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India

Delhi government drafts policy to build breastfeeding rooms

To adopt the global practices, the Ministry of Women and Child Development of the Delhi government is exploring the possibility of building breastfeeding and childcare rooms in the national capital. It is also looking at ways to amend the by-laws to open the way for such rooms.

The government has informed the Delhi High Court that it has drafted a policy for building baby feeding rooms and has sought comments and suggestions from the public. The draft policy has also been shared with landowning departments for their opinions.

The government is exploring the possibility of incorporating it in the future building plans and amendments to building by-laws to implement the policy.

Consultations have already held with organisations, like the Municipal Corporations of New Delhi, South Delhi, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Department of Women & Child, and the Urban Development Department.

The move to build baby-feeding rooms is aimed at creating the environment that supports, protects and enables the mother to nurse her child in a safe, comfortable and hygienic place.

“The purpose is to formulate guidelines for the public utility departments and others for setting up facilities for nursing mothers and her child,” the government said in an affidavit to the Delhi High Court in a case filed by a nine-month-old Avyaan through his mother Neha Rastogi and advocate Animesh Rastogi, seeking the court”s intervention for providing adequate facilities to lactating mothers and their children.

The government has suggested that an ideal nursing room should preferably be on the ground floor with nursing counters equipped with sink, mirror and disposal bin, no sharp edges and hard corners and facilities for changing soggy diapers and washrooms.

The room size should be adequate, depending upon the footfalls, and easily accessible to all, including persons with disabilities. A female attendant could be posted outside to block entry of unwanted people and an emergency alarm/bell button should be provided alongside the flight button for the mother to call someone in case of emergency.

It should be properly lit, ventilated and have child-friendly atmosphere. In case of non-availability of space for a separate room, the nursing area should be shielded with curtains or flex walls for privacy.

The state government will launch publicity and awareness campaigns to encourage breastfeeding in the public setups, keeping in mind the infant”s holistic development and strengthening of the mother-child bond.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, infants should exclusively be breastfed for the first six months, and even after the introduction of complementary food, the breastfeeding should be continued for two years and beyond.

Some key points of the policy:

To ensure biological and natural right of a mother to nature her child;

The nursing rooms should be set up at all bus terminals and depots, railway stations, major Metro stations, court premises, shopping complexes, government and private commercial buildings, cinema halls, departmental stores and malls; and

The location of childcare room would have signages and the site-plan for easy access.

(IANS)

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India

Students in Uttar Pradesh government schools to do yoga

Students in government primary schools will now begin their day with yoga classes. Basic Education Minister Satish Dwiwedi has directed officials to implement the yoga schedule with immediate effect.

The Minister has told officials to ensure that the 1.5 crore students in the government primary schools participate in a 15-minute yoga session during the morning assembly. Also, children should attend a 15-minute PT class before the school ends.

Following the recent controversy over students at a primary school in Mirzapur being served ”roti-salt” as midday meal, Dwiwedi has directed officials to constitute flying squads in all the divisions to monitor distribution of the midday meal, books, socks and shoes, school bag, and uniforms.

He also sought an action plan till 2022 and a third-party social audit on the primary and upper primary schools.

Meanwhile, another video has emerged of children in a government school being served the midday meal on banana leaves. It was said that Muslim children were asked to eat on leaves, but a probe has revealed that the video is three-week old and of the two children seen eating on banana leaves, one is a Muslim and the other a Hindu.

Official sources said that the children had forgotten to bring their plates, and that the children themselves offered to eat on the banana leaves.

(IANS)

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India

Chidambaram being hunted for exposing government: Priyanka Gandhi

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra came out in support of former union minister P. Chidambaram — who currently facing action at the hands of CBI and ED in the INX Media case — saying the latter was being “hunted down” for speaking the truth which is “inconvenient to cowards”.

Priyanka said the party stands by Chidambaram. who has been used a notice by the CBI to appear before the investigation officer “within two hours?

Her strong support to Chidambaram, who has also been a home minister, comes a day after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him any protection from arrest in the INX media case.

“An extremely qualified and respected member of the Rajya Sabha, P Chidambaram ji has served our nation with loyalty for decades including as Finance Minister & Home Minister,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet.

“He unhesitatingly speaks truth to power and exposes the failures of this government, but the truth is inconvenient to cowards so he is being shamefully hunted down. We stand by him and will continue to fight for the truth no matter what the consequences are,” she said.

Hours after the High Court ruling, a team of CBI officers landed at Chidambaram’s Jor Bagh residence to locate him, but left after not finding the leader there.

