Sat, 28 October 2017
Can't let shadow economy to be larger than real economy: FM
21:21 Can't let shadow economy to be larger than real economy: FM
Terming tax-paying as a "patriotic duty", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said given our aspiration to be a dominant player on the world stage, we cannot afford to be a place where the shadow economy is bigger than the real economy.
"You can't have an economy where the size of the shadow economy is much bigger than the apparent economy itself," Jaitley said in Mumbai this evening.
Without naming the note-ban and GST rollout, both of which have slowed down the economic engine, he said the process of making a cleaner economy is set in motion to achieve the aspirations like being a developed economy and the fastest growing among major economies of the world.
While addressing an ET awards function in Mumbai, he said the government has been taking steps "one by one" towards this direction and some impact is already visible like an enlarged tax base, jump in digital transactions and squeezing out cash from the economy.
Conceding that there will be some "noise and grievances" because of the implementation of tax reforms like GST, he said paying taxes is essential.
"Paying taxes is always a fundamental duty of every citizen. It's a patriotic duty to be a part of that structure, rather than outside the structure. It is only then that the implementation will really show its larger, longer-term
impacts," he said.
It can be noted that the note-ban and the hasty rollout of GST are the main reasons for the sluggish growth, with the GDP growth falling for sixth straight quarters to 5.6 per cent in the June quarter.
Without mentioning any specific criticism, he asserted that tax rates in the country are the lowest in the world and added that this will help the agenda of widening the tax base.
On direct taxes side, he said government has reduced them in such a way where the lowest tax slab is 5 per cent, while on the indirect tax side, it is as low as 1 per cent. -- PTI
20:55 All high courts will go digital by year end: Justice Lokur
All the high courts in the country will go digital by the year end under the National Judicial Data Grid, Chairperson of the Supreme Court e-Committee Justice Madan B Lokur said today.
Four high courts were already "completely live" with all the information available online and by the year end, all the high courts in the country would be under the data grid, he said inaugurating the digitisation Centre of the Madras high court.
Justice Lokur said that the next step will be to implement e-filing and noted even the stamp fee can be purchased online.
There will be a huge change in the entire judicial system next year, the Supreme Court judge said.
The e-Committee has also decided to introduce mobile technology by next week and plans to get effective mobile applications.
Justice Lokur said 24 hours after the launch of automatic e-mail information system, more than three lakh people (advocates and litigants) were able to access the mails.
The committee was planning to come out with a book that would explain the usage of these applications, he said.
The lawyers, litigants and judges will be able to know the status of the cases through these applications, the judge added.
Chief Justice of the Madras high court Indira Banerjee said there was not enough space in the high court record room to store documents and that dust has also become a major issue.
Noting that six lakh pages can be digitised in a day, she said if digitisation is implemented, all the judgements can be viewed at the click of a button.
The high court would try to dispose of by March 31, 2018 all cases pending for the last five year, Justice Banerjee said, adding there was some difficulty in their disposal in the lower courts because of lack of judges and staff. -- PTI
20:30 French defence minister visits Western Naval Command
French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly today visited the Western Naval Command and discussed maritime security cooperation, bilateral exercises and a host of other bilateral issues with the officials in Mumbai.
Parly, heading a 13-member delegation, interacted with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, the Flag Officer Commanding-in- Chief of the Western Naval Command, the Indian Navy said in a statement.
Aspects related to maritime security cooperation, bilateral exercises, ship visits, training, equipment, technology and professional exchanges were discussed during the interaction, it said.
Relations between France and India are being accorded priority by both sides as seen by the recent high-level interaction between the two countries.
Defence cooperation has also witnessed increased emphasis by both sides, the statement added.
Interaction between the Indian Navy and its French counterpart has, over the years, nurtured into a strong partnership based on mutual interests.
Naval cooperation had progressed most encouragingly in the recent years and the increasing scale of operational interaction is indicative of a growing understanding between the two navies, it added. -- PTI
20:21 Whosoever come forward, Kashmir interlocutor will talk to him: BJP
Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav today said the Centre's interlocutor for Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma has the mandate to talk to everyone including the separatists.
"Whosoever will come forward, he (Sharma) can talk to him. He has that mandate.... You should ask this to the Hurriyat whether they are ready to talk," Madhav told reporters in Srinagar when asked whether the interlocutor would hold dialogue with the separatists.
Asked whether the interlocutor would also talk to Pakistan, the BJP leader said, "This time, the announcement has been made that Sharma would talk with all groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the Centre had announced that talks will be held with those who are willing and so it appointed the interlocutor.
"The home minister (Rajnath Singh) cannot talk every time and that is why the government of India appointed the representative and he will talk with all groups and leaders of J&K as a representative of the government of India," Madhav said.
Asked if there were any conditions for talks with those who are "outside the mainstream and do not accept the Constitution", he replied, "We want the whole population and sub-sections of J&K to become mainstream".
On former Union home minister P Chidambaram's suggestion on autonomy, Madhav alleged that the Kashmiri people and the whole country "are bearing the brunt of the mistakes" that were committed by Chidambaram and his party during their government.
