformers, running escalators on idle mode and efficient management of chilling plant has been able to save 13 lakh units of electricity in 2016-17.

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Big Q on sarkari schemes raises brows

One may find controversy in everything if the intent is inquisitive. And that is what happened on Thursday after questions regarding various plans of the Centre and the state government were asked to students in an examination regarding “Samajopyogi Yojnain”(Social beneficiary Schemes).This question paper was meant for the half-yearly examinations which is currently underway in government schools across the state. Fifteen out of 17 questions were related to the plans of the Central and State Government in the paper.Questions related to the Modi government’s flagship scheme Swachh Bharat Mission, Make in India, Prime Minister Skill Development Scheme were asked. Similarly, the state government’s flagship scheme were also included in the question of Chief Minister’s Jal Swavalamban Scheme and Bhamashah Yojana. In this paper, only questions related to the plans of Modi and the Raje government were put forth. The paper did not include questions related to any scheme of the UPA government and the Ashok Gehlot government. After the examination, the question paper was posted on social media for the usual banters and barbs.Congress stood in opposition to this paper. Expressing concern over the move of the Education Department, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, President of Jaipur District Congress Committee, said, “There is no achievement of the State Government. Education is being politicised. This is how the government wants the students to ‘know’ about the current schemes.”Congress, he said, will take every possible step against this “Bhajpaikarn” of education.Several teahcers who spoke on condition of anonymity also condemned such a move but could not come out in the open due to occupational hazards.It may be noted that this question paper was made available to the DNA by one such teahcer.“The name of the subject itself is social schemes. Hence the questions of the Central and State Government schemes were included in it. This will enable students to get an overview of the schemes when they study about it and hence be capable of utilising the same to their own benefits,” Daya Shankar, District Education Officer(Secondary), Bikaner. Tough nut to crack?This question paper was meant for the half-yearly examinations which is currently underway in government schools across the state. Fifteen out of 17 questions were related to the plans of the Central and State Government. The state government’s flagship scheme were also included in the question paper.

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Precarious parenting

How much do 400 rupees mean to most of us? May be a popcorn bucket for kids on a weekend movie show or petrol bill for a couple of days office commutation during week days. But for Kamali a 23-year-old from Jharniya village in Banswara district, it is an amount enough to put her ‘to be born’ baby on risk. Kamali, is an expecting mother with a due date to deliver an issue in February. In her 30th week of pregnancy, Kamali did not go for any Ante Natal Checkup (ANC) so far. She has a reason for that.“We are daily wage labourers and that’s how we feed our five-member family,” Kamali explained. “Due to my pregnancy, our earning has already reduced to half as I am unable to go for work and in such a condition I cannot afford to take my husband along, who has to cover a distance of 28 kilometre to reach his workplace, for my check up at Anganwadi Center as it will mean a complete loss of a day’s earning. We can’t afford,” she added.Kamali represents lakhs of pregnant women in Rajasthan who have not received a single ANC during their pregnancy and her reason to avoid mother and child care facilities is the most common one that puts lakhs of mothers and their unborns life at risk. “Clearly, we see that financial loss matters more for them compared to the health. So there was a need to compensate their financial loss in order to motivate them to visit Anganwadi or health centres.” Manoj Jain, Additional Director (Nutrition) at Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) said.“For the purpose, State Women and Child Development Department has rolled out the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) in the state. Now, all the pregnant women and lactating mothers, in the state, who have their first pregnancy can get the benefits of PMMVY. PMMVY is the union government aided scheme to benefit pregnant women and lactating mothers for the birth of their first live child. Beneficiary will get Rs 5,000 in three instalments at the stage of early registration of pregnancy, after six months of pregnancy on at least one antenatal check-up and registration of child birth and first cycle of immunization of the child. All the pregnant women and lactating mothers who have their first pregnancy on or after 1 January 2017 can avail the scheme benefits now.“The benefit amount would be send directly to the bank account of the beneficiary through Direct Benefit Transfer mode,” said Manoj Jain.SCHEME TO CONTROL INFANT MORTALITY RATEAs per SRS bulletin 2016, IMR in Rajasthan is 41 deaths per 1,000 live births It is far more than the national IMR of 34 per 1,000 live births. Birth asphyxia, low birth weight are leading causes of deaths of infants in the state. IMR in rural areas is 45 which is almost 50% more than the IMR in urban areas. IMR in rural Rajasthan is 30 which is 30% more than the national rural IMR figure of 23. ABOUT PRADHAN MANTRI MATRU VANDANA YOJANARajasthan rolled out the scheme on December 5, 2017. 5-6 lakh pregnant women will be benefited per year. Total Rs 5,000 will be given to each pregnant woman and lactating mother. Scheme means to motivate for ANC and immunization, through financial assistance. THE AMOUNT WILL BE PAID IN 3 INSTALLMENTSRs 1000 at the time of registration of pregnancy.Rs 2,000 At least one ANC carried out after six months of pregnancy.Rs 2,000 The birth of child registered and the child received first cycle of vaccines, including BCG, OPV, DPT and hepatitis-B.

