Tue, 31 December 2019
ISRO to launch Chandrayaan-3 in 2020: Minister
23:17 ISRO to launch Chandrayaan-3 in 2020: Minister
India will launch Chandrayaan-3 in 2020, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday, asserting that the mission cost will be less than Chandrayaan-2.
Singh, who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said it is wrong to term Chandrayaan-2 as a disappointment since it was India's maiden attempt to land on the lunar surface and no country could do so in its first attempt.
"Yes, the lander and rover mission will mostly likely happen in 2020. However, as I have said before, the Chandrayaan-2 mission cannot be called a failure as we have learnt a lot from it.
"There is no country in the world that has landed on its first attempt. The US took several attempts. But we will not need so many attempts," Singh said.
He added that the experience gathered from Chandrayaan-2 and available infrastructure will bring down the cost of Chandrayaan-3.
He, however, declined to specify the month of the third lunar mission launch.
Chandrayaan-2 mission was India's first attempt to land on lunar surface. The ISRO had planned the landing on the South Pole of the lunar surface.
However, the lander Vikram hard-landed.
In written response to a question in the Winter session of Parliament, Singh said, "The velocity was reduced from 1683 m/s to 146 m/s. During the second phase of the descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value."
"Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard landed within 500 m of the designated landing site." -- PTI
22:01 BJP may announce Delhi CM face next week
The Bharatiya Janata Party may announce its chief ministerial face for the Delhi assembly polls in the first week of January, party sources said on Tuesday.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party has been trying to corner the BJP over the leadership issues in its Delhi unit questioning it over its Delhi CM face.
The assembly polls for 70 seats in Delhi are expected to be soon announced by the Election Commission.
"Our top leadership has made up mind to declare a party leader as Chief Ministerial face for the Assembly elections in Delhi.
"The decision is likely to be made public in first week of January," said a senior BJP leader.
The names of senior Delhi BJP leaders including party's city unit president Manoj Tiwari, former Union minister Vijay Goel, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, among others, have been doing the rounds as possible candidates for the post of chief minister, if the party wins the assembly polls. -- PTI
21:42 Anti-CAA stir: Assam tourism loses Rs 1,000cr
The tourism sector in Assam has been severely hit by violent protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the loss is an estimated at Rs1,000 crore, a top official said on Tuesday.
The sector was badly impacted in December and will also be in January, two of the peak months for tourist inflow, Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) chairman JayantaMalla Baruah said in Guwahati.
The peak tourist season in Assam is from December to March and accounts for 48 per cent of the sector's contribution for the entire year, he said.
"Due to the violent protests during December, we suffered badly. We estimate that Rs 500 crore will be the loss to the sector for December and January each," he told a press conference in Guwahati.
The hotel industry alone suffered a loss of Rs 60crore in 15 days since December 11, when violence erupted across Assam against the CAA.
Along with domestic tourists, the flow from abroad also took a hit after a number of countries issued travel advisories due to the ongoing protests, Baruah said.
The earnings of the state from the tourism sector is Rs 2,000-2,500 crore per annum.
"Because of the impact on the peak season, we expect30 per cent fall in tourist footfall in 2019-20. We hope to slightly recover from this situation in February," he added.
There had been adverse travel advisories by developed countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and it usually takes three to four years to fully recover, he said.
"Peaceful democratic agitations do not affect much,but violence impacts very hard. This year we had expected around 65 lakh domestic and 50,000 foreign tourists to Assam.But already 80 per cent of the bookings for December and January are cancelled," the ATDC chairman said.
The state had seen an inflow of 60,27,002 domestic and41,209 foreign tourists during 2018-19, he said.
Baruah said that around 50,000 people are directly employed in the tourism sector, while another one lakh are indirectly dependent on it.
On the steps being taken by the government to recover from the losses, Baruah said ATDC has tied up with online giant Google to promote Assam Tourism on its various platforms.
"From January, we plan to hold four roadshows in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa for domestic tourists.We will contact the embassies of all the countries that issued travel advisories and urge them to lift it.
"If necessary, we will organise FAM (familiarisation) trips for them," he added. -- PTI
21:07 Mercury hits 0 in Kanpur, near-zero in Lucknow
The temperature in Kanpur hit the zero-degree mark in the early hours of Tuesday while Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow shivered at 0.7 degrees Celsius as the cold wave tightened its grip on the state, the meteorological department said.
Bahraich recorded 0.2 degrees Celsius, Jhansi 1.8 degrees Celsius, Barabanki 1.6 degrees Celsius and Furstaganj in Amethi district 1.4 degrees Celsius, it said.
Fatehpur recorded a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius, Sultanpur 2.4 degrees Celsius, Bareilly 2.5 degrees Celsius, Churk in Sonbhadra 2.6 degrees Celsius and Banda 3.0 degrees Celsius, the department said.
The meteorological department forecast that rain/thundershower is very likely at isolated places over the state.
Cold day to severe cold day condition is very likely at few places over the state, it said. -- PTI
19:51 Anti-CAA violence: 4 granted bail in Delhi
A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to four people arrested in connection with recent violent protests in the national capital against the amended Citizenship Act.
Additional District Judge Brijesh Garg granted interim bail for three weeks on medical grounds to Yusuf Ali and Moinuddin, arrested in connection with the violent protests in Seelampur in New Delhi, to enable them to get medical treatment.
The court also granted regular bail to two other accused -- Sajid and Daniyal -- arrested in connection with the violence at Zafarabad in New Delhi, subject to their furnishing a bond of Rs 35,000 each and a surety of like amount.
