Wed, 18 July 2018
No-confidence motion: TDP issues three-line whip to MPs

Timeline  Refresh

23:11   IAF to participate in multinational exercise in Australia for 1st time
For the first time, the Indian Air Force will be participating in Exercise Pitch Black 2018 (PB-18), a three-week multinational drill scheduled from July 24 in Australia, an official statement said today.

The IAF contingent will consists of 145 air-warriors including a Garud commando team, four Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter planes and a C-130 and a C-17 transport aircraft in the exercise which will end on August 18, the air force statement said.

Ex Pitch Black is a biennial large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The contingent will assemble at Air Force Station, Kalaikunda in West Bengal and leave for the exercise tomorrow via Indonesia, the statement said.

It would be led by Group Captain CUV Rao and would aim to undertake simulated air combat exercises in a controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing IAF's operational capability.

During the flight from India to Australia and back, Sukhoi-30 MKI jets will carry out air-to-air refuelling with IL-78 tanker aircraft.

On its return leg from Darwin to Subang, Su-30 MKI aircraft will be refuelled in air for the first time by an RAAF's KC-30A tanker plane.

The mega exercise will involve over 100 aircraft from around the globe, the IAF said.

"The exercise will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment. Participation in multinational air exercise assumes importance in view of the continued engagement of the IAF with friendly foreign countries," it said.

"During the transit to Australia, the IAF contingent will also have constructive engagement with Indonesian and Malaysian air forces," it added.  -- PTI
22:50   No-confidence motion: TDP issues three-line whip to MPs
Ahead of the no-confidence motion on Friday, the Telugu Desam Party has issued a three-line whip to its Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha, to be present in Parliament on July 19 and 20.

The party, through an official communication issued by TDP Chief Whip (Loksabha) K Narayana Rao asked the leaders to be present and show their support to the no-confidence motion against the council of leaders.

"All members of the TDP in Lok Sabha are requested to be positively present in the House throughout two days from Thursday, the 19th July to Friday, the 20th July 2018 and support the 'No-Confidence Motion' against the Council of Ministers," the note read.

Earlier in the day, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said discussions on the TDP's no-confidence motion over the Andhra Pradesh special status row would be held on Friday.

On the first day of the monsoon session, Mahajan noted that the discussion would be followed by voting on the same.  -- ANI
22:50   No-confidence motion: TDP issues three-line whip to MPs
Ahead of the no-confidence motion on Friday, the Telugu Desam Party has issued a three-line whip to its Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha, to be present in Parliament on July 19 and 20.

The party, through an official communication issued by TDP Chief Whip (Loksabha) K Narayana Rao asked the leaders to be present and show their support to the no-confidence motion against the council of leaders.

"All members of the TDP in Lok Sabha are requested to be positively present in the House throughout two days from Thursday, the 19th July to Friday, the 20th July 2018 and support the 'No-Confidence Motion' against the Council of Ministers," the note read.

Earlier in the day, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said discussions on the TDP's no-confidence motion over the Andhra Pradesh special status row would be held on Friday.

On the first day of the monsoon session, Mahajan noted that the discussion would be followed by voting on the same.  -- ANI
22:00   Tharoor blames right-wing activists for attacks, demands PM intervention
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today accused right-wing activists for death threats as also vandalising his office and demanded Prime Minister's intervention in dealing with such anti-national elements.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Tharoor said the attacks are on people who are expressing dissent and the victims, in recent months, have included intellectuals, minorities, and various citizens of the country.

"I am sorry to raise before this House the attack on my constituency office in Thiruvananthapuram and the death threats that I received from members of the ruling party in response to my criticism of far right extremism.

"This is not just an attack on constitutionally-sanctioned MP's office but also a larger attempt by incendiary elements and their digital equivalents to destroy the idea of India as a pluralistic and accepting democracy," Tharoor said.

He further said that even Swami Agvinesh was attacked for expressing dissent against rising intolerance.

"We cannot and should not stand by as communal violence, mob-lynching and hooliganism replace rule of law and rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

"I strongly urge the Prime Minister to break his silence on the behaviour of his own party men and take action against these anti-national elements and anti-Indian elements who seek to abridge the freedom of speech in our democracy," Tharoor said.   -- PTI
21:07   Have received requests to grant minority status to Hindus in J&K: Centre
The government today said it has received requests from some organisations to grant minority status to Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, but made it clear that the matter comes under the purview of the state government.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, said the central government notifies a community as minority in the context of India as a whole, and not for an individual state.

"The Ministry has received requests from some organisations or institutions requesting grant of minority status to Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir...The issue of declaring any community as minority in a state comes under the purview of the state government," he said responding to a question on whether the government has received any proposals to provide minority status to Hindus in the Kashmir Valley.  -- PTI
20:42   Army lost 106 personnel in battle casualties in 2017: Centre
The Army lost 106 personnel, including eight officers, in battle casualties in 2017, Minister of State for Defence, Subhash Bhamre told the Lok Sabha today.

There were 155 non-fatal battle casualties last year, he said in a written response.