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Cops use baton to curb agitators in Udaipur

Day after prohibitory orders were clamped in Udaipur and Rajsamand districts with threat of massive protests – particularly in Udaipur city – the orders did little to maintain law and order in the city. Massive protests occurred in the city resulting in clashes between cops and agitators. Stone pelting also occurred between the agitators and cops as the latter resorted to baton charging at the protestors several times. Interestingly, sources revealed that majority of the protesters were not from Udaipur but had landed in the city in the wake of the agitation.Since morning, people started gathering in the town hall ground and by afternoon the numbers had swelled substantially. People raising slogans for Shambhu Lal – the man who murdered Afrazul – reached the bus stand and then to Chetak circle.Since the administration had already imposed prohibitory orders, the police started dispersing the crowd. However, as the people tried to put a resistance, the cops retaliated and resorted to baton charge. The protestors even pelted stones at the cops. When the cops retaliated, the agitators ran away and tried to find a sanctuary in the houses but the alert cops found them and arrested them.However, the issue flared up after protesters entered the court premises. This resulted in a clash between cops and lawyers. The police took out a route march from Chetak circle to Court circle and the Inspector general and Superintendent of Police (SP) themselves took control.Meanwhile, the cops arrested at least 50 persons and additional forces were deployed to avoid any eventuality. Meanwhile, the ban on internet services was further extended for the next 24 hours. Four police officers were injured in the scuffle.Held in CityAfter the video of Updesh Rana, a native of UP, went viral wherein the man was seen giving support to murder accused Shambhu Lal while calling for a protest in Udaipur, the state police was on its toes in order to halt Rana’s advance towards Udaipur. Since his entry into Udaipur had been banned, the cops were on the lookout for the man and the Bagru police of Commissionerate detained and arrested the man. After his arrest, he was taken to police station wherein a magistrate ordered him to judicial custody. “The man has been put under judicial custody,” sources said.

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Foundation of projects worth crores today

Union minister for Road Transport and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari is expected to lay foundation stones and inaugurate road works worth Rs727 crores in a programme at Baran district on Friday. Foundation laying ceremony of Parwan Irrigation project envisaged to provide water to 2 lakh hectare land in Hadoti region may also mark in the same program which will be chaired by the chief minister Vasundhara Raje.The desert state takes a big leap in infrastructure whenever Gadkari visits. Almost three months back, Prime minister Narendra Modi and Gadkari came to Udaipur and the former inaugurated highway and road projects worth Rs15,000 crore for the entire state. At that time, a major announcement was made by Gadkari to boost Rajasthan infra while spending around Rs2 trillion in the next five years for building the road and national highways in Rajasthan.With his focus, Rajasthan rolls with infra projects, and those big projects which were limbo for several years. One of such big projects is Parwan irrigation project, which will do away water needs in three districts-Baran, Jhalawar and Kota. Gadkari may lay the foundation stone of the project.Rajasthan expects financial assistance from the center to speed up works in the project that costs nearly Rs6489 crores. Raje, in several meetings, discussed it and Gadkari gave assurance as well. Parwan project, the project got embroiled in several controversies regarding displacement of tribals, the forests land getting submerged and most important, the project is brought in only to benefit two thermal power projects. According to the sources, Gadkari has scheduled visit to Baran to lay foundation stone, though final consent is still awaited.

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56% private schools have medium-quality teaching

Claiming “higher discrepancies” between resources available and the learning outcomes, the Praja foundation report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi- 2017’ on Thursday said that “there is no constraint on available resources”.”In terms of the infrastructure available, teacher quality and budget allocation, there is no constraint on available resources. The corporation is faring well on the student-teacher ratio, the quality of teachers is above average and the budget estimate has been set by the state government at Rs 49,740 per child,” the report said.According to Right to Education (RTE) rules, primary schools must have a student-teacher ratio of 30. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) schools, on the contrary, had a much higher student-teacher ratio from 2014-15 to 2016-17.However, in terms of quality of teaching, 63 per cent of state government and 55 per cent of MCD schools show an average level of teacher quality. “On an average, teachers from 55 per cent MCD schools reported having a medium level of teaching quality based on the various parameters under SSEF whereas 34 per cent reported having a high quality of teaching. For state government schools 63 per cent schools reported medium teacher quality,” the report said.Fifty six per cent private schools reported having medium teaching quality levels whereas 30 per cent schools reported high teacher quality.

