Wed, 15 September 2021
9 foreign NGOs stopped from direct India funding

Timeline  Refresh

23:37   Mizoram CM to Modi: Help Myanmar refugees
Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Wednesday dashed off another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking humanitarian assistance for refugees from Myanmar as more and more people pour in across the international border with Myanmar following fresh clashes between pro-democracy protestors and the military, an official said.

Mizoram's lone Lok Sabha member C. Lalrosanga also called on home secretary (Border Management) Sanjeeva Kumar and additional home secretary (North East) Piyush Goyal in Delhi on Wednesday urging assistance to the refugees as several hundreds more trekked across the forested border since a fresh military crackdown which started after a call for uprising made on September 7.

 Zoramthanga had earlier too sent letters to the central government seeking help in housing and feeding the refugees who are being looked after by voluntary organisations.

The state planning board vice chairman H. Rammawi, who is closely dealing with refugee affairs, said the chief minister on Wednesday sent a reminder to the Prime Minister over the plight of the Myanmar nationals, who fled their country after the military junta seized power in February this year.

"The chief ministers has written several times to the Centre and sent delegations since March seeking asylum and humanitarian aid for the Myanmar nationals, who crossed over to Mizoram due to the humanitarian crisis triggered by a sudden political turnover.  But the Centre has ignored the appeal and remained silent on the issue till now," Rammawi told PTI.

Apart from official letters, the chief minister has also communicated telephonically to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting them to extend humanitarian assistance to the Myanmar nationals, who took refuge in the state, he added.

Rammawi, said he along with two MPs from the state had also met with Union Ministers and officials of the Home and external affairs Ministries several times between March and April.

"During our meeting with officials of the MEA, they told us that the state deserves to receive assistance from the Centre. But not a single penny has been sanctioned in aid of the Myanmar refugees till date," the Mizo National Front leader said.

According to Rammawi, the state is now reeling under a financial crisis and also a health infrastructure and manpower crunch due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which had already crippled the state's economy.

"(Nevertheless) we can't ignore the plight of the Myanmar nationals with whom we share ethnic ties and common ancestry. We can't ask them to return as they came here to take shelter for fear of their lives," Rammawi said adding the community leaders and NGOs are providing shelter and food to the Myanmar people despite the pandemic.

He said that the Centre should provide asylum to the Myanmar nationals and help them although India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

According to Rammawi, over 20,000 people from Myanmar have already crossed over to Mizoram after the military coup.
23:29   9 foreign NGOs stopped from direct India funding
At least nine foreign NGOs, which have been providing funds for work in different sectors in India, have been restrained by the government from transferring funds to the country without permission from appropriate authorities, officials said.

The NGOs were put on the 'Prior Reference Category' by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the provisions of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010, making it mandatory for the banks to inform authorities if any funds come from these foreign entities.

Among these foreign NGOs three are from the United States, two are Australian and four are from the United Kingdom, officials said.

The NGOs provide funds mostly for works related to environmental issues, they said.

According to law, if an NGO is put on the prior reference category, banks are bound to inform the foreigners' division of the home ministry if any funds come from them.

According to home ministry data, over Rs 49,000 crore in foreign funding was received by more than 18,000 NGOs in the country between 2018-20.

As per the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, every FCRA-registered NGO has to now compulsorily open an 'FCRA account' in SBI, Main Branch, New Delhi for initial remittance/receipt of foreign contribution (FC) from a foreign source.

Till July 31, 2021, a total of 18,377 designated FCRA accounts have been opened with SBI, New Delhi Main Branch.
23:16   High alert in Punjab after arrest of members of ISI-backed terror module
A high alert was sounded in Punjab on Wednesday following the arrest of four more members of an ISI-backed terrorist module, which was involved in an IED blast last month in state's Amritsar district.

The ISI or the Inter-Services Intelligence is Pakistan's spy agency.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has ordered the high alert in the state, according to a government statement issued here.

Police said that this is the fourth case of a Pakistani terror module being busted in the state in the last 40 days.

Pakistan-based terrorists and a Pakistani intelligence officer, 'Qasim', have been identified and named in the blast case registered in Amritsar. They are behind the module, Director General of Police  (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said in a statement here on Wednesday.

Pakistan-based International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) chief Lakhbir Singh Rode and Lakhbir Singh, a native of Rode in Punjab's Moga district currently based in Pakistan, are also behind the terror module, he said.

Police said that those arrested on Tuesday have been identified as Rubal Singh, Vicky Bhutti, Malkeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh.

While Rubal was picked up from Ambala on Tuesday evening, the other three were nabbed from their villages in Ajnala in Amritsar, they said.

One of their accomplice, Gurmukh Brar, was arrested earlier by the Kapurthala Police on August 20.

Taking a serious note of the increased attempts by terror groups to disturb the state's peace, the chief minister has directed the police to be on high alert, particularly in view of schools and educational institutions reopening, as well as the festival season and the assembly polls next year.

Singh has asked the DGP to ensure that high-level security arrangements are put in place, especially in busy places, such as markets, as well as at sensitive installations across the state, the statement said.

DGP Gupta said Qasim and the ISYF chief had promised to transfer over Rs 2 lakh to the terrorist module for carrying out the blast. Rubal and Vicky were in touch with Qasim, who was working in close collaboration with Rode, he said.