In 2017, 98 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and those of other ranks, and eight officers died in battle casualties which included cease fire violations, enemy fire across the Line of Control, avalanche, terrorist attacks, landslide and mine blasts, the minister said.

The MoS was asked whether private companies operating in the defence sector were employing retired bureaucrats and service personnel as well as the kith and kin of bureaucrats and armed forces to 'manipulate' and ensure that they have an edge over competitors.

"There is no ban on employment of retired bureaucrats, service personnel, kith and kin of bureaucrats and armed forces in private sector companies in defence sector," he replied.

Bhamre noted that as per the existing rules, if a pensioner, who, immediately before his retirement, was a member of the Central Service group 'A' and wishes to accept any commercial employment before the expiry of one year from the date of retirement, shall obtain the prior sanction of government.

While granting permission in such cases, the government takes into regard the factors such as No Objection from cadre controlling authority, whether the officer has been privy to sensitive or strategic information in the last three years of his service, conflict of interest between the policies of the office the officer has held and the organisation he proposes to join, and ther relevant facts, the minister stated.

Replying to another question on whether the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) had abruptly cancelled several orders with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Bhamre said this was due to reduction in procurement of supplies by the Army in the light of 'budget allocation of revenue expenditure in the current year'.

"Federation of MSME vendors of defence and aerospace have submitted representations which are being considered in the ministry to safeguard their interests," he said.

Replying to another question on the strength of women officers in the defence services, the MoS said the Army has 1,561 women officers, the Air Force 1,610 and the Navy 489 women officials.   -- PTI
20:27   Tent collapse at PM rally: BJP to file police complaint against state PWD
The West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party today said it will to file a police complaint against the state Public Works Department for alleged 'negligence in duty' during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at Midnapore, where a makeshift tent collapse injured 90 people on Monday.

The party's decision came a day after the police filed a case against the organiser of the rally -- the West Bengal BJP unit -- and a decorator who erected the tent at the venue of Modi's rally for 'extreme negligence of duty'.

"We have decided to file a police complaint against the state PWD for their negligence in duty during the prime minister's rally in Midnapore. It is due to their slack attitude that the mishap occurred," BJP state vice-president Subhas Sarkar told PTI.

He said PWD engineers were present when the tent was being erected and wondered what they were doing when it collapsed.

"The police also failed to control the mob. When the tent collapsed, the policemen did nothing. It was the BJP workers who rescued the supporters," Sarkar said.

Sarkar alleged that the police baton-charged BJP activists at the venue to control them and that led to the accident.

"The police could have controlled the crowd in a proper way. Instead, they resorted to baton charge which resulted in many BJP supporters climbing the makeshift marquee and it collapsed," he claimed.

The Centre has sought a report from the state government on the incident and a high-level central team is currently in Midnapore to assess the circumstances that led tothe accident.

The team will examine whether there was any lapse in security measures, lack of coordination among various agencies or other shortcomings in organising the rally.

Initial investigations have revealed that some of the iron frames used for setting up the makeshift tent were rusty, and most of the iron poles were not inserted in the groundproperly, a senior police officer said.

It has also been found that some of the CCTVs installed at the venue were not working properly.  -- PTI
20:10   CAG examining Rafale deal; CBI probing 4 graft cases in defence deals: Centre
The country's national auditor Comptroller and Auditor General is examining the Rafale fighter jet deal worth Rs 58,000 crore on which the Congress has been targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government accusing it of wrongdoings.

Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, said the CAG is conducting an audit of the capital acquisition system of Indian Air Force including the Rafale aircraft deal.

To a separate query, he also said that four cases of corruption in defence deals have been registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation since 2015.

India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France in September 2016 for procurement of 36 Rafale jets.

The delivery of the jets is scheduled to begin from September, 2019.

The Congress has been raising several questions about the deal including on the rates, and accused the government of compromising national interest and security while causing a loss to the public exchequer.

The government has rejected the allegations.

Asked about details of the defence deals finalised in the last three-and-half years, he said information about agreements signed for purchase of arms and ammunition 'cannot be disclosed in the interest of national security as well as in the interest of India's relations with concerned foreign countries'.

The Congress has also been demanding details of the Rafale deal. However, the government has refused to share the details, citing confidentiality provisions of a 2008 Indo-France pact.

Bhamre said the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 envisages signing of an integrity pact between government and the bidders for all capital procurement schemes of Rs 20 crore and above as against earlier provision of signing such a pact in cases involving Rs 100 crore and above.

He said no firm or entity has been blacklisted for misconduct in defence deals during the last three years.

However, six firms were debarred from further business dealings with the defence ministry for a period of 10 years. Bhamre said business dealings were suspended or put on hold in respect of 14 firms. -- PTI
19:13   Chandan Mitra quits BJP, likely to join Trinamool
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Chandan Mitra on Wednesday submitted his resignation from the party.

Reports suggest that Mitra is likely to join the Trinamool Congress.

"I have given my resignation. I have not decided when or where I will join, I am not going to disclose it," he told ANI.

According to media reports, Mitra submitted his resignation to BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.

Reports also suggest that he will be joining the TMC on July 21.