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Sachin Pilot takes off for bypoll campaign

Congress has got active in bypoll bound parliamentary constituency Ajmer and Alwar which were extensively toured by the chief minister Vasundhara Raje recently. Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot campaigned in Pushkar area of Ajmer on Thursday and he is scheduled to tour Alwar on Friday. Pilot, who has been considered top choice as the candidate from his home constituency Ajmer, met people, particularly in the rural areas of Tijara during his day-long campaigning. On this occasion, he made a veiled attack on the chief minister Vasundhara Raje.“People saw the rule of BJP and Congress, both. They have to decide which party serves people on the priority and who are those indulging into politics centralize powers only,” said Pilot in a statement released from the party office. A week back he toured both constituencies too. The bypoll bound both constituencies are crucial for both, ruling BJP and opposition Congress. Pilot has emerged as the face of the party and considered one of the top choices for CM’s face. The election will test his efficiency in poll management and how much he worked to boost party perspective against BJP which a couple of months back won Dholpur byelection with a huge margin.CM Raje’s reputation is also at stake in the election. She has to retain these constituencies which will prove her mettle and leave a strong message what could be the result of coming assembly polls scheduled to be held in December next year. That’s the reason why Raje toured extensively for one month in both constituencies and had dialogues with commoners directly under CM Jan Samvad Program. Simultaneously, she showered sops to the areas to appease the people. Both major parties are in the poll mode, however, the suspense continues over the candidature. Pilot from Ajmer and his colleague as a former minister in UPA government Bhanwar Jitendra Singh from Alwar are being mulled, though Congress, which has got new president Rahul Gandhi is yet to take the final call. On the other hand, the BJP is considering Ramswaroop Lamba, son of late MP Sanwar Lal Jat, to be fielded in Ajmer and current labour minister Jaswant Singh Yadav from Alwar.

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Man duping people online, nabbed

A 32-year-old man has been arrested for duping people by offering them virtual currency Kashhcoin by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police. Police officials claimed that around eight more persons are likely to be arrested”The accused has been identified as Narender alias Sonu Dahiya (32) who hails from Sonipat, Haryana. Dahiya ran the multi-level marketing syndicate of fake cryptocurrency in the name of ‘Kashhcoin’ like Bitcoin along with many others.A case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 has been registered by the police,” said Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch.The police officials received a complaint from Arun Kumar in which he alleged that that he was cheated for Rs 13,90,000 by people who persuaded him to invest in the newly launched virtual currency.”The coins are of no use as of now. While the investigations were going on more complainants came to the police with the same grievance of being cheated in the name of ‘Kashhcoin’. As per the given guidelines of RBI Virtual Currencies (Cryptocurrencies) are not legalised in India,” said Kumar.Narender has studied upto Class 12 and passed out from Haryana. He then started dealing in real estate. After the failure of the real estate business he engaged in Multi Level Marketing (MLM) in the year 2011. In November 2016, he came in contact with other associates. They then launched the virtual currency Kashhcoin in December, 2016 and organized lavish seminars at different places like Nepal, Mumbai, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Raipur, Nagpur.

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Fee hike: Delhi CM warns schools of stern action

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday warned private schools of the “strongest action” for allegedly harassing parents by arbitrarily increasing fees to comply with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.The warning came after reports suggested that private schools substantially increased their fees to comply with the seventh central pay commission (CPC) recommendations.In October, the Delhi government had allowed recognised unaided private schools on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land to increase their fees by 15 per cent as an “interim” measure to comply with the CPC recommendations, which include a nearly 25 per cent increase in salaries of school teachers.”Parents from all over Delhi have met me in last few days wi complaints that schools r demanding v high fee including arrears to implement 7th Pay Commission. This must stop. I have directed Edu Dept to review the whole situation n to take immediate steps to stop this (sic),” Kejriwal said on Twitter.

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More than 80K MCD students dropped out

As many as 85,412 students dropped out from the schools run by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) during the academic year 2016-17, a report released by NGO Praja Foundation stated on Thursday.”The estimated drop out percentage in schools run by the North MCD is 6.1 percent, South MCD is 6 percent and state government schools is 3.4 percent,” the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi-2017’ said. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), however, has not provided any information on the number of dropouts in their schools.On average, from the three Municipal Corporations, in the last three years (2014-15 to 2016-17), the EDMC has witnessed the maximum dropout followed by North Delhi Municipal Corporation.”Number of drop outs from state government schools has been increasing in the past three years (2014-15 to 2016-17),” the report stated.The data has been compiled on the basis of RTIs received from 640 schools of MCD and 749 schools of state government.SCHOOL-STUDENT RATIO

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Global Partnership Summit | China must adhere to international norms: Yoshiaki Harada

