Sat, 18 January 2020
Islamabad has shown weakness on Kashmir: Pak Min
20:39 Islamabad has shown weakness on Kashmir: Pak Min
A top Pakistani minister and a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday that Islamabad had shown "weakness" on Kashmir, contradicting his government's claim that it has "succeeded" in internationalising the issue.
Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid said the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government will hold rallies in the country till February 5 to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
"I think so far we have shown weakness on the Kashmir issue. I have spoken (on it) in the Cabinet meetings," Rashid told reporters.
Rashid's remarks have come days after Prime Minister Khan reaffirmed Pakistan's support for the Kashmiri people.
"J&K dispute must be resolved in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions & the will of the Kashmiri people. We will continue to provide moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people...," Khan said in tweet on Thursday.
"An internationally recognised dispute, J&K remains on the Security Council's agenda & its consideration by the Council reflects a recognition of the seriousness of the prevailing situation," he said.
In a special address to the nation in August last year, Khan said that Islamabad's Kashmir policy was at a "decisive" point and his government had succeeded in internationalising the issue of Kashmir.
"We have succeeded in internationalising the issue of Kashmir, we talked to world leaders and embassies. The UN for the first time since 1965, convened a meeting on Kashmir issue. Even international media has picked it up," Khan had said.
On Friday, Khan chaired a meeting on the situation in Kashmir, which was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood and other senior military and civilian officials.
They discussed the preparations for the Kashmir Day observed on February 5 every year to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.
This year's Kashmir Day would have added significance as it would be the first such observance after India's August 5 decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Islamabad. -- PTI
20:12 Call on Rohit and Dhawan's participation on match day: BCCI
The call on openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan's participation in the all-important ODI series decider against Australia will be taken on the match day, the BCCI said on Saturday.
Rohit hurt his left shoulder while fielding in the second ODI on Friday and Dhawan was hit on the ribs by lead Australia pacer Pat Cummins.
"Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are progressing well. Their recovery is being monitored and a call on their participation in the final ODI will be taken tomorrow before the match," said the BCCI in a statement.
The openers' participation in Sunday's third and final ODI is critical to India's chances. Rohit is due for a big score while Dhawan has made a stellar comeback from injuries, scoring back-to-back half centuries.
In Rajkot, the southpaw missed the three-figure mark by just four runs. -- PTI
19:50 Those against CAA are 'anti-Dalits': Shah
Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday challenged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to prove that the Citizenship Amendment Act would take away citizenship from Indian Muslims, as he advised him to read the act completely.
Terming those against CAA as "anti-Dalits", Shah said that there was no clause in the new act that takes away citizenship of Muslims, and accused the Congress and Rahul Gandhi of trying to create confusion.
"I challenge Rahul Gandhi...read the CAA completely, if you find anything that takes away citizenship of Indian Muslims....our Pralhad Joshi (Parliamentary Affairs Minister) is ready to debate with you," Shah said.
Addressing a public meeting in Hubballi on the CAA as part of BJP's nationwide 'Jan Jagran Abhiyan', he accused the Congress of dividing the country on the basis of religion.
The BJP national president also accused the Congress, the Communist party, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Janata Dal Secular, the Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Samajwadi Party of indulging in vote bank politicson CAA.
Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa, Union minister Pralhad Joshi and several BJP leaders attended the rally. -- PTI
19:27 $5tn economy goal difficult, not impossible: Gadkari
Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said on Saturday that the goal of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024 was "difficult but not impossible".
It can be achieved by increasing domestic production and reducing dependence on imports, he said at the 29th International Management Conclave of the Indore Management Association in Indore.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders have often spoken about the goal of turning India into a $5 trillion economy by 2024.
"Strong political will is very important to achieve any goal. Manifesting the same will, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set ourselves the goal of making the country a $5 trillion economy," Gadkari said.
"This goal is difficult but not impossible," he added.
"Our country has plenty of resources and production capacity. Despite that we are spending crores every year on importing goods like medicines, medical devices, coal, copper, papers, etc," the Union minister said.
"If we want to become a $5 trillion economy, we have to increase the domestic production of these things instead of importing them," he said.
Referring to the current economic slowdown, Gadkari said, "We are the fastest growing economy in the world. But there is a cycle in the business. Challenges crops up, at times due to the global economy and sometimes because of a gap in demand and supply.
