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Reality TV show Indian IdolJunior finalist Nahid Afrin,

against whom some Islamicclerics issued a “fatwa”, hasrefused to bow the their diktats.Although Nahid, who lives inBiswanath Chariali, initiallybroke down and said, “I amspeechless”, later she said she isnot afraid of the threat and willcontinue to pursue her dreamof making it big in the musicindustry.

Nahid told the media onWednesday, “I think my musicis God’s gift to me. I will neverbow to it (such warnings) andnever leave singing. Being apractising Muslim, I do notbelieve singing is anti-Islam.My singing is a gift of God. Ibelieve it must be properlyutilised, not doing so would beignoring God. My father tootold me our religious leaderssaid I can continue singing.”

Meanwhile Assam ChiefMinister Sarbananda Sonowalon Wednesday asked police toprovide security to Nahid.

The fatwa against Nahid

comes on the heels of a 22-year-old Muslim girl fromKarnataka becoming the victimof trolling and bullying byMuslim fanatics on the socialmedia for singing a Hindudevotional film song whileauditioning for the Kannadaedition of the hugely popularreality show Sa Re Ga Ma Palast week and 45 days afterKashmiri teenager ZairaWasim, whose performance asyoung Geeta Phogat in bio-graphical sports drama

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The BJP may have ensured itsdispensations in Goa and

Manipur, but it is still taking itstime to select the ChiefMinisters for the key States ofUttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,with the possibility ofannouncements to the effecteven spilling over to early nextweek not being ruled out.

In the meantime, the BJPhas issued a three-line whip inthe Lok Sabha for March 16, 17and 20 to get the GeneralBudget passed in Parliament.

This, BJP sources said, wasto ensure that its MPs fromboth the States remain in Delhiand attend the ongoing sessioninstead of being in their respec-tive home States and beingengaged in the Government-formation exercises.

Consultations for the selec-tion of the new CM of UP areunderway in Delhi after theBJP Parliamentary Board onSunday appointed senior lead-ers M Venkaiah Naidu andBhupender Yadav as observersfor the State. Both the leaderswould be leaving for Lucknowsoon, sources said withoutspecifying the date.

However, the sourcesmaintained that the processmay come to a logical conclu-

sion as early as Saturday. Party president Amit Shah

has been authorised by theParliamentary Board to take afinal decision on the selectionof CMs of the respective Statesafter observers submit theirreports.

In the highly caste-polarised UP, the BJP has tokeep the caste mathematics inmind before electing the CM.One of the posts — ChiefMinister, State president andSpeaker — has to be given toan upper caste nominee, giventheir numbers and their tradi-tional support to the BJP in theState.

However, the strong back-ing by non-Yadav-OBCs to theBJP in the Assembly pollscould very well sway the partyto elect an OBC as a CM.

The names doing therounds for the CM’s post in UPinclude Union Home MinisterRajnath Singh, the tallest leaderof the BJP in the State and whowas at the helm of affairs in theState from 2000-2002.

However, the big questionis whether he is ready to swaphis Union Home Ministry withthe CM’s post or not.

Rajnath, on Wednesday,himself scorned and rubbishthe talk of his moving toLucknow to take charge of the

State. But there was a buzzabout his personal securitystaff taking stock of the CM’sresidence in Lucknow.

Current UP BJP unit pres-ident and senior party leaderKeshav Prasad Maurya, anOBC, has been one of themost talked about names forthe CM’s post, even before thebeginning of the polls.

Continued on Page 4

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In its first Cabinet meetingafter BJP’s electoral victories

in the recently-concludedAssembly polls, the NarendraModi dispensation onWednesday brought cheers forCentral Government employ-ees. It increased the DearnessAllowance and Dearness Reliefto 4 per cent from the existing2 per cent from January 1, 2017benefiting 48.85 lakh employ-ees and 55.51 lakh pensionersand approved the sanction of�1,160 crore for setting up 50new Kendriya Vidyalayas(KVs) for the children of civiland Defence personnel.

The DA and DR will beeffective from January 1, 2017.The hike is as per the agreedmethodology of taking theaverage of the Consumer PriceIndex-Industrial Workers(CPI-IW) for the past 12

months.“New KVs will be opened

from classes I to V for which650 regular posts shall be cre-ated in all 50 KVs. The schoolgrows every year with additionof one higher class and, whenthe school grows up to class XIIand becomes a full-fledgedschool with two sections ineach class, there shall be arequirement of about 4,000regular posts of various cate-gories i.e., about 2,900 teachingposts and about 1,100 non-teaching posts. These newschools when fully functionalwill provide quality educationto approximately 50,000 stu-dents in addition to the approx-imately 12 lakh studentsalready studying in the present

KVs,” said an official statement.The Cabinet Committee

on Economic Affairs approvedthe development of the sixlaning of the 73-km Handia-Varanasi section of NH-2 inUttar Pradesh.

This work will be under theNational HighwaysDevelopment Project Phase-V.The approval is in HybridAnnuity Mode with the costestimated to be �2,147 crore,including cost of land acquisi-tion, resettlement and rehabil-itation and other pre-con-struction activities.

This apart, 15 IndianInstitutes of InformationTechnology (IIITs), set upunder the PPP mode,

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Three Lashkar-e-Tayyeba(LeT) terrorists were killed

and a 6-year-old girl died of astray bullet that piercedthrough the wooden wall of herhouse during a fierce encounterin forested Hyhama area ofnorth Kashmir’s Kupwara dis-trict on Wednesday. A boyand a police constable sus-tained injuries in the gun bat-tle. Terrorists are suspected tobe Pakistani nationals.

The operation, launchedon specific information, beganaround 6 am when a jointparty of Kupwara police alongwith Rashtriya Rifles andCentral Reserve Police Forcejawans launched a search oper-ation in Jugtiyal, Hyhama.“During the search, terroristsopened fire on the search party.The fire was retaliated resultingin an encounter,” a policespokesman said.

Continued on Page 4

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The Lucknow Police onWednesday finally laid its

hands on absconding formerMinister Gayatri PrasadPrajapati accused in a gangrapecase. The cops, however, treat-ed him with “kid gloves” dur-ing a brief interrogation, saidsources, adding that his sup-porters and advocates travellingby SUVs were allowed toaccompany Prajapati in pres-ence of police officers led byASP Shivram Yadav.

Prajapati was nabbed fromnear Agra Expressway underPara police station area around8.15 am when he was movingtowards the city to surrenderbefore the Alambagh police. Hewas later sent to 14-day judicialcustody.

Prajapati was booked on aSupreme Court directive and anFIR was lodged on February 17against him and six others forallegedly gangraping a womanand attempting to rape herminor daughter. The apex court

had asked the UP Police to sub-mit an action taken reportregarding the incidents in eightweeks in a sealed cover.

On the way to jail, Prajapatiwas brought at HazratganjKotwali where he was mobbedby the reporters who jostledwith one another to take hisversion of the incident.

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Delhi Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal and Bahujan

Samaj Party chief Mayawati onWednesday raised their pitch inquestioning the reliability ofElectronic Voting Machines(EVMs) following parties’ poorshow in the recent Assemblypolls.

While theBSP chiefdecided to movecourt allegingtempering ofEVMs, the AamAami Party supremoclaimed EVM tamper-ing may have led to AAP’s poorshow in Punjab.

The move by Mayawatiand the comments by Kejriwalevoked derision from the BJPand its ally SAD.

The BJP said there are“some defects” in Mayawati and

not in the EVMs. Kejriwalfaced flak from BJP ally AkaliDal whose leader and UnionMinister Harsimrat Kaur Badaladvised the AAP chief to go for‘vipassana’, a style of medita-tion, instead of casting asper-sions on the reliability of thevoting machines.

The BSP, which had 80MLAs in the outgoingAssembly, was decimated in the

recent Assembly polls inUP where it finished a

distant third winning19 seats in the 403 -

member Housewhile the AAPmaking a debut in

Punjab bagged 20seats in the 117-member

Assembly. The ruling SAD-BJP combine was trounced inPunjab.

Mayawati said the BSP hasdecided to observe a ‘black day’every month against the “mur-der of democracy” by the BJPand charged that the saffronvictory in UP smacked of “dis-honesty” and “fraud”.

Continued on Page 4

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Ever wondered why veteri-narians are few and far

between making it a cumber-some task to locate one attimes of need. It is becauseIndia has just half the numberof veterinarians against therequired strength even as thenew churn-outs, annually2,100, are too less to bridge thegap in future too.

While catering to thebovine population alone willrequire 60,000 veterinarians,their total numbers stand at63,000 (registered ones) in thecountry. This is when therequirement is between 1.10and 1.20 lakh.

According to a reporttabled in Parliament, there is anacute shortage of veterinarydoctors and medicines which isbadly affecting the livestock inthe country.

The total livestock popu-lation consisting of cattle, buf-falo, sheep, goat, pig, horses andponies, mules, donkeys, camels,mithun and yak in the countryis 512.05 million as per the2012 Livestock Census, trans-

lating into a requirement of60,000 vets to cater to bovinesalone. These would further goup if poultry, sheep, goats, pigsand other animals are added.

“The present animal health-care infrastructure is grosslyinadequate to take care of thevast population of the live-stock/poultry in the country.Veterinary doctors or medicinesare not available in the nearbyanimal healthcare centres totreat the sick animals and there-fore, farmers are compelled to

travel long distances for treat-ment of their animals,” it said.

The ParliamentaryStanding Committee onAgriculture, headed by MPHukm Dev Narayan Yadav,expressed concern over theshortage of veterinary doctorsand medicines for treatment ofsick livestock/poultry particu-larly in the rural areas of thecountry. The general norm is tohave at least one veterinarydoctor for every 5,000 animals.

“As a result, a large number

of sick animals die withouttreatment or medicine and thefarmers, particularly poor smalland marginal farmers have tosuffer huge loss in terms of theirlivelihood,” the report said.

India currently has 55 vet-erinary colleges, with an aver-age intake capacity of 60 stu-dents each, working out to atotal of 3,300 a year. But thepassout numbers stand at 2,100.

The data of Ministry ofAgriculture reveals that asagainst Budget Estimate of�250 crore and revised estimateof �245.45 crore for the year2016-17, a sum of a meager�2.4 crore has only beenreleased to states/UnionTerritories for the constructionof 13 veterinary dispensariesand renovation of 121 otherstill December 31, 2016.

The Secretary of theAnimal and HusbandryDepartment had told theCommittee that there is short-age of veterinary doctors andmedicines and this is particu-larly due to shortage of fundsfor the purpose.

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It was a historic day inManipur on Wednesday

when senior BJP leader NBiren Singh took oath of officeand secrecy as the new ChiefMinister of the State, headingthe first-ever BJP Governmentin the State since inception.

Manipur Governor NajmaHeptulla gave the oath of officeand secrecy to N Biren Singhat a function held at the Raj

Bhavan in Imphal. Later on therecommendation of the newChief Minister, the Governorhad also sworn-in eight MLAsas Ministers which includes ThBiswajit Singh (BJP), YumnamJoykumar Singh (NPP), L.Jayantakumar Singh (NPP),Letpao Haokip (NPP), N.Kayisii (NPP), Karam Shyam(LJP), Th. Shyamkumar (Conglegislator who defected to theBJP) and Losii Dikho (NPF).

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New Delhi: Uttar PradeshCongress chief Raj Babbar onWednesday offered to resign,taking moral responsibility forparty’s poll debacle in the State,amid demands for structuralchanges and fixing responsi-bility in the party. Babbar alsoechoed Rahul Gandhi on theneed for making structuralchanges to strengthen the partybut defended the Congressvice-president, saying leader-ship is not changed “for lossesin one or two elections”. PTI

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved theNational Health Policy which proposes to provide “assured healthservices to all” in the country. The policy has been pending forthe last two years. Union Minister JP Nadda is likely to make asuo moto statement in Parliament on Thursday elaborating onthe salient features of the policy. The Cabinet note which hadbeen given earlier, however, had not talked about making healtha "fundamental right" as it will have "legal consequences" but pro-posed assured health services. PTI

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In what can be called a ‘Madein India’ initiative, cab dri-

vers’ union Chaalak Shakti areall set to give a tough compe-tition to Ola and Uber bylaunching their own App-basedcab service called SEWA CABfrom April 7.

Problems of cab driversgoing on strikes or protest andpassengers suffering from surgepricing may not arise any more.If their claims come true, theymight even wipe out Ola andUber from India’s capital.Attachment of cabs to the ser-vice will start from March 17and run upto March 31 andwill be followed by intensivetraining in soft skills to drivers.

Sahdev Panchal, a leader ofthe Union Chaalak Shakti,claimed that the quality oftheir service and experience ofthe customer with the tech-

nology will be at par withother companies.

“The union has contractedseveral service providers fortechnology, customer care,operations, marketing andother business related needs.Ola and Uber charges a com-mission of 27 per cent amount-ing to �12,000 to �20,000 permonth from the drivers, SewaCab will charge a fixed month-ly fee of �700.

The fare will be collected incash initially but wallet pay-ment system will be intro-duced soon. Moneys for allwallet transactions will also godirectly into the cab driver’saccount instead of routing itthrough the union,” saidPanchal.

Meanwhile, Pawan Kumar,a key union leader, stated thattheir technology has “hail andgo” feature which allows a pas-senger to hail a taxi on the

street just like an autorickshaw. Once a passenger boarding

the vehicle, the driver will askfor his mobile number and feedit into the fare meter built intothe driver’s app. The meter willstart immediately, said Kumar

Welcoming all types oftaxis under Sewa Cab, includ-ing tourist taxis and kaali peelitaxis, the union in a Pressstatement said that the date forthe introduction of autorick-shaws will be announced later.The service will be expanded toall major cities of the country

over the next few months.The union gave a live

demonstration of technologyusing two drivers placed fivekilometres apart. A bookingwas made using the fully func-tional app and it was immedi-ately assigned to the closest dri-ver who immediately called the

customer on his phone. Thedriver started the ride andupon reaching the destination,the final fare was displayed. Thedemonstration worked flaw-lessly.

On being queried about thepricing, the union leaders saidthat their fares will be com-petitive and transparent. Theysaid that the low fare of �6 perk.m. of Ola and Uber is a hog-wash. It actually works out to�12-14 for Uber and �14-16 forOla without surge pricing.When surge is taken intoaccount, the average pricebetween the two easily crossesthe �15 mark. The union lead-ers challenged Ola and Uber tocome clean over these rates.

“We request the people totake up the invoices for theirlast 10 rides and do the mathfor themselves. With SewaCabs, savings for the driverswill come from the abolition of27 per cent commission whichthe Ola and Uber charge theirdrivers,” read the statement ofthe Union.

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The National Green Tribunal hasdirected the Jawaharlal Nehru

University (JNU) to submit proof of thepermission taken for cutting trees in theecologically-sensitive southern ridgearea after a plea alleged unauthorisedconstruction in the area.

A bench headed by NGTChairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar,which had earlier issued notices toE n v i r o n m e n tMinistry, JNU, DelhiD e v e l o p m e n tAuthority, DelhiGovernment andothers, directed them to file their replieswithin two weeks. “The JNU shallshow complete compliance,” the benchsaid while posting the matter for nexthearing on April 26.

The order came on the NGOCHETNA’s plea against JNU, NationalIntelligence Grid and CRPF for con-structing illegal buildings in reserve for-est area without environmental clear-ance. However, the NGO confined itsplea to illegal construction in JNU and

said it would file separate petitions forother violations.

The NGO contended that JNUcomes under the South Central Ridge(Reserve Forest) category and any typeof construction is prohibited in it.

It claimed that seven buildingswere erected on the fragile eco-zone onthe JNU campus without taking priorpermission from Ridge ManagementBoard threatening the area’s ecology.

The buildings include 24 type-IIIf lats for staff atPaschimabad, sewagetreatment plant inSaraswatipuram, newhostel building near

Shipra hostel, Trans-Disciplinary acad-emic building, Yamuna hostel wardenflats and dining hall.

It may be recalled that The Pioneerhad reported the issue in issue onMay12, 2016 in detail. The Pioneerreport had then caught the attentionof the NGT and notices were servedto the JNU administration over theillegal cutting of trees for construct-ing new building without the greenclearance.

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Alcohol turned out to belethal for a 25-year-old

labourer when he was brutal-ly stabbed to death by hisfather. The father too wasintoxicated at the time of theincident. In a shocking turn ofevents, a 50-year-old fatherallegedly stabbed his son out-side their residence in North-west Delhi’s Bhalswa Dairyarea on late Tuesday night.

Police said that the victim,Gyanu got into a heated argu-ment over a trivial issue withhis father Chandrika who wasunder the influence of alcohol.

Chandrika took a knife fromthe kitchen and stabbed his sonmultiple times. The victim’selder brother rushed him to anearby hospital where he suc-cumbed to injuries. Police saidthat hours after the fatherkilled his son, they arrested himfrom the same neighbourhoodwith the help of local residents.

A senior police officer,privy to the case said, “At thetime of the murder, the victim’smother and sister were presentat the spot. After killing Gynau,Chandrika, a small time rag-picker fled from the crimescene. When we questioned thevictim’s mother, she tried to

save her husband. Even after wearrested the accused, heshowed no signs of remorseand regret.”

Locals of the VishwanathPuri said that the father sonduo often indulged indomestic fights.Police said thatthe incident tookplace around10.15 pm in theVishwanath Puri area of theBhalswa Dairy when oneGyanu, allegedly drunk at thetime of his murder went home.He used to live with his fami-ly.

“When Gyanu reached

home, he was drunk. He gotinto a heated argument with hisfather, Chandrika. Within a few

minutes, the argumentescalated and Gyanuallegedly slapped hisfather. In a fit of rage,Chamndrika went

inside the house, tooka kitchen knife and

came out and bru-tally started stab-

bing his son.Hearing loud noises, local

residents as well as Chandrika’seldest son, 30-year-old Juganucame outside and saw Gyanubleeding profusely.Juganu tookhis younger brother to the

Babu Jag Jivan Ram hospitalwhere he was declared dead bythe doctors.

Based on the statement ofthe victim’s elder brother, policeregistered a case under Section302 of the Indian Penal Codeat the Bhalswa Dairy police sta-tion.

DCP Milind Dumbere(Northwest) said, “Theaccused, father of the 25-year-old victim was arrested. Furtherprobe is on.”

Police further said localpolice questioned the local res-idents and on late Tuesdaynight arrested the accused fromthe vicinity.

New Delhi: Delhi Police arrest-ed a 32-year-old computer grad-uate from Malaysian Universityfor allegedly killing his motherafter she refused him money fordrugs, police said onWednesday. The accused,Animesh Jha, was planning toflee to Nepal but was arrestedfrom Patna railway station onTuesday, police said. Animeshhopped from one city to anoth-er to evade arrest.

He travelled between vari-ous places like Rishikesh,Haridwar, Mumbai, Patna, saidDCP (Southwest)SurenderKumar, adding that he visited 13cities of seven states in 17 daysafter allegedly killing his moth-er, Meeta Jha, on February 24.

“The police traced his loca-tion to Mumbai but before theycould reach Mumbai, hechanged his location fromChembur (Mumbai) to Andheri(Mumbai) and from there, hefled to Patna,” said the officer.

He was trying to contact oneof his friends through Linkedinand wanted to escape to Patnaand from there by road to Nepalas he had drug peddlers as hiscontacts there, police said.

He was aware that policecould trace him through hisphone location. He was thereforenot using his mobile phone,instead was using the STDbooths to make phone calls. SR

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Delhi Police on Wednesdaytook stock of its prepared-

ness for the Jat agitation that islikely to reach the nationalCapital on March 20. In a toplevel meeting chaired by theDelhi Police CommissionerAmulya Patnaik and attendedby the Special Commissionersof Police (Law and Order),Joint Commissioners of Police,Deputy Commissioners ofPolice, Assistant Com-missioners of Police and StationHouse Officers (SHO), severalissues pertaining to the safetyand security of the ParliamentHouse were discussed.

All stations of Delhi Metroin the vicinity of the ParliamentHouse and New Delhi districtwill be closed and Delhi Policewill also keep an eye on EMUshuttles that run between neigh-bouring cities of Haryana andDelhi. The entire Delhi districtwill be out of bounds as DelhiPolice has drawn a detailedplan to stop the Jat protesters intheir tracks, a senior policeofficial said on being askedabout the measures being con-templated by the Delhi Police todeal with the Jat agitation.

Delhi Police officials are inregular touch with the Haryanaand Uttar Pradesh Police andIntelligence is being gathered toassess the number of the peoplewho may try to come to the cityto take part in the proposed agi-tation on March 20, aroundParliament House to press forreservation to Jat community inCentral Government jobs.

A senior Delhi Police offi-cer said that all routes leadingto the national capital will beblocked to prevent people fromentering the city. People trav-elling to Delhi on tractor trol-lies would not be allowed sincetractors are banned for beingused for transportation pur-poses. The Motor Vehicle Acthas provisions in this regard,the official added.

Anticipating big crowd,Delhi Police has identifiedthree stadiums that will beused as temporary jail, theofficial said.

Madhur Verma the DelhiPolice spokesman said, “In lightof the Jat agitation planned totake place in Delhi, the DelhiPolice held a meeting with theDelhi Police Commissioner andall senior police officers. In themeeting, it was decided that no

car, tractor or trolley will beallowed entry on March 20.Taking due order from theSupreme Court, we willimpound the vehicle at the bor-der area itself. Apart from theheavy deployment of the AntiRiot Cell of the Delhi Police, wewill seek deployment of the out-side force and due permission ofthe Anti Riot Equipment will besought.

“To ensure that the publicof Delhi is not inconvenienceddue to the agitation, we willtake appropriate measures. Thesafety and security of the gen-eral public will be our topmost priority.”

It may be noted that onMarch 1, National President ofthe Jat Agitation, Yashpal Malikhad said, “We have asked peo-ple to bring all their vehicles,including tractors and trucks,and animals like buffaloes,along with tents and necessarymaterials for survival. We won’tmove until our demands aremet.”

He had further said theywill also do a gherao of theParliament and announced themovement as ‘Delhi Kooch’.“The common man will suffer,we know that. But we are alsothe common citizens of thiscountry and we will have to dothis for us,” he added.

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After an e-mail sent by DelhiUniversity’s prestigious St

Stephen’s College to all heads ofdepartments, 41 out of 53 per-manent teachers of the institu-tion have submitted a letterdemanding to “honour theassurances given to the staff co-uncil” regarding the autonomyissue.

A governing body meetingof the DU college decided to goahead with the proposal seekingautonomy for the institution, lastmonth. The recent letter sent bythe teachers pertains to themeeting that the college princi-pal had on the March 6 withsome heads of departments anda subsequent e-mail to them.

The teachers in the lettersaid that the meeting was held onMarch 6 with “grossly inadequatenotice, even no notice in the caseof some heads. As a result of thatheads of some departments wereunable to attend the meeting.”

“We wish to object strong-

ly to your decision to ask indi-vidual faculty members to givein their feedback on the ques-tion of autonomy before March10, 2017, in the form ofresponses to a questionnairewith questions that are eitherirrelevant or un-answerable onthe basis of the almost non-existent information available tous,” said the letter.

According to the teachers,during the March 3 meeting, theChair decided to carry the con-cerns of the teachers to the gov-erning body. “These concerns ofthe Staff Council, a statutorybody of DU, must be first con-veyed to the governing bodybefore they were asked to giveany feedback or to proceed fur-ther in any manner with respectto the proposal for autonomousstatus,” they said. The teachersrequested the principal to con-vene a meeting of the governingbody and place before it the rat-ified minutes of the proceedingsof the Staff Council meeting heldon March 3, 2017.

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New Delhi: The Delhi Policeofficer probing the alleged“high-handedness” of policepersonnel during the recentclashes outside Ramjas Collegehas been transferred.Additional DCP-I (North) EshaPandey has been transferred toSpecial Police Unit for Womenand Children as its DCP.Harendra Singh, currentlyserving as DCP (EOW), willreplace Pandey as AdditionalDCP-I(North).

“In case the probe is yet notcompleted, Singh will handlethe investigation,” said a seniorpolice officer, adding “it is aroutine transfer and is notconnected to the Ramjasprobe”.

The officer also said thatPandey had requested for thetransfer citing personal reasons.Pandey will be replacing VarshaSharma who has been posted asDCP (EOW).

Ramjas College had wit-nessed large-scale violencebetween members of the AllIndia Students Association(AISA) and the Akhil BharatiyaVidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)last month. The incidentoccurred after an invite wassent to JNU students UmarKhalid and Shehla Rashid toaddress a seminar on ‘Cultureof Protests’ which was with-drawn by the college authori-ties following opposition by theABVP. SR


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The All India Institute ofMedical Sciences (AIIMS)

said the JNU student, whoallegedly hanged himself at hisfriend’s residence in southDelhi’s Munirka, died due toasphyxia and no injury markwas found on the body, rulingout any foul play onWednesday. Muthu Krishnan(28), an M Phil student atJNU’s Centre for HistoricalStudies, had hanged himselffrom a ceiling fan at his friend’sresidence on Monday.