Rode and Qasim had tasked the four to carry out the blast, police said.

The blast had taken place on August 8 at around 11:30 pm at a petrol pump on the Amritsar-Ajnala Road in Amritsar.

CCTV camera footage showed that four persons had come there at about 11 pm and stayed there for a few minutes, before leaving, police said.

In preliminary investigations it was found that Vicky and Rubal were tasked by Rode to place a tiffin bomb on an oil tanker to create a big explosion and cause damage, they said.

On August 8, these terrorist operatives carried out a recce of the filling station during the day and placed the IED at about 11:00 pm. The blast took place around 11:30 pm, police said.
22:42   India Monsoon Watch
A snapshot of the rainfall distribution across India between Jun 1 to Sep 15, 2021 as recorded by the Indian Meteorological Department
22:23   Rupee gains 18paise against dollar, closes at 73.50
The rupee rose by 18 paise to close at 73.50 against the US dollar on Wednesday on hopes of foreign fund flows after the government approved reforms in the telecom sector and an incentive scheme for automotive and drone sectors.

Gains in the domestic equity markets and weakness in the dollar in overseas markets after softer-than-expected US inflation numbers also supported the rupee sentiment.

At the interbank forex market, the local unit opened flat at 73.68 against the greenback. During the session, the domestic unit witnessed an intra-day high of 73.50 and a low of 73.74.

In the previous session, the rupee had settled at 73.68 against the US dollar.

"Indian rupee appreciated after two days of downward swing following weakness in dollar index, foreign fund inflows, better than expected economic data and risk-on tones," said Dilip Parmar, Research Analyst, HDFC Securities.
Representational pic
Representational pic
22:09   NCB seizes drugs worth Rs 6 crore from Mumbai, Pune
Under a special drive, the Narcotics Control Bureau has seized different drugs worth nearly Rs 6 crore after intercepting seven persons, two of them wanted in a previous case, an NCB official said on Wednesday.

The seized drugs weigh more than 6kg, he said.

He said 2.112 kg of mephedrone, 3.9 kg of ephedrine and 45 grams of charas, having a combined market value of Rs 6 crore, were recovered under the multi-city drive on Tuesday from the seven persons who have been arrested.

According to the official, the NCB has registered two cases in connection with the drug seizures and arrests made after conducting raids in Mumbai, Thane and Pune.

Those arrested were identified by the NCB as Sahil Hamid Mulla Aji, Ibrahim Ismail Jhangir, Irfan Parmar, Nadeem Shaikh, Rehan Shaikh, Jay Prakash Bhat alias Jitu and Vijay Kumar Singh alias Rehan Chicken alias Monty.

Among them, Parmar, a resident of Gujarat, was involved in supplying mephedrone to affluent clients in Morbi district in the adjoining state, the official said.

Nadeem Shaikh is a key figure in drugs trade, he said.

Rehan Shaikh is a local seller and consumer of mephedrone and had been involved in drug peddling for the past four to five years, he said.

Jay Bhat and Vijay Singh were wanted in a case in which the NCB's Mumbai unit had seized 103.8 grams of mephedrone in July and arrested three persons, including a woman, the official said.
21:56   15-year-old girl gangraped in Bhopal; three held
A 15-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by three men, who also filmed the act on a mobile phone in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal district, police said on Wednesday.

The police have arrested the accused for the incident that took place under Gunga police station area in Bhopal district on September 12, while the complaint was registered at Raisen women's police station, an official said.

The victim, a Class 10 student, had gone to Gunga from her home in Raisen district to help her ailing sister, additional superintendent of police (ASP) Amritlal Meena said.

The victim was alone at home, as her sister was admitted to Bhopal's Hamidia Hospital, and on the day of the attack, the accused came home asking for her brother-in-law, he said.

The accused entered in the house by force when they found out that the victim was alone and raped her and filmed the act on a mobile phone, ASP said.

The girl narrated her ordeal to her father after she went back home to Raisen, following which a complaint was lodged, he said.

A case under the relevant sections of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has been registered against the accused, the official said.
21:40   Kerala appoints ex-envoy Venu Rajamony as OSD
The Kerala government has appointed Venu Rajamony, IFS (retd), who had served as former ambassador to the Netherlands, press secretary to President Pranab Mukherjee, and Indian consul general in Dubai, as officer on special duty on a part-time basis for a period of one year in the rank equivalent to chief secretary.
21:19   Mumbai's Covid count above 500 for 2nd time in Sep
Mumbai reported 514 new coronavirus positive cases and four fatalities on Wednesday, taking the tally to 7,36,284 and death toll to 16,037, a civic official said.

This is after a gap of a week that the daily COVID-19 case count has once again surged over 500 in the country's financial capital.

Earlier on September 8, the city had witnessed 530 new infections after more than 48,000 COVID-19 cases.

On Tuesday, Mumbai had reported 367 coronavirus infections, the fourth straight day of under-400 cases, and five fatalities.

A total of 29,886 tests were conducted in the last 24-hours, which took the cumulative test count to 97,99,839. This month's lowest number of 28,498 daily COVID-19 tests were conducted in the city on Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said.

