GN Bureau | November 24, 2015
Shortly after Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan on Monday said that violence in the name of religion is condemnable, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal came out in support of him for speaking out against the 'growing intolerance'.On micro-blogging website Kejriwal wrote: “Every word that @aamir_khan said is so true. I admire him for speaking up.” While speaking at the eighth edition of Ramnath Goenka Excellence awards, Amir said, “I don't think the Paris attack was an Islamic act. A person holding Quran and killing people, he maybe feeling he is doing an Islamic act but as a Muslim I don't think he is doing an Islamic act.""I am very clear that a person who is killing innocents is not a Muslim. As far as I am concerned, he is not a Muslim. He may claim to be a Muslim but we should not recognise him like that. He is a terrorist and should be recognised as a terrorist. My problem is not just with the ISIS, it is with that kind of thinking," he added.The actor further said he is worried about "extreme thinking"."Today it is ISIS, tomorrow it could be some other organisation. This extreme thinking is what I worry about because I feel this extreme thinking wherever it comes from is very destructive and negative.
Taking potshots at politicians, Aamir Khan said "... People who are our elected representatives, people who we select to look after us for five years, state or centre... When people take law into their hands, we look upon these people to take a strong stance, to make a strong statement, speed up the legal process, when we see that happening there is a sense of security but when we don't see that happening there is a sense of insecurity."Endorsing the move by scientists, writers and filmmakers to return their awards to register their protest against the atmosphere of growing intolerance, he said for creative people it is important to voice what they feel.
India seeks Swiss help in probe Preneet Kaur's accounts
As Indian tax authorities continue their probe into Swiss bank accounts of several citizens, Switzerland today said India has sought assistance in the investigations into accounts allegedly held by former Congress minister Preneet Kaur and her son Raninder Singh.As per the Swiss norms for 'assistance' in tax matters, which could involve sharing of account and other details, the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) of Switzerland also asked Kaur and Singh to file an appeal within ten days for "exercise of the right to be heard".
The Swiss tax department has made these disclosures in two separate notifications published today in the Switzerland government's federal gazette.The notifications did not disclose further details about the two, except for their nationality and dates of birth. No immediate comments could be obtained from Kaur and her son.Names of several Indians and other foreign nationals have been disclosed in the gazette in recent months following growing global pressure on Switzerland to crack down on its famed banking secrecy practices amid suspicion on these accounts being used to park illicit wealth.This is the latest in a series of such disclosures made by the FTA about information requests from India and other countries with which Switzerland has mutual assistance treaties in tax-related cases.
SC query to centre on life ban for convicts from poll process
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explain why convicts must not be debarred from contesting in elections for life. The current law debars a person convicted for two or more years from contesting elections for a minimum of six and maximum of ten years only, depending on the offence.The court was acting on a PIL filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhaya who had sought urgent court intervention to 'check criminalisation and communalisation' of politics. Upadhaya, a founding member of the Aam Aadmi Party, had quit last year to join the BJP. Earlier, convicted MPs and MLAs were allowed to serve out the rest of their term as their appeals with a higher court would not be decided before the tenure ends in the normal course.
Transmission projects worth Rs 12,000 crore up for grabs
The government will soon invite bids for transmission projects estimated to cost about Rs 12,000 crore. These are part of Rs 1 lakh crore of investment planned in the sector.In the pipeline is the Warangal project, estimated to cost around Rs 9,000 crore. The second project is in Odisha and is estimated cost Rs 3,000 crore. the government would call bids for the Warangal project in January and those for the Odisha project next month.
Independent agencies to check quality of coal supplied by Coal India
With power companies complaining of poor quality or lowgrade coal, the government has approved empanelling independent agencies to check the quality of coal supplied by Coal India Ltd (CIL) to power firms, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on Monday. The coal ministry has also decided that power plants of public sector undertakings will get coal supply from CIL till their captive coal mines become operational. The coal ministry has authorised Central Institute for Mining and Fuel Research to empanel third party sampling agencies through a transparent process.
Committee on GST rate to submit report next month: Jayant Sinha
A high-powered committee to suggest revenue neutral GST rate will submit its report in the first week of December, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha has said."We just had a consultation with the Chief Economic Advisor and his committee that has been studying the question of revenue neutral rate. They have pulled together a lot of data from many different sources.The government is hoping to get the bill approved in the winter session beginning on November 26 and complete the other necessary legislative work by March 31.Sinha said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on several occasions stressed that government's goal is to "come at a reasonable rate" that will be good for the economy.
Social media platforms enabling radicalisation: US ambassador
Social media platforms are enabling radicalisation, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said on Monday."Social media platforms are enabling radicalisation, recruitment, and networking among like-minded individuals from afar," Verma said during his address at the Megacity Security Conference here."The return of foreign fighters from places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria also casts ominous shadows. More so than ever before, small groups and individuals have access to lethal and even military-grade technologies that give them the ability to attack a city's functioning.Communications and transportation networks essential to the daily livelihood in cities also can serve as enablers that allow groups to recruit and maintain networks with relative anonymity. Even smart cities, which offer the promise of a greener and more sustainable future, can be vulnerable to cyber attacks", he said.
Anna Hazare's 'slap' for Kejriwal's hug
Veteran Gandhian and anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Tuesday slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for hugging tainted Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav during the swearing-in ceremony of Nitish Kumar in Patna.While criticising Kejriwal, the 78-year-old said he was glad that he is not associated with the AAP chief anymore.Kejriwal has been under severe attack from BJP after his photos hugging Lalu Prasad Yadav went viral on social media. However, while defending himself, Kejriwal said it was the RJD chief who “pulled and hugged him”, and it did not amount to an “alliance”.
Fire on the Ganges: Life among the Dead in Banaras By Radhika Iyengar 4th Estate / HarperCollins, 348 pages, 599
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