Evening digest: Don't pay taxes and launch movement if govt fails to curb corruption: HC

GN Bureau | February 3, 2016



In observations that are sure to trigger a big debate, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court expressed serious concern over the growing number of corruption cases and called on the citizens to launch a non-cooperation movement if the government fails to curb it. Justice Arun Chaudhari made the comments while hearing a case concerning embezzlement of funds worth Rs 385 crore in Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Vikas Mahamandal (LASVM), an organisation that works for the Matang community which falls under the scheduled caste. "The taxpayers are in deep anguish. Let the government as well as mandarins in corridors of power understand their excruciating pain and anguish. They have been suffering for over two decades in the state. There is an onerous responsibility on those who govern to prove to taxpayers that eradication of corruption would not turn out to be a forlorn hope for them," The Times of India quoted Justice Chaudhari as saying.

Let people decide what to eat, says Niti CEO Kant
India is a democracy and if people want to eat beef they should be allowed to, top bureaucrat and CEO of the Prime Minister's policy think tank Niti Ayog, Amitabh Kant said on Tuesday night. "I believe we are in a democracy, we should allow people to decide what they want to say, we should allow people to decide what they want to eat," he said. Asked if that includes beef, he said, "Of course! There should be freedom of choice. I said it in the context of the fact that I come from the Kerala cadre. My neighbour was a Nair, the neighbour on my right was a Brahmin, they all ate beef." Mr Kant was speaking at NDTV's Indian of the Year Awards, 2015. He received the award for the Best Administrator. Kant is a Kerala cadre IAS officer and Secretary, Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy. He has also been involved with some of the top government campaigns from Incredible India - which promotes India as a tourist destination globally - to the recently launched Startup India, which will facilitate startups and aims at improving ease of doing business. Kant took a swipe at actor Aamir Khan when he said, "And, everyone should be allowed to say what he wants to except when he is the brand ambassador of Incredible India."

India’s services sector growth in January hits 19-month high
Activity in India’s services sector increased at its fastest pace in over a year and a half in January as demand accelerated, allowing firms to build up a much bigger backlog of orders, a business survey showed on Wednesday. The Nikkei/Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 54.3 in January from 53.6 in December, the seventh straight month above the 50-level that distinguishes growth from contraction. January also marked the seventh consecutive month of expansion in new business, with that sub-index rising to an 11-month high of 54.1 from 53.8. Respondents cited better weather and stronger underlying demand as the main drivers. “A strong upturn in new business is an especially positive note from January’s survey, which underpins hopes for further growth of activity across the country’s private sector in the near-term,” said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit.

Shabana Azmi supports Anupam Kher for Pakistan visa denial
Veteran actress Shabana Azmi says she supports Anupam Kher after he was denied a visa to Pakistan to attend the Karachi literary festival. Shabana, 65, said her husband and noted lyricist Javed Akhtar had faced similar situation in the past. “Some years ago Javed Akhtar, chair of delegation to Pakistan was denied a visa. Organiser cancelled the entire trip. I stand with Anupam Kher if he was denied visa,” she posted on twitter. Kher, 60, who said he has been denied a Pakistani visa for the third time, was one of the 18 Indians invited to the four-day KLF starting Friday by the organisers and all of them including senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid and actor Nandita Das but excluding the actor were granted the visa.

10 Soldiers Missing After Avalanche In Siachen In Ladakh
Ten soldiers are missing after an avalanche hit an Army base in the Siachen Glacier in Ladakh. The base is located at a height of 19,000 feet above sea level. The Indian Army and the Air Force have launched rescue operations. "Ten soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, are missing after an avalanche hit their patrol in southern side of the Siachin Glacier early on Wednesday," a senior army official said. Last month, four Indian soldiers on foot patrol were killed by an avalanche in the Ladakh area of the Himalayan region. Siachen Glacier is the world's highest battlefield. Avalanches and landslides are common in the area during winter. Temperature here can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).  In January, four soldiers were killed in an avalanche, while last year another four died when their vehicle got buried near Leh.

Woman throws flower pot at PM's convoy, detained
A woman has been detained after she allegedly tried to throw a flower pot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's convoy. She allegedly insisted that she wanted to meet the prime minister. An advance team had barricaded the road where the prime minister was to pass when this woman allegedly started fighting with the police. The woman, who had been waiting outside the building that has the PM's office, has been taken for questioning.

Kejriwal says Modi govt wants to impose President’s Rule in Delhi
In a bid to bring an end to the 8-day sanitation workers’ strike in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has proposed a Rs 550 crore loan to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to pay off the pending salaries. However, he maintained that the party has allotted the entire year’s salary to the MCD department which is ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). According to Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the state had transferred the entire amount to the BJP-controlled MCD, which has allegedly being embezzled by them. Where has the money gone? If salaries have not been paid, then has the BJP usurped it. We demand a CBI inquiry to probe the matter,” he said.
Chief Minister urged the sanitation workers to call off their strike since it may create dangerous situation for the dwellers of Delhi. He further accused the leadership of BJP including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of plotting such conspiracies to destabilize the government. “Modi wants to impose President’s Rule in Delhi, just like they have imposed it in Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.

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