Japanese politician and MP Yoshiaki Harada (73) is former minister for education and has also held post of vice-minister for foreign affairs. He is currently an influential member of the Diet (Parliament). Known amongst advisors of current Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Harada is seen a sprit behind India-Japanese relationship. He was here to attend Global Partnership Summit (GPS). On the sidelines of the summit, he talked to Iftikhar Gilani of DNA. Excerpts:How you seen India-Japan and the US trilateral relations coming up?India-Japan relations was always good. Over last few years, it has received more attention, Currently, India is politically very stable, so is Japan also under Abe. Over past many years India’s annual growth rate has more than 7%. Last decade, growth rate in Japan has been either zero or one or two per cent. We want to help India to become more prosperous. India has an enormous population and is very industrious; it is extremely important to Japan. It’s true that India favoured the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but in the future, I think Japan should strengthen its ties with India.How was your experience at GPS?I particularly liked Indians adhering to spiritualism and blending their religious beliefs with modernity. Japanese are sometimes more materialistic. We must learn from Indian people to blend materialism with spirituality. Recently a yoga centre has been set up at our Parliament House and many MPs have enrolled there.This India, Japan and the US partnership is bound to raise hackles in the neighbourhood. It will be looks as an alliance against rise of China?I don’t believe this partnership has any military or a strategic angle. It is to bring economic growth in the region. Yes, there is faint connection to prevent China to achieve its military goals. There has been apprehensions and threats from China in the region. But we have no issue with China if it respects its neighbours and adheres to international rules.In the Parliament, I have learned that you had confronted Chinese by producing a map of 1969, where China had been admitting Japanese claims on disputed Senkaku Islands (including Uotsuri Island).Like India and China boundary disputes, Japan and China have problems including the Senkaku Islands, and there are also issues between Japan and South Korea. It is important for us to appeal to the international community regarding issues – such as those between Japan and China, as well as Japan and South Korea, including the Senkaku Islands – and gain understanding from other countries and the international society.

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‘Alarming’ transition rate in Delhi govt, MCD schools

Almost half of the students studying in Delhi government schools did not move to the secondary level through examinations between 2015-17, while in primary and middle classes, they were promoted irrespective of their learning levels, states a report released by an NGO on Thursday.“The transition rate of students in state government schools from Class 9 to 10 at 56.95 percent whereas it is 98.55 percent from Class 7th to 8th for the academic year 2015-16 to 2016-17,” says the report titled ‘State of Public (School) Education in Delhi-2017’ which has been compiled by NGO Praja Foundation on the basis of information collected by RTIs and Surveys.Calling the transition rate “alarming”, the report said, “It clearly shows that students were promoted irrespective of the learning levels in the earlier years and the teachers either were ‘callous’ in their approach or the monitoring of RTE norms was not stringent.”Under Right to Education (RTE) 2009, it is mandatory to promote students to higher classes every year till Class VIII. The policy was instituted to check the high number of dropouts, but gradually experts cited it as a reason for high failure and drop-outs in Classes IX and X.“44 percent of the students enrolled in Class 9 in 2013-14 could not reach Class 12 in 2016-17. Similarly, 43 percent did not go to Class 10 in 2016-17 from Class 9,” the report said.However, adviser to the Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia Atishi Marlena said that the transition rate in state government schools have increased after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government came in power.“The failure rate in Class IX was constantly high because of no detention policy until last year as the AAP government has been taking constant efforts to help students,” she said.The report further highlighted the drop in enrollment numbers both in schools run by the AAP-led Delhi government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs), with highest drop of 30 percent being reported in class I, between 2010 to 2017.“Enrollment in class I has gone down from 1,92820 in 2010-11 to 1,35,491 in 2016-17 in MCD and state government schools,” it stated.While Delhi government officials held “deteriorating state” of MCD schools, responsible for the drop in enrollment in class I, officials at the civic bodies cited “insufficient resources” as the reason behind this. “Primary education in Delhi is under the MCDs and the condition of their schools are really bad. Why would anyone prefer to send their children in these schools,” Marlena said.Besides, the overall drop in enrollment was reportedly 7 percent from 2013-14 to 2016-17 in these schools. “Total enrollment fell down by 1,76743 students, including 93,444 MCD students and 83,299 state government students, from 2013-14 to 2016-17,” the Praja report said.Meanwhile, the report also revealed that 85 percent students from Municipal schools and 74 percent from state government schools are taking private tuitions “It shows that the parents are not satisfied with the quality of education being offered in these schools,” it added.

