Wed, 23 October 2019
Suppressing criticism bad for government: Rajan
23:55 Suppressing criticism bad for government: Rajan
The government in India would benefit from the advice of experts and therefore suppressing all criticism is ultimately bad for the government, Raghuram Rajan said on Wednesday.
Addressing an India Town Hall event at King's College London, the former Reserve Bank of India Governor was asked about the course ahead for the Indian economy amid the economic slowdown and growing unemployment.
"One of the problems, and I have said this very strongly, suppressing criticism means you don't hear feedback. And, if you don't hear the feedback, you can't course correct at the appropriate point of time," said Rajan.
"So, calling all the critics and saying please don't criticise the government, I think is bad for the government itself. It may feel good for everyone to praise you and say that you are the second coming of Christ, but that's not going to generate the kind of awareness you need within government itself," he said.
Rajan made reference to his own term at the helm of the Indian central bank as an example when he faced the "brunt" of private sector criticism, much of which he said proved "useful" for course correction.
"I would hope the government listens and sees what it needs to do. There are plenty of economists and wise people in India who can give advice. But it is important that the government take that advice and deliberate and act on it," he said, adding that it was also important for the strength of India's democracy to show up in the form of people speaking up against policies that don't work and in turn "energise" the government to change path.
Rajan reflected on his worry for the slowdown in the economy, which he said he hoped was cyclical but feared it may be more than that.
23:12 EU lawmaker backs 3-month Brexit extension
The European Parliament's chief Brexit official says that a three-month flexible extension of the deadline beyond October 31 is the only option.
Guy Verhofstadt, a member of European Parliament, said after a meeting of EU expert legislators that MEPs would need the necessary time to check the details of the EU-UK withdrawal agreement that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached with EU leaders last week.
Verhofstadt tweeted: "A flex tension, not going beyond 31st Jan, is the only way forward."
22:55 Small number of US troops to remain in Syria oil area: Trump
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that a "small number" of US troops will remain at Syria's oil fields despite a broader American withdrawal from the country.
"We have secured the oil and, therefore, a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil," he said.
22:32 Gambhir taunts AAP over illegal colonies
Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir took a swipe at the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi soon after the Centre decided to give ownership rights to over 1,700 unauthorised colonies in Delhi on Wednesday.
"They promise, we deliver! 40 lakh people living in around 1,700 unauthorised colonies to get ownership rights thanks to @narendramodi ji led Central Government! This Diwali will be special for Delhi!", Gambhir tweeted.
Gautam Gambhir was the first to cash in on the issue which had been a poll plank for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government for a long time. Today's move by the Centre comes months before Delhi votes for a new assembly. The AAP has often accused the BJP of blocking most of its plans.
The government announced today that around 40 lakh people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi will be given ownership rights. Around 1,797 colonies have been marked for the big move, ministers said after a cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the announcement, Kejriwal said that his government has invested a lot of work and funds in the colonies. He also said the union cabinet prepared the roadmap for the colonies "based on our proposal" earlier this year.
Kejriwal's AAP and the BJP -- which was decimated by AAP in the 2015 Delhi election -- have been trading blame for the delay in regularizing the colonies.
22:23 Cong to hold nationwide protests over 'anti-people' policies of govt
The Congress will hold nationwide protests from November 5 to 15 against the Modi government's alleged "anti-people" economic policies to highlight slowdown, unemployment and "collapse of the banking system", the party said on Wednesday.
The agitations will be carried out at the district level and in the state capitals. The protest will culminate in a massive programme in the national capital, a statement issued by Congress general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said.
The protests will highlight the issues of record 45-year high unemployment at 8.1 per cent, unprecedented economic slowdown, rise in prices of essential commodities, collapse of the banking system, omnipresent farm distress, among others, he said.
"The party and its volunteers will also raise the voice of the people and try to make this insensitive government accountable for the massive miseries and sufferings that it is causing," Venugopal said.
The decision regarding the protests was taken at the meeting headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi with senior leaders, party office bearers and in-charges, Congress chief ministers, PCC presidents and CLP leaders in September.
However, the earlier schedule of the programme slated between October 15 to 25 had to be postponed because of the just concluded assembly elections, Venugopal said.
The party appeals to the people across the country to come forward and make the "arrogant government" listen to their voice, he said.
21:46 D K Shivakumar released from Tihar Jail
Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar was released from Tihar Jail on Wednesday evening following the Delhi high court order granting him bail, said a jail official.
He is accused in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.
After the court order was received in the evening, he was released following a medical check-up and other formalities at 9.15 pm, the official added.
The judge, who granted him bail, also said that Shivakumar, 57, cannot tamper with the evidence as the documents are with the investigating agencies. The ED had challenged his bail plea.
Shivakumar was arrested by the ED on September 3 in the money laundering case. He was lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody and had challenged the trial court's order denying him bail in the case.
Shivakumar, a seven-time MLA in Karnataka, was booked along with Haumanthaiah -- an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi -- and others for alleged offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The case was based on a chargesheet filed by the Income Tax Department against them last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and 'hawala' transactions worth crores or rupees.
The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his alleged associate S K Sharma of indulging in transactions involving huge amounts of unaccounted money on a regular basis through 'hawala' channels with the help of three other accused.
21:37 Amit Shah congratulates Modi for taking steps to revive BSNL, MTNL
Union Home Minister Amit Shah congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking steps to revive Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited.