There are 4, 026 active infection cases in Mumbai after 604 patients recovered and discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the recovery count to 7,13,174.

A total of 37 buildings have been sealed in Mumbai to prevent the spread of the virus, although there is no containment zones in slums and chawls since mid-August. The Mumbai civic body seals buildings or declares containment zones, if at least five patients test positive for the infection at a time.

According to the BMC, Mumbai's average recovery rate is at 97 per cent, while the average doubling rate has dipped to 1,277 days. The average growth rate of cases is 0.6 per cent for the period between September 8 and 14, the official said.

This year, Mumbai had reported the highest 11,163 daily cases on April 4, while the most number of deaths at 90 were recorded on May 1 during the second wave of the pandemic.
Uttam Ghosh/
Uttam Ghosh/
20:43   Glitches continue at Infy-run income tax portal
The new income tax e-filing portal, which was unveiled with much fanfare, is not completely glitch-free even as the deadline set by the government for Infosys to fix the problems expired on Wednesday.

Tax experts, who use the portal for various functions, said the website continues to face multiple glitches.

Even after over three months of the portal's launch, users are unable to submit rectification for returns filed, check refund status and file refund reissue request. They are also unable to see ITRs filed prior to Assessment Year (AY) 2013-14.

The new e-filing portal,, was launched on June 7. It had a bumpy start since the day of its launch, with taxpayers and professionals reporting glitches and difficulties in its functioning.

Infosys was in 2019 given the contract to develop the portal.

The finance ministry had on August 23 "summoned" Infosys CEO Salil Parekh to explain why issues continued to plague the portal.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the meeting with Parekh, expressed "deep disappointment" over persisting glitches and gave him time till September 15 to resolve all the issues.

Infosys and the income tax department did not respond to queries sent by PTI on the matter.

Nangia & Co LLP partner Shailesh Kumar said the government has indicated it is aware of the portal's persistent challenges when it extended the return filing deadlines by three months.

However, there is genuine hardship for taxpayers who have paid self-assessment tax but are not able to file ITR due to portal issues. They are still required to pay interest at 1 per cent per month (except senior citizens who have paid entire taxes by July 31) for delay in filing the ITR.

The government should give waiver of interest to those taxpayers who have already paid their entire tax liability, if they file their ITR within extended time limit of December 31, he said.

"The portal is still evolving with changes in modules of e-filing of ITR form. On some days, the portal works fine, on some other days, it faces technical glitches in some of the modules.

"Even though the functioning has improved over past few weeks, but still problems persist making it difficult for some taxpayers while filing the ITR," Kumar added.
20:12   Modi, Venkaiah Naidu, Om Birla launch Sansad TV
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, on Wednesday launched the Sansad TV.

The launch date coincides with the International Day of Democracy, informed the official communique by the Prime Minister's Office.

Sansad TV has been launched after merging the Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV channels.

The 24-hour channel, through its content, will showcase the democratic ethos and the functioning of democratic institutions of the country with an aim to target national and international audiences.

In February 2021, the decision to merge Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV was taken and Ravi Capoor- a retired IAS officer, was appointed as its CEO in March.

Sansad TV programming will primarily be in four categories - functioning of Parliament and democratic institutions, governance and implementation of schemes/policies, history and culture of India and issues/interests/concerns of contemporary nature.
Dominic Xavier/
Dominic Xavier/
20:00   Govt plans 5% GST on Swiggy, Zomato deliveries
The all-powerful GST Council is likely to discuss on Friday a proposal to treat food delivery apps such as Zomato and Swiggy as restaurants and levy 5 per cent GST on supplies made by them, an official said.

A proposal to make the delivery platforms liable to pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on restaurant services supplied through them is one of over four-dozen proposals that will be taken up by the Council at its meeting in Lucknow on September 17.

If approved, the apps would be given certain time to make changes in their software to allow for such tax to be charged.

Once approved by the GST Council, food delivery apps will have to collect and deposit GST with the government, in place of restaurants, for deliveries made by them. There would be no extra tax burden on the end consumers.

As per estimates, tax loss to exchequer due to alleged under-reporting by food delivery aggregators is Rs 2,000 crore over the past two years.

Under GST, these apps are currently registered as Tax Collectors at Source (TCS).

One of the reasons for designing such a proposal was that there was no mandatory registration check by Swiggy / Zomato and there were unregistered restaurants supplying through these apps.

Even though the rate of tax is low, since food delivery volumes are high, the tax evasion amount is also substantial, the official said.

Analysis of returns filed by delivery apps and the restaurant services for the state of Haryana showed that for Zomato, the gap in taxable turnover for suppliers where TCS was deducted by Zomato was greater than the turnover declared by such suppliers. Therefore, there was evasion of tax.

Similarly, in the case of Swiggy, there was a gap in taxable turnover for suppliers where TCS deducted by the app was greater than the turnover declared by such restaurant suppliers.

Accordingly, the suggestion of food delivery apps collecting and depositing GST with the government would be placed before the GST Council, the official added.
19:39   Lt Gen Gurmit Singh sworn in as Uttarakhand governor
Lt Gen (Retd) Gurmit Singh was sworn in here on Wednesday as the new governor of Uttarakhand.