Chidambaram’s lawyer, Arshdeep Singh Khurana, has written to CBI after the agency put up a notice outside Chidambaram’s residence stating “the notice fails to mention the provision of law under which my client has been issued a notice to appear within 2 hours.”

Khurana added that his client had been permitted by SC to mention the urgent Special Leave Petition against the order before Court at 10:30 am today. “I, therefore, request you not to take any coercive action against my client till then&await the hearing at 10:30 am.”

(IANS)

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India

Outsiders snatching jobs, MP government plans quota for locals

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath feels that youth from outside the state, particularly Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, snatch the jobs from their counterparts in the state, because of which he is mulling a law to provide for 70 per cent reservation for locals in private companies.

Madhya Pradesh witnesses a substantive exodus of qualified youth to southern states in search of jobs since they do not find adequate employment at home.

So, to protect the interests of the ‘sons of the soil’, Nath, an industrialist and a former Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, plans to reserve 70 per cent jobs for the local youth.

On July 9, the Chief Minister told the state Assembly about his government’s plans regarding reservation, saying a legislation would be brought to ensure that unemployed youth of the state get adequate representation in the private sector.

He said his government would not let any injustice meted out to the youth of the state, who are disappointed because of high unemployment.

The proposed law will make it mandatory for the private sector, besides the government sector, to hire 70 per cent of their employees from among the people of domicile of Madhya Pradesh, Nath said.

Referring to the amendments in the Industrial Promotion Policy, the Chief Minister said the companies would get incentives and other benefits in the state only when they hire 70 per cent of locals.

Ahead of the December 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress, in its manifesto, had promised reservation for locals in jobs.

States may enact reservation in government jobs for scheduled castes, schedules tribes and educationally and socially backward classes, but should they not prepare the youth for tougher competition throughout the country in these time of global competition, says Anees Siddiqui, students welfare officer at a local college.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy has gone one step ahead by reserving 75 per cent of private sector jobs in the state for local candidates. So, while Kamal Nath wants to guard MP youth against their Bihari counterparts, the Andhra CM is doing the same for his youth against the ones from MP.

Senior academics say Bihar does well to prepare its youth to join the national intellectual pool on merit instead of reservations alone.
Both Andhra and MP may have taken politically smart moves but administratively they are suspect.

On Tuesday last, Madhya Pradesh Assembly also unanimously passed an amendment bill raising reservation in government jobs and education for Other Backward Classes (OBC) from 14 to 27 per cent.

Earlier in March this year, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the government issued an Ordinance, raising OBC quota to 27 pc. But it was stayed by the High Court.

The state Assembly then passed the MP Public Service (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes) Amendment Bill 2019, which awaits the President’s assent.

During the discussion in the Assembly, some MLAs demanded that quota be introduced in the private sector.

BJP legislator Pradeep Patel said Other Backward Classes (OBC) population was around 52 percent in the state and that quota for them should be raised to 37 percent. He also demanded the introduction of reservation in the private sector.

BJP MLA Jalam Singh Patel alleged that Other Backward Classes (OBC) were still backward due to policies of Congress governments, which misled them for political gains.

Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava demanded that creamy layer be introduced within the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota so that its benefit could reach those who never took benefit of such reservation.

The two Patels are OBCs while Bhargava is a Brahmin.

Bhargava said a provision of at least 7 percent quota for ‘Ati-Pichhda’ (extremely backward) under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category should be introduced.
He was quick to ask the Congress-led state government as to how this quota would be beneficial since there were no jobs.

Interestingly all these proposals were made by the governments led by the BJP in other states. Diverse economic and social conditions and demographic charts define diverse approaches by the states.

Minister for General Administration Department (GAD) Dr Govind Singh on the other hand believes the 2.5 lakh vacancies in local bodies, state-run boards and corporations will be filled soon and in the process the ‘Ati Pichhda’ quota in other states will be analyzed before being introduced.

With the latest amendment reservations will touch 73 per cent, including 10 percent for the Economically Weaker Section from the general category.
Reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) in MP is 16 per cent and for Scheduled Tribe (ST) stands at 20 per cent.

(IANS)

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India

Bharatiya Janata Party stakes claim to form government in Karnataka

An upbeat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday staked claim to form the new government in Karnataka and urged state Governor Vajubhai Vala to swear-in its leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister later in the day, a party official said.

