Month: December 2019

Ahead of polls, Gujarat govt. offers freebies in budget

first_imgWith an eye on Assembly polls to be held later this year, the Gujarat government on Tuesday presented a populist budget that attempts to cater to all sections including generous doze of subsidies for farmers, tablets to 3.5 lakh students and subsidized food to 50,000 construction workers. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also hold Finance portfolio, presented the budget of Rs. 1,72,179.24 crore without imposing any new tax while enhancing the allocation in health, agriculture and education sectors in a bid to please masses ahead of the assembly polls. “Theme of the budget is: Optimise inclusive development of human resources and trunk infrastructure through effective and transparent implementation,” Mr. Patel said, adding, “the state budget is complimentary to the central budget.”Thrust on education Giving a thrust on education, Mr. Patel said Rs 200 crore has been allocated to provide tablet to around 3.5 lakh students who will pass class 12 board exam and will take admissions in college or polytechnics. The tablets will be provided at token price of Rs. 1,000. Similarly, Rs. 261 crore has been provided for Digischoll initiative under which classes of standard 7 & 8 will be converted into digital classes with use of computers, smart interactive boards, IR cameras, projectors and other digital tools. “Parents and guardians of 5.75 lakh girl students of primary schools in 14 tribal districts will be provided with grains under ‘Anna Triveni’ scheme and medical education for female students has been made completely free even in self financed colleges,” Mr Patel said in his two hour long budget speech. “Budgetary allocation for the education sector is Rs 25,000 crore, which is 1185 crore higher than previous year while 8800 crore has been earmarked for health and medical services and 6400 crore for agriculture sector,” Mr Patel told the assembly while presenting the budget. Subsidised power to farmers”1.25 lakh new electricity connections will be provided to the farmers, which will clear entire backlog till 2013 and state assistance for micro irrigation scheme has been expanded from 50 % to 70 % subsidy for general farmers and from 75 % to 85 % for SC or ST farmers.” According to Mr Patel, the state will bear subsidy of Rs 4011 crore in providing subsidized powers to farmers for agriculture connections. “In the next financial year, Rs 5100 crore will be provided for canal networks to ensure that Narmada water reaches parched Kutch region,” the finance minister said. Financial PositionIn the revised estimates for the 2016-17 Budget, Patel stated as against the expected surplus of Rs. 245.49 crore for the year 2016-17, now the surplus of Rs. 1342.93 crore is expected in the revised estimates due to net transactions.For the year, 2017-18, total revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs. 1,25,455.63 crore, while capital expenditure is estimated at Rs. 45,376.34 crore. The revenue receipts are estimated at Rs. 1,31,521.23 crore and the capital receipts are estimated at Rs. 33,974.90 crore.last_img read more

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34 juvenile inmates escape from Bihar remand home

first_imgThirty-four juvenile inmates escaped from a remand home in Munger district in Bihar on Sunday. However, later more than 11 of them returned.The inmates escaped after cutting the metal grills of the main gate.“More than 11 of them have already returned to the remand home and we’ve informed the police superintendents of all the six neighbouring districts from where they had come”, Ashish Bharti, Munger Superintendent of Police, told The Hindu over phone. “By evening, we hope that the number of returning juvenile inmates would be increased,” added Mr Bharti. The district area has been cordoned off and strict vigil has been maintained to locate the absconding juvenile inmates, said a local police official.The Munger juvenile remand home, located in the city Fort area, has totally 85 inmates.Family members of those still absconding too have been informed, said the police official.last_img read more

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Aarushi case verdict: Family, friends applaud acquittal of Talwar couple

first_imgNine years after Aarushi Talwar was found dead in her bedroom and four years after a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court convicted her parents of double murder, the Talwar household finally had a reason to rejoice on Thursday.“We are thankful to the judiciary,” said Aarushi’s grandfather B.G. Chitnis, welcoming the Allahabad High Court verdict acquitting Rajesh and Nupur Talwar. “We have suffered tremendously over the last few years and now it has finally been proven that Rajesh and Nupur are not guilty.”‘A trying period’With the innumerable twists and turns in the investigation that dragged on for close to a decade, the verdict came as a huge relief for the family. “It was very trying and exhausting. We are deeply grateful to the judiciary and relieved. I would like to thank all those who supported us through the long ordeal,” said Aarushi’s aunt Vandana Talwar.Throughout these years, there had been many who were confident of the dentist couple’s innocence.“I sincerely wish and hope that one day the true perpetrators are convicted,” said Rajeshwari Sahay, Aarushi’s friend from school. “For those of us who knew the family personally, we always had firm faith in their innocence. However, the real justice for the double murder is still pending. Is it really another case of ‘No One Killed..?’ ”Saahil Sarin was 16 years old when the murder of Aarushi Talwar hit the headlines. Rajesh Talwar was his family dentist. “The media was too quick to paint them as murderers. A lot was said about their personal lives, which upset all the people who knew them,” he said.‘Murderer is still out’“Allahabad High Court restores my faith in judiciary. Our judicial system should learn a lesson from the Aarushi verdict. Took nine years to just establish who is innocent. The murderer is still out,” tweeted the handle called Innocent Talwars, that has relentlessly advocated their innocence.As the Talwar couple are set to walk free on Friday, Nupur Talwar’s father, a former Indian Air Force officer, said: “They have really suffered. At my age, it was very trying to see my daughter behind bars.”last_img read more