The oath of office was administered to Singh by the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court Justice R S Chauhan at a simple function held at Raj Bhawan.

The function was attended by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, his cabinet colleagues Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat, Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Premchand Aggarwal and a number of senior government officials including Chief Secretary SS Sandhu and DGP Ashok Kumar.

Singh succeeds Baby Rani Maurya, who resigned two years before completing her tenure.

Singh, who retired as the deputy chief of the Indian Army, is a highly decorated officer and considered an expert on India-China affairs.

Talking to reporters soon after being sworn in, Singh said: "After serving the country as a soldier, I feel proud to have got an opportunity to serve Uttarakhand which is also called 'Veerbhumi' where every family has someone in the armed forces".

He said addressing issues related to ex-servicemen, soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty and their dependents will be among his priorities.

"I will try to rise to the expectations (of people) from the governor's office," he said.

"Women of Uttarakhand are self-reliant and courageous. A new chapter of women empowerment will be written in the state by encouraging daughters to join military schools and the NDA," he said.

Describing Uttarakhand as a sacred land where famous Himalayan shrines Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and Gurudwaras Nanakmatta Sahib, Reetha Sahib and Hemkund Sahib are located, Singh said he was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve the state and thanked President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Uttarakhand is endowed with great scenic beauty and has tremendous potential in tourism, organic farming, yoga, ayurveda, and food processing-based small industries, he said.

Limitless jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities can be created by promoting these sectors, he added.

Singh also paid tributes to Major Somnath Sharma, the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India's highest military decoration and Lt Colonel Dhan Singh Thapa, who too received the honour.

Singh saluted soldiers from the state who had won 23 Maha Vir Chakras, 147 Vir Chakras, six Ashoka Chakras, and 19 Kirti Chakras.
19:33   Cops file 1500-page chargesheet against Kundra
Mumbai Crime Branch submitted a 1500-page supplementary chargesheet in connection with the pornography case, today, before Esplanade Court.

The chargesheet has been filed against businessman and actor Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra and others.
Sonu Sood with a bus he hired to send migrants home
Sonu Sood with a bus he hired to send migrants home
18:27   Tax raids on migrant messiah Sonu Sood's premises
When you compensate and fill in the lacunae of the government's mismanagement in handling the Covid pandemic, you get a tax notice. 

Actor Sonu Sood, a messiah for thousands of migrants and poor during the pandemic, had his premises in Mumbai and a company in Lucknow linked to him raided by the Income Tax department today.

"A recent deal between Sonu Sood's company and a Lucknow-based real estate firm is under the scanner. The survey operation has been initiated on allegations of tax evasion on this deal," the Income Tax department said.

The tax raids come days after the actor's high-profile meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who declared him the brand ambassador for his government's mentorship programme for school students in the capital. After the meeting, Sonu Sood denied any plans for a political debut with Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).    
18:00   Centre set to resume tourist visas after 1.5 yrs
In a bid to boost the economy as daily Covid-19 cases in the country have come down, the Central government is considering to resume issuing tourist visas very soon, confirmed a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) official on Wednesday.

A senior MHA official confirmed that things have been formalised and a meeting has been called in the Ministry of Home Affairs that will be chaired by the Home Secretary on Thursday to discuss plans to resume tourist visas. 

The official said that it will be done in a phased manner and as per the feasibility, it will be open to all. The government is likely to allow only vaccinated people to apply for tourist visas.

Tourist visas are suspended since March 2020, from the day the first lockdown was announced. Later, several categories of visas like business, employment and others were exempted but tourist visas remained suspended.
17:38   Tata Sons bids for Air India
Tata Sons puts in financial bid for Air India, the company spokesperson said.
Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had earlier made it clear that September 15 deadline for the process is fixed and will not change.

Currently, Air India has a debt of around  43,000 crore of which  22,000 crore will also be transferred to the Air India Asset Holding Limited. 
17:20   Kanjurmarg car shed: Niti officials meet Uddhav
Top office-bearers of the NITI Aayog held a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray here, during which a host of issues, including the proposed construction of a car shed for Metro-3 at Kanjurmarg in Mumbai, were discussed. 

 The meeting took place at 'Sahyadri' guest house in south Mumbai on Tuesday. NITI Aayog vice-chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant and its member Ramesh Chand held talks with Thackeray, an official statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. 

 As many as 41 issues were discussed during the meeting, including the construction of metro car shed at Kanjurmarg, the transfer of land from the railways for Dharavi redevelopment plan, GST rebate and development of lands related to defence establishments in the state, it said. 

 The NITI Aayog officials assured the chief minister of a positive approach over the Kanjurmarg car shed issue, it added.

 In October last year, Uddhav Thackeray had announced the scrapping of the Aarey Metro car shed and said the project would be shifted to a government land in Kanjurmarg. 

 The Centre and the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government were locked in a tussle over ownership of the land earmarked by the state for constructing the car depot at Kanjurmarg.
17:08   Bengal BJP MP gets Z category immunity
BJP MP Arjun Singh gets 'Z' category security. The CISF has taken the charge of providing security cover to the leader since Tuesday. Ministry of Home Affairs had issued the order on September 13.
16:34   Sensex, Nifty surge to fresh lifetime peaks
Equity benchmark Sensex soared over 475 points to close at its new lifetime high on Wednesday, driven by gains in TCS, Bharti Airtel and Titan amid persistent foreign capital inflows. 