"We do not need this advice. The present government would seek advice from well wishers of J&K and would act definitely in future. We do not need advice from Chidambaram," he retorted.
Meanwhile, senior state BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said that while the interlocutor is free to talk to everyone, including Hurriyat, there can be no dialogue with those wielding the gun.
He said the state government wanted the dialogue to start soon and everyone should come forward and place their point of view.
"Whoever carries a gun in his hand, it is no use to talk to him. Otherwise, the interlocutor is free to talk to everyone," Singh told reporters.
When asked whether Hurriyat was a stakeholder and if the interlocutor would talk to the separatists, he said, Definitely. We have not said no to anyone.
Anyone can talk. But you must remember that when Union Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) came here, (Chief Minister) Mehbooba (Mufti) wrote a letter to Hurriyat to come forward to talk. If we were not ready to talk to them, such a letter would not have gone out.
20:12 Gadkari urges auto makers to opt for coastal shipping mode
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today flagged off export of Ashok Leyland trucks by coastal route to Bangladesh, and appealed to automobile manufacturers to opt for coastal shipping mode to transport vehicles.
Transportation by road was costly and would pollute the environment even as there was the risk of accidents, the Union minister for shipping, road transport and highways said.
"That is the reason that we have decided to use waterways and coastal transport. This is going to reduce the cost, save time and at the same time will be very good for environment."
"I appeal to all automobile manufacturers to use waterways for transporting their automobiles," he said over video conferencing from Nagpur.
Earlier, he flagged off auto major Ashok Leyland's consignment of 185 trucks transported through the roll-on roll-off coastal movement from Chennai Port to Mongla Port in Bangladesh.
He recalled that India had signed a coastal shipping agreement with Bangladesh during Prime Minister Narenda Modi's 2015 visit there.
RoRo service was already happening between Chennai and Kochi and Kochi to Kandla and "this is a great example which is going to inspire and motivate all automobile manufacturers," Gadkari added.
Minister for State for Shipping and Road Transport, Pon Radhakrishnan said export of trucks by Ashok Leyland by sea route to Bangladesh would reduce the time by about 15-20 days as it takes only five days to reach the destination by sea.
The benefits include avoiding pollution and possible accidents, the Minister, present at the Chennai Port, added.
Ashok Leyland Managing Director Vinod K Dasari said the company had been exporting trucks to Bangladesh for 40 years using the road route and added that various issues, including congestion at the border and delay in crossing it had prompted them to think of an alternative following which the government suggested the sea route.
"We do about 5,000 vehicles per year for Bangladesh. This is the first lot of 185 vehicles (through RoRo) and hopefully we continue to do more and use this as a route rather than the long (road) route," he said. -- PTI
20:05 Taj Mahal is the jewel of India: UP governor
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik today termed Taj Mahal as "the jewel of the country", days after the state's Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the Mughal-era monument and hailed it as a gem.
Naik, who was in Jaunpur to inaugurate a seminar at the Vir Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University, told reporters that the 17th century monument is a heritage of the country and this fact cannot be ignored.
"Taj Mahal is the jewel of the country from the global point of view...the prime minister and the chief minister have also clarified this," the governor said.
His remarks come two days after Adityanath visited Agra, where he swept the road outside the Taj Mahal, went inside the monument and described it as a gem and an integral part of Indian culture.
The much publicised visit, the first by a BJP chief minister of the state, had come after the party's leaders and ministers made provocative statements against the famed symbol of love.
Adityanath's decision to visit the Taj Mahal was announced after a series of controversies, beginning with a UP tourism department booklet not mentioning the white marble monument in its list of development projects in the state.
Subsequently, BJP MLA Sangeet Som said history would be rewritten to erase the Taj Mahal from it and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said it was originally a Shiva temple. -- PTI
19:49 BJP's NDA partner JD-U to contest Gujarat polls alone
The Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal-United on Saturday said it will contest its "traditional" four to five seats in Gujarat and urged the Election Commission to reject the Sharad Yadav faction's claim over the party symbol so that it can fight the assembly election.
Its chief spokesperson K C Tyagi said there have been no talks with the Bharatiya Janata Party for alliance in Gujarat assembly polls, though they are part of the National Democratic Alliance.
Hitting out at the rival faction, Tyagi cited documents filed with the EC by its then general secretary Javed Raza, who is now with Yadav, on unanimous election of Nitish Kumar as its president last year.
"The rival faction has submitted a fresh set of documents supporting its claim on the party symbol 'arrow' in the EC on October 26 despite the fact that poll body has already announced that JD-U led by Nitish Kumar is the real Janata Dal-United," he said.
The JD-U leader alleged that the Sharad Yadav-led group has submitted "forged" documents in the Election Commission which amounts a clear case of "forgery and contempt".
He said the EC should reject them and take a quick decision on the matter as his party would need the symbol to contest Gujarat polls.
Tyagi said his party will contest on four to five "traditional" seats in Gujarat.
The party's lone MLA in Gujarat, Chhotubhai Vasava, has joined hands with Yadav. Vasava is Yadav faction's acting president.
Tyagi said his party has traditionally enjoyed support from people in these seats and there have been no talks so far with the BJP for an alliance in the state polls.
