Wed, 09 October 2019
Heavy rain batters Pune; 1 dead

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23:35   Heavy rain batters Pune; 1 dead
A tree fell on a service van of civic transport service Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited, killing the driver, as heavy rains lashed the city on Wednesday evening.

The service van had been sent to the busy Tilak Road to attend to another bus which had broken down, an official said.
As the maintenance and repair staff got down, Vijay Navdhane, the van's driver, parked it under a tree in a bylane, the official said.
As the luck would have it, the tree was uprooted due to the strong winds and crashed onto the van, trapping him inside.
Navdhane was rescued but succumbed to injuries, the official said.
The spell of rain lasted for about an hour.
Water logging led to heavy traffic jams at many places.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray's scheduled election rally in the city had to be called off due to the rain. -- PTI 

Image: Police personnel check fallen electric wires due to heavy rains in Pune city. Photograph: PTI Photo
23:15   Nagpur resident files complaint against RSS's 'shastra pujan'
A Nagpur resident claimed on Wednesday that he has filed a complaint with police against shastra pujan (weapon worship) ritual conducted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Dussehra.
Shastra pujan is part of the Dussehra or Vijayadashami celebration by the Sangh -- which has its headquarters in Nagpur -- every year.
Conducting such a ritual involving real weapons, without holding arms licenses, that too when Model Code of Conduct is in force in Maharashtra for assembly elections, is an offence, said Mohnish Jivanlal Jabalpure in his complaint.
He said he sent the complaint by registered post to Kotawali Police Station here on Tuesday. However, inspector Dnyaneshwar Bhosale of the police station denied having received any such complaint so far.
Jabalpure also said that he had filed a similar complaint against the RSS with Kotwali police last year too.
But since the police took no action on the complaint, he moved the sessions court a few months ago, and the court has summoned the officer of Kotwali police station on November 5, he said. -- PTI 
23:10   Congress needs to introspect: Jyotiraditya Scindia
Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday that his party needs to do some introspection.
Speaking to media in Gwalior, Scindia was responding to a question about senior leader Salman Khurshid's statement about leadership "vacuum" in the party.
"I don't comment on others' statement, but it is true that the Congress needs introspection. The party's situation should be assessed and improved, and this is the need of the hour," he said.
Khurshid had said on Monday that the Congress was taking too long to come to terms with its defeat in general elections.
"Our biggest problem is our leader has walked away," Khurshid said, referring to Rahul Gandhi's resignation as party chief.
Scindia, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the Congress would do well in the Maharashtra assembly polls. -- PTI
22:54   Ex-cop, Sena candidate Pradeep Sharma declares assets of Rs 36.21 cr
Former 'encounter specialist' police officer Pradeep Sharma, who is contesting as Shiv Sena candidate from Nalasopara assembly seat in Maharashtra, has declared assets of Rs 36.21 crore in his and his wife's name.
Sharma, who was heading Anti Extortion Cell of Thane Police in his last posting, opted for voluntary retirement earlier this year.
In his affidavit accompanying the poll nomination, Sharma, a 1983-batch state police service officer, declared that he owns movable assets worth Rs 1.81 crore, while his wife owns movable assets of Rs 14.02 crore.
In the column for immovable assets, Sharma did not declare any assets of his own.
His wife Swikriti owns agricultural land valued Rs 6.21 crore, commercial building worth Rs 12 crore and residential building Rs 2.15 crore, adding up to Rs 20.37 crore in total.
In 2018-19, Sharma showed his income at Rs 9.83 lakh, and his wife's income at Rs 41.63 lakh.
Apart from Sharma, two other former police officers who are in the fray for October 21 polls are Shamsher Khan Pathan and Gautam Gaikwad, both of whom retired as assistant commissioners of police.
Pathan and his spouse's assets are worth Rs 5.17 crore, as per his affidavit. He is contesting from Mumbadevi constituency in Mumbai on the ticket of Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.
Gaikwad, who is contesting against Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray from Worli in south-central Mumbai on VBA ticket, has declared assets of Rs 3.21 crore. -- PTI 
22:52   Will rest after packing off BJP-Sena: Pawar
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, who will turn 79 in December, said on Wednesday that he is still young, and will not rest until he defeats the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
The veteran leader was addressing a rally in Akola's Balapur ahead of October 21 state elections.
A party leader, speaking at the rally before Pawar, mentioned that the latter is crisscrossing the state for campaigning "at this age".
Pawar said in his speech, "Somebody said I am campaigning at this age. I am the president of your party. Don't say it again. Have I become old?"
Someone in the crowd shouted, "Abhi to main jawan hoon (I am still young)".
Pawar promptly carried on, "Main bhi abhi jawan hoon (I too am still young).
"Don't worry, I will go home after sending these people (in power) home," he said. 
In the run-up to the state polls, where the NCP and its ally Congress face an uphill challenge of dislodging BJP- Shiv Sena from power, both opposition parties have seen many leaders deserting.
Pawar, 78, has virtually become the face of the NCP's campaign. -- PTI 
22:47   Twitter admits users data may have been used for advertising
Microblogging platform Twitter has admitted that users data like email addresses and phone numbers that had been provided by them for security purposes may have been "inadvertently" used for advertising purposes.
The US-based company noted that it could not say "with certainty" how many people were impacted by this, but asserted that "no personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties".
"We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes, specifically in our Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system," Twitter said in a statement. 
It added that as of September 17, it has addressed the issue that allowed this to occur and it is no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes, for advertising. 
"We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again," it added.
The company declined to comment on the impact of the development on users in India. 
Twitter, in its statement, explained that when an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, it may have matched people on Twitter to that list based on the email or phone number that the Twitter user had provided for safety and security purposes. -- PTI
21:53   Over 2,100 dead in rains, floods across India
More than 2,100 people have lost their lives and another 46 were reported missing this monsoon season in rains and floods which affected more than 25 lakh people in 22 states, Union home ministry officials said on Wednesday.