The other bail conditions imposed by the court on Sajid and Daniyal were to cooperate with the investigation, not influence or intimidate the witnesses and to appear before the investigating officer or SHO concerned every 15 days for the next six months.
The court had on Monday reserved its order on their bail pleas.
Ali and Moinuddin, represented by advocates were granted the relief subject to each of them furnishing a bail bond of Rs 20,000 with a surety of like amount.
They were directed by the court not to leave Delhi and mark their attendance at Seelampur police station at 2pm every Monday.
The court passed the order after the additional public prosecutor in the matter said that there was no objection to the accused being released on bail for medical treatment as it would also enable the SIT, Crime Branch, to conduct further investigation and file a detailed report.
The court asked Ali, who suffers from hypothyroidism and was getting regular fits in Mandoli Jail, to avail treatment at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Applied Science (IHBAS) immediately after his release.
Moinuddin, who had suffered a 'blast injury' to his right hand leading to loss of his thumb and several fractures, was directed by the court to get himself medically examined at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital here immediately after being released.
According to his lawyer, the injuries were allegedly due to lathi-charge on him. However, the police contended that he injured himself while hurling a petrol bomb during the protests.
In a separate matter relating to bail applications of 11 accused in the violence at Seemapuri here, the court adjourned the hearing to January 6 along with the bail plea of Nazim -- an accused in the violence at Dayalpuri in New Delhi.
During the hearing, the court was informed by the police that investigation of all cases of violence related to the protests in Delhi have been transferred to an SIT of Crime Branch and sought more time for filing a report.
The court had sent 14 people arrested in connection with violent protests at various places in north-east Delhi against the Citizenship Amendment Act to 14-day judicial custody. -- PTI
18:50 AMU VC regrets police action in varsity
Days before the Aligarh Muslim University is to reopen after its winter break, Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor on Tuesday regretted police action during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest on campus on December 15 night and sought to assure students of their safety and the right to protest peacefully.
Prof Mansoor gave the assurance to students and their parents in an open letter written to them, nearly a week before the varsity is set to reopen on January 6 after its winter break.
"I want to tell you and your families that I regret what happened (on December 15)," the VC wrote.
Referring to the decision to call in the police on the night of December 15, he said it was taken in 'good faith and a clear conscience' as it had become imperative to disperse the protesters who had become charged up over the rumour that two student protesters at Jamia Milia Islamia in New Delhi had been killed.
The vice chancellor made an impassioned appeal to students 'to consider with an open mind' the circumstances which compelled him to take the unpleasant decision of inviting the police to enter the campus.
In his open letter to students, Prof Mansoor said he would 'fully share' their concerns on any subject provided it is done 'in a peaceful and democratic manner'.
He sought to assure them that he has 'no intention whatsoever' of trying in any way 'to subvert the right of students to protest peacefully against any legislation' which they find objectionable.
'You are the future of our democracy and all citizens, especially the young, enjoy the right to share their views in the true spirit of a democratic society,' the vice-chancellor's letter said.
The VC also assured the students of their 'safety and well being when the university reopens' and sought their support in completing the academic year smoothly. -- PTI
18:36 Delhi records second-coldest December since 1901
Reeling under a prolonged cold spell, the national capital has recorded the second-coldest December since 1901, officials said on Tuesday.
Delhi's mean maximum temperature (MMT) for December stood at 18.76 degrees Celsius, the second-lowest after 17.3 degrees Celsius recorded in December 1997.
"Only four times the mean maximum temperature for December has remained equal to or less than 20 degrees Celsius -- 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997," an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The MMT for the month was 19.8 degrees Celsius in 1919 and 1929, while it was 20 degrees Celsius in 1962, the official said.
Head of IMD's regional weather forecasting centre Kuldeep Srivastava, said the city witnessed another 'cold day' on Tuesday.
With this, December has recorded 18 consecutive 'cold days' or an 18-day 'cold spell', the maximum after 17 cold days in December 1997.
After 1992, Delhi has had cold spells only in four years -- 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2014.
According to the IMD, a 'cold day' is when the maximum temperature is at least 4.5 notches below normal.
A 'severe cold day' is when the maximum temperature is at least 6.5 degrees Celsius below normal.
The prolonged cold wave and absence of adequate sunshine due to a very dense fog caused the mercury to plummet drastically, making Monday the coldest day (with a maximum of 9.4 degrees Celsius) since 1901. -- PTI
18:33 Bengal Governor Dhankar trolled for his tweet
Twitterati on Tuesday heavily trolled West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar as he took to the microblogging site to post his picture with a caption, in which he referred to a table apparently used by Lord Curzon to sign Partition papers as 'iconic'.
Several socia media users lambasted the governor, claiming that he glorified Partition in his tweet.
Two eminent authors, who had witnessed and experienced the horrors of Bengal division in 1947, said the word 'iconic' was wrongly used by Dhankhar.
The Governor on Tuesday tweeted, 'Recording of New Year Message for the people of State of West Bengal in the historical Raj Bhawan Library while sitting on the iconic table from which Lord Curzon signed first Partition of Bengal in 1905.'
Shortly after he was trolled, Dhankhar posted another message, contending that he was a 'humble servant' of people.
'The person sitting on this table is humble servant of the people mandated to uphold and protect the Constitution and serve the people of State of West Bengal,' he added.
Senior Trinamool Congress leader and state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee termed Tuesday's episode 'unfortunate'.
"We want to forget the episode of Partition of Bengal. It (Dhankhar's tweet) is unfortunate," he said.
Author Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay said the word 'iconic' should not have been used in the tweet.