The five-member medical

board constituted to conductthe autopsy, in its preliminaryreport, has stated that thedeath was due to hanging andno injury marks were presenton the body.

“The death was due toasphyxia (a condition of severe-ly deficient supply of oxygen tothe body due to abnormalbreathing) as a result of ante-mortem hanging. No injurymark has been found in anypart of the body,” said DrSudhir Gupta, Head of AIIMSForensic Department.

“There were signs of drib-bling of saliva on the face of the

deceased which is a sure sign ofante-mortem hanging. Viscerahas been preserved for chemi-cal analysis,” Dr Gupta said.

The body of the JNUresearch scholar was

embalmed and handed over topolice, he said, adding theautopsy procedure was video-graphed. Meanwhile, policehave registered a case of abate-ment to suicide in the death of

Krishnan. “We have registereda case of abatement to suicideunder relevant section of TheScheduled Castes (SCs) andthe Scheduled Tribes (STs)Prevention of Atrocities (PoA)Act. The case has been regis-tered against unknown per-sons,” a senior police officersaid. Krishnan’s body wastaken for post-mortem toAIIMS on Tuesday but it couldnot be done as the student’sfamily members along withsome Congress, AIADMK andDMK leaders and a few JNUstudents demanded trans-parency in the autopsy.

Krishnan’s father hadsought a CBI probe claimingthat his son cannot commit sui-cide. “My son cannot commitsuicide. He was very strong andconfident. We want a CBIprobe to be conducted andactual reason behind his deathbe revealed,” Krishnan’s father,Jeevanandam, had said.

Following their demands,the medical board was con-stituted. Krishnan, who hadnamed himself ‘Krish Rajini’on Facebook, was at the fore-front of a students’ move-ment following RohithVemula’s suicide.


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Delhi Police on Wednesdayregistered a First

Information Report at VasantVihar police station againstunknown persons on the chargesof abetment to suicide underSection 306 of the Indian PenalCode (IPC), section 3(S) ofSC/ST Atrocities Prevention Actin the case of the alleged suicideof 29-year-old JNU scholar, JMuthu Krishnan.

Investigation of the casehas been marked to AssistantCommissioner of Police (ACP)Mehrauli sub-division JimmyChiram. As per the provisionsof the SC/ST Atrocities

Prevention Act, a case of suchnature has to be investigated bya gazette officer.

A senior police officer saidthat the FIR was registered afterthe father of the deceased sub-mitted a written complaintthat his son was facing castebased harassment from theJNU administration.

Police came to know aboutthe alleged suicide of MuthuKrishnan after it received a callon Police Control Room (PCR)at around 5.05 pm on Monday.Police found that the room waslocked from inside and thepolice had to use force to breakopen the door. MuthuKrishnan was found hanging

from a ceiling fan in his friend’shouse in South Delhi’s MunirkaVihar.

“During the preliminaryinvestigation, we found that thelatch of the door was uproot-ed indicating that it was aclear case of suicide,” a seniorpolice official said.

“From the preliminaryenquiry, it appears that thedeceased has committed sui-cide,” the official added.

Meanwhile, as per thecomplainant, Jeevanandam,the pictures of the position ofof the body ofMuthukrishnan as shown tohim by the senior police offi-cers raises serious doubts

about the alleged claim ofKrishnan committing sui-cide. In the photographs, itwas evident that the deceasedwas hanging from the ceilingfan with a long piece of cloth,his knees bent and his feettouching the ground.

Moreover, in such cases, thetongue was not protrudingand his eyelids were notdrooping which is normallyseen in cases of suicide.

“On reaching Delhi, myson’s friends told me that hewas facing caste based harass-

ment and discrimination in hisacademic pursuits from hiscenter and the JNU adminis-tration,” read the FIR.

Muthu Krishnan’s father,Jeevanandam on Tuesday hadsaid that his son cannot com-mit suicide and had demand-ed a CBI probe. “My son can-not commit suicide. He wasvery strong and confident.We want a CBI probe to beconducted and actual reasonbehind his death be revealed.”

Muthu Krishnan was an M Phil student at JNU’sCentre for Historical studiesand was at the forefront of astudents’ movement followingRohith Vemula’s suicide.

�� � 23��4351�

Opposition members in theParliament on Wednesday

sought a probe into the sus-pected suicide of a Dalit researchscholar at the JNU and alleged“caste discrimination” there.

Responding to the mem-bers’ concerns, ParliamentaryAffairs Minister Ananth Kumarassured the Lok Sabha mem-bers of a “suitable action” whileMinister of State CommerceNirmala Sitharaman informedthe Upper House that DelhiPolice has been directed tourgently file an FIR in the sui-cide Muthu Krishnan and theGovernment was also consid-ering the deceased father’srequest for a job to his sisters.

Opposition members in theLok Sabha too sought a probeinto the suspected suicide of theresearch scholar at the JNU andalleged “caste discrimination”there. “It is very shocking. Hehad written a Facebook post crit-icising the Dalit policy of theJNU. He had recorded incidentsof discrimination. His father hassought a CBI enquiry. It is a veryserious incident,” K Suresh(Congress) said. An AIADMKmember alleged caste discrim-ination and bias against studentsfrom south India and sought aHRD ministry probe.

During the Zero Hour, CPI

leader D Raja raised the mattersaying a Dalit student fromTamil Nadu had died in pathet-ic and “mysterious” circum-stances and asked what washappening in the central uni-versities of the country. Raja hadraised the matter related to thesituation facing “Dalit, Tribal,Minority and OBC” students.

Several other membersincluding DMK leaders TiruchiSiva, Kanimozhi, SP leader RamGopal Yadav, JD (U)’s Ali AnwarAnsari expressed their anguishover the incident. Siva said whilestudents of weaker sections gotinto the institutions through thereservation system, they facedproblems like economic depri-vation and societal attitude.

Deputy Speaker P J Kurienalso told the minister that themembers’ statements seemedto suggest that there was a feel-ing of discrimination and inse-curity among the Dalit studentsand the government shouldlook at these aspects.

����� ��� �� �� 23��4351��

National Green Tribunal(NGT) has directed the

Delhi Government to apprise itabout population of indigenousbreeds of cow in the nationalcapital. A Bench headed byNGT Chairperson JusticeSwatanter Kumar expressedconcern over decreasing popu-lation of indigenous breeds ofcattle in the country and direct-ed the Delhi EnvironmentSecretary to file a compliancereport within two weeks withcomplete details.

“Let the EnvironmentSecretary file a compliancereport within two weeks...Rejoinder, if any, be filed with-in two weeks thereafter,” theBench said and posted thematter for next hearing to April25.

The order came while hear-ing a plea filed by lawyerAshwini Kumar who hadmoved the tribunal against the

“looming threat of extinction ofindigenous breeds of cattle” inthe country and sought direc-tions to the Centre to ensurethat cattle are not slaughtered.

The tribunal had earlierissued a notice to AgricultureMinistry on the plea also seek-ing a nationwide ban on theslaughter of indigenous breedsof cattle.

Kumar had claimed a steepdecline in the indigenous cowpopulation and said that Indiancattle were being replacedacross the country by exotic andcross-bred cows imported fromEurope, Australia and the US.

“Even developed countriesare taking steps to preservediversity in livestock and takingsubstantial steps to preserve andconserve their domestic live-stock species,” the plea hadsaid. Kumar had blamedGovernment authorities at thenational, State and local levelsfor being a silent spectator tothis extinction.

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Delhi BJP president ManojTiwari has criticised Delhi

Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal’s allegations on “EVMFoul Play”. Tiwari said thatAAP is unable to accept theirdefeat in Punjab and GoaAssembly elections and theyhave the fear of losing theupcoming civic elections inDelhi. “The EVM - BallotPaper controversy will now beused by him after losing Delhicivic elections,” said the actorturned politician Tiwari whorepresents North east DelhiParliamentary constituency inLok Sabha.

Meanwhile the prepara-tions for municipal are on fullswing in Delhi BJP quarters.From Leader of opposition toparty presidents, BJP leadersare interacting with co-work-ers in a bid to strengthen theirground work to win civicelections.

According to sources inDelhi BJP, the party will soonannounce the list of candi-dates. “This time, thirty per-cents seats will be given toPurvanchali candidates, said asenior BJP leader. The party can

announce the names on March20, Monday ,” he added further.

Meanwhile Leader ofopposition (LOP) in Delhiassembly Vijender Gupta hasasked Delhi BJP workers tountiringly work to bring BJP topower once again inMunicipalities and ultimatelyin the Vidhan Sabha.

He said, “The success inupcoming municipalities willpave way for Congress-freeIndia and AAP-free Delhi withultimate goal of winning theVidhan Sabha elections inDelhi.” “Civic will provide greatopportunity to local BJP work-ers to prove their mettle in a bigway,” he said further.

“The workers must gofrom door to door to reach thevoters at grass root level toapprise them of the develop-ment works done by BJP dur-ing the last five years.Simultaneously, they mustexpose AAP Government,” hesaid further.

BJP’s General SecretaryKuljeet Singh Chahal has in a let-ter to the State ElectionCommissioner (SEC) of Delhihas said that now that the ModelCode of Conduct standsenforced in Delhi after theannouncement of poll schedulefor the Municipal Corporationselection it is important that allillegal publicity material beremoved from the roads ofDelhi. He also said that the SECshould inspect the contents ofsuch promotional hoardingsand those be removed whichviolate the mandatory guide-lines.

BJP has requested the StateElection Commissioner todirect the Chief Secretary andthe Police Commissioner ofDelhi to survey Delhi roadsand ensure removal of all ille-gal publicity material stuck bypolitical parties andGovernment bodies.

����� ��� �� �� 23��4351��

Indira Gandhi InternationalAirport (IGIA) has been

adjudged as the best airport inIndia and Central Asia bySkytrax at the World AirportAwards (WAA) which was heldat Passenger Terminal EXPO inAmsterdam, Netherland onTuesday.

The 2017 Awards are basedon 13.82 million airport surveyquestionnaires that were com-pleted by 105 different nation-alities of air travelers during thesurvey period.

The survey operated fromJuly 2016 to February 2017,covering 550 airports world-wide and evaluating travellerexperiences across differentairport service and productkey performance indicatorsfrom check-in, arrivals, trans-fers, shopping, security andimmigration through todeparture at the gate.

I Prabhakara Rao, CEO-Delhi International AirportLimited (DIAL) said, “It is amatter of great pride for us toreceive yet another covetedaward off global repute and Iful ly dedicate this to all our stakeholders and busi-ness associates at DelhiAirport.”

Edward Plaisted, CEO ofSkytrax said, “We congratulateDelhi International Airport fortheir success in winning thisimportant customer satisfaction award, a quality

benchmark for the world air-port industry.”

The Indira GandhiInternational Airport (IGIA)has recently achieved World no

2 position in the highest cate-gory — over 40 million pas-sengers per annum (MPPA) —of Airport Service QualityAwards 2016.

����� ��� �� �� 23��4351��

Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal has requested

Lieutenant-Governor AnilBaijal to call a meeting of polit-ical parties and the StateElection Commission toexplore the possibility of usingballot papers in Delhi civicpolls.

He told reporters that if theState Election Commissionrejects such proposal outrightthen the idea has to be junkedbut if it is open to experi-menting then things can beworked out.

“Only the L-G has thepower to change rules on themode of polls. TheCommission, in a report, hassaid that at this stage it will bedifficult to effect any change. SoI have requested the L-G to calla meeting involving the AAP,the BJP, the Congress and thecommission,” Kejriwal said.

In his letter to Baijal, theAAP national convener said,“As the matter is of utmosturgency, the L-G is requestedto immediately amend the rel-evant rules to provide for elec-

tions by paper ballot so that theforthcoming MCD electionsare conducted in a free and fairmanner.” He said in case L-G isof a different view, it is request-ed that a meeting of all politi-cal parties in Delhi and StateElection Commission is con-vened by the L-G immediate-ly to discuss the issue.

Kejriwal also alleged thatEVM tampering may have led tohis party’s poor showing inPunjab. “It could be part of a con-spiracy to keep the AAP out ofpower in that state,” he alleged.

Kejriwal on Tuesday hadwritten to the Delhi chief sec-retary directing him toapproach the state electioncommission with the request tohold the municipal polls inDelhi, slated for April 22, usingballot papers.

New Delhi: The ElectionCommission of India has fixedthe next date of hearing in theoffice of profit case for March27. The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) MLAs in their petitionbefore the Election Commissionsaid that the notice of the hear-ing of the case on March 16, wasreceived by them on March 5and that their counsels were notavailable as some of them hadgone abroad and few were busyin prior engagements.

The AAP in their petitionalso asked the ECI to fix the dateof hearing on the matter for anydate after April 14, which the ECdeclined.

The EC’s verdict on the casemay affect the party’s future inDelhi as the three MunicipalCorporations of Delhi are goingto polls soon and the decisionhas been much awaited by bothits rivals BJP and the Congress.

Staff Reporter

New Delhi: An Uzbek nation-al woman was allegedly gan-graped by her former boyfriendand four of his friends in southDelhi’s Vasant Kunj, police saidon Wednesday.

Additional DeputyCommissioner of Police, southdistrict, Chinmoy Biswal, saidthe accused ex-boyfriendAnubhav Yadav has been

arrested and his friends areabsconding.

Police, said Yadav and hisfriends had barged into herhouse in Masoodpur on March10 as she was not respondingto his calls.

“Yadav and his friendsbeat her up and then alleged-ly raped her when she was ina semi-conscious state. Next

morning she went to the near-by hospital but left without amedical note. On 14th, shereported the matter to policefinally as she was scared dueto the incident. Based on herstatement an FIR under rele-vant sections was registered atthe Vasant Kunj(North) policestation,” said Biswal.

Staff Reporter

����� ��� �� �� 23��4351��

The Delhi High Court onWednesday asked the city

Government to show whetherthe accounts of its ForestDepartment with regard tomoney received for cuttingdown trees, was being audit-ed by the Comptroller &Auditor General of India(CAG).

A Bench of Justices BadarDurrez Ahmed and AshutoshKumar asked the Governmentto place before it the auditreport of the ForestDepartment if carried out bythe CAG or by any externalauditor.

The court is examininghow much money has beenreceived by the ForestDepartment for giving per-mission to cut down trees forvarious development projectsand how much has beenrefunded by the authority.

Under the rules, 50 per

cent of the money received bythe department for givingpermission is to be refundedafter five years if the person orany authority which cutsdown a tree, plants 10 trees ascompensatory afforestation.

“Does your internal auditby an external auditor takecare of it? Does it go to theCAG,” the bench asked theforest department and said itshould come with the reportstomorrow.

The court also asked theDelhi government as to whatsteps have been taken pur-suant to its order in Decemberlast year to frame guidelineswith regard to bursting ofcrackers during festivals.

It was hearing a PublicInterest Litigation (PIL) initi-ated by it on the issue of airpollution and its causes, oneof which was the decline inforest and green cover inDelhi and its surroundingareas.

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From Page 1The encounter continued

till the afternoon. Police constable Danish

Ahmad was hit in his elbow. Hewas immediately shifted toArmy’s base hospital inSrinagar for treatment.

Police said 6-year girlKaneeza and minor boy Faisalsustained injuries after theywere hit by stray bullets at theirhome more than 100 metresaway from the encounter site.“They (Kaneeza and Faisal)were shifted to hospital fortreatment where the girl suc-cumbed to her injuries. Theboy has been referred toSrinagar and his condition isreported to be stable,” policesaid.

From Page 1The police took in guard of

the Minister and this led to apandemonium-like situationthere.

Prajapati denied thecharges levelled on him andsaid he did not know thewoman who accused him ofrape. He said he never gave anymining lease to the womanthough he admitted that thewoman used to visit hisGautampalli located officialresidence.

Prajapati demanded Narcotest of the woman while he vol-unteered self to go for a Narcotest to prove his innocence.

After he was brought atHazratganj Kotwali, he wasallowed to sit before the ASPEast Shivram for hours andlater when he moved out from the ASP East’ cabin, hissupporters insisted to allow theaccused to sit in a SUV but with the mediamen startedshouting at police conduct, he was made to sit inside apolice vehicle with cops sur-rounded the vehicle from, allsides. This led to ruckus and acameraman was allegedlythrashed up by a Prajapati'ssupporter.

Later speaking to thenewsmen, SSP LucknowManzil Saini said the police hadpicked elder son of the formerMinister and he was interro-gated thoroughly.

“When we did not get anyclue about Prajapati, the policepicked his younger son and hisnephew and interrogated them.We told them that they wouldbe challaned for hiding thedetails about the abscondingformer Minister and thisworked. They told us the about his location to be inKolkata. A police team wasasked to keep tabs on Prajapatiand he was finally caught,” shesaid.

“He sought to know thedetails about the charges lev-elled on him and asked what‘remedy’ was available for him.I asked him to seek advice fromhis counsel,” she added.

She rubbished the mediareports that the police weredeferring his arrest and waswaiting for the final result ofthe Assembly election. TheSSP added that the police willtake Prajapati on police remandin the time to come.

“We are studying all theaspects related to the incident.Right now the police had nocorroborative evidence againsthim,” she said

ASP East Shivram Yadavlooked taking side of theMinister as he said the chargeslevelled against Prajapati werenot sufficient to corroborate hiscrime.

“The woman had deniedmedical test. She had got herstatement recorded before a

Magistrate under Section 164of CrPC. But the statement willbe of no use if she reneged fromhis statement that she gotrecorded before a Magistrate,'he argued.

Citing a legal point, theASP said statements given dur-ing the trial were of substanceonly.

“If during trial the womantakes back her allegation,Prajapati will get benefit of thesame,” he added.

On Tuesday, the Lucknowpolice nabbed three moreaccomplices of Prajapati. Withtheir arrest, all the six namedin the case lodged atGautampalli police station ofLucknow, had been arrested.

Those arrested were iden-tified as Rupeshwar, ofAshiyana, Vikas Verma ofKrishna Nagar and AmrendraSingh alias Pintu of Amethi dis-trict. They were nabbed fromHazratganj police station area.Earlier, the police had nabbedPrajapati's two aides - AshokTiwari and Ashish Shukla -from Noida near Jewar on theYamuna Expressway on March7 while Minister’s securityguard Chandrapal was arrest-ed on March 6 near Lucknowpolice lines.

With the change of guardin Uttar Pradesh, the police hadshown interest in tighteningnoose around the minister inAkhilesh Cabinet.

From Page 1“After we did not get a

proper reply from the ElectionCommission on our complaintlodged with them soon afterthe results were announcedon March 11, the party hasdecided to go to court in thismatter so as to save (the coun-try) from such a fraud in thefuture and save democracy,” shesaid.

Speaking to mediapersonsin Lucknow ahead of reviewmeeting on the party’s debacle,Mayawati said, “Our party hasalso decided to launch an agi-

tation in UP and other States toexpose this fraud...The partywill observe ‘black day’ at allthe district headquarters inUP and State headquarters inother States on the 11th ofevery month, the date on whichthey murdered democracy, andthe first demonstration will beon April 11.”

Kejirwal said EVM tam-pering may have led to AAP’spoor showing in Punjab, alleg-ing it could be part of a con-spiracy to keep the party out ofpower in the State. Kejriwalalso said before 2014 Lok Sabhapolls even some BJP leaderslike LK Advani were not infavour of the EVMs.

The AAP chief, whoseparty won 20 seats in the 117-member Assembly with a voteshare of 24.9 per cent, claimedthat around 20 to 25 per centof its votes may have been“transferred” to the SAD-BJPcoalition.

The poll result is “beyondunderstanding” and raises a“big question mark” on the reli-ability of EVMs as politicalpundits across the spectrumhad “predicted a landslide” forthe AAP, he told a Press con-ference in Delhi.

Kejriwal claimed that tam-pering with EVMs could havebeen done “selectively” in sig-nificant States like Punjab,

where plans were to “keepAAP out of power”. At thesame time, the AAP supremosaid he takes the “wholeresponsibility” of party’s per-formance in the State.

The BJP ridiculedMayawati’s allegations of EVMtampering and asked her to“gracefully accept the people'smandate”.

“When you win, EVMsare right. When you lose,EVMs are wrong. This showsthat there are some defects inyou (Mayawati),” UnionMinister M Venkaiah Naidutold reporters.

Harsimrat advised Kejriwalto go for ‘vipassana’ instead of

casting aspersions on the reli-ability of EVMs. Harsimrat, thewife of SAD President SukhbirSingh Badal, also said the DelhiChief Minister may have “lost”his mental balance followingAAP’s poor show in Punjab.

“He (Kejriwal) has lost hismental balance so he is sayingthings like this. He did not sayanything when AAP had won67 seats in Delhi,” she toldreporters in Delhi.

She said the people ofPunjab have thrown out theAAP and it would be better ifKejriwal focuses his energy tomanage the party’s affairs inDelhi. “He should do vipas-sana.”

From Page 1The Parliamentary

Committee has expressedannoyance as this issue has also

been raised by the Committeein the past but no correctiveefforts have been made by thedepartment to address theissue.

The Committee has rec-ommended that immediate

action plan may be formulatedto address the shortage of vet-erinary doctors and medicinesfor treatment of sick animals.Ministry of Finance may alsobe urged to provide adequatefunds for the purpose.

From Page 1He is also known to be

close to Amit Shah.The BJP’s outspoken face in

the Uttar Pradesh, YogiAdityanath, also has his nameon the list of probables. Aprominent figure ofPurvanchal, he has been rep-resenting the Lok Sabha con-stituency of Gorakhpur since1998.

Another strong contendercould be Minister of State forTelecom and Railways, Manoj

Sinha, a Bhumihar. He is cur-rently the MP from Ghazipurconstituency.

For Uttarakhand, SatpalMaharaj, the former Congressleader who switched over to theBJP in 2014 and former StateMinisters Prakash Pant andTrivendra Singh Rawat are the front runners for the topjob. But for his election defeatfrom Ranikhet, State presidentAjay Bhat could also have been a Chief Ministerial can-didate.

From Page 1Senior NPP leader and

former Director General ofPolice Yumnam JoykumarSingh, who was a close to for-mer Chief Minister OkramIbobi Singh, took oath as theDeputy Chief Minister of theState.

“The Government’s prior-ity will be to end the blockadeof the two national Highwaysin the State, which are causingimmense trouble for the peo-ple of the state,” said N BirenSingh, while briefly interactingwith the media after the swear-ing-in ceremony.

The BJP delegation ledby Biren had met theGovernor and staked claim toform the Government in theState on Tuesday. While theBJP has got 21 legislators on itsown, the NPP and NPF, whichhad won four seats each alsoextended their support to the

BJP-led Government in theState. Besides, the LokJanshakti Party (LJP) legislator,the All India TrinamoolCongress (AITC) legislatorand one of the Congress leg-islators also extended theirsupport to the BJP-ledGovernment making the totalstrength of the BJP-led allianceto 32 in the House of 60.

The Congress which haswon 28 seats in the polls failedfell short of the magic numberof 31 to form the Governmentin the State.

Najma Heptulla had invit-ed the BJP-led group onTuesday to form the Govern-ment and said that it is theresponsibility of the Governorvested by the Constitution ofIndia to weigh and measure thestability of the State.

Heptulla had on Tuesdaysaid that the new Governmenthas to prove its majority in thefloor of the House soon afterthe formation of theGovernment.

From Page 1‘Dangal’ earned her plau-

dits, was forced to apologisepublicly after her pictures withMehbooba Mufti went viral onsocial media, and the Jammu &Kashmir Chief Ministerdescribed her as a “Kashmirirole model”.

For the first time in Assam,46 Islamic clerics issued a fatwaagainst the 16-year-old singerNahid and distributed leafletswarning her not to perform onstage as it is against Sharia law.The fatwa came days ahead ofthe class X student’s participa-tion in a musical show to beheld at Udali Sonai Bibi Collegein Lanka area of Nagaon dis-trict on March 25.

Taking note of the leaflets,the police said the matter isbeing investigated. It is alsobeing ascertained if the fatwais in reaction to Nahid's recentsongs against terrorism and theIslamic State, said a police offi-cer, adding she and her familywould be provided securitycover.

Printed in Assamese andcarrying names of 46 clerics,organizations and individuals,the leaflets said, “Magic, dance,drama, theatre, etc are againstSharia laws. Events like musi-cal shows are against Sharia law and future generations willbe corrupted by it. If anti-Sharia acts like musical nightsare held on grounds sur-rounded by masjids, madrasasand graveyards, our future gen-erations will attract the wrathof Allah.”

Sonowal on Wednesdaycondemned the fatwa andinstructed the police to providesecurity to Nahid, who broughtlaurels to the State when shebecame the runner-up in thepopular TV show Indian IdolJunior in 2015 and made herdebut in Bollywood last year inthe Sonakshi Sinha starrerAkira.