"Our candidates have been winning anywhere between one to five seats in Gujarat elections and our party would field candidates on these seats as it has a traditional vote bank," he told a press conference.
Asked about any likely alliance with the BJP, the JD-U leader said, "There are currently no talks with the BJP for alliance in the elections, nor there is any possibility of such talks."
The election to 182-member Gujarat Assembly will be held in two phases on December 9 and December 14, while counting of votes will be on December 18. -- PTI
19:22 Agartala-Delhi Rajdhani flagged off, to run once a week
The much-awaited Agartala-Anand Vihar Rajdhani Express was flagged off from Agartala today by Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain.
The train would formally start its operations from November 6.
The Rajdhani would leave the Agartala station for Delhi on Mondays and embark on its return journey from Anand Vihar on Wednesdays. The 2457-km-long journey would be covered in 40 hours and 50 minutes, a Northeast Frontier Railway official said.
Flagging off the train, Gohain said the Centre had plans to extend Rajdhani services to Imphal by 2020.
"We have no dearth of money for extending railway services in the region and we also do not depend on the party in power in a state for our projects," Gohain said, adding that most states in the northeast would be connected by a broad-gauge railway network in the next two years.
After Guwahati and Dibrugarh in Assam, Agartala was the third city in the northeast to get a Rajdhani.
"The 14-coach train, with one AC first-class, two AC two-tier, eight AC three-tier coaches, one pantry car and two power-cum-luggage vans, will stop at 16 stations," the NFR official added.
Photograph: PTI Photo
19:18 FIFA U-17 WC in India becomes most attended in event's history
The 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India today turned out to be a milestone event as it became the most attended in the history of the tournament.
After the third-place match between Brazil and Mali in Kolkata today, the total number of spectators who turned up at the six host venues across the country went past the earlier record attendance of 1,230,976 set in the first edition of the tournament in China in 1985.
With 56432 spectators turning up at the Salt Lake Stadium to watch the Brazil versus Mali match, the total attendance of the FIFA U-17 World Cup reached 1280459.
Before this match, a mere 6949 attendance was needed to break the record.
The 2011 edition in Mexico had also attracted a total of 1,002,314 spectators, becoming the third one to have more than one million attendance.
The attendance for matches had breached the million mark in the last Round of 16 match on October 18.
In terms of the number of spectators per match, this edition is second behind the inaugural edition in China (which was 38,469) as the number of participating teams and matches were lesser at that time.
Sixteen teams competed till the 2005 edition in Peru (when the tournament was known as FIFA U-17 World Championships) before the number of participating countries was increased to 24 from the 2007 edition in South Korea. The number of matches was also increased from 32 to 52 from 2007 onwards.
Understandably, Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium has the highest attendance per match. The venue has so far logged a total of 5,42,125 spectators from 10 games, at a staggering average of 54,212 per match. The stadium has a total capacity of 66,600. -- PTI
Image: Fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi during a match at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. Photograph: PTI
19:04 Sena slams Maha govt over 'hasty' loan waiver scheme roll-out
The Shiv Sena today hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Maharashtra government over "hasty" implementation of the Rs 34,022 crore loan waiver scheme for farmers, alleging it has increased their miseries instead of providing relief.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said, "The government rushed to seek credit for loan waiver implementation, which has now backfired. It is a classic example of how haste spoils crucial decisions like this and
how common people suffer due to it."
"The whole exercise of loan waiver implementation has, in fact, increased the miseries of farmers instead of providing relief to them," the Sena, which is a part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, alleged.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party was often at loggerheads with the BJP and has been vocal in criticising the Modi government.
"Loan waiver has been a life or death situation for farmers, but the ruling government tried to seek credit over it," the 'Saamana' editorial said.
Recently, the Maharashtra government released Rs 4,000 crore under the first phase of the Rs 34,022 crore farm loan waiver scheme.
The Sena asked if the state government insisted on online registration of farmers, then how come "technical errors" occurred while finalising the list of beneficiaries.
"It shows poor preparation by the state administration before implementing such a big decision," it said.
The Sena said the government had claimed that farm loan up to Rs 1.50 lakh will be waived, then how come farmers got certificates of waiving of only Rs 10,000.
"Is it not a cruel joke on farmers' plight," it asked.
Sena also alleged that the departments involved in implementation of the scheme are not accepting their mistakes, which has increased the farmers' woes. -- PTI
18:58 Would have quit if forced to implement note ban: Chidambaram
Assailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today said he would have quit as finance minister if forced to implement the measure.
He also targeted Modi over "hasty" implementation of the GST, and his pet bullet train project.
"If my prime minister had asked me to do demonetisation, I would have advised him 'please don't', and if he had insisted, then I would have resigned," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Rajkot where he delivered a lecture on 'The state of economy'.
Noting that demonetisation and "rushing through with the GST were two major mistakes" of the Modi government, he said, "demonetisation was a bad idea, full stop. GST is a good idea, but it has been hastily implemented. It should have been implemented with due care and attention."
Pitching for a cap on the GST at 18 per cent, the former Union minister flayed multiple slabs in the rate structure.