"I think he misunderstood the entire thing. The word 'iconic' should not have been used. The governor has wrongly used the word," he stated.
Echoing his sentiments, litterateur Prafulla Roy said, "Partition was painful. The word wasn't used in the right context." -- PTI
17:37 Internet to be back in Kashmir govt hospitals
Internet services in all government-run hospitals and SMS to all mobile phones will be restored from December 31 midnight in the Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Kashmir official spokesman Rohit Kansal said on Tuesday.
On December 10, some short message service (SMS) were enabled on mobile phones in order to facilitate students, scholarship applicants, traders and others.
It has now been decided to fully restore the service throughout Kashmir from midnight of December 31, Kansal said. -- PTI
17:09 Snowfall likely in Kashmir Valley on New Year day
There was some respite from cold wave conditions for residents of Kashmir as the minimum temperature improved on Tuesday, even as the MET Office has forecast snowfall in the valley from Wednesday. The night temperature across the valley improved last night, providing relief to residents, an official of the Meteorological Department said. He said Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius last night -- up over three degrees from minus 6.5 degrees Celsius the previous night. The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius last night -- slightly up from the previous night's minus 7.8 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg, in north Kashmir's Baramulla district, was the coldest recorded place in the valley, he added.
The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 5.3 degrees Celsius -- nearly five degrees up from minus 10.2 degrees Celsius yesterday, he said.
The official said Qazigund -- the gateway town to the valley - in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.8 degrees Celsius -- up from minus 9.3 degrees Celsius yesterday. Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum of minus 3 degrees Celsius, the official said. He said Leh town, in the Ladakh Union territory, recorded a low of minus 15.4 degrees Celsius -- up nearly five degrees from the previous night's minus 20.1 degrees Celsius. The mercury in the nearby Drass town settled at a low of minus 22.6 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' - the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
Image: Fewer tourists, fog, and an iced-over Dal lake means shikarawallahs have rested their oars. Pic: Umar Ganie
16:57 160 terrorists killed in Kashmir in 2019: J-K DGP
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh on Tuesday said that infiltration from across the border and the number of local youth joining terror groups has gone down this year.
"As per our record, around 130 people managed to infiltrate this year, compared to last year's figure of 143. The number of youths joining terrorist organisations has gone down. At least 218 joined in 2018 and this year it was 139," Singh said at a press conference.
The top police official also said that security forces have been able to neutralise 160 terrorists in multiple operations and have also succeeded in the anti-drug drive.
"160 terrorists were killed in 80 operations and the anti-drug operations were also very successful. The number of active terrorists has gone down to 250," Singh said.
According to the DGP, there has been a 30 per cent decrease in terror-related incidents in 2019 as compared to the previous year and the civilian casualty has also come down.
Singh also pointed out that there has been an improvement in police infrastructure in the region and said that close to 10,000 youths had undergone training at their training centres. -- ANI
Image: The serene, tranquil and beautiful face of Kashmir far removed from terror and bloodshed, now synonymous with the UT. Pic: Umar Ganie
16:44 PM broke news to Gen Rawat about CDS appointment
It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who broke the news to General Bipin Rawat about his appointment as the Chief of Defence Staff.
"The Prime Minister broke the news to Gen Rawat during his farewell dinner at the Prime Minister's residence about his appointment," government sources said.
The PM had announced the creation of the post of CDS in his Independence Day speech this year.
General Rawat received a farewell dinner by the Prime Minister at his Lok Kalyan Marg residence in New Delhi which was attended by senior members of his cabinet and armed forces officers on Monday night.
His appointment was announced by the Defence Ministry around 9 pm last night after it was cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.General
Rawat becomes India's first CDS and will have his office in South Block ground floor while 3, Kamraj Marg in the Lutyens zone near Defence Ministry has been earmarked as his house. The new rank and badges for the CDS have also been created and he will don them from Wednesday. -- ANI
Image: The Chief of the Defence Staff on assumption of appointment will have his office in South Block. The CDS shall have parent Service uniform. This is the insignia on his belt buckle.
16:28 PM flags off 2020 with 2-day Karnataka visit
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to Karnataka on January 2 and 3, officials said. The Special Protection Group officials had a meeting with state government officials, especially the police regarding the security arrangements.
During his stay in Tumakuru, drones will not be allowed and anybody violating the direction will face stringent action, said a notification issued by Deputy Commissioner of the district Dr Rakesh Kumar.
Itinerary: The Prime Minister will reach Bengaluru on January 2 and fly to Tumakuru by a helicopter to visit Sri Siddaganga Math.
Modi will later take part in the Krishi Karman Awards function at the Junior College grounds where he will address a gathering and distribute fishing equipment, a government press release said.
The same evening he will return to Bengaluru to visit the Defence Research and Development Organisation. He will stay at the Raj Bhavan.
The next day, the Prime Minister will inaugurate the 107th Indian Science Congress at the Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra Campus at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bengaluru, before flying to New Delhi in the afternoon.
To oversee the arrangements, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa visited Tumakuru on Tuesday and held a meeting with officials. Speaking to reporters later, Yediyurappa said Modi will reach Siddaganga Math at 2.15 p.m where he will pay his obeisance to the seer there. He will be in the town till 5.30 p.m on January 2, he added.
"Later, he will take part in the Krishi Karman and Krishi Samman Awards function which about 1.5 lakh people are likely to attend. He is going to give awards to 28 progressive farmers from 21 states," said the Chief Minister.