"I congratulate PM @narendramodi Ji for taking unprecedented steps to revive BSNL & MTNL, also to make them more competitive. Funding of over Rs 20,000 crore through capital infusion will be made and Sovereign guarantee for long term bonds of Rs 15,000 crore will also be provided," tweeted Amit Shah.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the merger of MTNL with BSNL.
Briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that a revival plan for BSNL and MTNL has been approved.
"We are going to merge MTNL with BSNL. Since MTNL is a listed company with shares the merger will take time. Till then MTNL will act as a subsidiary of BSNL," he said.
21:14 Merkel on 3-day visit to India from October 31
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay a three-day visit to India beginning October 31 with an aim to further broadbase strategic ties in an array of key areas including defence and security.
Official sources said Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in their wide-ranging talks, will particularly focus on giving a new momentum to the bilateral ties by significantly scaling up cooperation in several sectors.
During her visit from October 31 to November 2, Merkel will also meet top executives of major Indian companies which are active in Germany.
The two sides are likely to explore ways to further ramping up ties in areas of defence, security, renewable energy, high technology, skill development, railways, education, water and waste management and urban development, sources said.
Modi and Merkel are also expected to deliberate on key regional and global issues including the situation in Afghanistan, West Asia and Korean peninsula.
In June, Modi and Merkel met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japanese city of Osaka and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in areas like artificial intelligence and cyber security.
India and Germany have been strategic partners since 2001. Both the countries have a mechanism of intergovernmental consultations at the level of head of governments which allows for a comprehensive review of cooperation and identification of fresh areas of engagement.
20:58 Mohun Bagan confers life membership to Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee
The Mohun Bagan Athletic Club on Wednesday conferred life membership to Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee.
Banerjee has expressed his desire to watch a football match of Mohun Bagan from the stands in January, 2020 during his next visit to Kolkata, a statement by the over 100-year-old club said.
Srinjoy Bose, honorary club assistant general secretary, and other club officials met the economist at his paternal residence and conferred him with the life membership of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club.
"Besides, the club handed him the First Day Cover of 1911 and the maroon green jersey with his name written on it.
He was also given a book on the history of our club," the statement said.
In 1911, Mohun Bagan became the first Indian club to win the Indian Football Association Shield beating the East Yorkshire Regiment of the British Army in the final.
Banerjee extended his gratitude to the club for the honours.
The Nobel laureate arrived here on Tuesday evening. He is slated to leave the city early on Thursday.
20:28 BJP makes 'victory' preparations before counting
The Maharashtra unit of BJP has made 'victory' preparations at its headquarter in Mumbai for October 24 when counting of votes for the assembly elections will be taken up.
BJP officials have given order for 5000 'laddus' and for putting up a huge screen to see the live coverage of counting.
Orders for garlands are also placed, a party official said on Wednesday.
BJP workers have been asked to reach the party headquarter located near Mantralaya or the state secretariat, in south Mumbai after 10 am on Thursday when the poll trends are expected to emerge.
Voting for the total 288 seats was held on October 21, which saw a voter turnout of 61.13%.
The BJP contested the elections in alliance with the Shiv Sena and other smaller parties.
Most of the exit polls have predicted a clear majority for the BJP-led alliance comprising the Sena and other parties in the 288-member assembly.
"We know that we are returning to power for second time. Only curiosity is about numbers," the official said.
20:01 BJP MLA demands removal of lesson on Tipu Sultan
Madikeri BJP MLA Appachu Ranjan on Wednesday demanded that the lesson on Tipu Sultan, the controversial 18th century ruler of erstwhile Mysore kingdom, be removed from textbooks as it carries wrong information.
"The lesson on Tipu Sultan contains wrong information. It should be removed. I have written to Education Minister SSuresh Kumar that he (Tipu Sultan) is not a freedom fighter," Ranjan said.
He said Tipu Sultan had a "history of plundering and expanding his kingdom" and run his administration in Persian language.
"Hence, he is not a freedom fighter," he added.
"I came to Bengaluru to personally hand over the letter to the minister, but he is in Belagavi.
Once he comes here, I will give it to him with documents and other proof, substantiating my claim," the MLA said.
Ranjan alleged that Tipu Sultan had converted more than 20,000 Christians and 10,000 Kodagu residents.
19:31 Air quality in Delhi deteriorates; authorities say will not be as bad as last year's Diwali
Air quality of the national capital deteriorated on Wednesday and was recorded in the 'poor' category.
Authorities, however, said the condition during this Diwali is "likely not to be as bad as last year".
The air quality index on Wednesday was recorded at 244 against Tuesday's 206, according to the data available with the Central Pollution Control Board.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', and 401 and 500 'severe'.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research Institute said that the high wind speed will positively influence Delhi's air quality.
"A slight decrease in the stubble burning activity in Haryana and Punjab has been noticed over the last 24 hours," it also said.
"The surface, as well as boundary layer winds, are forecast to change direction to easterly by tomorrow afternoon. This will decrease the biomass pollutant share in the Delhi region which is relatively very low so far," the SAFAR said.
It said that no drastic deterioration in air quality is expected for the next two days.
"Looking at present forecast of weather parameters in SAFAR model simulations, air quality during Diwali period is likely to be not as bad as last year which is being followed closely and clear forecast will be issued on October 25. AQI is forecast to be in the same lower end of the poor category," it said.
