Sat, 10 June 2023
India's unemployment rate falls to 7.7% in May
21:50 India's unemployment rate falls to 7.7% in May
The unemployment rate in India fell to 7.7 per cent in May due to a decline in the labour participation at 441.9 million, according to a data released by private economic think tank CMIE.
Unemployment rate in India among people aged 15 years and above fell to 7.7 per cent in May 2023, from 8.5 per cent in the previous month, CMIE's Natasha Somayya K said in an analysis on its website.
The unemployment rate inched down as a consequence of a fall in the labour participation, which implies a fall in the number of people who entered the labour market in search of work.
Compared to April, labour participation rate (LPR) fell by 1.1 percentage point to 39.6 per cent in May, she said.
"This drop in LPR in May was expected because April witnessed a large number of people entering the labour force but only a small share was able to secure employment in the month. This was bound to discourage many from searching for work in the month of May. As a result, the labour force shrunk in size from 453.5 million to 441.9 million," she noted.
Meanwhile, the decline in labour participation in May 2023 was considerably higher in rural India compared to urban India.
She stated that in urban India, the labour force shrunk by close to 4.5 million.
There were around 147 million people in the urban labour force in April, which inched down to 142.5 million in May.
According to the CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy) data, the urban labour market recorded a fall in the number of employed as well as unemployed people.
The 4.5 million fewer people in the urban labour force in May was the result of a combination of a decline in jobs by around 2.4 million and a fall in the number of unemployed in urban India by 2.1 million, it said.
This resulted in a total of 129.5 million people in the urban workforce, and around 13 million unemployed persons, it added. -- PTI
21:12 Victims are being pressurised: Protesting Wrestlers
The WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is using his influence to put sexual harassment victims under pressure and forcing them to change their statements, the protesting wrestlers alleged on Saturday, threatening to resume their stir if a strong action is not taken against him by June 15.
The government had assured the wrestlers that a charge-sheet will be filed against the outgoing Wrestling Federation of India chief Singh by June 15, following which they had halted their protest.
The wrestlers called a 'Panchayat' at Chhotu Ram Dharamshaala in Sonepat district, inviting khap, farmers and members from women organisation, who have supported them in their "fight for justice".
The wresters apprised their supporters of the discussion they had with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday.
Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik said efforts are being made to break the victims.
"It's proved, the statements were recorded under section 161 and 164 and it changed. We can't understand," Sakshi said referring to withdrawal of sexual harassment charges by a minor, who is one of the seven complainants in the case,
"It is clear that father of the minor was under pressure. Pressure is being built. For how long we will fight then," she said.
"Bajrang is getting calls, bik jao, toot jao (take bribe, end the protest). Wrong narratives are being set (by media). It breaks our hearts," she said.
"That is why we had said first arrest him and then investigate. If he is in police custody, he can't pressurise. Otherwise, one by one, victims will break. Till he is out, an atmosphere of terror will remain."
"We will not compete in Asian Games until a proper resolution comes out in this case. You can't understand the mental agony we are going through everyday," said Sakshi
Bajrang Punia, one of the key members of the protest, while speaking during the panchayat, insisted that no politics is involved in their stir against the WFI chief.
Later speaking to media, he said,"We had called this Panchayat to inform everyone the discussion we had. If a strong action is not taken by June 15, we will resume our protest." -- PTI
20:49 Have responsibility as...:Ajit on NCP appointments
Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar on Saturday debunked media reports that he was unhappy after Supriya Sule and Praful Patel were made working presidents of the outfit and he was not given any role in the Sharad Pawar-led party.
In an event in Delhi earlier in the day to mark the 24th anniversary of the founding of the NCP, Sharad Pawar declared Patel and Sule working presidents of the party, marking a generational shift in the organisation.
Talking to reporters in Pune, Ajit Pawar said, "Some media channels ran stories that Ajit Pawar did not get any responsibility, I would like to tell them that I have the responsibility of leader of opposition in Maharashtra."
Asserting that he was active in state politics by choice, the former state deputy chief minister said, "For the past several years, Supriya is in Delhi. I am active in state politics. I have responsibility of the state since I am the leader of opposition."
Incidentally, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, speaking in Delhi after the event, dismissed suggestions that the appointment of Sule has upset nephew Ajit Pawar.
"The suggestion was made by him (Ajit Pawar). So, where is the question of him being happy or unhappy," Pawar told reporters.
Ajit Pawar was seen as an heir-apparent in the NCP, but his dalliances with the BJP, including an early morning swearing-in as Maharashtra deputy chief minister along with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2019, had not been received well by the party. -- PTI
20:27 Rahul was punished for...: BJP over disqualification
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday said Rahul Gandhi was punished for his "misdeeds", apparently referring to the Congress leader's disqualification from the Lok Sabha.
He said Gandhi had insulted and hurt the sentiments of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community for which the court punished him.
The Bharatiya Janata Party played no role in the whole episode, he asserted.
Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha on March 24, a day after he was convicted in a defamation case by a Surat court over his purported remark on the Modi surname.