“Our party’s national President Amit Shah has asked Yeddyurappa over phone from Delhi to stake claim for forming the next government and take oath as chief minister at the earliest,” BJP’s spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS.

The BJP’s decision to stake claim to form government for the fourth time in the southern state comes a day after Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar disqualified three Congress legislators for defying their party’s whip and three days after the shaky JD-S-Congress coalition government collapsed on July 23.

(IANS)

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Murder accused in MP Assembly, government in trouble

The Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh has run into fresh trouble over its alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The husband of one of the two BSP legislators who prop the minority government is wanted in murder case of a senior Congress leader. Furore over his presence in the Assembly on Friday has embarrassed the ruling party.

Govind Singh Thakur, the husband of BSP legislator Rambai Thakur, was seen sauntering in the Assembly premises though there is an arrest warrant against him for the past four months. An award of Rs 25,000 was announced for his arrest. The government quietly dropped the award last month triggering an outcry within the party and the opposition.

Devendra Chaurasia, a former senior leader of the BSP who had joined the Congress just before the elections, was murdered in March before the Lok Sabha elections. His son Somesh Chaurasia has now accused the Kamal Nath government of protecting his father’s “killer” in a bid to remain in power.

The Congress, which has 114 seats in the state Assembly, enjoys only a slim lead over the BJP’s 108 in the state Assembly. Four independents, two BSP and one Samajwadi Party MLA are backing it.

“I’m an eyewitness to my father’s murder and had recorded before the magistrate that Govind Singh Thakur was among those who killed my father. Now I feel that my father made a mistake by joining the Congress,” said Somesh.

Damoh district police who declared Rs 25,000 reward on Thakur’s arrest dropped it after he submitted several applications saying he was not involved in the murder case.

Govind Singh Thakur is also convicted in a 1998 murder case of Congress leader Rajendra Pathak by district court. He is currently out on bail granted by the state High Court.

Former Minister Vishwas Sarang slammed the government saying: “A murder accused was roaming freely in the Vidhan Sabha despite the heavy security. I could not have happened without the connivance of the police at the behest of the Congress which is at the mercy of the BSP leader.”

Home Minister Bala Bachchan pleaded ignorance even while the television channels had shown Thakur moving about in the Vidhan Sabha. His stock reply was, “We’ll look into the matter.”

Devendra Chaurasia was murdered on March 15, 2019 in Hatta town of Damoh district. Thakur and his aides are accused in the case. Govind Singh Thakur had earlier claimed before newspersons he was not present at the spot of murder.

Rambai had also had raised the issue many times in the Vidhan Sabha saying her husband and close relatives were being falsely implicated in the murder case.

(IANS)

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India

Azam Khan declared ‘land mafia’ by Uttar Pradesh government

Samajwadi MP and former Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan has finally been declared a ‘land mafia’ by the Yogi Adityanath government.

The Rampur district administration put Khan’s name on the ‘anti-land mafia’ portal late on Thursday after 13 FIRs were lodged against him on land-grabbing charges. The name of Alay Hasan Khan, a former circle officer in Rampur was also put on the same list.

Both, Azam Khan and Alay Hasan had been named in the FIRs lodged by 26 local farmers, accusing them of forcibly acquiring their land for the Jauhar University during the Samajwadi regime in the state.

Rampur District Magistrate Aujaneya Kumar Singh confirmed that the two accused had been named as land mafia.

“As many as 26 farmers had claimed that Azam Khan and his close aide Alay Hasan Khan acquired their land for the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University through coercion,” the district magistrate said.

Azam Khan, on the other hand, called it a conspiracy hatched by the Rampur District Magistrate to defame him and the prestigious Jauhar University.

“My name was put up on the portal just on the basis of FIRs without conducting any preliminary inquiries. Most of the FIRs were registered within hours and this shows how the law was misused for political vendetta,” he said.

“Most of the complainants had already filed their apologies on affidavits before the courts also but now the administrative officials have lured them and fooled them to file an FIR against Azam Khan because he is very affluent and wealthy and they will get the handsome amount from him,” he said.

Azam Khan further said: “I have full faith in the judiciary of my country and I will produce each and every evidence supporting my claims before the court. We have got sale deeds registered and payments were made through cheques,” he added.

Meanwhile, SP MLAs said they will stage a protest demanding the state must withdraw the cases registered against Azam Khan and his family members in Rampur.

SP MLA from Moradabad Dehat constituency, Haji Iqram Qureshi, said: “All the SP MLAs will protest again, this time before the Speaker inside the Assembly on Friday.”