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Elephants can walk tall in South Odisha forests

first_imgIncreasing the height of electric poles and using rings of metal spikes around them have resulted in reduced number of electrocution deaths of wild pachyderms in the elephant corridors of south Odisha.According to the authorities of Southco Utility, involved in power distribution in south Odisha districts, by the end of March 2018, most elephant corridors in the region would be safe for wild elephant herds.“The third phase of the project, taken up to save wild elephants from electrocution in their movement areas, is expected to be over by that time,” said general manager (GM) Southco Utility, P.K. Choudhury.The thrust on electrification of remote villages in forest areas increased the danger of electrocution of wild elephants manifold. Effective measures such as increasing the height of electricity supply poles, using metal spikes around them as fencing were initiated to protect the wild elephants moving in the area.Effectiveness of this project can be assessed from the data compiled in Khallikote forest range under Berhampur forest division in Ganjam district. Five wild elephants had died in this forest range due to electrocution between June 2010 and October 2012. After that, no elephant death due to electrocution occurred in this forest range because of the measures taken to protect wild elephants from electrical supply lines, said forest officials.Intermediary polesUnder this project, intermediary poles are used to hold naked electricity supply cables up so that they do not sag and touch elephants moving in the area. Generally, the height of electric poles is eight meters but in the elephant corridors their height is nine meters. Added to it, rings of metal spikes are being used on these poles. These spikes prevent wild elephants from coming close to the poles. Earlier, the elephants were tilting and uprooting these poles leading to their electrocution.In the first and second phase, these measures were initiated in 116 locations in Ganjam, Boudh, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Koraput districts at a cost of ₹2.66 crore. The third phase of the project is covering 309 locations in Gajapati, Ganjam, Boudh, Kandhamal, Koraput and Rayagada districts in south Odisha at an estimated cost of ₹22.64 crore.last_img read more

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Dada Vaswani passes away at 99

first_imgSpiritual leader and educationist Dada J.P. Vaswani — the moral force behind the Sadhu Vaswani Mission and a tireless promoter of vegetarianism and animal rights — passed away on Thursday, aged 99, days short of his centenary.Sources at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission said he had been admitted to a private hospital in the city for the past a few days and was discharged on Wednesday night. Dada Vaswani died on the mission premises on Thursday.Born Jashan Pahlajrai Vaswani on August 2, 1918 in the city of Hyderabad in Sindh province (present-day Pakistan), he was a brilliant student in his youth, who matriculated at the tender age of 13 and graduated at 17.His M.Sc. Thesis on the ‘Scattering of X-Rays by solids’ was examined by Nobel Laureate C.V Raman.Acclaimed as a humanitarian and non-sectarian leader, he later gave up a promising academic career to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, Sadhu T.L Vaswani – the legendary Indian educationist who started the Mira Movement in education.In order to propagate Sadhu Vaswani’s ideas and vision, he edited three monthly journals – the Excelsior (which became a popular journal), the India Digest and the East and West series.He also served as one of the earliest Principals of the St. Mira’s College for Girls. Regarded as a philosopher and a modern-day saint by the Sindhi diaspora, he was also an inspiring orator who often exchanged ideas with world spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama. He was also a prolific author, writing several hundred books on spirituality and communal harmony which have seen translations in a number of world languages. In keeping with his shibboleth that “forgiveness is the golden key to peace,” his birthday on August 2 is celebrated as ‘Global Forgiveness Day’.“Dada J.P. Vaswani lived for society and served the poor and needy with compassion. Blessed with immense wisdom, he was passionate about educating the girl child, cleanliness and furthering peace as well as brotherhood,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that Dada Vaswani had been his “guiding light.”His mortal remains were kept at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission for people to pay their last respects. The final rites will be performed on Friday.last_img read more