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Opening up a new world, to the specially abled

For 19-year-old Shreya Jena, an autistic child whose childhood was not at all easy, things have changed completely. Sitting in a lavish white room, Jena is happily painting and pursuing her love for technology. She is altogether a different person now.”I was not like this before. I was low on confidence, impatient and short-tempered. But now, I am moving towards learning new things,” said Jena. She is now undergoing sessions with a NGO in Vasant Kunj.From teaching her to paint, to giving her therapy for her disability, Freesia Organisation has completely changed her world. “Jena came to us when she was only 15, her parents were not sure of what to do as she had great difficulty in communicating. But now after sustaining special education, speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational and vision therapy she has become a lot more confident and she can answer and speak much clearer now,” said Roma Sahni, founder of Freesia.The NGO provides a spectrum of services such as early intervention, education, therapy and counselling to children with multiple disabilities without medicines.Over the past four years, Jena has been able to find out her interests in painting and computers.”I came here when I was only 15, it’s been four years since I have been coming here. I love this place as this has given me a platform to learn. I could not even answer but now I am confident enough and I am able to do what I learn on daily basis. I learn all the subjects along with that singing and dance is what I love to do,” said Jena.After learning, she now teaches Hindi and English to other children and has possessed a different interest for computer as Photoshop amazes her.”I was taught how to make power-point presentation and word documents but now I want to learn photoshop as it is something very interesting and along with it photography is something I love as seeing people happy in one frame is something which is beautiful. I want to be an photo editor,” Jena added.

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Mom, paramour kill 7-year-old with knife

A seven-year old girl was brutally murdered with a kitchen knife by her mother and her paramour after she had caught them in a “compromising position” in East Delhi’s Ghazipur area early on Thursday, police said.To mislead the police, the mother cooked up stories and said somebody killed her in the name of “black magic”. The duo was arrested in the evening.”The mother and her paramour, Sudhir, hatched a conspiracy after the minor girl saw them in an awkward position. Initially, a missing complaint was registered with the police. Later her body was recovered with her throat slit,” said Omvir Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), East.The girl was last seen watching TV with her younger brother. Her parents said she had gone missing, raised an alarm and alerted neighbours who also could not find her. Later, at 11 am, the police was informed.The police scanned the area and the girl was found on the terrace of an adjacent building. The building has several houses with terraces linked to each other.The prime suspect in the case was another man who lived barely a few metres away from the house and had been missing since the crime.Police officials sent the body for post-mortem. During the probe it was revealed that the mother was close to the man and he was seen entering and leaving the building at times.The mother later confessed that her daughter had caught her with her paramour in a comprising position. “The girl was hell-bent on telling her father what she had seen despite her mother pestering her not to do so. In fear that her daughter might spill the beans, she took her to the terrace of the adjacent building and asked her paramour to come along as well. The duo later killed her using a kitchen knife,” said an investigating official.

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CM Nitish Kumar calls for community partnership for effect liquor ban enforcement

A day after BJP-ally and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi alleged that liquor was freely available to bureaucrats, officers and those who could “afford” it in dry Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday also expressed concern over bootlegging and sought community partnership to bring an end to it.Addressing the general public in Sitamarhi district on the third day of his “Vikas Karyon Ki Sameeksha Yatra,” Nitish conceded that illicit liquor trade was thriving in dry Bihar. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant and the whistleblowers will get protection. Their identities will not be revealed,” he said.The CM said that local police helpline and control room numbers were displayed at public places and urged women and youngsters to support their efforts in ban implementation. Total alcohol prohibition was enforced in Bihar on April 5, 2016, “especially on the strong demand made for it by the womenfolk of the state.”Nitish said there were few people who had made it a lucrative business but the state government was in process of establishing a special cell for ensuring effective prohibition.Earlier on Wednesday, Manjhi, also the leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, had dared the state to use breathalyzers on its senior officials, to expose who all were still consuming alcohol. “I have said it as a friend of Nitish. Everyone knows that the poor are targeted whereas the higher rung of the society is easily getting away despite defying the ban,” Manjhi reiterated on Thursday.Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has also continuously made charges of liquor ban “failing” in Bihar. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has alleged “home delivery” of liquor, which is smuggled in the state through Nepal and Jharkhand, though the government has denied it.

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Apex court gives Parsi woman interim relief