The authorities said that high deterioration in AQI of Delhi is only expected by the first week of November.
Subhash Chopra appointed as the new chief of Delhi Congress. Kirti Azad will be the campaign committee chairman of the unit.
19:07 Govt to merge BSNL, MTNL; unveils Rs 68,751-cr revival package
The government on Wednesday approved a Rs 68,751-crore revival package for loss-making BSNL and MTNL, including 4G spectrum allocation and voluntary retirement scheme, as well as their merger.
The Union Cabinet also approved merger of the state-owned telecom firms and till the completion of the process, MTNL will operate as a subsidiary of BSNL, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here while sharing details of the revival package.
The package includes raising of Rs 15,000 crore sovereign bonds to meet the immediate capital requirement of both the companies, 4G spectrum allocation worth Rs 20,140 crore, Rs 29,937 crore for VRS covering 50 per cent of their employees, and Rs 3,674 crore for goods and services tax that will be levied on allocation of radiowaves.
"In case of BSNL and MTNL, the government's view is clear. These are strategic assets of India. The entire army network is maintained by BSNL.
"The VRS package approved by the Cabinet will give eligible employees 125 per cent of income that they would have earned by serving the company till the age of 60 years. With this decision, we have taken care of the interest of lakhs of employees of these PSUs," Prasad said.
BSNL has around 1.68 lakh employees and MTNL around 22,000.
"The VRS is voluntary; nobody can be forced to opt for it," Prasad said.
The total debt on both the companies stood at Rs 40,000 crore, of which half of the liability is on MTNL alone which operates in Delhi and Mumbai.
Both the companies have been demanding spectrum to start 4G services to remain competitive in the market.
18:49 UP CM sanctions Rs 15L to Kamlesh Tiwari's wife
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday sanctioned an immediate financial help of Rs 15 lakh to the wife of Kamlesh Tiwari, a Hindu outfit leader who was killed last week.
A senior state government official said the chief minister also sanctioned a house for the Tiwari's kin in tehsil Mehmoodabad in Sitapur district.
Adityanath directed officials that those arrested should be tried in a fast track court and strict action should be taken against those involved in the conspiracy.
Two suspects, Ashfaq Sheikh and Moinuddin, were arrested by the Gujarat ATS on Tuesday evening for allegedly killing Tiwari.
Tiwari, 45, was found dead in a pool of blood at his residence in Naka Hindola area of Lucknow last Friday.
18:20 CBI books Harish Rawat in horse trading case
The CBI has filed an FIR against former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat and his then cabinet colleague Harak Singh Rawat, who is now a member of the state's BJP-led government, for alleged attempts of horse trading in 2016, which was caught on tape by an editor of a news channel, officials said on Wednesday.
The agency had conducted an preliminary enquiry into the alleged horse trading attempt on March 23, 2016 when the state was under President's rule.
It sent the tape to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Gandhinagar in Gujarat for analysis which opined that the recording was "genuine" and there was no evidence of any "addition/deletion/insertion/tampering/morphing" in the video files.
The video purportedly showed the Congress leader discussing money to win back the support of disgruntled MLAs who had crossed over to the BJP so that he could get back to power.
Recently, the Uttarakhand high court gave its nod to the CBI to go ahead with its investigation in the case and lodge an FIR against Rawat after the agency submitted a report in a sealed cover on the preliminary inquiry.
17:54 Priyanka Gandhi 'Twitter waali neta': UP Dy CM
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Wednesday slammed Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra by calling her a 'Twitter wali neta' (Twitter politician).
He was reacting to Priyanka Gandhi's recent remark that the state topped crime against women. "She is a Twitter wali neta. Recently, she made her brother lose the Amethi Lok Sabha seat. What she says does not matter. What matters is that we are taking steps to strengthen law and order in the state," Maurya said.
"The opposition does not have any issue. The reality is that there is fear amongst criminals. I would not comment on the numbers. We are acting strictly on crime and taking all steps to control these incidents," he added.
On Tuesday, Priyanka had slammed the Uttar Pradesh government over the rise in the crime against women in the state.
Priyanka had said, "Uttar Pradesh is number 1 in crime against women. It is very shameful. The state government should do something about it."
The Congress leader was referring to a 2017 report released by the National Crime Records Bureau on October 21 that stated that the maximum number of crimes against women was registered in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the report, over 3.5 lakh cases were registered against women, of which the maximum cases were registered in Uttar Pradesh (56,011), which is also the country's most populated state.
17:25 Centre approves proposal to grant ownership rights to people in unauthorised colonies in Delhi
In a move that will benefit 40 lakh people, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to grant ownership rights to people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
The proposal is based on the recommendations of a committee, he said.
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the Centre would also bring a bill in the Winter Session of Parliament to give relief to the residents of the unauthorised colonies in the national capital.
The move comes ahead of the assembly polls in the national capital, scheduled for early next year.
The decision "is applicable to 1,797 identified unauthorised colonies" spread over 175 square km inhabited by people from lower income groups, he said.
It does not apply to 69 affluent colonies identified by the Delhi Development Authority including Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave and Anantram Dairy, Puri added.
In July, the Delhi government proposed a set of parameters to regularise the 1,797 colonies, which include charging one per cent cost of circle rate of land for up to 200 square metre plot from occupants besides a nominal penalty.