Exuding confidence that the BJP would come to power in the next general election, Thakur said Narendra Modi will once again become the Prime Minister of the country in 2024 because the people of the country wanted to see him lead the country for another term.
Speaking about the Bilaspur railway line project, he said the work of land acquisition for the same has been completed and a budget of Rs 1,000 crore rupees has also been allocated.
However, the problem is that the Himachal Pradesh government is not giving its share for the project, the BJP leader added.
Talking about the preparation in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he informed that BJP president J P Nadda would meet the party leaders and cadre at Hamirpur on June 12 to prepare them for the elections. -- PTI
19:55 Man held for objectionable social media post against Fadnavis
The police on Saturday arrested a man from Maharashtra's Sangli for allegedly putting up an objectionable post on social media against Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other senior politicians, an official said.
Based on a complaint lodged by an activist from the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena, the Naupada police in Thane registered a case against the accused under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, he said.
The accused had allegedly posted objectionable matter on social media against Fadnavis, Kalyan MP Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's son Shrikant and other senior politicians, the official added. -- PTI
19:35 Bengal rural Poll: Violence continues on 2nd day
Incidents of violence continued on the second day of nomination filing for West Bengal panchayat polls on Saturday, with the opposition Bharatiya Janaata Party, Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist alleging their candidates were prevented from submitting papers by the ruling TMC activists and goons.
A mob entered a Block Development Office in South 24 Parganas district and assaulted an employee allegedly for distributing nomination forms to opposition candidates, while a local Trinamool Congress leader was caught with a handgun in Murshidabad district.
The TMC, however, trashed the charges saying the nomination filing process was by and large incident free and the opposition was making false charges as they are sure about the imminent loss in the panchayat polls having very little support base among the rural populace.
A State Election Commission official told PTI: "Action has been taken on the basis of receiving every report and the nomination process was going on smoothly across the state.
The official said that as many as 1,360 nomination papers were filed on the first day across the state, and the process was smooth barring "some stray incidents in a few pockets.
A Congress activist was shot dead on Friday, the first day of nomination filing, in Murshidabad district allegedly by TMC goons, a charge denied by the ruling party.
On the second day, incidents of violence and scuffling between workers of the ruling and opposition parties came from a number of districts such as Bankura, Purba and Paschim Bardhaman, Birbhum and Murshidabad districts.
At Domkal in Murshidabad, opposition parties alleged that goons belonging to the TMC were seen moving around with firearms near the BDO office, where nomination papers will be filed, and obstructing their candidates.
Civic volunteers were seen with lathis along with the police to control disturbances in Domkal.
Besides, BJP nominees were allegedly heckled by TMC workers at Labhpur in Birbhum district.
Similar reports of violence came from Bishnupur in Bankura, Katwa in Purba Bardhaman, and Babarani in Paschim Bardhaman districts, where CPI-M candidates were allegedly prevented from filing their nomination papers by the TMC.
"There had been some stray incidents in the morning. But once we got the information, we alerted the police and remedial measures were taken. The process went on smoothly later on.
"On Friday, the number of nominations filed by the combined opposition was slightly higher than the number of nominations filed by the TMC," the SEC official said. -- PTI
19:05 Manipur: 130 snatched weapons deposited in dropbox
A drop box for returning weapons snatched from security forces set up at the home of a BJP legislator from Imphal East has become a popular attraction with local youth, who have taken advantage of the anonymous facility to deposit 130 weapons including sophisticated automatic rifles.
A large poster at a covered shed outside the home of L Susindro Meitei, who is currently a Minister in the Manipur government, says "Please drop your snatched weapons here" both in English and Meitei language.
A tagline below this adds feel free to do so, an indication that questions will not be asked how the weapons were in thei possession of those who drop by in the first place.
A few weapons including a couple of automatic rifles and live ammunition belts were actually present in the box when a PTI reporter went there this morning.
Susindro who was touring his constituency area persuading young villagers to join in the peace process by depositing their weapons, later told PTI over the phone that he had set up the facility as, "Many a time those who come to surrender arms hesitate out of fear of the police that's why this anonymous box."
He said that some 130 weapons have been received so far since it was set up a few days ago.
"The keys to the box are kept with the police and they can come anytime to pick up the weapons," the MLA added.
Large numbers of weapons were looted from police stations in early May when ethnic violence broke out in the state of Manipur.
Since then both Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have appealed to people to surrender their weapons.
Army and para-military forces in collaboration with state police have been carrying out combing operations to defang communities and bring back peace Imphal.
18:42 India's debt under Modi govt risen to Rs 155L cr: Cong
The Congress on Saturday alleged that India's debt has nearly "tripled" to Rs 155 lakh crore in the nine years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded a white paper on the state of the economy.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate claimed that the Modi government's "economic mismanagement" is responsible for the present state of the economy and claimed that Rs 100 lakh crore of debt has been added since the present dispensation assumed charge in 2014.
"As chief minister of Gujarat, Mr Modi used to blame those on the other side of the political spectrum as inefficient, incompetent and corrupt -- adjectives that today suit him and his government more than anyone else.