A Parsi woman on Thursday won her right to enter the Tower of Silence despite marrying outside the religion after the Valsad Parsi Anjuman Trust filed an undertaking permitting Goolrukh Gupta and her sisters to enter the Tower of Silence to offer prayers and participate in rituals in the event a family member passes away.For the moment, the Trust has extended its permission strictly limited to the petitioner and her sisters and not for all Parsi women who have married outside the faith. However, Gupta has not lost faith. Reacting to the news, the 51-year-old Mumbai resident is hopeful that Parsi women from small towns who have married outside the faith will be accorded the same right she has won today.”This is merely an interim order,” Shiraz Patodia — one of Gupta’s sisters and the advocate in this matter said. “The fate of other Parsi women and their rights will be decided when the court will hear the matter in the entirety,” she added.Goolrukh Gupta married her husband Mahipal Gupta, a Marwadi, more than 25 years ago, however in all that time she never forgot her faith and hardly ever skipped the daily ritual of tying the sudreh and kusti. The daughter of a trustee from Valsad, Gupta had the liberty to follow her religion, despite marrying outside the faith. However, things changed when the trustees changed.However, 15 years ago when a trustee, who had just then taken over — sometime in 2002-2003, took the hardliners approach, he all but excommunicated Gupta. Since then, Gupta was not allowed to enter the agyari (fire temple), nor participate in any religious rituals henceforth.Gupta had then filed a petition in court which, over the years finally reached the corridors of the Gujarat High Court. In their judgment, a three-judge bench 2:1 held that a Parsi woman who marries outside her faith ceases to be a Parsi. Dissatisfied with the verdict, Goolrukh had then approached the Supreme Court, challenging the HC judgment.”The last time I entered the Tower of Silence in Valsad was in 2003 when my maternal uncle passed away, Gupta said. That was also the last time she entered the fire temple there to attend the four-day prayers held for him.Thursday’s victory brings hope and cheer to the tiny, dwindling Parsi community which is under the threat of extinction. Numbering less than 50,000 now, an urgency has crept in among them. While some have taken refuge in the literal teachings of the text, others believe that Parsis need to reach out into the beyond. After all, they all want to survive.Last week, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had observed that a woman does not mortgage herself to a man by marrying him. She retains her identity, including her religious identity, even after she exercises her right to marry outside her community under the Special Marriage Act.The top court’s observation came when a five-judge bench was hearing Gupta’s matter.Couples from different faiths who wish to retain their individual religious identities may opt for a marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which ensures religious protection.Prima facie, the top court did not adhere to the principle of merger relied upon by the Gujarat High Court in denying Gupta the right to practice her faith.Representing Gupta, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising had sought the court’s indulgence to treat this case as an endorsement of inter-faith marriages. Those who marry outside their faith should be saddled with any disabilities, she added. Government data suggests that the Special Marriages Act is not used as often as it should be, she said.”The Tower of Silence is not a mutt or a citadel of a cult. It is a place to offer prayers to the dead. Can such a right of a woman be guillotined? It is part of her Constitutional identity,” CJI Misra had observed.The court’s decision favouring the Parsi woman’s right will create a paradigm shift for women within the minority community. Earlier this year, the top court recently ruled in favour of Muslim women by striking down instant triple talaq as unconstitutional.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | More tribals in poll queue despite violence in Dahod

The tribal seats in the districts that went to the polls on Thursday continued with the trend of high percentage of voting. The tribal districts saw around 70% of voting during the first phase too.As for this election, 13 tribal seats spread over five districts of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Panchmahals, Dahold and Vadodara went to polls on Thursday.Banaskantha saw 74% of voting and the tribal seat Danta recorded 65.28% while Sabarkantha saw 77% polling. The latter reported some trouble with the EVMs in three places in Bhiloda seat. The issue was later resolved.The polling percentage for other districts were Panchmahals (72%), Dahod (65.36%) and Vadodara (73%). While Panchmahals and Vadodara saw a bit less voting than 2012, Dahod saw a considerable dip. The district had registered over 69% voting in the last assembly election.Both Khedbrahma and Bhildo in Panchmahals saw over 70% voting. In Vadodara too, the tribal seats recorded a heavy turnout. Seat specific voting percentage for the three seats in Vadodara were not available at the time of going to print. In Dahod district, Fatehpura seat saw two incidents of violence. Both the incidents involved workers from BJP and Congress battling each other over some issues in voting.Dahod has six seats of which five are reserved for tribals. Fatehpura is one of them and saw 60.91% of voting. The other seats are Jhalod (67.23%), Limkheda (71.21%) , Dahod (64.56%) and Garbada (50.98%).The district saw 78 instances where one of the parts of EVM had to be changed.Looking at dahodDahod has six seats of which five are reserved for tribals. Fatehpura is one of them and saw 60.91% of voting. The other seats are Jhalod (67.23%), Limkheda (71.21%) , Dahod (64.56%) and Garbada (50.98%).