17:16 Sonia to hold NRC meeting on Oct 25
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will deliberate upon the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC) with senior party leaders on October 25, said party sources on Wednesday.
Congress party has been at loggerheads with the Centre over the implementation of NRC from the day one. The party has accused the BJP led Central government of politicising the issue.
The move comes after the RSS recently demanded that the National Register of Citizens exercise should be implemented all across India to weed out illegal immigrants from the country.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said the Centre will bring the NRC after the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed in Parliament.The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, aims at granting citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, who came to India before December 31, 2014. -- PTI
16:29 Nitish Kumar demands full statehood for Delhi
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday batted for full statehood for Delhi as his party Janata Dal (United) geared up for the state assembly polls due early next year in the national capital.
Addressing workers of his party, which is the BJP-led NDA ally, JD (U) president Kumar also reiterated his demand for a special status for Bihar, even though the Modi government has already rejected it.
"Just like we want special status for Bihar, we have always wanted statehood for Delhi," Kumar said. Though the JD(U) is a BJP ally, its alliance with the saffron party has remained confined to Bihar and it has been fighting polls outside the state on its own. The party is eyeing migrant voters from poorvanchal and Bihar to make an impact in the city where the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, BJP and the Congress are key contenders. PTI
16:19 B'desh PM has given consent, don't see how team won't: Ganguly
Newly-elected BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday expressed optimism that Bangladesh's tour of India will go ahead as planned as their Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has "given her consent".
The upcoming tour was on Monday thrown into jeopardy after their national team players refused to participate in any cricketing activity until their demands, including a hike in salary, are met.
However, Ganguly has maintained that Bangladesh will turn up for the tour starting November 3. "It's their internal matter. (But) the Bangladesh PM has said she will turn up for the Test in Kolkata. If she has given her consent, I don't see how the national team won't," Ganguly told reporters after taking charge of BCCI. The boycott plan was announced by the country's top players such as Test and T20 captain Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim at a press conference in Dhaka. Nearly 50 players are part of the protest.
According to a report in 'ESPNCricinfo', the players are likely to meet with Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) officials later on Wednesday. "After the media conference last evening, I spoke to a senior player who told me that they would get back to us at any time after discussing among themselves. We expect to sit with them at 5pm today," BCB CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said in a press briefing at noon. -- PTI
15:46 Indian scribe takes on US lawmaker on Pak terror
An Indian journalist, who testified before a US committee discussing human rights situation in Kashmir, said Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has been completely overlooked by the world press for the past 30 years, evoking a sharp reaction from a US Congresswoman who questioned her objectivity while reporting.
Following the criticism by American lawmaker Ilhan Omar, Aarti Tikoo Singh, who flew in to the US at the Congressional invitation to testify, accused her of being "unfair" and also alleged the Congress hearing was "prejudiced, biased, a setup against India and in favour of Pakistan".
"Throughout these 30 years of conflict, Islamic jihad and terror in Kashmir perpetrated by Pakistan has been completely ignored and overlooked by the world press. There is no human rights activists and no press in the world which feels that it is their moral obligation to talk or write about the victims of Pakistani terror in Kashmir,' Singh said.
While attacking the journalist, Omar had also said that press is at its worth worst when it is a mouthpiece for a government. "That is very unfair," Singh told Congressman Brad Sharman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia. Omar, one of the two Muslims members in the US House of Representatives, accused Singh of representing the official side of the story and cast aspirations on her journalistic credentials and did not let her speak.
In a tutorial of sorts to the Times of India journalist, Omar said that a reporter's job is to find the objective truth about what's happening and report it to the public. "You have an enormous audience at The Times Of India and you have an enormous responsibility to get it right. I'm aware of how the narrative shaped by reporting can distort the truth. I'm also very aware of how it can be limited to sharing only the official side of the story.
The press is at its worth worst when it is a mouthpiece for the government," Omar said.
"You also make the incredible dubious claim that the Indian government's crackdown in Kashmir is good for human rights. If it was good for human rights Ms Singh, it wouldn't be happening in secret,' Omar alleged. "The number of Kashmiri Muslims who have been killed in Kashmir is immense and they have been victimised by Pakistani terrorist state," Singh said. -- PTI
Image: Times of India journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh
15:26 BSE seeks explanation from Infosys on non-disclosure of whistleblower complaint
Leading exchange BSE on Wednesday asked Infosys to explain why it did not make a disclosure about a whistleblower complaint which alleged that the company's top executives were following "unethical practices" to shore up profits through irregular accounting ways.
On Tuesday, Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani said the whistleblower complaint dated September 20 had been placed before the audit committee on October 10. There was an undated complaint which has also been placed before the committee. One of its board members had received the complaints on September 30, according to Nilekani's statement submitted to the stock exchanges on Tuesday. Nilekani had said that both the complaints were placed before the company's non-executive board members on October 11, also the day when Infosys announced its second quarter results. -- PTI
15:09 Cong leader DK Shivakumar gets bail
The Delhi High Court Wednesday granted bail to Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar in a money laundering case filed the Enforcement Directorate. Justice Suresh Kait granted relief to the Congress leader saying that Shivakumar is not a flight risk. The judge also said that Shivakumar cannot tamper with evidence as documents are with investigating agencies and there is no material to show he has influenced witnesses.
