Archive | April, 2015

Amit Shah ticks off Haryana minister on farmer suicide remarks

Posted on 30 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 01st May 2015

New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) BJP President Amit Shah today disapproved of the controversial remarks of Haryana Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar who had said farmers who commit suicide were “cowards” and asked party leaders to refrain from making such comments.

“I don’t agree with the remarks at all. These are his personal views. I feel party leaders should avoid making such comments,” he told journalists when asked whether he and the party agreed with what Dhankar had said.

Dhankar’s “insensitive” remarks that anyone committing suicide were cowards and leaving his Innocent family in the lurch drew severe flak from Opposition, who demanded his sacking.

At the press conference, Shah also claimed that the party’s membership has touched around 10.5 crore and the BJP has emerged as the largest party in the world.

“I feel pride in saying that BJP with around 10.5 crore members has become the largest party in the world. We are happy about it,” he said crediting the hard work of workers for achieving the target.

The BJP chief said the party’s membership drive which had started on November 1 ends at midnight tonight and announced the launch of a mass contact programme from May 1, to reach out to all its new members.

Asked the reasons why the party fared poorly in the West Bengal civic polls despite a large number of people becoming its members, he said had had the state police not been there the results would have been different.

“Had the local police not been there, we would not have lost badly. When neutral polls are conducted by the Election Commission with para-military forces deployed in the state, there will be different results,” he said.

He said under the membership drive, the party has the largest number of over 1.82 crore members in Uttar Pradesh.

Shah said after the three-month mass contact drive starting tomorrow, the party would launch a major training programme for its 15 lakh workers that will carry on for another three months.

He added that all those members who submit a list of 100 new members made by them and contact them will be made active members after the membership drive.

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FM drops plans to strip RBI of powers to regulate govt bonds

Posted on 30 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 01st May 2015

New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) Buying peace with RBI, the government today dropped plans for the time being to strip the central bank of powers to regulate government bonds and give it to an independent agency.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley withdrew the proposal from Finance Bill, 2015, and said the government, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, will prepare a roadmap to pursue a separate debt management agency later in line with the global practice.

“Since the RBI has been handling public debt management, the government in consultation with the RBI will prepare a detailed roadmap separating the debt management function and the market infrastructure from the RBI and having a unified financial market,” Jaitley said.

He made these remarks while initiating the debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha. The House is expected to approve the Bill later in the day, giving effect to the tax proposals.

In his first full year Budget, Jaitley had proposed to set up a PDMA and shift the regulation of government bonds from RBI to market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The proposal generated lot of controversy, with the RBI raising concerns and questioning the timing of the move.

“It is…being decided to delete the PDMA provisions from the Finance Bill for this financial year,” Jaitley said.

While RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had publicly not criticised the government move, Deputy Governor S S Mundra had last month called for examination of all related issues before the new agency takes shape.

“Concern was expressed… I think, the (RBI) Governor had told about it that the timing (of issuance of G-Secs) and all related issues need to be examined. That’s the only thing.

Ultimately, there are reflections, implications of both of these things on the monetary policy,” Mundra had said.

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Ghani pitches for regional strategy to tackle terrorism

Posted on 29 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 30th April 2015

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Asserting that terrorism was a threat to all its neighbours, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today pitched for a coherent regional strategy to deal with the menace but indicated that his government may engage with Taliban under the constitutional framework.

The visiting leader also thanked India for its assistance in rebuilding his country and said Afghanistan which was fighting a war imposed on it was looking at Indian investors for its prosperity.

India has so far contributed nearly USD 2.2 billion for various projects there, he said.

India was part of four out of five diplomatic priority circles which include being a neighbour, having the second largest Muslim population and as one of the top investors, Ghani, on his first visit here after assuming office in September last, told reporters.

Describing the Islamic terrorist outfit ISIS as a “man-eater like Bengal tiger”, he said the fundamental shift last year has been changing global terror networks and their realignments.