(IANS)

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Delhi Government releases Rs 109 cr to MCDs to fight diseases

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday instructed the Urban Development Department to release around Rs 109 crore to the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi to make sure that the civic bodies had funds required to deal with the vector-borne diseases, like dengue and chikungunya.

In a statement released to media, the Chief Minister’s Office claimed the amount would be shared between the three MCDs with North MCD getting Rs 57.15 crore, East MCD Rs 28.40 crore and the South MCD Rs 23.57 crore to tackle the diseases.

The Chief Minister said the fund shortage should not be an excuse for lack of preparation for prevention of vector-borne diseases in Delhi.

Kejriwal asked the department to tell the MCDs that “maintenance of public health is their mandatory function as defined in the Delhi Municipal Corporations (DMC) Act,” and when enough fund was being provided ahead of time there should now be no excuse in effectively dealing with the diseases.

The Delhi government also released Rs 46.88 crore for primary education to MCDs. Of this, the East MCD will get around Rs 22.50 crore, the North MCD Rs 12.50 crore and the South MCD Rs 11.75 crore.

(IANS)

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India

Telangana government doubles social security pension

The Telangana government on Wednesday decided to hike monthly pension for various categories of beneficiaries from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2016.

The decision was taken at the state cabinet meeting, chaired by chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao.

The meeting, which ended Wednesday night, took the decision on increasing the pension to implement the poll promise of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

It is decided to increase the pension from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,016 to old age people, widows, toddy workers, handloom workers, single women, filaria- affected persons and people with AIDS.

The pension for the differently abled and aged artistes has been increased from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,016 and this will be implemented from June.

The hike in pension would cost the state exchequer Rs 12,000 crore per year. The state government will bear Rs 11,800 crores while the Centre will spend Rs 200 crore.

The documents relating to increased pension amounts will be distributed among beneficiaries in all Assembly constituencies from July 20. Ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, Zilla Parishad chairpersons will participate in the programme.

The cabinet has also decided to reduce the old age pension scheme eligibility age from 65 to 57 years in tune with the promise made in TRS election manifesto. The cabinet has instructed the officials concerned to prepare the list of persons of 57 years of age.

The cabinet gave approval to the draft of new Municipal Bill. The CM will introduce the draft bill in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday. Both the Houses will debate and pass the bill.

(IANS)

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HC seeks report from Jharkhand government on mob lynching

The Jharkhand High Court on Monday sought a report from the state government on the mob lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Seraikela-Kharsawan district on June 17 and the violence that took place in Ranchi during an agitation to protest the tragedy.

A division bench of Justice H.C. Mishra and Justice Deepak Roshan was hearing a PIL filed by Pankaj Yadav. It has asked the state government to reply in a week and posted the next hearing on July 15.

Ansari was brutally thrashed by a mob on suspicion of a bike theft and forced to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. He died five days in judicial custody. Eleven people have been arrested in the case.

To protest the incident, thousands of Muslims took to streets of the state capital Ranchi on July 5 without the permission of the district authorities.

At some point, the demonstration turned violent with the protesters going on rampage smashing vehicles and trying to set alight a school bus. They also stabbed a man and brutally thrashed another. No arrests have been made so far despite the police having cctv footage of the incident.

(IANS)

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Minister Nagesh resigns, withdraws support to coalition government

The beleaguered ruling JD-S-Congress alliance in Karnataka was on the brink on Monday after Small-Scale Industries Minister H. Nagesh resigned and withdrew support to its 13-month-old coalition government in the southern state.

“I have this day, tendered my resignation from the council of ministers, headed by (Chief Minister) H.D. Kumaraswamy,” said Nagesh in a letter to state Governor Vajubhai Vala.

Nagesh, who handed over the letter to Vala at Raj Bhavan in the city centre, also mentioned that he was withdrawing his support to the 13-month-old government.

“I would by this letter, inform your good self that I withdraw my support to the government, headed by Kumaraswamy,” said Nagesh.

Nagesh also informed the Governor that he was elected as an Independent from the Mulbagal (SC) Assembly constituency in Kolar district.

Nagesh’s resignation comes barely a month after he was inducted into the 34-member Cabinet, along with R. Shankar of the regional party KPJP (Karnataka Pragyavantara Janata Paksha) to ensure their support to his fledgling government facing revolt from a dozen Congress rebel legislators since December.

Shankar, who is Municipalities Minister, also tendered his resignation letter to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah along with 20 other Congress ministers to pave way for a dozen of its rebels from withdrawing their resignations and making them ministers to save the coalition government from collapsing ahead of the 10-day monsoon session of the state legislature from July 12.