The highest 399 people died in Maharashtra, followed by 227 deaths in West Bengal in rains, floods and landslides that hit as many as 357 districts in the country.
According to the officials, 738 people were injured and nearly 20,000 animals were lost. The heavy rains and floods fully damaged 1.09 lakh houses, partially damaged 2.05 lakh houses and destroyed 14.14 lakh hectares of crops.
A total of 2,120 people died during the monsoon season, an official said.
During the four-month monsoon period, India recorded the highest rainfall since 1994, according to the India Meteorological Department.
In Maharashtra, where 22 districts were hit by floods, 399 people died, 369 were injured and 7.19 lakh people were forced to seek shelter in 305 relief camps.
The monsoon rains and floods hit 22 districts in West Bengal, where 227 people lost their lives, 37 received injuries, four were reported missing and 43,433 took shelter in 280 relief camps.
In Bihar, 166 people have lost their lives and 1.96 lakh have taken shelter in 235 relief camps following the deluge that hit 28 districts in the state.
A total of 182 people were killed, 38 were injured and seven have gone missing in Madhya Pradesh, where 32,996 people took shelter in 98 relief camps set up in 38 districts. -- PTI
21:44   Change of guard ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan to recommence from Saturday
The change of guard ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was discontinued earlier due to extreme weather conditions, will recommence from this Saturday.
The ceremony is a military tradition in which a group of presidential guards is changed. It takes place on Weekends.
As per the new timings, on Sundays the ceremony will be held from 16:30 to 17:30 between October 13 and 30 and from 16:10 to 17:10 between November 1 and March 14, 2020, according to an official statement.
The ceremony will be held from 17:10 to 18:10 between March 15 to April 30, 2020, it said.
It will also continue to take place on every Saturday from 07:40 am to 08:40 am between October 12 to November 14 and from 09:40 am to 10:40 am between November 15 to March 14, 2020, the statement said.
The change of guard ceremony is open to people. 
A request to witness it can be made online through a link on the website of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the entry is through gate number 2 or 37, it added.
The president's bodyguard, raised in 1773, is the senior most regiment of the Indian Army.
It is a regiment carrying out ceremonial duties for the president. The PBG personnel are excellent horsemen, capable tank men and paratroopers. -- PTI
21:37   Another Thackeray on stage; Tejas' presence fuels speculation
The presence of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's son Tejas at an election rally on Wednesday prompted speculation of his political moves, but was promptly dismissed by his father.
The Sena president, in his campaign speech, said Tejas, younger sibling of party leader Aaditya Thackeray, had come on the stage merely to watch the rally, held at Sangamner in Ahmednagar district.
Tejas, 24, was in the news recently after a new species of snakes, discovered in the Western Ghats, was named Boiga thackerayi (Thackerays cat snake) after him, for his contribution to the find.
"Tejas has only come to watch the rally. He is more at home in forest," Uddhav Thackeray said.
Aaditya Thackeray is contesting the October 21 sssembly election from Worli constituency in Mumbai.
In 2016, Tejas was credited with discovery of three new species of freshwater crabs, endemic to the Western Ghats.
The find involved many field trips across coastal Konkan, Satara, Kolhapur and Ahemadnagar districts. -- PTI
21:36   Monsoon starts withdrawing after delay of over a month
The Southwest Monsoon started its retreat on Wednesday, marking the longest recorded delay in its withdrawal after the four-month-long rainy season, the India Meteorological Department said.
"In view of the persistence of an anti-cyclonic circulation in the lower tropospheric level over northwest India, gradual reduction in moisture in the lower and  midtropospheric levels and reduction in rainfall, the southwest monsoon has withdrawn from some parts of Punjab, Haryana and north Rajasthan today (Wednesday), October 9, 2019 as against the normal date of September 1," the IMD said in a statement.
The most delayed withdrawal in the past years has been recorded on 1st October in 1961, followed by 30th September in 2007, the IMD added.
Monsoon made an onset over Kerala on June 8, a week after its normal arrival date, but covered the entire country 17 days ahead of schedule. 
Conditions are becoming favourable for its further withdrawal from some more parts of northwest India during next two days and from remaining parts of northwest India and adjoining central India during subsequent 2-3 days, the Indian Meteorological Department said. 
It may still take a few more days to withdraw completely from northwest India.
Skymet Weather, a private weather forecaster, said monsoon will withdraw from most parts of Northwest and Central India including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh in the third week of October. 
Even parts of east India may see monsoon withdrawal during this time, it added. -- PTI
21:34   I had just one pair of shoe and T-shirt, recalls Bumrah
Reminiscing his tumultuous childhood days, India pacer Jasprit Bumrah on Wednesday revealed that there was a time when he could only afford just one pair of shoes and T-shirt.
Much before he became the poster boy of India's pace attack, Bumrah had to endure a tough time after he lost his father at the age of five. 
The 25-year-old, who is currently out of action due to a stress fracture on his lower back, and his mother Daljit Bumrah recalled those days of struggle in a video tweeted by Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
"When he was five-year-old, I lost my husband," recalled Daljit.
The India cricketer then joined in saying: "After that we couldn't afford anything. I had one pair of shoes. I used to have one pair of T-shirt. I used to wash them every day and use it again and again.
"So, as a child you know you hear stories that sometimes these things happen that some people come and watch you and you get picked up like this. But it actually happened," he added.
Bumrah burst into the cricketing scene at the Indian Premier League in 2013 and within six years went on to become world's number one ranked ODI bowler.
"The first time when I saw him on that IPL match on TV, I couldn't stop crying. He has seen me struggle financially and physically also," Daljit recalled.
The Gujarat pacer, who is currently in London to treat his injury, said: "All these tough times make you strong because you've seen tougher days before." -- PTI  
21:26   Bihar police drop sedition charge against celebs
Closure has been ordered for the sedition case lodged in Bihar's Muzaffarpur against close to 50 renowned personalities, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam and Anurag Kashyap besides historian Ramachandra Guha, who were signatories to an open letter seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in rising incidence of mob lynching.   