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Diktat creating communal havoc

A message is doing rounds in the Dawoodi Bohra community criticising the recent diktat that marriages can be held only in community halls/places that are cleared by Anjuman E Shiate Ali, the community’s religious committee. The diktat even asks members of the community to not attend marriages if not held at places cleared by it.The recent message condemning the ‘diktat’ states that it has created a “communal havoc”. It goes on to ask if the religious leaders of the community will help them.”If Christian schools” refuse admission for the Bohras and that being a business community, if tomorrow “other communities boycott business with us, where do we stand? Does it make any difference to our religious leaders and their income?””The new diktat is disturbing. Earlier, there was a diktat of limiting food items and stopping sangeet and dance because it is not Islamic. Now this. All this is happening because of revenue as most halls are controlled by the religious leaders or people close to them. They want to control our activities and form pressure groups,” said a member, who did not want to be named.Members said that community halls have limitations like dress code, space constraint and also parking issues.”This should not be labelled as a diktat. Such words are prejudicial. The current advisory asking Bohras to use community venues for weddings has many advantages… All are positive steps for an organisation charged with managing community affairs… promoting egalitarianism and maintaining cultural propriety,” said a spokesperson.

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Give powers to CAPFs to buy new vehicles: Home Ministry

Flooded with delays in replacing vehicles damaged in ambush the Home Ministry has written to the Finance Ministry seeking powers for chiefs of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to buy new ones.There is a huge backlog of damaged vehicles that need to be declared non-operational, sources said.Among the most severely hit forces is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Maoist conflict zones as they are targeted by rebels planting improvised explosive devices on the roads. Sources said there are nearly 400-500 vehicles that need replacement.Currently the powers lie with the Finance Ministry and get stuck in bureaucratic delays leading to forces using obsolete vehicles.”A damaged vehicles needs to be declared non-operational. Till the process does not take place it cannot be replaced,” said a home ministry official.This is part of the plan to give a push to the modernisation drive for police forces. The Home Ministry has already laid out a blue print for the Rs 25,000 crore modernisation schemes. Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a review meeting on Thursday took a low down on the plan that is expected to give a push to modern technology to enhance internal security measures, women safety, better surveillance and use of better weapons. There has also been a five time increase in the amount sanctioned for CAPFs as part of a two year modernisation plan. The Home Ministry has also approved the plan worth Rs 1054 from the corpus of Rs. 25,000 crore for the years 2018 and 2019.CRPF AFFECTEDAmong the most severely hit forces is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Maoist conflict zones as they are targeted by rebels planting improvised explosive devices on the roads.

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Can’t access Peter Mukerjea’s calls, court to Indrani Mukerjea

The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Thursday asked Indrani Mukerjea to not step into the prosecution’s shoes and to not to divert the trial against Peter Mukerjea, while rejecting her application to access Peter’s call data records (CDR). The court also mentioned that she is trying to point fingers towards other accused.Indrani had filed an application before the court seeking for the CDR of Peter alleging that Peter and her driver, Syamwar Rai, an accused turned approver in the case, were allegedly involved in disappearance of her daughter Sheena Bora.The court presided by judge J C Jagdale is conducting the trial in the Sheena Bora murder case. According to the prosecution’s case, Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Syamwar Rai allegedly killed Sheena on April 24,2015 and later disposed off her body. The police later arrested Peter Mukerjea for his involvement.It is learnt that the court has relied on the Bombay High court’s citation where the High court in a similar application, had held,that when a statement of accused does not amount to confession that is when it is wholly or partly exculpatory, it cannot be used against co-accused. For making use of it against the co-accused statement of accused must amount to a distinct confession of his own guilt. Self exculpatory statement of accused cannot be used to infer guilt of co-accused.Also, the court mentioned that it is nowhere that Indrani is claiming her involvement or complicity in commission of offence and hence her statement cannot be called as exculpatory statement, but she is trying to point finger to co-accused.The court has also made a mention of the fact that Indrani’s lawyer had accepted that the allegations mentioned in the application was outburst of emotions, and thus refused to accept the application as the judicial decisions cannot be taken on the basis of emotional outburst of the party.

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Rajasthan to give financial aid to mums, pregnant women

Given that many women do not visit Anganwadi centres for antenatal check-ups for fear of losing on a day's wage, the government rolled out the PMMVY scheme. "We see that financial loss matters more to them compared to health, So there was a need to compensate their financial loss in order to motivate them to visit Anganwadi or health centres," Manoj Jain, Additional Director (Nutrition) at Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) said.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByAmit Bhatt <!–end of artlbotbor–>Friday 15 December 2017 2:40 ISTMust readSec 144 imposed at Udaipur, net, social media muzzledNGC gears up: Solar energy of ‘Thar’ to illuminate Gujarat & Punjab<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Rajasthan Women and Child Development Department has rolled out the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under which all pregnant women and lactating mothers in the state will get financial aid during their first pregnancy.Beneficiaries will get Rs 5,000 in three instalments — first during the early registration of pregnancy, second after six months on at least one antenatal check-up, and the last one during the first cycle of the child’s immunisation.Given that many women do not visit Anganwadi centres for antenatal check-ups for fear of losing on a day’s wage, the government rolled out the PMMVY scheme. “We see that financial loss matters more to them compared to health, So there was a need to compensate their financial loss in order to motivate them to visit Anganwadi or health centres,” Manoj Jain, Additional Director (Nutrition) at Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) said.

