Archive | May, 2016

CM demands from Centre grant-in-aid for MCD on par with states

Posted on 27 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 27th May 2016

New Delhi, May 26 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded from the Centre a “special” grant-in-aid of Rs 4,087 crore for the local bodies in the national capital on par with other states.

The 14th Central Finance Commission allocated grant-in-aid of Rs 2,87,436 crore for the local bodies for the award period 2015-2020. However, National Capital Territory of Delhi and the union territories have been ommitted from it altogether on the argument that only states were covered under the award scheme of Central Finance Commission, Kejriwal said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.

“The grant-in-aid of Rs 2,87,436 works out to be Rs 488 per capita per annum. Delhi with population of 1.675 crore, as per 2011 Census, should be provided Rs 4,087 crore, at the base rate of Rs 488 per capita per annum, in the 14th Central Finance Commission grant-in-aid for the local bodies,” he said.

The terms of reference for the Central Finance Commission as per Article 280(3)(C) of the Constitution, is to make recommendations about measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a state to supplement resources of its municipalities.

But, the terms of reference for the Central Finance Commissions (11th to 14th) that predate the 69th Amendment to Constitution which created the Legislative Assembly for NCT of Delhi and placed Delhi in a class by itself, with an elected government and fiscal powers and arrangements similar to others states in the country, he said.

The argument that only states are covered under award schemes of Central Finance Commission is “completely unfair” as the municipalities in Delhi perform the same functions as the municipalities in other states. Further, the taxation and other fiscal powers of the Government of NCT of Delhi are also similar to other states, he said.

Kejriwal also requested the Prime Minister that while drafting the terms of reference for the future Central Finance Commissions, it should be ensured that the NCT of Delhi and union territories are also included in the “scope” of their grant-in-aid recommendations.

He claimed that local bodies in all the states are under “financial crunch” and depend on significant relief as grant-in-aid of the Central Finance Commissions.

“The situation of municipal corporations in Delhi is not different and merits the same consideration from the central government,” he said.

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There are ‘no good or bad terrorists’: Mukherjee tells Xi

Posted on 27 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 27th May 2016

Beijing, May 26 (PTI) India today sought China’s cooperation in international fora like the UN in the fight against terrorism making it clear that there was “no good or bad terrorists” and told Beijing that it should play a positive role in ensuring a predictable nuclear regime as New Delhi seeks to join the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

The two issues came up during President Pranab Mukherjee’s talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People on the penultimate day of his four-day maiden state visit to China.

Largely, there was appreciation of the President’s visit by the Chinese leadership and all the three leaders acknowledged his positive role in building the bilateral relationship during his long political career in different capacities. However, there was acknowledgment of differences.

Briefing the media on the 80-minute talks Mukherjee held at delegation level with Xi, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said they were frank and both sides acknowledged the need to respect each other’s sensitivities and concerns.

The President raising the issues of cooperation in combating terrorirsm and the need for a predictable nuclear regimes assumes significance in the context of China’s action in blocking the United Nations’ move to blacklist Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist and the bid to block India’s admission to the NSG on the ground it has not signed the Non-Proflieration Treaty (NPT).

Essentially what was conveyed to China during the discussions was that it was a global fight against terrorism and India and China are affected by it.

“There are strong sentiments on the issue in India because many lives have been lost. For the elimination of international and cross-border terrorirsm there is no such thing as good terrorists or bad terroris. They don’t have any ideology.

“We must have an expansion of cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally through close cooperation in the UN. Broadly, there was acceptance on this position. We want cooperation in the UN,” the foreign secretary said.

Asked whether the JeM issue was specifically raised, he said, “the President specifically referred to the menace of transborder terrorism. There was no good or bad terrorism and they should take into account each other’s sensitivities. We have spoken on cross border terrorism and zero tolerance on terrorism. No good or bad terrorists and they should cooperate closely in the UN on this issue.”

While flagging the need for India’s attempts to bridge the growing energy deficit without compromising on climate change, Mukherjee asked Xi to give personal attention to this matter.

Interestingly, in the Chinese briefing to the media after talks between Mukherjee and Xi, officials said though there was no direct discussion about India’s access to NSG, the two leaders mentioned the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and agreed to strengthen cooperation and exchanges in this regard.

About terrorism, they said the two leaders discussed the counter-terrorism cooperation agreed to work under the framework of global institutions like the UN and BRICS.