Senior Superintendent of Police, Muzaffarpur, Manoj Kumar Sinha said on Wednesday that direction to the effect has been issued to the Sadar police station in the town where the FIR was lodged last week upon the complaint of a local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.
"Closure has been ordered for the sedition case. A closure report will be submitted before the court in due course", Sinha said.
Although the SSP did not elaborate further, police sources claimed that during investigations it was noted that Ojha's allegations were "mischievous" and "lacked substance".
Notably, Ojha had filed a petition before a court in July this year soon after news reports of the open letter, signatories to which also included actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sen and Revathi and light classical singer Shubha Mudgal, came out.
The CJM, Surya Kant Tiwari, allowed the petition filed under Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code in August and upon receiving intimation of the same on October 03, the police lodged an FIR under IPC sections invoked by the petitioner, including the one for sedition.
Interestingly, the petitioner had also named as "witnesses" Bollywood figures Kangana Ranaut, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri and alleged that those named as accused had brought disrepute to the country and sought to tarnish the image of the prime minister.
The development had triggered nationwide outrage, evoking criticisms from top opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi even as close to 200 celebrities  this time including historian Romila Thapar and actor Naseeruddin Shah among others came out with another open letter asking how an appeal to the prime minister could be construed as seditious. -- PTI
20:58   Bangla court orders arrest of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus
A Dhaka court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant against Nobel laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus after he failed to appear in person before it in a case of alleged labour law violation.
On July 10, the Dhaka 3rd Labour Court -- which was hearing a case of sacking of three employees of Grameen Communications, the IT wing of Grameen Bank --  ordered Yunus and two others to appear before it on October 8.
Yunus is the chairman of the Grameen Communications. 
"Though the two senior officials of the Grameen Communications appeared before the court, Yunus failed to turn up, following which the chairman of the court, Rohibul Islam, issued the arrest warrant against him," a court official said.
The court granted bail to the two company officials who appeared before it, he said. 
Three former employees of the Grameen Communications have filed criminal cases against the company management after they were sacked in June for their role in the formation of trade union at their workplace.  
The trio filed three separate cases for transferring them as part of harassment, issuing threats and subsequently sacking for forming the trade union. 
Yunus courted controversy in 2015 also when Bangladesh's revenue authorities summoned him over non-payment of over $1.51 taxes.
The 79-year-old economist has been at odds with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2007 when he made a brief foray into the country's violent and polarised politics dominated by her family and her arch-rival Khaleda Zia.
Yunus was removed in 2011 as head of the micro-lender Grameen Bank that he founded, a move widely seen as orchestrated by Hasina. -- PTI
20:38   J-K internal matter: MEA on Xi-Khan Kashmir talk
India on Wednesday reacted sharply to reports of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan discussing Kashmir, saying Beijing is "well aware" of New Delhi's position and it is not for other countries to comment on its internal affairs.
The strong Indian reaction came after the Chinese state media quoted Xi as telling Khan during the meeting that China has been "observing" the situation in Kashmir, and hoped that the "relevant parties" can solve the issue through peaceful dialogue.
"We have seen the report regarding meeting of Xi with Khan which also refers to their discussions on Kashmir. India's position has been consistent and clear that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. China is well aware of our position. It is not for other countries to comment on the internal affairs of India," ministry of external affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar asserted.
Xi, who is scheduled to hold 2nd informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, assured Khan during a meeting here that the friendship between China and Pakistan is "unbreakable and rock-solid" despite changes in the international and regional situation. -- PTI
20:26   Charges against Chinmayanand a conspiracy: Akhara Parishad
Changing its stand on Swami Chinmayanand, accused of sexual harassment by a law student, Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad on Wednesday said the former union minister is victim of a conspiracy.        
"Sexual harassment charges against Chinmayanand are a conspiracy. He has been falsely implicated in the case for extortion," Akhara Parishad president Mahant Narendra Giri Maharaj told reporters in Haridwar. 
In a statement on September 21, the Akhara Parishad, the apex body of ascetics had described the charges levelled against the former minister by a law student as "shameful" and hinted at his expulsion from the Parishad at its meeting slated to be held on Thursday.
When asked whether or not he will be expelled from the Parishad, Giri said a decision will be taken after considering all factors into account.
However, general secretary of the Parishad Mahant Harigiri Maharaj said the issue was not likely to figure at the meeting as it was sub judice. -- PTI  
19:38   All illegal migrants will be evicted before next LS polls: Shah
Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said every illegal migrant in the country will be sent home before the next parliamentary elections, as he invoked the  National Register of Citizens, Article 370 and the Rafale purchase during an assembly poll rally in Haryana's Kaithal.
"When we come again to seek your votes in 2024, I want to say before then we would have evicted every single intruder from this country," the BJP president said.
He was addressing the first of his three public meetings of the day in Haryana, where elections to the state assembly will be held on October 21.
He attacked the Congress over criticism by its leaders of the "shastra pooja" performed by defence minister Rajnath Singh on the Rafale fighter handed over to India in France on Tuesday.
"Should the shastra pujan tradition be observed or not? Should we keep this tradition alive or not?" he asked the gathering.
Referring to the row in Assam over the National Register of Citizens (NRC), he said, "For 70 years, these intruders have put a question mark on our security."
"The BJP government is committed to evicting all of them from country through the NRC," he added.
"Should these intruders be evicted or not?" Shah asked the gathering, accusing the Congress and its local candidate and senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala of opposing the NRC implementation.
"Ask the Congress people why they opposed the triple talaq (bill) scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A. Why are they opposing the NRC?" he said.
In an apparent reference to remarks by the some Congress leader, Shah said their party is upset over the weapon worship ceremony performed by Rajnath Singh when he was handed over the first Rafale fighter in France on Tuesday.
"Rajnath Singh ji performed shastra pooja in France but the Congress people felt very bad about this too," he said.
"Should the shastra pujan tradition be observed or not? Should we keep this tradition alive or not?" he said. "But the Congress is opposing this too."
18:41   Rahul not campaigning as Oppn has accepted defeat: Fadnavis
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Wednesday that opposition the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have accepted defeat ahead of the assembly polls, as seen by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's absence from campaign.
He also said the NCP is "half- empty", and will be emptied fully after the poll results are out on October 24.
"They are already in defeatist frame of mind. I read in newspapers that Rahul Gandhi is in Bangkok," Fadnavis said at a rally at Ner in Dhule district of north Maharashtra.
"He knows they are going to lose anyway, so why take the blame for defeat? He is not ready to come here," Fadnavis said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar was campaigning, but he too was aware that his party was "half-empty", Fadnavis said, referring to exit of several leaders from the NCP in the run- up to the polls.
"The remaining half would be empty after the election. Yesterday (Congress veteran) Sushilkumar Shinde said we (Congress and NCP) are tired and will merge after the polls so that we have some strength to face the BJP-Shiv Sena," he said.
The chief minister also pooh-poohed the manifesto of the opposition, saying they made "all the promises in the world" as they were going to lose and would not have to fulfill them.
"The only promise that was not made is they will build a Taj Mahal for every person in Maharashtra," he quipped.
His government came out with the biggest farm loan waiver scheme ever which benefited 50 lakh farmers, Fadnavis said, adding that it will continue till the "last of the farmers gets waiver".
His government did a better job than the previous Congress-NCP regime regarding construction of roads, providing drinking water, electricity, housing and healthcare facilities to the poor, the chief minister claimed.
"I don't claim we changed everything, but we have done a much better job than them," he said. -- PTI
18:20   No agreements to be signed during Modi-Xi summit
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Chennai from October 11-12 for the second informal summit between India and China, there will no specific agenda.

