Morning briefing: Parliament business to be smooth as Cong decides to be constructive

GN Staff | December 4, 2015


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The Congress has decided it will not obstruct non-contentious legislative business in parliament but strongly raise issues of public importance in both houses. A Congress strategy meeting chaired by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, however, decided to corner the government in Parliament on issues such as price rise, black money and corruption. Party leaders stressed the need for greater coordination among members of both Houses on crucial issues.
There is a growing realisation in the Congress that stalling Parliament could prove counter-productive as some of the “friendly Opposition parties” wanted the two Houses to function so that the government could be held answerable on certain issues. Even on the goods and services tax (GST) issue, the main Opposition party is inclined to accommodate the government’s concerns in its negotiations over the constitutional amendment bill.

Indoor air quality in Delhi schools very bad, says Greenpeace study

Children across the country are at risk due to air pollution both indoors and outdoors, a green body has said while calling for preventive steps to tackle the public health crisis arising out of the increasing air pollution.
Releasing a survey on indoor air quality in Delhi schools, Greenpeace India said that the pollution levels were found to be five times more than the safety limits.
According to data released by the organisation from the 24-hour monitoring of indoor air quality for over seven days in seven schools across the city, the PM2.5 levels were found to be five times over Indian safety limits and as much as 11 times that of the World Health Organisation's safety limits.
Readings were taken from the monitors left inside classrooms, Greenpeace India Campaigner, Sunil Dahiya said.
"The study highlights both, the need for more comprehensive data on air quality, as well as proactive response protocols that enable people to take adequate preventions to protect their health," he said.

Government plans to ban trucks, buses above 15 years

Amid rising concerns over pollution level in the Capital and other cities in India, the government plans to ban trucks and buses older than 15 years from plying on the roads across the country.
The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has initiated consultations on the matter and a final decision is expected to be taken once minister Nitin Gadkari reviews the consequences of the proposal, according to sources.
There is already a notification under which all commercial vehicles under National Permit which are more than 15-years old are not allowed, they said.

Government proposes to send all-party delegation to Nepal

India on Thursday proposed to send an all-party delegation to Nepal with which relations are at an all-time low even as it asserted that it had imposed no blockade and was in fact trying to re-route supplies via available routes and by air.
"India's only interest is in a peaceful, united and stable Nepal and our approach to the present crisis is completely consistent with these objectives," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said while making a statement in Rajya Sabha on "Situation in Nepal and the state of Indo-Nepal relations".
She said the present state of confrontation in Nepal needs to be addressed credibly and effectively by political parties and people there.
"There has been the broadest goodwill for Nepal in India and full political consensus on our policy.. In that tradition, I would urge the House to consider the merits of a visit to Nepal by an all-party delegation. The government will be guided by the sentiments of the House," she said.

Two IPS officers among 14 new joint secretaries
Two Indian Police Service officers and one each from Indian Forest and Indian Postal Service have also been appointed as joint secretaries (JS) in a bureaucratic reshuffle that involved appointment of 14 new JS cader officials in the central government. The reshuffle is aimed at speeding up the implementation of the government's ambitious programmes like the smart city project and focus on key sectors like Mines, Information Technology and Road Transport.
IPS officer PV Ramasastry, who is working as Inspector General in National Investigation Agency or NIA, has been made Joint Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs. East Delhi Municipal Corporation Commissioner Amit Yadav, a 1991 batch union territories cadre Indian Administrative Service or IAS officer, has been appointed Joint Secretary in Department of Telecommunication, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training said.
Praveen Garg, a 1988 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, has been appointed as JS in the  Department of Economic Affairs.
His batchmate Rajiv Bansal is the new Joint Secretary in the Department of Electronic and Information Technology. Another IAS officer Dinesh Kumar will be JS, Department of Agriculture, it said.
B Anand, Leena Nandon and Sonia Sethi have been appointed Joint Secretaries in Urban Development, Road, Transport and Highways and Culture Ministry, respectively, the order said.
IFoS officer Shripal will be the Principal Commissioner in Delhi Development Authority. IPS officer Praveen Vashista has been appointed as JS in Ministry of Mines.
IAS officer Anil Kumar Singh, who was working as Joint Secretary in the  Power Ministry, has been shifted to the Department of Justice. Rajinder Kumar Singh, a 1989 batch Indian Postal Service officer, has also been appointed as JS in the same department.
Rachna Shah, a 1991 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, will be the new Joint Secretary in Cabinet Secretariat. K Gopal has been made Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) in Textiles Ministry, the order said.

Cars in India not equipped with defeat device: Volkswagen

German auto major Volkswagen yesterday said its recall of 3.24 lakh vehicles in India would begin in the first quarter of 201.
In spite the recalls, the automaker contests the government's charge of committing a "well thought-out crime" by cheating on emission tests.
The company insisted its cars sold in India are not equipped with the 'defeat device' and they did not violate BS IV emission norms in the country. The auto maker has been found to have deployed this device to cheat on emission tests in cars sold in various countries, including the US.
A government-ordered probe also found violations on the part of the company, following which Volkswagen earlier on Monday announced recall of 3,23,700 vehicles sold in India between 2008 and 2015.
Stating that it expects to start the recall process in the first quarter of 2016, Volkswagen Group India said it has presented its observations, findings and outlines of possible solutions on the EA 189 engines, which are at the centre of the emission tests cheating controversy, to the Government of India and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
The firm also said it will continue to sell vehicles equipped with the EA189 engines in India.
"Volkswagen Group India has intimated why it believes that its cars are not equipped with a 'defeat device'," the company said in a statement.

Pankaja Munde defends Maharashtra temple’s practice of barring women
Defending the practice of not allowing women to perform ‘puja’ at Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra rural development minister Pankaja Munde said on Thursday traditional rituals cannot be “linked with insult” of women.
Munde’s statement came in the wake of a woman offering ‘puja’ at the temple by breaching security.
“These are traditions and cannot be linked with insult of women fraternity,” Munde said, defending the age-old ‘ban’ after a woman devotee’s action last week created a furore. “The outrage over the woman entering the Shani temple is a non-issue,” the BJP leader said.

Microsoft's Nadella and Google's Pichai to visit India later this month
The Indian-origin chiefs of the world's largest technology companies-—Microsoft and Google—are going to be in the country later this month. While Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is expected to come toward the end of December on a personal visit, Sundar Pichai— recently elevated as boss of Google Inc—will be here in a week or so.
On his first visit as Google chief Sundar Pichai is expected to meet president Pranab Mukherjee and prime minister Narendra Modi. Pichai will also host an open event with students from across India at the Delhi University. He is also scheduled deliver the keynote address at a Google for India event, where he will outline the company’s plans for India.
Hyderabad-born Nadella has been a more frequent visitor to the country, having come to India just a month ago to attend Microsoft's flagship Future Unleashed event and meet key customers, partners and developers.

 

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