GN Staff | January 7, 2016
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed passed away this morning (Thursday) at AIIMS in Delhi. He was 79. Sayeed, who was detected with sepsis and decreased blood counts, was suffering from pneumonia. He was admitted to AIIMS (all India institute of medical sciences) on December 24. Fifty-six-year-old Mehbooba Mufti will likely take over as the next chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir following the death of her father.
Meanwhile, state's former chief minister Omar Abdullah was the first to extend his condolences to Mufti's family. He took to microblogging site Twitter to say, "Just heard the terrible terrible news of Mufti Sahib's passing away. I'm shocked & deeply saddened. May he rest in peace." Home minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted, "Mufti Sayeed ji had a wonderful understanding of complex issues pertaining to J&K. He wanted to bring permanent peace to the valley." "My heart felt sympathies to Mrs Syed, Mehbooba & the entire family in this most difficult of times. My & my family's prayers are with them."
US lawmaker calls for re-evaluation of aid to Pakistan over terror links
A top American lawmaker has called for re-evaluation of aid to Pakistan in the aftermath of the attack on IAF base in Pathankot, saying the US should not provide assistance to nations that help terrorists. "It is being reported that members of the Pakistani military may have provided training and assistance to the jihadists who attacked India this week," Congressman Ted Poe said in a statement. "If this is true, the United States must immediately re-evaluate aid to Pakistan which I have long called for. We should not send money to nations who provide assistance to terrorists," the Republican lawmaker from Texas said. "We stand with our friend India during this time and urge all nations in the region, including Pakistan, to join together to bring the attackers to justice," said Poe who is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.
Gajendra Chauhan set to take charge as FTII chief today
Actor Gajendra Chauhan will take charge of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), which has been in news for several months due to a series of protests by students over his appointment. However, the FTII students have planned a massive protest at the campus in Pune. "I have been ordered by the government, and I will do my job. Let me go there and see. I can't comment on what they will do, but I am ready to do my job," Chauhan said. The 59-year-old, who will be joining office seven months after his appointment, will chair his first FTII Society meeting today. Chauhan's appointment was followed by a series of protests by students and celebrated alumni of the premier film institute. Students had even gone on an indefinite strike in June last year as they questioned his professional credibility to lead the institute due to lack of "stature" and "vision".The students finally withdrew the strike in October after 139 days.
CBSE schools told keep out fast food items from canteens
he Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked all its affiliated schools to ensure that food items like chips, carbonated drinks, ready- to-eat noodles, pizzas, burgers and confectionery items like chocolates, candies are not available in the school canteens. The Board has advised all schools affiliated to it to try that no such food items are available around 200 meters of the school premises. In a Circular to all affiliated schools, the CBSE has written that consumption of food high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) has been found to be associated with many diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and others. Referring to a Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry report, CBSE secretary Joseph Emmanuel said that it provides insights on how to control the endemic problem of consumption of junk food available in and around schools. Schools have been told to take necessary steps to ensure non-availability of HFSS around 200 meters of the school. The CBSE letter said that schools should constitute 'School Canteen Management Committee' having about 7 to 10 members including teachers, parents, students and school canteen operators to implement and monitor the guidelines to make safe food available to students in the school.
CVC seeks preventive and predictive vigilance to curb corruption
Lack of awareness about vigilance procedures has resulted in corruption and misconduct in India, Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary said on Wednesday. Addressing the 15th edition of the Nalco foundation day lecture series on "Preventive Vigilance: Key to Good Corporate Governance", Chowdary laid stress on awareness of vigilance measures as a fundamental to prevent corrupt practices. He expressed concern that most people in the country lack awareness about vigilance procedures, which results in corruption and misconduct. Chowdary said the vigilance system and procedures should be consistent and simplified, and the mechanism should be robust, and continuously tested. He also focused on a systematic and continuous feedback system. The CVC said public sector undertakings and corporates, along with government organisations, should give due importance to preventive vigilance as well as predictive vigilance.