Delivering the lecture on the economy organised by the local trading community, Chidambaram said the prime minister's ambitious bullet train project between Ahmedabad and Mumbai should not have been a priority.
Focus, he said, should have been on improving safety, cleanliness, better compartments and stations, better signalling systems and improving suburban transport.
"Hardly 600 people will use bullet train (on one way journey) when it is completed, and government has borrowed huge amount of money from Japan for this. Instead the government should utilise the money for health and education, which the people want," he said, adding bullet train can become a priority 10-15 years later not now.
He also flayed the Gujarat model of development, saying "Vikas gando thayo che (development has gone crazy)". The Congress has launched a social media campaign in the poll-bound state by the same name.
Chidambaram criticised the Election Commission for not declaring the dates for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls simultaneously.
"There was an unusual delay in declaring poll dates for Gujarat. The only conclusion is that the (central) government wanted to prevent announcement of sops by the Congress government there (in Himachal) and wanted to do the same in Gujarat. The EC could have either declared it (the polls) together on October 12 or on October 24." -- PTI
18:14 Jolt for TDP in T'gana as Revanth Reddy quits party
The Telugu Desam Party suffered a setback in Telangana today as the state working president and MLA, A Revanth Reddy, quit the party saying the recent happenings in the state unit pained him.
Revanth, who flew down to Vijayawada for a meeting with TDP supremo and Andhra Padesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, is understood to have handed over his resignation letter to Naidu's private secretary and immediately left for Hyderabad.
When asked about it, Chandrababu Naidu told reporters that he has not received Revanth's resignation letter.
"Resignations are not new in TDP. Some people take decisions in their own interests," he remarked.
Revanth was arrested in the "cash-for-vote" case after he was caught on camera allegedly offering money to a nominated MLA for his vote in the MLC election in 2015.
For the past few days, there has been a turmoil in Telangana TDP with reports claiming that Revanth, who is an MLA from Kodangal in Mahbubnagar district, met Rahul Gandhi and was about to join the Congress.
Revanth also caused a stir by accusing some leaders of Andhra Pradesh TDP, including two ministers, of securing huge financial contracts from the TRS government in Telangana.
He, however, maintained a stoic silence over his future plans and had been saying that he would speak directly with Chandrababu Naidu upon the CM's return from abroad.
He met Chandrababu Naidu in Hyderabad yesterday, but the TDP chief summoned Revanth and other party leaders from Telangana for a detailed meeting in Vijayawada today.
Revanth flew down to Vijayawada, visited the Kanaka Durga temple and came to the CM's camp office for the meeting.
As the chief minister's arrival was delayed, the rebel leader handed over his resignation letter to Chandrababu Naidu's PS and left for Hyderabad.
Chandrababu was later closeted in a meeting with other leaders from Telangana. -- PTI
17:50 'Jihadi Jack' charged with being Islamic State member
A 21-year-old British Muslim convert dubbed 'Jihadi Jack' has been charged with being a member of the Islamic State terrorist network, media reports said on Saturday.
Jack Letts had travelled to Syria in 2014 and was later captured by the Kurdish-led YPG -- the group fighting against Islamic State -- when he fled Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the terror network earlier this year.
The man from the city of Oxford has claimed in the past that he is opposed to Islamic State ideology.
Quoting a statement issued by the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria -- a self-declared autonomous region -- the BBC said Letts had been taken to a prison in Qamishli, Rojava, northern Syria.
"Jack Letts is currently under investigation by local and global anti-terror units. Once the investigation is concluded, the outcome will be communicated to Jack's parents, and their legal representatives and to the officials of relevant governments," the statement said.
Jack Letts, who also holds a Canadian passport, remains in the custody of the local DFNS police force, the Asayish.
The statement adds: "We ask the parents of Jack Letts and their legal representative to ask the UK and Canadian governments to officially request the handover of Jack Letts from the officials of the DFNS so that the handover can proceed officially.
"However, so far there has been no official request from neither Canadian or British governments."
The communication marks the first time that Kurdish forces have confirmed the capture of Letts as a prisoner of war.
Letts had converted to Islam while at Cherwell comprehensive school in Oxford and travelled to Jordan, aged 18, after dropping out of school.
He reportedly got married in Iraq and now has a child.
His parents, John Letts and Sally Lane, have denied he went to Syria to fight with Islamic State, and have started a petition that claims he had "disappeared in a Guantanamo-style black site" in Kurdish-controlled territory. -- PTI
17:28 BJP's Demand for Ahmed Patel's resignation is 'outrageous': PC
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today dubbed as "outrageous" the Bharatiya Janata Party's demand for resignation of Ahmed Patel from the Rajya Sabha over the issue that a suspected Islamic State operative arrested recently used to work at a hospital where the latter had been a trustee.
"I am amazed by this kind of outrageous demands," Chidambaram told reporters in Rajkot.
"Ahmed Patel was a trustee of the hospital and had resigned in 2015. This person who was arrested seems to have joined the hospital as a technician last year and had resigned a couple of days prior to his arrest," the former Union minister said.
"Now, if somebody who has joined in the last one year as a technician has ISIS connect, then how a trustee of three years ago is responsible," he asked.