The court directed that he be released on bail on furnishing a bond of Rs 25 lakh and two sureties of like amount.
Shivakumar, 57, was arrested by the ED on September 3 in the money laundering case. He is lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody and had challenged the trial court's order denying him bail in the case. -- PTI
15:08 IMF sees Indian economic growth rebounding to 7% next fiscal
The International Monetary Fund sees Indian economic growth rebounding to around 7 per cent in the next financial year, supported by measures like monetary policy stimulus and corporate income tax cuts.
"We see the Indian economy rebounding from our projected 6.1 per cent growth this fiscal year to something like 7 per cent in the next fiscal year (2020). We see the factors that will support growth, including monetary policy stimulus, working their way through the pipeline,' Jonathan Ostry, Deputy Director, Asia Pacific Department at the IMF, told reporters. The recent tax cuts, government's progress in addressing lingering weaknesses in the financial sector and measures to support growth sectors as seen as factors underpinning growth in the near term, Ostry said.
Talking about the slowdown in Indian economy in recent quarters, he said: "indeed (it) took many of us by surprise, including the IMF. "There wasn't a single cause for the slowdown' there were many different causes at work including corporate and regulatory environmental uncertainties, the stresses in the non-bank financial sector, (and) stresses in the rural sector, among others," he said. -- PTI
14:52 Champs don't finish quickly: Ganguly on Dhoni
Update on Sourav Ganguly's first press conference as BCCI President.
Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday promised a corruption-free tenure, saying he will run the world's richest cricket body the same way he led the Indian team. "No compromise on credibility, corruption-free and same for all BCCI, just as I led India," Ganguly said while addressing the media after formally taking charge as the BCCI President at its General Body meeting in Mumbai.
The 47-year-old became the 39th BCCI President, for a nine-month run after getting elected unopposed. Laying down his priorities, Ganguly said he will speak to current skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday.
"Virat Kohli is the most important man in Indian cricket, we will listen to him. Mutual respect will be there, opinions will be there," Ganguly responded when asked whether he will be speaking to Kohli. "I will speak to Virat Kohli tomorrow, we will support him in every possible way, whatever he wants," he said.
Asked about the speculation surrounding the future of former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is on a sabbatical since India's semifinal exit from the ODI World Cup earlier this year. "Champions don't finish very quickly. Till I am around, everybody will be respected," Ganguly said.
14:49 Will support Virat in every way: Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly addresses the media after taking over as the BCCI President and promises a corruption-free BCCI.
He said he will speak to India skipper Virat Kohli tomorrow. "He's the captain of India. He is the most important man in Indian cricket. I will speak to him tomorrow," Ganguly said and added Kohli would be supported in every possible way.
Further details in a bit.
14:26 JK govt procures 1.34 lakh apple boxes from Kashmir farmers
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has procured around 1.34 lakh boxes of apple from fruit growers in south Kashmir under the Marketing Intervention Scheme, officials said. As many as 1,34,000 apple boxes have been procured from Fruit Mandi Batengoo in Anantnag district and Rs 2.50 crores have been paid to fruit growers under recently launched MIS under the department of Horticulture, they said.
The basic objective of MIS is to provide remunerative prices to the farmers in case of glut in production and fall in prices. Officials said the department of Horticulture has also distributed 19 irrigation pumps and 20 tubewells worth Rs 3.23 lakh to the orchardists and emphasis is being laid on high-density plantation.
Out of 66,335 hectares under cultivation, 38,756.75 hectares are under Kharif crops and 26,279 hectares are under Rabi crop, officials said at a meeting chaired by Advisor to Governor Farooq Khan on Tuesday. Besides, 24,036.97 hectares have been brought under paddy cultivation, 10,676 hectares under maize, 1,678 hectares under pulses and 1,454 hectares have been brought under oil seeds production in the district, they said. -- PTI
14:06 He's giving billonaires heartburn
Anand Giridhardhas used to report from Mumbai on India for The New York Times.These days he is 'disrupting the cult of the billionaire'.
Fast Company magazine says Giridharadas is 'rebuking the idea that philanthropic billionaires are society's heroes. Even some plutocrats are starting to agree with him.' You can read the Fast Company article here.
13:47 Taking BP meds at night more beneficial than morning: Study
Diagnosed with high blood pressure? Read this.
In the largest ever study conducted of the kind, researchers have found that patients who took their blood pressure reducing medication in one go just before bedtime had nearly half the risk of dying from or suffering heart attacks, myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure compared to patients who took their medication in the morning.
The study, published in the European Heart Journal, included 19,084 patients taking their pills either on waking or at bedtime, and were followed for the longest length of time -- an average of more than six years.
The researchers, including those from the University of Vigo in Spain, found that in participants taking their medication just before hitting the sack at night, the risk of death from heart or blood vessel problems was reduced by 66 per cent, the risk of myocardial infarction by 44 per cent, coronary revascularisation by 40 per cent, heart failure by 42 per cent, and stroke by nearly 50 per cent. -- PTI
13:17 Reprehensible! Aparna Sen on Tiwari murder
Filmmaker Aparna Sen raises concern over the brutal murder of Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari.
She tweeted to say, "What is happening in our country? Kamlesh Tiwari killed in Lucknow! If the accused objected to his remarks in 2015 as confessed, why not protest in a democratic manner? This is reprehensible! If people are killed for making remarks, we are not living in a democracy!"