"But I see India's future in the leaders of younger generation who can turn difficulties and challenges into opportunities," Gadkari said.
There was no dearth of capital, resources and technology in the country, "but there is definitely a lack of right vision and leadership in different fields", he said.
Exports will be encouraged by focusing on increasing the participation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the development, the minister said.
"This will help create five crore new jobs....The government is asking every department what it can contribute to achieve the target of USD 5 trillion economy," Gadkari added. -- PTI
19:17 AAP's Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri joins Congress
Aam Aadmi Party's Dwarka MLA in the outgoing assembly Adarsh Shastri on Saturday joined the Congress at the party's Delhi unit office in presence of state president Subhash Chopra and AICC incharge PC Chacko.
Shastri quit the AAP after it denied him ticket to seek re-election from Dwarka constituency. He is expected to be fielded from the seat by his new party to contest the February 8 polls.
The grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, also held the posts of national spokesperson and co-convener of overseas affairs cell of the Aam Aadmi Party. -- PTI
18:50 RSS has no connection with politics: Bhagwat
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday said his organisation has no connection with politics and it works only to uplift the moral, cultural and human values of the country.
The RSS chief was in Moradabad for a four-day programme with RSS workers.
Addressing a large gathering at the conclusion of the event, Bhagwat said people from all walks of life are a part of the organisation while some also run political parties.
"Elections mean nothing to us. We are working to maintain the values of the country for the last 60 years," he said.
He also denied that the RSS was "remote controlling" the Bharatiya Janata Party pointing out that the organisation was working for all 130 crore Indians.
Elaborating on the organisation, the 69-year-old explained that anyone can be termed as a RSS worker even if they do not come to their shakhas (activity camps) but should have the ideology of national integrity.
Quoting a meeting of Bhoodan Movement founder Vinoba Bhave and former RSS chief M S Golwalkar, he claimed that the social reformer was a friend of the latter with the same ideology, though not a part of the organisation.
"There are so many top class intellectuals and social reformers who are not our allies but have our ideology. This is our success," he asserted.
Bhagwat said that if one wants to spread one's ideology, then, it is essential to gain power.
"Swami Vivekananda always advocated for power with intellect and spirituality. So, always try to be powerful, prosperous and healthy," he said.
Russia, China and USA are powerful countries that are creating problems and USA is losing its dignity, he claimed.
Bhagwat asserted that the RSS was working with very few persons when it was formed in 1925 but has grown into an organisation with 1.3 lakh branches throughout the country due to continuous dedication towards nation building.
Defining their work, he said they adhered to the preamble of the Indian Constitution and invited all persons who want to serve the nation to come forward without any personal interest.
During his one-hour address, Bhagwat quoted many examples to define the work of RSS in the interest of Hindu religion, culture and history.
Incidentally, he said "all Indians are Hindus" as their ancestors were all Hindus. He added that many countries have raised slogans of 'unity from diversity' but in India, there is 'diversity from unity'.
Notably, Bhagwat did not comment on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens. -- PTI
Image: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat attends the Makar Sankranti Utsav in Moradabad. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:44 BJP created civil war-like situation in India: CPI
Alleging that the BJP and the RSS have created a "civil war-like situation" in the country, CPI general secretary D Raja on Saturday hailed the nationwide protests against the CAA.
He said the "non-violent, peaceful, people's movement" in the country is on in the midst of "turmoil" caused by "divisive issues" raised by the saffron combine in order to "polarise and divide the people on communal lines".
"A non-violent, peaceful, people's movement is being witnessed across the country. It has emerged in the face of a historic need to save India, to save the Constitution and to save democracy.
"The BJP-RSS combine has created a civil war-like situation by raising divisive issues aimed to polarise and divide the people on communal lines", Raja, who is on a tour of Bihar, told reporters in Patna.
Demanding the repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the veteran CPI leader said the legislation has "caused huge concern among the minds of the people" since it discriminated "not just against Muslims but also Adivasis and other ethnic groups".
"This is the reason why the movement is characterised by citizens, carrying portraits of Gandhi, Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh - who stood for values like communal harmony, social justice and freedom - pitted against the BJP government", he said.
He alleged that the CAA is "not just unconstitutional but anti-constitutional".