“Every single one of our neighbours is threatened by these networks and ISIS at large,” he told reporters at a press conference at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

He cited the example of threats by The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to China and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to Uzbek people.

Asserting that the ISIS was a new phenomenon and terrorism does not travel on passport or is a respecter of boundaries, Ghani said, “We must deal with it as a region”.

Asked about attacks in Afghanistan’s Kunduz city ahead of his visit here and status of talks with Taliban, the visiting leader did not give a direct answer but indicated that there may be role for it in Afghan policy under country’s constitutional framework.

“What is the difference between Taliban and other networks of terror? The latter have no place in our future policy if they are produced by conditions in their countries or by ideas of destabilisation. So we must deal with them,” he said, implying that his government was not averse to holding talks with Taliban under Afghan Constitution framework.

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PM on foreign tours, he should see farmers’ condition: Rahul

Posted on 29 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 30th April 2015

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Highlighting the farmers’ plight a day after his Punjab visit, Rahul Gandhi today targetted Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha for his foreign tours and said he should travel to the state to know first hand about the condition of the farming community.

“Again his (PM’s) tour is on the cards. He has come here for sometime. He should visit Punjab and he will know first hand what is happening to farmers,” the Congress Vice President said, triggering uproar as BJP members protested.

Raising the issue of farmers during Zero Hour a day after his visit to mandis in Punjab, Gandhi said he wanted to apprise the House of the pain and problems of the state’s farmers whose produce is lying in mandis and is not being procured by the government.

The refrain of Gandhi was that the NDA government had left the farmer to fend for himself.

Amid protests by BJP members, Gandhi took a swipe at the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, questioning whether farmers are not contributing to ‘Make in India’ by providing food to the entire country.

“When there was hailstorm, the government did not help.

State governmments used to give bonus, farmers tolerated its non-payment. Farmers were lathicharged when they asked for fertiliser. Now their produce is not being lifted from mandis,” he said.

Gandhi accused the government of not procuring the produce of farmers, a charge rubbished by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan who hit back by suggesting that the Congress leader was trying to become a “martyr by cutting a finger”.

Gandhi said “while farmers in the mandis are crying, the Haryana Agriculture Minister is saying farmers committing suicide are cowards,” he said amid cries of “shame, shame” from the opposition.

Asserting that government is purchasing each and every grain from farmers, Paswan insisted that the government under the leadership of Modi had taken several decisions for the welfare of farmers which had not happened in the past 10 years of the UPA.

Contending that the Prime Minister is not only concerned about the welfare of farmers, Paswan said he has proactively taken several steps to help the farmers hit hard by unseasonal rains and hailstorm.

There was uproar over the issue, leading to adjournment of the House for 10 minutes. .

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Quake toll over 4,350; Nepal PM says rescue ops not effective

Posted on 28 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 29th April 2015

Kathmandu, Apr 28 (PTI) The death toll in the devastating earthquake that has rocked Nepal climbed to over 4,350 today with more than 8,000 others injured, as Prime Minister Sushil Koirala admitted that the rescue and relief operations have not been effective.

Crisis loomed over quake-hit Nepal with an acute shortage of food, water, electricity and medicines as fear of another quake kept tens of thousands of people out into the open.

At least 4,352 bodies have so far been recovered after Saturday’s massive earthquake that struck just outside of capital Kathmandu, a Nepalese police official said. A further 8,063 people have been injured in the quake.

Hundreds of people are still trapped under tonnes of rubble in the capital Kathmandu and some of the worst-affected remote mountainous areas amid concerns that toll could cross 5,000 mark, authorities said.

The government has announced nine districts as highly-affected areas.

Based on human casualty, Sindhupalchowk, Kathmandu, Nuwakot, Dhading, Bhaktapur, Gorkha, Kavre, Lalitpur and Rasuwa have been declared as the most-affected districts.

The government has said that altogether 60 districts have been affected by the earthquake.

Of those killed in the earthquake, 923 are from Kathmandu, 240 from Bhaktapur and 157 from Lalitpur while the rest are from outside the Kathmandu Valley.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has admitted that the rescue, relief and search operations have not been effective. He has urged the political parties to work together in this national crisis.