Aparna Sen was one of 50 celebrities against whom an FIR was lodged for writing an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concern over the growing incidents of mob lynching, police said.
The case was lodged after an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari two months ago on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha. The FIR was dropped later.
Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari was stabbed 15 times and shot once in his head, according to the postmortem report. Two deep cut marks were found on his neck and the stabbing was centred between jaws and chest. The wounds were inflicted within 10 centimetres of one another, the report said.
A bullet was found on the back of Tiwari's skull while the postmortem was being conducted.
On October 18, Tiwari was murdered in Naka area of Lucknow. He later succumbed to his injuries.
Earlier on Tuesday, two main accused in the murder case -- Ashfaq Hussain Jakirhussain Shaikh (34) and Moinuddin Khurshid Pathan (27) -- were arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) from the Gujarat-Rajasthan border.
13:01 Post-monsoon showers fill up reservoirs in parched Latur
Post-monsoon rains have come as a welcome relief for Latur in Maharashtra as reservoirs have got filled, reducing water scarcity in the perennially parched Marathwada district, officials said on Wednesday. Two major barrages and Manjara dam, the key sources of drinking water for Latur city, now have enough stock to last till June 10 next year, a civic official told PTI.
"The city may now not need tankers for water supply this year," he said. Latur had deficient monsoon rains this year and the government was planning to take up new projects to ease the situation on an urgent basis, another official said. But, things have improved due to the post-monsoon showers and there is no need for such projects as of now, he added.
Rains in the last four days have filled up the Nagzari and Sai barrages to their maximum storage capacity, Latur Municipal Commissioner M D Singh said. "These two barrages have a storage capacity of 3.48 million cubic metre each. We have forwarded a proposal to the district collector to keep this water reserved for drinking purposes," he said. -- PTI
File pic: Large swathes of land in Kolhapur were flooded in August.
12:10 Chidambaram moves court seeking bail in INX case
Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court seeking bail in the INX Media money laundering case. Chidambaram, who was on Tuesday granted bail from Supreme Court in the INX media corruption case, continues to be in ED custody since October 17. He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case. The case was registered on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007, during Chidambaram's tenure as finance minister. -- PTI
11:56 Pak singer poses with suicide vest to threaten Modi
Pakistani singer Rabi Pirzada was massively trolled by Twitter users for posting a picture wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest in order to threaten Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pirzada's attempt to make a point fell flat as soon after she tweeted, the replies section was flooded with comments poking fun at her bizarre move.
Hands on waist, the singer posted a photo of herself posing with a black vest over her clothes, laden with what appeared to be explosives with a timer attached. "#ModiHitler i just wish huh #kashmirkibeti," she wrote alongside.
Netizens from India were quick to react, with most terming it as Pakistan's "national dress", a jab at the country's support to terror outfits on its soil. "Wow!! You looking awesome in traditional Pakistani dress," wrote a user while another urged Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to declare this dress as the national dress of the country.
Such outlandish antics are not new for the singer. In September, she had posted a video with a number of snakes and alligators threatening a reptile attack against Modi over New Delhi's landmark decisions pertaining to Kashmir. While some had termed her "nonsense", others had wished for her to get well soon.
Last month, Punjab Wildlife Protection and Parks Department initiated action against Pirzada for keeping wild animals, including four pythons, an alligator and snakes as pets, Geo News reported. -- ANI
11:50 3 local militants killed: J-K DGP
J&K DGP Dilbag Singh briefs the media in Srinagar. "In Tral, three local militants associated with the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were killed yesterday. Before that, in an operation in Anantnag, three militants were neutralized. We will be successful in our efforts to curb terrorism only when the local youth of Kashmir do not take the path of militancy and choose the path of peace.
"Through launching pads near Line of Control, Pakistan army & ISI are involved in pushing in maximum number of militants towards Indian side."
11:32 Ganguly takes charge as BCCI chief
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday took over as the BCCI's 39th president, becoming the biggest name to head the world's richest cricket board.
Ganguly was officially entrusted with the task of heading Indian cricket for the next nine months at the BCCI's General Body meeting here, ending a tumultuous 33-month reign of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators.
"It's official - @SGanguly99 formally elected as the President of BCCI," the BCCI posted on its Twitter page. Ganguly's appointment was finalised last week.
In the meeting that was also a reunion of sorts for some of the familiar faces associated with the board before the CoA's institution, Union Home Minister Amit Shah's son Jay Shah was made the secretary. During his tenure, Ganguly will look to coordinate with old guard such as former President N Srinivasan and ex-Secretary Niranjan Shah, whose children are now part of the BCCI. Former BCCI president and current junior finance minster Anurag Thakur's younger brother Arun Dhumal became the treasurer while Kerala's Jayesh George took the joint secretary's position.
Ganguly, who took over as India captain during one of its darkest hours following the 2000 match-fixing scandal, will need to demit office by the end of July next year as per the provisions of new constitution, which makes 'Cooling Off' period mandatory after six years in office.
One of the most elegant left-handers to have represented India, Ganguly is expected to make use of his experience gained as the secretary and later president of Cricket Association of Bengal. -- PTI
11:21 Kerala nun case: Court summons bishop on Nov 11
Former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a nun, has been summoned by a Kerala court on November 11.