Mitra was also considered to be close to BJP veteran L K Advani.

A two-time Rajya Sabha member, Mitra is the editor and managing director of The Pioneer.

He was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to 2009.

In June 2010, BJP got him elected to the upper house from Madhya Pradesh. His term ended in 2016.  -- ANI
19:10   Govt to revisit AI stake sale plan after oil prices, forex rates stabilise
The government today said it would revisit the Air India disinvestment plan after oil prices, foreign exchange and other global economic indicators stabilise.

While asserting that the government remains committed to the disinvestment of Air India, Union minister Jayant Sinha told the Rajya Sabha that the national carrier has shown 'considerable improvement' in operational and financial parameters in the recent past.

The government's proposal to sell 76 per cent stake as well as transfer management control of the debt-laden airline to private players failed to take off in May.

Sinha said transaction advisor -- EY --had cited 24 per cent government stake and corresponding rights, and high amount of allocated debt as the reasons for not receiving any bids.

Other probable reasons cited by EY were 'changes in macro environment, individuals not being allowed to bid, profitability track record, and bidders not being able to form a consortium within a given time period', according to written replies provided by the minister.

The stake sale plan did not attract any bidders when the deadline for submitting Expression of Interest (EoI) ended on May 31 and EY was the transaction advisor.

"In view of volatile crude prices and adverse fluctuations in exchange rates, the present environment is not conducive to stimulate interest amongst investors for strategic disinvestment of Air India in immediate near future.

"The issue would be revisited once global economic indicators, including oil prices and forex conditions stabilise," Sinha said in a written reply.

Further, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation said near and medium term efforts would be initiated to improve Air India's performance.

He also said the Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) would separately decide the contours of the mode of disposal of subsidiaries -- Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL), Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL) and Airline Allied Services Ltd (AASL).

Debt-laden Air India's losses after tax stood at Rs 5,765.16 crore in 2016-17.   -- PTI
17:58   No report of exodus of Hindu families from west UP: Centre
There is no report related to exodus of Hindu families from western Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir told the Rajya Sabha today.

Ahir was replying to a written question related to the alleged incidents of exodus of Hindu families and steps taken by the government to check such incidents.

"A report in this regard has been received from the government of Uttar Pradesh. As per the report, no matter related to exodus of Hindu familes in Banhera Khas village of Deoband, Saharanpur has been reported," Ahir, the minister of state for home, said.  -- PTI
17:31   Congress gives Rs 2.5 lakh aid to lynched techie's family
Congress today gave Rs 2.50 lakh as financial assistance to the family of a Hyderabad man, who was lynched near Bidar in Karnataka last week on the suspicion of being a child-lifter.

As per a directive of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, a party delegation led by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N Uttam Kumar Reddy met the family of Mohammad Azam in Hyderabad and offered the financial assistance.

"As per the directives of (Congress president) Rahul Gandhiji, we went and consoled the family of Mohammad Azam who was lynched in Bidar a few days back. On behalf of the Telangana Congress party, we gave a financial support of Rs 2.50 lakh," Reddy told PTI.

Gandhi, in a letter to Reddy, said he was deeply saddened by the tragic death of Mohammad Azam who was lynched near Bidar district in Karnataka on July 13.

A social media video, wrongly identifying Hyderabad techie Mohammad Azam Usmansab as a child lifter, led to his lynching, police had said.

'The loss of an innocent life due to rumours fuelled by social media must be condemned in the strongest manner possible,' he said in the letter, released to the media in Hyderabad.

Gandhi said that in the run up to the general elections next year, there seems to be a sinister design to use social media 'to poison our collective conscience as a society'.

'The use of this medium to largely target members of minorities and other marginalised groups needs to be exposed and fought against,' the Congress president said.

Gandhi has asked Reddy to take up the issue at public forums, besides extending support to the family of the deceased.

'While this unfortunate incident occurred in Karnataka, we must step up our efforts to fight against such incidents in Telangana,' Gandhi said in the letter.

Reddy said his delegation has assured that the education of the child of the deceased would be taken care of.

The TPCC president demanded that strict punishment be handed out to the culprits in the tragedy.

The Telangana and Karnataka governments should provide all support to the family of deceased, he said.

A letter from Gandhi was handed over to Azam's father, Reddy added.  -- PTI
17:19   Engaged with authorities abroad to bring back Kohinoor: Centre
The government is engaged with relevant authorities abroad to explore ways to bring back the Kohinoor diamond and other Indian antiquities, Union minister V K Singh said today.

The Minister of State for External Affairs, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, said mindful of the sentiments expressed by Indians and Parliament, the Ministry of External Affairs after getting information from the Archaeological Survey of India, has time and again raised the issue of the return of Kohinoor and other antiquities, with relevant authorities abroad.

His response came to a question on whether the ministry had made efforts to bring back the priceless Indian antiquities, including the Kohinoor diamond, taken away by the country's colonial masters and invaders.

"The government is continuing to explore ways and means for obtaining a satisfactory resolution of the matter," the minister said.