Sonowal also spoke to

Nahid on phone on Wednesdaymorning and assured her of allsteps to ensure her security sothat she can continue pursuingher musical pursuits fearlesslyand bring laurels to the State.

“Such a ruling against prac-tising art and culture is unac-ceptable and is tantamount toinfringement of one’s freedomof cultural rights. Such a movecannot be tolerated in acivilised society.

The State Government iscommitted to providing secu-rity to all artistes in Assam andmaintain an environment con-ducive to pursuit of art and cul-ture. The Government wouldnot tolerate any move to bogdown any artiste of the State,”the Chief Minister said.

Assam Director-Generalof Police Mukesh Sahay saidthat the police have alreadystarted the process of identify-ing the clerics who had signedthe leaflets threatening thesinger.

Nahid’s mother said theorganisers of the March 25event had told her family thatthe programme will not be can-celled because of the fatwa.

Meanwhile, some of thosenamed in the leaflet havedenied they are part of thefatwa claiming their nameswere included without theirconsent.

Coming out in support ofNahid, several prominent per-sonalities from the minoritycommunity, students and eth-nic organisations as well asULFA faction in peace talkswith the Centre, have con-demned the fatwa and urgedNahid to continue singing fear-lessly.

Hundreds of people andorganization who came out tosupport Nahid on Wednesdaysaid that there is no space forreligious extremism in Assam,where Hindus and Muslimshave been living in peace andharmony since centuries.


������������ �����;;; ����� ��;;;




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India on Wednesday askedPakistan to rein in its “com-

pulsive hostility” towards itand fulfil its obligation tovacate illegal occupation ofPoK, which has become a“hub” for the global export ofterror.

Exercising its right to replyduring a UN Human RightsCouncil session in Geneva,the Indian Representative saidPakistan must rein in its “com-pulsive hostility” towards India.

“We ask Pakistan to stopinciting and supporting vio-lence and terrorism in anypart of India and refrain frommeddling in our internal affairsin any manner,” the official said.

Once again Pakistan’s del-egation has chosen to misusethe Council to make fallaciousreferences about internal mat-ters pertaining to Jammu andKashmir, the diplomat said.

Emphasising that terrorismis the grossest violation ofhuman rights and should be soacknowledged by any impartialand objective observer, theIndian side said a part of theterritories of Jammu andKashmir remain under the

forcible and illegal occupationof Pakistan.

“We also demand thatPakistan must fulfil its obliga-tion to vacate illegal occupationof Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(PoK),” the diplomat said.

“It is unfortunate that inrecent times the people of PoKhave become victims of sec-tarian conflict, terrorism andextreme economic hardshipbecause of Pakistan’s occupa-tion and discriminatory poli-cies,” the Indian side said.

“The Indian state of J&K ispart of a pluralistic and secu-lar democracy, where an inde-pendent judiciary, an activemedia and a vibrant civil soci-ety guarantee freedoms. Incontrast, Pakistan-occupiedKashmir is administered by a‘deep state’ and has become ahub for the global export of ter-ror,” the diplomat said.

The Indian side assertedthat India does not acceptattempts by Pakistan to deni-grate the democratic choicethat has been regularly exer-cised by the people of J&K overthe last six decades since ourindependence.

“Pakistan’s continued sup-port for terror groups operat-

ing in J&K is the main chal-lenge to protecting the humanrights of our citizens in theState.

“Pakistan’s selectiveapproach in tackling terrorgroups operating outsidePakistan and within, despite thenumerous solemn promisesmade underscores the contin-uing unwillingness to acknowl-edge the truth,” the IndianRepresentative said.

The Indian side said apartfrom becoming “world’s ter-rorism factory”, Pakistan hasalienated its own peoplethrough continued mistreat-ment of Hindus, Christians,Shias, Ahmadiyas and otherminorities.

“In this Council, Pakistanhas referred to situation ofminorities in India. Minoritiesin India have been PrimeMinisters, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, senior CabinetMinisters, senior civil servants,cricket team captains,Bollywood superstars-can theminorities of Pakistan claimeven a shadow of this? All theyhave are blasphemy laws andrelentless abuse and violation oftheir human rights,” the Indianside said.

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From Page 1were granted power to

award degrees in the acade-mic courses conducted bythem with the Cabinetapproving The IndianInstitute of InformationTechnology Public Private

Partnership (IIIT-PPP) Bill,2017 declaring them asInst itut ions of NationalImportance. The cost of eachIIIT is �128 crore and is contributed by the Centre,State Government and theindustry in the ratio of50:35:15.

The Cabinet a lsoapproved a revisedMemorandum of Under-standing between India andBangladesh for establishing

border haats. According to the official

statement, border haats aim at promoting the well-being of the people dwellingin remote areas across theborders of two countries bypromoting the traditionalsystem of marketing the localproduce through local mar-kets. Currently, four borderhaats are operational, twoeach in Meghalaya andTripura.

Meanwhi le , theConfederation of CentralGovernment Employeestermed the hike as meager in view of the actual rise in cost of living index sayingthe CPI-IW was far fromreality.

The union also said thatthere was a lot of variation inthe rates of price rise ofcommodities by Ministry ofAgriculture and CPI-IW.

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PD(7574)AI, Rita Rani Sharma W/oDharmendra Sharma R/oH.No- 150C, Regent, ShipraSuncity Indirapuram,Ghaziabad, U.P. 201014have Change my nameRita/ Rita Sharma to RitaRani Sharma for all purpose


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���� 23��4351�

As she made her first publicappearance after a long

absence due to health issues,External Affairs MinisterSushma Swaraj on Wednesdaygot an unusually warm wel-come from members cuttingacross party lines. And sheshowed she has neither lost hercharm nor powerful oratoricalskills as she took on theOpposition which charged theGovernment of inaction in thematter of hate crimes in UnitedStates of America againstIndians.

In Lok Sabha, she assertedthat the safety of the Indiandiaspora was a top priority andthat her Government alwaysdoes more than what is expect-ed of it. She outlined in detailhow the Government wentabout the issue.

But before that, the Parli-ament entrance buzzed withexcitement as photographersand TV cameramen waitedfor her and jostled to captureher as she arrived wearing agreen saree and with her trade-mark matching jacket.

Swaraj was out of action fora long time due to a kidney ail-ment for which she underwenta transplant in December.

Inside the House, she waswelcomed by the SpeakerSumitra Mahajan and Leader ofCongress Mallikarjun Khargeamid clapping and thumping ofdesks by her Lok Sabha col-leagues.

Swaraj responded withequal warmth. “Thank youMadam (Speaker), Kharge-ji. Iwant to thank the entire Housefor their good wishes. It isbecause of your blessings andmy faith in Krishna that I have

completely recovered and retu-rned to be here,” said Swarajwhile adding she was deeplytouched by their concerns.

Thereafter she respondedto the allegations on the

Government over safety ofIndians in US. And as shecountered Opposition criti-cism on Government’s silenceover attacks on Indians, it wasevident that the Minister may

have been out of sight but notout of form.

Swaraj was actively givinginstruction and handling dis-tress request by Indians on for-eign soil even during her peri-od of illness. She said evenwhen she was convalescing, shehad spoken to the family mem-bers of the victims and officersof Indian Consulate Generalhad reached out to them.

“To say that we did not takeany step or maintained silenceis absolutely wrong. ThisGovernment can never keepsilent over such incide-nts. This is not in our work cul-ture. We always do more thatwhat is expected of us,” she said,responding to Kharge’s crit-cism. She added India has con-veyed its “deep concern” to theUS administration over attackson Indians and maintainedthat their safety was the top pri-

ority of the Modi-governmentas she listed steps taken by thegovernment to reach out to theIndian diaspora in US andcommunication with theDonald Trump administration.

At the end Swaraj spoke inPunjabi to convey how she

spoke to the father of anotherIndian-American who was thetarget of an attempted robbery.Speaker summed up the moodin the House when she said: “Itwas good to hear your power-ful voice once again resonatehere.”

���� 23��4351�

The Congress on Wednesdayrepeatedly disrupted the

Rajya Sabha proceedingsprotesting the party was notinvited to form theGovernment in Manipur andGoa despite emerging as thesingle largest party in therecently held polls there. Themain Opposition party alsocharged the ruling combine of“stealing the mandate.”

Criticising the role ofGovernors of Manipur andGoa, the Congress memberstime and again stormed intothe Well of the House raisingslogans like “murder of democ-racy” against the Government.The agitated members forcedfive adjournments in the preand post lunch sessions.

The Government shot backand said the Governors cannotbe discussed in the Housewithout a substantive motion.Raising this objection, Ministerof State for ParliamentaryAffairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvialso urged Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to expunge any refer-ence to the Governors. He tooka dig at the Congress for notaccepting with “grace” themandate of the people andsaid the more the Oppositionblamed Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, the more hegained popularity amongst themasses.

Raising the issue duringZero Hour, Congress leaderAnand Sharma cited rulings bythe constitution benches ofthe Supreme Court to drivehome the point that theGovernor was bound to invitethe party with the largest num-ber of MLAs to form the gov-ernment and prove its major-ity on the floor of the House.He also alleged the Governors

were “acting at the behest” ofthe Centre.

He congratulated the rul-ing BJP for scoring a big victoryin Uttar Pradesh and said theCongress got a massive man-date in the sensitive borderstate of Punjab and emerged asthe single largest party with 28MLAs in the 40 memberManipur assembly. “Theincumbent Chief Minister (inManipur) was in a position toform the government” but theGovernor ignored his claimand called the BJP to form thegovernment, Sharma said.

Referring to the ApexCourt judgments, Sharma saidit “made it absolutely clearthat if there is no clear man-date, the Governor is obliged toinvite the leader of the largestparty to form Governmentand prove the majority.” Healleged “the mandate has beenviolated,” adding Manipur andGoa have witnessed “stealing ofMLAs and stealing of man-date.”

As his party colleaguescontinued to raise a din, Kurientried to move on to otherissues like D Raja wanting toraise the matter of a JNU stu-dent allegedly committing sui-cide in the national capital.However, the Congress did notallow him to put across hispoint for some time even asKurien pleaded with them thatRaja was trying to draw theattention of the House to aDalit issue. The house wasthen adjourned for ten minutesat 11.20 am.

When the House reassem-bled, Congress members againtrooped into the well shoutingslogans. Backing Congress con-tention, CPM leader SitaramYechury said the single largestparty should be invited first.Giving an example, he said the

Vajpayee Government, whichhad lasted for just 13 days, wasinvited to form Government asit was the single largest entityin the Lok Sabha polls in 1998.

Leader of Opposition andsenior Congress leader GhulamNabi Azad did not obligeChairman Hamid Ansari torun the Question Hour andsaid the issue was important as

it pertained to whether“democracy will survive ornot.”

Azad also charged theGovernment with “murder ofdemocracy” and said the NDAGovernment was not evenrespecting the Supreme Courtjudgments.

Ansari had to adjourn theQuestion Hour twice.

���� 23��4351�

The ED has summonedKashmiri separatist leaders

Syed Ali Shah Geelani andYasin Malik in connection withits probe against them in twoseparate FEMA cases. WhileMalik has been asked to appearbefore the Central probeagency in State capital Srinagaron March 28, Geelani has beensummoned on April 3.

Officials said Geelani isrequired to be questioned by its

sleuths with regard to a 2002case when the Income TaxDepartment had recovered $10,000 from a house inHyderpora area Srinagarbelonging to Geelani. Theysaid Geelani’s statement wouldbe recorded under the provi-sions of the Foreign ExchangeManagement Act (FEMA) oncehe deposes.

The FEMA case pertainingto Malik is based on a 2001 FIRof local police where theyseized $ 0.1 million from a per-

son identified as MA Dar andhis wife. Dar had reportedlytold the police that he washanded over the money by aperson in Nepal to be furtherhanded over to Malik.

Malik was arrested in thiscase by the police but waslater let off on bail. They saidthe agency has booked two sep-arate FEMA cases in theseinstances and the probe hasbeen delayed as a number ofpapers were destroyed duringthe 2014 floods in the Valley.

���� 23��4351�

With no let up in tubercu-losis cases, the Govern-

ment is expected to soonfinalise an “aggressive” nation-al strategy to end the deadlydisease, said Union HealthMinister J P Nadda onWednesday.

India has 2.8 million newTB cases annually leading tonearly half a million deaths.

Observing that India rep-resents the single highest num-ber of TB cases in the world,the Minister said his govern-ment has approached the “chal-lenge” to end the disease in “all

seriousness” and has acceler-ated action to meet the ‘End TBtarget by 2025’.

He also urged the globalhealth body to include TB in itspriority list of antibiotic resis-tant bacteria to guide research,discovery and development ofnew antibiotics.

Nadda was speaking at theWHO Regional Health Mini-sters’ Meeting on TB whereHealth Ministers from WHOSouth East Asia Region andWestern Pacific Region coun-tries of Bangladesh, Bhutan,South Korea, Indonesia,Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka,Thailand, and TimorLeste were

also present. BangladeshHealth and Family WelfareMinister Mohammed Nasimsaid that his country has main-tained very good “basic TBcontrol services,” with reason-able case detection and excel-lent treatment outcomes.However, in spite of progress inthe fight against TB some chal-lenges remain. He said 40 percent of all TB cases still remainundiagnosed; mandatory TBcase notification is yet to befully operationalised; detec-tion of MDR-TB cases needs tobe increased along withincrease in childhood TBdetection and management.

����3����� 23��4351�

Refusing to toe the line of theUnion Environment

Ministry’s National Board ofWildlife (NBWL), the NationalTiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) has said ‘no’ to theproposal of TravancoreDevasom Board (TDB) whichmanages the famous Sabrimalatemple to increase the height ofthe Kunnur dam for supplyingwater to the famous Hindu pil-grimages located at the PeriyarTiger Reserve (PTR) in Kerala.

At a meeting of theStanding Committee of theNational Board of Wildlife(NBWL) chaired by Enviro-nment Minister Anil MadhavDave in January this year, theNTCA advised the TDB thatinstead of increasing height

which meant diversion of apiece of forest land, the exist-ing water pipe lines could berepaired and made operationalto restore the supply to the pil-grims thronging the temple.

The TDB backed by theKerala Government had sub-mitted that there was no alter-native other than to raise theheight of Kunnur dam by 2.5meters to ensure water supplyto the pilgrims thronging thetemple. It had sought diversion

of 0.655 ha of forestland fromthe PTR in the Western Ghatranges for the purpose.

However, representativesfrom the NTCA rejected thedemand, saying the storagecapacity can be enhanced out-side the tiger reserve areainstead of raising dam height.They also maintained thatwhile the dam already exists,water augmentation is neededearly for the coming pilgrimageseason. They also pointed out

that augmented water storagewould be utilised for a limitedperiod of the year by pilgrims.

The NTCA refusal comesmonths after the NBWL hadgiven go ahead for increase inthe dam height in August lastyear. The proposal was sub-mitted by the high-power com-mittee (HPC) on Sabarimalaseeking increase of the heightof the Kunnar dam in theSabarimala forests and layingan additional eight-km water-line from the weir to theSannidhanam. However, theNBWL nod was subject to theNTCA permission.

Sources in the Ministrysaid officials from the NTCA,Kerala Government , PTR andTDB will hold a meeting soonto chalk ways to implement theNTCA suggestions.

���� 23��4351�

To provide momentum toIndia’s research output

which is growing by 14 per centas against the world average of4 per cent, country’s leadingsocial science research agencyIndian Council of SocialScience Research (ICSSR) iscollaborating with 12 Europeanresearch agencies, in a massivepush to Indo-European jointeffort. A pilot project is beinglaunched to address issuesbeing faced by India andEuropean countries and influ-ence evidence-based policymaking.

This comes close on theheels of the culmination of the3 year EU-India Social Sciencesand Humanities Platform(EqUIP), a �1.5 million projectfunded by the EuropeanCommission, which aimed tofoster and strengthen relation-ships between social sciencesand humanities research fund-ing agencies in Europe andIndia. EqUIP is the first everinternational research collabo-ration network between Indiaand the European Union thathas been specifically dedicatedto social science and humani-ties.

“India is an increasinglyimportant research performingnation, with world renownedsocial science and humanitiesresearchers, writers and artists,”said Dr Jacqui Karn, SeniorInternational Policy Manager,UK’s Economic & SocialScience Research Council.

���� 23��4351�

Rapid changes in China’swar fighting doctrines and

restructuring with focus onmulti-dimensional offence anddefence besides enhancingnuclear and conventional mis-sile capabilities has emerged amajor threat to India’s strategicinterest. Moreover, the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) passing throughPakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK) challenges Indian sov-ereignty.

Flagging these concerns inits annual report for 2016-17released on Wednesday, theDefence Ministry also notedthat Pakistan continued to sup-port terrorist and ‘jehadi’ out-fits targeting its neighboursincluding India.

“Such outfits continued tobe encouraged to infiltrate intoIndia under the cover of mas-

sive cross-Line of Control(LOC) and cross-border firingin Jammu and Kashmir andother areas throughout theyear,” the report said.

Without directly mention-ing about the surgical strikes onSeptember 29 last year in POK,217-page document saidPakistan based terroristsattacked military bases in India“triggering an appropriateresponse by the Indian armedforces.”

On China’s modernisationdrive, the report said the east-ern neighbor initiated signifi-cant restructuring of thePeople’s Liberation Army(PLA), aimed at stronger con-trol by the Party and to usherin jointness to enable mobileoperations, multidimensionaloffence and defence, offshorewaters defence and open seasprotection.

Observing China’s growing

maritime prowess especiallyin the Indian Ocean and SouthChina Sea, the report saidSouth China Sea is a majorwaterway and over dollar fivetrillion trade passes throughthe sea lanes in this region.Over 55 per cent of India’s tradepasses through South ChinaSea and Malacca Straits and thedocument said India supportsfreedom of navigation and overflight based on the principles ofinternational law.

As regards Pakistan, thereport said the western neigh-bor continues to “relentlessly”expand its military forces espe-cially nuclear and missile capa-bilities. The country is torn byethno-regional conflicts, withthe zone of conflict expandingfrom the tribal areas onPakistan-Afghan border to thehinterland.

Although the military hasmade efforts to improve the

security situation in the coun-try, it has avoided taking actionagainst ‘jihadi’ and terror out-fits that target Pakistan’s neigh-bours. Support to such groupspersists despite ongoing effortsby the international commu-nity including India to list the head of the terrorist groupJaish-e-Mohammad(JeM)Masood Azhar as an interna-tional terrorist, the documentsaid.

About the internal securi-ty scenario especially in Jammuand Kashmir, the report saidsituation in the state was “tensebut under control.”

Without naming HizbulMujahideen militant BurhanWani, it said after the killing ofa hardcore terrorist in July lastyear, the separatists and ter-rorist ‘tanzeems (organisa-tions)’ focused their efforts tomobilise protests and disturbpublic peace.

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Fresh with poll victories, Prime Minister Narendra Modiwas extended a warm welcome by the NDA members on

Wednesday as he entered the Lok Sabha with the TreasuryBenches giving him a standing ovation. The thumping of thedesks continued for sometime even after Modi took his seat.The House also reverberated with slogans of Bharat Mata KiJai raised by some BJP members. Besides BJP MPs, Biju JanataDal member Baijayant Panda was also seen thumping the desk.Modi was also greeted by TRS leader Jithender Reddy, whocrossed over to Modi’s seat to shake hands with him. The PrimeMinister left the House after about 10 minutes.


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The Parliamentary Stand-ing Committee on

Personnel, Public Grievances,and Law and Justice in itsreport on Wednesdayobserved that lack of ade-quate housing is discouragingofficers from States to join theCBI which is facing staffcrunch. The panel also pulledup CBI for not using the allot-ted funds meant for housingproperly.

The committee pointedout that the CBI does not haveany residential quarters atnine locations in the countryand even after proposed con-struction of houses, the satis-faction level would remain at33.18 per cent only.

The panel’s report saidCBI is facing a shortage of21.84 per cent with only 5,685employees as against the sanc-tioned strength of 7,274, the

data given on the website ofthe agency as on March 1,2017 shows. The maximumvacancy of over 56 per cent isin the category of technicalofficers with only 70 officersposted as compared to sanc-tioned strength of 162, itshows.

The report recommendedthat Government should makedeputation in the CBI moreattractive so that officers fromState police forces, Centralforces and Intelligence Bureauare “tempted” to join theorganisation.

“The CBI in its submis-sion before the Committeestated that one of the majorreasons why investigators donot come on deputation to theCBI is the lack of availablehousing. The overall housingsatisfaction is very low at panIndia level and especially inDelhi where the Head Quarteris situated,” it said.

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ASU-30 plane, the front-line fighter jet of IAF,

crashed near Barmer inRajasthan on Wednesdayduring a routine training sor-tie. The two pilots, however,managed to eject safely beforethe twin-seater plane wentdown. The mandatory courtof inquiry was ordered toascertain the cause of mishap.

A PTI report from Jaipursaid three villagers wereinjured in the crash that tookplace near Shivkar village inSadar police station areas.The police were informedabout the mishap by villagefolk at about 2.50 pm follow-ing which police and officialsfrom the local administration

rushed to the spot along withIAF officials. Sources said thelikely time of accident was2.00 pm near Uttar lai air basein Barmer.

Some of the thatchedhouses in the hamlets werealso damaged, they said.

This is the seventh crashinvolving SU-30 jets sincethey were inducted into theIAF in early 2000s. At pre-sent, the IAFA has more than230 SU-30s and the plan is tohave a total fleet of 272 jets inthe next two years. While theinitial lot of planes were pro-cured from Russia while oth-ers were manufactured inHindustan AeronauticsLimited (HAL) under trans-fer of technology pact.

The last crash took place

in Tezpur, Assam in May2015 and both the pilots thenalso ejected safely. The entirefleet of SU-30s was thengrounded for some days forengineering checks.

As many as 22 fighter air-craft have crashed since 2013-14 and human error andtechnical defects were themain reasons for the acci-dents, the Governmentinformed the Rajya Sabha.The details were given byMinister of State for DefenceSubhash Bhamre in a writtenreply on Tuesday.

In the current year, fivefighter jets have crashedagainst four in 2015-16. Hesaid seven jets had crashed in2014-15 while the numberwas six in 2013-14.

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With hopes of coming topower slim, Goa’s

Congress Legislative unit couldface a split, with a legislatorclaiming that he would have torethink his place in the party,if party’s vice-president RahulGandhi fails to intervene andact tough against the top brass.

Three-time Congress MLAfrom Valpoi, Vishwajit Rane,whose father Pratap Singh Raneis the party’s senior most legis-lator, accused top Congressleadership and Central over-seers of conspiring with the BJPleadership to allow the saffronparty to form a Government.

“If Rahul Gandhi does notrespond, I will believe that I amnot a right fit in the party. I willhave to decide along with my fel-low legislators and people aboutthe next step. I feel that RahulGandhi will reply. Let us see whathappens in two days,” Rane toldThe Pioneer while adding that hehad written a letter to the

Congress vice-president claim-ing the support of “like-minded”legislative colleagues.

The BJP with 13 MLAspiped the Congress, which had17 MLAs in the 40-memberGoa Legislative Assembly, to thepost in the race for theGovernment formation in thecoastal State in a dramaticsequence of events which playedout over the last few days.

While the Congress lead-ership and MLAs dithered overchoosing a Congress Legislativeparty leader on Saturday andSunday, the BJP, led by then

Defence Minister ManoharParrikar and Union MinisterNitin Gadkari, reacted swiftlyby cobbling together a coalitionof three MLAs each from theMaharashtrawadi GomantakParty and the Goa Forward,while also tying in twoIndependent MLAs to secure amajority of 21 seats.

Parrikar was sworn in asChief Minister on Tuesday byGovernor Mridula Sinha, evenas the Congress accused herbeing partial to the BJP andaccusing the latter of hijackingthe popular mandate.

While Rane admits that therole of the Governor is in ques-tion, the delay by the Congressleadership was frustrating aninexplicable. “It was absolutemismanagement. They(Congress leaders) have done itin such a way that, it feels thatthey did not want a Governmentin Goa. I will be meeting Rahuljiand will eventually decide (onhis future in the Congress) aftertalking to him,” Rane said.

“Two days were taken tochoose a CLP leader. Thosewho were in charge did mis-management. The SupremeCourt also said this. They areexperienced people, but theseexperienced people did notknow what to do, what step totake to form Government.Parrikar came from Delhi andswiftly spoke to everyone con-cerned, got the 21 numberand formed a Government,"Rane also said.

Parrikar will be facing afloor test in the state legislativeassembly on Thursday evening.

�� ������� *0*!��

Filmmaker Sanjay LeelaBhansali was at the receiving

end for the second time in lessthan two months, as “30 to 40”unidentified activists both van-dalised and torched the outdoorset of his forthcoming film“Padmavati” at Masai plateaunear Kolhapur in westernMaharashtra in the small hoursof Wednesday.

