Evening digest: Lalu dares PM Modi on quota issue

GN Bureau | September 21, 2015



RJD president Lalu Prasad today dared prime minister Narendra Modi to scrap quotas after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat suggested a review of the reservation policy, contending it has been used for political ends. "The so-called tea seller and recently-turned backward (Narendra) Modi should tell if he will finish reservations at his master (Mohan) Bhagwat's bidding," Lalu tweeted."You talk of doing away with reservation, we will increase it in proportion to the population. If you have drunk your mother's milk (mai ka doodh), then have it scrapped, each would know his strength," he said in another tweet.

No interim stay on bull slaughter ban for Bakrid
The Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant an interim stay in the ban in slaughter of bulls and bullocks for Bakrid on the grounds that it would amount to staying a statutory provision. A section of the Muslim community had petitioned the high court seeking a relaxation on the complete ban on slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks for three days from September 25 to 27. The petitioners prayed for the slaughter was an essential part of the Muslim religion and the blanket ban under section 5 of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was violative of their constitutional rights."We are unable to grant the prayer which will have the effect of staying the amendment to section 5 of the Act," the court said.

Departments to verify employees service 5 years before retirement
All central government departments have been asked to verify services of employees working under them mandatorily five years before retirement in order to check delay in processing pension cases. It has been observed that processing of pension cases of the employees retiring from government service quite often gets delayed on account of issues relating to verification of service from time to time by authorities, the Personnel Ministry said in a directive. A report has also been sought from all the ministries on the status of service verification of employees already done or pending by October 15.

Modi to host CEOs in New York and Silicon Valley
Around 50 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have confirmed participation at a dinner hosted by prime minister Narendra Modi in New York on September 24. He will also host CEOs of digital companies in the Silicon Valley when he visits the West Coast of the US on September 26 and 27.

Supreme Court takes lawyers to task for violence in Madras HC
The Supreme Court on Monday blasted the Madras Bar association and the Bar Council for keeping mum on the recent violence by lawyers in Madras high court premises. Chief Justice Dattu said: "[The] Madras HC judges preside in courts with fear psychosis. It was once a traditional court that we all looked up to. Never before has it fallen to such low levels. All because of you lawyers." The high court witnessed violent protests by lawyers after a division bench initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against two advocates of Madurai bench.

Airtel's pre-paid customers now pay for per-second usage
Bharti Airtel has moved all its pre-paid subscribers across the country to pay-per-second, ensuring customers pay only for the time they use the network. Pre-paid customers constitute 94.4 per cent of its total user base at the end of June 2015. The move comes amid regulator TRAI examining whether there are any tariff plans by the service providers wherein call drops actually incentivise or benefit the companies.

Indo-Pak meeting decides to defuse situation on LoC
India and Pakistan today agreed to exercise restraint and work for defusing the situation on Line of Control (LoC) which has been witnessing repeated ceasefire violations as senior Army officers of the two countries held a Flag Meeting in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The representatives of the two nations addressed a host of issues regarding ongoing ceasefire violations, targeting of civilians and sniping action on the LoC. This is the first flag meeting held at the level of Brigadiers after nearly 20 days of heavy firing and shelling of 120 mm, 82, 61 mm mortar bombs, RPGs and automatic weapons by Pakistani troops in Poonch district along the LoC

Internet growth slows; most people still offline: UN
Growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world's population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said on Monday. Internet access in rich economies is reaching saturation levels but 90 per cent of people in the 48 poorest countries have none. The access growth rate is expected to slow to 8.1 per cent this year, down from 8.6 per cent in 2014. Until 2012, growth rates had been in double digits for years.

2 workers rescued from Bilaspur tunnel after 9 days
Two labourers trapped more than 40 metres underground for over a week in Himachal Pradesh's Bilaspur district were rescued on Monday, bringing relief to their worried families after a long, tiring operation that suffered many setbacks. Satish Tomar and Mani Ram were brought out by a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team around 4:30pm, nine days after they got trapped following a tunnel collapse. Search is on for Hirday Ram, the third worker who was with the duo. His fate is uncertain since there has been no contact with him so far.

DoT exempts short range microphones, radars from licensing
Government has exempted use of wireless frequencies from licensing requirement for short-range microphones like cordless phones, radars, contact less cards and similar products. The Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing -- the custodian of spectrum -- in its latest notification exempted very low power equipment for wireless microphones, that can be used in the frequency band of 36-38MHz, from licensing.

Ola to invest $20 mn on safety issues, looks at customer privacy
Taxi aggregator Ola said that it introduced number masking on its platform, which will enable mobile numbers of customers to remain undisclosed to drivers. The aggregator integrated a cloud telephony solution, which sends an encrypted number to the driver whenever a customer books a cab. Drivers calling from their Ola device will not be able to see the customer’s mobile number but will automatically be routed through the encrypted number. While the number masking feature will reduce the risk of any untoward experience for passengers, driver-partners can save on their calling costs. Ola will be able to closely monitor driver behaviour and conversations, resulting in a superior experience for users, he said.Apart from number masking, Ola platform offers features like live GPS tracking, sharing of ride details, feedback and reporting during the ride as well as an in-app SOS button to ensure passenger safety.

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