No Memorandum of Understandings, agreements or joint communiques are likely to be signed during the meeting.

Government sources have told ANI that the complexion of the informal meeting between the two leaders would mostly be similar to the first one, held in April 2018 in China.

Even if there is no specific agenda, the objective of the unstructured meeting would be to exchange views on regional and global issues, find a broad pathway on bilateral relations, and discuss ways to build better connect between the two countries.

Issues pertaining to trade, increased market access for products like soybean and non-basmati rice, as well as terrorism, sourcing, financing and origins of terror are expected to come up during the talks.

The Chinese President will arrive in New Delhi on Friday afternoon. 

Modi will take the visiting President to the world heritage site at Mahabalipuram. 

Later in the day, he will host a special dinner for Xi, while a cultural show will also be held.

This is the third meeting between Xi and Modi after the latter was elected for the second term in May, and sixth since the Wuhan informal talks.

The two leaders will hold one on one and delegation-level talks at a sea resort near Chennai. -- ANI
18:01   Shehla Rashid quits electoral politics
Six months after her entry into mainstream politics, former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Shehla Rashid on Wednesday announced her decision to quit electoral politics in Kashmir saying she can't be a party to legitimising the "suppression" of people.
Rashid, who became a prominent face of student activism following a controversy over a 2016 event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University during which alleged anti-national slogans were raised, had earlier this year joined the Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement floated by former IAS officer Shah Faisal.
In a statement, the former JNUSU vice-president said she was compelled to dissociate "with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir" due to the central government's move to hold Block Development Council elections later this month in Jammu and Kashmir, where communication restrictions are in place.
The restrictions were imposed on August 5 after the Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.
Rashid termed the Block Development Council polls as a "sham electoral exercise".
"I cannot be party to the exercise of legitimizing the brutal suppression of my people. I would, therefore, like to make clear my dissociation with the electoral mainstream in Kashmir.
"I will continue to be an activist and raise my voice against injustice on all fronts that do not require a compromise and I'll continue to put my energies behind the Supreme Court petition seeking the restoration of special status of the state, and the reversal of bifurcation of the state," she said in the statement.
Rashid said she had joined politics as she believed it was "possible to deliver both justice as well as good governance, and also work for the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
She claimed political leaders in the state are being forced to contest elections only on the issue of restoration of statehood, and asked to keep quiet about Article 370 and bifurcation of the state.
"It is clear that participation in any political activity in Kashmir requires a compromise," she claimed. -- PTI
17:57   Govt approves Rs 5.5 lakh resettlement package for displaced families
The Centre on Wednesday approved a resettlement package under which Rs 5.5 lakh will be given to each of the 5,300 displaced families which had come from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir, initially settled outside Jammu and Kashmir and later relocated to the state.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The families will get a one-time financial assistance of Rs 5.5 lakh under the existing scheme, and in turn, be able to get some sustained income, an official statement said.
The Cabinet approved the inclusion of the families from Jammu and Kashmir which were displaced in 1947 and had initially moved out of the state but later on returned and settled there in the Centre's rehabilitation package.
These families were left out of the package approved by the Cabinet on November 30, 2016 for displaced families of Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and Chhamb under the PM's Development Package 2015 for Jammu and Kashmir.
In the wake of the 1947 Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir, 31,619 families migrated from PoJK to Jammu and Kashmir. 
Of these, 26,319 families settled in Jammu and Kashmir and 5,300 families initially moved to other parts of the country.  
Further, during the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, a total of 10,065 more families were displaced from Chhamb-Niabat area.  
Of these 3,500 families were displaced during the 1965 war and 6,565 families were displaced during the 1971 war.  
The 36,384 displaced families covered under the package approved by the Cabinet in 2016 included 26,319 displaced families from PoJK settled in Jammu and Kashmir and 10,065 displaced families displaced from Chhamb-Niabat area.  -- PTI
17:42   Don't terrorise us: Rafale engine maker to RM
India should provide an attractive business environment and not "terrorise us" with its tax and customs rules, the chief executive officer of the French engine manufacturer behind the Rafale fighter jet told defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday while announcing that the company plans to invest nearly $150 million in the country.
French multinational Safran, the manufacturer of the M88 state of the art engines fitted in the Rafale jets acquired by India, gave a presentation of its facility to the minister who took a tour of the assembly line of the company near the French capital.