Yesterday, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani demanded Patel's resignation as Rajya Sabha MP, alleging that a suspected ISIS operative arrested recently used to work at a hospital where Patel had been a trustee earlier.
Patel had rejected the charge as "completely baseless" and urged the BJP not to politicise matters pertaining to national security and divide the peace-loving Gujaratis.
Rupani was referring to the recent arrest of two suspected IS operatives by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad.
As per the FIR, one of the accused, Kasim Stimberwala, used to work as a technician at Sardar Patel Hospital in Ankleshwar town of Bharuch district. -- PTI
17:17 Swiss couple attack: Tourism minister visits victims in hospital
Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons today visited the injured Swiss couple Quentin Clerc and Marie Droz at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.
The couple from Lausanne in Switzerland were first stalked and harassed, and later brutally assaulted with sticks and stones, by a group of five persons in Fatehpur Sikri near Agra on October 22.
Later, five attackers including two minors were arrested by the police.
16:45 Sonia Gandhi discharged from hospital
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who was admitted to the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital with an upset stomach on Friday, was discharged today
The hospital said that Sonia has been recovered and discharged at 4 pm today.
The hospital also said that her condition is stable and she has been advised rest.
Gandhi was flown to the hospital in New Delhi from Shimla on Friday
This is the third time Gandhi has been hospitalised this year.
In May, she came down with food poisoning and spent nearly a week in the hospital. Earlier, in January, she was hospitalised with fever and chest congestion.
Last year, during a road show in Varanasi she fell sick and aborted the campaign. She then fractured her shoulder and underwent a surgery at the same hospital.
16:26 Spain takes control of 'independent' Catalonia
A day after the Catalan Parliament declared independence, Spain today took direct control of Catalonia, firing the regional government and dismissing the head of the local police force.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet were formally removed from their posts, and their powers and responsibilities taken over by central government in notices posted to the official state bulletin on Saturday.
The firing of Josep Lluis Trapero, the highest-ranking officer of the Mossos d'Esquadra regional police, follows yesterday's dismissal of Catalonia's president, his deputy, all ministers, and the entire parliament.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who now replaces Puigdemont as the top decision-maker in the northeastern region, has dissolved the regional parliament and called a new regional election on December 21.
A 10-day general strike has already been called by one of Catalonias biggest unions in support of the new republic of Catalonia, starting on Monday. Some of the regions 200,000 civil servants have already said they will not accept orders from Madrid.
Tens of thousands celebrated in Barcelona and other Catalan cities after yesterday's independence declaration, which analysts say the region has no legal power to execute.
But anti-secession rallies have been called for the capital, Madrid, today, and for Barcelona tomorrow.
The move to quash Catalan powers under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution is likely to anger many in a region of some 7.5 million people that enjoyed considerable autonomy, with control over education, healthcare and police.
It is the first time the central government has curtailed autonomy in the region since dictator Francisco Franco's repressive 1939-75 rule.
15:48 Unit 2 of Kudankulam nuke plant to be operational soon
The Unit 2 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Plant, which is undergoing maintenance since August, should be operational in the next two weeks, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd chief S K Sharma has said.
The 1000 MW unit, which started its commercial operation in March this year, was shut down for repairs in August after problems occurred in its electrical generator, a senior NPCIL official said requesting anonymity.
Tried for the first time in India using Russia's VVER technology, the Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Project also faced teething problems in the beginning.
The official added there are certain uncertainties which could crop up in the initial days of a new reactor.
We should start the second unit in the next two weeks, Sharma, who is the chairman and managing director of the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd said.
Unit 1 and 2 of the KKNPP, both 1000 MW each, are currently the largest nuclear power generating reactors in the country.
The NPCIL is currently working on building units 3 and 4.
General Framework Agreement for units 5 and 6 was signed in June this year.
Sharma said the first pour of concrete, one of the first steps while building any reactor, will take place in 2019 for the two reactors in Chutka in Madhya Pradesh.
To enhance the nuclear power generation in the country, and also give a boost to the industry, the government approved 10 new nuclear reactors this year.
The two units of Chutka are a part of these 10 reactors. -- PTI
15:23 2 jawans injured in firing in Poonch
Two Army jawans have been injured in firing under suspicious circumstances along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district today, a police official said.
The incident happened in the forward areas along the LoC in Tarkundi belt.
"It is being reported to us that it was due to an accidental fire," the official said, adding more information was awaited.
The injured jawans have been admitted to a hospital, he said. -- PTI
15:13 Sex CD row: After scribe's arrest, FIR against Chh'garh Cong chief
Chhattisgarh Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Munat has filed a complaint against state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and senior journalist Vinod Verma for allegedly tarnishing his image through a "fake" sex CD.
A case was registered last evening at the Civil Lines police station in Raipur against Baghel, Verma and others under section 67 (A) of the Information Technology Act following the minister's complaint, Station House Officer, Civil Lines, Hem Prakash Nayak told PTI.
"A copy of the CD has been submitted to the police station and it will be sent for forensic examination," he said.
Munat, considered close to Chief Minister Raman Singh, was accompanied by state BJP president Dharam Lal Kaushik, his over half-a-dozen cabinet colleagues and other party leaders, while filing the complaint.