To a separate question on India's foreign policy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the process of review and evaluation of foreign policy was an ongoing one.

"The government continuously assesses and refines our diplomatic approach and policies, in response to evolving global challenges and opportunities which have a bearing on India's short-term and long-term interests," she said.  --  PTI
17:07   Mob lynchings due to economic disparity: Meenakshi Lekhi
The incidents of mob lynching are a result of economic disparity, Bharatiya Janata Party member Meenakshi Lekhi said in the Lok Sabha today.

Speaking during Zero Hour, Lekhi said the Supreme Court has spoken about 'mobocracy' yesterday.

Giving instances of the killing of Bengal migrant worker Manik Roy and an adivasi youth Madhu in Kerala, Lekhi said these cases of lynchings were on account of economic issues.

"It is because of economic disparity," she said.

Last month, Roy was beaten up by a group of men in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on the suspicion that he had stolen a hen. He had later succumbed to injuries.

In February, a 30-year old tribal man Madhu was beaten by an irate mob, accusing him of theft.

The Supreme Court had yesterday asked the government to enact a new legislation to deal with incidents of mob lynchings and vigilantism.

Speaking during the Zero Hour, Nishikant Dubey (BJP) raised the issue of Missionaries of Charity and alleged that it was operating a racket of illegal conversion and adoption.

Dubey said the organisation was 'running a syndicate and converting people' into Christanity by alluring them to health and education facilities.

"There should be a CBI inquiry into the adoption racket being run by the Missionaries of Charity. Also, a new law should be brought in to deal with conversions," Dubey said.

Separetely, Dharmendra Yadav (SP) raised the issue of reservations to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs in higher education and demanded government response on the matter.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was present in the House, said no individual or institution intended to dilute the provisions relating to reservation to SCs/STs/OBCs.

Singh said a Special Leave Petition (SLP) is already pending in Court and Human Resource Development Minister will give a detailed response on the issue.  -- PTI
16:30   Women have same rights as men: SC on Sabarimala ban
The Supreme Court has backed the entry of women to Kerala's famed Sabarimala temple.

"Once you open a temple, everyone can go," said the Supreme Court on Wednesday while hearing the case of an arbitrary, temple-enforced ban on women between 10 and 50 years from entering the Sabarimala in Kerala.

A five-judge bench of the Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Rohinton Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra are hearing petitions filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association and others challenging the ban in vogue for several years.

The court said women have same rights as men and there is no concept of a private temple.

In October last year, the top court referred the issue to a Constitution bench, framing five "significant" questions. The chief is these is whether the traditional ban amounts to discrimination against women and violates their fundamental rights under the Constitution.

16:24   100 terrorists, 43 security personnel killed in J&K in 6 months
Hundred terrorists and 43 security personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the first six months of this year, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said today.
Ahir, the minister of state for home, said 16 civilians were also killed during this period, which saw 256 incidents of violence. He was replying to a written question in Rajya Sabha.
In 2017, 342 incidents of violence were reported in the state, in which 213 terrorists were gunned down. A total of 80 security personnel and 40 civilians were killed last year, Ahir said.
As many as 82 security personnel, 15 civilians and 150 terrorists were killed in the state in 2016, which witnessed 322 cases of terrorist violence, he said. -- PTI  
ED files charge sheet against pharma firm Sterling Biotech director Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit in over Rs 5,000 cr bank loan fraud case.
15:52   Formalin scare: Goa bans fish import from neighbouring states for 15 days
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has banned the import of fish from neighbouring states for 15 days after huge traces of cancer-causing formalin was found in fish consignments.

The ban will be lifted on August 1.

"In the interest of people of Goa, have issued directions to ban the import of fish in Goa for next 15 days. Fishing activity in Goa will resume in the month of August, hence plenty of fresh fish will be available to Goans," he tweeted.

The chief minister also assured the residents that there will be no issue of fish shortage in the coming days due to the ban. "A formal notification will be issued by evening. The decision has been taken as a measure of abundant caution," Parrikar told at a press conference at the State Secretariat in Panaji.
15:49   MiG 21 crash: Pilot dead
The pilot of the MiG 21 Indian aircraft that crashed in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district has died. The aircraft had taken off from Punjab's Pathankot earlier today.
15:33   Freak weather killed over a 1000 in India in May-June
Over 1,000 people lost their lives in May and June due to natural calamities like thunderstorms and floods in the country, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said today. Rijiju said in the Rajya Sabha that among the total casualty of 1,006 people, 252 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh, where 360 others were also injured due to thunderstorms, floods and lightning. Altogether 97 people were killed in Odisha due to natural calamities, 74 people each died in West Bengal and Bihar, 73 died in Andhra Pradesh, 71 each in Karnataka and Kerala, 51 died in Jharkhand, 45 in Rajasthan and 44 in Assam. As many as 635 people were also injured in the country due to natural calamities in the two months, he said in a written reply to a question. -- PTI

Image: A dust storm in May nearly obliterates India Gate.
15:30   Tharoor blames right-wing activists for attacks, death threats
Blaming right-wing activists for death threats and vandalising his office, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today demanded action against 'anti-national elements' and the intervention of the Prime Minister. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar sought to distance his party from the attack on Tharoor's office in Thiruvananthapuram, saying law and order situation has to be dealt with by the state government.

