Morning briefing: Cong scores in rural Gujarat, BJP retains urban areas in civic polls

GN Staff | December 3, 2015

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The Congress has made a comeback in the rural areas of Gujarat and won 21 of the 31 district panchayats, while the BJP retained its hold over urban pockets clinching all six municipal corporations and 40 of 56 municipalities. Out of the total 31 district panchayats, Congress won 21 and BJP six, while in four others no party emerged a clear winner as the many independents and other candidates emerged victorious. The BJP had won 30 district panchayats in the last elections held in 2010. However, in a significant victory for BJP, the party won Viramgam municipality which is the home town of Patel quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel. In 230 taluka panchayats having 4778 seats, the Congress won 2509, while BJP bagged 1981. BJP, however, continued to be the preferred choice of the urban electorate, with the party clinching all six municipal corporations--Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamangar and Bhavnagar. BJP had won all these corporations in the 2010 polls too. The party also won 40 of the 56 municipalities, while Congress bagged nine.In three municipalities, independents were winners and results were unclear in four others as none of the parties or independents got a clear majority.

Delhi rape case juvenile convict may not get complete freedom, NGO may take his custody
The youngest of the six men who gang-raped and tortured a student on a moving bus in Delhi in 2012, will walk out of a special home on December 22 but won't be "freed", say sources. The convict, now 21, will be in the custody of an NGO for a year and take vocational training, the sources told NDTV.The parents of the 23-year-old woman, who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" or fearless, say this is far from justice. They have demanded that the "juvenile's" face be shown as he is a threat to the society; he was the "most brutal" of all the rapists, they say.Amid public outrage over the convict's expected release after three-year detention, the Delhi Police had considered charges under the National Security Act to keep him in jail.Union Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had said earlier this week that she had written to the home ministry demanding that sex offenders be tracked after release.

India has new chief justice in TS Thakur
Justice TS Thakur is the new chief justice of India. He is 43rd CJI with a 13-month tenure.  Meanwhile, picking judges for the supreme court and high courts would be the biggest challenge for him, justice Thakur said on Wednesday, a day before he became the country’s top judge. Finding meritorious and worthy candidates for the four positions in the Supreme Court and more than 400 in the high courts was another concern identified by justice Thakur.“It is not an easy task. The high courts need to start the process in earnest. Those in the decision-making process must answer to their conscience and no other considerations,” said justice Thakur.The top court would be closely watched when it gets down to appointing judges, as it recently shot down a law that would have ended 22-year-old opaque collegium system of judges appointing judges.

Bihar fastest growing state, Maharashtra tops in economic size

Bihar has emerged as the fastest growing state in terms of gross state domestic product (GSDP), clocking a growth rate of 17.06 per cent in FY 2014-15, while Maharashtra grew by 11.69 per cent to become the biggest state with Rs 16.87 trillion economy, says Brickwork Ratings. Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh come in the second place, but far behind Maharashtra, with a GSDP of Rs 9.67 trillion each, the report says.However, Gujarat leads Maharashtra when it comes to composition of industry in GSDP at 27.26 per cent, versus the latter's 25.18 per cent, the domestic rating outfit said.Fastest-growing states are Bihar at 17.06 per cent, Madhya Pradesh at 16.86 per cent and Goa at 16.43 per cent, while the newly-formed Telangana, with expansion of 5.3 per cent, is the laggard.Along with Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra is at the forefront of development in the services sector with a healthy growth in the IT/BPO/KPO space, it said.

PM Modi has clear vision for India feels US prez Obama
US president Barack Obama who has held meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at several occasions, has found in him a politician who is honest and has a clear vision for India, the White House has said.“President Obama has found Prime Minister Modi to be somebody who is honest and direct, somebody who has good command of the facts, somebody who has a clear understanding of the issues that confront his country and our relationship,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference on Wednesday.On Monday Obama met Modi in Paris on the sidelines of the United Nation’s climate change summit. This was the sixth meeting between the two leaders since the met first at the White House last September.“He (Modi) also is somebody that has a clear vision for where he wants to take his country, and it makes him not just an effective politician, but an effective Prime Minister,” Earnest said. “Obama certainly does respect Prime Minister Modi and has appreciation for his skills and abilities as a politician. He also is somebody who is given a very difficult challenge of sitting atop the world’s largest democracy,” he said.“That’s not easy to work and it’s not easy work and the president of the US has special insight into how difficult it is,” he added. Referring to the frequent meetings between the two leaders, Earnest said Obama had the opportunity to consult with Modi on a number of occasions.