Talking to reporters yesterday, Munat had alleged that the CD in question was fake and urged the chief minister to order a probe to find the truth.
"The (sex) CD is fake. It is an attempt to malign my image," he had said.
The minister further appealed to the chief minister and Kaushik to get the matter investigated from any agency.
Yesterday, the Civil Line police had also arrested two AAP supporters for allegedly blackening Munat's nameplate while protesting outside his official residence over the row.
Verma, who was arrested in connection with an extortion and blackmailing case from Ghaziabad by Chhattisgarh police yesterday, had claimed that he had a sex CD of the Chhattisgarh minister.
Police also claimed to have recovered 500 "porn" CDs, a pen drive and a laptop from Verma.
A Ghaziabad court had granted the Chhattisgarh Police the transit remand of Verma till October 30 and he is expected to reach Raipur this afternoon.
14:43 Now, m-Aadhar can be used as an identity proof to enter airports
Mobile Aadhaar can be used as an identity proof to enter airports, while identification documents will not be required for minors accompanied by parents, according to a circular issued by aviation security agency Bureau of
Civil Aviation Security.
Passengers entering airport premises need to produce any one of the ten identity proofs listed by the BCAS in its latest communication, which include passport, voter ID card, Aadhaar or m-Aadhaar, PAN card and driving licence.
"In order to ensure that a bonafide passenger is travelling on a valid ticket issued in his/her name as well as to avoid any controversy/argument with the security staff, any of the following photo identity documents shall be carried in original," according to the BCAS circular issued on October 26.
A passbook issued by a nationalised bank, pension card, disability photo identification and service photo ID card of central/state government, PSU, local bodies and private limited company will also be acceptable.
Differently-abled persons will have to produce a disability photo ID or a medical certificate.
Students also have the option to furnish a photo identity card issued by a government institute.
The order, however, exempts a minor accompanied by a parent or a guardian from producing an identity proof.
"There shall not be any requirement of identity proof in respect of infant/minor accompanied by their parents/guardian who is a bonafide passenger having a valid identity proof," the order adds.
If a passenger is not able to furnish one of the ten documents, then there is also an option to provide an identity certificate issued by a group A gazetted officer of central/ state government.
For international passenger the requirement of producing a passport and an air ticket will continue. -- PTI
14:08 Missing Kashmir cop deserts force, joins LeT
A policeman who had gone missing from his home at Shopian district of south Kashmir has reportedly joined terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba as his picture in which he poses with an AK-47 rifle goes viral on social media.
Ishfaq Ahmad Dar, a resident of Heff village of Shopian, has deserted the force and joined militant ranks, inspector general of police Kashmir Range, Munir Ahmad Khan said.
"I can confirm you that Dar has joined militant ranks," Khan said.
Dar, posted in Budgam district, was undergoing training in Kathua district in Jammu region of the state, where from he took leave earlier this week.
He returned home and went missing from there, following which his family lodged a missing report in a police station on Friday.
13:53 French defence minister meets PM Modi
French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
On Friday, Parly held wide-ranging talks aimed at further boosting defence and security ties, with a focus on co-development of military platforms, and enhancing cooperation in the maritime sphere, with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The two defence ministers also decided that India and France will jointly conduct naval exercise 'Varuna' from next year.
Parly, who is in India on a two-day visit, is expected to lay the ground for French President Emmanuel Macron's upcoming trip to India.
Parly is also likely to push for a follow on order of additional Rafale fighter jets, after the delivery of 36 jets under a Rs 58,000 crore deal finalised last year.
The French Embassy had said in a statement that Parly's visit is aimed at strengthening all aspects of France's "fast developing" defence cooperation with India, its foremost Asian strategic partner.
13:00 Inability to interact with press is an occupational hazard: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that there must be transparency between politicians and journalists.
Addressing senior editors at BJP's Diwali Milan Samaroh in New Delhi, Modi also said that inability to interact with press is an occupational hazard.
He credits mediapersons for giving suggestion to improve nations.
"Apart from doing their jobs, the media has some or the other suggestion to improve nation. The media shows us (politicians) what we need to focus on," Modi said.
Talking about democracy in parties, the PM said that democracy in political parties is a subject more people should know more about.
He also emphasised the importance of transparency in recruitment of party members.
12:20 Younger generation is forgetting our culture: Rajini
Rajinikanth appreciates the fact that youngsters today are concerned about the future of their country, but the superstar does not like the aloofness they show towards the culture and tradition.
The 66-year-old actor, who was in the city to launch the music of his upcoming film "2.0," said it is important to be attached to one's roots to stay happy in life.
"Nowadays, everyone loves their homeland and mothertongue. I like that aspect of the younger generation. But they are gradually forgetting our tradition and culture. If you need to lead a really happy life, always remember your roots," Rajinikanth said.
The actor added that to be successful in life it is necessary to utilise the opportunities properly.
"Getting an opportunity is very difficult. And if you don't utilise it correctly, there's no bigger fool than you. If someone has earned name and fame, it doesn't mean he worked really hard, but he used his opportunities rightly."