Mulakkal was arrested last year following allegations by a nun that he repeatedly raped her at the Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him. He is currently out on bail.
Meanwhile, another nun has lodged a complaint with the Kerala Women's Commission alleging mental harassment in the rape case.
The complainant has alleged that Mulakkal is using social media platforms to defame her.
She stated that the videos put up on social media platforms show some photographs of the rape victim.
"The videos are intended to disrespect, abuse, intimidate and influence the witness, victim and the investigation team," the complainant said.The nun stated that such actions are a violation of the bail conditions laid down by the Kerala High Court and sought intervention from the state women's commission in the matter. -- ANI
11:04 Infosys recovers lost ground; rises over 1%
Shares of Infosys on Wednesday bounced back, rising over 1 per cent, after a massive selloff in the previous session on concerns over a whistleblower complaint against the company's top executives. The scrip gained 1.28 per cent to Rs 651.55 on the BSE.
On the NSE, it rose by 1.26 per cent to Rs 651.70. Shares of Infosys on Tuesday plummeted nearly 17 per cent marking their worst intraday fall in over six years, wiping Rs 53,451 crore from its market valuation. A complaint by a group that calls itself "ethical employees" of Infosys has alleged CEO Salil Parekh and CFO Nilanjan Roy were indulging in "unethical practices" to boost short-term revenue and profits.
The IT services giant on Tuesday said it is investigating the anonymous whistleblowers' claims. -- PTI
11:01 Gates of JNU school to close by 6 pm
The Left-affiliated All India Students' Association (AISA) on Tuesday accused the Jawaharlal Nehru University's administration of "curtailing students' freedom of movement" by closing the gates of School of International Studies as early as 6 pm.
However, the administration said the move is aimed at ensuring security of students and preventing outsiders from entering the building. The AISA claimed that the JNU administration sent a notice to students of School of International Studies on Tuesday morning informing them about the timings for closing the gate.
According to the notice, the main gate of the SIS-1 will be closed at 6 pm. The gate connecting SIS-1 and SIS-2 buildings will only be opened from 6 pm till 9 pm to allow entry to the reading room after checking students' identity cards, they said.
Similarly, the common room space which is used by many students for reading will be closed at 5:30 pm, they added. "This JNU VC has miserably failed to provide us with proper infrastructure to study. And the spaces which are still used by student community for reading are also being made inaccessible," the AISA alleged. -- PTI
10:39 Coastal K'taka, AP to receive heavy rains today
The India Meteorological Department on Wednesday said places over coastal Karnataka, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam are likely to receive heavy rainfall today.
The weather forecast agency further predicted that heavy downpour is also likely to batter Odisha, Konkan, Goa, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Interior Karnataka, Kerala and Mahe.Apart from these places, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada and Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Karaikal are also likely to receive heavy rainfall throughout the day, the IMD stated in its All India Weather Warning Bulletin.
In Delhi, the sky will mainly be clear with the maximum and minimum temperatures hovering around 32 degrees Celsius and 23 degrees Celsius.
The thunderstorm accompanied with lightning is very likely at isolated places over Jammu and Kashmir, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gangetic and West Bengal.Also, the strong winds (speed reaching 45-55 kmph) very likely over the east-central Arabian Sea.
A squally weather along Maharashtra-GoaKarnataka-Kerala coasts, Lakshadweep area and north Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh-Odisha coasts.The organisation had advised fishermen not to venture into these areas for the next couple of days.
The IMD further stated in its advisory that a well-marked low-pressure area over central parts of the Arabian Sea with the associated cyclonic circulation extending up to 4.5 km above mean sea level persists. -- ANI
Image: Roads damaged in the Male Mahadeshwara hills on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border following heavy rainfall.
Kerala nun rape case: Rape accused Franco Mulakkal has been summoned by a Kerala court on November 11.
10:27 Market starts on a tepid note amid weak global cues
Equity benchmarks BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty stared on a tepid note on Wednesday amid weak cues from global markets and foreign fund outflow. The 30-share index was trading flat at 38,963.28 in morning trade, and the broader NSE Nifty slipped 3.40 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 11,584.95. Other losers in the Sensex pack included Yes Bank, Tata Motors, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank, HUL, ONGC, M&M, PowerGrid and L&T, shedding up to 2.50 per cent. Among the gainers were HCL Tech, Bajaj Finance, TCS, TechM, Axis Bank, Sun Pharma and RIL, rising up to 2 per cent.
Image: Losers in the Sensex pack included Yes Bank, Tata Motors, IndusInd Bank
10:20 Rupee slips 9 paise to 71.03 against USD in early trade
The Indian rupee opened on a cautious note and fell 9 paise to 71.03 against the US dollar in early trade on Wednesday amid rising demand for the US dollar vis-a-vis other currencies overseas and unabated foreign fund outflows. Forex traders said trading in emerging market currencies were subdued after the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost the crucial Brexit Bill timetable vote.
"I must express my disappointment that the House has voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK could leave on 31 October with a deal. We now face further uncertainty," Johnson told the House of Commons after the final of two important votes on Tuesday. At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 71.01 then fell to 71.03 against the US dollar, showing a decline of 9 paise over its previous closing. The Indian rupee on Tuesday had closed at 70.94 against the US dollar.
10:05 Cong demands network jammers in EVM strongrooms
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Balasaheb Thorat has written a letter to the state Chief Electoral Officer suggesting measures for "free and fair elections" in the state including installation of network jammers in and around strong rooms where EVMs are stored till counting.
