On New Year, 778 detained for drunken driving in Mumbai; 188 held in Kolkata

1 January 2020

As the world rang in the new year on Tuesday, Mumbai Police caught 778 people for drinking and driving, they warned that strict action will be taken against the persons.
The Mumbai Traffic Police fined at least 578 bikes for drunken driving offences while 200 cars were also fined. In order to bring down the incidents of drunken driving and to curb the number of accidents which occur as a result, Mumbai Police had put several checks and blockades across the city.
Whereas, Nagpur reported 1092 cases of drink and drive and careless driving. The Nagpur police had set up checks across 50 places in the city and 592 persons were fined for drunken driving. Almost 500 vehicles were fined for violating traffic rules. The police appealed to the RTO to cancel the licences of people fined for drunken driving.
In Kolkata, as many as 188 incidents of drunk driving, 36 incidents of rash driving was reported by the city police in a report.
Bengaluru Traffic police too conducted special checks from 8 pm on December 31 to nab drunk drivers as revellers began their new year celebrations. Several roads were closed for the smooth flow of traffic. According to a police report, the city has seen a total of 37,654 cases of drunken driving up to November this year.
Even in Delhi, the city traffic police had issued an advisory urging people to not drink and drive and had also imposed vehicular curbs in some areas with high footfall to control the traffic. A similar advisory was issued in Gurugram, Haryana.

Bhima Koregoan anniversary: Ajit Pawar, Ramdas Athawale, Prakash Ambedkar pay tribute at Jay Stambh

1 January 2020

Koregaon Bhima: On the 202nd anniversary of Koregaon Bhima battle, thousands of people from across the country arrived to pay tribute at the `Jay Stambh` here on Wednesday (January 1, 2020). The battle was fought on January 1, 1818, between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.
Along with common people, several leaders from different political parties including Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar, paid tributes at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial.
Heavy security arrangments were made to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the event. As many as 10,000 police officers, over 500 CCTV cameras and 15 drone cameras are keeping strong vigil on the event.
The district administration has made arrangments for water, medical, parking, cleanliness and other facilities for the convenience of people coming to Bhima Koregaon. Pune District Administration has pressed 250 buses into service to carry the visitors while 50 other buses have been kept in reserve.
Late Babasaheb Ambedkar used to come to the place where a memorial was established to commemorate the valour Mahars (Dalits).
Notably, violence broke out during the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima Koregaon battle on January 1, 2018 in which one person was killed and several others were injured.
Last week, police issued notices to 163 people, including accused Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, prohibiting them from entering the district for allegedly instigating riots and attempt to murder in the 2018 event.

UP's Yogi Adityanath government transfers 22 IAS, 28 PCS officers

1 January 2020

Lucknow: In its first major administrative reshuffle of the New Year, the Yogi Adityanath government, on Wednesday, transferred 22 IAS and 28 PCS officers.
Prominent officers transferred include health and family welfare secretary Pankaj Kumar who has been appointed as the principal staff officer to the chief secretary.
IAS Aamod Kumar has been promoted to the principal secretary rank in the Planning Department from the Board of revenue.
Monika Garg, principal secretary of women welfare Department, has been put in waiting list. IAS officer Roshan Jacob has been promoted to the post of secretary and director of the department of geology and mining.
Gauri Shankar Priyadarshi and Gaurav Dayal have been appointed as commissioners of Aligarh and Chitrakoot, respectively.
Among the officers of the Provincial Civil Service (PCS) cadre, Avinash Singh has been made chief development officer (CDO) of Mirzapur while Ram Niwas Sharma has become a special secretary in the home department.
PCS officers Ritu Punia and Amrit Lal Bind have been appointed as ADM of Badaun and Kanpur (city), respectively.

Unnao gang rape survivor called police herself after being set on fire by her attackers

5 December 2019

In a shocking revelation in the attack on Unnao gang rape survivor, sources said that the gang rape survivor had called the police herself after she was set on fire by her attackers. It is learnt that the survivor, who sustained 90 percent burn injuries, walked around a kilometer from the site of attack to seek help. Sources told Zee Media that the survivor sought help from a man who was working outside his house and then took the phone of the man to call police. It is to be noted that a 23-year-old gang rape survivor was on Thursday morning set ablaze in Unnao by five men. Two of them are accused of raping her in March this year. The rape accused and three others took the woman outside her village and into the fields and doused her in kerosene before setting her on fire. After the initial investigation and based on the woman's statement, the police arrested four of the accused while the prime accused surrendered himself later. The woman was raped earlier this year. "She had earlier filed a rape case, one accuse in that case has also been rounded up," the police said. DGP OP Singh described the incident as unfortunate and said that every effort would be made to save the victim. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a high-level probe into the case and strict action against the accused. He has also asked for an enquiry report on the case and the state police needs to submit it by Thursday evening.