Heated exchanges ensued when Kumar said the attack was "state-sponsored" and was countered by members of Congress and the Left parties, leading Deputy Speaker Thambidurai, who was on Chair, to expunge the names of the parties they have blamed from the records. Thambidurai said the entire House was concerned over a member and his office being attacked. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Tharoor said such attacks on people, who express dissent, destroy the idea of pluralism and violate the ground rules of the Constitution of freedom of speech and expression.

Tharoor also raised the issue of the attack on Swami Agnivesh yesterday in Jharkhand and said it showed that there was no place for dissent. "We cannot and should not stand by hooliganism... the rule of law should prevail," he said. "I urge the Prime Minister to break his silence and seek action against anti-national elements," Tharoor said.

Replying to Tharoor, Kumar said the attacks were due to "state-organised terror" and the allegations that it was carried out by right-wing activists are "baseless and far from truth". -- PTI
15:03   Chinese Hit Movie Dying to Survive Injects Urgency in Drug-Price Push
China summons companies for talks to cut costs on cancer drugs, as the film about a man smuggling cheap versions of medication for patients hits a public nerve. Read the report here.
14:54   Kuldeep, Karthik, Pant included for England Tests
Delhi's young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant (pictured) got his maiden Test call-up as he was picked up as the additional keeper along with Dinesh Karthik after Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out with injury for the upcoming five-match Test series against England.

Karun Nair also got the nod ahead of Rohit Sharma, while pacer Shardul Thakur was included in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Bhuvneshwar aggravated a lower back condition in the 3rd ODI against England. His condition is being assessed by the BCCI medical team and a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon.

Jasprit Bumrah who has been included in the squad, will be available for selection from the 2nd Test onwards based on his fitness.

Squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.
14:37   LS to take up no-trust vote on Friday
Lok Sabha to take up discussion and voting on no-confidence motion on July 20, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced. The no-trust vote will be held from 11 am to 6 pm.

United Progressive Alliance Chairperson and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said that the party is confident and not worried about numbers ahead of the trust vote.

The Speaker told the Lok Sabha that no Question Hour and private member's Bill introduction will be held on Friday to make way for a day-long discussion on the no-confidence motion.

A no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was today moved in the Lok Sabha, with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan admitting the notice and saying she would announce the date for a debate on it in
"2-3 days".

The Speaker named all opposition members who had moved similar no-confidence motion notices and said TDP's Kesineni Srinivas would move his motion as his name had come up in the lottery.

The member of the TDP, which had quit the ruling NDA coalition in March protesting against the government not giving a special package to Andhra Pradesh, moved the motion during Zero Hour which was admitted by the Speaker.
Pieces of the the wreckage of the MiG 21 that crashed in Himachal.
14:05   No stopping sealing, demolition of unauthorised constructions in Delhi: SC
The Supreme Court today said there would be "no stopping of sealing or demolition" of unauthorised constructions in Delhi. The apex court's direction came after the Centre told a bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta that it had not given any instructions to authorities in Delhi to stop their sealing drive against illegal constructions.

The bench also directed that construction activity be stopped with immediate effect wherever any unauthorised construction is noticed or booked by authorities.

The apex court said adequate police protection should be given to officials when they are carrying out a sealing drive against unauthorised constructions.

Besides, the bench asked the Centre to contemplate blacklisting of builders, contractors and architects found responsible for unauthorised constructions. Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench that the Delhi Development Authority had launched a mobile application on July 9 where citizens can complain about illegal constructions and encroachments in the city.

So far, 431 complaints have been received in the mobile application and action taken on 138 such complaints, he said. The bench directed that adequate publicity be given to the mobile application so citizens of Delhi are aware of it. The top court is dealing with the issue of validity of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislations which protect unauthorised constructions from being sealed. -- PTI
13:58   IAF jet crashes in Himachal, pilot missing
An Indian Airforce MiG-21 Indian aircraft coming from Punjab's Pathankot crashes in Patta Jattiyan in Jawali subdivision of Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district. The pilot is missing. A rescue team is on the way. More details awaited.

Image: The burning wreck of the MiG 21 aircraft. Pic: ANI
13:54   Here's what happened in the LS today
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted members before the proceedings began in the Lower House. Clad in a white kurta and pyjama, Modi took a round of the front rows of ruling and Opposition benches. He greeted members with folded hands and was also seen exchanging a few words with Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Some members clapped when the prime minister walked into the House.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi were among those present in the House. Before the Question Hour commenced, four new members took oath and Mahajan read out obituaries of three former members.

Kukade Madhukarrao Yashwantrao (NCP), Gavit Rajendra Dhedya (BJP), Tokheho (NDPP) and Tabassum Begum (RLD) took oath as members. Mahajan announced that members would have Wi-Fi access inside the House through intra-net and can browse various government websites, among others.