Less than two months aftera group of Karni Sena activistsroughed up Bhansali and ran-sacked the set of “Padmavati” inJaipur’s Jaigarh fort, a group ofactivists barged into the samefilm set some time after mid-night, caused extensive damageand place and also set the film seton fire.

Apart from indulging inarson on the “Padmavati” filmset, the activists also set on fireseveral vehicles parked outsidethe film set. However, the firewas extinguished on the film setswiftly. Also no one was injuredin the incident.

It was not immediatelyknown as to the extent of dam-age caused to Bhansali’s film set.

The shooting of had

resumed on a sprawling 50,000sq ft set up at Masai plateau, 20km from Kolhapur last week,after it had come to stalled inJaipur’s Jaigarh fort on January 27when as group of Karni Senaactivists manhandled Bhansaliand ransacked the set over thealleged distortions in the scriptof “Padmavati”, a film based onthe legendary Rani Padmini ofChittor in modern-day

Rajasthan.Like in the case of Jaipur

incident, those behind theKolhapur incident are believed tohave issues with the “Padmavati”film script.

Following Wednesday’sincident, the State Governmentbeefed up security in and aroundthe “Padmavati” film set. “Earlierwe had deployed one officer andfive constables at the film set dur-

ing day time. Now, we haveupgraded the security and sta-tioned one officer and 12 con-stables at the film set round theclock,” Maharashtra’s Minister ofState for Home Deepak VKesarkar said.

Kesarkar said that top dis-trict police officials had met andrequested Bhansali to lodge a for-mal complaint with the localpolice. “However, no complaint

has so far been lodged byBhansali,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the film makerhas temporarily suspended theshooting of “Padmavati” starringDeepika Padukone, ShahidKapoor and Ranveer Singh. Inthe film, Deepika is playing‘Padmavati’ and Ranveer‘Alaudin Khilji’. The film is slat-ed for release in November thisyear.

Meanwhile, MaharashtraCultural Minister Vinod Tawdeadvised Bhansali not to take cin-ematic or artistic liberties, but tostick to facts in dealing with abiopic like “Padmavati”.

Talking to media persons,Tawde said: “Though it is a lawand order issue, I have to advisethe filmmaker not to exceed hisbrief and take cinematic or artis-tic liberties with the story. Heshould not make a film whichfictional in nature but to stick tohistoric facts as far as possible”

“Since the film is based onhistory and there are diverseviews as far as facts are con-cerned, Sanjay Leela Bhansalishould sit across with peoplewho have some issues with thefilm script and sort out the dif-ferences,” Tawde said.

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Making alive once againthe sensational SNC

Lavalin case pertaining to thealleged corruption in theawarding of a contract for therenovation of three Keralahydroelectric projects, the CBIhas listed out the errors com-mitted by the State’s MarxistChief Minister, PinarayiVijayan, while signing theagreement when he was PowerMinister two decades back.

On Wednesday, when theKerala High Court consideredthe CBI’s revision petition chal-lenging 2013 verdict of a CBIcourt which exempted Pinarayiand six other accused from thecase, the Agency submittedthat there was a criminal con-spiracy to help the Canadianutility company, SNC Lavalin,which had won the contractand that he had a crucial rolein that conspiracy.

According to the CBI,Pinarayi, who was PowerMinister in the 1996-2001 LDFGovernment, had concealedinformation regarding theagreement signed with SNC

Lavalin from the Cabinet andhad shown excessive interest inthe deal. It said PinarayiVijayan had misled the StateCabinet in matters related tothe contract and had even keptit in the dark.

The probe agency accusedPinarayi of using his influenceto keep the objections raised bytop officials of the Kerala StateElectricity Board (KSEB) to thecontract with the Canadiancompany concealed, sayingthat the contract with SNCLavalin was not legally main-tainable. It also said that

Pinarayi had given undue con-sideration for representatives ofthe company.

Another serious charge theCBI has leveled against Pinarayiis that there was conspiracybehind the awarding of thecontract to the Canadian com-pany for total renovation of thethree projects even when hewas aware that such a processwas not necessary in the caseof hydel projects and when hehad even seen reports in thisregard in advance.

The High Court had earli-er sought answers from both

the CBI and the accused for thenine questions includingwhether the Government hadsuffered any loss in the dealwith SNC Lavalin, what werethe conditions of the contractand who all had signed in thecontract. The CBI has given thecourt its report on these mat-ters.

The Special CBI Court inThiruvananthapuram had onNovember 5, 2013 exemptedPinarayi and six other accusedfrom the SNC Lavalin corrup-tion case. Pinarayi was seventhaccused in the case in whichthere were a total of nineaccused including theCanadian utility company andits former senior vice-presidentKlaus Trendl.

At the same time, PinarayiVijayan through his counselMK Damodaran, formerAdvocate General, submittedbefore the court that the alle-gations leveled against him bythe CBI were baseless and thatthere was nothing illegal in theagreement with the Canadiancompany. He said the CBI’sallegations did not have thesupport of evidences or docu-

ments.Senior Supreme Court

lawyer Harish Salve is expect-ed to appear for PinarayiVijayan in the High Courtwhen it takes up the case onFriday. When the court con-sidered the case on Wednesday,it was Pinarayi’s counselDamodaran who informed thatSalve would be appearing forhis client.

The sensational case per-tains to the alleged corruptionin the �374.5-crore agreementbetween the Kerala StateElectricity Board and SNCLavalin for the repair and ren-ovation of the Pallivasal,Senkulam and Panniyar hydelpower projects. The agreementwas finalized in 1998 whenPinarayi was Power minister.

The then Congress-ledUDF Government in 2006 hadproposed a CBI probe into thedeal–which was ratified by theHigh Court later–after theCAG found that the agreementwith the Canadian companyhad failed to deliver what wasintended of that and had ineffect led to the loss of thewhole contract amount.

�� ������� *0*!��

Abelligerent ruling Shiv Senaon Wednesday mounted

pressure on the BJP-led saffronalliance Government over itsclamour for waiver of farmloans, as it joined theOpposition in forcing noisyadjournment in both theHouses of the State Legislature,and demanded that ChiefMinister Devendra Fadnavismeet Prime Minister NarendraModi and seek waiver of farm-ers’ loans in the State.

On a day when NCP chiefSharad Pawar met Modi inNew Delhi and sought theCentre’s intervention in check-ing the unabated farmers’ sui-cides in the State, the SenaLegislators joined theOpposition Congress and NCPin disrupting the proceedingsin both the Houses.

Soon after the proceedingsbegan for the day, the Sena andOpposition members rushed tothe well of the State Assembly,displayed placards and raisedslogans demanding farm loanwaiver. A similar ruckus was wit-nessed in the Upper House overthe farm loan waiver issue. As aresult, both the Houses came tobe adjourned for the day, with-out transacting any business.

Coming down heavily onthe State Government, leader ofthe Opposition in the StateAssembly Radhakrisha Vikhe-Patil said in the lower House:“We have been demandingfarm loan waiver for the pastone year. But, the Governmenthas been dilly-dallying over theissue. The impression we getthat this government does notwant to waive the loans offarmers”.

In his criticism of theFadnavis Government, NCP’sformer Minister and seniorleader Sunil Tatkare said, “ThisGovernment is anti-farmer.Otherwise, how do you justifythe inordinate delay in makingan announcement about farmloan waiver”.

Later in the day, a delega-tion of the senior SenaMinisters met Chief MinisterDevendra Fadnavis at the lat-ter’s official bungalow “Varsha”to press its demand for imme-diate waiver of the loans of thedistressed farmers in the State.

Significantly, the SenaMinisters made it clear to theChief Minister that their partyLegislators would not allowboth the Houses to function tillsuch time the StateGovernment did not make anyannouncement about waiver offarm loans. They also urgedFadnavis to meet the PrimeMinister and seek waiver offarm loans along the lines ofloan waiver promise made byModi to the UP farmers duringthe recently-ended Assemblypoll campaign.

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Though sounding political-ly realistic Mamata

Banerjee has toned down her‘Aadhar’ and sundry rhetoricagainst the Centre. However,her Government will continueto take action against the so-called “Sangh Parivar-run”schools allegedly “sowing theseeds of religious intolerance.”

Her Government hasalready issued a show-causenotice to about 125 schools —reportedly run by the RSS —over suspicions that they wereprovoking religious intoler-ance.

Earlier State EducationMinister Partho Chatterjee

called the complaint “genuine”saying “the school educationdepartment is inquiring intothe charges against thoseschools.

There are 125 schools outof which 96 have not obtainedany NoC from theGovernment. They are runningthese schools without the NoC.These schools will be taken totask and we have issued showcause notices to them.”

He was replying to a ques-tion raised by a Left Legislatorin the State Assembly whoalleged that more than 300schools were being run in theState by Saraswati ShishuMandir and Vivekanda VidyaVikas Parishad. These schools

were not following the cur-riculum prescribed by the StateGovernment, he said.

“After the inquiry if theallegations are found true thenthese schools will be stopped.Nobody will be allowed toteach religious doctrines inschools,” Chatterjee said. Hewould however not mincewords on schools run by otherreligious organisations or thekinds of curriculum then fol-lowed.

In fact State BJP presidentDilip Ghosh said that “insteadof monitoring the schools theyare talking about monitoringthe activities of Christian mis-sionary schools and theMadarsas.”

���� 50+(26�

Samajwadi Party patriarchMulayam Singh Yadav and

his brother Shivpal Yadav arelikely to skip the meeting of thenewly-elected party MLAs inLucknow on Thursday. SP chiefAkhilesh Yadav will preside overthe meeting.

SP sources said to prevent apossibility of showdown in themeeting and strengthen the lead-ership of Akhilesh, the meetingis likely to adopt a resolutionauthorising the SP president toselect a leader of the party in UPAssembly.

The SP leader in theAssembly will also be the Leaderof the Opposition as the SP hasemerged as the largest party inOpposition after the recentAssembly polls.

Azam Khan and RamGovind Chaudhary are the frontrunners for the post as ShivpalYadav has already clarified thathe was not interested in the post.

SP sources said that RamGovind Chaudhary is most like-ly to be the choice of the SP chief

as Leader of Opposition.Akhilesh Yadav is the member ofthe Legislative Council. Since theSP has the majority in theCouncil, Akhilesh will be theLeader of Opposition in theCouncil. Presently, AhmedHasan is the leader of the SP inLegislative council.

SP sources said that even ifShivpal Yadav was interestedfor the post of Leader ofOpposition, Akhilesh wouldhave never allowed this to hap-pen. During the poll campaign,Akhilesh had addressed a meet-ing in Etawah and had indirect-ly appealed voters to defeat hisuncle, who was the SP candidatefrom Jaswant Nagar assemblyconstituency in Etawah district.

After the election results,Shivpal Yadav had hinted at apossible ‘patch up’ with hisnephew as he twitted ‘the partywill launch a unified struggle toreturn to power in the State’. Asexpected, Akhilesh Yadav did notrespond. The meeting of thenewly elected MLAs would startfrom 11 am on Thursday at theState SP office.

���� 50+(26�

Once a close lieutenant ofBSP chief Mayawati and

now BJP legislator SwamyPrasad Maurya said he wouldteach Mayawati a political les-son because ‘she has alwaysplayed with the sentiments ofDalits’.

“It isunfortu-nate thatMayawatia l w a y sp l a y e dwith thesentiments of Dalits. She used them as vote bank. Shesold tickets because Dalitsbelieved and supported herduring thick and thin. Shesold that trust during elections.But things are changing now.This election has made the BSPrealise that Dalits were nolonger Mayawati’s bondedlabourer,” Maurya said onWednesday.


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GANDHINAGAR: In the pastone year as many as 25 lions dieddue to unnatural reasons,revealed the State forest depart-ment in reply to a query raisedthrough RTI application.

The causes of death of theselions were electrocution, roadaccident and drowning in well inand around Gir sanctuary, thelast abode of Asiatic lions inSaurashtra region of Gujarat. TheRTI was filed by BhagavanSolanki, a resident of newlycarve Gir-Somnath district.

As per the informationrevealed by the authority, total 95Asiatic Lions died from April2015 to March 2016 and ofthem 25 died of unnaturally.Wildlife lovers would raise eye-brows due to the fact that dur-ing the corresponding period ofprevious year (2014-15) only 13lions died because of unnaturalreasons. In the current year

2016-17, more than 65 lions havebeen killed, said a source in theState forest department.

The last census of Asiaticlions conducted in 2015. As perthe data availed after the censusthere were 523 Asiatic lions inand around Gir Sanctuary andSaurashtra region. PNS


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Telangana Chief Minister KChandrasekhar Rao has

ruled out the possibility ofsnap polls in the State.Responding to the motion onthanks on the Governor’saddress to the joint session ofthe State Legislature the ChiefMinister said that the State willnot have an early elections.

His remarks in the StateLegislative Council onWednesday came in the back-drop of two major Oppositionparties the BJP and theCongress predicting electionsin 2018.

While the BJP Statespokesman Krishna Sagar Raosaid that the Chief Ministermay go in for early elections in2018 to take advantage of theweakness of the Opposition inthe State, the State Congress

president N Uttam KumarReddy said that showering ofsops in the latest Budget ofTelangna indicates that theChief Minister was planning togo for an early poll in 2018.

“Be it in 2018 or 2019, theCongress is ready to face theelections”, Uttam Kumar Reddytold the media while com-menting on the 2017-18Budget.

But KCR did not see anypossibility of early polls. “Weare confident that the peoplewill bless the good work. Weare moving forward rapidly byovercoming all the obstacles toachieve all the set goals. Ourgovernment is working for thewelfare of the people”.

A confident KCR lashedout at the Opposition’s allega-tions. ‘If they prove any chargeagainst us, I will quit”, he said.He claimed that the political

corruption was eradicated to alarge extent in the State andthere had been no scam in thestate during last two and a halfyears. “We are bringing aLegislation under which actionwill be taken against any bodywho levels a false allegation”,KCR said.

Listing out various mea-sures taken by his Sovernmentfor the welfare of the weakersections, the Chief Ministersaid that the State Governmentwas purchasing 88 lakh sheepsand goats to provide 21 sheepsto every Yadav family in theState.

“In the next two and a halfyears the sheep population inthe state will go up to four andhalf crore generating an incomeof �20,000 crore. The State willbe know as the State of richYadav families in the countryin the years to come”, he said.

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Tamil Nadu is back in theelection mode as the

AIADMK and the DMK onWednesday declared the namesof their respective candidatesfor the crucial April 12 by-pollscheduled from RK NagarAssembly constituency.

The AIADMK (Sasikalafaction) has fielded TTVDinakaran, the 53-year-olddeputy general secretary of theparty while the DMK sprang asurprise by nominating NMaruduganesh alias NMGanesh as its candidate.

The constituency is all setto see a multi-cornered contestas the O Panneerselvam faction

of the AIADMK is expected toannounce the name of its can-didate.

Deepa Patrick Madhavan,who heads the MAD Party andthe niece of late J Jayalalithaahas already declared that shewould be contesting from theconstituency and both the

AIADMK factions are wel-come to support her.

Dinakaran is the son ofVanithamani, younger sister ofVK Sasikala, the jailed Generalsecretary of the AIADMK.Sasikala had readmittedDinakaran into the party andnominated him as the deputygeneral secretary on February15, a day after the SupremeCourt confirmed the verdictdelivered by the BangaloreSpecial Court in theDisproportionate Asset case.The Bangalore court had sen-tenced Jayalalithaa, Sasikala,Elavarasi and Sudhakaran (thelast two being family membersof Sasikala) to four years impris-onment and fines ranging from�100 crore to �10 crore.

Late Jayalalithaa, while shewas alive, had ousted Sasikalaand all her family membersfrom the AIADMKL as well asher residence in Poes Gardenin December 2011. ThoughSasikala was readmitted to theparty after six months, theother members of her familycontinued to be persona nongrata in AIADMK. It was onlyafter Jayalaliathaa’s demise thatthe members of the Sasikalaclan could re-enter VedaNilayam, late Jayalaluthaa’s res-idence. The Panneerselvamfaction of the AIADMK hasbeen describing the appoint-ment of Dinakaran as deputygeneral secretary of the partyas an effort by the members ofher clan to hijack the party.

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The stinging remarks of thevice-president of the RJD

Raghubansh Prasad Singhagainst Chief Minister NitishKumar are not to be ignoredlightly even after the JD(U),RJD and Congress leaderslashed out at Singh for his“unsavoury” remarks.

After the results of the UPelection, former UnionMinister Raghubansh PrasadSingh accused Nitish of help-ing the BJP by not fieldingJD(U) candidates, opting out ofelection and publicly support-ing the demonetisation which,he said, caused confusionamong the secular parties andnon-BJP voters.

Deputy CM Tejashwi

Prasad Yadav said Singh is asenior leader of RJD andshould maintain the dignity ofthe office he holds. “He shouldavoid issuing such statements.Nitish Kumar is our leader andour maha gathbandhan is rocksolid which will not be affect-ed by such cheap remarks,” saidYadav who also advised JD(U)spokesmen to maintainrestraint and not react sobrazenly.

Former CM Rabri Devialso disliked the comments ofSingh and said that he shouldnot have spoken in such a crit-ical manner. “For the sake ofthe alliance all should maintainrestraint and work for strength-ening the Mahagathbandhan,” she said.

Singh had earlier said, “All

the secular forces should becautious of the mindset ofNitish Kumar. Before UP pollshe held a number of ralliesthere giving indication that hewould help unite all the secu-lar forces in UP too like Biharbut his decision to keep off thepolls raised many questions. Hedid not say a single wordagainst BJP after the electionwas announced.”

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PK Kunhalikutty, formerKerala Minister and nation-

al general secretary of theMuslim League, will be the can-didate of the Congress-ledUDF for the April 12 by-elec-tion in Malappuram Lok Sabhaconstituency.

The by-poll was necessi-tated by the death of theMuslim League MP, formerUnion minister E Ahamed.The Muslim League is the sec-ond biggest constituent of theUDF, now in the Opposition inthe State.

“Though Kunhalikutty isentering the national politicalscene, he will continue to be inthe leadership of the UDF inKerala,” said Muslim League’sState president PanakkadHyderali Shihab Thangal whileannouncing his candidaturein Malappuram on Wednesdayevening. He said Kunhalikuttywould file the nomination forthe by-election on March 20.

“I have before me pathsshown by great leaders –including Ahamed – while I amentering the national politicalscene,” said 66-year-oldKunhalikutty after Thangalannounced his name.Kunhalikutty is presently thedeputy leader of the UDF in theState Assembly and MLA fromVengara, one of the six

Assembly segments in theMalappuram Lok Sabha con-stituency.

“The aim of the MuslimLeague in the Malappuramby-election is to bag a biggermajority than that bagged byAhamed,” said the party’s Stategeneral secretary KPA Majeedbefore the announcement ofKunhalikutty’s candidature.The winning margins ofAhamed in 2014 and 2009 inMalappuram were respective-ly 1,94,739 and 1,15,597 votes.

If Kunhalikutty wins inthe by-election – which theUDF says is certain – it willnecessitate a by-election inVengara Assembly constituen-cy. The Muslim League lead-ership had taken this factor intoconsideration during discus-sions to select the candidate butit came to the conclusion thatKunhalikutty was the best face

they had to field inMalappuram.

Though Ahamed’s daugh-ter Fousia Shehzad hadexpressed interest in contestingin the by-poll, the MuslimLeague did not consider anyother name than that ofKunhalikutty.

“If a second name comesup, a third name would alsocome up. That is not good. Theselection of Kunhalikutty wasunanimous at the meetings ofthe various party committees,”said a Muslim League source.

The CPI(M)-led LDF andthe BJP are yet to pick theircandidates for the by-electionin Malappuram. The CPI(M),which used to contest the seatfor the LDF, is consideringseveral persons like film direc-tor Kamal, against whom theSangh Pariwar had recentlyunleashed intense protests overhis stand on the issue ofrespecting national anthem inmovie halls.

Malappuram, a con-stituency that came into exis-tence in the place of Manjeri in2009 after delimitation, is con-sidered as a Muslim Leaguestronghold. But the CPI(M)’sTK Hamza had won theManjeri seat in the 2004 gen-eral election. The CPI(M) nowsays that the situation is con-ducive for repeating that per-formance in Malappuram.

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With the Assembly polls offive States, including Uttar

Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab,Goa and Manipur completed,Election Commission of India(ECI) has initiated exercise forpoll preparedness in Gujaratand Himachal Pradesh.

A senior official in the StateElection Commission (SEC) saidthat approximately �240 crore isrequired for 2017 Assembly pollsin Gujarat. The figure is 30 percent higher than the lastAssembly polls in the State. In the2012 polls nearly �185 croreswere spent, while the cost for2014 Parliamentary polls for 26Lok Sabha constituencies in theState was �212 crore. “Hugeamount is required for staffsalaries, transportation and logis-tics, security arrangements aswell as food during Assemblypolls,” said the official whilealso adding that SEC will beginprocedures to update electoralrolls across the State from April.

Last time updation processof electoral rolls was conductedby SEC six months back. Duringthe campaign 11.34 new voterswere added. Ahmedabad districtwas on top with addition of93,900 voters, followed by Surat,Rajkot and Vadodara districtswith 68,700, 43,277 and 33,653voters respectively. As on January2017 there are approximately4.25 crore electors have been reg-istered in Gujarat.

SEC is anticipating additionof new voters during the electoralroll updation campaign startingfrom next month. The updationprocess includes addition anddeletion of names as well aschange of addresses. ‘

‘We have started proceduresto conduct State Assembly elec-tions in Gujarat. The elections arescheduled in December thisyear. We have planned to com-plete poll preparedness proce-dures by October end,’’ saidCEO BB Swain.

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Karnataka Chief MinisterSiddaramaiah who is also

the Finance Minister presentedan “all please State Budget for theyear 2017-18” before the Stategoes to polls in 2018 onWednesday.

The total estimated expen-diture in the Budget has beenpegged at �1,86,561 crore and itis seen intentionally wooingDalits, OBCs with populistschemes. Siddaramaiah knownfor his appeasement politicswhich is also evident in the bud-get has announced slew of mea-sures aimed at the Congress votebase of backward castes, Dalitsand minorities.

In an analogy of a sort to tip-plers toes Siddaramaiah hasremoved vat on liquor. Apart

from announcing free laptops tostudents of engineering andmedical colleges also introduceda “Namma Canteen” borrowedon the lines of Amma Canteensin the neighboring state TamilNadu. These and more populistannouncements strategicallylooked and aimed at ensuingpolls in 2018 which is crucial forthe Congress especially after therecent drubbing in the electionsit had from the saffron party.

The total estimated expen-diture in the Budget has beenpegged at �1,86,561 crore. The�137 crore revenue surplus bud-get estimates revenue receipts tobe around �1,44, 892 crore andpegs revenue expenditure at�1,44,755 crore. The fiscal deficitof the State is expected to be�33,359 crore which is 2.61 percent of the Gross State DomesticProduct and within fiscal disci-pline norms.

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Two main Opposition par-ties in Jammu & Kashmir—

National Conference (NC) andthe Congress — on Wednesdayannounced to contest the by-poll for Anantnag and SrinagarParliamentary constituenciesjointly.

Announcing the seat-shar-ing arrangement, former ChiefMinister and NC working pres-ident Omar Abdullah said thatFarooq Abdullah would contestby-election from Srinagar LokSabha segment while JKPCCchief Gulam Ahmad Mir would

contest from Anantnag. Theruling PDP has alreadyannounced that Chief MinisterMehbooba Mufti’s brotherTasaduq Mufti’s would be field-ed from Anantnag.

The notification forSrinagar by-poll was issued onMarch 14 where the votingwould be held on April 9. TheAnantnag segment would go topolls on April 12. Announcingthe candidature of seniorAbdullah and Mir, OmarAbdullah said the (security) sit-uation was not worse in theValley as compared to his ontenure that ended more than

two years ago.“The situation is not

as bad as of 1990’s but it ismuch worse than it waswhen I handed over it toMufti,” Omar said at aPress conference.

He said theGovernment was discour-aging the Opposition toinitiate poll campaign andalleged the security of thecontestants and cam-paigners was being com-promised. “A concertedeffort is now being madeon the part of theGovernment to discour-age opposition from beingable to move out and cam-paign,” he said.

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Dubbing the formation of aBJP-led coalition

Government in Goa as noth-ing but a “murder of democ-racy”, the Shiv Sena onWednesday slammed its seniorruling ally in Maharashtra andat the Centre for indulging in“horse-trading” with such leg-islators who had been electedafter contesting against it in theAssembly polls.

In an editorial published inits official mouth-piece“Saamana”, the Sena stated,“Taking advantage of the factthat the Congress which had

emerged as the single largestparty in the party, took easyafter the polls, the BJP has –through horse trading —enlisted the support of legisla-tors of a party that had con-tested the polls against it andManohar Parrikar came to besworn as the new chief minis-ter of Goa. One cannotdescribe as the developmentsin Goa as anything other thanmurder of democracy”.