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President Mukherjee meets top Communist Party official

Posted on 25 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 26th May 2016

Guangzhou, May 25 (PTI) Economic policies, particularly those designed to attract foreign direct investment in India, were today the focus of discussions President Pranab Mukherjee had with a senior Chinese Communist party official here on the second day of his four-day visit to China.

Hu Chunhua, Party Secretary of Guangdong province, hosted a lunch in honour of the President and the two also discussed federal-provincial relations in China, centre-state relations in India and the historic cultural relationship between the two countries.

The Communist party official evinced keen interest in the economic policies of India, especially those relating to foreign investment.

Briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the President explained to him the new initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ in the context of foreign investment.

Mukherjee recalled one of his earlier visits as External Affairs Minister to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong which has a USD one trillion economy, and his opening of the Indian Consulate here.

The President was told that after the Japanese and Koreans, Indians accounted for the largest foreign population in Guangdong and their role is very much appreciated.

Earlier in the day, the President visited the Hualin temple, which shares the closest link to Bodhidharma. Legend has it that the temple was built in 527 AD during the Liang dynasty soon after the arrival of Indian monk Bodhidharma who later founded Zen Buddhism in China.

The Chinese side appreciated the President’s gesture of visiting the temple that provided the basis for a discussion on the cultural relationship between the two countries historically.

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Pinarayi Vijayan sworn in as Kerala CM

Posted on 25 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 26th May 2016

Thiruvananthapuram, May 25 (PTI) CPI(M) strongman Pinarayi Vijayan was today sworn in as Chief Minister of Kerala heading a 19-member ministry of the party-led Left Democratic Front(LDF) that had 13 new faces including two women.

72-year-old Vijayan, who pipped his bitter party rival V S Achuthanandan to the top post in Kerala politics, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam at the Central Stadium here.

Hailing from a poor toddy tapper’s family, Vijayan, a first time Chief Minister, took the oath in Malayalam. A CPI-M Politburo member, he is the 12th chief minister of Kerala.

Out of the 19-member cabinet, 12 including the Chief Minister are from CPI(M), 4 from CPI, one each from NCP, Janata Dal(S) and Congress(S). The outgoing Congress-led UDF had 21 ministers.

There are 13 new faces, including two women, in the Cabinet. Five ministers had held positions in previous LDF ministries.

The CPI(M)-LDF had unseated the Congress-led UDF by securing 91 seats in the 140-member House in the May 16 assembly polls.

A huge pandal to accommodate at least 30,000 persons was put up at the stadium, adjacent to the state Secretariat.

CCTVs erected at various places enabled the large crowd, who had gathered to view the ceremony streamed live.

The slight drizzle failed to dampen the spirits of the party workers who had arrived in buses and other vehicles from various parts of the state, especially the northern districts of Kasaragod, Kannur and Kozhikode, to witness the swearing-in ceremony, which began at 4 pm.

In 2006 also, the swearing in of then Chief Minister V S Achutanandan and his cabinet colleague was held outside the Raj Bhavan.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, former Chief Ministers Oommen Chandy, V S Achutanandan, CPI(M) General Secretary Seetharam Yechury, Prakash Karat, 97-year-old K R Gowri Amma, who was Revenue minister in the EMS Namboodiripad cabinet of 1957, former union minister and lone member of BJP in the assembly O Rajagopal, religious and cultural leaders and film actors attended the function. .

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Pvt colleges to come under NEET: Nadda

Posted on 24 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 25th May 2016

New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) All private medical colleges will come under the ambit of common medical exams, NEET, Health Minister J P Nadda on Tuesday said after an Ordinance to keep the state boards out of it for a year was signed by President Pranab Mukherjee

Noting that the Ordinance has given a “firm and statutory” support to the common medical entrance test, he said the students in states will get an opportunity to appear this year (2016-17) for undergraduate exams

“All private institutions and medical colleges will come under the ambit of NEET. The state governments will get an option to either conduct their own exam or go for NEET to fill UG seats. However, for PG courses, the exam will be held under NEET for 2017-18 session, in December this year

“The states will have an option. Approximately five states have undertaken their test. 6.5 lakh candidates have appeared in various state exams. 6.25 lakh have appeared in NEET 1,” Nadda told reporters here