 The 30-share index settled 476.11 points or 0.82 per cent higher at 58,723.20. It touched an intra-day record of 58,777.06. 

 Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty climbed 139.45 points or 0.80 per cent to its new closing high of 17,519.45. 

During the session, it touched an all-time peak of 17,532.70. NTPC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, jumping over 7 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, Titan, HCL Tech, SBI, PowerGrid, TCS and IndusInd Bank. On the other hand, Asian Paints, Axis Bank, UltraTech Cement, Bajaj Finance and Nestle India were among the laggards.
16:14   Sri Lankan prison minister resigns after threatening to kill Tamil prisoners
Sri Lanka's Minister of State for Prisons Management Lohan Ratwatte tendered his resignation on Wednesday, days after he allegedly threatened to kill Tamil prisoners during his visit to the Anuradhapura prison in the country's northern central region, a senior official said. 

Ratwatte's resignation came as pressure mounted on him after the Tamil political parties sought his resignation and arrest over the incident. 

The resignation was accepted by the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Kingsley Ratnayake, the presidential spokesman, said. 

 Ratwatte allegedly went to the Anuradhapura prison on September 12 and forced two prisoners to kneel and threatened to kill them. 

 His act prompted the Tamil parties to condemn his behaviour and call for his resignation.
16:06   Govt announces 100% FDI in telecom sector
The government has announced 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the telecom sector through the automatic route as part of its comprehensive package for the telecom sector.  Till date, up to 49 per cent was allowed through the automatic route and anything thereafter had to necessarily go through the government route.

Here's the big takeaways from the press conference by Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister for Communications.

-- Today the cabinet has decided to allow 100% FDI through automatic route in the telecom sector. All safeguards will be applicable.

-- For future auctions, duration of spectrum will be 30 years instead of 20 years.

--  Also if someone takes spectrum and business conditions/technology changes then after a lock-in period of 10 years it can be surrendered by paying spectrum charge.

--  Also if someone takes spectrum and business conditions/technology changes then after a lock-in period of 10 years it can be surrendered by paying spectrum charge.
15:13   Covid cases: K'taka drops to 4th place, TN in 3rd
For the first time in months Covid cases in Karnataka fall pushing it down to the fourth place. Tamil Nadu is in the 3rd spot now. Kerala and Maharashtra firmly on 1st and 2nd spot for over a year now. 

Daily new cases of coronavirus in India continued to remained below 30,000 with the country recording 27,176 fresh COVID-19 cases, while 284 new fatalities were recorded, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. 

With the fresh cases, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases rose to  3,33,16,755, while the death toll has climbed to 4,43,497, according to the data updated at 8 am.

14:22   Dabholkar case: Charges framed against 5 accused
Narendra Dabholkar murder case: Charges framed against five accused by Pune court under IPC sec 302 (murder), 120(b), 34 along with sec 16 of UAPA & sec 3(25), 27(1), 27(3) of Arms Act. 

Framing of charges against accused Sanjeev Punalekar to be done under sec 201 IPC. 

The next hearing is on 30 Sept. 

All five accused pleaded not guilty in the case. Court has also directed that the two accused Sharad Kalakar and Sachin Andure, lodged in Arthur Road Jail and Harsul Jail of Aurangabad respectively, to be shifted to Yerawada Central Prison in Pune.

Dabholkar, who was a rationalist, was shot dead by two men while he was on a morning walk on the V R Shinde bridge near Omkareshwar temple in Pune, on August 20, 2013.

The CBI took over the probe from Pune City Police in 2014.
14:10   Household debt may have fallen to 34%: SBI
The household debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) may have declined to 34 per cent in the first quarter of 2021-22, according to an estimate by the State Bank of India's research report Ecowrap. 

 The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a spike in household debt to the GDP rate. 

As per the report, it rose sharply to 37.3 per cent in 2020-21 from 32.5 per cent in 2019-20. 

"We estimate that household debt as a percentage of GDP has declined to 34 per cent in Q1 FY22 with the commensurate rise in GDP in the first quarter, though it has increased in absolute terms, the research report released on Wednesday showed. In absolute numbers, the household debt has increased to Rs 75 lakh crore in the first quarter of FY22 from Rs 73.59 lakh crore in FY21," it said.
14:02   Maha governor seeks Ganpati's blessings
The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari joins his staff, officers and their families in performing aarti at the Ganeshotsav organized by the staff and officers of Raj Bhavan. 
13:53   Afghan resistance leader invited to European Parl
Ahmed Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front, invited to the European Parliament.
13:32   Vicky Kaushal to feature in 'Into The Wild With Bear Grylls'
 Actor Vicky Kaushal is all set to unleash his adventurous side in 'Into The Wild With Bear Grylls' show.Vicky will explore the wild with British adventurer Bear Grylls in the Maldives. 

As per a statement, the two will soon head to an ocean paradise for the shoot. A few days ago, the makers of the Discovery's show roped in actor Ajay Devgn for one of the upcoming episodes of the new season of 'Into The Wild With Bear Grylls'. Ajay is already in the Maldives.