The chief ministers of Manipur and Jharkhand and the Governor of Uttarakhand will also attend the event. -- PTI
15:51 Indore cleanest city for 4th time in a row
Indore was adjudged India's cleanest city for the fourth time in a row in the central government's cleanliness survey announced on Tuesday. Bhopal stood second in first quarter results (April to June), while Rajkot grabbed the second spot in second quarter results (July-September). The third position was grabbed by Surat in the first quarter and Navi Mumbai in the second quarter. PTI
15:43 FM: Rs 102 lakh cr infra projects for next 5 yrs
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday unveiled Rs 102 lakh crore of infrastructure projects that will be implemented in the next five years as part of the government's spending push in the infrastructure sector.
"In line with announcements made by PM Narendra Modi in his Independence Day 2019 speech, the Centre will make infrastructure investment worth Rs 100 lakh crore for the next five years.
"A task force was formed to identify the projects and today the task force has identified Rs 102 lakh crore worth of projects, after conducting 70 stakeholder consultations in a short period of four months.
"The National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) Coordination Mechanism will be launched, comprising the Centre, states and private sector, for detailed planning, information dissemination and monitoring implementation of the NIP framework. An annual global investors meet will be organised in the second half of 2020," she said.
15:24 Artist's Trap' to raise awareness against single-use plastic
To draw attention towards the increasing problem of single-use plastic waste in the country, a huge model made up of around 1500 plastic bottles called 'Trap' has been installed in Kochi on Tuesday.
The project visualised and designed by KK Ajith Kumar, a filmmaker with the coordination of Biju Thomas took five months to be completed and cost around Rs 1.5 lakh.
"This project has been done as part of a plastic-free campaign. It is called 'Trap'. Its tagline is 'trapper trapped'. We throw plastic bottles in the ocean and other places without caring for the environment, these plastic particles are then consumed by the aquatic animals like fishes which are then consumed by humans. So indirectly we are feeding on the plastic that we throw," Kumar told ANI.
"We collected single-use plastic bottles from rag pickers. Around 1500 bottles have been used to make this model. There are human-shaped cut-outs put inside every bottle which represents how people are trapped inside the garbage they are producing", he said. -- ANI
Image: The 'Trap' is 25 feet in height with a 6 feet diameter base. Mirrors have also been placed on the inner walls of the bottle in order to give the people an experience of how it feels to be trapped inside waste and encourage them to not use plastic.
15:18 Anti-CAA protests: Scuffle between police and Cong workers in Chennai
A scuffle broke out between police and Mahila Congress supporters at State Congress Office in Chennai while they were protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act by making rangolis.
"Recently, we have seen a threat to our democratic system and the constitution. Every day there is a problem created by the BJP and RSS. The implementation of CAA and NRC is not only a threat to the Muslim community but to everyone," Sudha, secretary of All Indian Mahila Congress told ANI.
"To show our solidarity with other people who are protesting against the Act, we organised a rangoli programme and we will continue with the protests if the leaders do not withdraw CAA and NRC," she added.
On Monday, kolams were drawn against the CAA and National Register of Citizens (NRC) outsides homes of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, DMK chief MK Stalin and party MP Kanimozhi in the city. -- ANI
15:13 Anti-CAA riots: PFI should be banned, says UP DGP
Uttar Pradesh DGP OP Singh wrote a letter to the Ministry of Home Affairs, requesting to 'impose a ban on Popular Front of India as investigations found PFI's involvement in the violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) that took place on 19 December.'
"PFI should be banned. We have written to the Home Ministry. We expect investigation on the same," he said while speaking to ANI in Lucknow.
PFI, an organisation based in Delhi, was founded on November 22, 2006.
Protests which affected the state earlier this month saw people expressing their dissent against the CAA and seeking its withdrawal.
Police personnel and protesters clashed during the agitation across the state.Pursuant to the widespread protests, the Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested three members of PFI including its state president Waseem Ahmad. -- ANI
15:10 Civilian injured in landmine blast in Poonch
A civilian was injured in a landmine blast in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, officials said. Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Rahul Yadav told PTI that the civilian stepped on the mine in the border belt of Baigyaldara resulting in the blast. He has been hospitalised.
Image: The Poonch district has seen repeated terrorist incursions
14:10 1st step towards Air India sale in a few weeks
Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said on Tuesday that his ministry will try to issue an expression of interest for Air India in the coming few weeks. Speaking at a press conference, Puri said that while his ministry is the nodal ministry for aviation, he was not in charge of disinvestment.
"Air India is a first class airline, but there are no two views that privatisation has to be done. We are not slaves of certain deadlines; we are trying to do it (disinvestment) as quickly as possible," he said.
"I had said earlier also, for us it is not an option, Air India has to be privatised. Air India over a period of time has now gathered debt which could be described as unsustainable. Air fares will always be market driven, we have no plans to regulate them," Puri said.
14:00 Sikar coldest place in Rajasthan at 1 degrees C
Rajasthan continued to reel under cold wave conditions on Tuesday even as there was a marginal increase in night temperature in the state. Sikar remained the coldest place in the state, recording a minimum temperature of 1 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. Ganganagar recorded 2.1 degrees while Jaipur and Bikaner shivered at 2.7 degrees. Pilani, Ajmer, Churu, Dabok, Kota, Barmer and Jodhpur also recorded minimum of 2.8, 3.1, 3.6, 5, 5.7, 6.2 and 7.7 degrees respectively, according to the Met department. PTI
Image: Dense fog swirls around the Attari-Wagah border. Most of northern India is reeling under near-freezing temperatures. Pic: ANI
13:37 Finance minister to hold presser at 3 pm
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a press conference at 3 pm today at the National Media Centre, New Delhi. While it is still unclear what the finance minister is going to talk about, measures related to the economic revival of the country could be on the cards, which is in fact what the rest of her pressers have been about.