"After ruining India's economic growth story, creating huge unemployment, raging inflation, Mr Modi has done the unthinkable, which is an addition of over Rs 100 lakh crore to India's debt, which is at an alarming level," she said at a press conference.
The Congress leader also said India's debt in 2014 was at Rs 55 lakh crore, which has now gone past Rs 155 lakh crore.
She claimed that India's debt under 14 prime ministers in 67 years was Rs 55 lakh crore while Modi alone has increased it by over Rs 100 lakh crore.
"Economic management is not the same thing as headline management. It cannot be done through teleprompters and definitely not through WhatsApp forwards. We demand a white paper on the Indian economy because the fault lines are only getting deeper," she said. -- PTI
17:38 Blinded by pellets, Kashmiri girl clears class 12 exam
Insha Mushtaq, who was blinded by pellet guns during the 2016 summer agitation in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, has passed the class 12th board examination with flying colours.
The 22-year-old secured 319 marks out of 500 in the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education, the result for which were declared on Friday.
A resident of the Sedow area of Shopian in south Kashmir, Insha had cleared the Class 10 examination two years after losing her vision.
While everything around her seemed dark, she never lost hope. Her indomitable spirit and unwavering support system led her to achieve success, defying all odds.
She has credited her success to her family.
"After Class 10, I joined Delhi Public School, Srinagar and took a three-year courser in computers and English speaking. I qualified Class 11 in 2021 and have now qualified class 12," Insha told PTI.
"My family was adamant that I study. They told me not to lose hope and courage, study and become independent," she said.
Insha, who had become the face of pellet victims to lose their vision, also expressed gratitude to Jammu and Kashmir Centre For Peace And Justice -- a non-governmental organisation for their support.
"JKCPJ director Nadir Ali supported me. They rehabilitated me from 2018, providing me education," she added.
Now Insha wants to pursue her bachelor's degree and take coaching classes for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam.
"I want to become an IAS officer so that I can become an example for all the visually impaired persons. I want each one of them to become independent and move ahead in life," she said. -- PTI
17:14 BJP will make Shinde camp cry for every seat: MVA
The Shiv Sena-UBT and the Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday said the Bharatiya Janata Party will make the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena "cry" for every Lok Sabha seat, the statements coming amid strife in the ruling alliance in Kalyan Lok Sabha seat represented by Shinde's son Shrikant.
On Friday, Shrikant Shinde had said some leaders were trying to create hurdles in the alliance in Dombivali area (under Kalyan Lok Sabha seat) for their own selfish politics and that he was ready to leave the seat since the aim was to ensure the Narendra Modi government returns with a thumping majority in the 2024 LS polls.
Latching on to the strain there, Shiv Sena-UBT Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said the Kalyan-Dombivali area was a stronghold of the (undivided) Shiv Sena and the party had been winning from there for years now.
"The same seat was given to Shrikant Shinde who had no connection with the party. Uddhav Thackeray had pampered Shinde's son. Let him fight his battle. The BJP will make them (Shinde-led Shiv Sena) cry for every single seat," Raut said.
The NCP said the BJP had plans to ditch Shinde in Kalyan and eventually force all Shiv Sena leaders to contest on its lotus symbol.
"Looks like @BJP4Maharashtra has all plans to ditch MP Dr Shrikant Shinde in Kalyan Loksabha Constituency. Eventually BJP will force all others from Shinde camp to contest on BJP ticket or face permanent political isolation. @NCPspeaks," the party's spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said.
On Friday, in a bid to defuse the situation, Shrikant Shinde had said he would "back whichever candidate the senior leadership of BJP-Sena decides" for Kalyan as everyone was "working towards the BJP-Shiv Sena forming government at the Centre".
Shrikant Shinde has been MP from Kalyan since 2014. -- PTI
16:53 Chhattisgarh: 89 toppers of Classes 10 and 12 board exams go on helicopter ride
For N Kumari Baiga, a girl from a special backward tribe, Saturday's joyride in a helicopter in Raipur will remain an unforgettable experience, forever etched in her memory.
Baiga was among 89 meritorious students of Classes 10 and 12 of the Chhattisgarh Board of Secondary Education (CGBSE) who were given joyrides in a seven-seater helicopter by the state government, an official from the public relations department said.
The programme was organised at the helipad in Police Parade Ground in Raipur, he said.
A native of Mannabedi village in Kabirdham district, Baiga is the student of Swami Atmanand Government English Medium School at Bodla in the district, the official said.
The girl, who scored 88.16 per cent marks in the Class 10 examination, comes from a humble family and her mother works as a cook in her village's primary school. She resides in a hostel to pursue studies, he said.
"We are six siblings. My elder sister brought me to Raipur for the joyride. I will never forget this day in my life, as I had never imagined that I would board a chopper. We belong to a special backward tribal community, and I want to see progress within my community," said the excited teen who aspired to be a doctor.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had last year announced helicopter ride as a reward for meritorious students of Classes 10 and 12 examinations under the Swami Aatmanand Medhavi Chhatra Protsahan Yojana, the official said.