This is the second time Nagesh and Shankar, who represents the Rannebennur Assembly segment, have withdrawn support to the coalition government. They earlier did so on January 15 after being dropped from the ministry on December 22 in a minor cabinet reshuffle-cum-expansion to ensure the government’s stability.

The Congress accused the BJP of wrecking its government in Karnataka. “BJP’s national leaders are behind this political crisis in the state. They do not want any government or any opposition party to rule in any state. They are destroying democracy,” Congress MLA D.K. Suresh told reporters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in New Delhi were quick to retort. “The BJP has nothing to do with the political crisis in Karnataka,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament.

(IANS)

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Karnataka coalition allies try to pacify rebels, save government

In a desperate attempt to save their year-old coalition government from the brink, the ruling Congress and Janata-Dal-Secular (JD-S) allies held parleys on Sunday to pacify their dozen rebel legislators and make them withdraw their resignations, an official said on Sunday.

But all attempts by leaders of the allies to contact the rebel MLAs for any reconciliation failed to yield results as 10 of the rebel MLAs flew to Mumbai on Saturday evening and have since gone incommunicado.

“Senior leaders in both the parties held talks separately and jointly on making the rebels withdraw their resignations by addressing their concerns,” allies’ spokesman Ramesh Babu told IANS here.

Party’s state in-charge K.C. Venugopal discussed the brewing crisis with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, state working President Eshwar Khandre and senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge at a star hotel in the city centre.

Party’s senior leader and state Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar held discussions with JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, its state president K.K. Kumaraswamy and state PWD Minister H.D. Revanna at Gowda’s residence in the city’s southern suburb.

“Venugopal spoke to senior rebel legislator Ramalinga Reddy, assured him to address his concerns and advised him to withdraw his resignation. Reddy was also told to contact the other rebels and convince them to withdraw their resignations,” Babu said.

Nine Congress and three JD-S lawmakers submitted their resignations to Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar on Saturday, expressing lack of confidence in the coalition government’s leadership.

The nine Congress rebel MLAs are Pratapgauda Patil (Maski), B.C. Patil (Hirekerur), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur) Mahesh Kumatahalli (Athani), Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout), S.T Somashekar (Yeshvantpur), Munirathna (RR Nagar) and S.N. Subba Reddy (KGF in Kolar).

The three rebel JD-S MLAs are A.H. Vishwanath (Hunsur), N. Narayana Gowda (K.R. Pete) and Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout).

Congress lawmaker Ananda Singh (Vijayanagara) had resigned on July 1, taking the tally of rebel MLAs to 10.

Of the Congress rebels, Somashekar and Munirathna, loyalists of Siddaramaiah, want the latter to be made chief minister again. Both were ministers in the previous Congress government, Siddaramaiah headed from 2013 to 2018.

The Speaker told reporters that he would look into the resignations of the rebel legislators on Tuesday, ahead of the 10-day Monsoon session of the state legislature from July 12. The rebels have sought also an appointment with him on the same day to explain their reasons for quitting.

“A circular has been sent to their mobiles and e-mail accounts to attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting at Vidhna Soudha (state secretariat) in the city centre on Tuesday. They have also been asked to raise their issues at the meeting to resolve the crisis,” party spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS.

To continue the coalition government, the allies are also planning to reshuffle the 34-member Cabinet ministry to accomodate some of the rebels by asking a few of the ministers to step down.

Emerging out of the meetings, Kharge told reporters that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was behind the revolt by the MLAs, as it was desperate to return to power even though it lacked majority in the Assembly.

“Intoxicated with power from its recent victory in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP high command is intimidating our legislators and forcing them to resign by offering money and Cabinet posts,” alleged Kharge.

Kharge also claimed that the rebels flew to Mumbai in a chartered aircraft owned by Rajiv Chandrashekhar, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member from the state.

“BJP’s Maharashtra leader Prasad Lad met the rebels in the hotel they are staying in Mumbai. If the BJP has nothing to do with them and their resignations, why it is taking so much care of them. What more evidence you want of its brazen role in poaching our MLAs?” thundered Kharge.

(IANS)

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The Uttar Pradesh government transferred 30 IAS officers

In a major administrative reshuffle, the Uttar Pradesh government transferred 30 IAS officers including the social welfare Director, Chief Minister’s Secretary and PWD Special Secretary.

The development happened close to midnight on Friday.