Reports suggest that the FM is expected to announce measures relating to the Rs 100 lakh crore national infra pipeline, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of the $5-trillion economy by 2024. The FM is said to have set up a task force to draw up the infra pipeline.
13:26 Resolution against CAA reflects narrow political mindset: BJP
The BJP on Tuesday opposed the resolution moved against the Citizenship Amendment Act by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the state Assembly.Cornering the Kerala Chief Minister, BJP MLA O Rajagopal alleged that the resolution against the citizenship law was moved for "political gains"."The resolution shows the narrow political mindset," he said in the house.
Opposition parties including Congress, CPI, CPI (M) supported the resolution moved in the state Assembly against the CAA.
13:20 Kerala Assembly passes resolution demanding scrapping of CAA
The Kerala Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding the scrapping of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, amid raging countrywide protests against the legislation. The ruling CPI(M)-LDF and the Opposition Congress led UDF supported the resolution while BJP's lone MLA and former Union minister O Rajagopal's was the only dissenting voice in the one-day special session. The house adopted the resolution moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. PTI
12:51 Gen Mukund Naravane takes charge as India's 28th Army chief
General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday took over as the 28th Chief of Army Staff, helming the 1.3 million-strong force at a time India faces evolving security challenges such as cross-border terrorism and an assertive Chinese military along the border.
Gen Naravane, who was serving as vice chief of the Army, succeeds Gen Bipin Rawat, appointed the country's first Chief of Defence Staff, a post created to bring in operational convergence among the three services.
As Army chief, Gen Naravane's priorities are expected to be to implement long-pending reforms of the Army, contain cross-border terrorism in Kashmir and bolster the operational capabilities of the force along the northern border where China has been ramping up its military infrastructure in Tibet.
Before being appointed vice chief, the alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy headed the Army's Eastern Command that takes care of India's nearly 4,000-km border with China.
With Gen Naravane taking charge, all the three services heads, including Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria, are now from the 56th course of the National Defence Academy. In his 37 years of service, Gen Naravane served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. He also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in Jammu and Kashmir and an infantry brigade on the eastern front. Besides, he was part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and served as India's defence attache at the Indian Embassy in Myanmar for three years.
He was commissioned into the 7th battalion, the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in June 1980. The general is a decorated officer who has been awarded the 'Sena Medal' (Distinguished) for effectively commanding his battalion in Jammu and Kashmir. He is also a recipient of the 'Vishisht Seva Medal' for his services as the Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) in Nagaland and the 'Ati Vishisht Seva Medal' for commanding of a prestigious strike corps. -- PTI
Image: Army chief Gen Mukund Naravane with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat.
12:45 Modi using 'charlatans' for CAA: Yechury
Dubbing Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev as a "charlatan", CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for using a video of the spiritual guru backing the Citizenship Amendment Act to mobilise support for the contentious law.
In a tweet said, Yechury said the PM used "blatant untruths" during his recent speech at the Ram Lila Maidan on CAA and tagged a fact check of Sadhguru's video with it.
"Modi harangued at Ram Lila Maidan, with blatant untruths, and is now using charlatans to do his bidding. The whole edifice of Modi's deception around NRC-NPR-CAA is built on the support of these people who don't even know if they have read the Act.
"What Modi thinks to be a 'lucid explanation' is so full of misinformation and so wrong on facts, that a fact-check can be done by anyone," he said. Earlier, the Twitter handle of Modi's personal website also had a message saying the CAA is about giving citizenship to persecuted refugees and not about taking anyone's citizenship away. The message was posted with the hashtag "India Supports CAA". It also asked people to share content, graphics and videos from the prime minister's NaMo app to show their support for the law, which has triggered protests in different parts of the country. BJP president and Home Minister Amit Shah also posed Sadhguru's video and said "stop believing lies and half truths on CAA". He urged everyone, especially the youth, to watch the video and get a "historical perspective on why we need CAA". -- PTI
12:40 'Our nation to keep and guard
Someone in the shivered hubbub around the Shaheen Bagh picket did bring up the mention of Sharmila Irom of Manipur and how long she fought against the AFSPA before she pulled out the feeder tubes, ended the hunger strike and proceeded with her life. Sixteen years she battled.
Irom is now off stage; AFSPA remains.
The state is powerful, in time it breaks the will and bones of those that stand in its way. But the thing about protests is not always whether they have surmounted, but often just that they have been waged.Shaheen Bagh has been out trying to beat back the CAA-NRC regime 16 days. A mere 16 days, it might well be said, and on a far begotten precinct of Delhi, like a banner hoisted in a recess the rulers of the realm couldn't much care about.
Read Sankarshan Thakur's column on the anti-CAA protests
12:32 Jet Airways shares gain 5% as Hinduja Group likely to bid for the airline
Jet Airways shares on Tuesday gained five per cent to touch its highest trading permissible limit amid reports that Hinduja Group is preparing a bid to buy the grounded carrier. The scrip jumped 4.96 per cent to Rs 29.60 -- its upper circuit limit --on the BSE. On the NSE, it went up 4.87 per cent to Rs 29.05 - its highest trading permissible limit for the day. As per media reports, the UK-based group plans to submit an expression of interest by the January 15 deadline, signalling its intent to make a formal offer. -- PTI
12:31 Rajasthan: 8 people from Pakistan get Indian citizenship
Eight Pakistani people residing in Kota city of Rajasthan since the year 2000 were granted Indian citizenship by the district administration. These people had travelled from Sindh Province, Pakistan to Kota in the year 2000 and were given citizenship by Kota Collector Om Prakash Kasera on December 30, this year.