Assembly elections in Maharashtra were held on Monday (October 21), while the counting of votes will take place on Thursday (October 24)."Post polling in the state, the Electronic Voting Machines are shifted to the strong room at various locations. It is important to note that a large section of our citizens apprehend that these EVMs can be tampered with and hence is a grave threat to democracy," Thorat wrote in his letter to the state Chief Electoral Officer.
He later suggested that "installation of 'Network Jammers' is highly necessary in and around strong rooms where these EVMs are stored till counting."
"These jammers should be installed during counting process as well. We hereby demand for an immediate installation of such network jammers for all Assembly constituencies across the state without any further delay," he wrote. -- ANI
09:47 Kerala nun rape case: Complaint filed with state women commission
A nun has lodged a complaint with the Kerala Women's Commission alleging mental harassment in connection with the case concerning former Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping another nun.
The complainant has alleged that Mulakkal and his men are using social media platforms in order to defame her. She stated that the videos put up on social media platforms shows some photographs of the rape victim.
"The videos are intended to disrespect, abuse, intimidate and influence the witness, victim and the investigation team," the complainant said.
The nun stated that such actions are a violation of the bail conditions laid down by the Kerala High Court and sought intervention from the state women commission in the matter.
Mulakkal was arrested last year following allegations by the nun that he repeatedly raped her at the Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him. He is currently out on bail. -- ANI
09:32 Sonia meets DK Shivakumar in Tihar jail
The Congress party stands with interred Karnataka leader DK Shivakumar. This morning, interim president Sonia Gandhi met Shivakumar in Tihar Jail.
Shivakumar is under judicial custody in connection with a money laundering case.
Yesterday, former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy also met Shivakumar in jail. Speaking to the media thereafter, Kumaraswamy said, "Political issues are different and personal equation is different. DK Shivakumar and I worked together in the coalition government... This is my personal visit. He is facing political vengeance, I was here to give confidence to him. He is mentally very strong and will fight all this."
Shivakumar was a cabinet minister in the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) government in the state.
09:22 All accused should be hanged: Tiwari's mother
Kusum Tiwari, mother of slain Hindu outfit leader Kamlesh Tiwari has demanded death penalty for all the accused persons, who have been arrested.
"We are very happy with the arrest of the accused persons. They should all be hanged. I am satisfied by the government's action," Kusum Tiwari said.
A four-member team of Lucknow Police today is going to Ahmedabad seeking remand of two main accused in the case, Ashfaq Hussain Jakirhussain Shaikh (34) and Moinuddin Khurshid Pathan (27) who were arrested by Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from the Gujarat-Rajasthan border on Tuesday.
09:17 Indian attempt to divert river water would be considered provocation: Pak
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said any attempt by the Indian government to divert the flow of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus rivers would be considered as "provocation" by Pakistan.
Qureshi chaired a high-level Indus Water Treaty meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.
At the meeting, the recent statements by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to divert river water flowing to Pakistan were also discussed, an official statement said.
Qureshi said Pakistan would be within its right to "give a befitting response if any attempt is made to divert the water flow." -- PTI
08:55 Brexit stalls as UK Parl rejects short timetable
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday "paused" his Brexit Bill for leaving the European Union by the October 31 deadline after MPs vote for it 329 to 299 but then voted against a crucial attached motion that would have seen it through by the end of the week.
"I must express my disappointment that the House has voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK could leave on 31 October with a deal. We now face further uncertainty," Johnson told the House of Commons after the final of two important votes on Tuesday.
"The EU must now make up their mind at how to answer Parliament's request for a delay. The government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no deal outcome. Until the EU have reached a decision we will pause this legislation," he said.
Earlier, the bill had cleared the first parliamentary hurdle, with MPs backing it 329 votes to 299. It effectively meant his Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU could become law, but the MPs then voted 322 to 308 against the sped-up timetable for the bill.
Johnson had threatened to pull the bill and seek a general election instead of delaying Brexit beyond the October 31 deadline.
After publishing the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, or the so-called EU divorce bill, on Monday night, Johnson opened it up for debate by MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon with plans to hold a vote on a sped-up timetable for its passage by the end of the week.
While Opposition MPs accused him of trying to dash through a 110-page legislation without proper scrutiny, Johnson threatened to remove the Bill entirely if his timetable for its passage is rejected and revert to demanding a General Election instead.
00:04 Trump claims impeachment is a 'lynching'
US President Donald Trump likened the impeachment investigation against him to a "lynching," a racially charged word from the darkest days of America's slavery legacy.
There was an immediate backlash to Trump's tweet in which he claimed that impeachment was unfair and stripping him of his legal rights.
"All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here -- a lynching. But we will WIN!," Trump tweeted.
Kristen Clarke, president of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said she was "sickened to see Trump's gross misappropriation of this term today." Clarke said that 4,743 people were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, of which 3,446 were African Americans.
"Lynchings were crimes against humanity and an ugly part of our nation's history of racial violence," she said.
"It's beyond shameful to use the word 'lynching' to describe being held accountable for your actions," said Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro.
Trump is being investigated for possible impeachment in the Democratic-led House of Representatives over his alleged abuse of office. He is counting on the Republican-dominated Senate to acquit him if the House does vote to impeach.