The previous seasons of 'Into The Wild With Bear Grylls' had featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi and superstars Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar. -- ANI
Storage, sale, use of firecrackers are banned
Storage, sale, use of firecrackers are banned
13:20   Delhi govt bans firecrackers during Diwali
The Delhi government on Wednesday banned the storage, sale and use of firecrackers during Diwali owing to the severe pollution levels in the city.

 "Seeing the severe pollution levels in the national capital for the last three years during Diwali, a complete ban is being imposed on storage, sale and use of all types of firecrackers in Delhi this time, just like last year," Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi. 

 "Last year, the ban was imposed after traders had already stored firecrackers for sale which had resulted in losses for them. I appeal to the traders to not stock up on firecrackers in view of the complete ban," he said. PTI
13:01   Fairs, exhibitions allowed in Delhi from Thursday
The Delhi government has allowed public fairs and exhibitions from Thursday, under a phased reopening of economic activities interrupted by the lockdown during the second wave of Covid-19 in the city.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), in an order issued on Wednesday, said business-to-consumer exhibitions will be permitted in the city from September 16. 

Banquet halls will be allowed to hold such exhibitions and fairs, it said. Schools, however, will be closed for students up to Class 8, the order said.
12:33   736 Afghans seek registration in India in a month
A total of 736 Afghans were recorded for new registration from August 1 to September 11, the UNHCR said in New Delhi, adding that it is scaling up its capacity to meet increasing requests for registration and assistance of Afghans in India. 

 The UN refugee agency said it is in constant dialogue with the government on matters pertaining to Afghan nationals, including issuance and extensions of visa, assistance, and solutions. 

 According to the data, the total number of persons of concern to UNHCR in India stands at 43,157. 

Among them, 15,559 refugees and asylum seekers are from Afghanistan. "From August 1 until September 11, 736 Afghans were recorded by UNHCR for new registration," the UN body said in a statement. 

 Among those who have approached the UNHCR are Afghan individuals who have newly arrived in 2021, those seeking reopening of previously closed asylum cases, students, businessmen, or people on medical or other types of visa who are unable to go back due to the current situation in Afghanistan. 

 The UNHCR further said that it is scaling up its capacity to meet the increasing requests for registration and assistance of Afghans in India.
One of the terrorists Zeeshan Qamar
One of the terrorists Zeeshan Qamar
12:02   Dawood's brother managed Pak terror module
A day after the Delhi Police busted a Pakistan's ISI trained terror module, an investigation into the matter has revealed that the operatives were trained under a major or Lieutenant rank officer named Ghazi.

The module has been closely managed by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's brother.

According to the sources, Ghazi had two subordinates named Jabbar and Hamza. The police had arrested six operatives of Pakistan's ISI-trained terror module.

Two accused Zeeshan Qamar and Osama informed the police that they were taken to Pakistan on boats and they reached Jioni near Gwadar port in Pakistan after several short sea-journeys, changing boats several times, according to the accused.

There they were received by one Pakistani who took them to a farmhouse in Thatta area of Sindh province in Pakistan.

There were three Pakistani nationals in the farmhouse. Two of these, Jabbar and Hamza imparted training to them. Both of them were from Pakistan Army as they wore military uniforms. Hamza use to wear civilian clothes but was widely respected in the camp.

They imparted training to these two accused Zeeshan Qamar and Osama in making bombs and IEDs and committing arson with the help of items of daily use.

 They were also trained in handling and use of small firearms and AK-47s.The terror operatives include Jaan Mohammad Seikh (47) of Maharashtra, Osama (22) alias Sami of Jamianagar, Delhi, Moolchand alias Lala (47) of Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, and Md Abu Bakar (23), Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh has been remanded for 14-day by the police.
11:43   IAF to hold air show over Dal Lake on Sept 26
The Indian Air Force will hold an air show over the famous Dal Lake on September 26 in an effort to motivate the youth of Kashmir to join the force and also to promote tourism in the region, officials said. 

More than 3,000 schoolchildren and college students will attend the show, they said. 

"The main aim of the air show is to motivate the youth of the Valley to join the Indian Air Force and to promote tourism in the region," Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole said. 

 On Tuesday, Pole chaired a meeting of principals of various educational institutions regarding students' participation in the air show that is being conducted by the IAF as part of the 'Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav' celebrations. 

The theme of the show is 'Give Wings to Your Dreams'. More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF aircraft that will motivate them to dream about a career in the IAF and in the aviation sector, an official spokesperson said.
11:38   Hermann Bacher, the father of water management in India, dies
Swiss Jesuit Father Hermann Bacher, known for his work in the field of water management and conservation in India, has died in Switzerland, a former colleague said on Wednesday. He was 97. 

 The Indophile, who spent about 60 years in India for water management specially in drought-prone areas, had launched the Indo-German Watershed Development Programme (IGWDP) in Maharashtra to find and develop new water resources. 

 He died at his hometown in Switzerland on Tuesday, according to sources. As part of the IGWDP, he had laid emphasis on developing new water resources. 