"Citizenship issue was well settled in the constituent assembly itself. Leaders like Ambedkar, Nehru and Patel had concluded that citizenship of the country must not be linked to any religion. But, now the BJP-RSS combine is trying to redefine Indian citizenship on the basis of religion," he said.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah of taking "very rigid and adamant position" on the matter, Raja said this was a reason why "states are coming out in the open against the measure".
18:20 Former aide of Yogi Adityanath joins SP
Former chief of Hindu Yuva Vahini Sunil Singh, who was once considered close to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, joined the Samajwadi Party on Saturday.
Singh joined the SP in the presence of party chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Some Bahujan Samaj Party leaders also joined the SP at the party headquarters in Lucknow.
Singh's shift of loyalty assumes significance as the HYV was founded by Adityanath in 2002 to promote "Hindutva and nationalism". -- PTI
18:19 Shops, malls in Mumbai have option to remain open 24x7: Aaditya
Maharashtra tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday said that shops, malls and eateries in the non-residential areas of Mumbai will have the option of remaining open 24x7 from January 26, although it will not be made compulsory.
Giving examples of nightlife in London and Indore city of Madhya Pradesh, Thackeray said Mumbai, too, should not lag behind in providing similar facilities to people at night as the metropolis functions 24x7.
Talking to reporters, he also said that associating nightlife with alcohol consumption alone was wrong.
"Mumbai functions 24x7. If online shopping is open 24 hours, then why should shops and establishments be kept shut at night. It is not compulsory for the shops and malls to be open at night. It is up to them if they wish to remain open. No norms have been changed," he said.
The 29-year-old Yuva Sena chief, who has been batting for all-night-open eateries and other establishments in the city since 2013, said the government would not tinker with the Excise norms.
"We are not tinkering with the Excise norms," he said.
Thackeray said London's night time economy is worth five billion pounds.
"Indore's Sarafa Market is also open at night. Even Ahmedabad city has made some changes in its policy last year. Then why should Mumbai lag behind?...We are just providing facility for food and shopping for 24 hours in non-residential areas," he said. -- PTI
17:40 Piyush Goyal to lead Indian delegation to WEF 2020 in Davos
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will lead the Indian delegation to the 50th World Economic Forum at Davos from January 20 to 24.
Goyal will also participate in an informal WTO Ministerial gathering being held in Davos during this period, the commerce ministry said in a statement.
The union minister will hold bilateral meetings with ministers of Australia, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Korea and Singapore.
He will also meet Director General of World Trade Organization and Secretary General of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Apart from this, Goyal will hold bilateral meetings with CEOs of companies, attend WEF sessions and round tables on 'Accelerating Investments in Indian Railways' and attracting Global Institutional Investments in India, the statement said.
The minister will participate in the WEF along with Union Minister of State for Shipping and Chemical and Fertilizers, Mansukh L Mandaviya; and Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh; Finance Minister of Punjab and the IT Minister of Telangana. -- PTI
17:39 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw conferred with Australia's highest civilian honour
Australia has conferred its highest civilian honour, the Order of Australia honour, on Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw for her contribution towards advancing the country's relationship with India.
Australia's High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu invested Mazumdar-Shaw as an Honorary Member within the Order of Australia in the General Division at a ceremony in Bengaluru on Friday, the Australian High Commission said in a statement.
An alumnus of Federation University Australia, Mazumdar-Shaw is the founder of Biocon one of India's largest bio-pharmaceutical companies.
She contributes immensely to promoting women in STEM through the joint research programmes developed between Biocon and Deakin University, Australia, as part of her deep and long-standing commitment to gender equality, the statement said.
Mazumdar-Shaw - an Australian Global Alumni Ambassador - is also recognised for her sustained and significant contribution to industry academia collaboration between Australia and India, it said.
The ceremony was attended by representatives from Indian and Australian business, the diplomatic corps, and family, friends and peers of Mazumdar-Shaw, the statement said.
Speaking at the event, Sidhu said, "Dr Mazumdar-Shaw is a tireless champion of the commercial, educational, and people-to-people links between our two countries, and this award recognises her commitment to progressing the Australia-India partnership."
Honorary appointments in the Order of Australia are made to foreign nationals who have made an outstanding contribution to Australia or humanity at large.