“Let us hope that ourdemocracy has enoughstrength to reconcile with themurder of democracy. Weextend our warm greetings toManohar Parrikar (on his

becoming the Chief Minister),”the Sena editorial said in a sar-castic tone.

“What witnessed in Goawas amusing. When the crit-ics of the BJP voted over-whelmingly against it in theAssembly polls, they wouldhave not known as to whatwould befall them. For the sakeof power, all those people whohad fought against one anoth-er. Hitherto, we had seen theCongress foist its candidates aschief ministers in the states.Now, the BJP has followed theprecedents set by theCongress,” the Saamana edi-torial stated.

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India’s mini general electionsare over. While political pun-dits have generally provedimmature, Indian voters havegiven credible demonstration

of their ever-growing maturity inunderstanding the nuances of thepolitical leadership that has allalong exploited their vulnerabilityto caste, sub-caste and religion. Inaddition, they have made promis-es that were never to be taken upseriously after elections.

Elected representatives are gen-erally known to forget about evenmaintaining live contacts with theirelectorates. Indian democracy wit-nessed the region-based, caste-based, sub-caste-oriented, caste-combination oriented politics withgenerous inputs of relegatingminorities (read Muslims) to a merepawn in their game of communal-ism projected assiduously as secu-larism. It has also witnessed the riseof a new politician, mostly withhumble beginning, amassing huge,amass huge wealth, property andinfluence over gullible people.

The average perception of thecommon man about the politicianis that of an unscrupulous personin power who cares only for him-self, his family and his near and dearones. During the pre-election peri-od, personal visits to Uttar Pradeshbrought forth some enlighteningobservations from villagers, farm-ers, small artisans — all of whomhave suffered politicians and elect-ed representatives all along.

The manner both of the majorpolitical players in Uttar Pradeshhave been thrown to dustbin clear-ly indicates the analytical compe-tence of the voter who is oftenignored in political deliberations instudious as of no consequence; illit-erate, poor, uninterested, unin-formed and reticent. This voter hasshown the right place to the power-drunk politicians their right place.

To understand Uttar Pradesh,one may recall how John KennethGalbraith, then AmericanAmbassador to India, spoke to thePlanning Commission on India’spoor and poverty: “Well, I have seenpoverty everywhere in the world,dismal poverty, and I have seenpoverty in India, but Indian pover-ty has uniqueness because there isa gleam in the eyes of the poor peo-ple here which I did not find any-where else, and the poverty does notmake for crime in India whereas inall other countries poverty meansdrunkenness, crime and a sense ofnewer frustration”.

Contrast this to the under-standing of Indian mind by illustri-ous scholar and two-term PrimeMinister of India Manmohan Singh

who found demonetisation a “mon-umental management failure” anda case of “organised loot andlegalised plunder”. Those over-awed by the glitz and glamour of theWestern ideology of progress just donot care to care to comprehendIndia, Indian psyche and Indianmind. And Manmohan Singh andthe oldest political party could notthink beyond ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’.Such gems of wisdom can makepeople laugh at you, create jokes andmake them relax, but these child-ish interventions just cannot win thehearts of people.

Uttar Pradesh needs honestpersons in power, who can riseabove family and caste considera-tions. It needs a Chief Minister whocan appoint teachers in schools,equip them decently, and not fill thepositions in public service commis-sions by members from the samecaste. Everyone in the State talksabout Safai, Saifai festivities, Dalitprerana sthals, the manner Noidaand Greater Noida became themilch cow for politicians in power.

Janata sab jaanati hai. Vah sahiavasar ka intzaar karati hai. In thisState, rates for each category ofGovernment jobs are known toeveryone. People also know whichcaste would get preference under aparticular dispensation. They werefed up and were living in suffocat-ing circumstances, in utter despair.

They see hope in Prime MinisterNarendra Modi’s sarkar.

The landslide victory is the con-sequence of this attitudinal trans-formation. While Modi’s detractorsmay frown on this, many of themremembered Lal Bahadur Shastri‘who knew India, Indians andIndian values’. A poignant commentwas made by a an elderly person: “Ifonly almighty had given him 10years more, India would not haveseen the rise of the corrupt, cunningand convicts in politics”.

The Opposition failed to realisethat people are now convinced ofthe dedication of Modi to poor andthe downtrodden who remainedneglected. They are convinced thathe can succeed in reducing corrup-tion within years. They are awarethat Modi suffered unprecedentedattack for full 12 years from theUnion Government, its agencies,external interests in India who lib-erally funded NGOs to work againsthim. Not only he came outunscathed, none could dent his abil-ity to discharge his duties as theChief Minister, achieve results andconsequently, the faith of his peo-ple in the State.

His aura as a fighter and anachiever spread mostly by word ofmouth, to every other State in India.Modi’s success in 2014 disorientedthe Opposition beyond repairs.They thought personal attacks will

give them a chance to spring backto the citadels of power. Even if asewer line gets choked somewherein Delhi, the Chief Minister imme-diately blames it on Modi.

Huge victory poses far biggerchallenges than an ordinary major-ity. Rajiv Gandhi got it, under dif-ferent circumstances and for differ-ent reasons, but squandered it.The new Uttar PradeshGovernment shall be tested mostseverely by the people, and hence,must remain conscious, active andalert all along. It is common knowl-edge that the quality of any systemof governance is directly related tothe character, commitment, integri-ty, moral fiber, and sense of respon-sibility internalised the people.

Mahatma Gandhi had warnedin 1922 that Swaraj would not bringhappiness to our people as four fac-tors would weigh heavily on them:Injustice, tyranny of the rich, bur-den of governance and defects ofelections. Realistic apprehensionswere expressed by Rajendra Prasadas the President of the ConstituentAssembly in his speech delivered onNovember 26 of 1949: “Whateverthe Constitution may or may notprovide, the welfare of the countrywill depend on the way in which thecountry is administered. That willdepend upon the men who admin-ister it. It is a trite saying that a coun-try can have only the Governmentit deserves. If the people who areelected are capable, and men ofcharacter and integrity, they will beable to make best even of a defec-tive Constitution. If they are lack-ing in these, the Constitution can-not help the country. After all, aConstitution like a machine is a life-less thing. It acquires life because ofthe men who control it and oper-ate it and India needs today noth-ing more than a set of honest menwho will have the interest of thecountry before them”.

There can be no better articu-lation of the ever-increasing anxi-ety and anguish that Indian citizensexperience at this juncture of his-tory. The new Government inUttar Pradesh has a great opportu-nity to restore democratic values,and transform the system of gov-ernance on the pillars of honesty,integrity, transparency and effica-cy. It has to remove corruption andnepotism in recruitment, equipschools to a decent functional level,implement central scheme. Removethe corrupt from thanas and letdalalas be ousted from districtcourts and administration. The listis long and challenges are unprece-dented. So are the expectations.

(The writer is former Director of NCERT))

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Sir — This refers to the editorial,“Modi wave yet again” (March 13).It looks, the biggest bite of them all(39.7 per cent of votes in UttarPradesh, 46.5 per cent votes inUttarakhand, according to provi-sional numbers), has not just failedto satiate the BJP but has left it evenmore ravenous. It was disgusting tosee the way the party spared noeffort to assume power both in Goaand Manipur, where it ended up asthe runner-up after the elections.

Such craving stands in sharpcontrast with the grand vision of a‘New India’ that Prime MinisterNarendra Modi conjured up in hisaddress while celebrating the BJP’sAssembly poll performance at theBJP headquarters in New Delhi.

What makes the BJP’s opera-tion in Goa more questionable thanits push in Manipur is that in Panaji,the sitting BJP Government hasbeen voted out unequivocally.Outgoing Chief MinisterLaxmikant Parsekar and five sittingMinisters of Goa lost the electionand the BJP is down to 13 MLAsfrom 21. Although there was noclear mandate for the Congress, theelectorate had spoken against theBJP in Goa.

J Akshobhya Mysuru


Sir — This refers to the editor-ial, “Modi wave yet again”(March 13). After engineering itsUttar Pradesh win, the BJP cannow better afford to pursue itspet reforms coming in manyhues — ideological, social oreconomic. However, the hubrisof successive electoral wins canmislead its choices and priori-ties. It has been setting thus faran unwieldy agenda for which ithad neither the attention spannor resources.

The BJP needs to come upwith a balanced weave that doesnot stress the national fabric tothe extent of tearing it. The BJPhas an envious task ahead, onethat is far too demanding thanthe 2019 elections that is embed-ded in its psyche. It needs to move beyond to find capablehands to manage its expandingnational and regional onus ofgovernance across the nation.

From 2013, Prime MinisterNarendra Modi had been relent-lessly assisting BJP presidentAmit Shah and party candidates.It’s time that others ensure thatthe Prime Minister gets on withdevelopment, unencumbered.

R NarayananGhaziabad

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Sir — This refers to the article,“Bleeding, but not being treated”(March 13) by RB Sinha. Theviews expressed by the writerregarding the state of MahanagarTelephone Nigam Limited andBharat Sanchar Nigam Limited,following the onslaught by privatetelecom players, are indeed true.But the chief remedy suggested bythe writer, which is the merger ofthe two bodies, is unwise. Onereason is the large manpowerwith differential pay structure.

When the staffers inGovernment departments are inter-ested only in their salary and perks,and not for the progress of thedepartment they serve, the pro-posed merger can hardly fetch anyfavourable outcome. On the con-trary, it will increase the loss of theGovernment and in turn leave aheavy burden on the public in theform of a hike in tariff or imposi-tion of additional tax. Already, thepeople are upset over the exorbitanttax that haunts them under differ-ent heads in every sector.Privatisation will be a better choice.

TT Sakaria Delhi

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Page 9: time to select the Chief ˘ˇ ˘ ˇ ˆ ˇ ˆ ˙ ˝ ! ˘ˇ˛ˆ ˇ ˘ ˘ ˇ ˜ ! " ˇ #" # $ˆ˚ # %&’ ˘ˇ ˚

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The techno-savvy city ofBengaluru, also known asthe ‘silicon valley of India’,

is set to face yet another harshsummer in the face of ever-dwindling water resources. Therapidly increasing drought-likeconditions are bringing aboutrumours of water rationingeven as groundwater levels havedropped to record depths. Infact, many parts of this lush gar-den city — as Bengaluru isreferred to — are unable tostrike water even after drillingupto 1,050 feet. The worst partis the fact that even if water isdiscovered, the quality isextremely poor as the State isalso facing a spike in pollutionof groundwater in many areas.

A recent study by the State’sdepartment of mines and geol-ogy showed the groundwater inabout 12 of the 30 districts inKarnataka to be highly pollut-ed with excess concentration offluoride, arsenic, iron, nitrate

and salinity due to both anthro-pogenic and geogenic factors.This is particularly due to themixing of sewerage throughunlined open drains, leakagefrom cesspits and septic tanks,and contamination from indus-trial wastes. The situation hasassumed such critical propor-tions that, if the present trendcontinues, many newly devel-oped parts of the city will haveto be evacuated by year 2025.The case of Bengaluru, in fact,reflects the state of affairs ofmost of our cities in urban Indiathat are water-stressed due toimpacts of anthropogenic activ-ities and pollution.

Over the past few decades,India has become one of themost water-challenged coun-tries in the world, from itsdeepest aquifer to its largestrivers. Groundwater levels arefalling alarmingly as farmers,city residents and industriescontinue to drain wells and

aquifer. The future is not look-ing encouraging either.According to a report byMcKinsey, the national supplyis predicted to fall 50 per centbelow demand by 2030, withnearly 100 million people goingto be directly affected by asevere lack of potable waterresources in the country.

In order to prevent unimag-inable water-related hardshipsin the future, the Governmentmust undertake immediateremedial measures that notonly work towards reversing thedamage already done to India’swater supplies but also help pro-tect against chronic strugglesrepeated every year during thesummer season.

The Government mustfirstly engage advanced GPStechnology in a simplified for-mat and make it available acrossvarious levels of administrationso that accurate and scientificdata can be gathered, that can

not only quantify water stressbut also provide details ongroundwater depletion — bothcurrent and projected — besidesgroundwater availability, qual-ity, rainfall and so on. This data-based approach can help under-stand threats to surface andgroundwater water security,and therefore support long-term development and waterconservation planning.

In addition to preventivemeasures that are technology-based, the Government mustalso focus on preserving theavailability of sufficient ground-water that is devoid of any pol-lution and which can conformto the minimum standards ofwater quality that have beenprescribed by the World HeathOrganisation (WHO).

It is also pertinent for theauthorities to quickly addressthe worsening groundwaterquality and availability problem.For an effective management

and regulation of groundwaterresources,, no single template ormethod can prove to be aneffective and final solution,because the hydrogeological,social, economic, cultural andpolitical factors can vary great-ly at local or regional scales. Theadministration must allowusage of the groundwater sub-ject to conditions that enablesufficient recharge of thegroundwater table. For instance,in addition to relying on rain-fall for groundwater recharge,the authorities must also incor-porate measures such as rainwa-ter harvesting to augment thewater table. Additionally, desali-nation and recharging theaquifer with surplus water canalso partly provide assistanceand boost the availability ofquality groundwater.

Agriculture happens toconsume the largest quantitiesof fresh water, and theGovernment must tweak its

policies especially towards waterintensive crops so that thequantum of water consumptioncan be brought down. This willalso augur well for the farmers,who are hit hard when droughtconditions result in catastroph-ic crop failure resulting inmounting farmer debts and insome unfortunate cases pavingthe way for farmer suicides. Thelack of sound water manage-ment policy is the root cause oflooming water crisis in India,and the Government can recti-fy this by levying economiccosts on water wastage whichcan go a long way in checkingthe rampant misuse and pollu-tion of water resources.

With seven major riversand their numerous tributariescoupled with the might ofHimalayas providing eternalwater to these rivers, it is iron-ical that India is water-stressed.

(The writer is an environ-mental journalist)

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Contrary to media reports,Manohar Parrikar leavesbehind few challenges forhis successor in the defenceMinistry since ironically, as

the Union Defence Minister, he had lit-tle say in addressing them himself. Hissuccessor — perceived to be close tothe Prime Minister — Union Ministerfor Finance Arun Jaitley might be ableto deliver more.

Parrikar came to office withnumerous handicaps — not many ofhis own making. Given that the con-stitutional authority for India’s defencerests with the civilian defence secre-tary, the de facto authority with theNational Security Advisor (NSA), hisown political weightlessness and littleexperience of working with the com-plex Union Government bureaucracy,and his tendency to speak more thanhe should, Parrikar seems delightedwith the demotion — from UnionDefence Minister, who is member ofthe Central Committee on Securityheaded by the Prime Minister to theChief Minister of Goa once more. Hewas simply a round peg in a squarehole since his political exuberance wasstifled in Delhi.

The actual power centres fordefence in India are two: The DefenceSecretary and the NSA who workclosely. Under the 1961 Governmentof India allocation of Business Rulesand Transaction of Business Rules, thedefence secretary and not the DefenceMinister is responsible for India’sdefence. Given this, while the fivedepartments of the defence Ministry— namely, department of defence,department of research and develop-ment, department of production andsupplies, department of finance andthe integrated defence headquarters —and three integrated headquarters ofthe three defence services report to theDefence Minister, his authority ismore notional than real. Actual workdepends upon how the defencebureaucracy views matters.

The NSA’s post, created after the1998 nuclear tests, draws its authori-ty from three aspects. One, since theNSA knows India’s nuclear weapons’— perceived to provide deterrence —capability and capacity, he definesthreats and influences conventionalwar procurements. Two, being a partof the Prime Minister Office, he is themost accessible advisor to the PrimeMinister on defence matters. Andthree, since the Modi Governmentgives weightage to political consider-ations for defence procurements, heinspires purchases.

Let’s assess the threats, procure-ments to meet those threats, andHigher Defence Management (HDM)changes needed to optimally utiliseprocurements to deter and if it fails,to fight threats.

India, it seems, has two threats toits integrity; neither has been identi-fied with the Defence Minister’s par-ticipation. The first and the bigger isfrom terrorism — unleashed byPakistan’s deep state, and the IslamicState which reportedly has got Indiaon its radar. Since the NSA has

assessed this threat, the Army chief,General Bipin Rawat, who specialisesin counter-insurgency operations, waschosen by superseding two officers tolead the 13-lakh Army. Given this, theArmy’s leadership is committed interms of procurements, training andmind-set to thwart this threat. TheNavy too is focussed on this threatwith the Air Force keenly seeking arole in these small wars.

The other threat is from the twomilitary lines — with Pakistan andChina — that cannot be wished away.This has been left to the three defenceservices’ chiefs, who have assessed itas a two-front war possibility. All thatthe Defence Minister has done is torubber-stamp the threats as his oper-ational directive to the defence ser-vices. To foil these threats, the defenceservices have devised their force lev-els (needed manpower and equip-ment), war-fighting doctrines andprocurements list. This has beendone mindless of whether finitedefence budgets can support massivemanpower expansions and huge for-eign equipment buys since India's owndefence industry does not inspiremuch confidence.

The procurements are made byactive participation of the NSA and thedefence secretary; here too the defenceMinister has minimal say. Since pro-curements should be under the Makein India policy, it needed a newDefence Procurement Procedure(DPP) for foreign and domestic indus-try participation. Having come froma small State, Parrikar — in whosename the DPP was to be framed — in

his child-like enthusiasm announcedthe DPP release date a few times. Hewas unaware that the bureaucracy,which wants full control over domes-tic industry, would make defining“Strategic Partnership” clause of theDPP unrealisable. Without this, Makein India would not happen since theforeign companies are required to tie-up with the Indian Strategic Partners.The answer then was in directGovernment-to-Government buyswhere the NSA is in the position toinfluence selection.

While the threats are identifiedand procurements made under thedefence Minister’s name, there is lit-tle to show Parrikar’s involvement ineither. The least he could have donewas to ensure that Make in Indiaworked by insisting that both indige-nous public and private defence indus-try be treated at par as national assets;that the Defence Research andDevelopment Organisation (DRDO)implement reforms as suggested underthe Rama Rao committee; that publicsector industry adhere to time and costlines; that bought foreign technologyis not passed on as indigenous; andthat the services ensure desired avail-ability of war wastage reserves (forfighting conventional war). Parrikardid nothing of this. However, to be fairto him, perhaps he could not do much.

The story regarding HDM reformsis no different. The basic purpose ofthese reforms is to strengthen theoperational or war-fighting level ofconventional war. And the least thisrequires is not a military tri-serviceleader — whether a Chief of Defence

Staff or a Permanent Chairman of theChiefs of Staff Committee — on thetop, or theatre commands, but anunderstanding by the defence servicesof their own and other service’s corecompetencies. The latter is essential fordeveloping credible joint operationsfor successful war-fighting. This, how-ever, takes years through staff and fieldpostings at all levels within the servicesto master. Parrikar could have start-ed this, provided someone wouldhave told him. With the militaryleadership concentrated on winningcounter-insurgency operations andin planning surgical strike contingen-cies, they would not have had the time.

What did Parrikar do that wouldbe the minimum expected of his suc-cessor? Given the Government’s pol-icy of Act East and Think West, theDefence Minister is required to trav-el to friendly nations to sign securityand defence agreements. He also hasnumerous ceremonial functions of theservices’ to inaugurate, a couple ofbook launches to attend, and of courseto interact with the media periodical-ly. In Parrikar’s case, he took the DefExpo-2016 from Delhi to Goa, anevent that for all wrong reasons wouldremain etched in participants’ mem-ory for long.

Without adequate infrastructure,this was a humongous task to perform.All this is not to make light of Parrikar’stenure, but to highlight that a dynam-ic politician was wasted away in Delhi.Little wonder, he grabbed the firstopportunity to return to Goa.

(The writer is editor, FORCE newsmagazine)

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�������Expressing reserva-tions over farm loan waiverschemes, State Bank of IndiaChairman ArundhatiBhattacharya on Wednesdaysaid such sops may disruptcredit discipline among bor-rowers.

Ahead of the recently con-cluded assembly elections inUttar Pradesh, the BJP hadpromised to bring in a loanwaiver scheme for farmers inthe state, if its voted to power.

“We feel that in case of a(farm) loan waiver there isalways a fall in credit disciplinebecause the people who get thewaiver have expectations offuture waivers as well. As suchfuture loans given often remainunpaid,” Bhattacharya onWednesday said on the side-lines of an event organised byConfederation of IndianIndustry here.

“Today the loans will comeback as the Government willpay for it but when we disburseloans again then the farmerswill wait for the next electionexpecting another waiver.”

She said the bank has notreceived any proposal to waiveoff farm loans in UttarPradesh.

Bhattacharya said thoughit is important to supportfarmers but it has to be done

in a way which does not dis-rupt credit discipline amongthem.

“When we are trying toensure that the farmers do wellit is important for us to makecredit available to them so that

they can leverage and do bet-ter and for that it is importantto have credit discipline,”Bhattacharya said.

The country’s largest lenderhad recently announced a onetime settlement (OTS) scheme

worth �6,000 crore in the trac-tors segment to speed up itsrecovery. The bank has alsoannounced such OTS scheme ineducation and SME segments.

“We do give OTS in respectof many loans which are out-

standing for a long time andpeople may have had some dif-ficulties,” she said.

Bhattacharya said the recov-ery due to OTS scheme inthese segments have been fair-ly good. ����

Vitalik Buterin is inventor ofEthereum, a world’s first ever

Distributed Ledger Technology(DLT ) platform where anyone canwrite smart contracts onBlockchain, and creator of the vir-tual currency “ether”, the secondmost popular crypto currency afterBitcoin and with current marketvalue of over $2 billion. Vitalik wasin New Delhi to launch India’s firstever Blockchain Summit on 6 Dec2016 hosted by Europe IndiaConclave. Conference ChairpersonArifa Khan interviewed Vitalik,Peter Thiel Scholar and featured inFortune 40 under 40 2016.

Arifa Khan : What isEthereum’s vision for the next 20years? Which markets will beimportant for you? Why?

Vitalik Buterin: From an adop-tion standpoint, I think that we aregoing to see applications emergeacross many markets. We are seeinginterest in both financial and non-financial areas (identity verifica-tion, supply chain tracking, IoT,virtual game assets, etc). Our goal asa platform is to be as general-pur-pose as possible, and I don’t expectany single category to be “the killerapp”

Arifa Khan: DLT is a relative-ly new industry, and a whole rangeof new players will emerge.Ethereum has a first mover advan-tage, but what is your strategy tostay relevant a few decades later?

Vitalik Buterin: I would saythat Ethereum as a platform hasmany things that are unique aboutit, some of which are still planned forthe future. This includes:�A focus on being as general-pur-pose as possible� An interest in using rigorousgame-theoretic analysis to designsecure and efficient consensus pro-tocols� A strategy for scaling theblockchain based on “sharding”

Arifa Khan: Do you thinkBitcoin will be the most prominentcryptocurrency in 10-20 years fromnow? Which other currency fea-tures do you think are missing? Isany one attempting to fill thosegaps, like Zcash?

Vitalik Buterin: I think it’simportant to view blockchains asbeing not just cryptocurrencies, butrather platforms; in Ethereum, forexample, I consider the role of etheras being to facilitate the Ethereumplatform, whereas in Bitcoin the plat-form is there to facilitate the cur-

rency. There are definitely manytradeoffs that platforms can take, asit’s obvious at this point that one plat-form cannot be everything for every-one. Some important dimensionsinclude:�Political tradeoffs: who controls it?What is the process for changing theprotocol? How hard is it to change?� Technical strategy: slow andsteady, or fast and risky?

� Scalability strategy: there are anumber of known impossibilityresults (eg. Amdahl’s law) that saythat you can’t scale *everything*, andso scaling necessarily has sometradeoffs. What is a platform willingto sacrifice in order to scale?

Arifa Khan: You were theinventor of the first use case of DLToutside of Bitcoin. What are someunexplored use cases of bitcointhat no one has tried yet.

Vitalik Buterin: I personallyam interested in the intersection ofblockchains (including both cryp-tocurrency and blockchain usecases other than cryptocurrency)and social media; I think that areais underdeveloped. See here for afew ideas that I ’ve had:h t t p s : / / b l o g . e t h e r e u m .org/2015/11/24/applications- of-security-deposits-and- prediction-markets-you-might- not-have-thought-about/

Arifa Khan: What role canGovernments and regulators play inthe crypto economy? How do youview their part currently. Whatshould they do ?

Vitalik Buterin: I think thatbefore a Government regulator doessomething for the space, it is impor-

tant for them to talk to the people intheir country who are already doingthings, and ask them what are theactual problems that they have thatGovernments could solve. For exam-ple, one problem that many peoplehave is getting bank accounts.Governments have in many placesstarted to create sandbox programs,but quite often the startups are notso much scared of the Governmentsthemselves; they are scared that theywill not be able to get a bank account.Some proactive Government actionwith the right information couldsolve problems like these.

Fostering links between acade-mia and startups is also important.