"The Home Department of the state government has issued orders to provide citizenship to them. All the eight people have been given citizenship," said Om Prakash Kasera.
"From the last 25 years, we were staying here and we did not face any kind of problem. More number of our people in Sindh expect to come here and get citizenship. We are really happy that we have got citizenship. We have always had the support of the people here," said Gurudas, after receiving the citizenship.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had initiated a campaign in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act.The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament earlier this month and became an Act with Presidential assent on December 12. -- ANI
12:12 Akhilesh flags off cycle march against CAA, NRC and NPR
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday flagged off a cycle march of party MLAs against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) from the party office in Lucknow to the state Assembly.
Akhilesh Yadav also took to Twitter and wrote, "Don't need NRC-NPR, we need employment."
On Sunday, he had said that the BJP cannot decide on anyone's citizenship and added that he will not fill the NPR form.
"The Samajwadis want to save the Constitution. On the other hand, the BJP wants to abolish the Constitution. Much of this pretence is being done to divert attention. Do young people want employment or NPR?" Yadav asked while addressing a gathering of the party's student wing leaders.
"No one from the BJP can decide whether we are citizens or not. If the need arises, I will be the first one who will not fill any form, but the question is will you support it or not. We will not fill the NPR form. What will you do? NRC and NPR are against the poor and minorities," he said.
11:59 Anti-CAA battle: Pawar reaches out to Mamata
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar writes letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, extending his support to protest against National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Pawar's letter is in reply to Mamata Banerjee's letter on December 23, which suggests that she had raised concerns over the imposition of the Citizenship Amendement Act.
Pawar replies saying he agrees with her concern and pledges to stand in solidarity with all like-minded leaders and parties to protest against the implementation of CAA and nation-wide NRC.
He added that he would be happy to associated himself with any plan to rise against the authoritarian regime of the Centre.
Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar share a cordial relationship and ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls had collaborated to put up a united fight against the Centre.
11:45 AIADMK seeks CBI probe into CM Narayanasamy's visit to Singapore
AIADMK MLA Vaiyapuri Manikandan on Monday wrote a letter to Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the recent visit of Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, Revenue Minister MOHF Shahjahan and two MLAs, R Siva and A Johnkumar, to Singapore.
In a letter to Bedi, Manikandan accused casino giants in Singapore of influencing the delegation led by the Chief Minister to open casinos in the Union Territory.
"People believe that they have received huge amounts of money as bribe from casino owners in Singapore," he alleged.
Stating that he has been opposing these immoral activities of the government, AIADMK leader said: "I have applied for getting information regarding the recent visit of Chief Minister Narayanasamy, Minister Thiru MOHF Shahjahan and two MLAs Thiru R Siva and Thiru A Johnkumar to Singapore to know whether their visit was official. If not why did they met investors to bring casinos and lottery to Puducherry.
"Citing an RTI application filed by him in this regard, the legislator said, "Puducherry Chief Secretariat is not aware of any information regarding the trip of the above members."
"In the wake of suppressing of information by the government, I seek your intervention and issue orders to probe the case by CBI to reveal the conspiracy involved in the tour undertaken by the above members," he said.
He alleged that the Chief Minister is more interested in making money rather than promoting tourism in the state. "The Chief Minister and his colleagues have been trying to fill their pockets by allowing casinos, lottery and so on which cause deterioration of civilisation, culture and even day-to-day law and order. It seems that they don't have the ambition of tourism promotion in the state but are only thinking about making money," he said.
Manikandan suggested that the government should focus on bringing in more 'entertainment shows' to Puducherry to engage tourists for a longer stay.
11:20 Govt has started on wrong foot on CDS: Cong
The Congress on Tuesday raised several questions over the appointment of Gen Bipin Rawat as the Chief of Defence Staff, saying the government has started on a "wrong foot" on the issue.
The party also asked whether the country was headed on a portentous path. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the government has started on a wrong foot on the appointment and only time will unfortunately reveal the implications.
"With great regret and fullest of responsibility may I say that the Govt has started on a very wrong foot with regard to CDS. Time alone unfortunately will reveal the implications of this decision," he said on Twitter. He also asked why the appointment of a CDS is fraught with difficulties and ambiguities. "What implications does nomenclature Principal Military Advisor to Defense Minister have in relation to the three service chiefs in terms of Military advise tendered to the government? Will the advise of the CDS override the advise of the respective Service Chiefs," he asked.
Tewari wondered if the CDS as Permanent Chairperson of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee outrank the three service Chiefs. "Would the three Chiefs report to Defense Minister through Defense Secretary or through CDS now," he asked. "What will be the position of CDS qua Defense Secretary?Would the Defense Secretary in terms of Rule 11 of Transaction of Business Rules continue to be the administrative head of the Defense Ministry ?What is the remit/mandate of the proposed Department of Military Affairs?
"Would the CDS overide the Service Chiefs with regard tri Service agencies and organisations. What are the implications of the appointment of a CDS on Civil Military Relations- the equilibrium of which has been India's singular Success since 1947? Are we down a portentous path," he questioned. -- PTI
10:43 Don't oppose for sake of opposing: Sena to BJP
A day after the BJP skipped the Uddhav Thackeray-led ministry's expansion ceremony, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday slammed its former ally for constantly hitting out at the fledgling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi alliance government "just for the sake of opposing".