The social welfare department, last week, had stirred a row after it issued an order to include 17 MBC categories in the state in SC list, while quoting a 2017 interim order by Allahabad High Court on the Akhilesh government’s announcement on these castes. However, the order was later termed as illegal by the Centre.

The post was left vacant on Friday after the state government sent the incumbent Director Jagdish Prasad to SIDCO (State Construction and Infrastructure Development Corporation) as Director.

In other transfers, the government elevated Director (information) Shishir Singh as Special Secretary and Culture and Hindi Publicity Director. Singh had played a crucial role along with Principal Secretary, information and publicity, Awanish Awasthi in coordinating, highlighting and promoting government’s key programmes.

Chief Minister’s Secretary Manish Chauhan, a 2000 batch IAS, has been sent to sugarcane department as Commissioner.

PWD Special Secretary Rahul Pandey has been made Vice-Chairman of Varanasi Development Authority.

Several IAS officers, who had been awaiting posting orders, were accommodated in Friday transfers. Vikas Gothwal, a 2003 batch IAS, has been made Urban Development Secretary. The government also rewarded Vijay Kiran Anand, who was Kumbh Mela affairs in-charge — a post specially created during the fair — with a plum posting with multiple portfolios as Special Secretary (basic education), state Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan Director and Director midday meal programme.

Anand, a 2009 batch IAS, comes from Karnataka.

Isha Duhan, a 2014 batch IAS, will take charge in Meerut as the Chief Development Officer and has been shifted from Bulandhshahr where she was working in the same capacity. Akash Deep, a 2005 batch IAS and Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural), has been brought to finance department as Special Secretary.

(IANS)

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Yogi Adityanath government includes 17 OBC castes in SC list

In what can be termed as a masterstroke, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has included 17 OBC castes in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list.

A decision to this effect was taken late Friday night and authorities have been directed to issue caste certificate to families belonging to these 17 castes.

The castes that have been added into this list are – Nishad, Bind, Mallah, Kewat, Kashyap, Bhar, Dhivar, Batham, Machua, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Kahar, Pottar, Dhimar, Manjhi, Tuhaha and Gaur, which previously belonged to the Other Backward Castes (OBC) category.

This move is seen as an attempt by the Yogi Government to provide these social and economically backward classes with the benefits of reservation after removing legal irritants that have stalled the issue in the past.

The move will leave greater space in the OBC quota for the remaining OBC caste groups.

This is also the fulfilment of a 15-year-old demand by these 17 caste groups.

Coming before the by-elections to 12 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, the move is bound to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and further erode the vote base of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

This, incidentally, is the third time that the state government will be making an attempt to include 17 OBC castes into the SC bracket.

Previously, both, the SP and BSP governments had attempted to include the above-mentioned castes into the SC category but failed to do so due to legal intervention.

The first attempt was made by the Mulayam Singh Yadav regime when it brought a resolution in 2004. The then SP government amended the UP Public Services Act, 1994, to include as many as 17 castes of OBCs into the SC category. Since the power to declare any caste as SC rests with the Centre, the then Uttar Pradesh government’s decision taken without the Centre’s consent, proved futile.

The Allahabad High Court later quashed the decision declaring the move unconstitutional and void.

Another attempt was made in 2012 when Akhilesh Yadav came to power and a high-level committee headed by the then Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani sought details from the department of social welfare in this regard.

The circular from the chief secretary on March 28, 2012, spoke about the government’s priorities, including the inclusion of as many as 17 OBC sub-castes within the SC category. The matter, however, was rejected by the centre.

The BSP, however, vehemently opposed the idea and demanded increase in SC quota from the present 21 per cent in the changed scenario. It also termed the move as a “conspiracy to dilute the reservation quota for Dalits”.

The Adityanath government’s attempt is all set to bear fruit since it, apparently, comes with the Centre’s nod.

(IANS)

 

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Government did not act ahead of TN’s water crisis: Stalin

DMK President M.K.Stalin on Monday attacked Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK government accusing it of not working proactively, when the lakes supplying water to the city started drying.

Leading a prostest here demanding a solution to Chennai’s water crisis, Stalin said the government did not take act when the lakes supplying water to the city started drying.

“The one question being asked by people across Tamil Nadu is ‘where is the water’? The AIADMK government has not completed any drinking water project in the state. Its party officials are holding yagnas in temples — not for the rains, but to protect their own government,” Stalin told the people holding the demonstration with empty pots.

The DMK chief said if his party comes to power, it will order a probe into the irregularities in the ongoing desalination water project.