The House condoled the death of many people in a bus accident in Uttarakhand and terror attacks in Afghanistan. Mahajan expressed sorrow over the bus accident on July 1 that killed more than 40 people and injured many. She also condoled the death of people, including 13 members from Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities, who were killed in terror attacks at Jalalabad in Afghanistan on July 1.  -- PTI
13:10   MPs can now speak in 22 Indian languages in RS
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu today announced that the Upper House now has facility for simultaneous interpretation in all 22 Indian languages after addition of five more languages. Members can now also speak in Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Santhali and Sindhi, he said on the opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Of the 22 scheduled languages, the Rajya Sabha earlier had simultaneous interpretation services for 17 languages including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

However, members will have to give a prior notice for the interpreter in the secretariat. Naidu said there may be some shortcoming in the beginning as translators may not be attuned to the speed and velocity of the speaker. He also said that members are free to follow suggestions.

Describing it as a wonderful gesture, Subramanian Swamy said efforts should be made to include Sanskrit words in the vocabulary. Naidu also mentioned that the Rajya Sabha has for the first time in 66 years signed a pact with a parliamentary institution of a foreign nation when it entered into an MoU with the Senate of Rawanda earlier this month.

The MoU provides for inter-parliamentary dialogue and parliamentary exchange visits among others, he said. Till now, only Lok Sabha used to enter into such kind of agreements with foreign parliamentary institutions.
-- PTI
Nominated Rajya Sabha MP, boxer MC Mary Kom arrived at Parliament earlier today for the monsoon session.
12:21   LS accepts Cong, NCP, TDP's no-trust motion on Andhra special status
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepts the no-trust motion raised by the Congress, TDP and NCP on the special status demand for Andhra Pradesh.

The monsoon session got off to a stormy start immediately after the oath taking by new members. Opposition MPs staged a protest in the well of the house. In presence of the Prime Minister, the members started shouting slogans of   "We want justice" - a reference to the special status demanded by Andhra Pradesh.

The notice is an extension of the TDP's demand for special financial status to Andhra Pradesh that provoked Chandrababu Naidu's party to pull out of the NDA government earlier this year.

The lawmakers of Andhra Pradesh's opposition YSR Congress held a protest outside parliament demanding special status for the state.

The no-trust motion does not endanger the BJP-led government, which has 273 members in the Lok Sabha, far over the half-way mark. And then, there are its allies. But the motion is seen as an opportunity to make a point and possibly nudge fence sitters such as the Biju Janata Dal to choose a side.
11:53   In Parliament...
Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia says in the Lok Sabha: "The govt which led farmers to commit suicide, under whose regime women are being raped every day...we move no confidence motion against you."

Samajwadi Party and Telugu Desam Party MPs protest in the well of the House in Lok Sabha over different issues (mob lynching cases and demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh). 
Monsoon Session of Parliament is underway in the Lok Sabha amidst sloganeering by members of the opposition over recent cases of mob lynching.
11:30   Jay Panda bids 'adieu' to Parliament, BJD
Baijayant Jay Panda @PandaJay says goodbye to Parliament: As Parliament's monsoon session begins, i say adieu, after 18 yrs, 3 months, 2 wks & 1 day Met Hon' Speaker y'day & said i cannot represent my former party anymore, it has strayed too far from its original principles & so, requested her to accept my resignation from Lok Sabha.
Sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra take oath as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha.
Author Rakesh Sinha takes oath as a Rajya Sabha MP
11:16   Sonal Mansingh takes oath as RS MP
Danseuse Sonal Mansingh takes oath in the Rajya Sabha. Mansingh was one among the four persons nominated by the President to the Rajya Sabha a few days ago.
11:05   Ready to discuss all issues, says PM as monsoon session of Parl begins
As the monsoon session of parliament begins, the PM said the government was willing to discuss all issues. "We hope that the Monsoon Session of Parliament functions smoothly, whatever issues any party has, it can raise on the floor of the house. Govt is ready for discussion on all issues," Modi said.

"Many important decisions in nation's interest will be taken up in the session. We hope for good suggestions and discussions from all experienced members," the PM added.

The monsoon session, which concludes on August 10, will have 18 sittings amid much-expected drama in both the houses - Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
11:05   Ready to discuss all issues, says PM as monsoon session of Parl begins
As the monsoon session of parliament begins, the PM said the government was willing to discuss all issues. "We hope that the Monsoon Session of Parliament functions smoothly, whatever issues any party has, it can raise on the floor of the house. Govt is ready for discussion on all issues," Modi said.

"Many important decisions in nation's interest will be taken up in the session. We hope for good suggestions and discussions from all experienced members," the PM added.

The monsoon session, which concludes on August 10, will have 18 sittings amid much-expected drama in both the houses - Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
11:01   Monsoon session of parliament to begin shortly
EAM Sushma Swaraj in Parliament today.

The government has listed a substantive legislative business for the session. This includes 48 items including 46 Bills and two financial matters. On priority, are The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill or the anti-instant triple talaq bill and The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, that gives Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. The National Medical Commission Bill, The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, The Consumer Protection Bill, The Dam Safety Bill and Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill are also on Centre's agenda.