Vitalik Buterin believes India has amajor role to play in the globalBlockchain revolution, and will bein Mumbai this summer to kick offEthereum India Summit duringBlockchain India Week - 13-20 May2017, a week of Hackathons, work-shops, industry forums hosted byBlockchain Storm. He will build andmotivate Ethereum developer com-munity across India , encourageresearch efforts, and will give away“Vitalik Buterin prize for Blockchainexcellence” for the best application/research effort sponsored by ZeroField Labs

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�������State Bank chairper-son Arundhati Bhattacharyaon Wednesday blamed thegovernance at public sectorbanks for poor investor

appetite for them and theirresultant inability to raisecheaper funds from markets.

“State-run banks cannothave a default fall-back on thegovernment for capital...If youare looking to raise capi-tal...The one thing thatinvestors always talk about isthe board governance,”Bhattacharya told reporterson the sidelines of a CII event.

Noting that theGovernment has been pro-viding capital to public sectorbanks whenever they required,she said, “I think it’s time PSBsget out of this. But nowGovernment is very clear thatit will give money only if the

banks are actually efficient inall they do.”

Out of the �25,000 crorethat the government has ear-marked for recapitalising itsbanks this financial year, SBIalone has got over �7,000crore so far. Last year also ithad received a similar amount.

Ruing the fact that manybanks and organisations con-sider compliance of corporategovernance regulations as asecondary activity, she said, “Imust say it is very short-sight-ed way. In fact the activitiesthat you consider as your pri-ority are not your priority, reg-ulations and compliance areyour priority because when

you fall short of regulationsand compliance, your mainactivity will also be sorelyimpacted.”

Talking about the boards,she said, “The role of theboard and management andhow they intersect is veryimportant for organisations tofuture-proof themselves fromregulatory and marketchanges.”

Menwhile, SBI will tap cap-ital markets to raise �15,000crore in the next fiscal by way ofinstitutional placement, rightsissue or FPO.

The central board of StateBank of India (SBI) at its meet-ing on Wednesday approved

raising of equity capital up to�15,000 crore during fiscal year2017-18.

The funds would be issuedby way of Follow on PublicOffer (FPO) or rights issue orqualified institutional place-ment (QIP) or AmericanDepository Receipt (ADR) orGlobal Depository Receipt(GDR) or employee stockoptions, SBI said in a filing to theBSE.

The mode of fund raisingwould be decided at the "oppor-tune time" subject to approvalof the Government and the RBI,it added. Shares of SBI closed at�277.40, up 0.98 per cent overprevious close on the BSE. ����

73����� ����.��#73�������%��6 ���6 ����� ����� ����6 �����

�)��������Union Minister JayantSinha on Wednesday said theGovernment is working on“appropriate policies” related to100 per cent FDI in airlines, amidlocal carriers opposing the move.

The Minister of State for CivilAviation also said the Ministry hasnot yet received any formal appli-cation from any airline withrespect to 100 per cent FDI.

His remarks come againstthe backdrop of Qatar Airwaysrecently announcing its plans to setup an airline in India after theIndian Government allowed 100per cent foreign direct investmentin the airlines segment last year.

The Federation of IndianAirlines (FIA) -- comprising JetAirways, SpiceJet, IndiGo andGoAir -- have been vociferousabout their opposition to foreignentities being allowed to invest inlocal carriers.

“There are various opinionon this matter of 100 per centFDI. We are considering what theIndian airlines through FIA aresaying.

“Of course, the Government’spolicies are such that we do wel-come 100 per cent FDI but we areworking through the exact regis-tration process and all of theappropriate policies around that.That is under evaluation,”Minister of State for CivilAviation Jayant Sinha toldreporters here.

Noting that the policy toallow 100 per cent Foreign DirectInvestment (FDI) in domestic air-lines is “probably not appropriate”,SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh saidthat such kind of policies must beallowed on a reciprocal basis.

“If an airline of a particularcountry wants 100 per cent FDIin our country then they mustalso be prepared to give 100 percent FDI in their own countries...If that is not allowed then it is anunfair situation and it is not alevel playing field,” he said.

He also noted that there is ahuge shortage of airport infra-structure and foreign airlinesentering the Indian market wouldadd to that burden. ����

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Country’s exports grew at a five-yearhigh of 17.48 per cent to $24.5 bil-

lion in February on account of surge inshipments of petroleum, engineeringand chemicals.

The trade deficit widened as well toUSD 8.89 billion as imports expanded.

“In continuation with the revivalexhibited by exports since September2016, exports during February for thefirst time exhibited a double-digit pos-itive growth,” the commerce ministrysaid in a statement.

The previous high in export growthwas recorded at 36.3 per cent inSeptember 2011. The last time thedouble digit growth was witnessed inJune 2014, when the shipments rose by

10.2 per cent.Commenting on the growth figures,

exporters body Federation of IndianExport Organisations (FIEO) said goingby the current trend, “we are definitelyexpected to reach around USD 270 bil-lion of exports this fiscal”.

Imports were up 21.76 per cent to$33.38 billion, leaving a trade deficit of$8.89 billion as against $6.57 billion inFebruary last year.

During the April-February period ofthe current fiscal, exports have grown by2.52 per cent to $245.4 billion. Imports,however, dipped 3.67 per cent to $340.7billion.

Trade deficit during the 11-monthperiod stood at $95.28 billion as against$114.3 billion in the same period of lastfiscal.

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Protectionism is on the risein advanced economies

but the trend can be reversedby the opportunities offeredby emerging markets likeIndia, Bharti EnterprisesChairman Sunil Bharti Mittalsaid on Wednesday.

“Those voices that wereurging India to open up itseconomy to foreign directinvestments, to trade, tobringing in products in fin-ished form in this country,have succeeded to some extentin getting our countriesopen...

“However, the same coun-tries, who are advancedeconomies, US and Europeand many other pockets of theworld, are suddenly turningaround and talking aboutprotectionism,” Mittal said atthe convocation ceremony ofInstitute of ManagementTechnology here.

He said at the World

Economic Forum, afteropposing global trade for adecade, first time a Chineseleader, President Xi Jinping,asked the Western world toopen their economies formore trade, which indicatesthat China has been hit by theslowdown.

“Then you move to theissue around election ofPresident (Donald) Trump,issues around Brexit....They allsuggest xenophobia is on therise, anti immigration is onthe rise. These don’t holdgood promise for youngIndians who are passing outtoday,” Mittal said.

He said that leaders inIndia will have to create sup-port at the World TradeOrganisation (WTO) to ensuremovement of people is notrestricted and the countrydoes does not become a dump-ing ground for global products.

“India made a proposal toWTO on TFA (trade facilita-tion agreement) for services,

which is counterpoint to TFAin goods and products. (It) hasbeen now endorsed byrequired majority in the worldand is now likely to becomelaw under WTO,” Mittal said.

“I believe the world willhave to alter the discourse oftalking against immigration.There is wave against immi-gration today but I have nodoubt given the size and scaleof market that we offer inreturn for their goods, they willhave to relent on services aswell,” Mittal said.

Mittal said global growthhas slowed down and there isadynamic shift in the polityand economics of the world.

“For the last five years, theworld has seen a growth rateof less than 3 per cent...This isa record low over severaldecades. If I look at 1920downturn which melted thewhole globe, after that proba-bly we are witnessing very leanperiod in global growth,”Mittal said.

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The ministerial panel onlabour issues headed by

Finance Minister Arun Jaitleywill meet next week to finalisedrafts of the new industrialrelations code and the wagecode. The ministerial panelbroadly agrees on the wagecode while more deliberationswill be held on the industrialrelations code.

After ministerial panel'sapproval, the two Bills will be putup for Cabinet approval beforeintroducing the same inParliament for passage. “Nextmeeting of the panel will be heldnext week,” Labour MinisterBandaru Dattatreya toldreporters on the sidelines of aconference ‘Vision Zero’ onoccupational safety and health.The Minister further said, “Inthe inter-ministerial meeting, we

have cleared the wage code.There was a first phase of dis-cussion on the industrial rela-tions code. The Code on Wages.Everybody has agreed. We pro-ceed (on the wage code).”

“The Minister also indicat-ed the Government’s intent topush amendments in thePayment of Gratuity Act toenhance the ceiling of tax-freegratuity to �20 lakh from theexisting �10 lakh in the ongoingsession of Parliament.

“We have cleared theamendments in the Payment ofGratuity Act in the tripartitemeeting and also we have takenit up to the Cabinet. After clear-ance from the Cabinet, it willcome to Parliament. This time,we have proposed to increase the(tax free ceiling of) gratuityfrom �10 lakh to �20 lakh,” theMinister said. Earlier last week,the Ministerial panel headed by

the FinanceMinister had delib-erated on the suggestions for thetwo codes at a meeting. It wasattended by Labour MinisterBandaru Dattatreya and PowerMinister Piyush Goyal.

Asked whether there will bemore discussions on the twocodes, the labour minister had

said there could be another onthe two bills later this month. Hehad also dropped hints that thetwo Bills will be pushed for pas-sage in Parliament during thesecond leg of the Budget Session,which began on March 9. Thetwo legislations are significant asthey form part of the efforts of

the government to improve easeof doing business. The labourministry has plans to condensenearly 44 labour laws into fourcodes - wages, industrial rela-tions, social security and safety,health and working conditions.Trade unions are opposed to cer-tain amendments in these codesand have already submittedtheir dissent note.

The new industrial rela-tions code proposes to raise theceiling on number of workers forunits that can go for closure,retrenchment or layoff withoutgovernment approval to 300from 100. At present, all unitswith up to 100 workers are notrequired to seek Governmentnod for closure, retrenchment orlayoff. The Government hascompleted tripartite discussionson these two codes to seek viewof stakeholders, including theindustry, unions and states.

3��)�/(��������������+��������������������������>��'����+����NEW DELHI: Reliance

Communications has got theapproval of capital markets reg-ulator Sebi and stock exchanges,BSE and NSE, for the proposeddemerger of its wireless opera-tions into Aircel Ltd. The com-pany has now filed an applica-tion with the NationalCompany Law Tribunal(NCLT), Mumbai Bench, forapproval of the scheme, RComsaid.

RCom and the presentshareholders of Aircel Ltd(Maxis CommunicationsBerhad) will hold 50 per centeach in the merged entity, withequal representation on theboard and committees. Thecompany has received approvalof “the Securities and ExchangeBoard of India (Sebi), BSE Ltd(BSE) and National StockExchange of India Ltd (NSE) forthe proposed Scheme ofArrangement for demerger ofthe wireless division of thecompany into Aircel Ltd and

Dishnet Wireless Ltd”, RComsaid. The proposed transactionis subject to necessary approvals,it added.

RCom, on September 14last year, announced it will mergeits wireless telecom business withsmaller rival Aircel to create thecountry’s 4th-biggest mobile

phone operator, with asset baseof more than �65,000 crore andnet worth of �35,000 crore. Boththe companies will transfer�14,000 crore of debt each to thejoint venture, taking the total debtof the new company to �28,000crore.

The transaction will reduceRCom’s debt by �20,000 crore,while Aircel’s debt would godown by �4,000 crore on closingin 2017. RCom stock was trad-ing 1.93 per cent higher at �36.95on BSE.

Indian mobile services mar-ket the world’s second largest afterChina has been in a midst of con-solidation drive, intensified by thedisruptive entry of newcomerReliance Jio. Last month, telecomoperator Bharti Airtel announcedit will acquire NorwegianTelenor’s India unit. VodafoneIndia and Idea too are workingon merging their businesses tocreate the biggest telecom oper-ator in the country with about$12 billion in sales. PTI

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Government will amendEPF scheme to enable

around 4 crore members ofretirement fund body EPFOto withdraw up to 90 per centof their fund for makingdown payments while buyinghomes, Parl iament wasinformed on Wednesday. Theamendment in the schemewill also allow the Employees’Provident Fund Organisation(EPFO) subscribers to usetheir EPF accounts for payingequated monthly instalments(EMIs) of home loans.

Under the new proposedprovision in the EPF scheme,EPFO subscribers would haveto form a cooperative societywith at least 10 members foravailing the facility. “TheGovernment has taken a deci-sion for modification in theEmployees’ Provident Funds(EPF) Scheme, 1952, to add anew paragraph 68 BD,”Labour Minister BandaruDattatreya said in a writtenreply to Rajya Sabha on aquery about Housing Schemefor the members of EPFO.

The Minister told theHouse that the new provisoprovides that “a member ofEmployees’ Provident Fund(EPF) being a member of aco-operative society or ahousing society having at

least 10 members of EPF, canwithdraw upto 90 per centfrom the fund for purchase ofdwelling house/flat or con-struct ion of dwel l inghouse/acquisition of site.”

The proposed provisoalso provides that ‘monthlyinstalments for repayments ofany outstanding payments orinterest may also be paidfrom the amount standing tothe credit of the member, tothe Government/housingagency/primar y lendingagency or banks concerned’."

The Minister also toldthe House that the proposedparagraph to be inserted inEPF scheme has not beennotified, therefore, no tar-gets have been fixed (forgiving advances under thisfacility). The Minister toldthe House that the totalnumber of EPF memberaccounts as on March, 31,2016, as per Annual Reportfor 2015-16, is 17.14 crore.

He further said that onan average, contributionsh av e b e e n re c e i v e d i nrespect of 3.76 crore mem-bers during the year 2015-16. The withdrawal facilityfrom the Provident Fund(PF) account under theScheme will be available toonly those PF memberswho fulfil the conditionsprescribed, he said.

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The Government is consid-ering the proposal to

include some sectors of theeconomy into ‘soft compul-sion’ pension schemes to widenthe social security net in India,PFRDA Chairman Hemant GContractor said on Wednesday.“We have made a suggestion tothe Government that some sec-tors of the economy should beincluded in auto enrolment ofpension schemes.

The Government is look-ing at that,” Contractor saidwhile speaking at the launch ofFICCI-KPMG knowledgepaper on pensions in India.

Contractor said there arechallenges in the country toexpand the pension plans,which is why PFRDA has sug-gested the Government aboutadopting a soft compulsionmethod also called autoenrolment in some countries.Under the soft auto enrol-

ment, employees of an organ-isation are automaticallyincluded into pension schemesunless they opt out of it. ThePension Fund Regulatory andDevelopment Authority(PRFDA) chairman said Indiaright now is well poised toincrease its coverage of pen-sion schemes because theeconomy is doing well and theinflation too has moderated.

“Inflation problem has been

resolved to a very large extent.It has come down to around 5per cent from 8-9 per cent a fewyears back. So, with lower infla-tion, real savings go up.

The stage is set, this is theright time and opportunity forpeople to join pension plans,” heemphasised. The joint knowl-edge paper by FICCI-KPMGsuggested that people with ageof 60 years and above will triplefrom 2010 to 2050 and thenumber of elderly will reach33.1 crore in India by thattime.

As a knowledge partner,KPMG in an Employer PensionPlans Survey found that amajority of job givers empha-sised on the need for employ-ees' retirement plans. Tax ben-efit is the primary reason to optfor the National Pension System(NPS), as per the survey, addingthat employers felt contributiontowards retirement savingsshould be in the range of 20-30per cent of one's salary.



NEW DELHI: The US-headquarteredfootwear brand Crocs will look at manufac-turing its products locally if the much await-ed Goods and Service Tax is favourable for thefootwear sector. “We do have business plansin place based on certain assumptions on GST(rates). If it is favourable, we are going to planmanufacturing products in India. We will takedecision in 6-8 months,” Crocs India ManagingDirector Deepak Chhabra told PTI.

He further said: “At present, there is noincentives for manufacturing locally. VATrates for footwear are much higher than appar-els. Unless there is benefit of making in India,there is no point in doing it.” At present, CrocsIndia sources 100 per cent of its finished prod-ucts from its global manufacturing hub in Chinaand Vietnam. Crocs is looking at doubling itsIndia business in three years as it widens prod-uct portfolio and expands retail footprint. PTI

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PARIS: OPEC countries arecomplying with a landmarkdeal to reduce a worldwideglut in oil, but it will takesome time yet before the oilmarket feels the full impact ofthe reduction in output andprices stabi l ise , theInternational Energy Agency(IEA) said on Wednesday.

“The implementation ofthe OPEC production agree-ment appears in February tohave maintained the solidstart seen in January, the IEAsaid in its latest monthlyreport.” “OPEC kept up robust

adherence to its. Supply cut.For the first two months of thedeal the compliance rate aver-aged 98 per cent,” it said,adding that “global oil suppliesrose in February as (both)OPEC and non-OPEC pro-ducers pumped more.”

At the end of November,the OPEC agreed to cut out-put by 1.2 million barrels perday (bpd) from January 1,initially for a period of sixmonths. Then in December,non-OPEC producers led byRussia agreed to cut their ownoutput to 558,000 bpd. AFP

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MUMBAI: NSDL on Wednesdaysaid it has applied to the ReserveBank for the final licence for itspayments bank and is aiming tolaunch the entity by May. “Wehave applied for the final licenceand are looking at launching thebank by May,” MD and CEO GVNageswara Rao told reportershere. He said NSDL has repliedto all the queries posed by theReserve Bank since being grant-ed the in-principal nod in 2015,after which the application for thefinal licence was made.

It can be noted at least three in-principal licensees Tech Mahindra,Dilip Shanghvi and Cholamandalamgroup have opted out. NSDL, thebiggest security depository, has notspoken much about its plans till now.On January 20, Rao had said theywould be launching the bankingventure in three months. The newpayments bank venture will be aseparate entity housed within the20-year- old securities depositoryand will be led by an independentteam starting with a chief execu-tive, he had said. PTI

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NEW DELHI: Weeksbefore the new tax amnestyscheme closes, theGovernment has clarifiedthat any hard cash beingdisclosed must exist at thetime of making payments,but the same condition isnot necessary for undis-closed income held in theform of deposits.

In the latest clarifica-tion on the PradhanMantri Garib KalyanYojana, the tax depart-ment said “where theundisclosed income is rep-resented in the form ofdeposits in an accountmaintained with a specifiedentity, it is not necessary thatthe said deposits shouldexist on the date of makingpayments under theScheme or furnishing adeclaration under theScheme.” However, whenhard cash is being disclosed

under PMGKY, its exis-tence is necessary on thedate of making payment oftax, surcharge and penaltyunder PMGKY.

“Where the undis-closed income is repre-sented in the form of cash,it is clarified that such cashshould exist on the date ofmaking payment of tax,surcharge and penaltyunder the Scheme or onthe date of making depositunder the Pradhan MantriGarib Kalyan DepositScheme, 2016, whicheveris earlier,” the tax depart-ment said. PMGKY,which provides amnestyfrom prosecution on pay-ment of a total of 50 percent tax and penalty onunaccounted cash in handor in bank deposits,opened on December 17,2016 and closes onMarch 31, 2017. PTI

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Millions of Dutch voters wentto the polls on Wednesday inan election overshadowed by ablazing diplomatic row withTurkey, with all eyes on the fateof far-right anti-Islam MPGeert Wilders.

Following last year's shockBrexit referendum, and DonaldTrump's victory in the US, theDutch vote is being closelywatched to gauge support forpopulism in Europe ahead ofother elections this year.

Wilders voted in a prima-ry school in The Hague,

mobbed by television cam-eras, just after final opinionpolls showed he was slippingbehind the Liberal VVD partyof outgoing Prime MinisterMark Rutte.

"Whatever the outcome ofthe election today the genie willnot go back into the bottle. Andthis patriotic revolution,whether today or tomorrow,will stay," Wilders said, dis-missing media comparisonswith Trump.

"I see this rightwing pop-ulist making gains and I willnot live in such a world," saidEsther Zand, 52, who voted in

the same school for Labour andagainst Wilders.

"He's a rather irritatinggentleman," she added.

Amid the tussle betweenRutte and Wilders, many of the12.9 million eligible voterswere still hesitating between the28 parties in the running.

"When people look forleadership, they look to me,"Rutte told the final debate yes-terday watched by a record 3.3million people according tobroadcaster NOS.

Rutte is bidding for a thirdterm as premier of the countryof 17 million people -- one ofthe largest economies in theeurozone and a founding fatherof the European Union.

Final polls appeared toshow Rutte consolidating alead over Wilders, crediting theVVD with 24 to 28 seats -- welldown on its 40 seats in the out-going parliament.

After months leading thepolls, Wilders has slippedrecently and was seen barelyclinging on to second placewith between 19 and 22 MPs -- well up on the 12 MPs hisFreedom Party (PVV) hadbefore.

Wilders has pledged toclose the borders to Muslimimmigrants, shut mosques, bansales of the Koran and leave theEU.

Snapping at his heels arelong-standing parties theChristian Democratic Appeal(CDA), credited with 19 to 21seats, and the Democracy Party(D66) with around 17 to 19MPs. Both parties would benatural coalition partners forRutte.

"I am hoping for a strongcentre" coalition, saidAlexander van der Hooft, vot-ing in a school where Rutte wasexpected later.

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Suicide bombers onWednesday hit the main

judicial building and a restau-rant in Damascus, killing atleast 30 people, according tostate media, spreading fearacross Syria's capital as thecountry's civil war enters itsseventh year.

The first attacker struckinside the Justice Palace, locat-ed near the famous and crowd-ed Hamidiyeh market.

The explosion left bodieslying amid pools of blood andshattered glass in the building'smain hall, adorned with a pic-ture of President Bashar Assadhanging on one of the walls.

The official news agency,SANA, said another suicide

explosion struck a restaurant inRabweh district of Damascus,leading to multiple casualties,mostly women and children.

The Ikhbariyeh TV chan-nel said the attacker was beingchased by security agents whenhe ran into a restaurant anddetonated his explosives' vestthere.

The bombings were the lat-est in a spate of deadly explo-sions and suicide attacks tar-geting government-controlledareas in Syria and its capital.

There was no immediateclaim of responsibility for eitherattack, but other, similar attacksin recent weeks were claimedby al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria.

The attacks came as Syriansmark the sixth anniversary ofthe country's bitter civil war,

which has killed more than400,000 people and displacedmillions of others.

The conflict began inMarch 2011 as a popular upris-ing against Assad's rule butquickly descended into a full-blown civil war. The chaosallowed al-Qaeda and later theISIS group to gain a foothold inthe war-torn nation.

The recent attacks havestruck at highly symbolic tar-gets, and may mark the start ofa new insurgency campaign byal-Qaeda-linked militants to tryand counter recent militaryadvances by Assad's forces,backed by Russia and Iran.

According to Damascuspolice chief Mohammad KheirIsmail, the Justice Palace attack-er struck in the early afternoon.

Strasbourg: The EuropeanUnion will not bow to British"threats" that it is prepared towalk away from Brexit talkswithout a deal, the bloc's pres-ident Donald Tusk said onWednesday.

"We will not be intimidat-ed by threats and I can assureyou they simply will not work,"Tusk told the EuropeanParliament in Strasbourg.

"The claims, increasinglytaking the form of threats, thatno agreement will be good forthe UK and bad for the EU,need to be addressed," Tusk said.

"I want to be clear that ano-deal scenario would be badfor everyone but above all forthe UK." Theresa May said inJanuary that she was ready toleave the EU without a deal onfuture relations if necessary.


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An alliance of Madhes-basedpolitical parties on

Wednesday withdrew its sup-port to Prime MinisterPrachanda-led NepalGovernment after it failed tomeet a seven-day ultimatum tofulfil their demands thatincluded endorsement for therevised Constitution amend-ment Bill.

The Government, howev-er, continues to enjoy a major-ity as it has the support of morethan 320 members in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

Meanwhile, in a meetingwith UDMF leaders,Prachanda urged them to par-ticipate in the upcoming localpolls after amending theConstitution, setting aside theissue of state delineation for thetime being.

He said the Governmentwould form a commission tofinalise the issues relating toprovincial demarcation beforeholding the provincial elec-tions.

The United DemocraticMadhesi Front (UDMF), whichhas 39 lawmakers, withdrewsupport to the government asit failed to address its concernwithin the seven-day ultima-tum that expired on Tuesday.

Islamabad: Pakistan is plan-ning to declare the strategicGilgit-Baltistan region as thefifth province, a move thatmay raise concerns in India asit borders the disputedPakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan's Minister forinter-provincial coordinationRiaz Hussain Pirzada told GeoTV that a committee headed byAdvisor of Foreign AffairsSartaj Aziz had proposed giv-ing the status of a province toGilgit-Baltistan.

"The committee recom-mended that Gilgit-Baltistanshould be made a province ofPakistan," Pirzada said onTuesday.

He also said that a consti-tutional amendment would bemade to change the status ofthe region, through which the$46 billion China-PakistanEconomic Corridor (CPEC)passes.

Gilgit-Baltistan is treated asa separate geographical entityby Pakistan. It has a regional

assembly and an elected ChiefMinister.

Balochistan, KhyberPakhtunkhwa, Punjab andSindh are four provinces ofPakistan.

The move may raise con-cerns in India as the disputedregion borders Pakistan-occu-pied Kashmir (PoK).