"Visited the Engine Manufacturing Facility of Safran at Villaroche near Paris today. Safran is known for its engine making capabilities. They have also developed the engine for Rafale," Singh said in a tweet.
"Happy to meet some of the young and bright engineers of Indian origin working at the Safran manufacturing facility. Their technical knowledge and hard work is impressive and inspiring," he said.
During the presentation, CEO of the Safran Aircraft Engines Olivier Andries revealed plans for nearly $150 million investment in the country towards training and maintenance.
However, the CEO called on India for more support on its tax structure.
"India is set to become the third largest commercial market for aviation and we are keen to create a strong maintenance and repair base in India to serve customers," Andries said.
"But we need to make sure that the Indian tax and customs system is not terorrising us," he said.
The minister responded by assuring him that India was committed to providing the "right climate" for investments under the 'Make in India' initiative.
Singh also invited Safran to participate in the DefExpo in Lucknow in February next year, an invitation that was accepted by the company which designs and develops engines for civil and military aircraft at its assembly line at Villaroche in Reau, near Paris. -- PTI
17:23   'Cong-NCP coming together' remark Shinde's personal view: Ajit
Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar on Wednesday downplayed Congress veteran Sushilkumar Shinde's statement which had reignited murmurs about the merger of the Sharad Pawar-led party with the Grand Old Party.
Shinde, who had once termed Sharad Pawar as his political guru, caused a flutter on Tuesday when he said the NCP and the Congress will come together "because now they are also tired and we are also tired".
Speaking on the sidelines of a party event in Pune, Ajit, nephew of Sharad Pawar, dubbed Shinde's remarks as his "personal opinion".
"He (Shinde) is a senior leader of Congress and he had expressed his personal opinion. I heard what he said, and according to me, he had expressed what he thinks, which is his right," said Ajit.
The former Maharashtra deputy chief minister said the Congress and the NCP had fixed their target to win more than 175 seats out of the total 288 constituencies in the October 21 Maharashtra assembly elections.
"I don't want to confuse the party workers of both the NCP and the Congress by making any statement on what he (Shinde) said or thought," he said.
Ajit said the NCP and the Congress work separately but have come together as a part of an alliance against the BJP-NDA.
Shinde's statement about the NCP and the Congress coming together assumed significance given that both the parties are struggling to withstand the BJP blitzkrieg.
Many prominent leaders of Congress and NCP crossed over to the BJP and the Shiv Sena in the run-up to elections, leaving the onerous task of reinvigorating the party rank and file to the Pawar senior. -- PTI
16:42   'Tamasha': Kharge mocks Rajnath's shastra puja
Dubbing the entire episode of Union defence minister Rajnath Singh accepting Rafale fighter aircraft in France a "tamasha" (drama), senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said that his party did not show off when they bought weapons-like the Bofors gun.

His comments came a day after the defence minister performed shastra puja (worship of weapons) on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra after receiving the first of the 36 Rafale jets in the French port city of Bordeaux. 
Following this, he emblazoned the aircraft with an 'Om' and laid flowers, coconut and lemons to ward off the evil eye.

"There is no need to do such 'tamasha' (drama). When we bought weapons-like the Bofors gun previously purchased, no one went and brought them while showing off," he told ANI.

Taking about the capability of the fighter jets, Kharge said that the Indian Air Force officers will judge whether they are good or not.

"These people go, show off, sit inside (the aircraft)," he said, referring to the sortie Rajnath took in the aircraft after performing the rituals.

The first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet bearing the tail number RB-001 was formally handed over to India on Tuesday. 

The ceremony coincided with the foundation ceremony of the IAF. -- ANI
16:10   TN CM welcomes Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping for summit
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Wednesday extended a warm welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping for their second informal summit near here on October 11 and 12.
Recalling the Chinese connection to the host town of Mamallapuram, he said it was the right choice for the rendezvous of the two leaders .
The earlier informal summit was held in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year.
The two leaders meeting in the state to discuss on "improving cordial Indo-China ties" was a 'pride' for Tamil Nadu and has raised its stature in the global arena, he said.

Palaniswami thanked the PM for selecting Mamallapuram for the meet.
"I welcome both these world leaders on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu and the state government," Palaniswami said in an official statement.
It was a historical fact that China and Tamil Nadu shared trade and cultural ties centuries ago, even as Chinese emissary Yuan Suang had visited the Pallavas, whose port city was Mamallapuram, he recalled.
"It is appropriate to have chosen Mamallapuram" for the Modi-Xi informal meet, he said.
-- PTI
15:53   Sensex snaps 6-day losing streak, jumps 646 pts
Indian markets traded in the green on Wednesday. 