 The Maharashtra government had honoured him with the 'Krishi Bhushan' award and the German government bestowed upon him the prestigious 'Order of Merit'. 

 The Pune-based Watershed Organisation Trust, a non-profit organisation which has been working towards watershed management in India, grew out of the IGWDP launched in 1989 by Bacher, who is considered the father of the participatory watershed movement in India, as per the trust's website.

 Father Backer, who knew a number of languages, spent most of his life among the poor people and worked towards elevating their lives through his watershed management methods.
11:34   The Dharavi Model is now a book
The book "The Dharavi Model" written by Kiran Dighavkar, Asstt Commissioner of BMC was released by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray yesterday. The book highlights how BMC succeeded in holding the spread of Corona Virus. The Dharavi Model was also appreciated by WHO.
11:11   The sand on this beach in Mumbai has been transplanted!
Much like the famed Sentosa beach in Singapore, the pruned down but still pretty Mahim beach has had a makeover. And how!

11:00   India top source of misinformation on Covid: Study
India produced the largest amount of social media misinformation on COVID-19 due to the country's higher internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users' lack of internet literacy, according to a new study. 

The study, 'Prevalence and Source Analysis of COVID-19 Misinformation in 138 Countries', was published in Sage's International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions journal. 

 The study analysed 9,657 pieces of misinformation that originated in 138 countries. They were fact-checked by 94 organisations to understand the prevalence and sources of misinformation in different countries. 

 "Of all the countries, India (18.07 per cent) produced the largest amount of social media misinformation, perhaps thanks to the country's higher internet penetration rate, increasing social media consumption and users' lack of internet literacy," the study said.

 Also, the results also showed that India (15.94 per cent), the US (9.74 per cent), Brazil (8.57 per cent) and Spain (8.03 per cent) are the four most misinformation-affected countries. 

 Based on the results, the study said, it is presumed that the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation can have a positive association with the pandemic situation.

"Social media (84.94 per cent) produces the largest amount of misinformation, and the internet (90.5 per cent) as a whole is responsible for most of the COVID-19 misinformation. 

Moreover, Facebook alone produces 66.87 per cent of the misinformation among all social media platforms," it stated -- PTI
10:57   Ensure vaccines to prisoners: HC to Kerala govt
The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to "continuously" administer vaccines to the prisoners and others in central prisons and other jails to prevent spread of COVID-19 there. 

 The high court also directed the Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services to monitor the administration of vaccines.

 With the directions, the court disposed of a plea initiated by it on its own based on a prisoner's letter claiming that no vaccination was being carried out in prisons in the state. 

The court's order came after the state government informed it that there were only 4,808 prisoners in the prisons in Kerala and that majority of them have been given the first dose of vaccination and special initiatives have been taken to vaccinate the prisoners in different age groups.
Representational image
Representational image
10:54   iPhone 13 available from Sep 24@Rs 69,900 onwards
Apple enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on the latest line-up of iPhones -- iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max -- with prices starting at Rs 69,900 onwards later this month.

"Customers in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, the US, and more than 30 other countries and regions will be able to pre-order iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max...availability beginning Friday, September 24," Apple said in a statement. 