It is believed that China'sconcerns about the unsettledstatus of Gilgit-Baltistanprompted Pakistan to changeits status. PTI

Washington: Seema Verma hasbeen sworn-in as the head of akey US health care agency thatoversees health insurance pro-grammes for 130 millionAmericans, becoming the sec-ond Indian-American to beinducted into the Trumpadministration.

"President Trump has cho-sen one of the leading expertsin America on State-basedhealthcare solutions to leadthis important agency," USVice President Mike Pencesaid at the swearing-in cere-mony at the White House onTuesday.

As the head of the Centersof Medicare and MedicaidServices she would be headingthe $1 trillion federal agencythat provides health services to130 million Americans.

Verma is the secondIndian-American to be induct-ed into the Trump administra-tion. The US Ambassador tothe United Nations Nikki Haleywas the first cabinet rank offi-cial from the community toserve in any presidentialadministration. PTI

Lahore: The IndianGovernment is "reluctant" tosend its 24 witnesses toPakistan to record their state-ments in the Mumbai terrorattack case, the prosecutiontold an anti-terrorism courtconducting the trial.

The anti-terrorism courtheld the hearing in the case atAdiyala Jail Rawalpindi after a"break" of over four months.

"The prosecution told thecourt that the IndianGovernment is reluctant tosend 24 Indian witnesses toPakistan to record their state-ments in the case," a court offi-cial told PTI after the hearing.

The court was alsoinformed that the IndianGovernment had not onlyrefused to send the witnessesbut also demanded re-investi-

gation of the case.Prosecution said the Indian

witnesses statements are need-ed to conclude the Mumbaicase which has been pendingfor the last seven years.

"The case may not be con-cluded till the Indian witness-es appear in the trial court," theprosecution said.

The court adjourned thehearing till March 22. PTI

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Pakistan on Wednesday exe-cuted three Islamic mili-

tants convicted by the contro-versial special military courtsfor committing terror offences.

The "three hardcore ter-rorists" were executed at HighSecurity Prison in Sahiwal dis-trict of Punjab province, Armysaid in a statement.

"These terrorists wereinvolved in committingheinous offences relating to ter-rorism, including attacks on

Armed Forces and LawEnforcement Agencies," it said.

The terrorists were associ-ated with the Pakistani Talibanand a second extremist groupnamed Harkat-ul-Jihad e-Islami, it said.

The convicts identified asSaid Zaman Khan, Shawalehand Muhammad Zeeshan weretried and convicted by specialmilitary courts.

These courts were set upfor two years in January 2015and became dysfunctionalfrom January 7, 2017.

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Mosul: Nearly 1,00,000 peoplehave poured out of west Mosulin less than three weeks as Iraqiforces fought to retake the areafrom jihadists, the InternationalOrganisation for Migrationsaid on Wednesday.

Iraqi security forceslaunched a major push lastmonth to recapture west Mosul,which is the most populatedurban area still held by the

Islamic State group, with anestimated 750,000 residentswhen the battle began.

Iraqi special forces unitsand police have made steadyprogress in the area, forcing ISout of a series of neighbour-hoods and retaking importantsites such as the airport, Mosulmuseum, train station andprovincial Government head-quarters.

But the battle for westMosul — which is smaller butmore densely populated thanthe eastern side which Iraqiforces recaptured earlier thisyear — has pushed a flood ofpeople to flee their homes.

Between February 25 andMarch 15, more than 97,000people have been displacedfrom west Mosul, the IOM saidon its Twitter account. AFP

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US President DonaldTrump's tax affairs were

back in the spotlight afterleaked 2005 returns showed hewrote off more than $100 mil-lion in "business losses" toreduce his federal taxes burden.

The President paid $38million in federal income taxon reported income of $150million, an effective tax rate of25 per cent, according to doc-uments from Trump's 2005

tax returns disclosed on RachelMaddow's MSNBC show lateTuesday.

By claiming losses, Trumpapparently saved millions ofdollars in taxes that he wouldotherwise have owed, reportssaid. The White Houseresponded without even wait-ing for the show to air, issuinga statement that seemed to con-firm the authenticity of theforms as it defended Trumpand assailed MSNBC for pub-licising them.

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Yaounde: Cameroon said itstroops had rescued 5,000 civil-ian "hostages" held by BokoHaram Islamists in a cross-border operation that leftscores of jehadists dead.

Cameroonian troops car-ried out "a vast operation allalong the Cameroon-Nigeriaborder and in Nigeria" fromFebruary 27 to March 7,Government spokesman IssaTchiroma Bakary said in astatement seen by AFPWednesday.

The operation, dubbedThunder 2, "led to the libera-tion of more than 5,000 peopletaken hostage by the terrorists",he said, referring to BokoHaram. AFP

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Each awards show has a sales pitchthese days. And it took the big

guns of the Hindi film industry to takeup women’s issues and set the tenorto demolish the notions of ageism andsexism that the industry is believed tobe stuck in. So it was Salman Khanwho took the stage to honour his one-time co-star and versatile actorSridevi, who will be seen in her nextfilm Mom. “She is among those whohave done more than 300 films in hercareer. Even if you combine thecounts of films done by me, ShahrukhKhan and Aamir Khan, we do notreach anywhere near 300,” Salmantold the crowd. In another feisty role,the awards podium was the first tocatapult Sridevi back into the limelightafter English Vinglish. Melting moments also came fromAmitabh Bachchan’s Pink-tintedspeech, “When a woman says ‘No’, it’sa ‘No’ and it should be respected.”

From the jhatkas and matkas,singing and dancing, the gowns, thegaanas and taanas, film promotionson stage, the self-indulgence of thestars, below-the-belt jokes, thescreaming fans begging for selfies,insider jokes, flashy fireworks, thestrobe lights and kitsch — the ZeeCine awards was a narcissistic vener-ation of Bollywood in all its resplen-dent glory.

The red carpet was completelytaken over by the stars who walkeddown wearing their best. WhileKareena Kapoor Khan, Vidya Balan,Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan,

Amitabh Bachchan, Sridevi, AliaBhatt, Varun Dhawan were clearly thecrowd favourites, stars like ShahrukhKhan, Priyanka Chopra, RanbirKapoor, Deepika Padukone, RanveerSingh and Katrina Kaif were missing.Newcomers and debutantes like DishaPatani, Sanya Malhotra and FatimaSana Shekh also garnered cheer.

But the award show reallybelonged to the awards-night hosts —stand-up comedian Bharti Singh,actors Huma Qureshi, Sunny Leoneand Manish Paul — they made it anevening to remember with their jokes,

humour, repartee and great comper-ing.The scripting for the hosts definite-ly took the show several notches upand let everyone have a bawdy heartylaugh (well maybe not Shahid Kapoorand Rishi Kapoor, who were the buttof several).

The audience went into a frenzy asthey watched their favourite starsdance and sing their favourite numbersall through the night. Manish Paul keptthe crowd entertained, be it his flirttime with Neetu Kapoor or as hequizzed Sonali Bendre, AnushkaSharma and Sonu Sood over the veg-

etables, keeping them blindfolded. While the awards themselves were

predictable, given the popularity andnumber of nominations both Sultanand Udta Punjab had gathered, starperformances drummed up theevening’s excitement. Predictably, thewinners performed too.

The evening started with the LailaMain Laila performance of SunnyLeone. Raveena Tandon got all headsturning every time she did her signa-ture steps. The crowd went into a tizzyas she and Govinda performed to theirfamous chartbusters. Varun Dhawan’spower packed performance had theaudience scream out his name aloudas they asked him to come back onstage. Alia gave a tribute to her men-tor Karan Johar by performing on hismovie numbers. “Last year I performedon my father’s movie numbers and thisyear it had to be Karan Johar as I regardhim my father in the film industry,”said Alia. She later told paparazzi thatshe’s very happy now as she has siblingsin the form of Yash and Roohi Johar.

Salman, who performed at theend, left fans enthralled with hisSultan-like act.


The ramp was a garden and themodels flocked in bright

trousers with brighter jackets,dramatic draped gowns andasymmetrical kurtas at TheHandloom Show. The paletteranged from orange and yellow towhite and black and the classicblue.

The show by The HandloomSchool acknowledged the anony-mous weavers. Thirteen illustrat-ed designers — Akaaro, Antar-Agni, Eka, Good Earth, NeeruKumar, Nicobar, Pero, RajeshPratap Singh, Raw Mango, RohitBal, Suket Dhir, Urvashi Kaur and11:11 Eleven Eleven — high-lighted the versatility of weaves byusing them to create moderndesigned ensembles in their sig-nature styles. They also shared thestage and honour with their teamsof weavers and craftsmen. Post-show, Sally Holkar from TheHandloom School said, “Weaversneed and deserve a platformwhere their skills and rich heritagecan be showcased and wherethey can learn about their mar-kets. This show is a great oppor-

tunity for The Handloom Schoolgraduates and its future studentsto synergise the potential of tra-ditional and modern textiledesign. The event will also linkthese young artisans directly withthe industry. It took eight months

to do this 15-minutecollection.”

Designer RinaSingh from Eka toldus, “Our collectionis an example ofreinterpretation of

our fabrics. A single outfit has dif-ferent designer garments layeredon top of each other. Yet theensemble looks like a monolith-ic whole. So the show was allabout their thought process andwhat kind of clothes they puttogether.”


With the theme of the earthand sky, Indonesian

designer Novita Yunus intro-duced her brand Batik Chicat Amazon’s FashionWeek. The earthypalette found expres-sion in varieties of kaf-tans, palazzos, tradi-tional embroideredkebayas, knotted

skirts, harem pants,parachute pants andasymmetric overalls. Theearth element comprised acombination of ochre, darkchocolate, light brown, olivegreen and dark brown whilethe sky was represented inall things silver.

The accessories were

the highlight of the showand consisted clutches,fringed tote bags, SuryaMajajpahit era-inspired goldplated necklaces, brooches

and buckled belts.Kalimantan rattan sandalscompleted the look.

“The concept wasbumi langit, which means,

the sky and the earth. The skysymbolised the sun, the starsand the earth symbolised theeco prints that I have used.

We have used three different fab-rics, eco prints, batik remekan andan authentic method from WestJava. These are beyond seasons; youcan wear these in autumn winterwith a jacket or a coat and it is per-fect for summers,” shared Novita.


From cropped choga jacket toangarkha shirt Abraham and

Thakore’s collection Back to workwas about simple separates in purecotton providing practical alterna-tives to the everyday workdayneeds of the urban Indian womanlooking for fashion solutions thatdraw on tradition. The colourpalette comprised ivory, madder,indigo and black.


Uncomplicated tops withstatement tassels and pantscut comfortably away from

the body. Both come in relaxedcotton ikat with precise geometricprints and a palette that reflects thewarm tones of the earth. Practicalstyling, you might think. But toDelhi-based designer Madhu Jain,it’s an inventive linear narrative onikat.

“I wore only natural fibres evenduring my college days,” saysMadhu. One can trace her intenselove affair with natural fibres andhandlooms to her childhood. “Iwas influenced by my grandfatherwho, being a freedom fighter,espoused the cause of India’s tra-ditional small industries. So, it wasno surprise then, that when I for-mally entered the design and fash-ion world, it was to promote our2,000-year-old glorious textilestradition. To serve this sector, myhumble contribution has been toevolve new textiles by combiningtwo weaves from different statesand regions. As a craft revivalistand textile conservationist, R&D istherefore essential to my work.”

Madhu’s showcase at the ongo-ing fashion week is like a retrospec-tive of 30 years of her work withikat, Nakshiantha and Dhakamuslin among others. “I keepaway a few favourite items fromeach of my collections. Over theyears I’ve built a veritable treasuretrove of all the textiles I am proudto have produced. As this on-rampshow is to commemorate threedecades of the Madhu Jain label, Ihave pulled these out especially forthe show.” There are samples fromher latest range, featuring influ-ences from Uzbekistan. “Aroundthe globe, there are huge variationsin how ikat is crafted, from the dif-ficult-to-render double ikat weave

found in only four countries, to thesingle ikat found in a larger num-ber of regions. Ikat fromUzbekistan is distinctive in that thelooms are only about 10 incheswide. Also, Uzbeki ikat is knownfor the use of jewel-toned coloursand bold motifs to appease theroyal tastes of monarchs and richmerchants for whom this textilewas especially crafted. My rampcollection does indeed includemy take on Uzbeki ikat which hasbeen woven by my master weavers.Each outfit has an Indian twist toit. Uzbek ikat is not adaptable to

Indian climatic conditions; it’sbarely a strip of fabric. And theyhave two varieties — Adras, wornby all, and Atlas, worn by royalty,which is darker, richer.” So, MadhuIndianised it and got it woven inAndhra and Odisha. “Design inter-vention, where the weaver is con-cerned, is very important,” says thedesigner, whose first show was heldnearly 30 years ago. It was also thefirst time she could afford to usethe expensive Odisha ikat. Severaltrips to the North Eastern statesopened her eyes to the potential ofbamboo. “It’s so versatile. People

call it the poor man’s linen. But tome, it meant limitless possibilities.Bamboo blends so well with otherfabrics, is eco friendly, safe on theskin and easy on the pocket,” sheexplains.

Her experiments with the eco-friendly bamboo fibre were recog-nised by the Textiles Ministry in2003 when she collaborated withsupermodel Milind Soman to puttogether the first ever bamboo fibreexhibition. “I presented a bambootextiles line that I combined effec-tively with silk, Chanderi, and cot-ton. I also used bamboo textile as

a base for the giant Kalamkari Treeof Knowledge installation that I puttogether for the opening ceremo-ny of the 2010 CommonwealthGames. Both events remain highpoints of my career.”

Madhu says she has lasted thislong because she wants to con-tribute to the weaving communi-ties. “Through crafting newdesigns and weaves, I am doing mybit to safeguard the livelihoods ofour weaving communities byensuring marketing and a freshinfusion of new craft forms.”


Filmmaker Hansal Mehta, film editor ApurvaAsrani and comedians Mallika Dua, Tanmay

Bhat and Rohan Joshi have expressed concern overimplementation of rules against harassment at work-place after sexual harassment charges were levelledagainst Arunabh Kumar, CEO of the digital enter-tainment start-up The Viral Fever (TVF).

It all started when a female ‘staffer’ under thepseudonym Indian Fowler posted a blog, accusingKumar of sexual advances at the workplace, and hisseveral attempts to exploit her.

In the response section, another female employ-ee shared her ordeal at TVF, saying that she “hadto face a similar experience while working there. Ifelt exploited and cheated and I left my job undervery bad circumstances.”

Mehta says harassment at workplace must bedenounced. “Whether it is sexual, mental or theresult of a person’s perceived power over the other,”Mehta tweeted.

Stand-up comedienne Aditi Mittal tweeted:“Silence from the comedy community is deafening.Everyone still texting contacts/verifying facts in spiteof hearing stories about it for years? And that myfriends is why ‘there are so few female comics’ aquestion that I get constantly asked as if I shouldhave the ans to the ques.”

However, Nidhi Bisht, who works at TVF, cameto Kumar’s defence. She tweeted: “Five years at TVFand no memory of who this female employee is. It’sa baseless fictitious allegation. Haters please don’tstoop down to this level.”


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Bharat Heavy ElectricalsLimited (BHEL) has com-

menced commercial operationof its first 800 MW unit —highest-rating coal-basedsupercritical thermal powerplant. The milestone wasachieved for the first unit of the2x800 MW Yeramarus thermalpower station of Raichur PowerCorporation Limited (RPCL),in Raichur district ofKarnataka. Significantly, thecommercial operation of thisunit also marks BHEL’s foray asa developer into the field ofpower generation. KarnatakaPower Corporation Ltd.(KPCL) and BHEL are themain equity partners of RPCL,the owner and operator of thispower plant.

BHEL did complete

design, engineering, manufac-ture, supply, erection and com-missioning of this state-of-the-art supercritical project onturnkey basis. It has suppliedall the critical equipment likeboiler, turbine and generators,electrical, key packages of bal-ance of plant, and has also car-ried out the associated civilworks. The major equipmentfor the project has been man-ufactured by BHEL at itsHaridwar, Trichy, Bhopal,Ranipet, Hyderabad, Jhansi,Thirumayam and Bengaluruplants, while the constructionof the plant was undertaken bythe company’s power sector -southern region.

BHEL has supplied andexecuted 4,010 MW of coalbased sets for KPCL and its

joint ventures, which accountfor 95 per cent of the utility’scoal-based installed capacity.BHEL is also presently execut-ing KPCL’s first gas-based com-bined cycle power project of370 MW capacity involving afuel-efficient advanced-classgas turbine at Yelahanka,Bengaluru.

BHEL is the market leaderin both the subcritical as wellas the supercritical segments inthe country. The company hassecured orders for 48 super-critical Steam Generators (SG)and 41 supercritical SteamTurbine Generators (STG) —the highest in the country byany power equipment manu-facturer. Of these, 12 SG and 10STG have already achievedcapacity addition.

“Government is already on theright track in facilitating theconsumers to harness the full

benefits of digitisation and putting inplace sufficient safeguards against risksassociated with the online world,” saidRam Vilas Paswan, Union Minister ofConsumer Affairs, Food and PublicDistribution, in his presidential addresson the occasion of the World ConsumerRights Day 2017. Paswan added that thisis the age of technology, and educating theconsumer and redressing his grievancesin the digital world is a challenge. E-com-merce companies are increasingly com-ing under our national consumer helplineconvergence programme where con-sumer grievances entered online, arebeing addressed expeditiously.

The Department of ConsumerAffairs, the Ministry of Consumer AffairsFood and Public Distribution, celebrat-ed the World Consumer Rights Day 2017with the theme Consumer Rights in dig-ital age. Ravi Shankar Prasad, UnionMinister Law and Justice, Electronics andIT, was the chief guest of the event.

Paswan mentioned that packagedcommodities rules are being amended tomandate that e-commerce companiesshould display the mandatory declara-tions on their sites if they are offeringpackaged commodities for sale on onlineplatforms. The minister suggested thatboth ministries, the consumer affairs andthe information technology, have towork in tandem to create digital aware-ness programmes and urged the NASS-COM to encourage companies to adhereto a code of ethics where they do not hidein fine print the consumer’s agreement to

share his private data and make him signinadvertently. Paswan emphasised thatopenness of the Internet, the lack of iden-tification and the low level of users’ under-standing of security; particularly amongthe first time users is a major area thatrequires focused efforts.

Ravi Shankar Prasad in his speechlaid stressed upon focusing on a digital-ly empowered society instead of digital-ly enabled society. Prasad said that thefocus of the government is digital gov-ernance, and service delivery systemsusing social media for good governance.He said that all information supportingpublic cause should be in public domain.

The National Building Code waslaunched on the occasion. The codemarks culmination of efforts of more than

100 experts who worked for more thantwo years. The code contains provisionson use of new/innovative materials andtechnologies and on prefabricated con-struction techniques that can give fillipto speedier construction to meet theobjectives of Housing for All by 2022. Italso contains administrative aspects pre-scribing norms for time bound buildingapproval based on integrated approvalprocess from all concerned agenciesthrough single window clearanceapproach and adopting online process,thereby promoting Ease of Doing Business.

New initiatives of the department onconsumer grievance redressal and con-sumer education, leveraging new agetechnologies were launched whichincluded a hindi portal and web chat for

grievance redressal, mobile application forCONFONET (consumer for a network,a project that connects all Fora in thecountry and monitor the cases online) toenable track cases online, and modelapproval for legal metrology , and ini-tiatives of Voluntary ConsumerOrganizations (VCOs) which includedthe survey report on consumer safety, QRcode App for detecting fake/spuriousproducts, and awards to five statesGujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha,Rajasthan and Telangana for their con-sumer friendly practices.

R. Chandershekar, President, NASS-COM in his theme address briefedabout the impact of digital technologyon everything that is around us, con-sumer behaviour and lifestyle. He men-tioned about new digital technology thatis riding on the internet and the impor-tance of benefits and perquisites thataccrue to the consumers, if this are beingused positively for consumer informa-tion and education. He mentioned in thisconnection about user reviews of prod-ucts in social media as best consumerprotection channels. He mentioned thatthe important thing is to convert the dig-ital technology to the benefit of con-sumers’ information and education as anaware consumer is best protected. Hesuggested that we should look into thebest international practices on howsecurity breaches in the digital area weretackled and minimised rather thangoing for a trial and error method. Hesaid that just as a consumer is able to buyproducts online sitting at home, heshould be able to file complaints and getredress in same manner.

R.K. Mittal, Deputy Director General,Standardisation, BIS emphasised on letting efficient

manufacturing practices distil down to the entire steelindustry through standard formulation and qualityconformity so that Indian Steel Industry can increaseits footprints both domestically and globally. He wasspeaking at the national seminar on Innovations in Steeland latest trends in Steel Making, which was organisedby Bureau of Indian Standards in New Delhi. Theobjective of the seminar was to create awareness aboutlatest developments in steel and new processes beingused in steel making, nationally as well as globally.

Earlier, while welcoming the gathering, J.K.Bakhroo, Head (MTD), BIS observed that to matchthe ever-growing demand of steel products, steel indus-try was required to use innovative manufacturing

processes. P.K. Sen, Chairman, Wrought Steel SectionalCommittee while giving details of the objectives of theseminar, stressed the need for steel industry to climbthe learning curve to match quantity with quality.

The inaugural address was followed by the tech-nical session, in which five speakers — DevasishMishra, JSW Steels Limited, Venkat Kondapalli,

Arcelor Mittal, Automotive India, Dr SubrataMukherjee, Tata Steel Limited, D Karmarkar, RDCIS,SAIL, and Deepak Gupta, Essar Steel — shared theirknowledge about innovations in steel and latesttrends in steel making.

The seminar was attended by over 50 dignitariesrepresenting various stakeholders.

The Union Minister for Agriculture andFarmers Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh has

said that development and upliftment offarmers is the first priority of the governmentand to achieve it, the government aim is todouble the income of farmers by 2022. Singhsaid this on the inauguration of three daysKrishi Unati Mela being held in IndianInstitute of Agriculture Research. On this occa-sion, Secretary, Department of AgriculturalResearch and Education (DARE) and DirectorGeneral, ICAR, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra,Secretary, Department of Agriculture,Cooperation and Farmers Welfare(DAC&FW), Secretary, Department of AnimalHusbandry, Dairying and Fisheries(DADF), Deputy Director General,Director, Indian Institute ofAgriculture Research, sci-entist and officials werepresent. Informationwas given of crops andnew species of cattle,special schemes andprogrammes pre-pared keeping inview of the protec-tion, empowermentand their progressin the fair.

Singh said on thisoccasion that it isessential to maintain fer-tility of the land for sus-tainable agriculture develop-ment. Prime Minister launchedsoil health card in February 2015 itselfand till now 460 soil testing laboratory hasbeen sanctioned. The government has madeit mandatory the production of neem coatedurea in May 2015. Further the cost of DAP andMOP has been reduced. Pradhan Mantri FasalBima Yojana has been launched to safeguardthe farmers from natural disaster like drought,flood etc. It includes cereals, oilseeds and com-mercial, horticulture crops. About 366.64 lakhfarmers have been covered in kharif 2016.

Union Agriculture and Farmers WelfareMinister said that Ministry has made arrange-ments for conducting whole sale marketthrough e-platform (e-NAM) in the wholecountry so that the farmers may sell their prod-ucts at reasonable price. To overcome the prob-lem of drought, Prime Minister Krishi Sichae

Yojna has been launched under which wateris being provided to every farm. To encour-age agriculture and to strengthen the rurallivelihood many scheme of agriculture andfarmer’s welfare have been launched. The mainschemes are Pradhan Mantri Krishi SichaeYojana, agriculture mechanisation, nationalagriculture marketing, kisan suvidha mobileapp, Rashtirya Krishi Vikas Yojna, FisheriesDevelopmnent Management, IntegratedAgriculture System Model and more.

Singh said that the country is self-sufficientin foodgrains and exporting foodgrains to theother countries. India is number one in milkproduction in the world. Milk production has

increased from 137.61 million tonnes dur-ing 2013-14 to 146.31 million

tonnes during 2014-15 andduring 2015-16 milk pro-

duction was 155.49 mil-lion tonnes. New

scheme NationalBovine ProductivityMission has beenstarted inNovember, 2016with an amount of�825 crore. A pro-duction of 82,930million eggs was

made during year2015-16. Seeing the

unlimited scope of devel-opment in fisheries, the

government has called forBlue Revolution in the fisheries

sector. For Blue Revolution scheme,central budget of �3000 crore has been ear-marked for the period of five years. The num-ber of Krishi Vigyan Kendra has reached to 665so that the farmers may adopt from trainingto agriculture technique. Cabinet has approved�3960 crore for running the Krishi VigyanKendras. Prime Minister, Narnedra Modi hasgiven special emphasis on lab to land, water,soil productivity, food processing. Prominentamong them are Farmer First, Arya, StudentReady, Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav.