The Shiv Sena said now that the state has a "full government", the opposition should show magnanimity by allowing the Thackeray-led dispensation to function. By unnecessarily targeting the Thackeray government from day one, former state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and the opposition BJP have made a "mockery of themselves" in the eyes of the people, it said in sarcastic remarks.
"Now after a month, the state has a full government of 43 ministers and Fadnavis should not try to bring a bad omen. Fadnavis and his party should not try oppose the government just for the sake of opposing," the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
Monday's expansion, which raised the strength of the state ministry to 43, came over a month after the Thackeray- led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government came to power. The chief minister expanded his Cabinet by inducting 36 ministers, including his son Aaditya Thackeray and some Gen-next leaders from political families, while NCP's Ajit Pawar made a comeback as deputy CM. "Now, the state has a full government. The opposition should show the magnanimity of allowing the government to function," the Thackeray-led party said. -- PTI
Image: Worli MLA Aaditya Thackeray took oath of office yesterday.
10:31 Delhi remains in grip of severe cold
Delhiites continued to reel under severe cold conditions on Tuesday even as the minimum temperature settled at 4.8 degrees Celsius, over two notches above than that on Monday morning.
"The minimum temperature was recorded at 4.8 degrees Celsius, two notches below normal," a MeT official said, adding, the humidity was 91 per cent. The air quality was recorded at 401 in the severe category. The maximum temperature in Delhi took a big tumble on Monday to settle at 9.4 degrees Celsius, making it the coldest December day since 1901.
It was also the coldest day in the national capital during December-February period since 1951. PTI
Image: In Assam, which is also bitingly cold, special arrangements have been made at state zoo cum botanical garden in Guwahati. Heaters have been provided for tigers and lions, and paddy straw for deer & other animals.
10:13 Kerala CM moves resolution for CAA withdrawal
Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan moves a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state assembly, demanding withdrawal of CAA. "I want to make it clear that no detention centers will come up in Kerala. Kerala has a long history of secularism, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, everyone reached our land. Christians and Muslims reached Kerala in the very beginning. Our tradition is of inclusiveness. Our assembly needs to keep the tradition alive," he said.
CPI(M) MLA James Mathew supports the resolution moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan against Citizenship Amendment Act in state Assembly.
Kerala is among nine states that have said they will not implement CAA,
10:09 Sensex drops over 100 points amid thin global trade
Equity benchmark BSE Sensex tumbled over 100 points in opening session on Tuesday tracking weak global cues as year-end holidays thinned trading across markets. The 30-share BSE index fell 108.21 points or 0.26 per cent to 41,449.79, and the broader NSE Nifty slipped 28.10 points or 0.23 per cent to 12,227.75.
Tech Mahindra was the top loser in the Sensex pack, dropping up to 1.51 per cent, followed by Hero MotoCorp, IndusInd Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra, ICICI Bank and HDFC twins. On the other hand, Axis Bank was the top gainer, rising up to 0.42 per cent.
Sun Pharma, Ultratech Cement, HUL, ITC and SBI were also trading in the green. In the previous session, the 30-share gauge ended 17.14 points, or 0.04 per cent, lower at 41,558. The Nifty, however, closed 10.05 points, or 0.08 per cent, higher at 12,255.85. -- PTI
09:53 Army chief Bipin Rawat demits office
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat demits the office of Chief of Army staff. Speaking at the farewell ceremony, Rawat said, "Today as I demit the office of Chief of Army staff, I wish to convey my gratitude to the soldiers, rank and file of Indian Army who have stood steadfast under challenging circumstances. I wish to convey my best wishes to General Manoj Naravane who will be assuming the office as the 28th Army chief, for a successful innings."
Rawat was on Monday appointed India's first Chief of Defence Staff with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country's military prowess.
His appointment to the newly created post came a day before he was due to retire following a three-year tenure as the Army Chief during which he initiated a series of reforms in the 1.3 million-strong force besides following a policy of 'hot pursuit' in dealing with cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. According to a government order, Rawat has been appointed as the CDS with effect from today.
09:41 UP govt identifies plots for Ayodhya mosque
The Uttar Pradesh government has identified possible plots for a mosque in Ayodhya, in compliance with the recent Supreme Court order greenlighting the construction of a temple at the former site of the Babri Masjid.
The state government has identified five plots in Mirzapur, Shamshuddinpur and Chandpur, all outside the "panchkosi parikrama", a 15-km periphery enclosing an area considered sacred.
The government will offer these plots to the Sunni Waqf Board once a a board of trustees is formed to deal with temple construction and other issues -- as mandated by the Supreme Court order.
09:28 Outgoing Army Chief General Bipin Rawat pays tribute at National War Memorial in Delhi.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed as the first Chief Of Defence Staff of the country, pays tribute at National War Memorial.
He will take over as first Chief of Defence Staff on January 1.
09:12 BJP returns Prashant Kishor's fire on seat sharing in Bihar
The BJP has hit back at its ally Janata Dal-Uniteds national vice-president Prashant Kishor for suggesting that Nitish Kumars party should get a larger seat share in the 2020 Bihar polls, saying those "engaged in the business of collating political data and coining slogans" were benefiting the opposition in the state.
Taking to Twitter, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi launched a veiled attack on the election strategist after he asserted that the JD-U had a greater political heft in Bihar and, as such, it should contest more seats than the saffron party in the assembly polls due next year.
"The 2020 assembly polls in the state will be fought under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Seat-sharing will be finalised by top leaders of both parties at an appropriate time.