Besides this, there are six bills replacing ordinances promulgated in the inter-session period are also high on government's agenda.
10:58   Monsoon Session: Parliament set for yet another battle
With the Monsoon Session of the Parliament kick-starting today, the Centre and Opposition will be looking forward to debates over a long pending list of bills and a slew of relevant issues.

The monsoon session, which concludes on August 10, will have 18 sittings amid much-expected drama in both the houses - Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

An all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night for smoothing functioning of the Monsoon session received a "positive" outcome, according to Union Minister Ananth Kumar.

However, the Opposition parties, led by Congress, will hopefully eye to target the in-power Bharatiya Janata Party over various amendments.

Prime Minister Modi said government gives huge importance to the issues raised by all political parties. He also urged the political parties to collectively strive for a constructive atmosphere in the monsoon session for national good. -- ANI

Image: Home minister Rajnath Singh arrives in Parliament. Pic: ANI
10:44   Rahul's 'pop quiz' over attack on Agnivesh
Rahul Gandhi hit out at the ruling BJP after a mob attacked social activist Swami Agnivesh yesterday. Gandhi tweeted a  "pop quiz" with a subtle message.

Agnivesh, 80, was assaulted, punched and kicked by a group allegedly from the BJP Yuva Morcha or youth workers in Jharkhand.

Gandhi posted a news report of the assault with his tweet this morning.

@RahulGandhi Pop Quiz
"I bow to the most powerful in the line.
"A person's strength & power are all that are important to me.
"I use hatred & fear to maintain the hierarchy of power.
"I seek out the weakest & crush them. I rank all living beings based on their usefulness to me.
"Who am I?"

Some 'followers' on Twitters turned around the quiz to lampoon him and the Congress.

"It's not only #Pop but also #Pappu'" Chanchal Singh (@chanchal558) replied.

But others followed in Gandhi's lead, like this one from @Mehboobp1

"I'm the same one who encourages Lynchings, rapists , looters

I'm BJP."

And more support from

Replying to @RahulGandhi
I am Narendra Modi, the weakest PM of Indian Republic. I am so week that I have to resort to:
Data Manipulation
Appropriation of History
Fake Promises to people
Subversion of democratic institutions
to win a the second term.

And @mysterious2810 tweeted:
I am BJP and I know how to divide the society aomgst religions, castes and communities while calling others tukde tilde gang. I am pioneer of tukde tukde concept."

Agnivesh, was in Pakur in Jharkhand when he was attacked by a mob as soon as he came out of his hotel, flanked by tribals.

The activist said that the mob shouted "Jai Shri Ram" as they beat him up, not relenting as he begged them to stop.

The BJP has condemned the attack and denied that the attackers were linked to the party. At the same time, a spokesperson of the party said "one shouldn't see the attack in isolation and Swami Agnivesh's 'track record' is such that the reaction doesn't come as a surprise". 
10:08   After 'Hindu Pakistan', Tharoor slams BJP with 'Taliban in Hinduism' jibe
Days after his 'Hindu Pakistan' comment against the Bharatiya Janata Party triggered a massive controversy, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has once again hit out at the ruling party, asking if it is trying to instill aspects of Taliban in Hinduism.

"They are asking me to go to Pakistan. Who has given them the right to decide that I am not a Hindu like them and I don't have the right to stay in the country? Have they started a Taliban in Hinduism? Tharoor said while addressing a party event in Thiruvananthapuram.

Tharoor also said the BJP's discourse on 'Hindu rashtra' is very dangerous. 

"It will destroy the country," he said.

Last week, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram triggered a huge controversy with his remarks that if voted to power again, the BJP will rewrite the Constitution and pave the way for creation of a "Hindu Pakistan".