Mazumdar-Shaw is the fourth Indian citizen to be awarded Australia's highest civilian honour.
This follows the conferment of superstar batsman Sachin Tendulkar in 2012, Former Attorney General of India Soli Jehangir Sorabjee in 2006, and Mother Teresa of Kolkata (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) in 1982. -- PTI
17:32 Shabana Azmi injured in car accident
Actor Shabana Azmi was injured in an accident on Saturday afternoon on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway in Maharashtra's Raigad district, official said.
The incident took place around 3.30 pm near Khalapur, over 60 km from Mumbai, when the car in which she was traveling rammed into a truck, said Raigad Superintendent of Police Anil Paraskar.
She was rushed to MGM hospital in Navi Mumbai and was undergoing treatment, he said. -- PTI
16:37 No other way than implementing CAA: Kerala Guv
Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday said the amended citizenship law was a subject of the Union List and not a state subject and it will have to be implemented by states.
"There is no way other than implementing the act. It will have to be implemented under (Article) 254," Khan told reporters in response to a question on some states refusing to implement the new law.
He said everyone should understand "one's own jurisdiction".
"You may give your arguments by using your intellect, you have the right to challenge it in the Supreme Court but citizenship act is the subject of Union List and not a state subject," he said after addressing a programme at a private university here.
Khan said people have a right to be adamant about their opinion but no right to go beyond the boundary of the law.
The Kerala government earlier this week moved the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act, seeking to declare it violative of the principles of equality, freedom and secularism enshrined in the Constitution. It was the first state government to challenge the act and the Kerala Assembly was the first to pass a resolution against the law.
On Friday, the Kerala governor criticised the Left government for approaching the apex court against the CAA without informing him and said he may seek a report from it about the move.
Also on Friday, the Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution seeking immediate repeal of the law and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government would approach the top court against it. -- PTI
16:25 Delhi court convicts 2 men in 5-year-old girl's rape case
A Delhi court convicted two men on Saturday for raping a five-year-old girl in east Delhi in 2013.
Additional Sessions Judge Naresh Kumar Malhotra convicted Manoj Shah and Pradeep Kumar in the case, and said the child, who was just five years old, experienced exceptional depravity and extreme brutality.
Shah and Kumar had raped the girl at Gandhi Nagar area and shoved objects in her private parts on April 15, 2013.
They had fled after committing the crime, leaving the victim at Manoj's room believing her to be dead. The child was rescued 40 hours later on April 17, 2013. -- PTI
16:18 Pak violates ceasefire along LoC in J-K targeting villages, forward posts
Pakistan on Saturday violated ceasefire by resorting to firing and shelling on forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir, a defence spokesman said.
The firing and shelling from across the border started in Mendhar sector of Poonch and Lam in Nowshera sector of Rajouri in the afternoon, prompting befitting retaliating by the Indian Army, he said.
The spokesman said Pakistan resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation in Mendhar sector from 12.30 pm to 1.15 pm, but there was no report of any casualty on the Indian side.
In Lam area of Nowshera, Pakistani troops resorted to small arms firing and mortar shelling around noon, he said, adding the Indian army retaliated befittingly.
The cross-border shelling in the sector was going on when last reports were received, the spokesman said. -- PTI
15:57 Anti-CAA parties must come together: Chidambaram
Congress leader and former home minister P Chidambaram said on Saturday that after the "Assam NRC fiasco", the Narendra Modi government has quickly "changed gears" and is now talking of NPR.
Speaking to reporters in Kolkata, Chidambaram said that NPR is "nothing but NRC in disguise".
"Our purpose is to fight the sinister purpose of Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Population of Register and mobilise public opinion against them.
"Our stated position is that we will not agree to NPR being rolled out from April 2020," he said.
The Congress leader said, the Constitutional validity of CAA lies with the Supreme Court.
"We are fighting against NRC and CAA. Sometimes together, sometimes differently. The important thing is that we are fighting.
"All parties fighting against NPR, CAA and NRC must come together and I am confident they will," he said.
He said that the BJP had failed to gauge the strength of the opposition and thought it as a 'passing cloud'. -- PTI
15:12 Prepaid mobile connections restored in J-K
Prepaid mobile connections were restored in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday and 2G services resumed in two districts of the valley after being disconnected in August last year, official said.
Voice and SMS facilities were restored for all local prepaid mobile phones across the Union territory.