Parliament canteen subsidy ends as MPs unanimously agree to scrap it

5 December 2019

NEW DELHI: All subsidy given on food to Parliamentarians in both the Houses came to an end with immediate effect on Thursday (December 5, 2109), said Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday.
The decision was taken during a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) attended by Members of Parliament (MPs) from different parties who unanimously agreed to end the subsidy on all food items at Parliament canteen.
The Lok Sabha Speaker stated that the decision was taken after consulting with all the parliamentarians. Now, the food items will be available at regular prices as prevalent in the market.
Below is the rate list on which food items were sold before the subsidy was scrapped:
The cost of the subsidy to the MPs in Parliament canteen was Rs 17 crore. In the last Lok Sabha session, the prices of food items being sold at the Parliament canteen was increased to lower the burden on the Parliament House.
The Lower House of Parliament has a total of 545 MPs while the Upper House or the Rajya Sabha has a total of 245 MPs presently.

PNB scam accused Nirav Modi declared fugitive economic offender by PMLA court

5 December 2019

MUMBAI: A special court on Thursday declared multi-crore PNB scam accused Nirav Modi as a fugitive economic offender. The order was passed by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act ( PMLA) under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. The Act permits for the confiscation of property of economic offenders who evade prosecution by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.
The PMLA court further stated that the order on confiscation of his properties will be issued later. It may be recalled that Nirav Modi has been absconding ever since the multi-crore PNB loan fraud case came to fore.
Nirav Modi is currently lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London and is wanted for his alleged role in the Rs 13,570 crore loss caused to the bank along with his uncle, Mehul Choksi.
The 48-year-old businessman was arrested in March this year by Scotland Yard in connection with the case.
He has not returned to India despite repeated summons from Indian probe agencies and courts.
India is seeking his extradition to make him face the law of the land for allegedly committing economic offences.

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26 October 2019

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Govt to spend Rs 3.5 lakh cr on mega water scheme in 5 yrs, says PM Narendra Modi

7 September 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Rs 3.5 lakh crore will be spent in the next five years under the newly formed Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide piped water ('Har Ghar Jal') to all rural households by 2024. He said the move was aimed at fulfilling legendary socialist late Ram Manohar Lohia's dream of providing water, and toilets, to mitigate the hardships faced by women. "In the 70s, Ram Manohar Lohia had said women faced two problems -toilets and water. Governments have come and gone. But, we decided to fulfil Lohia's dream. We worked on providing toilets to women and ensuring water supply," Modi said. He also praised the Maharashtra government's water grid initiative in the arid Marathwada region, claiming that availability of water will increase in every house once the scheme is completed. The PM was addressing a state-level 'Mahila Saksham Melava' or Empowered Womens Meet of Self Help Groups, organised by the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission (UMED). He also inaugurated the 10,000-acre Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC), the country's first greenfield industrial smart city and part of the upcoming Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor. Speaking ahead of the prime minister, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed confidence that the Centre would provide all assistance to ensure the Rs 20,000 crore grid plan, to transport water from Konkan region that flows into sea to the Godavari basin in Marathwada, is completed expeditiously. The prime minister said his government has provided all kinds of assistance to SHGs like subsidy on loan interest, overdraft facility from 'Jan Dhan' bank accounts, and lauded them for playing an important role in ushering in a revolution. The Centre has decided that every member of SHGs can avail loan up to Rs one lakh under the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (Mudra) scheme to help them start businesses. Out of the 20 crore loans distributed under the MUDRA scheme, around 14 crore was given to women, Modi said, adding that out out of the 1.5 crore beneficiaries of the scheme in Maharashtra, a dominant 1.25 crore are women. On the occasion, Modi asked women to create awareness about the triple talaq bill passed recently by his government to protect Muslim women. The prime minister claimed that welfare schemes were nearing completion ahead of their respective deadlines, attributing the feat to dedication and honest intentions. "India will soon be open defecation free (ODF) and by 2022, we will provide a home to every poor person in the country. As as many have 1.8 crore people have already benefited (from Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana). We have created homes as per the wish and need of people," he said. The PMAY scheme was being implemented with complete transparency, he added.