The comments sparked demands from the BJP for an apology from Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the "attack on Indian democracy and Hindus" while his party voiced its disapproval and cautioned its leaders to exercise restraint in their response to what it called the saffron party's "hatred". 
10:02   Sensex scales record high, Nifty holds above 11K
Extending yesterday's rally, the benchmark BSE Sensex jumped over 200 points to record a new high of 36,747.87 in early trade today amid buying by domestic institutional investors and easing global crude oil prices.
The market rally was driven by strong buying on the oil & gas, banking, PSU and realty counters and strength in the rupee.
The 30-share BSE index spurted by 227.91 points, or 0.62 per cent, to hit new high of 36,747.87, surpassing its previous record of 36,740.07 recorded on July 13.
However, at 0950hrs, the index pared some gains and was trading 108.72 points, or 0.30 per cent, higher at 36,628.68.
The gauge had gained 196.19 points in the previous session.
The 50-share NSE Nifty also rose by 62.05 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 11,070.10.
Traders said positive cues from other Asian markets, tracking overnight gains in the US market following upbeat remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell during his congressional testimony boosted investor sentiment.
Domestic institutional investors bought shares worth a net pf Rs 840.06 crore, while foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net of Rs 673.99 crore yesterday, provisional data released by stock exchanges showed.
Major gainers include Adani Ports, HDFC Bank, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Coal India, HDFC Ltd, Asian Paint, Wipro, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Infosys, PowerGrid, L&T, RIL and TCS, rising up to 1.65 per cent.
Sectoral indices led by oil & gas, PSU, realty and banking stocks gained up to 1.12 per cent.
Other Asian markets were trading higher too. Key indices such Japan's Nikkei rose 0.90 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index 0.43 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.29 per cent in early trade.
The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.22 per cent higher yesterday. -- PTI  
09:09   Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling
United States President Donald Trump has said that he believes in the assessment of his intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in American elections in 2016 and his remarks contrary to this a day earlier in Helsinki was a case of misspeaking.
His statement came after he faced a barrage of criticism from his opponents and even from his own party for not backing the American intelligence community's assessment during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
"I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies, always have. And I have felt very strongly that while Russia's actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying and I've said this many times, I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"Could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all, and people have seen that and they've seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that, a lot of people have come out strongly on that," he said amidst a national political outrage over his remarks that the Russians did not interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.
At the Helsinki press conference, Trump had said "I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia that meddled in the US election.
Trump, however, said that he misspoke.
"It should've been obvious, I thought it would be obvious, but I would like to clarify just in case I wasn't. A key sentence in my remarks, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't'. The sentence should have been I don't see any reason why I wouldn't or why it wouldn't be Russia," he said.
"So just to repeat it, I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't', and the sentence should have been -- and I thought I would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video. The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia. Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.
"I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections," said the US President.
Trump alleged that unlike previous administrations, his administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts and will stop and repel any efforts to interfere in US elections.
"We're doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018. We have a lot of power. As you know, President (Barack) Obama has given information just prior to the last election 2016, and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious, cause oh, they thought Hillary Clinton was going to win.
08:51   2 killed as under-construction building collapses in Noida
A six-storey under-construction building collapsed in Greater Noida, killing at least two persons and trapping several others under the debris, officials said today.
At least 12 labourers were inside the building in Shah Beri village when the incident took place and all of them are feared trapped, chief fire officer Arun Kumar Singh said.
A National Disaster Relief Force officer said that two bodies have been pulled out of the rubble.
Fire and police officials are carrying out rescue operations.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed the Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate and the police to monitor relief and rescue activities along with the NDRF team.
DGP O P Singh has informed the chief minister about the rescue operation being carried out by police and NDRF personnel. -- PTI 
08:42   Govt, Oppn set for showdown as monsoon session begins today
The government and the opposition appeared set for a showdown in Parliament's monsoon session beginning today with the Congress pushing for a no-confidence motion while the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to raise Rahul Gandhi's reported statement that his party "is for Muslims" to corner it.
Worries remain if the impasse seen in the budget session will carry over to this session with both the government and the opposition engaged in acrimonious exchanges in its run-up over a host of issues including religious polarisation, lynching incidents and banking scams.
Opposition leaders yesterday wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker that trends that emerged in the last session might prove lethal to the constitutional democracy if left unchecked.
The last budget session was the least productive since the year 2000 after Parliament saw daily disruptions by parties on Cauvery issue, special status to Andhra Pradesh and Punjab National Bank scam. The ruling BJP and the opposition Congress had blamed each other for the washout.
At an all-party meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought cooperation of all political parties and asked them to ensure that it turns out to be a productive session.
The monsoon session will begin today and end on August 10. -- PTI
00:10   Pak files second counter-memorial on Jadhav's case in ICJ
Pakistan on Tuesday filed its second written reply to India's arguments in the International Court of Justice on the conviction of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism.

The ICJ on January 23 gave a timeline to both Pakistan and India for filing another round of memorials in the case.

Foreign Office Director General for India Dr Fareeha Bugti submitted the second reply today, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said.

"Director India Dr Fareha Bugti submitted the dossier, along with Waseem Shahzad, an officer of the Embassy of Pakistan in The Hague," he said.

Pakistan in its rejoinder, gave detailed answers to India's submissions to the international court, the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan also responded to Indian objections in over 400 pages reply.

Pakistan's counter-memorial was in response to pleadings filed by India in the Hague-based ICJ on April 17.

The ICJ will now fix the matter for hearing.

India had moved the ICJ in May last year after Jadhav, 48, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism.

A 10-member bench of the ICJ on May 18, 2017 had restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till adjudication of the case.

In its written pleadings, India had accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by not giving consular access to Jadhav arguing that the convention did not say that such access would not be available to an individual arrested on espionage charges.

In response, Pakistan through its counter-memorial on December 13 told the ICJ that the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 applied only to legitimate visitors and did not cover clandestine operations.

Pakistan had said that 'since India did not deny that Jadhav was travelling on a passport with an assumed Muslim name, they have no case to plead'.

Pakistan said that India did not explain how 'a serving naval commander' was travelling under an assumed name. It also stated that 'since Jadhav was on active duty, it is obvious that he was a spy sent on a special mission'.

India has been maintaining that the trial of Jadhav by a military court in Pakistan was 'farcical'.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Jadhav's sentencing had evoked a sharp reaction in India.  -- PTI