Rohit Kansal, the principal secretary to the administration of Jammu and Kashmir said the order will come into effect from Saturday.
In order to consider giving mobile Internet connectivity on such SIM cards, the telecom service providers will have to verify the credentials of the subscribers, he said.
Internet service providers have been asked to provide fixed line Internet connectivity in all the 10 districts of Jammu region and two districts, Kupwara and Bandipora, in North Kashmir.
Telecom services were shut in the entire Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre abrogated special status to the erstwhile state and also bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
However, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the UT administration last week for arbitrarily shutting down the Internet, the facility described as the fundamental right by the apex court. -- PTI
14:43 Modi flag bearer of Indian culture, tradition: Shah
Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday called Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the "flag bearer" of the Indian culture and tradition.
In his speech at an event organised by Vedanta Bharati in Bengaluru, Shah said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is touring across the globe as the flag bearer of the Indian culture and tradition."
To buttress his point, the Bharatiya Janata Party national president said Modi took a holy dip in Ganga and attended Ganga Arati in Varanasi before taking oath as the prime minister.
It was for the first time that Modi sent red sander to Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal to perform special prayers on behalf of the government of India.
Shah also slammed the previous governments for their wrong interpretation of secularism, preventing them from honouring the best things of the country.
"But after a long interval we have a prime minister who sends across the message that we have a lot to give to the world," Shah said -- PTI
14:36 Send those opposing Savarkar's Bharat Ratna to Andaman jail: Raut
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday said that those who believe that Bharat Ratna should not be conferred on Veer Savarkar should be put in the same jail where the Hindutva ideologue was lodged.
"We have always been demanding respect for Veer Savarkar. Those who oppose Bharat Ratna for Veer Savarkar be put for two days in Andaman's cellular jail where Savarkar was lodged. It is only then that they will realize his sacrifice and contribution to the nation," Raut told the media persons.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader and state minister Aaditya Thackeray asserted that their alliance with Congress is strong despite having a different stance on certain issues.
"Sanjay Raut mentioned in what context he spoke. Shiv Sena-Congress alliance is strong and we came together for the development of the state. We may have different views on certain issues but this is what democracy is," Thackeray told the media persons in Mumbai.
Several leaders across the political spectrum have time and again pushed for Bharat Ratna award to be accorded to Savarkar.
There are, however, some political parties who have allegedly been opposing the move. -- ANI
14:24 Varsities should not function like assembly line production unit: CJI Bobde
Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde on Saturday said that universities should not only be about brick and mortar and must not function as an assembly line production unit.
"Universities are not about brick and mortar only. Certainly, universities are not supposed to function like an assembly line production unit," said CJI Bobde.
Bobde was addressing students at a convocation function at Nagpur University.
The Chief Justice of India further added that the idea of a university reflects what we want to achieve as a society. -- ANI
13:29 4 more J-K leaders released from house arrest
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has released four more political leaders who were put under house arrest since August 5 last year, the day when Article 370 was revoked from the erstwhile state.
The leaders -- Nazir Gurezi of NC, Abdul Haq Khan of PDP, Mohammad Abbas Wani of People's Conference and Congress' Abdul Rashid -- were released on Friday evening.
They were placed under house arrest following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status.
Earlier, five Jammu and Kashmir political leaders, who were detained since August 5, were released.
The leaders who were released from detention are -- Salman Sagar, Showkat Ganai and Altaf Kalloo of NC, and PDP's Nizamuddin Bhat and Muktiar Baba.
On January 10, as part of moves to progressively release detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, the administration revoked the detention warrants of 26 persons detained under the Public Safety Act.
Last December, some Jammu and Kashmir leaders, who were detained, were released.
Several mainstream leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, including NC chief Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti are under detention following the abrogation of Article 370. -- ANI
13:28 CPI-M slams Kerala Guv for 'anti-govt' stand
As the war of words between Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan and the Left government intensified, the Communist Party of India-Marxist mouthpiece Deshabhimani on Saturday slammed him for making "political statements" and alleged he was "threatening" the state in a "tough language".
In a hard-hitting editorial, it said the governor who spoke to the media in Thiruvananthapuram and in Delhi without understanding the stature of the position being held by him, was making "political statements".