Directed by Shankar, "2.0" marks the filmmaker-actor duo's third collaboration after blockbusters "Sivaji" and "Enthiran."
Praising the superstar, Shankar said, "Rajinikanth sir is always keen to try new things in his scenes. Whenever I read out a scene to him, he always comes up with his own suggestions to make the sequence better."
The director also said that "2.0" is not a sequel to his 2010 blockbuster "Enthiran" and has a completely new story with an essential social message.
Rajinikanth plays the role of robot Chitti and scientist Dr. Vaseegaran in the film, which is produced by Lyca Productions.
Academy Award-winning composer A R Rahman has given the music for the film, which also features Amy Jackson and Akshay Kumar in prominent roles.
"2.0" is slated to release on January 25, 2018. -- PTI
11:46 Sri Sri in touch with imams, swamis to solve Ram temple dispute: AoL
The Art of Living Foundation has said that its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been in touch with several imams and swamis, including Acharya Ram Das of Nirmohi Akhara, to help find an out-of-court settlement to the
Ram temple dispute.
The foundation, however, said it was too early to draw any conclusions and that these discussions were not done on behalf of the government.
"Ravi Shankar has been in touch with several imams and swamis, including Acharya Ram Das of Nirmohi Akhara," the Art of Living Foundation said in a statement.
"Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is of the view that the prevailing mood on the Ram Mandir issue provides an opportunity for people from both communities to come together, show their magnanimity and settle the dispute out of court," it added.
The foundation said these discussions, not done on behalf of any government or organisation, had brought to the fore the positive energy and willingness of leaders from both communities to move forward and arrive at an amicable solution.
However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has reportedly denied holding any meeting with Ravi Shankar.
The board yesterday said it was ready to talk to Ravi Shankar if he wanted, for they would not have any issue in having a conversation and in helping find a solution.
The Allahabad high court, in 2010, had ruled a three-way division of the disputed 2.77-acre area at Ayodhya among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Lord Ram Lalla.
The Supreme Court decided to reopen the hearing after based on 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement in four civil suits. It is all set to hear the historic Babri Masjid-Ram Temple case from December 5. -- PTI
11:41 No confirmation of death of 5 Kerala IS sympathisers in Syria: Police
The Kerala Police is trying to confirm news about the death of five Islamic State sympathisers from Kannur district in Syria, the Kannur DSP said today.
"We came to know about the death of five men from the district through their relatives. We are trying to confirm news about their death," said Kannur Deputy Superintendent of Police P P Sadanandan.
"The news about the death of one of them, Muhammed Shajil, 25, was conveyed by his wife in a foreign country, to his uncle. The wife of another Rishad disclosed information about his death to her mother," he added.
"Similarly, news about the death of the other three, Shahanad (25), Shameer (45) and his elder son Salman (20) were also received by their relatives from their kin in various places," the DSP said.
"They had died at various periods of time between 2014 and 2017," he said when asked about the time of their deaths.
Sadanandan, who is the investigating officer into the case relating to the recent arrest of five persons, allegedly with links to the terrorist outfit, said, "We are going to take them under police custody today for further
Three youths -- Mithilaj, Abdul Razzak and Rashid -- with suspected links to the IS were arrested by the Valapattinam police in the district on October 25 followed by the arrest of two others the next day. -- PTI
10:48 Bangladesh to offer sterilisation to Rohingya in refugee camps
Bangladesh is planning to introduce voluntary sterilisation in its overcrowded Rohingya camps, where nearly a million refugees are fighting for space, after efforts to encourage birth control failed.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar in August triggered an exodus, straining resources in the impoverished country.
The latest arrivals have joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled in earlier waves from Myanmars Rakhine state, where the stateless Muslim minority has endured decades of persecution.
Most live in desperate conditions with limited access to food, sanitation or health facilities and local officials fear a lack of family planning could stretch resources even further.
Pintu Kanti Bhattacharjee, who heads the family planning service in the district of Coxs Bazar where the camps are based, said there was little awareness of birth control among the Rohingya.
District family planning authorities have launched a drive to provide contraception, but say they have so far managed to distribute just 549 packets of condoms among the refugees, who are reluctant to use them.
They have asked the government to approve a plan to launch vasectomies for Rohingya men and tubectomies for women, Bhattacharjee said.
10:12 US waiting to see Pakistan act on terror in next few weeks, says official
Days after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Pakistan that it must act against terrorist groups operating in the country, a top American diplomat has said they will be closely observing the steps taken by Islamabad in its war against terrorism. Pakistan was also warned that if it fails to do so, the US will "adjust" its strategies to achieve the objective in a "different way", a State Department official said.
The Trump administration has defined a "very important role" for Pakistan, the official said, and now it's up to them to work with the US or not.
"This is about Pakistan's sovereign choice. This is not about America giving dictation. We see Pakistan as a very important country in the region, but it's up to them whether or not they want to work with us on this strategy. And if they don't, as the Secretary said, we'll adjust accordingly," Alice G Wells, the acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who was part of the US delegation Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's trip to the region told reporters
Wells said that the Taliban leadership and the Haqqani Network still retain an ability to plan, recuperate, and reside with their families in Pakistan. "In 2014, we saw Pakistan make a strategic decision to defeat the terrorist groups that were targeting the government of Pakistan. And with great loss of life, great courage, great vision about what needed to be done, Pakistan has fought that battle and now has regained control and sovereignty over the Federally Administered Tribal Areas territories," she said.
