Evening digest: Kejriwal attacks PM, says babus have become 'B-teams' of BJP

GN Bureau | December 31, 2015



In a fresh confrontation with the Central government, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday slammed PM Narendra Modi and said that the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services (DANICS)and Indian Administrative Service associations in Delhi have become full-fledged B-teams of the BJP.Delhi lieutenant governor (LG) personally attended Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Services association meeting on Wednesday through speakerphone. LG in turn was in touch with Nripendra Misra in PMO, Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal was referring specifically to two DANICS officers -- Subhash Chandra and Yashpal Garg --who were suspended after they allegedly refused to sign Delhi government cabinet notes pertaining to a salary hike for public prosecutors and prison staff."People will be very happy if these officers go on long leave. Government is ready to give them paid leave. Governance will become honest, smooth and efficient," Kejriwal said.

Top officials get PM’s protection in revised service rules
IAS officers working under central government cannot be suspended without the nod of prime minister Narendra Modi, a move aimed at allowing bureaucrats to take decisions without any fear of political backlash.This kind of relief and other breathing space has been provided in the revised rules to all-India services officers -- IAS, IPS and IFoS -- working in various states. According to the revised rules the centre needs to be informed within 48 hours if any officer is suspended by them followed by a detailed report within a fortnight.

The rules also cut short to two months from three months the period of suspension of an officer by the Centre and states. The order of suspension, if it is extended, will now be valid for four months as against existing six months period."IAS officers working under central government shall only be suspended on the recommendations of the central review committee as amended with the approval of Minister-in-charge, department of personnel and training (DoPT)," the new rules said.The prime minister is in charge of ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions which has DoPT as one of the departments.

Government seeks ideas from public for budget 2016-17
The Centre has asked citizens to send in ideas and proposals for the next Union Budget, saying many such suggestions had made it to the budget for 2015-16.The Ministry of Finance has decided to ask for suggestions on the MyGov.in platform by January 20 to foster 'Jan Bhagidari' and infuse more transparency into the budgetmaking exercise and involve people as partners in the process. The budget is usually presented in Parliament on the last day of February.

Citizen portal initiative by Assam Police from New Year
Assam Police is unveiling Citizen Portal from tomorrow (January 1) as a pilot project by offering a host of services like tenant or staff verification, issue of character certificate and event request. The portal is being developed under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project. Its performance will be monitored for the first two months. The site will initially offer services like tenant, domestic help or employee verification, character certificate and requests for protest, strike, procession and organising events. The address of the portal is www.assampolice.assam.gov.in and all police stations having an internet connection are connected with the system.
 
Modi gives New Year resolution to Cong
Attacking the Congress over disruptions and protests which have washed off two back-to-back Parliament sessions, prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the opposition party to vow to let the house function in the new year."Those who ruled India for 60 years have no right to disrupt Parliament's functioning," Modi said while launching the 14-lane Delhi-Meerut expressway at an event in Noida.Asking the Congress to "not create hurdles in the country's development", Modi said the party was rejected by the people in 2014 and "they should know that".The Congress hit back, saying Modi has the "dubious distinction" and the "world record of obstruction" as it accused the BJP-led NDA government of practicing vendetta politics.

Cold wave conditions continue in north India
The ongoing cold wave conditions today continued to sweep Haryana and Punjab, with minimum temperatures hovering well below the normal limits in the two  neighbouring states.Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, experienced a cold night at 5.8 degrees Celsius, two notches below normal level, the MeT Department said in Chandigarh.In Haryana, Hisar and Karnal recorded identical minimum temperatures of 3.5 degrees Celsius, both down by three notches each.

While Narnaul in Haryana registered a low of 5.2 degrees Celsius.Amritsar in Punjab also reeled under cold wave. The night temperature in the holy city settled at 3.3 degrees Celsius.Another Punjab city Ludhiana was also cold at 4.3 degrees Celsius, down three notches while Patiala's night temperature settled at 6.1 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal.

One billion mobile subscribers in India
India notched up its billionth mobile phone subscriber in October, the country's telecoms regulator said, underscoring the importance of its fast-growing mobile market, the world's second-largest after China.Mobile phone subscriptions have boomed in India in recent years as aggressive cost-cutting by telecoms providers has driven down prices, leading to some of the cheapest tariffs in the world.The number of mobile subscribers rose by nearly 7 million in October from the previous month to surpass one billion, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said Wednesday, hitting a milestone that China reached in 2012.