This year, at least 49 students of Class 10 and 30 from Class 12 have made it to the list. Among the Scheduled Tribes, 10 students, five each from Classes 10 and 12, have topped in their respective categories, he said.
At least 125 meritorious students were taken for the helicopter ride last year, he said. -- PTI
16:45 Will participate in Asian Games only when...: Sakshi Malik
Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik, who has been part of the protest against former Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations, on Saturday said that protesting wrestlers will participate in the Asian Games only after their "issues get resolved".
"We will participate in Asian Games only when all these issues will be resolved. You can't understand what we're going through mentally each day," Sakshi Malik said at the Mahapanchayat held today in Sonipat, Haryana.
Asian Games 2023 will take place in the coming September in China, however, wrestlers' withdrawal from the tournament can heavily affect India, as Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat were the gold medallist in the last Asian Games 2018.
Earlier this morning, Olympian Bajrang Punia said that they will put forward their discussions with the government before the people supporting them during the Mahapanchayat.
"Whatever talks we had with the government, we will discuss that with the people who are supporting and standing with us," Punia told ANI.
The wrestlers had met Anurag Thakur on Wednesday following a fresh offer by the government for talks.
The Delhi Police is conducting a probe into the sexual harassment allegations against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP, following the registration of the FIR.
16:33 Sibal slams Giriraj over his 'Godse saput of India' remark
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal on Saturday hit out at Union Minister Giriraj Singh over his 'Nathuram Godse a saput of India' remark, saying that by this statement many may not call the BJP leader a 'worthy son' of the country.
Singh on Friday termed Nathuram Godse a 'saput' (worthy son) of India and said the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi was not an invader like Mughal rulers Babar and Aurangzeb as he was born in India.
Hitting back, Sibal said, "Giriraj Singh: Godse a 'saput' (worthy son) of India. Assassin, born in India unlike the Mughals. By this statement many may not call you a 'worthy son'of India".
The former Union minister said, "Assassins cannot be distinguished by their origin!"
Sibal hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah condemn this statement of Singh.
Talking to reporters in Dantewada city of Chhattisgarh on Friday, Singh, who holds the rural development and panchayati raj portfolio, said those who feel happy in calling themselves children of Babar and Aurangzeb cannot be true sons of mother India.
Asked about a statement of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi related to Godse while reacting to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's comment on Aurangzeb, Singh said, "If he was the killer of Gandhi, he (Godse) was also a saput of India. He was born in India. He was not an invader like Babar and Aurangzeb." -- PTI
16:18 Odisha train tragedy: Bahanaga Bazar station sealed
No train will halt at Bahanaga Bazar station as the Central Bureau of Investigation investigating the train accident in Odisha's Balasore district has sealed the station after seizing the log book, relay panel and equipment, a railway official said on Saturday.
After restoration of both the up and down line, at least seven trains, mostly local, were halting at Bahanaga Bazar station where a triple train crash took place on June 2 killing 288 persons and leaving 1,208 others injured.
South Eastern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer, Aditya Kumar Chaudhary told reporters that the CBI has sealed the station after seizing the log book, relay panel and other equipment.
"The relay interlocking panel has been sealed prohibiting access of the staff to the signalling system, no passenger or goods train would stop at Bahanaga Bazar till further notice," Choudhary told reporters.
Though around 170 trains pass through the Bahanaga Bazar Railway station every day, only passenger trains train like Bhadrak-Balasore MEMU, Howrah Bhadrak Baghajatin Fast Passenger, Kharagpur Khurda road fast passenger, used to stop at the station for a minute.
Of the 1,208 injured persons, the railways has already provided ex-gratia to 709 passengers, he said. -- PTI
15:38 MP: Now, another Cong MLA calls Hanuman a tribal
Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Saturday that oil companies will be in a position to look at the issue of reducing petrol and diesel prices if the international crude cost remains stable and these firms have a good next quarter.
He, however, added that he was not in a position to make an announcement on the issue. "As we go along we will see what can be done," the minister told a press conference at the BJP headquarters where he was asked several questions on petroleum prices and whether bringing them down is on the government's agenda.
He said state-run oil marketing companies did "okay" in the last quarter.
"They have recovered some of their losses. They have been very good corporate citizens. As we go along we will see what can be done," he said.
The Narendra Modi-led government has ensured that there is no rise in oil prices since April 22, the BJP leader said and noted that the government will ensure that consumers suffer no hardship.
One may like to give everything for "free" but then they enter the dangerous territory of freebie politics, Puri said, accusing opposition parties of doing "revdi politics".
The issue of pricing is a dynamic matter, he said, adding that the government has taken several welfare measures in its nine years term to help people.
Puri said it is the non-BJP state governments that are most vocal about petroleum prices even though they sell petrol and diesel at higher prices than BJP governments as they did not reduce VAT.
In this context, he referred to neighbours like Pakistan and Sri Lanka without naming them and noted the power crisis they have suffered.
The western neighbour has to cut down on electricity after evening, the minister said, lauding Modi for pursuing policies which kept availability and affordability under control while also pushing sustainability by promoting green energy.