Sensex reclaimed the crucial 38,000 levels after six days of lows.

The Sensex ended 645.97 points -- or 1.72 per cent up -- at 38,177.95 and the broader NSE Nifty index settled at 11,313.30, up 186.90 points - or 1.68 per cent - from its previous close

Top gainers of the day were IndusInd Bank, Bharti Infratel, Bharti Airtel and SBI

On the NSE, the Nifty50 was trading over 11,250 levels. 
15:43   US restricts visa to Chinese officials over suppression of minorities
The US has announced visa restrictions against officials of the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China for instituting a highly "repressive campaign" against ethnic and religious minorities, including the Uyghur Muslims, in the country's Xinjiang province.   

The US accused China of carrying out high-tech surveillance and draconian controls against the minorities in the country's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.    

"The Chinese government has instituted a highly 'repressive campaign' against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other members of the Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, image alongside, said.   

"The repressive campaigns include mass detentions in internment camps, pervasive, high-tech surveillance, draconian controls on expressions of cultural and religious identities and coercion of individuals to return from abroad to an often perilous fate in China,' he said.   

Pompeo said these visa restrictions would be on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in China.   

Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions, he said.   

The decision on visa restrictions came a day after the US blacklisted 28 Chinese companies from purchasing any American products for being implicated in human rights violations and other abuses in the Xinjiang region.   

Noting that the US will continue to review its authorities to respond to these abuses, Pompeo called on China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang and release all those arbitrarily detained.   

"The protection of human rights is of fundamental importance and all countries must respect their human rights obligations and commitments. The US will continue to review its authorities to respond to these abuses," Pompeo said.   

The US decision on visa and the companies of China comes even as the two nation will hold the next round of trade negotiations on October 10, as the two major trading powers are trying to end their bruising trade war.
15:33   95 and still king John B Goodenough and his quest for the next big battery breakthrough
John B Goodenough can still remember, word for word, what one of his professors told him when he arrived on the University of Chicago campus 70 years ago: I dont understand you veterans, said John A. Simpson, then a new instructor fresh off the Manhattan Project, later a pioneer in the study of cosmic rays. Dont you know that anyone who has ever done anything significant in physics had already done it by the time he was your age; and you want to begin?

Read the full piece HERE
15:23   Nobel chemistry for work on lithium-ion batteries
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John B Goodenough, M Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised our lives and are used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. Through their work, this years Chemistry Laureates have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society. 

Talking about the winners, the committee said that John B Goodenough at 97 years of age is the oldest Nobel prize winner. Last year Arthur Ashkin (at 96) was the oldest. 
14:51   Pak PM discusses bilateral relations with China's Xi Jinping
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan met Chinese President Xi Jinping here on Wednesday and discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual interests.

According to Dawn, the PMO in a statement said that Khan briefed Xi about the current situation in the country, and said that Pakistan has come out of the difficult economic situation and will never forget China's financial cooperation in this regard. 

"We will never forget China's financial cooperation in this regard," he was quoted as saying, adding that China had helped Pakistan without "any conditionality".

Imran Khan thanked China for providing Pakistan with the opportunity to come out of a very difficult economic situation and appreciated Beijing's support under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor framework.

"Pakistan and China are all-weather friends and strategic cooperative partners."

The Chinese president lauded Khan for speaking on China-Pakistan relations during UN General Assembly's session last month, Geo News reported.

Khan who is on a two-day visit to Beijing will also meet with Chairman of the National People's Congress today, besides attending the closing ceremony of Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition 2019.

Khan's visit comes just days before Xi's scheduled visit to India and Nepal on October 11-13.

-- ANI
14:22   Dearness allowance for govt employees up by 5%
The Dearness Allowance of government employees will be raised by five per cent, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said today, calling it a "Diwali gift".

The decision was approved at a cabinet meeting this morning. The Dearness Allowance will be raised to 17 per cent, said the minister.
14:00   Upset with lack of action by RBI, PMC bank customers take to Mumbai's streets
Customers of crisis-hit PMC Bank took to Mumbai's streets once again to protest against the alleged inaction by the Reserve Bank of India in the latest banking fraud to rock the country.

The protesters, armed with signs such as 'No Bail, Only Jail', accused the RBI of not taking sufficient action against the PMC Bank officials. Recounting stories of how their hard-earned money was stuck after limits were imposed on withdrawal, the customers demanded that the bank return their savings.

After registering a money laundering case against HDIL chairman Rakesh Wadhawan and his son Sarang Wadhawan in the ₹4,355 crore Punjab Maharashtra Cooperative Bank fraud case, the Enforcement Directorate on Monday searched the properties of Wadhawan's close associates.

It was found during the searches that the owners of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd gifted a number of houses to politicians in some of Maharashtra's posh locations. The ED remained tight-lipped about the identities of these politicians.
13:39   Congress to boycott J&K local body poll
Congress will boycott the local body election in Jammu and Kashmir in protest against the detention of leaders post abrogation of Article 370.

Addressing a press conference, Jammu and Kashmir Congress Chief GA Mir said the Election Commission of India should have consulted with political parties with several state leaders still under detention.

"We won't participate in the Block Development Council election. How can political parties take part when leaders are under detention? The EC should have consulted political parties before announcing block development council election," GA Mir said.

Congress leader Mir said the party would have participated if the administration had released political leaders. "This election is being held to facilitate the victory of only one party. Our party leaders are not even being provided security," Mir said.

Block Development Council polls will be held in Jammu and Kashmir on October 24. These will be the first elections to be held in the state since its special status was revoked under Article 370 on August 5.

Mainstream political leaders in the valley, including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest since the government announced dilution of provisions of Article 370 over two months ago.