In a lengthy report titled "Governor's political game", it said the governor is a person who should act in accordance with the Constitution and above personal preferences.
Enraged over the mass participation of people in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in kerala, Khan was "threatening" the state in a "tough language", it alleged.
The editorial attacked Khan for coming out in public against the Left Democratic Front government and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan for not informing him before moving the apex court against the CAA and for not signing the ordinance regarding the local self
government ward delimitation.
"The attempt is to establish a precedence that the state has no independent power and it should await the governor's permission even for constitutionally guaranteed rights," it said.
The Constitution does not mandate the state government to inform every decision to the Governor.
This is evident in Article 167 of the Constitution, the editorial pointed out.
The chief minister has only the constitutional obligation to inform the decisions of the state cabinet, and not the daily decisions of the government, the daily stated.
Justifying the anti-CAA resolution passed by the Kerala assembly, the newspaper said it was "legal" and "passed in accordance with the rules and regulations.
There is no need to inform the governor in advance before the resolution is passed," it added. -- PTI
13:23 Ex-principle secretary to PM, Nripendra Mishra made chairman of NMML executive council
Former principal secretary to the prime minister, Nripendra Misra, has been appointed chairperson of the executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the latest in a string of appointments in the last six months.
In November last year, the government reconstituted the NMML society removing Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh as its members and inducting television journalist Rajat Sharma and adman Prasoon Joshi among others.
Culture ministry sources confirmed that 74-year-old Misra, who quit as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Principal Secretary in August last year, has been appointed through a January 14 order.
A. Surya Prakash, chairperson of the Prasar Bharati board, will be the council's vice chairperson, the order states.
With Misra's appointment, the reconstitution of both the NMML society as well as the NMML executive council, which takes important decisions pertaining to the museum associated with India's first prime minister, is now complete.
According to an order issued in November last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the president of the NMML society and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh its vice president.
Union ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Prakash Javadekar, V Muraleedharan and Prahlad Singh Patel, ICCR chairman Vinay Sahsrabudhhe, Prasar Bharti chairman A. Surya Prakash, secretaries of expenditure, culture and housing and urban affairs, are its members.
Besides, the chairman of the UGC, representative of Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial fund, Raghvendra Singh, director of NMML and journalist Rajat Sharma are also the new members.
The other members include Anirban Ganguly, policy researcher and author, Sachchinanda Joshi, Member Secretary, IGNCA, academic Kapil Kapoor, Lokesh Chandra, Vedic and Buddhist scholar, Makarand Pranjpe, academic, writer Kishor Makwana, academic Kamlesh Joshipura, researcher Rizwan Kadri along with Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and IGNCA Chairman Ram Bahadur Rai. -- PTI
12:50 News broadcasters meet FM Sitharaman, seek parity in GST with print media
Executive body members of the News Broadcasters Federation have met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested that TV news channels be treated at par with the print media industry under GST regulations.
Currently, GST on the print media stands at 5 per cent whereas news broadcasters are charged 18 per cent GST.
In the meeting on Friday, NBF president Arnab Goswami highlighted the need for parity given the similarity in the business model and the importance of TV news broadcasting in the country, a release said.
The Finance Minister accepted a copy of the recommendation of NBF and assured the members that she would look into the matter.
The NBF was represented in the meeting by its President Goswami, Vice Presidents Jagi M Panda and Sanjive Narain, and Secretary-General R Jai Krishna. -- PTI
11:57 Bandh in Shirdi from Sunday over Uddhav's remarks
The administrative body of Shirdi's Sai Baba has called for the indefinite closure of the temple after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray reportedly said Pathri in Parbhani is Sai Baba's birthplace.
"We have announced to close Shirdi against rumours, from January 19," said B Wakchaure of Saibaba Sansthan Trust.
"A meeting of villagers will be convened Saturday evening to discuss the issue. Devotees will not face any difficulty if they come to Shirdi," Wakchaure added. -- ANI
11:01 Who is Indira Jaising to suggest that I forgive my daughter's rapists: Nirbhaya's mother
Asha Devi, the mother of the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim, on Saturday slammed senior lawyer Indira Jaising for her suggestion that she should forgive her daughter's rapists.
"Who is Indira Jaising to give me such a suggestion? The whole country wants the convicts to be executed. Just because of people like her, justice is not done with rape victims," Asha Devi said.