09:35 Hindustan is country of Hindus but doesn't exclude others: RSS chief
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today said 'Hindustan' is a country of Hindus, but it does not mean that it does not belong to "others".
Addressing a gathering of college-going RSS volunteers, Bhagwat also said the government alone cannot bring development, and that it needs changes in the society.
"Whose country is Germany?...It's a country of Germans, Britain is a country of Britishers, America is a country of Americans, and in the same way Hindustan is a country of Hindus. It does not mean that Hindustan is not the country of other people," Bhagwat said.
"The term Hindu covers all those who are the sons of Bharat Mata, descendants of Indian ancestors and who live in accordance with the Indian culture," the RSS chief said.
No one leader or party can make the country great but it needs a change and we will have to prepare the society for it, he said.
"In ancient times, people used to look to God for development, but in 'Kalyuga' people look to the government... But the fact is, the government can go only as far as the society goes," Bhagwat said.
"The society is the father of the government. The government can serve the society, but it cannot bring changes in the society. When the society brings changes in itself, this change reflects in the government and the system," the RSS chief said.
To make India powerful, prosperous and "vishwa guru", the countrymen will have to rid their hearts of the thought of "discrimination on any grounds", he added.
09:27 Former president Obama called for jury duty in Chicago
Former US President Barack Obama has been called for jury duty in Chicago.
Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans told county commissioners during a budget hearing that Obama, who owns homes in Washington, DC, and Chicago's Kenwood neighbourhood, will serve in November.
He is registered to vote in Chicago.
Evans says Obama's safety will be "uppermost in our minds" when he serves.
Those called can be put either in the pool for criminal case or civil hearings. They can be called to any of the county's Chicago or suburban courthouses.
All jurors watch a decades-old video about their duties narrated by a mustachioed Lester Holt, once a local news reader and now anchor of NBC Nightly News.
09:01 Radio Mirchi calls off tourist safety campaign
Days after a Swiss couple was brutally attacked by a group of men with sticks and stones at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, the radio station Radio Mirchi (98.3 FM) ran a #MatAaoIndia campaign to draw attention to the problem of safety for tourists. It mocked the official tourism campaign and, in that same vein of sarcasm, asked tourists not to come to India.
The campaign ad, which was clearly a satirical spin on the governments official tourism slogan of Incredible India, ends with a warning Coming to India will be injurious to your health that was clearly meant to shame the authorities in Uttar Pradesh and the Centre into taking their responsibility towards foreign guests more seriously.
Soon after Akash Banerjee, the radio stations vice president and regional programming head, tweeted the promo, on Thursday night, right-wing and nationalist Twitter handles started targeting him out for spearheading an anti-India campaign, lodged complaints with the information and broadcasting ministry and the Advertising Standards Council of India and demanded that the Times Group either sack Banerjee or be prepared for a boycott of the radio station.
The Smriti Irani-led I&B ministry has now issued a show-cause notice against Radio Mirchi. The notice claims that by discouraging foreign tourists from visiting India the radio channel has violated All India Radios program and advertisement code. The FM station has been asked to respond in 15 days on why they should not be penalised. A source at Radio Mirchi claimed that they still havent received the notice.
08:17 If radicalisation picks up, will be like Syria, says Kashmir interlocutor
Dineshwar Sharma, the centre's interlocutor for Kashmir who has spoken about radicalisation of the youth there as his big challenge, says he was worried that if radicalisation picks up, "the situation will be like Yemen, Syria and Libya" and "finish the Kashmir society itself". "So, it is very important that everybody, all of us, contribute so that suffering of Kashmiris end," Sharma said.
For someone who has watched the violence in Kashmir at its peak back in the nineties, the former intelligence chief was instrumental in the central government's assessment that has looked at the evolving situation in Kashmir from the prism of radicalisation as well.
In a recent interview, Sharma had kept his focus sharply on reaching out to the Kashmiri youth, blaming Pakistan for playing a major role in alienating them.
"The youth and people of Kashmir have to realise what is good for them... I will make them realise that whether they should be working at the behest of some foreign power or they should be working for their own future," Sharma had said.
00:09 Islamic State case: Guj CM demands resignation of Ahmed Patel
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani demanded Congress leader Ahmed Patel's resignation as Rajya Sabha MP, alleging that a suspected Islamic State operative arrested recently used to work at a hospital where Patel had been a trustee earlier.
Patel rejected the charge as "completely baseless" and urged the BJP not to politicise matters pertaining to national security and divide the peace-loving Gujaratis.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar also said that the Congress "owes an explanation as to how a terrorist had been working there for so long".
Two suspected IS operatives were arrested by the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad two days ago. According to an FIR, one of the accused, Kasim Stimberwala, earlier worked as a technician at Sardar Patel Hospital in Ankleshwar town of Bharuch district.
Rupani said in Gandhinagar that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Patel owe a clarification to the nation as the matter pertains to national security.