White House disputes North Korea’s claim of hydrogen bomb test
While the United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea for its nuclear test, the White House said that initial data from its monitoring stations in Asia were “not consistent” with a test of a hydrogen bomb. A two-hour closed session of the Security Council on Wednesday afternoon ended with a pledge to “begin to work immediately” on a resolution containing additional measures to rein in Pyongyang. It did not specify what those measures could be, and in the past, China and Russia have usually objected to steps that could threaten the North’s survival. Meanwhile, US president Barack Obama talked by phone on Wednesday with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe about the international response to North Korea's nuclear test, the White House said. Obama reaffirmed the US commitment to Japan's security and the two leaders "agreed to work together to forge a united and strong international response to North Korea's latest reckless behaviour," the White House said in a statement.
BJP lost Bihar for ignoring me: Shatrughan Sinha
It was a gathering of which the BJP leadership may have been wary, for some of its greatest critics within the party had an opportunity to speak their minds and in fact a couple of the usual suspects did. At the launch of actor-turned BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha's biography ""Anything But Khamosh"" on Wednesday, Sinha claimed part of the reason for the BJP's loss in Bihar elections can be attributed to the party leaving him and some others out of the list of campaigners.
Govt stays safe on Aamir Khan, says contract with the agency
The tourism ministry has issued a clarification following reports in a section of the media that actor Aamir Khan had been removed as the ambassador of the campaign aimed at promoting tourism in the country. "In response to certain news reports, about Aamir Khan, the ministry of tourism clarifies there is no change in the stand of the ministry in this matter," the statement read. “Our contract was with the McCann Worldwide agency for ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign. The agency had hired Aamir for the job. Now the contract with the agency is over. Ministry has not hired Aamir,” said tourism minister Mahesh Sharma. “Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists.” The actor-producer came under criticism in November after his comments on 'growing despondency' in India. Sharma said the contract for Rs 2.96 crore with McCann Worldwide agency was now over and according to ministry officials, fresh tenders will be floated to devise any new campaign, if required. “We at McCann had a contractual agreement with the ministry of tourism for a social awareness campaign, Atithi Devo Bhava. Mr Aamir Khan had graciously lent his support for the same. We have delivered the campaign to the ministry,” said Prasoon Joshi, chairman, McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific.
Delhi govt takes away management quota in nursery admissions
The Delhi government has scrapped management and all other quotas except those for the economically weaker sections. This will benefit a large number of people struggling with nursery admission of their children as about 10,000 seats are expected to be freed up for the general public. Announcing the decision, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal referred to management quota as the “biggest scandal” in the education sector of the country. He said the government will not be a mute spectator to it and schools that fail to scrap quota could be taken over by the education department.
“Management quota is the biggest scandal in the country which the Delhi government is scrapping. Seventy-five per cent admissions in private schools will be under the open category. Other than EWS category, there will be no other quota,” he added. Warning schools of stringent action, he said the government will use all available options against erring institutions, including takeover. Private schools in Delhi have quotas for management, siblings, alumni and many others.
Sensex plunges as China halts trading
The S&P BSE Sensex plunged over 300 points in morning trade on Thursday, after trading in the Chinese markets halted for the second time this week following a 7 per cent slump in the barometer CSI300. The Nifty50 came under pressure and broke below its crucial psychological support level of 7,650, weighed down by losses in realty, power, oil & gas, metal, consumer durable, and banking stocks. Most other Asian markets slumped in trade after equity market slump in China halted trading for the rest of the day. Japan's Nikkei fell 1.78 per cent while the South Korean Kospi was down 0.9 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng traded lower by 2.44 per cent.
Nasscom asks for tax exemptions for startups
The National Association for Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), in its pre-budget recommendations, has asked the Finance Ministry to exempt startups from direct and indirect taxes including minimum alternative tax to reduce their compliance burden and cash outflows. The industry body also said there was an urgent need to remove angel tax that hurts startups that need angel investment when financing from banks and venture capital funds is unavailable. "Policy regulations like ease of compliance, reliance on self-certification instead of audits, tax exemptions for startups will allow entrepreneurs to devote their time, energy and resources to build upon their innovative ideas," R Chandrashekhar, president of Nasscom, said in his recommendations to the ministry.
The Narendra Modi government has set aside Rs 52,393 crore in 2017-18 for the welfare of the dalits. On the face of it, the amount is substantial. However, an analysis of the past actual allocation shows that there has in fact been a dip in spending on schemes that are specifically meant only for dalits.
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