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Civic polls begin in Jammu and Kashmir today

first_imgAmid threats from militants and boycott calls by separatist groups and the two main regional parties, polling will be held for 422 of the 1,145 wards in the first phase of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. A total of 1,204 candidates are in the fray.Unlike the situation in the Valley, the mood is upbeat in Jammu.Nearly 40,000 additional security personnel have been deployed in 149 wards in volatile districts of Kulgam and Anantnag in south Kashmir, Budgam in central Kashmir, and Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir. Bullet-proof bunkers have been set up on all main roads across the Valley to stop fidayeen (suicide) attacks by militants.Also Read In conversation with Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Mallik  “All arrangements are in place to ensure the free, fair, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections. No restrictions will be imposed anywhere in the Kashmir Valley. People should come out to vote without any fear,” Director-General Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said.Separatists detainedAll senior separatist leaders, including Yasin Malik, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have been detained in Srinagar “as a precautionary measure”.“Election is a drama. A massive crackdown has been launched on our supporters to thrust the so-called polls on people who have already rejected this military exercise,” the Mirwaiz said.With just hours to go, the mood in the three wards in Srinagar — Hyderpora, Rawalpora and Zakura — was reflected in the fact that no public campaign was carried out by any of the eight candidates, whose details have been kept anonymous by the authorities for security reasons.All candidates have been provided either cluster security in hotels or individually in the Valley. Militants have issued a number of threats to the candidates, warning them against contesting the polls.With situation tense in the Valley, 78 candidates, mainly in south and central Kashmir, have already been declared elected unopposed for the first phase. In Kulgam, where over 20 local militants were killed this year, 13 candidates, mostly from the BJP, won all 21 wards uncontested.In Central Kashmir’s 34 wards, 26 candidates are in the fray and 24 candidates have won uncontested. In Anantnag, another militancy-dominated district in south Kashmir, 28 wards are going to the polls, 25 candidates are contesting and 17 wards have been won uncontested chiefly by BJP candidates.In Kargil and Leh, 69 candidates are contesting 26 wards.In Jammu city, 447 candidates — many of them Independents — will contest 75 wards. “The BJP and the Congress are facing a threat from Independents. The BJP is facing anti-incumbency and the Congress is battling with its image,” said Rajiv Mankotia of Jammu city. Elections will be held in 93 wards of Rajouri and Poonch.center_img Why is J&K tense ahead of civic polls? last_img read more

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Curfew relaxed in Hailakandi

first_imgCurfew in violence- hit Hailakandi district of Assam was relaxed on Tuesday from 7 a.m. till midnight following improvement in the situation, an official order by the Deputy Commissioner, Keerthi Jalli, said here.Night curfew, however, will remain in force for eight to 10 days.Banks, markets, educational institutions and government offices remained open and public and private vehicles were seen plying on the roads during the relaxation period, officials added. Internet service, which was suspended since Friday night following the unrest on that day, resumed on Tuesday morning.In a letter addressed to the people, the Deputy Commissioner said “the need of the hour is to maintain peace and communal harmony as the district is going through a difficult phase”.“I am aware that imposition of curfew has caused inconvenience to you. I promise you that it is a temporary measure and done to act as a deterrent to the anti-social elements,” she said. Urging people not to be swayed by emotions and not to believe all that is being circulated on social media, Ms. Jalli said, “I appeal to everyone to cross-check and verify the information with the district administration.” One person was killed in police firing and 15 were injured in communal violence in Hailakandi on Friday.The Assam government has instituted a one-man inquiry panel headed by Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar Bora to conduct a probe into the incident.last_img read more

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After a Year of Trade War Between US and China, India Likely to Clinch Wild Card in 2019

first_imgThe Polish proverb, “where two fight, the third wins”, is most likely the scenario India’s trade sector is foreseeing in 2019. After a year of intense trade war between United States of America and China, two of India’s major business partners, the forthcoming months are indicative of a profitable spectator’s seat for India.Read it at News18 Related Itemslast_img

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With tree cutting underway, prohibitory orders continue in Aarey Colony

first_imgAarey Colony protestsVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0000:5900:59  Watch | Aarey Colony protests cutting of trees Prohibitory orders continued to be in force in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas for the second day on Sunday, as felling of trees was underway to make way for a Metro car shed, a police official said.Heavy security was deployed at Aarey Colony’s five entry points, including the key connecting road near the Western Express Highway, to prevent people from going towards the area and to avoid any untoward incident, he said.Most of the shops, restaurants and roadside stalls remained closed in the area in view of the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), banning unlawful assembly, since Saturday.The police official said the situation was expected to become normal soon.Patrolling was stepped up in the tribal hamlets located in Aarey area and those found assembling there were being taken into custody, but later let off after proper verification, he said.center_img  On Saturday, clashes broke out between the police and green activists who tried to stop tree cutting by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) in Aarey Colony, leading to arrest of at least 29 people.The MMRCL started hacking trees from Friday night to make way for the car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of nearly 2,700 trees in the prime green lung of the city.“Several trees in the area have been cut and security has been tightened,” the police official said.He said that Section 144 of the CrPC will remain imposed in the area till the completion of cutting of the prescribed number of trees.“We have identified five major spots which are broadly used to get access into the Aarey Colony, including from the Western Express Highway, Marol police training camp centre and one route coming from Mulund side,” he said.“Police personnel have been deployed on all these spots. Pedestrians have been advised not to venture into five km area in the vicinity of Aarey Colony. Besides, those residing in the area need to show their Aadhaar cards to move around. We are ensuring that no one is allowed free access to the disputed area,” he said.Several senior police officials are on bandobast duty, he added.Earlier, opposition parties slammed the ruling BJP- Shiv Sena, stating they failed to save the trees.Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray also criticised the MMRCL and backed the protesters.The MMRCL has defended tree felling by contending that it is restricted only to a small area in Aarey Colony, and is necessary to ensure a modern transport system for Mumbaikars.The proposed car shed for the Metro-3 line (Colaba- Bandra-Seepz) will occupy 33 hectares.last_img read more