"I cannot believe how Indira Jaising even dared to suggest this. I met her many times over the years in Supreme Court, not even once has she asked for my wellbeing and today she is speaking for the convicts. Such people earn their livelihood by supporting rapists, hence rape incidents do not stop," she added.
Asha Devi further accused Jaising of using "the garb of human rights" to make a living.
"People like her keep earning money under the garb of human rights. I do not need her suggestions... Just because of people who think like her incidents like rape keep happening, she is a disgrace to women," she said.
On Friday, Indira Jaising, through a tweet, had urged Asha Devi to forgive the perpetrators and had used the example of Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, who had forgiven Nalini, one of the convicts who was given the death penalty by the courts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
"While I fully identify with the pain of Asha Devi I urge her to follow the example of Sonia Gandhi who forgave Nalini and said she did not want the death penalty for her. We are with you but against the death penalty," Jaising's tweet read.
10:20 NIA to probe case of J-K DSP Davinder Singh
The National Investigation Agency will probe a case in which a senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer was arrested while ferrying three terrorists out of the valley, an official spokesman said on Saturday.
Davinder Singh, posted as the deputy superintendent of police, was arrested last weekend along with Naveed Babu, self-styled district commander of banned Hizbul Mujahideen, a new recruit Atif and an advocate Irfan Mir.
The four were caught with arms and ammunition while they were travelling in a car near Qazigund on the national highway in south Kashmir.
After receiving orders from the Union Home Ministry, the NIA has re-registered this case and started the investigation, the spokesman said.
09:32 Amarinder slams CAA, says situation in India similar to that of Germany under Hitler
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said the amended Citizenship Act was against the secular fabric of the country and compared it with the "ethnic and religious cleansing of Hitler's Germany".
"What happened in Germany under Hitler in 1930 is happening in India now..Germans did not speak then, and they regretted it, but we have to speak now so that we do not regret later," Singh said in the Punjab Assembly during a discussion on the resolution, which was adopted by a voice vote, seeking immediate repeal of the CAA.
Pointing to the omission of Muslims and such other communities as Jews from the ambit of citizenship under the CAA, the resolution asked for a repeal of the Act "to avoid any discrimination on the basis of religion in granting citizenship and to ensure equality before law for all religious groups in India", according to a release by the CMO.
"Why have Muslims been excluded? And why have they (Centre) not included Jews in the CAA?" pointing out that Punjab had a Jew Governor, General Jacob, who also fought for the nation in the 1971 war, the release added.
According to the official release, the Punjab CM urged the Opposition, particularly the Shiromani Akali Dal, "to read Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf to understand the dangers of CAA. He said he would get the book translated and distributed so that all could read and grasp the historical mistakes that Hitler made."
The resolution was introduced in the assembly by Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra and was put to vote by Speaker Rana KP Singh, according to a press release.
09:08 Mumbai eateries to remain open 24x7 from Jan 27
After nearly three decades, Mumbai will regain its freedom to remain awake and busy with commercial establishments allowed to function 24x7 from midnight of January 26-27, officials said.
The long-pending proposal to keep all restaurants, malls, multiplexes, shopping plazas, etc open 24 hrs was given the green signal late on Thursday at a meeting chaired by Environment & Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray.
Accordingly, all (above) establishments falling within 'gated communities', non-residential zones with security, CCTVs, parking areas, etc, can remain open round-the-clock from January 27.
"There are around two dozen malls, besides other places which will fall in this category. Since Mumbai is a city that is active almost round-the-clock, this is expected to benefit the people, besides tourists," said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi.
He said that unlike other cities which have unlimited space but limited active hours, Mumbai has little scope to expand further so it must capitalise on existing resources by keeping them open longer.
"We are also planning to set up 24x7 Food Courts across the city where people can go anytime. This will generate more employment opportunities and open more business avenues," Pardeshi said.
Aaditya Thackeray's meeting was attended by Pardeshi, and Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve since law and order will be critical factor in the success of this policy, besides industry representatives and other stakeholders.
However, for the present, the existing regulations will apply for eateries/bars which choose to work 24x7, though it may be subject to review at a later stage, said a police official.