No rise in inflation due to Swachh Bharat cess, claims govt
Inflation has not gone up since the imposition of Swachh Bharat cess in November, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. The government started imposing 0.5 per cent cess on all taxable services including air travel, telephony, eating out and banking to fund the Mission from November 15. Responding to a question on whether the cess had triggered a rise in inflation, Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav replied in negative. Answering other questions relating to the campaign, Yadav said the government has constructed 1.10 crore toilets including 60.88 lakh toilets this year, ever since Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) was launched on October 2, 2014.Yadav said in 2014-15, 58,54,987 latrines were constructed. Out of these, 49.49 lakh were built after the Mission was launched.He also informed that 9.42 crore households in the country are without toilets."As per data furnished by states on the online Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), 9.42 crore households are without toilets as on November 26, 2015," Yadav said.The Minister also informed the total fund requirement for implementing the Mission is estimated to be Rs 1,34,386 crore, out of which the central share is Rs 1,00,447 crore.

IITs not to reveal salary figures from this placement season
Country's premier technical institute, the IITs have decided not to reveal any pay package figures from this placement season following complaints of peer and parental pressure on students."Disclosing salaries puts unnecessary pressure on students. It kickstarts peer pressure as well as parental and societal pressure. People forget that only very few of them actually get those fat pay packages of over a crore. The minimum and average salaries are much less," Prof Sudhirkumar Barai, Chairman, Career Development Centre at IIT Kharagpur, said.The first phase of placements began at the IITs from Tuesday.So far the IITs used to reveal packages but kept identity of the students a secret."We have noticed that only the highest salary is discussed. But people forget that the average salary which an IITian gets is far less than the fattest one," Barai said.Another issue lies with the employers as many of them have a confidentiality clause in their job contract which restricts them to publicly disclose their remuneration.

Watching over 3 hours of TV as young adult could harm brain
Too much television-watching in young adulthood could lead to cognitive problems in mid-life, suggested a study Wednesday that tracked more than 3,000 people for 25 years. People who reported watching more than three hours of television per day as young adults were twice as likely to suffer from poor cognition down the road, compared to those who were more active and reported less screen time. The  study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry. Scientists assessed cognitive function in the 25th year using three tests of mental processing speed, executive function and verbal memory.Low levels of physical activity and lots of television-watching were linked to slower processing speed and worse executive function, the study found.

Railways likely to provide accident insurance to passengers
The railway ministry is working towards providing accident insurance to passengers, officials said on Wednesday, a move which could see the end of complex procedures for payment of compensation by the public sector giant which ferries around 23 million people daily, Hindustan Times reported.Senior officials in the ministry said railway minister Suresh Prabhu has proposed farming out the job to public sector insurance companies.“The New India Assurance Company has agreed to partner with the Indian Railways. In all likelihood, a policy statement on the matter will be made by the railway minister in his upcoming budget speech,” a senior ministry official said.As of now, travel on the Indian Railways’ 64,500-km network is not insured and compensation to accident victims or their families is given on the basis of decrees from 21 benches of the Railways Claims Tribunal spread across the country.

450 Km Amritsar-New Delhi expressway soon

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today said 450 km high speed access controlled expressway from Amritsar to New Delhi will soon be a reality as Centre has agreed in principle for upgrade and strengthening of the old grand trunk road NH-1.A meeting of officials would be held this month for acquisition of land and start of tendering process so that the Rs. 20,000 crore-project is completed soon, he said.In a statement, the chief minister said the government is paying special attention to inclusive development of state and very soon roads across Punjab would be made 4-6 lanes expressways.Works on major expressways connecting corporation towns would be launched soon.Badal also said every village, hospital and school of the state would be equipped with the 4G connectivity by January 15 and Punjab will be the only state in the country to achieve this.

VK Singh to mediate between ex-servicemen and govt on OROP

Former Army chief and Union Minister Gen (Retd) VK Singh has been appointed as a mediator between government and protesting ex-servicemen over 'One Rank One Pension' scheme, the agitators said today as they decided to hold an 'Aakrosh' rally at Jantar Mantar on December 13.As their protest entered 168th today, the war veterans are also contemplating on whether to exercise legal option to fight the government on the OROP issue.The protesting veterans claimed that they met with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last night and together they have decided to appoint Gen Singh as a mediator.Gen Singh has been involved in back-channel negotiations on the contentious issue earlier also.

Sensex slips 100 points, Nifty50 tests 7,900
The S&P BSE Sensex plunged over 100 points in morning trade on Thursday and the Nifty50 slipped below its crucial psychological level of 7,900. At 10.10 am Sensex was 25,981 down by 136.36 points and Nift was 7889.50, down by 41.85 points. Most other Asian markets traded weak after US Federal Reserve's commentary. Japan's Nikkei was down 0.22 per cent while the South Korean Kospi was trading lower by a per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index traded with losses of 0.52 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite was up 0.54 per cent.



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