Post-quake management is challenging, Koirala said in an all-party meeting organised yesterday by Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang.

The government is receiving requests from across the country for help, he was quoted as saying by ‘My Republica’.

It had been unable to extend rescue efforts to several places due to a crunch of logistics and experts.

The Prime Minister said the government was serious and sensitive about relief distribution and rehabilitation of the affected people.

The government was preparing to send tents, water, medicine, health workers and volunteers to the affected areas.

The Premier also appealed to the people to donate blood.

The quake that flattened homes and buildings and the subsequent powerful aftershocks have forced people out to live in the open under plastic tents, barely shielding them from cold and rains that have pounded the city.

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PM pledges India’s support to Afghanistan in talks with Ghani

Posted on 28 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 29th April 2015

New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) India today made a strong pitch for a positive and constructive approach from neighbours of Afghanistan including an end to support for violence as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed here key issues including security and connectivity.

Asserting that Indo-Afghan partnership has blossomed despite barriers of geography and hurdles of politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence was in their shared interest.

After the comprehensive talks with Ghani on entire gamut of bilateral ties as well as on key regional and international issues, Modi, at a joint press event with the visiting leader, said he conveyed India’s support for his vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“We have a shared interest in the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. This should be conducted within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence.

“It should reinforce the political, economic and social progress of the last fourteen years. And, it should protect the rights and aspirations of all sections of the society, including Afghan women,” Modi said.

Without naming Pakistan, which has been accused by the previous Afghan government of supporting violence in Afghanistan, Modi said, “Its (process) success requires a positive and constructive approach from neighbours, including an end to support for violence.”

Noting that India deeply values its friendship and the goodwill with Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said the country stands with the people of Afghanistan, as they build a united, stable, democratic and prosperous nation.

“This comes from the responsibility of our friendship. It also stems from our commitment to regional peace and progress…. And, it will not be limited to the period of transition or the decade of transformation. This is an enduring commitment,” Modi added. .

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Dogs from India, France assisting in rescue ops in Nepal

Posted on 27 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 28th April 2015

Kathmandu, Apr 27 (PTI) Rescue teams today deployed specially trained dogs from India, France and Spain for locating victims buried under tonnes of debris following the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

A team of 15 personnel and six dogs were brought in Nepal from France and Spain to assist in the rescue operations.

“These dogs have a vital role in identifying victims buried under the debris,” said Jose Castello, a volunteer with Intervention Ayuda Emergencical (IAE).

Christophe Sira, Central Seismological Bureau member of Pompiers d’urgence, said that the breeds of dogs who arrived for the rescue operations are Golden Retriever and German Shepherd.

Prominent organisations like Red Cross International is among other groups assisting in the rescue operations.

Dogs were flown in well built cages so that they don’t feel cramped during the journey.

India has sent a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Dogs are also part of the entourage to help locate victims buried under the debris.

A state of emergency has been declared in Nepal after a powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck the country on Saturday followed by numerous aftershocks. Over 3,600 people have been killed and nearly 7,000 others injured in the tragedy.

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Quake toll in India goes up to 72, India ramps up relief in Nepal

Posted on 27 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 28th April 2015

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) The death toll in India from Saturday’s monster earthquake today shot up to 72 even as New Delhi ramped up relief and rescue efforts in Nepal to provide succour to the nation devastated by the temblor.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Lok Sabha that the toll in the country has climbed up to 72 with 56 deaths reported in Bihar, 12 in UP, three in West Bengal and one in Rajasthan.

Enumerating the mammoth task undertaken by India to mitigate the sufferings of the Nepalese people under ‘Operation Maitri’, Singh said 10 NDRF teams are already in that country and six more on their way. An engineering task force and 18 medical units have also been rushed. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has also been dispatched to assess the gigantic losses suffered by the landlocked nation.