Rahul Gandhi seeks exemption from appearing in court in bank defamation case

7 September 2019

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi though his legal team has filed an application of exemption from appearing in a Ahmedabad court during hearing on Saturday in connection with the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) criminal defamation case against him. The former Congress president also sought certain documents from the bank to defend his allegation that ADCB swapped Rs 750 crore in scrapped currency with valid notes within five days of the demonetization announcement on November 8, 2016. The court has been adjourned till October 11. “We have asked for time from the court to file the bank’s reply. The court has also observed that Rahul Gandhi cannot have access to the documents. The exemption application, along with the bank’s reply, will be heard on the next date of hearing on October 11’’, said ADCB counsel S V Raju. On July 12, Rahul Gandhi while attending the first hearing was granted bail after he pleaded not guilty. The suit has been filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah is one of the directors and its chairman Ajay Patel. The case has been heard by the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate N B Munshi. The defamation suit was filed last year following a tweet by the Congress leader. ADC Bank and Patel dragged Rahul Gandhi to court saying he had tweeted “false and defamatory allegations”. The bank has also filed a suit against Congress national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. On Saturday, Surjewala also filed an application for exemption from appearing. The court had conducted an inquiry under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before issuing summons to Rahul Gandhi and Surjewala on April 9. The section deals with inquiry to decide whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against a person. Rahul Gandhi and Surjewala’s allegations were based on the reply given by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to an RTI query of a Mumbai-based activist.

Last rites of Sushma Swaraj performed with state honours; PM & top leaders pay homage

Aug 7,2019

NEW DELHI: The mortal remains of former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj were consigned to flames on Wednesday at the Lodhi Road crematorium here. Swaraj, who also served as the Leader of Opposition and chief minister of Delhi, was given full state honours after which her body was cremated in the electric crematorium.
Hundreds of people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and veteran party leader L K Advani, bid farewell to Swaraj at the Lodhi Road crematorium.
Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, several leaders from the NDA as well the opposition, were also present.
The body of the long-time BJP leader, who died here on Tuesday at the age of 67, was brought to the crematorium from the party office.
Many jostled for a last glimpse as the casket with her mortal remains, wrapped in the tricolour, was put in the hearse in preparation for her final journey.
Others tried to capture images on their mobile phones in the main hall of the BJP headquarters and outside as the van rolled across the street.
Neeti Jain, a BJP party worker, said Swaraj was an inspiration to all women who entered politics.
"I got to meet her during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls while we were taking recorded interviews for All India Radio, DD News. I clicked a picture with her and wrote, 'It was a fangirl moment for me'. My 90-year-old grandfather saw the picture and he told me, 'I am proud of you today'. Such was her charisma that people from three generations looked up to her," Jain said.
Meena Bhati, a party worker from Uttar Pradesh, echoed Jain.
"I had to come to seek her blessings for one last time. We have all heard her speak and there are no words to describe this loss," Bhati said.
Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh said, "She was like a sister to me and an extremely polite woman. Her death is shocking to us. I still can't believe she's gone."

Vaiko's Rajya Sabha nomination gets EC nod, leader turns emotional

July 9,2014

Ending the cloud of uncertainty over MDMK chief Vaiko’s candidature for the Rajya Sabha elections, the Election Commission on Tuesday accepted his nomination papers, paving the way for his re-entry into the upper house of Parliament after 23 years.
After scrutiny, the Returning Officer announced today that the papers of Vaiko were in order and that his nomination has been accepted.
There were doubts over his clearing the scrutiny hurdle following his conviction in a sedition case by a special court. He was sentenced to one year prison and the case pertained to a speech made by him in 2009 in support of the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, then engaged in a war with the Lankan armed forces.
"I was very much confident of my nomination being accepted. Yet, I was also prepared to accept in the right spirit in the event of it being rejected. Hence, I had asked DMK president MK Stalin to field a dummy candidate as a precaution. And, senior counsel NR Elango, who filed his papers as a cover, has withdrawn," an emotional Vaiko told the media.
Ironically, the sedition case was slapped by the then DMK government when it was facing criticism for not doing enough for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. Now, Vaiko is an ally of the DMK. The DMK-led alliance had swept the Lok Sabha poll in Tamil Nadu.
"I am the first person to be convicted under the colonial era sedition law. Happy that this had not come in the way of my election,” Vaiko said.
Acknowledged as a veteran parliamentarian, he had been a Rajya Sabha MP for three consecutive terms since 1978. After walking out of the DMK and launching the MDMK in 1994, he was elected to the Lok Sabha twice.
Vaiko’s candidature is sponsored by the opposition DMK, which is poised to win three of the six Rajya Sabha seats for which polling is slated on July 18. The ruling AIADMK which could win the other three has allotted one seat to its ally, PMK.
The DMK has fielded former Additional Advocate General P Wilson and its veteran Trade Union leader M Shanmugam while the AIADMK has nominated its minority wing functionary and former minister Mohammed John and N Chandrasekaran, a Dalit leader and a close associate of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss is the candidate of the OBC Vanniyar-dominant PMK. He lost the Lok Sabha election from Dharmapuri.
All the six candidates are expected to be elected unopposed.

