GN Staff | January 12, 2016
Pakistan on Monday submitted to India its initial findings on alleged Pakistani links to the Pathankot terror attack saying that the telephone numbers given by India were not registered in Pakistan. A Joint Investigation Team, formed following a directive of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, submitted the initial findings on the alleged Pakistani links to the terrorist attack on the Indian Air Force station in Punjab's Pathankot district earlier in January. A media report on Monday said Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence were helping probe the suspected Pakistani link to the terror attack on the IAF base. The ISI, the Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau were part of a Joint Investigation Team.
SC hearing against notification lifting ban on jallikattu today
The supreme court on Tuesday will hear a batch of petitions against a government notification lifting ban on jallikattu back in Tamil Nadu. The petitions were filed by Aniwal Welfare Board and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India demanding that the Centre's recent notification allowing Jallikattu and bullock cart races be "struck down". PETA India claimed that a battery of urgent petitions led by the government advisory body Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and two sitting AWBI members as petitioners, and supported by animal protection groups PETA, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), Compassion Unlimited plus Action (CUPA), were mentioned before the chief justice's bench of the supreme court.
India ready to pay more for better defence equipment
The Union government approved on Monday new rules for procuring defence equipment that pave the way for higher spending, in a stark departure from present protocol which dictates that the lower bidder be selected for weapons and systems supply. The Defence Procurement Procedure-2016, to be notified within two months, will also not require foreign vendors to invest in the indigenous defence sector for contracts worth less than Rs 2,000 crore, up from the existing ceiling of Rs 300 crore. The move could hit smaller businesses in the country. Shortly after the defence acquisition council approved the new DPP on Monday, defence minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters that changes in the L1 (lowest bidder) policy would be allowed in specific cases if the weapons came with additional capabilities over the stated requirements of the military.
He said India will be willing to pay 10% more for the better equipment. Calling it an enabling provision, Parrikar said the move would benefit the country as if a particular firm was unable to secure the 10% advantage, it could quote a lower price to stay competitive. The new procurement policy will also not require foreign vendors to invest in indigenous defence sector for contracts worth less than Rs 2,000 crore, up from the existing ceiling of Rs 300 crore. The move could hit smaller businesses in the country. The exception to the lowest bidder rule will be allowed only in cases where the additional funds – up to 10% -- is to be shelled out for a better-spec weapon or system.
Information panel hauls up green court official for spending litigation fee of Rs 33,000 to save Rs 40
To contest its demand of Rs 40 to disclose 20 pages of information, the National Green Tribunal apparently paid over Rs 33,000 as litigation fee, despite instructions from a senior official within the organisation, CIC has pointed out. The case relates to RTI activist RK Jain who sought information regarding the number of RTI applications received by the NGT and status of their disposal. But despite orders from first appellate authority (FAA), the CPIO kept insisting for Rs 40/- for the 20 pages of information. Pulling up the apex adjudicating body on environmental issues, information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said it appears from RTI responses furnished by the NGT that it is ready to spend more than Rs 33,000 to deny 20 pages claiming Rs 40 from appellant in spite of direction by FAA to give information.
Acharyulu said,”It is pathetic that the NGT office did not care to incur expenditure of Rs 11000+ to hire services of learned legal practitioner to just to argue in First Appeal that information was not given because Rs 40 was not paid, and for the same they are ready to forgo Rs 21,000 plus for lawyer to argue that single sentence before the Commission in second appeal.” Slapping maximum penalty on CPIO Chetan Chawala, the Commission said his liability under Section 20 has been established by all means and the Commission imposes the penalty of Rs 25,000 to be recovered in five installments of Rs 5,000 each. Acharyulu also instructed the NGT to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him for not following orders of the First Appellate Authority within NGT. The commissioner said it is pathetic that the CPIOs are driving the RTI applicants to the CIC just by not implementing FAA order.
SC questions ban on entry of women at Sabarimala temple
The Supreme Court on Monday termed as unconstitutional the practice of prohibiting women devotees from entering temples, contending such a restriction could be justified on the grounds of religion. A three-judge bench headed by justice Dipak Misra questioned the Sabarimala temple board’s decision to deny entry to women devotees aged between 10 to 50 years. “The Constitution bars discrimination on the basis of sex. Such a prohibition (not to allow women devotees) is unconstitutional,” the bench said during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) asking the court to lift the ban. The court fixed February 8 to hear the larger constitutional right of women’s entry into certain temples where it is barred due to local tradition or age-old custom.
Global slowdown to continue in 2016 too: Joseph Stiglitz
The global economy is currently not doing very well. 2015 was one of the worst years in the century. The only time the economy was worse was during the previous two recessions — one at the beginning of the 21st century and the other during the global financial crisis. 2016 is likely to be as bad as there is a global slowdown, with countries like Brazil and Russia in recession, says Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate and professor, Columbia University. "I think between 2016 and 2018, there would be another year of crisis. Though there are no structural problems, there are problems of global demand. Europe is stagnating, while the US is growing slowly. The deficiency in global demand will inevitable affect China, and due to weak global demand, China's exports will be affected which will weaken the economy," he has said.
CBI leaves decision on indicted AIIMS director to health ministry
CBI has 'indicted' AIIMS Director MC Misra. However, it has chosen to leave the matter to the ministry of health for action as it deems fit. The investigating agency has indicted Misra for not exercising "due diligence" as Head JPNA Trauma Centre while approving purchase certificates of disinfectants which were declared as "patented items" by a store officer, reports Economic Times. Despite an adverse finding against the director and two others, CBI in October last left it to the ministry to "please" take action "as deemed fit". Sample this: On Nov 15, the Health Ministry with the approval of Central Vigilance Officer (CVO) Manoj Jhalani forwarded the matter to CVO AIIMS who also happens to be Manoj Jhalani. Interestingly, the CVO reports to AIIMS Director Misra. In response to a questionnaire, Dr Amit Gupta on behalf of Director AIIMS said "we are not aware aware of any such (CBI) report". When asked if CVO has so far sought opinion from the Director on CBI's report, he replied in negative.
UP police arrest woman for torturing, beating up mother-in law
A woman in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh has been arrested on charges of attempt to murder after a shocking video, uploaded by a social activist went viral on Monday, which showed her brutally beating up and torturing her elderly mother-in-law. The video was uploaded by social activist Kundan Srivastava on his Facebook page and was supported by an appeal to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to take action against the woman named Sangeeta Jain. The video, captured on January 5, shows Sangeeta brutally assaulting 70-year-old Rajrani Jain, with a brick and trying to strangle her with a rope.
Air India passengers to report 3 hrs before departure due to security issues
Air India has asked its passengers to turn up three hours before the take-off time of their flights citing stringent security measures at airports following the Pathankot terrorist attacks and the run up to India’s 66th Republic Day celebrations. Check-in counters for domestic flights closed down 45 minutes before departure and issuing of boarding cards to people travelling abroad are stopped an hour before the scheduled take-off time. While there would be no changes to that AI officials said that the appeal issued on Monday was a preventive measure to avoid delays owing to slow terminal movement.
Should National List of Essential Medicines be expanded?