On this occasion the regional level PanditDeen Dayal Upadhyay Rashtriya Krishi VigyanProtsahan Puraskar were distributed.Ramkrishna Ashram, Nimpith District —South 24 Parganas, Sundarbans won theNational Award at the event.

NLC India Limited opened a newbuilding, built under the Corporate

Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme ofthe company, at Aruna HigherSecondary School, Eraiyur (nearPennadam), Cuddalore district. Theschool was inaugurated by R. Vikraman,Director (HR), NLC India Limited. Thebuilding is constructed at the cost of �20lakhs.

While delivering speech amongschool students, Vikraman said, that onecannot achieve full benefits of readingtext-books, alone, under the present sit-uations; either one should go to libraryand read books of his/her choice, inorder to develop reading habits and gainmore knowledge. Also, he invited thestudents to come to Book Fair, whichwill be held at Neyveli in the month ofJuly, this year and advised them not onlyto buy books, but also donate to thislibrary, to the extent possible.

NLC India is undertaking varioussocial welfare accomplishments, underCSR, every year. Its activities covered inthe area of agriculture, education,health, providing drinking water facil-ities by NLCI, laying of roads, con-structing of bridges and more, where,crores of rupees are spent, every year.Since the organisation gives primeimportance to education, constructionof additional class rooms, laboratories,libraries, toilets, compound walls, pre-senting of benches and desks, are beingprovided to the schools at the periph-eral villages of Neyveli.

In the event, R. Mohan, CGM/CSR,NLC India Limited, delivered the felic-itation address, where he said, helpingwithout any expectation is the mark of

true friend. In such a way, the library,without any expectation, impartsknowledge to the students, who utilis-es it, as a path; also, to get clearness inthe knowledge gained, the library playsan important role.

In the line of actions, the demandput forth by the management of ArunaHigher Secondary School, NLC Indiaconstructed a library building at the costof �20 lakhs under CSR funds. Around1700 students, hailing from various vil-lages around Pennadam are studying inthe school. Teachers around 50 areimparting education to these children.The building donated by NLC India hasan area of 1800 square feet, with framedstructure type construction, whichensures sturdy of the building. Thebuilding has unique features of highventilation and natural lights, which hasthe facility of cub-board shelves to storeabout 5000 books. Also it has a studyhall, where one can read at premises andcan take notes of it.

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The spotlight is firmly trainedon the pitch as an ambitiousIndia brace up for what is

expected to be a high-voltage bat-tle of attrition against Australia inthe third cricket Test starting hereon Thursday.

Since the amicable end to theacrimonious DRS saga, the focushas shifted to the pitch at theJharkhand State Cricket Association(JSCA), which is organising it's first-ever Test match.

The four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy is locked at 1-1and the game at former India cap-tain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's hometown would be crucial to the out-come of the series.

The wicket for the first Test wasrated poor while the Bengaluru sur-face, where the second match wasplayed, has been deemed "belowaverage" by match referee ChrisBroad. Trailing 0-1 following ashocking 333-run defeat in theopener, India will enter the matchwith new-found confidence havingscripted a brilliant fightback inBengaluru. Australian captain SteveSmith had stirred up a controversyin Bengaluru by seeking advicefrom the dressing room on using thecontentious DRS technology for anlbw dismissal at a crucial juncture.

Heading into the match, bothteams are wary of the pitch.

A few days ago, Dhoni, who iscurrently in Delhi leadingJharkhand in the domestic one-day-ers, was seen with the curator dur-ing the pitch preparations.

On the surface, the 22-yardstrip looks tailor-made for spinners,even as the local officials maintainit will last the distance.

Head coach Anil Kumble tooka long look at the pitch in consul-

tation with East Zone curatorAshish Bhowmick, assessing itsfirmness. It was watered in themorning and there were a few spellsof rain about a week back, explain-ing its moisture-laden appearance.

Having posted 600-plus totalsin their previous three inningsbefore this series, the home team'sbatting is yet to live upto expecta-tions. None of India's big guns have

yet posted a century.With three half centuries, KL

Rahul has been the leading run-get-ter in the series, while Kohli, whois having a rare lean patch againstthe Aussies, will look to break thedrought. Kohli has just 40 runs fromfour innings, a dry spell comingafter a year full of runs, in which theIndian captain slammed 1457 runsfrom nine Tests and led the side to

a 19-match unbeaten run before thePune debacle.

India owe it to CheteshwarPujara and Ajinkya Rahane, whorevived the home team's chances inBengaluru with their 118-run fifth-wicket partnership, the only centu-ry partnership of the series so far.

Having recovered from ashoulder injury, opener MuraliVijay looks set replace AbhinavMukund, which will give the open-ing combination a more settledlook, for the crucial encounter.

����������$������� �#� �Virat Kohli refused to attach

any importance to the track butSteve Smith cannot keep his mindoff it as the rival captains took a con-trarian view on the role the pitchwould play in the third Test start-ing on Thursday. Kohli felt that theexternal conditions would deter-mine how the pitch would behave.

"A lot of things like weather gobehind how the pitch would behave.In hot and humid conditions, we getreverse swing. It's not just the wick-et but external conditions play arole," Kohli said on the eve of thethird Test. "I've not seen a cricketerwho can predict the outcome afterseeing a pitch. I think it's hard toassess how much it will turn orseam. That's why it's said cricket isa complicated sport. You have to bealways prepared," the Indian captainadded.

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In a stunning turn of events, ShashankManohar on Wednesday resigned as

International Cricket Council (ICC)Chairman citing personal reasons, abrupt-ly ending his two-year tenure in a mere eightmonths.

The 59-year-old Manohar mailed hisresignation letter to ICC CEO DaveRichardson without clarifying the exact rea-son for this sudden move.

However, according to highly-placedsources, Manohar decided to quit after BCCIgained enough ground to block the consti-tutional and financial reforms that were setto be passed by the ICC at its next boardmeeting. Any reform to be passed needs

2/3rd majority but BCCI, in all likelihood,has managed to get Bangladesh, Sri Lankaand Zimbabwe on its side.

It is learnt, expecting a loss of face,Manohar resigned with immediate effect.

"I was elected unopposed as the firstindependent Chairman of ICC last year. Ihave tried to do my best and have tried tobe fair and impartial in deciding matters inthe functioning of the Board and in mattersrelated to Member Boards along with theable support of all Directors," Manohar hasstated in his resignation letter. "However, forpersonal reasons it is not possible for me tohold the august office of ICC Chairman andhence I am tendering my resignation asChairman with immediate effect. I take thisopportunity to thank all the Directors, theManagement and staff of ICC for support-ing me wholeheartedly. I wish ICC all thevery best and hope it achieves greater

heights," he concluded.Late in the evening Manohar told

ESPN Cricinfo that his reasons of resigna-tion are genuinely personal.

"It has nothing to do with the ICC func-tioning or these issues which are going tocome up. Personal reason means genuine-ly personal. And I don't lie," Manohar toldthe leading cricket website.

Manohar had last year resigned from theBCCI President's position citing his inabil-ity to carry out the Lodha Committeereforms in toto. His detractors in BCCI, atthat time, had said that he left a sinking shipfor the safer confines of the ICC.

He became the first independentchairman of ICC but had several run inswith BCCI on revenue sharing pattern.

The ICC is expected to pickManohar's replacement next month at itsExecutive Board meetings. As per norms,

it has to be an individual who does nothold office in his home Board.

All present and past ICC directorswould be eligible to contest the electionif it happens. Candidates would be nom-inated by ICC directors and only onenominee would be allowed per director.

Nominees having the backing of atleast two Full Member directors would beeligible to stand for election.

The ICC said it has receivedManohar's resignation and will com-ment only after taking stock of the situ-ation.

"The ICC has confirmed it hasreceived an email from ChairmanShashank Manohar tendering his resig-nation. The ICC Board will assess the sit-uation and next steps before making a fur-ther announcement," the world bodystated in a brief press release.

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The Indian Cricket Board on Wednesdayexpressed its surprise at Shashank

Manohar's sudden decision to tender hisresignation from the ICC chairmanship cit-ing personal reasons.

"The Board of Control for Cricket inIndia (BCCI) on Wednesday expressed itssurprise at the sudden decision of MrShashank Manohar to step down from thepost of International Cricket Council (ICC)chairman," BCCI issued a media statement.

"Mr Manohar's contribution to Indiancricket is invaluable. He is a man of fewwords but excellent deeds. The BCCICommittee of Administrators (COA) waslooking forward to a long-term cooperationbetween the ICC and BCCI with MrManohar at the helm of affairs. The BCCIwishes him the very best for his futureendeavours," it further stated.

One of the main reasons for his resig-nation is believed to be the opposition thathe will face with regards to proposed con-stitutional reforms including the two-tierWorld Test Championship and controver-sial revenue sharing model. There has beena meeting in Colombo where a senior BCCIfunctionary met officials from Bangladesh,Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

With 4 votes needed out of 10 Test play-ing nations to scuttle the reforms, India,game's financial powerhouse are back in thebusiness.

Many are attributing India's new foundstrength to the trio of CEO Rahul Johri,Vikram Limaye and Vinod Rai, who haveworked tirelessly to gain support of othernations. Manohar's resignation and the pos-sible rollback of the proposed revenuemodel will mean that the argument put for-ward by BCCI's old guard that richest crick-et board is in mess after Supreme Court ver-dict on Lodha Reforms would not hold ground.

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Virat Kohli does not regret hisshowdown with Steve Smith

over DRS but the Indian skippertoday said he has decided tobury the hatchet and focus onthe third cricket Test againstAustralia starting here onThursday.

Kohli, who had stoppedshort of calling Smith 'cheat' aftertheir dramatic 75-run winagainst Australia in Bengaluru,was flooded with questions onthe DRS controversy but Kohlihad only one answer: Time tofocus on cricket. "A lot has beengiven into the incident. It's timewe focused on the remainder ofthe series. There's lot of cricketto be played and it should nothappen in bad taste. What's hap-pened in Bengaluru happened inBengaluru, we are in Ranchi andwe should look forward totomorrow," Kohli said at thenews conference on the eve ofthe third Test here.

"Both teams have movedahead from Bengaluru. I thinkthe focus should get back on theseries because the priority is herecricket. All other things happenin the background, we under-stand that as cricketers."

Smith's gesture of takinghelp from his teammates in thedressing room for a DRS callafter he was adjudged LBW byumpire Nigel Llong eruptedinto a controversy as Kohli at thepost-match news conference

did not utter the word "cheat"but said it "falls in that bracket".

It led to an exchangebetween the two rival captainsbefore ICC intervened and bro-kered peace without penalisinganyone in what was snowballinginto another controversy like thebitter monkeygate episode.

In his first interaction afterhis tirade against Smith inBengaluru, Kohli said he did notregret what he said but at thesame time he wanted to move

on. "See, I think about what I say.I don't regret anything that I'vesaid. But at the same time, it'svery important not to be stupidand go on with the same thingon a daily basis because there'scricket to be played," he said.

"There was a decent break inbetween. We certainly don'twant to sit and think about oneissue all the time. We have twotest matches to play and that'swhat we need to focus on."

Hailing both the Boards tocall truce after ICC's interven-tion, Kohli said: "It was a maturedecision on everyone's part tomove on from that. We've seeninstances in the past when itstretched too long and it justcaused disharmony and there'sno (other) outcome. We justneed to focus on the two games.You will always have two sidesof the coin...That just takes thefocus away from the game thatwe all are sitting here because of.I think it's in the best interest ofeveryone that we move on andfocus on the game.”

����� ��2+1�

Australian skipper Steve Smith onWednesday rejected Virat Kohli's insin-

uation that he repeatedly cheated while tak-ing DRS calls, saying the claims by his Indiancounterpart are "complete rubbish".

The second Test in Bengaluru ended incontroversy after Smith was caught lookingtoward the dressing room balcony foradvice on DRS appeal against his dismissal.

"From my point of view I think they'recompletely wrong. I obviously came out afterthe game and said I made a mistake and itwas an error on my behalf, it was a brainfade," Smith said at the pre-match press con-ference on the eve of the third Test here.

"In regards to saying we do it consis-tently, that's complete rubbish in my opin-ion. I think he was wrong in his statement,"Smith said of Kohli's allegations that theAussie skipper had on previous occasionstoo resorted to taking dressing room's helpon whether to call for a review. Speaking tothe media earlier, Kohli stressed on movingon but maintained that he did not regret

what he had said after the Bengaluru game."Not from my point of view... Yeah, it's

about moving on on and concentrating onthis Test here. It's been a great series so far,the cricket that's been played, and hopefullycricket can be the winner out here in the Testmatch. It's an exciting one, one-all in theseries, half way through the series. We're allexcited about this Test and hopefully it canbe a good one."

The ICC did not level any charge againstany player after the Test and match refereeRichie Richardson will bring both the cap-tains together ahead of penultimate game.

"Perhaps I might be able to ask a fewquestions. We'll see what the mood is likeat that time. Virat obviously stuck by hiscomments. I think it will be just similar sortof thing with Richie making sure that crick-et is the winner this week," Smith said.

"I spoke to Richie Richardson and theother umpires just now. Basically they saidcricket is the winner in the Test. Both teamsturn to play within rules of the game. Wealways know that a series between Australiaand India is fiercely contested. It's betweennumber one and two sides in the world.They understand that, it's just about play-ing within the boundaries of the game andmaking sure that cricket is the winner."

Nathan Lyon suffered from a split cal-lus on the inside of his right index fingerafter grabbing eight wickets in the secondTest, but Smith said the off-spinner is fit. "Hisfinger has healed nicely over the last weekor so. I'm sure he'll be fine."

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First, the Premier League title. Now, theChampions League quarterfinals. Is thereno end to Leicester's football fairytale?

The improbable rise of a previouslyunheralded club from central Englandtouched new heights on Tuesday whenLeicester beat Sevilla 2-0 to reach the last eightof Europe's elite club competition, courtesyof a 3-2 aggregate victory. Two years ago tothe day, Leicester was in last place in thePremier League after a dour 0-0 home drawwith Hull. On Friday, its name will be in apot alongside the cream of the continent —Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich,Borussia Dortmund, Juventus and two oth-ers — in Champions League draw in Nyon.

"We proved a lot of people wrong andpulled off the impossible again," said Leicestercaptain Wes Morgan, one of the scorers insidean atmospheric King Power Stadium. We willtake whoever comes."

That's the kind of uncompromising atti-tude that carried Leicester to the PremierLeague title last season at odds of 5,000-1 andis sweeping the team to another potential mir-acle. No team is likely to feel comfortable inthe cauldron that is the King Power Stadiumon nights like these.

"Let slip the dogs of war," urged a mes-sage on a giant banner behind one of the goalsbefore the match. It was a line from 'JuliusCaesar,' a play by William Shakespeare — theEnglish playwright who has the same sur-name as Leicester's new manager.

Craig Shakespeare recently took overfrom Claudio Ranieri, the coach who orches-trated Leicester's sensational Premier Leaguetitle triumph but was fired because the teamhad found itself fighting a relegation battlein its championship defense. Shakespeare hasthree wins from three matches in charge, andhas got the team playing back at last season'slevels. "We tried to make it as uncomfortableas we could for Sevilla," said Shakespeare, whowas pictured on that banner holding a dogon a leash.

Sevilla — currently the third best teamin Spain and winner of the last three EuropaLeague titles — played into Leicester's handshere, leaving space behind its defense and fail-ing to match the home side's intensity andenergy. Its players also gave away silly fouls,one of which was conceded at the edge oftheir area to allow Riyad Mahrez to curl ina free kick that Morgan turned home at theback post for 1-0 in the 27th.

Winger Marc Albrighton doubled the leadin the 54th — and put Leicester clear on aggre-gate — by lashing home left-footed from justinside the area after Sevilla defender Adil Ramimade a poor headed clearance. Seconds ear-lier, Sevilla left back Sergio Escudero had pow-ered a dipping 35-meter shot against the cross-bar. Sevilla's anger boiled over. So frustratedwas French playmaker Samir Nasri that hewas sent off for collecting two bookings —one for kicking out at Wilfried Ndidi in thefirst half and the second for aiming a head-butt at Jamie Vardy in the 74th.

Still, outplayed and out-thought, Sevillacould have taken the game to extra time whenLeicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichelbrought down Vitolo in the area. StevenN'Zonzi took the penalty in the 79th butSchmeichel guessed the right way, just like hedid in the first leg when he denied JoaquinCorrea from the spot.

"It's been decisive that we've missed twopenalties," Sampaoli said.

�������������������� �����3�The obvious answer was Barcelona

or Real Madrid. Bayern Munich wouldhave been understandable, too.

But when Gianluigi Buffonwas asked which team he would

like to avoid in the draw for theChampions League

quarterfinals, theJuventus goalkeeperwent for competition'sbig outsider.

"Leicester," theItaly great said,

"because it is a danger-ous team, a team which

will have enthusiasm, ateam which has the weapons

to cause trouble for teams whowant to take the initiative."

Against Leicester, Buffon added,"there would also be everything to lose."

Indeed, the previously unheraldedclub from central England is making ahabit of embarrassing Europe's bigteams. Last season, the cream of Englishfootball couldn't live with Leicester,which romped to the Premier League

title by 10 points at odds of 5,000-1. Thisseason, they've moved onto theChampions League, topping a group thatcontained two-time European champi-on FC Porto before eliminating Sevilla inthe last 16.

"We are in there on merit, make nomistake," Leicester manager CraigShakespeare said.

Leicester, after all, is 360 minutes awayfrom a Champions League final.

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Paulo Dybala's penalty set Juventuson its way to a 1-0 win over 10-

man Porto on Tuesday and a placein the Champions League quarterfi-nals.

A day after he said it was his"dream" to score past veteran goal-keeper Iker Casillas, Dybala con-verted from the spot in the 42ndminute after Maxi Pereira was sentoff for handling the ball on the goalline. Massimiliano Allegri's side pro-gressed from the Round of 16 witha 3-0 victory on aggregate andmaintained its impressive record atthe Juventus Stadium.

"I have to congratulate the ladsfor passing the round, as it wasn'teasy," Allegri said. "We had a goodfirst half, we controlled the ball welland didn't concede. Then once wewent ahead, once they went a mandown, we only half played the sec-ond period and we need to improveon that."

Juventus captain GianluigiBuffon said he was keen to avoidLeicester in the next round after the

English champion beat Sevilla 2-0 in the night's other match toadvance 3-2 on aggregate.

However, Allegri wasunconcerned about Juve'sprospective opponents.

"Who wedraw, we'll play and

goodnight," he said."Anyway, we want toget to the end, so we

have to play them all."Once again, Porto was undone

by a red card. Alex Telles was sent offin the first leg, when it still tookJuventus until the 72nd minute tobreak the deadlock.

"Without doubt, the sendingoff in both matches affected us,"Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santosaid. "We didn't concede any goalswhen we had the same number of

players, there remains the doubtwhether we would have if we hadremained in 11 in both matches.

"I knew it would be almostimpossible to score three goalsagainst Juventus with a player less. Itwould have been nice to get a goal,I think we deserved it ... and it wouldhave been a just reward."

It was Casillas' 175th appearancein European competition, breakingthe previous record held by formerItaly and AC Milan defender PaoloMaldini. Trailing 2-0 from the firstleg, it was always going to be an uphilltask for Porto against the five-timedefending Serie A champion.

Especially as Juventus hadn't lostin Turin in the Champions Leaguein nearly three years and was unde-feated at home in all competitionsince August 2015.

Porto needed an early goal buthad barely a sight on goal, withFrancisco Soares' speculative effortbeing comfortably gathered byBuffon. Mario Mandzukic had aheader smothered by Casillas andsent another effort just past the leftpost before Juventus broke the dead-lock four minutes from halftime.

Alex Sandro's header was par-ried by Casillas but only as far asGonzalo Higuain and his effortfrom close range was stopped by theoutstretched hand of Maxi Pereira,leading to an inevitable red card forthe Porto defender. Dybala steppedup and fired powerfully into the bot-tom right corner, sending Casillas thewrong way.

Juventus almost doubled its leadon the stroke of halftime but JuanCuadrado blasted narrowly over thebar. Despite the numerical advantage,Porto almost leveled shortly after thebreak, but Soares sent his shot pastthe right post when one on one withBuffon. Dybala was given a standingovation when he was substituted forTomas Rincon with 12 minutesremaining.

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Roger Federer edged SteveJohnson 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in a

hard-serving duel at the BNPParibas Open, setting up a fourth-round match against Rafael Nadal.

Federer fired 12 aces — hisfastest serve registering 131 mph— and never faced a break pointagainst Johnson, who reached136 on the radar gun and foughtoff all four break points againsthim.

Nadal advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win against 26th-seededFernando Verdasco for his 50thcareer victory at the desert tour-nament, where he's won threetitles but none since 2013.

Five-time Indian Wells winnerNovak Djokovic defeated 2013finalist Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and next faces NickKyrgios in the same quarter of thedraw as Federer and Nadal.

On the women's side, No. 2seed Angelique Kerber lost to14th-seeded Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3 in the fourth round. Kerber isassured of retaking the No. 1 rank-ing from injured Serena Williamsnext week.

Federer is a four-time cham-pion at Indian Wells who won hislast title in 2012. He defeatedNadal in the Australian Open finalin January for his record 18thGrand Slam title. Their meeting onWednesday will be the earliest theyhave played since their first matchin 2004 at Miami, where Nadalwon.

"Because it's early in the tour-nament, I think we both don'tquite yet know to 100 percent howeverything feels," Federer said."There is a bit of the unknown,which is exciting maybe for the

fans to see how we're going to tryto figure that part out."

Federer hit 32 winners againstJohnson, including a forehand vol-ley that earned him a mini-breakin the first set tiebreaker. He wonfive of the next six points andclosed out the set on Johnson'sdesperate backhand lob that land-ed wide.

Johnson held at 6-all to forcethe second tiebreaker and fellbehind 4-2. He broke Federer fora 4-all tie before Federer won onhis second match point whenJohnson netted a backhand.

"In the second set, I think hewas serving almost 90 percent at

one point," Federer said. "That'swhy I changed my position on thereturn. I was trying to mix it upa bit." Nadal closed out his 1 1/2-hour, third-round match in 95-degree (35 C) heat with a forehandwinner.

Nadal won 80 percent of hisfirst-serve points and three of fivebreak points. Verdasco, who woneight straight points for a 3-2 leadin the second set, had seven dou-ble faults.

Nadal called it unlucky thathe and Federer were to playbefore the quarterfinals. TheSpaniard leads the rivalry 23-12,including a 9-8 edge on hard-

courts."It doesn't matter if everybody

is playing well because from ourpart of the draw, only one of us isgoing to be in that semifinals,"Nadal said. "So that's tough, butthat's not happening every week.Only thing we can do to avoid thatis be in higher position of theranking."

French Open championGarbine Muguruza of Spainplanned to watch the latest chap-ter in the Federer-Nadal rivalry.

"I think everybody is going towatch that match," she said."Everybody likes Rafa. Everybodylikes Roger. It's history over there."

Venus Williams advanced tothe quarterfinals for the first timesince 2001 with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 vic-tory over Shuai Peng, the lastremaining qualifier in the draw.She had 40 winners, 40 unforcederrors and won the final fourgames of the match after trailing3-2.

"It was so frustrating,"Williams said. "But I feel like I gotmy focus more in that second setand towards the end of the thirdbecause I'm just a competitor. Ifthings get closer, then I think mybetter tennis is going to come."

��<� � ������India's Sania Mirza and her

women's doubles partner BarbaraStrycova crashed out of the BNPParibas Open after going down instraight sets in the quarter-finalshere. The Indo-Czech pair, whohad won the Cincinnati Open andToray Pan Pacific Open last year,suffered a 4-6, 4-6 loss againstSwitzerland's Martina Hingis andTaiwan's Yung-jan Chan in thequarter-final match that lasted anhour and 20 minutes here.

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Manchester United man-ager Jose Mourinho

has defended of Paul Pogba,saying critics are enviousand "in real trouble withtheir lives." Pogbareturned to Unitedlast year for a world-record transferfee of 105 mil-lion euros(then $116million).

Pogba hasonly had threeassists and fourgoals in 25Premier League games. ButMourinho says he's "very happy"with the United academy graduatewho left to join Juventus in 2012 forfour years. Discussing criticism,Mourinho says "the world is losingvalues." Mourinho adds that "it's nothis fault that some of the pundits, theyare in real trouble with their lives andthey need every coin to survive andPaul is a multimillionaire."

������������ ���������Manchester United has beencharged by the English FootballAssociation after its players harangued ref-eree Michael Oliver following the sending-off of Ander Herrera during the team's FACup loss to Chelsea.

Herrera received a second yellow card inthe 35th minute for fouling Chelsea wingerEden Hazard. The score was 0-0 at that stage and Unitedwent on to lose 1-0. The FAsaid Tuesday that Unitedhas been charged with "fail-ing to control their players."

United has until Friday torespond to the charge.

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