Failing the exam: Modi's Teacher's Day speech is a giant PR blunder

Sep 05,2014

You can telecast a speech to a child, but you can't force him to listen. Or can you? Some schools in Delhi are certainly doing their best by making Narendra Modi's Teachers' Day speech part of their standard class exams.
Bal Bharati Public School, Noida, has issued a circular -- shared extensively and with great amusement on Twitter -- which read, "The school will remain closed (preparatory off) on September 5 for all classes. However, for classes III to XII, the key points of the Prime Minister's address are to be noted and learnt for the school to evaluate the same (during the upcoming examination from Monday)." One question of two marks each will be included in each of the five main papers, it added.

Principal Asha Prabhakar explained this bold decision to Indian Express: "These days, students understand the language of examinations and marks only, so I decided to test them on the PM's speech. I think this will help them assess their listening abilities also and force them to think on the PM's stand on various issues of national importance."
Cue the #ModiExams hashtag as the Twitterati scrambled to come up with their own version of test questions.

Just in case there are un-Bharatiya slackers out there who don't mind losing a couple of marks in a test, Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, is resorting to outright threats: "Attendance is compulsory for all the students and strict action will be taken against the absentees." This is to be expected since the schools themselves have been warned of dire consequences if attendance levels fail to match bureaucratic expectations.
But the Modi sarkar apparently forgot -- or failed -- to bully the DTC which has raised the flag of rebellion. According to the Hindustan Times , "Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) - which provides close to 1,000 buses to 95 schools - has refused to change its schedule to pick up students in the evening."

A DTC spokesman told HT, "We will provide buses in the morning but 5 pm is peak office hour. The general public will be inconvenienced if we divert buses to schools." Of course, the DTC's brave stance has been staked out at the expense of other, leaving the schools to arrange for private buses or force the parents to pick up their children. As a nation, we excel at passing the misery.
While Twitter continues to make lemonade out of Modi-served lemons, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav was moved to write an open letter in the Indian Express to his Pradhan Mantriji, which charmingly admits what would be obvious to any child: that a 12 pm start to a school day is not exactly unwelcome. Yadav's daughter, however, has other problems with the Teachers' Day bandobast:

"But what bothers her is that all this is done to ensure that the entire school can listen to you on a big screen. She does not know what you are going to speak about. Now, she has no objection to listening to the prime minister. What she doesn't understand is why she could not do so on TV at home. It's a free country, she says, why can't I have a choice? If it had to be done at school, why couldn't you adjust your schedule to suit school timings?"

Yadav's critique of the upcoming PM speech is that it offers his daughter and other children "a lesson in the rituals of power that go with the infamous VVIP culture: everything can be changed to suit saheb's convenience." But the sight of children, herded and lined up neatly to listen to their great leader, smacks more of good old socialist-era subservience to Big Brother -- which explains its disdain for free market silliness like individual choice. That it is being mandated by a man heralded as the saviour of the nation from UPA-era populism makes for delicious irony.
Now Prime Minister Modi knows well the dangers of old school self-aggrandisement. It is the reason why he specifically knocked down the proposal to make his biography part of the school curriculum in Gujarat. But he seems to have ignored his better instincts when it comes to Teachers' Day.

Sure, much of this petty tyranny may be due to over-eager babus who scrambled into action the moment the plan for the speech was announced, but a canny politician like Modi ought to have foreseen the same.
Whatever he may say today, however inspirational his rhetoric, the PR dividends will remain slim and for two reasons. One, he has bullied children into obedience much as a whimsical family patriarch; and two, he has stolen from the nation's teachers the one day that rightfully belongs to them. No good news can come of that.