The government is also working to push the country's refining capacity to 400-450 million metric tonnes from around 252 MMT now, he said.
Puri cited various data, including those related to the housing and urban development ministry, also under him, to assert that the government's policies are sound, forward-looking and well-intentioned, and it has a decisive leadership in Modi who makes them happen.
Taking a swipe at former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan for forecasting that India may not grow at a faster rate than 5-5.5 per cent, Puri wondered if this is what he wished and said he should have at least acknowledged his mistake after India clocked 7.2 per cent growth in the last fiscal.
An eminent economist who has turned to politics, Puri said in a dig at him and used the barb of "prophets of doom" to criticise critics like Rajan.
15:32 Gujarat: ATS busts ISKP module; woman among 4 held
The Gujarat ATS has busted an Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) module and arrested three men and a woman, in operations carried out in Porbandar and Surat, police said Saturday. The men hail from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
Acting on a tip-off, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested three men from Porbandar and a woman from Surat city and seized from them incriminating materials that showed their association with the banned terrorist organisation, said Director General of Police (DGP) Vikas Sahay.
A first information report (FIR) has been registered against the four under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and efforts are on to nab a wanted accused in this connection, Sahay said.
The ISKP is a transnational Salafi-Jihadist organisation and a UN-designated terrorist organisation.
"The three men were planning to use a fishing boat from Porbandar to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line and reach Afghanistan via Iran and join ISKP," Sahay told reporters.
They were detained from Porbandar on Friday morning and were identified as Ubed Nasir Mir, Hanan Hayat Shol and Mohammad Hajim Shah, all residents of Srinagar, Shah said.
During preliminary interrogation, they revealed that they were trained and radicalised by a handler identified as Abu Hamza.
They also told the ATS that two more persons, identified as Zuber Ahmed Munshi from Srinagar and Sumerabanu Hanif Malek of Surat, were also members of the ISKP module and associated with them.
"Based on the information, Gujarat ATS and Surat crime branch raided the house of Sumera Malek and seized several radical publications such as 'Voice of Khorasan' from there.
Sumera revealed that she was in touch with her handler and in close relation with Zuber, the police officer said.
The DGP said that several documents related to their personal identities, and materials used for digital communication such as mobile phones, tablets and sharp weapons were recovered from trio detained from Porbandar.
When the cloud storage of the accused was accessed, their photographs with ISKP banner, videos of a leader giving them the pledge of allegiance, audio clips of their leader and other incriminating files were recovered, the ATS said in a release. -- PTI
14:48 Doesn't suit any leader...: Shah on Rahul's remarks
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday hit out at former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying it does not suit the leader of any party to criticise one's own country abroad.
Shah accused Gandhi of going abroad to slander India, and advised him to learn from his ancestors.
Shah was referring to Gandhi's criticism of the Narendra Modi government during his recent visit to the USA.
"Any patriotic person should discuss Indian politics within India. It does not suit the leader of any party to go abroad and discuss the country's politics and condemn the country. Remember this Rahul baba, people of the country are watching it closely," Shah said.
He was addressing a rally at Siddhpur town in Patan district of Gujarat organised to mark nine years of the Modi government.
Under the Modi government, the country witnessed huge changes, he said.
"But Congress party does not stop talking about anti-India things. Rahul baba is going abroad on vacation due to summer heat. He condemns the country abroad. I would like to tell Rahul Gandhi to learn from his ancestors," he said. -- PTI
13:57 Centre sets up panel in Manipur to initiate peace process
The Centre has constituted a committee in Manipur headed by the governor to facilitate the peace-making process among various ethnic groups and initiate dialogue between conflicting parties, the Union home ministry said on Saturday.
The members of the peace committee include the chief minister, a few ministers, MPs, MLAs, leaders from different political parties and civil society groups, it said.
"Government of India has constituted 'Peace Committee' in Manipur under the chairpersonship of the governor, Manipur. The members of the committee include the chief minister, a few ministers in the state government, MP, MLAs and leaders from different political parties," a home ministry statement said.
The mandate of the committee will be to facilitate the peace-making process among various ethnic groups of the state, initiate peaceful dialogue and negotiations between conflicting parties and groups, it said.
The committee will strengthen social cohesiveness, mutual understanding and facilitate cordial communication between various ethnic groups, the statement said.
It also includes former civil servants, educationists, litterateurs, artists, social workers and representatives of different ethnic groups, the home ministry said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had visited Manipur from May 29 to June 1 and had announced the constitution of the peace committee after taking stock of the situation.
Violent clashes broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribes (ST) status.
So far, nearly 100 people lost their lives and over 300 injured ever since the ethnic violence broke over a month ago. -- PTI
13:33 Pawar announces Sule, Patel as NCP working prez
Sharad Pawar on Saturday announced Supriya Sule and Praful Patel working presidents of the Nationalist Congress Party.
Pawar made the announcement at the 25th anniversary of the party, founded by him and P A Sangma in 1999.
The announcement was made in presence of Ajit Pawar, a key player in NCP.
Pawar had last month offered to resign from the presidency of the party which was followed by fervent remonstrations from the party members as well as other political leaders.
