NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018
Keeping in view the unveiling of draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 30, the Centre on Wednesday issued an advisory for Assam asking it to ensure maintenance of law and order in the run-up to and post publication of the document and not to initiate action based on it. The fate of all 3.29 crore applicants will be decided with the publication of draft NRC.
In the advisory note, the MHA has said: “The Assam Government has been advised to set up a state-level coordination committee under the chairmanship of chief secretary to ensure coordination among state agencies, NRC authorities and Central agencies.” The state government has also been advised to set up round-the-clock control rooms “to receive complaints and coordinate prompt response”.
The Registrar General of India has also been asked to use all means of communication, including websites, toll-free numbers, SMS, etc., to provide information to public about the Draft NRC, the MHA informed the state administration.
“An intensive public awareness campaign has been launched to disseminate information regarding the NRC process, options available for individuals, whose names do not figure in the Draft NRC, the procedure and timeline for filing claims and objections, etc so as to address the concerns of people left out of the list,” a senior MHA official said.
The official said the Union Home Minister in a statement earlier had assured that every individual “will get justice” and that everyone would have sufficient opportunity for the remedies available under the law.
Parliament cleared the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill on Wednesday with the Rajya Sabha Opposition giving a wary nod to the move to empower authorities to attach and confiscate the assets of economic offenders who have fled the country. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha with a voice vote yesterday. The Lok Sabha had cleared the measure on July 19.
Fearful that any attempt to stall the bill, which they view as flawed, would be painted as an effort to hobble the government’s efforts to track down economic offenders, several Opposition parties including the Congress supported it after expressing reservations.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said without a law, it is not possible to stop those indulging in economic offences from leaving the country as there would be allegations of political targeting.
Goyal said the Bill sought to confiscate properties of the absconding economic offender and the threshold for this law to kick in had been fixed at Rs 100 crore so that the special courts being set up did not get clogged. He said the government could not allow a situation where the properties of an absconding economic offender could not be attached.
The Congress on Wednesday accused finance minister Piyush Goyal of airing “new statistics, new methodology and newer lies” to mislead people on Indians’ deposits in Swiss banks.
Goyal had on Tuesday dismissed reports that had cited statistics from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to claim a 50 per cent yearly rise in Indians’ deposits in Swiss banks, bucking a three-year downtrend.
He had said the SNB data encapsulated the deposits made by all Indians in all branches of Swiss banks across the world.
At a news conference, Congress spokespersons Rajeev Gowda and Gourav Vallabh targeted Goyal’s stand.
“Facts do cut through the fog: the most credible information to ascertain the deposits in Swiss Bank accounts is the data which the SNB releases every year,” the Congress said. “Any other source of information like the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), which Piyush Goyal is conveniently flashing, clearly state in their disclaimer that ‘it does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of any information or material on this website’.”
The Congress said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP had always quoted SNB data in the past instead of BIS figures. “Why are they now relying on the BIS? It is important to note that BIS data does not include non-deposit liabilities like mutual funds, bonds, debentures, etc, of Swiss Banks towards Indian nationals, which were included in SNB data,” the Congress said.
“So, primarily, if all the liabilities of the Swiss Banks towards Indian nationals are considered, it reflects an increasing trend. But if we exclude them, it shows a downward trend. Therefore the BJP is trying to disclose selective data to prove a point which is completely false.”
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong exception to the Centre’s decision to extend to 2022 the deadline for enforcing stricter emission norms for more than 500 coal-based thermal power stations, saying it had put citizens’ health to ransom.
After perusing the government’s affidavit, an angry Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said, “It’s quite clear that the power ministry has no intention to do anything to reduce pollution… it shows that even the deadline of 2022 cannot be met. It (affidavit) is illusory in nature. It appears that the Union of India proposes to do nothing in the matter.”
According to a December 2015 notification, the thermal power plants were expected to enforce the emission norms by December 2017. The plants were required to retrofit emission control equipment. But the latest affidavit extended the deadline to 2022. The Bench, which at one point threatened to close the matter, said it meant the thermal power plants would continue to emit toxic sulphur and nitrogen dioxide until 2022. “It seems your officers are not breathing the same air. There is no will to implement your own regulations. Why don’t you be frank enough to say on affidavit that you are not going to do it? We will close the case and all this junk (files) will go,” the Bench said.