On Saturday, the DMK held protests at all the district headquarters to press the government to mitigate people’s suffering in the parched state.

While Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (full capacity 3,300 mcft) and Chembarambakkam (3,645 mcft) lakes that supply water to Chennai have run dry, there is only 19 mcft water left in Poondi reservoir (against a full capacity of 3,231 mcft), according to the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

(IANS)

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Jammu and Kashmir government suspends rapid water rafting

The  government on Friday suspended rapid water rafting in the valley’s Lidder and Sindh streams.

An order issued by the director tourism said till a proper safety mechanism is put in place rafting in the two streams will remain suspended.

The suspension order was issued after two fatal accidents occurred during rafting expeditions in the Lidder stream of Pahalgam area.

On June 1, a tourist guide, Rouf Ahmad Dar died while saving the five tourists during a rafting accident in Lidder.

On June 18, two people including a tourism department employee were killed in another rafting accident in the same stream.

(IANS)

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India

DMK to protest government ‘inaction’ on water crisis

Tamil Nadu’s opposition DMK on Wednesday said it will hold protests at district headquarters on Saturday against the AIADMK government’s failure to take prompt action to meet the water shortage crisis.

In a statement issued here, the DMK said that to press the state government to take necessary action on a war footing to mitigate the people’s suffering, the party will hold protest in all the district headquarters on June 22.

Chennai and several other places in Tamil Nadu are suffering from water shortage.

The Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (3,300 mcft) reservoirs, which cater to Chennai’s water needs, are dry while the storage at Poondi reservoir is 24 mcft as against the full capacity of 3,231 mcft, according to the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro).

The Chembarambakkam lake (full capacity 3,645 mcft) has a water level of a mere 1 mcft.

The ground water levels too have gone down owing to lack of rains.

(IANS)

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India

Kamal Nath may order probe into snooping by Shivraj government

The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh appears set to order an investigation into the alleged snooping of politicians, bureaucrats and other officials during the erstwhile Shivraj Singh Chauhan government.

Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha has written to Chief Minister Kamal Nath, claiming that a probe ordered into the case by the Supreme Court, has been pending for four years.

The case came to light in 2014 after Prashant Pandey, a former IT consultant with the Madhya Pradesh Police, filed a plea in the Supreme Court alleging that a special branch of the state police had tapped phones of thousands of politicians, bureaucrats and specific people between 2009 and 2014.

The apex court issued notices to the state and Central governments as well as American company Spandan-IT pulse, which allegedly helped tap the phones and provided their call details to the police.

The court also ordered an investigation into the case, but four years on the probe is still pending.

“The phone tapping went on for four years in violation of the privacy norms and the Supreme Court order that the Home Secretary’s permission must be sought before tapping a phone. It’s a matter related to the state police and so the state government has the right to investigate it,” Tankha told IANS.

Pandey, who is also the whistleblower of the Vyapam recruitment scam, told IANS that the government stopped tapping the phones soon after he moved the Supreme Court.

“First, in violation of rules, the Madhya Pradesh Police shared mobile numbers and other important details of people with US-based firm Spandan-IT Pulse. On the basis of these details, Spandan-IT Pulse then developed an illegal online software and used it to tap the phone calls of these people and give details to the police,” he said.

BJP spokesman Deepwar Vijayvargiya said: “The Congress has been in power for six months now, but could not fulfill any of the promises it made. So it is trying to distract the public with these accusations. Investigate, if it is in public interest. The government must pay attention to public interest, but it is not doing so.”

(IANS)

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India

New Delhi, Muslim students bag 80% of government scholarships

Students from the Muslim community received about 80 per cent of total scholarships offered under 20 Central government schemes in 2018-19, official data shows.

Those from the Christian community came in at second place with 7.5 per cent share while it was 5 per cent for Sikhs and 4.7 per cent for Hindus, according to the National Scholarship Portal managed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

More than 1.4 crore applications were received in 2018-19, of which 1.08 crore were verified.

Among the students who received scholarships, 88 lakh were Muslims, 8.26 lakh Christians, 5.45 lakh Sikhs and 5.2 lakh Hindus.

There were 1.94 lakh (1.8 per cent) Buddhists and 1.07 lakh (1 per cent) Jains in the list of beneficiaries.

The total amount disbursed under these scholarship programmes sponsored by 14 Union Ministries was Rs 2,157 crore in 2018-19.