An NCP panel formed to deliberate on Pawar's offer had on May 5 rejected his resignation and urged him to continue as the party president. -- PTI
13:26 Navy holds mega op with 2 aircraft carriers, 35 jets
In one of the biggest demonstrations of its operational prowess in recent years, the Indian Navy on Saturday said it carried out a mission in the Arabian Sea that involved two aircraft carriers, multiple warships, submarines and over 35 frontline planes amid China's increasing forays into the Indian Ocean.
The Navy's aircraft carriers -- INS Vikramaditya and newly inducted INS Vikrant -- were the centrepieces of the exercise and the two platforms served as floating airfields for a wide array of aircraft, including MiG-29K and helicopters such as MH60R, Kamov and Advanced Light helicopters, officials said.
"The exercise marks a significant milestone in the Indian Navy's pursuit of enhancing maritime security and power-projection in the Indian Ocean, and beyond, " Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
The officials said the exercise was conducted recently.
He said the exercise involved a seamless integration of two aircraft carriers along with a diverse fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft, showcasing India's technological expertise in the maritime domain.
"This demonstration of naval prowess underscores India's commitment to safeguarding its national interests, maintaining regional stability, and fostering cooperative partnerships in the maritime domain," Commander Madhwal said.
It is the first mega exercise involving the two aircraft carriers after induction of the indigenously-built INS Vikrant in September.
The officials said almost all air assets of the Navy operated from the two aircraft carriers and they operated as mobile bases.
The exercise demonstrated that INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya can be positioned anywhere, allowing for increased mission flexibility, timely response to emerging threats and sustained air operations to safeguard national interests across the globe, they said. -- PTI
13:13 UP govt cancels 5 years' pending traffic challans
In a major reprieve to the vehicle owners charged with violating traffic rules, the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday announced to cancel the pending challans of all the vehicles from the year 2017-2021, a press release from the Chief Ministers office said.
"Uttar Pradesh government has cancelled the challan of the vehicle owners in the state, giving concession to the owners who have not paid the challan between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2021. This applies to all vehicles, including those pending in various courts," the official statement said.
Transport Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Singh instructed all divisional transport officers to withdraw these challans from the portal once they receive the court's list of abated cases, it said.
"This decision by the UP government will provide tremendous relief to the general public. This decision by CM Yogi Adityanath has been welcomed by lakhs of vehicle owners, particularly those who were previously charged with violating traffic rules. The government has issued instructions to all divisional transport offices to remove pending challans from the e-challan portal after receiving the court's list," it added.
As per the statement, the transport Commissioner further stated that this cancellation of old pending challans is in accordance with Uttar Pradesh Ordinance No 2 of June 2023.
"It is notable that farmers in Noida were protesting for the cancellation of such challans. This move paves the way for the waiver of crores of challans across Uttar Pradesh," added the statement.
It informed that if drivers believe that a wrong challan has been issued, they can also file a complaint directly on the website. A mobile notification is also sent when a vehicle's challan is deducted, ensuring prompt communication.
"Following the cancellation of old pending challans, the drivers should not panic after this period. They can fill online traffic challans while sitting at home. Detailed information can be obtained by visiting the official website of UP Traffic Police, and for this, only the vehicle number is required," the statement informed. -- ANI
12:27 Dalit man dies after being beaten by hotelier in Guj
A Dalit man died after being allegedly thrashed by a hotel owner belonging to an upper caste community and his accomplice following an argument, during which they also hurled casteist slurs at the victim in Gujarat's Mahisagar district, police said on Saturday.
The victim, Raju Vankar (45), died while undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Vadodara city on Friday night, two days after being thrashed by the hotel owner and his counter manager, an official of Bakor police station said.
Dalit leader and Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani demanded immediate arrest of the accused, whom he called "casteist goons" and warned of a protest.
As per the first information report (FIR), Vankar, an autorickshaw driver, went to the hotel to have dinner on June 7. After the meal, he also asked the hotel staff to pack food for him to carry home.
However, when he raised an objection before the hotel owner regarding the quantity of food packed for him saying that it less than what he paid for, the two accused started arguing with him and hurled casteist abuses at him.
They then thrashed him, leaving him badly injured, the police official said.
The victim returned home and told the family members about the incident. Later at night, he started complaining about acute pain in his abdomen. His wife called an ambulance and took him to a hospital at Mahisagar, he said.
He was later shifted to a hospital at Godhra in Panchmahal district, from where he was moved to SSG Hospital at Vadodara. There he underwent an operation, but later succumbed to his injuries, police officials said.
A case was registered against the two accused under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult to provoke someone), 506 (2) (criminal intimidation), and 114 (abettor present when offence committed) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. After his death, the police added section 302 of the IPC pertaining to murder.
MLA Mevani called for a protest over the death of the Dalit man and alleged that the victim died after being beaten up by the "casteist goons" that left his liver damaged.