Twenty-six years after he won the cricket World Cup in 1992 as captain, Imran Khan, considered to be backed by his nation’s powerful army, widely referred to as “Laadla” (favourite son) — was racing ahead to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is leading in 102 parliamentary seats — way ahead of his rivals, PML(N) at 64 and PPP at 30. This after only some 27% of votes having been counted.
While there are a total of 342 seats, a single party will need at least 137 of the 272 directly-elected seats to be able to form the government on its own. 60 seats are reserved for women and 10 for religious minorities. These are selected later through proportional representation among parties with more than five per cent of the vote.
If he manages to pull through, a relatively new political party will be ahead of the two established political parties Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML (N)), led by Nawaz Sharif’s brother and former Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, and PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Shehbaz Sharif’s PML-N and Bilawal Bhutto’s PPP last night rejected the poll results, alleging widespread rigging and manipulation.
The country’s election commission, however, played down the charges, claiming that the delay in results was due to the tedious result-gathering system.
PML(N)’s defeat, after five years of power, means that Sharif’s politically risky move to come back to Pakistan and surrendering before the authorities after being charged with corruption allegations arising out of Panama Papers scandal, did not quite pay off. He, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar, are in Adyala jail.
Politician Khan is an untested commodity across the border and India will be watching his moves very closely as Indo-Pakistan ties have been in deep freeze for over two years now. His outreach to religious fundamentalists has also made Delhi wary about his future moves.
However, Pakistan’s election hardly saw any mention of India during the election campaign. Kashmir was mentioned a few times, including in his party manifesto using the predictable line of a solution as per UNSC resolution.
The Trump administration on Wednesday announced $12 billion financial assistance to American farmers hit by retaliatory tariffs imposed by trading partners like China, India and the EU.
Farmers in the US have been adversely impacted after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, triggering a trade war with several countries, including China, which has announced retaliatory measures against American goods. Being described as a short-term solution, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will authorise up to $12 billion in programmes, which is in line with the estimated $11 billion impact of the unjustified retaliatory tariffs on the US agricultural goods. “This is a short-term solution to allow President Donald Trump time to work on the long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire US economy,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.
In line with his remarks Monday that several Dalit MPs have “expressed concern” over the “wrong message” sent by the appointment of Justice (retd) A K Goel as National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman since he is “the judge who ruled against” the SC/ST Act, Union Minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, saying the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha (AIAM), a Dalit rights coalition, has sought removal of Justice Goel from the post.
He said the AIAM has also asked the government to bring in a Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament to safeguard the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and “take immediate action in the interest of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes”.
Several SC/ST organisations have called for protests on August 9.
Justice Goel’s appointment to the NGT post, Chirag Paswan said, had sent out a message to SCs and STs that he was being “rewarded”.
Justice Goel was one of two judges on a Supreme Court bench — the other being Justice U U Lalit — which on March 20 laid down stringent safeguards, including provisions for anticipatory bail and a “preliminary enquiry” before registration of a case under the Act.
The judges noted that there had been “instances of abuse” of the Act by “vested interests” for political or personal reasons.
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday opposed in the Delhi High Court the CBI’s request for his custodial interrogation in connection with the INX Media corruption case, saying their “intent is only to humiliate and harass” him.
The senior Congress leader was responding to the CBI’s July 3 request for his custodial interrogation before Justice A K Pathak, alleging it was necessary as he has remained evasive and non-cooperative during questioning.
Strongly opposing the CBI’s contention, Chidambaram, in his rejoinder to the agency’s contention said, “The CBI’s contention seeking his custodial interrogation is contrary to its own submission (assuming it is correct) that there is cogent and convincing material already on record and he has already been questioned on the said material.”
“Further, the contention of the CBI that custodial interrogation is ‘qualitatively different’ reveals the real intent of the CBI. The intent is only to humiliate and harass the petitioner (Chidambaram). This also shows the mala fide approach of the CBI in making a false case for custodial interrogation,” said Chidambaram.
Maratha groups seeking reservation in jobs and education called off a day-long bandh midway Wednesday following violence by those who had taken to the streets in different parts of Maharashtra. Buses and local trains were stoned in several parts of the state, including Mumbai and Thane, during the bandh. A Superintendent of Police and a Deputy Commissioner of Police were among several police personnel injured in stone-pelting. The Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Goa highways were blocked for hours by protesters.
While the bandh was called off around 2 pm in Mumbai, it continued in parts of Navi Mumbai and Thane until 5.30 pm.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved a scheme which provided for a uniform compensation for victims of sexual assault and acid attacks and asked the Centre and states to implement it in letter and spirit.