Coal block auction for steel, cement off on poor response
Tepid response and market conditions has forced the government to call off the fourth round of coal block auctions meant for deregulated industries such as steel and cement."We have not got sufficient number of bids to carry on with the coal block auctions. We have received 15 bids for nine blocks... so in view of this, we had to annul the process," coal secretary Anil Swarup told reporters on Wednesday.The auction was launched last month with nine blocks and bidding was to open on January 18. Swarup said the industries for which the mines were being offered have been impacted due to adverse market conditions.  "As of now it appears that demand or financial commitment that they have to make in terms of acquiring these mines... they may not be in a position to do so because of the general condition of the market," he said.

US gives immigration assessment as reason for students deportation
The US has conveyed that the decision to deny entry to Indian students was not because of black-listing of two California-based institutions but based on the immigration assessment of individuals even as India asserted that American authorities need to honour visas issued by them.The Indian reaction came after more Indians travelling on business/tourism/work visas have been deported recently.In a fresh advisory today, External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi said according to the US Government, the deported persons had presented information to the border patrol agent which was inconsistent with their visa status.

In continuation of December 23 advisory in connection with denial of entry by the US to Indian students having valid student visas to pursue studies in educational institutions -Silicon Valley University at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University, Fremont, the ministry noted that there have been more cases of deportation of Indians.Subsequently, there have been further cases of denial of entry to Indian students holding valid visas to pursue studies in other US educational institutions, it said, adding some Indian nationals travelling on business/tourism/work visas have also been deported.

"The US Government has conveyed that the decision to deny entry to these students is not because of the corresponding institutions being 'black-listed' but based on the assessment made by the US immigration authorities of individual applicants.”

Cow urine used in five products, says Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved
Patanjali Ayurved, promoted by yoga guru Ramdev, has said it uses cow urine only in five products out of up to 700 items it manufactures. This comes after a 'fatwa' was issued against its products in Tamil Nadu by Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamat (TNTJ)."Patanjali manufactures around 650-700 ayurvedic and herbal products out of which cow urine is used in only five items. It is clearly mentioned in the ingredients list of the products in which cow urine is used," the company said in a statement.

Out of the five products, three are used in external applications and two for consumption. These are 'Kayakalp Taila', 'Panchgavya' soap, 'Shudhi' phenyl, 'Gowdhan Ark' and 'Sanjivni vati'.TNTJ had issued a 'fatwa' against Patanjali alleging products were made by using cow urine, saying its usage was considered 'haram' (forbidden) in Islam. It had alleged that cow's urine was being used as a 'key ingredient' in cosmetics, medicines and food products of Patanjali that are available in open markets as well as online.

Tamil Nadu received 53% more rain than average in 2015
The devastating rains that created havoc in Chennai and neighbouring districts earlier this month was due to slow movement of weaker systems present over Bay of Bengal, which subsequently led to 53 percent higher rainfall than the average. Due to heavy rains earlier this month, Chennai and neigbouring districts were inundated. According to the government, 345 persons lost their lives in rain-related incidents during the period while many were rendered homeless.

"As the clouds above the sea were normal, the weaker systems like trough, low pressure moved slowly bringing copious rainfall," Regional Meteorological Centre Director SR Ramanan told while giving a detailed analysis on the rainfall registered during the north east monsoon that normally sets in during the October-December period for Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry.

"On an average, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry receives 44 cm of rainfall during the north east monsoon. This year the rainfall recorded is 68 cm in these three months, which is 53 percent more," he said.Giving statistics, he said Kancheepuram district registered the heaviest rainfall -- 183 percent higher at 181.5 cm as against average rainfall of 64 cm in October-December period.Tiruvallur district recorded 146 cm compared to average 59 cm of rain while Chennai, which normally receives 79 cm of rainfall, recorded 160 cm, 104 percent above average, he said.He said the formation of El Nino in Pacific Ocean, an abnormal weather pattern that causes warming of Pacific Ocean, was also one of the reasons that brought heavy rain in December in coastal districts.

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