The family of the victim and members of his community will hold a protest demanding immediate arrest of the perpetrators, the legislator said, adding that the body of the deceased will not be accepted unless the accused duo is held. -- PTI
11:16 Amid violence in Manipur, Biren Singh meets Sarma
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday met Chief Minister N Biren Singh in Manipur.
The ministers are meeting to discuss the backdrop of the ongoing violence in Manipur.
The Supreme Court on Friday declined the urgent listing of a plea against the suspension of internet services in the violence-hit state of Manipur since May 3, saying High Court is seized of the matter.
The ban on the internet was imposed on May 3 and remains in effect till now.
The violence in Manipur between the Hindu Meiteis and the tribal Kuki, who are Christians, erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3.
Violence has gripped the entire State for more than a month now and the Central government had to deploy paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control. -- ANI
10:56 BJP's response on Kharge's letter to Modi example of intolerance: Chidambaram
Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday slammed four Bharatiya Janata Party MPs from Karnataka for their undermining of All India Congress Committee chief Mallikarjun Kharge's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Odisha railway tragedy, saying it was another example of the 'absolute intolerance' of the saffron party to any criticism.
Chidambaram also said the BJP MPs' letter in response to Kharge was 'shallow on facts and hollow on arguments'.
Four BJP MPs from Karnataka, including former chief minister Sadananda Gowda, had taken exception to Kharge's writing to Modi, saying the letter was 'high on rhetoric and low on facts'.
'It does not suit a leader of your stature to write letters to the PM based on facts gotten from 'WhatsApp University'. But perhaps as the vice chancellor of WhatsApp University, you are forced to regurgitate fake news as facts,' the letter written by Tejaswi Surya, P C Mohan, S Muniswamy, and Gowda said.
Reacting to the stance taken by the BJP MPs, Chidambaram said their response was another example of the 'absolute intolerance of the BJP to any criticism'.
Chidambaram said Kharge being the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha is entitled to write to the prime minister.
'In a functioning democracy, the people expect the Hon'ble Prime Minister to reply to the letter. But our democracy is such that the Hon'ble Prime Minister will not deem it worth reply,' the former Union finance minister said.
Instead, four BJP MPs take it upon themselves to send a reply that is shallow on facts and hollow on arguments, he said.
'Two CAG reports submitted in December 2022 completely vindicate Shri Kharge's reasoned criticism,' he said.
'The letter dated 09-02-2023 of the Principal Chief Operations Manager of the S W Railway was a forewarning that a tragedy such as Balasore was likely to happen. I have no doubt that the letter lay unattended in some file of the S W Railway and was gathering dust. Will the Hon'ble BJP MPs tell us what action was taken on the letter?' Chidambaram said.
Congress president Kharge had written to Prime Minister Modi earlier this week, saying the CBI is meant to investigate crimes, not railway accidents, and cannot fix accountability for technical, institutional, and political failures.
Kharge had also said 'all the empty safety claims' of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw have now been 'exposed' and the government must bring to light the real reasons that caused this grave accident, which he described as one of the worst in Indian history.
In his four-page letter to Modi, the Congress chief had alleged that instead of focusing on strengthening the railways at the basic level, only 'superficial touch up is being done to stay in news'. -- PTI
10:15 Jharkhand bandh: No impact in Ranchi
The 48-hour Jharkhand bandh called by Jharkhand State Students' Union (JSSU), an umbrella body of different students' associations, started on Saturday but shops and markets were open and vehicles plied normally in the streets.
The JSSU had called the bandh in support of its demand for 100 per cent reservation for local people in state government jobs.
The agitators belonging to different student associations took to the streets early in the morning in the capital Ranchi to enforce the bandh.
They assembled at Ranchi's Khadgara bus stand where they requested bus and auto-rickshaw operators not to ply their vehicles.
However, local transport was plying normally in Ranchi.
Morning vegetable markets on Kokar-Lalpur Road, Naga Baba Khatal and other places were normal.
Ranchi City SP Shubhanshu Jain said that there is no impact of the bandh so far in Ranchi City.
"Some 10 agitators were seen on bikes at the bus stand but everything is normal there. Transport and other activities are normal as usual in the city," the SP said.
"This is morning time and we are visiting different places to request people's support for the bandh... We hope the impact will be seen as the day progresses," JSSU leader Devendra Mahto said.
Similar was the situation in other parts of the state.
The impact of the bandh was negligible in the morning hours.
On Friday evening, the union had taken out torchlight processions in different districts on the occasion of the death anniversary of Jharkhand's tribal icon Birsa Munda.
Mahto alleged, "The government has opened the door for outsiders in Jharkhand government jobs, which we cannot allow. So, we have called for a 48-hour Jharkhand bandh, beginning from June 10."
Earlier, the JSSU had launched a 72-hour agitation over the issue in April and observed Jharkhand bandh on April 19.
He further alleged that job advertisements are being issued on the basis of a 60-40 ratio.
Mahto claimed the government had promised an employment policy based on the 1932 'khatiyan' (land settlement) but instead, it introduced a pre-2016 employment policy, under which 60 per cent of the seats will be reserved for underprivileged students while 40 per cent will remain open for all.