 Customers can get iPhone 13 Pro for Rs 1,19,900 (onwards) and iPhone 13 Pro Max for Rs 1,29,900 (onwards) from Apple's online store, it added. The iPhone 13 will be available for Rs 79,900, while iPhone 13 mini will be priced at Rs 69,900.
10:39   India records 27,176 new Covid cases
India saw a single day rise of 27,176 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally to 3,33,16,755, while the death toll climbed to 4,43,497 with 284 fresh fatalities, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.
Less than 50,000 daily cases have been reported for 80 consecutive days now.
The active cases have declined to 3,51,087 and comprise 1.05 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.62 per cent, the ministry said.
09:57   Pak was considering Taliban govt as partner to counter India: US Senator
The role of Pakistan in enabling the Taliban is a victory for the hardliners in the country's government, a top American lawmaker has said, asserting that the unfolding developments in Afghanistan and the role being played by Islamabad in Kabul are not sending a good message to India.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, during a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan on Thursday, said multiple US administrations were guilty of ignoring Pakistan's role in helping the Taliban to regroup, as other US senators expressed concern over the "double dealing" of Islamabad.
"India I know that there was an announcement today there'll be a meeting of the Quad fairly soon, which is a good development, except that the Indo-Pacific region, if you are India, you're looking at this and saying, 'If the United States allowed Pakistan to unravel their standing," he said.
"Because the Pakistani role in all this - and I think multiple administrations are guilty of ignoring it. The Pakistani role in enabling the Taliban is ultimately a victory for those pro-Taliban hardliners in the Pakistani government," Rubio told Blinken.
US President Joe Biden would host the first in-person Quad summit on September 24 in Washington which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga.
The four leaders would discuss promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, addressing the climate crisis and deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas like combatting COVID-19, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
"They (Indians) have to be looking at this and saying if the United States could have, you know, a third-rate power like Pakistan unravel its aims, what chance do they have of confronting China? So, I think this leaves us in a terrible situation," Rubio said during the Congressional hearing on Afghanistan convened by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He said that all these years, while the Taliban was suffering casualties, they enjoyed safe haven in Pakistan.
"They were able to go there to rest, to refit, to train, to recruit. And so, in summary, even before the withdrawal, we had a terrible status quo. The security forces, a small number of US forces, you know, continued to die, he said.
Senator Mike Rounds said Pakistan was considering the Taliban government as a partner to counter India.
Rounds said the Iranian president has openly called this an American military defeat and is considering working with the Taliban. -- PTI
09:04   Pak-backed Khalistani groups gaining ground in US: Report
Separatist Khalistani groups backed by Pakistan are quietly gaining ground in the United States, a top American think tank has warned, ruing that the United States government has so far remained indifferent to the appeals made by New Delhi to curb their destabilising anti-India activities.
In its report 'Pakistan's Destabilization Playbook: Khalistani Activism in the US' published on Tuesday, the Hudson Institute examines the conduct of "Khalistan and Kashmir separatist groups within the United States" to investigate their support by Pakistan.
The report looks at these groups' ties to militant and terrorist outfits in India, and the possible detrimental effects of their activities on US foreign policy in South Asia.
The report demonstrates that "like Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist groups, the Khalistan groups can emerge under new names."
"Unfortunately, the United States government has shown no interest in violence committed by Khalistan activists, even though the Khalistan campaign's most ardent supporters are located in western countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States," it said.
"Unless the US government prioritises oversight of Khalistan-related militancy and terrorism, it is unlikely to identify groups that are currently engaged in violence in Punjab in India or are preparing to do so. One seldom finds what one is not looking for," it said.
Hudson Institute says that anticipation constitutes a crucial part of national security planning, and, therefore, investigating, within the limits prescribed by law, the activities of Khalistani groups located in North America is important to preventing a reoccurrence of the violence orchestrated by the Khalistan movement in the 1980s.
Importantly, the recent increase in Khalistan-related anti-India activism within the US is occurring as the United States and India are collaborating to confront the rise of China, especially in the Indo-Pacific, it said.
"The Khalistan movement's history and recent mobilisation should serve as a reminder that, unless the threat it poses is somehow preempted, it could expand to a level where action might be too late to prevent large-scale loss of life," it said.
The report calls upon the US government to India's concerns seriously and dedicate the requisite intelligence and law enforcement resources to help India address these concerns.
The report said the US government should Include all groups responsible for terrorist attacks in India in its list of designated global terrorist groups and designate as terrorists the various individuals that India and US intelligence and law enforcement have established as being connected to designated terrorist entities. -- PTI
08:11   JEE-Main result: 44 candidates score 100 percentile
A total of 44 candidates have scored 100 percentile in the engineering entrance exam JEE-Main this year while 18 candidates have shared the top rank, Ministry of Education officials said on Tuesday midnight.
The first rank holders included Gaurab Das (Karnataka), Vaibhav Vishal (Bihar), Duggineni Venkata Paneesh (Andhra Pradesh), Siddhant Mukherjee, Anshul Verma and Mridul Agarwal (Rajasthan), Ruchir Bansal and Kavya Chopra (Delhi), Amaiya Singhal and Pal Agarwal (Uttar Pradesh), , Komma Sharanya and Joysula Venkata Aditya (Telangana), Pasala Veera Siva, Karnam Lokesh and Kanchanapalli Rahul Naidu, (Andhra Pradesh), Pulkit Goyal (Punjab) and Guramrit Singh (Chandigarh).
Starting this year, Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)-Main was conducted four times a year to offer flexibility to students and a chance to improve their scores. The first phase was held in February and the second in March.
The next phases were scheduled for April and May but those were postponed in view of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that raged through the country affecting lakhs.
The third edition was held from July 20-25 while the fourth edition was conducted from August 26 to September 2.
The ranks of the candidates have been released taking into consideration the best of the four NTA scores in accordance with the policy already made. 

The examination was conducted in 13 languages -- English, Hindi, Gujarati , Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. 
Over 9.34 lakh candidates appeared in four editions of JEE-Main. -- PTI
00:20   UP seized Rs 1,900 cr property under Gangster Act
In its continuing drive against the mafia, Uttar Pradesh made arrests of 2,281 people and seized or demolished properties amounting to around Rs 1,900 crore under the Gangster Act, said the state government on Tuesday.

Uttar Pradesh government said for the first time in the state, the action was taken by identifying professional mafia, land mafia, mining mafia, drug/liquor mafia, education mafia and other mafias. "19,121 cases were registered against 3,371 mafia and 2,281 were arrested and a total 3,028 accused were prosecuted," said an official release.

According to the state government, Uttar Pradesh Police has been taking multipronged action against the mafia. Along with the legal action, the property acquired illegally has also been confiscated and demolished.

"For the first time in the state under the Gangster Act, property worth about Rs 1,900 crore has been seized or demolished," it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lauded the Yogi Adityanath led government in Uttar Pradesh and said that the BJP government is sincerely engaged in the development of the state while the previous governments in the state were run by goons and mafias.

Speaking at the event of laying the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh, the Prime Minister also slammed the previous government in the state and stated that there was a time when the administration in the state was run by goons and mafias.

"There was a time when the administration was run by goons, governance was in the hands of the corrupt, but now such people are behind the bars," he said.