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Ahead of election results, uncertainty in Congress camp

first_imgAhead of counting of votes in the State, a sense of uncertainty prevails in the Opposition camp. The Congress is especially trying to stay optimistic after the discouraging results the exit polls have predicted for the party.A senior Congress leader, who contested the Assembly polls, said, “We have fought well in the places where we have contested. Our candidates stood firm in the face of the BJP’s money power and propaganda machinery. Yes, the exit poll predictions are discouraging for the party, but we hope to put up a better performance than 2014.”Meanwhile, the party workers are unhappy over the lacklustre poll campaign across the State. The Congress campaign could not even match the impressive efforts put in by its ally the Nationalist Congress Party. Of the 40 star campaigners of the Congress, 15 did not address even a single public meeting in the State. None of the party’s leaders in the State, except for State unit president Balasaheb Thorat, held rallies in double digits. The party also failed to provide monetary and logistical support to its candidates. A party functionary on condition of anonymity said, “Only candidates who were individually strong enough to fight the polls stood their ground. On the ground, there was simmering anger against the BJP, but we failed to channelise it. If the results on Thursday are different from the exit polls, it will only be because of the efforts of workers at the grass roots and not the State leaders.”On the party’s chances of becoming the main opposition in the State, a Congress leader from Delhi said, “I cannot say anything now. I do not trust exit polls. They have proved to be wrong in the past. These polls have predicted a sweep for the BJP in Haryana, but things are totally different for the party there. We may even be in a position to form the government there. We expect something similar to happen in Maharashtra.”last_img read more

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Babul Supriyo faces protest during visit to cyclone-hit areas in West Bengal

first_imgUnion minister Babul Supriyo on Wednesday faced massive protests and was asked to go back by a group of people when he reached South 24 Parganas to take a stock of the situation in cyclone ‘Bulbul’-hit areas.Mr. Supriyo, who said on Tuesday that he had been asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the cyclone-affected areas in West Bengal, claimed that the agitators were activists of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). Shortly after he reached Namkhana, one of the worst- affected areas, protesters stopped his convoy and showed him black flags. The Union minister, despite clarifying that he was in the district to look into the ground-level situation, was asked to go back by the protesters.“I knew I would face protests during my visit (to cyclone-hit areas). The agitators were all TMC activists,” Mr. Supriyo said.last_img read more

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‘Avian botulism’ reason for bird deaths near Sambhar Lake

first_imgBotulism kills migratory birds at Sambhar lakeVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1401:14 The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, on Thursday confirmed avian botulism — a neuro-muscular illness caused by a toxin which is produced by a bacterial strain — as the reason for mass mortality of birds, including migratory species from Northern Asia, at Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan.The laboratory tests conducted on the samples of carcasses collected from the lake confirmed the disease infecting the birds, the probability of which was earlier stated by veterinarians in the State. The illness, caused by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, affected the nervous system of birds, leading to flaccid paralysis in their legs and wings and neck touching the ground.More than 18,000 carcasses of birds have been removed from the lake and its catchment area so far, raising concern among environmentalists and ornithologists. The scientists at IVRI found the samples infested with maggots of third stage with a clear indication that the avian mortality had occurred over a period of time.Animal Husbandry Minister Lal Chand Kataria said the IVRI report had approved the regimen of treatment adopted for birds recovered from the lake’s shores. “The rescue centres established near the lake have treated 735 birds, of which 368 are alive and 36 have been released to their natural habitat,” he said.Located 80 km south-west of Jaipur, Sambhar Lake is India’s largest inland saline water body and has been designated as a wetland of international importance, attracting thousands of migratory birds during winter.Avian flu ruled outA Bhopal-based laboratory had earlier ruled out avian flu as the cause of deaths of birds after examining the viscera. The post-mortem of two bird carcasses by a Bikaner-based research organisation had concluded that bacterium Clostridium botulinum had entered from the soil into the meat of some dead birds.last_img read more

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