Making 1932 the cut-off year for the domicile policy will help descendants of people living in Jharkhand prior to that year to get jobs.
The state cabinet on March 3 approved amendments to various rules related to Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission (JSSC) examinations.
He said that the Jharkhand bandh is part of their 31-day Maha Jan Andolan which started on May 10.
"We met 72 MLAs including 42 from ruling parties and 13 MPs to seek their support in our agitation against the 60-40 job policy. They also spoke against it. But still, advertisements for jobs are being issued on the basis of 60-40 ratio," Mahto claimed. -- PTI
09:55 Another Pak drone, carrying drugs, shot down
Border Security Forces (BSF) troops on Saturday morning shot down a drone carrying suspected narcotics from Pakistan along the International Border near Rai village in Amritsar, Punjab.
This comes a day after the BSF had recovered a Pakistani drone along the International Border near Rai village on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday.
The Public Relations Officer, Punjab Frontier, BSF in a statement said that the gross weight of the consignment suspected to be heroin that was recovered this morning is approximately 5.5 kg.
"On June 10, at around 4 am BSF troops deployed at the border reported an Indian space violation by a drone coming from the Pakistan side. Troops also heard the sound of something having fallen in a farming field in depth area near the Rai village in Amritsar. As per the laid down drill, BSF troops immediately reacted, " the PRO added.
During a subsequent search of the area, one large packet suspected to be contraband, wrapped in a yellow colour adhesive tape attached with a hook was recovered by the BSF troops from the farming field on the outskirts of Village-Rai, the PRO statement added.
On the opening of the big packet, 5 packets of heroin weighing approximately 5.5 kg were found wrapped with yellow colour adhesive tape, the PRO said.
Another nefarious attempt of Pakistan to smuggle contraband items was foiled due to the alertness of BSF troops in the Amritsar Sector, it further said. -- ANI
09:16 Odisha CM drops higher education minister after review
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has dropped Higher Education Minister Rohit Pujari from the council of ministers, sources said.
According to sources, chief minister Patnaik has recommended to Odisha Governor Prof Ganeshhi Lal to exclude minister Rohit Pujari from the state cabinet.
The recommendation has come reportedly in view of the poor performance by the state higher education department in annual performance, informed sources.
'CM Patnaik reviewed the performances of all the departments from May 22 to June 2 wherein, it was found that the performance of the Higher Education Department was at the bottom of the list,' sources said.
According to an official notification, the charge of the higher education department has been assigned to the Food and Supplies Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.
Rohit Pujari, who represents Rairakhol Assembly Constituency was inducted into the Cabinet in June last year. -- ANI
08:53 'Very severe' cyclone Biparjoy to intensify: IMD
The 'very severe' cyclonic storm Biparjoy is expected to intensify further in the next twenty-four hours and will move north-northeastwards, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday.
'Very severe cyclonic storm Biparjoy at 2330 hrs IST of 9th June over east-central Arabian Sea near lat 16.0N & long 67.4E. Likely to intensify further & move north-northeastwards during the next 24hrs,' the IMD said in a tweet.
In anticipation of Cyclone Biparjoy, high waves have been observed at Tithal Beach in Valsad on the Arabian Sea coast.
As a precautionary measure, Tithal Beach has been closed to tourists until June 14.
"We told the fishermen not to venture into the sea and they all have come back. People will be shifted to the village at the seashore if needed. Shelters have been made for them. We have closed Tithal Beach for tourists till June 14," Tehsildar T C Patel, Valsad.
Earlier, with Cyclone Biparjoy forecast to be intensified in the next 36 hours, the weather department has also advised fishermen not to venture into the seas off the coast of Kerala, Karnataka, and Lakshadweep.
The districts in Kerala where the yellow alert is issued on Friday are Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Kozhikode, and Kannur. -- ANI
01:16 Amit Shah has asked Shinde to drop 4 Sena ministers, claims Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena-UBT leader Sanjay Raut on Friday claimed that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to drop four key ministers of the Shinde-led Shiv Sena.
The Shinde-led party, however, poohpoohed Raut's statement.
There will be a political "explosion" over the long-expected cabinet expansion in the state, Raut told reporters.
"Amit Shah has given the CM some instructions for changes in the cabinet. In the cabinet expansion, if at all it happens, Shah has instructed that key four ministers of the Shinde faction be dropped...this is my information," he said.
When contacted for reaction, Shinde-led Shiv Sena's spokesperson Sanjay Shirsat said Raut's claim could be "due to his habit of poking nose in other people's business." -- PTI
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde
00:48 Shinde's MP son offers to quit for sake of alliance
Amid strain between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party in Kalyan Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra, local MP Shrikant Shinde on Friday said he was ready to resign for the sake of the alliance.
In a statement, Shinde, who is the son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, said he wanted that the Sena-BJP form government (as part of the NDA) again at the Centre in 2024.
"Some leaders from Dombivli are trying to create obstacles for the alliance for their selfish politics. I have no desire for any post. I will back whichever candidate the senior leadership of the BJP-Sena decides," he said.
Shinde has been representing Kalyan constituency near Mumbai since 2014. -- PTI