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Stone inscription should be made available for public viewing

A 14th century stone inscription which sheds new light on the history and evolution of Mumbai may be opened for public display and research.The state government has written to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) asking that the medieval-era stone tablet be handed over to it or displayed to the public. The inscription discovered in the BARC last year lists out a land grant by King Hambirrao, who ruled over Mahikavati (modern-day Mahim) and was a feudatory of the Tughlaqs. The edict was made in 1368 and (Samvat 1290) sheds new light on Mumbai’s pre-colonial history.Historians say that apart from the city’s history and social structure, it also reveals that Mumbai was not a medieval backwater before it was colonised.State Directorate of archaeology and museums officials said they had written to the BARC asking for the tablet, which was an important artefact about the history and urbanisation of Mumbai, to be handed over to the directorate.”It can also be displayed for people at an appropriate place in the BARC premises,” the official suggested.Mugdha Karnik, Director, Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (CEMS), noted that this stone inscription was “a property of the country and was very important for Mumbaikars.” “So, it should be available for public view, either (in) the BARC or they should hand it to the state department of archaeology,” she said. Karnik rued that despite communication from them, the BARC had not loaned the inscription for display at the ongoing exhibition organised by the CEMS at the varsity’s Kalina campus, which sees at least 20,000 footfalls.KN Vyas, Director, BARC could not be reached for a comment despite repeated telephonic calls. Queries sent to the director on email were not answered until the time of going to the press.”The history of Mumbai between 1300 and 1420 is very nebulous… the Yadava dynasty (of Deogiri) was routed by Allaudin Khilji in 1303 after which his son became the Governor. They were later replaced by the Tughlaqs. But we do not know who ruled Mumbai then,” noted archaeologist Kurush Dalal, Assistant Professor, CEMS, University of Mumbai.He added that the stone tablet referred to “Maharajadhiraj Shri Hambhirrao,” Ferozshah Tughlaq (whose vassal Hambirrao was), and Hambhirrao’s ministers like Arisini Prabhu. It mentions the grant of land near Nanale village (later acquired for the construction of the BARC). Hambhirrao, whose stone inscriptions are also found at Nagaon and Uran in Raigad, was the ruler of ‘Mahim Bimbasthan’ (today’s Mahim), which is referred to in the edict, and his domains encompassed northern Raigad and southern Thane.”The inscription also lists out names of people like Deonarkaru (from Deonar), Marolkaru (one from Marol) and Daithankaru (Daithan, though there is no evidence of where it was located in Mumbai) and Saharkaru (from Sahar)… as witnesses. The titles like Desila and Mhatara may be the root-words of surnames like Desai and Mhatre and tell us about the social system of those times,” explained Dalal.”(The inscriptions) reveal that in 1368 AD, there was a local Hindu ruler for Mumbai, whose domains covered Mumbai’s island city, Sashti, Deonar, Thane and parts of the Konkan and was a feudatory of the Tughlaqs… this has changed the understanding of Mumbai’s history. We know that Mumbai was not some backwater before the advent of the Portuguese,” he noted.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Sabarkantha, Mehsana see highest voting, Dahod lowest

Sabarkantha and Mehsana districts saw the highest turnout of voters in the second phase of the Gujarat assembly elections on Thursday, official sources said. The overall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Of the 2.23 crore registered voters, 1.54 crore exercised their right to vote, said officials.Voting figures released by the State’s Chief Electoral Officer show that Sabarkantha district, which comprises four seats, recorded 77% turnout, the highest among all districts. Out of 9.85 lakh eligible voters, 7.58 lakh exercised their right to vote.Mehsana, the epicentre of the Patidar reservation stir, saw 75% turnout. Being the hometown of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former chief minister Anandiben Patel, and deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who contested from Mehsana assembly seat, Mehsana district is a battle of prestige for the BJP. Another north Gujarat district of Banaskantha saw the third highest turnout at 74%.Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.Surprisingly, the tribal-dominated Dahod district recorded just 60% voting, the lowest among the 14 districts. The turnout was in sharp contrast to tribal-dominated districts of south Gujarat, each of which had recorded more than 70% voting in the first phase. In some of the pockets, the turnout was as high as 84% in the first phase.Ground reportOverall turnout in 93 seats of the 14 districts that went to polls today, was recorded at 68.70%, about two percent higher than the 66.75% turnout in the first phase. Anand (73%), Vadodara (73%), Panchmahals (72%), Chhota Udepur (70%) and Kheda (70%) were the other five districts that saw more than 70% polling.

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