"No problems in that. But those, who have entered politics not driven by ideology but while engaged in the business of collating political data and coining slogans, are making utterances in violation of coalition dharma and benefiting the opposition in the bargain, Modi tweeted.
The BJP and JD-U had contested equal number of seats in the general election that saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi storm to power and the BJP is reportedly of the view that the arrangement continue for the state election.
However, Kishor said the JD-U should get more candidates than its partner based on the results of earlier elections.
08:38 34 trains hit due to low visibility in Delhi
As many as 34 trains are running late due to low visibility in the Northern Railway region.
The delay in train varies from 15 hours to one hour. Long-distance trains such as Bhubaneshwar- Anand Vihar Odisha Sampark Kranti Express (12819) was delayed by 15 hours on Tuesday morning whereas Puri- Anand Vihar Neelanchal (12875) is running late by 13 hours. Lucknow- Delhi Gomti Express is running late by 5 hours while Amritsar- New Delhi Intercity is late by over an hour.
Meanwhile, flight operations are normal at the Delhi Airport.
On Monday, dense fog engulfed northern parts of the country. Delhi-NCR witnessed disruption in traffic movement as visibility dropped drastically low.
Due to bad weather, flight and railway operations were affected too on Monday. The Delhi Airport authority had urged the passengers to stay in touch with the airline concerned for updated flight information.
08:29 Prateek Kuhad makes it to Obama's favourite music list of 2019
Barack Obama shares his annual list of favourites, and after books and web shows and movies, he recently took to sharing his favourite list of music.
The former US president's list was met with much anticipation - Obama had begun publishing lists of book recommendations in 2015, while he was still in office. He served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
Sharing the list on Twitter, Obama wrote how he hopes there's a track or two there that 'does the trick.'
"From hip-hop to country to The Boss, here are my songs of the year. If youre looking for something to keep you company on a long drive or help you turn up a workout, I hope theres a track or two in here that does the trick."
Artists like Lizzo, Beyonce, Solange and Frank Ocean also made it to Obama's list, but hidden betweeen them was a single artist from India - Prateek Kuhad!
After the list came out, Prateek Kuhad reposted it on his official Facebook page, sharing what an honour it was.
"This just happened and I dont think Ill sleep tonight. Totally flipping out. I have no idea how cold/mess even reached him but thank you @barackobama, thank you universe 🙂 I didnt think 2019 couldve gotten better, but damn was I wrong. What an honour."
07:59 US congratulates Gen Bipin Rawat over his appointment as first CDS
The United States on Tuesday congratulated General Bipin Rawat on his appointment as India's first-ever Chief of Defence Staff and said the post will help in "catalysing greater" joint cooperation between the militaries of the two countries.
"Congrats to Gen Bipin Rawat @adgpi on his appointment as #India's first-ever Chief of Defense Staff. The CDS position will help catalyze greater #USIndia "joint" cooperation between our militaries as discussed at recent 2+2, including through joint exercises and info sharing," tweeted US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, retweeting US Ambassador Ken Juster's tweet.
This is the first time that this position has been created by the Indian government appointing General Rawat as the topmost defence officer of the country who will be the main point of contact for the government to deal with issues of defence forces.
General Rawat will be completing his full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff on December 31. He will now continue to serve till March 2022 as the CDS where his main role would be to create synergy in operations and finances of the three services.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff in his Independence Day speech on August 15 this year.
07:38 Hinduja brothers preparing bid for Jet Airways
The Hinduja Group is preparing a bid to buy grounded carrier Jet Airways India Ltd, according to people familiar with the matter.
The UK-based group, run by brothers Gopichand Hinduja and Ashok Hinduja, plans to submit an expression of interest by the January 15 deadline, signaling its intent to make a formal offer, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private. Hinduja is seeking a partner to bid, one of the people said.
Creditors are seeking fresh bids for Jet Airways after earlier getting interest from only a single company, Synergy Group Corp. The Mumbai-based airline, which was once the countrys largest by market value, fell victim to a cut-throat price war initiated by a slew of budget carriers and eventually defaulted to banks, staff and lessors.
Hinduja Group had earlier this year considered bidding for Jet Airways in partnership with Etihad, but Etihad jettisoned the proposal and Jet Airways was tipped into bankruptcy. Gopichand Hinduja told the Mint newspaper this month that the group was open to buying Jet Airways if indemnified from the airlines legal liabilities.
While preparing a bid, the Hinduja Group will grapple with the complexities that have sapped Jets value, including lapsed landing rights at Heathrow airport, and the validity of the carriers now defunct flying slots.
00:13 Anti-CAA stir: Delhi Police to assess damage
The Delhi Police has written to the high court requesting it to appoint a claims commissioner to draw an estimate of the damage to properties during the anti-CAA protests and 'investigate liability', sources said on Monday.
In a letter to the Registrar General of the Delhi high court, the police said the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests resulted in losses to government exchequer.
'During these anti-CAA/NRC protests, there has been massive and extensive damage of public and private property including public transportation, causing huge losses to government exchequer,' the letter stated.
The Delhi Police has registered 10 criminal cases against those involved in rioting and arson.
A senior official said a Special Investigation Team has already been set up to probe the cases.
The Delhi Police sought the appointment of claims commissioner to 'estimate the damages and investigate liability as per a 2009 Supreme Court order that deals with damage to public and private property and recovery from perpetrators'.
'It is requested that necessary orders may kindly be issued for appointment of a Claims Commissioner to estimate the damages and investigate the liability in the interest of justice,' the letter said.
Earlier this month, the national capital witnessed large scale violence and arson against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. -- PTI