08:41 Ramachandra Guha's sharp remarks on Rahul Gandhi
Historian Ramachandra Guha said young India does not want a "fifth-generation dynast" and if Kerala repeats the disaster of re-electing Rahul Gandhi to Parliament in 2024 then they will merely hand over the advantage to "hard-working" and "self-made" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Why did you (Malayalis) elect Rahul Gandhi to Parliament. I have nothing against Rahul Gandhi personally. He is a decent fellow, very well-mannered. But young India does not want a fifth-generation dynast," Guha said while speaking at Kerala Literature Festival in Kozhikode.
The historian warned people of Kerala not to re-elect the MP from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi during the 2024 national elections.
"If you Malayalis make the mistake of re-electing Rahul Gandhi in 2024 too, you are merely handing over an advantage to Narendra Modi because Narendra Modi's great advantage is that he is not Rahul Gandhi," he said.
In his address, Guha stressed that betrayal of idealism by Congress and hypocrisy of Left has paved the way to religious jingoism in India.
"I have only one complaint against Keralites. You have selected Rahul Gandhi as an MP. He is part of an old family dynasty. Betrayal of idealism by Congress and hypocrisy of Left has paved the way to religious jingoism in India," he said.
Taking a dig at the Waynad MP over his foreign trips, Guha praised PM Modi and said, "Narendra Modi is self-made. He has run a state for 15 years, he has administrative experience, he is incredibly hard-working and he never takes holidays in Europe. I say this with all seriousness," said Guha.
08:08 Uddhav Thackeray govt says Hyperloop unlikely
The proposed Mumbai-Pune ultrafast hyperloop transport system in Maharashtra has come under a cloud, with the state government signalling that undertaking a first-of-a-kind project of such magnitude could turn out to be a risky proposition at this juncture.
"Hyperloops have never been constructed anywhere in the world until now, so let this be tried somewhere else before us. Once it is successful, then we can think of it," Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.
The minister, however, clarified that his comment should not be viewed as a decision to scrap the project. "It's just that we do not have the capacity to experiment with hyperloop technology. We will concentrate on other modes of transport and, in the meantime, if that technology develops more with successful trials abroad, we can think about it," he said.
The $10 billion project pushed by multi-billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group is the second high-budget initiative that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra has applied the brakes on, after the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train system.
The tri-party Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, which took over the state after the assembly elections in October last year, has indicated that it is more keen on addressing pressing issues such as farmer welfare and poverty alleviation than taking up such projects.
The previous BJP-led Devendra Fadnavis government had come to an understanding with the Virgin Group on the hyperloop transport system, which aims to reduce travel time between Mumbai and Pune to just 35 minutes. Proposed as a replacement to existing railway infrastructure between the two cities, the hyperloops were expected to use magnets to levitate pods inside an airless tube, creating conditions in which pods can shuttle people and freight at speeds of up to 1,200 km per hour.
00:27 PM's message to ministers going to visit J-K
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the group of union ministers visiting Jammu and Kashmir to spread the message of development among the people not only in the urban areas but also in the villages of the Valley, sources said.
As part of a massive outreach programme, 36 central ministers will visit Jammu and Kashmir starting from Saturday.
At a meeting of the Council of Ministers in New Delhi, the prime minister asked the ministers to spread the message of development during their interaction with the locals, the sources said.
They were also asked to spread the message about the various central schemes which will benefit at the grass-roots level.
He said the ministers should not restrict themselves to the urban areas but meet people in villages also to inform about the developmental work carried out by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir.
The 36 Union ministers will visit different districts in both the divisions of the Union Territory starting from January 18 to January 24 and the home ministry is coordinating it.
There will be 51 visits to Jammu and eight to Srinagar.
Union minister Smriti Irani will visit Katra and Panthal areas of Reasi district on January 19, while on the same day her cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal will be in Srinagar.
Whereas Minister of State for Home G Krishan Reddy will be in Ganderbal on January 22 and Manigam on January 23, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will visit Sopore in Baramulla district on January 24.
V K Singh is scheduled to visit Tikri in Udhampur on January 20 while Kiren Rijiju will go to Suchetgarh in Jammu on January 21.
Similarly Union ministers R K Singh will visit Khellani in Doda district and Shripad Nayak will hold a meeting at SKICC in Srinagar. Besides them, Union ministers Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh, Pralhad Joshi, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Jitendra Singh are among the other ministers who will visit different districts during the period. -- PTI