Over 2500 Indians have been evacuated from quake-hit Nepal so far and free visas are being given to foreigners stranded there who want to come to India.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, comprising about 450 trained personnel, have fanned across areas like Seetapaila, Maharajganj, Maheshwari and Gangabhajat, about 10-15 kms from the Kathmandu valley.

The force, till now, has rescued 10 people and retrieved 46 bodies from under the rubble of buildings brought down by the quake on Saturday and a string of aftershocks thereafter.

NDRF Director General (DG) O P Singh, who is camping in the capital city of Kathmandu since yesterday, said a team of his men has also been deployed at the Tribhuvan international airport to assist Indian Embassy officials in the air evacuation of stranded Indians.

“Our main priority is to go for as many rescue operations as we can. Last night our operations got hit as there were incessant rains and aftershocks of the quake. But, today morning we have started full-fledged operations as the day is sunny and there are no rains,” Singh said.

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Quake: Death toll rises to 66, Bihar worst hit

Posted on 27 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 27th April 2015

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) The death toll in Saturday’s earthquake and aftershocks in the country has climbed to 66 with Bihar reporting the highest casualties.

The quake and aftershocks, which were experienced in some parts of North and East India, have also left 288 others injured, a senior Home Ministry official said today.

Bihar accounted for 51 deaths while 173 were injured, the official said.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had yesterday directed government officials to carry out relief work for the affected on a war footing for which all the ministers and secretaries will camp in the districts under their charge.

To mitigate the woes of people affected by a series of natural calamities in the past few months, it has been decided that one quintal foodgrain, besides Rs 5800 assistance will be distributed to each affected family as immediate relief, Kumar said.

The official said while 12 people died and 70 others were injured when the tremors rocked Uttar Pradesh, two persons lost their lives and 35 others were injured in West Bengal.

One person was killed and seven others were injured in Rajasthan.

Five teams?of NDRF have been deployed in Bihar and one in UP for rescue and relief operations of affected people.

So far, 180 people have been evacuated to safer places by the NDRF in Darbhanga in Bihar.

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Nepal quake toll rises to 3,218 as rains hamper rescue efforts

Posted on 27 April 2015 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 27th April 2015

Kathmandu, Apr 27 (PTI) The death toll in Nepal’s devastating earthquake today crossed 3,200 with another 6,000 people injured as rains and fresh tremors hampered rescue efforts to locate survivors trapped under tonnes of rubble of flattened homes and buildings.

“The death toll has reached 3,218 and over 6,500 are injured,” said Rameshwor Dangal, head of the home ministry’s national disaster management division.

Officials said five Indians, including the daughter of an Indian embassy employee, were among those killed in the quake.

With no electricity, capital Kathmandu resembled a ghost town with rains pounding the city, forcing the closure of the airport where chaotic scenes were witnessed with stranded foreign tourists desperate to go home.

Tens of thousands of people were forced to spend the night sleeping on city streets in makeshift plastic tents barely shielding them from the pouring rain.

“Still raining, adds to the misery. Only consolation is that it may ease the water crisis in some of the shelters,” Nepali Times Editor Kunda Dixit tweeted.

He said Nepal urgently needs tents and medicines.

Earlier, fresh powerful aftershocks yesterday triggered panic among the stricken people and caused avalanches on Mount Everest which had taken a toll of 22 lives.

A strong 6.7-magnitude aftershock followed by another measuring 6.5 on the Richter Scale, sent people scrambling for open spaces.

The 7.9-magnitude quake on Saturday left a trail of devastation and suffering, with people spending the cold night in the open because of fears of fresh quake.

1,053 people are reported killed in the Kathmandu Valley alone. Officials fear the death toll could rise as desperate search for survivors continued. Mass cremations were held here with the toll rising throughout the day.

International rescue teams, including from India, have arrived here as Nepal declared a state of emergency in the wake of the disaster, the worst in over 80 years of the country’s recorded history.

India has mounted a major rescue and rehabilitation effort, deploying 13 military aircraft which carried field hospitals, medicines, blankets, 50 tonnes of water and other materials. .

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