The state administration said last week that political leaders under house arrest in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner after proper analysis of every individual.
13:28   VHP worker shot dead in broad daylight in Mandsaur
A Vishva Hindu Parishad worker was shot dead by unidentified men in broad daylight in Mandsaur on Wednesday.

The police are present at the incident spot and have initiated an investigation. More details in this regard are awaited.

On October 7, kin of an RJD leader named Chandan Kumar was also shot dead in the Nalanda area of Bihar.

The deceased was the brother of RJD leader Satyendra Kumar aka Bablu Yadav. 

-- ANI
13:02   INX case: Karti Chidambaram appears before ED
Karti Chidambaram, the son of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, on Wednesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the INX Media money laundering case.

Speaking to media person outside the agency's office, Karti said, "I just thought to come and say hello to them for Dussehra". 

The case pertains to an FIR registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 by P Chidambaram when he was the Union finance minister.

P Chidambaram allegedly wanted certain transactions to be made in favour of Karti by the INX Media.

ED is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering that arose out of the FIR.

P Chidambaram is in judicial custody in Tihar jail till October 21 in connection with a corruption case filed by the CBI in the INX Media case.

-- ANI
12:42   UP govt remembers farmers only in advertisements: Priyanka
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday attacked the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh over its treatment of farmers, alleging that the Yogi Adityanath dispensation remembers them only in advertisements.
Her attack on the UP government came over a media report that in  separate incidents, two farmers from Mahoba and Hamirpur allegedly committed suicide over debt issues.
"The UP government has devised new ways to harass the farmers. It cheated in the name of loan waiver. Jailed farmers in the name of electricity bill," Priyanka Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
No compensation is being given for the crops damaged due to floods and rains, the Congress general secretary in-charge UP East alleged.

The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh only remembers farmers in advertisements, she claimed.

-- PTI
12:16   CBI gets 2 more months in Asthana bribery case
The Delhi high court on Wednesday granted two more months to the CBI to complete probe in a bribery case allegedly involving the agency's then special director Rakesh Asthana. 
Justice Vibhu Bakhru made it clear that no further time will be granted to the agency to complete the investigation in the case.

The court passed the order while disposing of a plea by the CBI seeking extension of time to complete the probe in the case by six months.

Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, representing the CBI, said Letters Rogatory has been sent to the USA and UAE and the response is awaited due to which the investigation could not be completed.

He urged the court to grant three more months to complete the probe.

The plea was opposed by the counsel for the three accused -- Asthana, DSP Devender Kumar and businessman Manoj Prasad.
Asthana was booked on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

-- PTI
12:02   BJP's Sonali Phogat apologises for calling those who don't say Bharat Mata Ki Jai Pakistanis
TikTok star Sonali Phogat, who generated buzz for being fielded as a BJP candidate in the upcoming Haryana assembly polls has now apologised for her controversial remarks regarding the chanting of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogans.

Tendering an apology for calling those who don't chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' as 'Pakistanis', Sonali Phogat said that she was merely trying to make the youth understand that one should show respect for the nation by chanting the slogan.

"I am a daughter of Balsamand. When I said Bharat Mata Ki Jai during the rally here, some of the boys present did not repeat it. I asked 'did you come from Pakistan?' I apologise if anyone's feelings are hurt by my saying so," Sonali Phogat said in her apology video.

TikTok star Sonali Phogat, who regularly shares videos of her lip-syncing Bollywood songs on the video-sharing app, is busy campaigning in Adampur these days.

Sonali is pitted against Congress veteran Kuldeep Bishnoi.
11:37   Needless speculation on delay in Modi-Xi meet
Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in India on a two-visit starting tomorrow, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping meeting near Chennai tomorrow and Friday, their third meeting since PM Modi's re-election and their second informal meet since the Wuhan summit last year, the government said, formally announcing the dates today.

Government sources said there is "needless speculation" on why the Chinese President's visit wasn't announced until today." We have had a clear confirmation for weeks but we had jointly decided to announce it only a couple of days earlier," sources said.

The summit will take place in the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram near Chennai. The two leaders had their inaugural informal summit in China's Wuhan in April last year.

The idea is to build a personal connect in an informal summit apart from ties between countries, government sources said. No Memorandum of Understanding will be signed and no joint statements will be issued during the meet which will be strictly informal, sources said.

Trade, defence and border issues are expected to come up for the talks between PM Modi and Mr Xi, government sources said. India is looking at possible additional confidence-building measures for the India-China border which may be announced later when there are meetings on defence, sources said.
11:24   Greta Thunberg bookies' favourite for Nobel Peace Prize
Bookmakers seem confident that Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg is a shoo-in for the Nobel Peace Prize to be announced this week, but some experts are more cautious.

The 16-year-old has already received Amnesty International's top honour and the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes dubbed the "alternative Nobel", and online betting sites like Ladbrokes now put her as favourite to win what is perhaps the world's most prestigious prize.

In August last year, she began sitting alone in front of Sweden's parliament on Fridays with a sign reading "School Strike for the Climate". 

In a little more than a year, she has galvanised millions of young people around the world to take part in demonstrations to raise awareness for action on climate change.
10:57   Disturbed by restrictions in Kashmir: US Senator
Powerful Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who is co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, said that he is "disturbed by restrictions" on communications and movement of people in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the government to live up to democratic principles by allowing freedom of press, information and political participation.

Restrictions were imposed when New Delhi on August 5 to scrap Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and it was bifurcated it into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

"While I understand India has legitimate security concerns, I am disturbed by its restrictions on communications and movement within Jammu and Kashmir," Senator Warner tweeted.