Under the scheme prepared by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), survivors of gang rape would get a minimum compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a maximum of Rs 10 lakh. The victims of rape and unnatural sexual assault would get a minimum of Rs four lakh and the maximum of Rs seven lakh as compensation.
In case of the victims of acid attacks, if there was disfigurement of face, she would get a minimum compensation of Rs seven lakh, while the upper limit would be Rs eight lakh. In case of injury exceeding 50 per cent, the victim would be entitled to a minimum compensation of Rs five lakh and the maximum of Rs eight lakh. It has also provision for compensation in cases of acid attacks where injury is less than 50 per cent and 20 per cent. It provides for Rs 7 lakh maximum compensation for the victims of burning cases.
Ruling on an inter-faith marriage case of a Hindu-Muslim couple, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that officialdom must not be seen “raising eyebrows and laying snares and landmines” in such cases. The procedure for a court marriage, it has said, “must reflect the mindset of the changed times in a secular nation promoting inter-religion marriages”.
In his July 20 order released Wednesday, Justice Rajiv Narain Raina, ruling on the plea of a couple who had approached the High Court against court marriage rules framed by the Haryana government, said the Court Marriage Check List (CMCL), issued by the Haryana government, largely violates the couple’s right to privacy.
The couple — one from Gurgaon, and the other from Faridabad — wanted to legalise their marriage under the Special Marriage Act without change of religion. The woman argued in court that her parents are opposed to the marriage and the usual procedure of the check list should not be followed in their case as it affects their right to privacy.
The High Court, in its order to the District Marriage Officer, directed him to consider temporary residences of the couple in the marriage application instead of seeking their permanent address and not send the advance notice to their parents “to strictly maintain privacy rights, their right to life and liberty”.
Billionaire Anil Ambani has written to Congress President Rahul Gandhi refuting allegations of his Reliance Group lacking experience to get the Rafale fighter jet deal and said the government had no role in French Group Dassault picking up his company as a local partner.
In a two-page letter written on December 12, 2017, Ambani explained to Gandhi, who has been attacking the government over the Rafale deal, why his Reliance Group bagged the multi-billion dollar project.
Invoking his family’s “respectful relationship” with the Gandhi family over generations, Ambani said he was “personally saddened” by the “unfortunate statements” against him and his group by several functionaries of the Congress party.
“Not only do we have the necessary experience but we are also the leaders in several important areas of defense manufacture,” he wrote. He said Reliance Defence has the largest shipyard in the private sector at Pipavav in Gujarat and is currently building five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPVs) for the Indian Navy and 14 Fast Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.
India coach Ravi Shastri has made it clear that there was no ulterior motive behind reducing his side’s warm-up match against Essex to a three-day game. In a brief interaction with the Indian media, his first on the UK tour, Shastri said the only reason behind dropping one day from the originally scheduled four-day match was to get to Birmingham and let the players switch to Test-match mode a day earlier.
The Indian think-tank apparently felt that gaining an extra day of training at Edgbaston, the venue for the first Test of the five-match series, would help the intensity of the players. Shastri confirmed it was indeed so. “(We are) getting in there, into the Test match venue, because it wouldn’t have served the purpose here (Chelmsford),” Shastri said. “Instead of an extra day here, I think an extra day (of training) there would be more valuable. More familiarity with the venue and the conditions where you are playing the first Test.”
Shastri rubbished a media report that suggested the reason India had decided to cut down on a day’s play was because they were not happy with the practice pitches at Chelmsford.
Despite the toasty conditions, the challenges that are likely to confront the Indian batsmen for the rest of the summer arrived early on at Chelmsford. After Virat Kohli won the toss, India elected to bat on a pitch that was green and seaming. They lost Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara in the first three overs, and then lost Ajinkya Rahane an hour later. All three batsmen edged and were caught behind.
Kohli (68), KL Rahul (58), Dinnesh karthik (82 not out), Hardik Pandya (33 not out) took the team total to 322/6 by day’s end.
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When you say that you agree to a thing in principle you mean that you have not the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice. – Otto von Bismarck
An optometrist was instructing a new employee on how to charge a customer:
“As you are fitting his glasses, if he asks how much they cost, you say ‘1500’.
If he doesn’t blink, say, ‘For the frames. The lenses will be ‘1000.’
If he still doesn’t blink, you add ‘Each.’
Newsletter July 26 2018
July 26, 2018