Of the total amount, Rs 1,032 crore was spent on scholarships for Muslims students while Rs 183 crore was spent for Sikhs and Rs 128 crore for Hindus.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs topped the list of allotments with 77 per cent scholarships of the total offered.

Ministry Of Labour and Employment, Department of Higher Education, Department of School Education and Literacy, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities also featured among the top five.

West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala were the top five states to receive scholarships.

In terms of the amount received under these scholarships, Uttar Pradesh came first with Rs 356 crore, followed by West Bengal at Rs 281 crore.

 (IANS)

 

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India

Karnataka Congress MLAs to meet to ‘save’ coalition government

Nearly a week after facing rout in the Lok Sabha elections, the Karnataka Congress legislators (MLAs) are meeting here on Wednesday to ensure the continuation of their year-old coalition government with the Janata Dal (Secular) as its ally, a party official said on Tuesday.

“The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) is meeting at a star hotel in the city on Wednesday in the presence of our senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and party’s state unit in-charge K.C. Venugopal to review the poll results and stay united to sustain the government with the JD-S as our partner,” party spokesman K.E. Radhakrishna told IANS here.

CLP leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has directed all the 78 legislators to attend the meeting and participate in the deliberations through party’s state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao.

“The party will take a serious view if any legislator abstains from the meeting without prior intimation or reason for skipping it,” said the official.

Contesting with the JD-S under a pre-poll seat-sharing tie-up in all the 28 parliamentary seats in the ratio of 21:7, the beleaguered Congress won only one to retain Bangalore Rural and lost 20 seats, including 9 where the outgoing members re-contested.

Ally JD-S also won only one, retaining Hassan and losing 6 seats.

Polling was held in two phases on April 18 and April 23 in 14 seats each and votes were counted on May 23.

A resurgent BJP won a record 25 seats across the state for the first time in parliamentary election in the southern state.

“Though there is no survival threat to the government, as all our MLAs are united, the party high command and the party’s state leaders are not taking chances, as a handful of them have been dissenting against the leadership and the functioning of the coalition government,” admitted the spokesman.

A fractured verdict in the May 2018 state assembly elections threw up a hung house, with the BJP winning 104, Congress 79, excluding speaker, and JD-S 37 and one each by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), a regional party and an independent.

To keep the BJP out of power though it is 8 seats short of the halfway mark (113) for a simple majority in the 225-member assembly, including one nominated, the ruling allies forged a post-poll alliance to form the fledgling coalition government on May 23, 2018, sharing the cabinet posts in the ratio of 22 for the Congress and 12 for the JD-S in the 34-member ministry.

“As the allies are committed to follow the coalition dharma, we hope there won’t be revolt by the so-called rebels who have been threatening to resign from the party and their assembly seats to join the BJP and bring down our government,” added Radhakrishna.

(IANS)

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Business

Modi government dismantled India’s economy: Congress

May 18  The Congress on Friday said that the Modi government will be shown the “exit door” by the people of India on account of an atmosphere of “fear, despair, division and economic devastation” and alleged that it had “dismantled” India’s economy in five years.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the year-on-year growth of national income has plunged from 14 per cent in 2005-06 to 11.6 per cent in 2018-19.

He said that the per capita income increased during the UPA government by a whopping 233 per cent (2004-14) and it has slowed down to 40.5 per cent during the Modi government.

“The average GDP growth during UPA years was 8.1 per cent and has fallen to 7 per cent in last five years. The average agriculture growth rate during UPA was 4.2 per cent and has fallen to just 2.9 per cent. The average industrial growth rate during UPA was 8.55 per cent during UPA government and has fallen to just 4.45 per cent now,” he said.

Surjewala said that the average manufacturing growth rate during Congress-led UPA was 3.5 per cent and it has now fallen to 1.8 per cent.

The unemployment rate, he said, has climbed to an unprecedented 45-year high from 2.2 per cent (2011-12 as per NSSO) to 6.1 per cent.

He said the percentage increase in exports has come down, year-on-year average wage rate growth has fallen and average electricity consumption has dropped.

The Congress leader said there has been a fall in average cement and steel production growth besides growth in mining activity and tourism.

Surjewala said growth in bank credit, FDI, rail and road freight movement, production of motor vehicles, sales growth of textiles, gems and jewellery, leather, and rubber had fallen.

“The average growth of stock market during UPA was 15.5 per cent and has now fallen
to just 7.7 per cent,” he said.

Surjewala said that the task before the next government is to reinvent “the wheel of India’s prosperity and social cohesion,”

(IANS)