"I hope India will live up to its democratic principles by allowing freedom of press, information, and political participation," said the top Democratic Senator from Virginia, who has joined his other Senate colleagues from the Democratic party in calling India to lift restrictions.

The statement by Warner, who is also currently a Vice Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is significant because he has been one of the best friends of India inside and outside the Senate.

For past several years, he has been Co-Chair of the influential Senate India Caucus which is the only country-specific caucus in the United States Senate. Warner has been co-author of several important India-centric legislations in the Senate.

Asserting that the removal of Article 370 was it's "internal matter", India has defended imposition of restrictions in the Kashmir Valley on the grounds that they were put to prevent Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists.
10:34   DNA becomes first Indian newspaper to go fully digital
DNA newspaper, published from Mumbai and Ahmedabad, is all set to make history.   

Fourteen years after it was launched with great fanfare as a joint venture between the Dainik Bhaskar group and Zee group, tomorrow will see its last print edition rolling out, as the newspaper transitions to a digital-only format -- the first Indian newspaper to go fully digital.   

Announcing this, the newspaper said on Wednesday that apart from its website, they will soon launch the DNA mobile app which will focus 'more on video-based original content', targeting the younger audience who it said 'prefer reading us on their mobile phones'.   

'Please do remember, only the medium is changing, not us. Instead of your doorstep, we will now keep travelling with you wherever you are,' the newspaper said.
10:14   Imran Khan government breaks record, borrows Rs 7500 bn in 1st year of tenure: Report
Pakistans ruling Imran Khan government has broken all previous records in borrowing money merely in the first year of its tenure. According to the official data, during the one-year regime of the present government Rs 7,509 billion (Pakistani currency) increase was recorded in the total debt of the country.

A report in the Pakistani media, citing sources, said the State Bank of Pakistan has sent this borrowing data to the Prime Ministers Office.

Between August 2018 and August 2019, the government has borrowed Rs 2,804 billion from foreign sources and Rs 4,705 billion from domestic sources, the report said.

According to the State Bank data, a 1.43 per cent surge was noticed in the public debt of Pakistan in merely first two months of the current fiscal year. The debt of the federal government has reached to Rs 32,240 billion that was Rs 24,732 billion in August last year.

The governments tax collection in the first quarter of the current fiscal was Rs 960 billion while the target was Rs 1 trillion, the report said.
09:54   Modi-Xi informal summit in Chennai on Oct 11-12
And it's confirmed: President of China Xi Jinping will visit Chennai from October 11-12 for the second informal summit between India and China.

PM Modi and the Chinese president had their inaugural informal summit in Wuhan, China on April 27-28, 2018. 

The Chennai Informal Summit will provide them an opportunity to continue discussions on bilateral, regional, global issues and exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership. 
09:05   'Effects of slowdown more pronounced in India'
As the global economy is witnessing "synchronised slowdown", the effect is "more pronounced" this year in some of the largest emerging market economies like India, said the new International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva.

Georgieva pointed out that the widespread deceleration means that growth in 2019-20 will fall to its "lowest rate" since the beginning of the decade. Almost 90 per cent of the world will face slower growth, she said.

"Two years ago, the global economy was in a synchronised upswing. Measured by GDP, nearly 75 per cent of the world was accelerating. The global economy is now in a synchronised slowdown. In 2019, we expect slower growth in nearly 90 per cent of the world," said Georgieva.

The IMF had cut its projection for India's economic growth by 0.3 percentage points to 7 per cent for the fiscal year 2019-20 owing to the "weaker-than-expected outlook" for the domestic demand.

08:22   There will be Sena chief minister in state in times to come: Sanjay Raut
There will be a Shiv Sena chief minister in the state in the times to come, stated Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut while addressing party's Dussehra rally in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

"There will be a Shiv Sena CM in the state in the times to come. Today, Shiv Sena looks a little calm but do not go by that. Since we are in the alliance we ought to speak carefully on some issues," said Raut while addressing the gathering at the rally. 

Addressing a mammoth gathering at the party's traditional Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, Raut stated that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will be seen sitting next to party chief Uddhav Thackeray in the next Dussehra rally.

"We are not just planning to win the assembly elections; we want to hoist our flag on the ministry. Back then nobody dared to raise voice against demonetisation but party chief Uddhav Thackeray was the only person who stated that the economy was affected due to demonetisation. It was Bal Thackeray's dream to revoke Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and that's why we came into an alliance with BJP," he added.

Raut further asserted that Shiv Sena's name would be written on the first brick that would be used in the construction of Ram Mandir.

-- ANI
07:57   India slips 10 places on competitiveness index
India has moved down 10 places to rank 68th on an annual global competitiveness index, largely due to improvements witnessed by several other economies, while Singapore has replaced the US as the world's most competitive economy.
India, which was ranked 58th in the annual Global Competitiveness Index compiled by Geneva-based World Economic Forum, is among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with Brazil (ranked even lower than India at 71st this year).

Announcing its latest index, the WEF said on Wednesday India ranks high in terms of macroeconomic stability and market size, while its financial sector is relatively deep and stable despite the high delinquency rate, which contributes to weakening the soundness of its banking system.
India is ranked also high at 15th place in terms of corporate governance, while it is ranked second globally for shareholder governance, the WEF study showed. In terms of the market size, India is ranked third, while it has got the same rank for renewable energy regulation.
Besides, India also punches above its development status when it comes to innovation, which is well ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies, the report said.

But, these positive metrics contrast with major shortcomings in some of the basic enablers of competitiveness in case of India, the WEF said, while flagging limited information, communications and technology adoption, poor health conditions and low healthy life expectancy.
The WEF said the healthy life expectancy, where India has been ranked 109th out of total the 141 countries surveyed for the index, is one of the shortest outside Africa and significantly below the South Asian average.
-- PTI