“There are states which have deferred their exam like UP while Bihar has opted for NEET. They have an option. But these seats will be filled either by NEET or state governments,” he said

After having raised queries, the President on Tuesday signed the Ordinance which has a provision for states to keep out of NEET for a year

Mukherjee signed the Ordinance this morning after Health Ministry officials returned with the file addressing all the queries raised by him

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was at the President’s Secretariat early this morning along with the top ministry officials to respond to clarifications sought by Mukherjee on the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)

Nadda said that in the Ordinance, a provision has been made where an exemption has been given to state governments

He said, “The President today morning signed the Ordinance which was sent to him by the Union Cabinet. Following this, the legal procedure has been initiated. It will be notified today.” .

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Mukherjee arrives in China to boost bilateral ties

Posted on 24 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 25th May 2016

Guangzhou, May 24 (PTI) President Pranab Mukherjee arrived here today on a four-day visit to China that will see significant political and economic push to bilateral ties while irritants like Beijing’s opposition to India’s membership of NSG and the blocking of UN bid to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist will also figure.

Mukherjee, who is making his first visit to China as President, has made a number of trips to this country in various capacities including as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and Defence Minister.

In Guangzhou, the highly industrialised city in China, Mukherjee will address the India-China Business Forum in which some top Indian industrialists will also be present.

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province in southern coastal China that contributes 12 per cent of the country’s GDP and is home to a wide-ranging set of multinational and Chinese corporations.

The President will arrive in Beijing on Thursday where he will meet with President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese leadership including Premier Li Keqiang and National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang.

In discussions with the Chinese leadership, the issues of Chinese reservations on India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier Group and the UN ban on Azhar are expected to figure prominently.

Bilateral ties have been on an upswing since Xi’s landmark India visit in September, 2014 during which both countries had signed 12 agreements and China pledged an investment of USD 20 billion in India’s infrastructure sector.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited China in May last year during which both sides had resolved to further deepen ties in a range of areas.

However, irritants in ties cropped recently after China blocked India’s move to get a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar and opposed granting India membership of NSG, saying it must sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to get an entry into the 48-member group.

India had countered the Chinese contention of signing NPT before becoming a member of NSG as “confusion” as NPT allows civil nuclear cooperation with non-NPT countries.

Ahead of his state visit to China, Mukherjee had told the Chinese state-run television that India seeks a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question which will help in achieving full potential of Sino-India relationship.

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Three policemen killed in militant strikes in Srinagar

Posted on 23 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 24th May 2016

Srinagar, May 23 (PTI) Militants today carried out two strikes within as many hours in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, killing three policemen, including an officer, and decamping with service rifle of one of the slain cops.

In the first strike, militants shot dead two policemen in Zadibal area of Srinagar at around 10: 45 AM.

The ultras shot at the two cops from close range at Mill Stop in Zadibal area which connects the city to Hazratbal Shrine and super speciality SKIMS Hospital at Soura, a police official said.

The two cops died on the spot, he said, adding the deceased have been identified as Assistant Sub Inspector Ghulam Mohammad and Head Constable Nazir Ahmad.

The slain cops were posted at Zadibal Police Station.

Police and other security forces have been put on an alert to look out for the assailants, who managed to flee the spot.

In the second strike, militants shot at constable Mohammad Sadiq, who was posted as personal security guard to chairman of J&K Pasmanda Tabqajaat (downtrodden classes) Mohammad Abdullah Chatwal, at Tengpora on Parimpora-Hyderpora Bypass road.

The militants also snatched the service rifle of the injured cop before fleeing from the spot, the official said adding the attack took place at around 12 noon.

The cop later succumbed to injuries at Police hospital at Batamaloo.

These major attacks in the city come after nearly three years.

The last such attack took place on June 22, 2013 when two policemen were shot dead at Hari Singh High Street.

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India, Iran to combat terror; ink Chabahar, 11 other pacts

Posted on 23 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Tuesday 24th May 2016

Tehran, May 23 (PTI) India and Iran today pledged to combat terrorism and radicalism as the two nations signed 12 agreements including a “milestone” pact on developing the strategic Chabahar port, giving a boost to economic partnership in the post-sanctions era.

India committed around USD 500 million for the important port in Iran’s southern coast, which will serve as a “point of connectivity” between India, Afghanistan, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and East Europe.

“We have agreed to consult closely and regularly on combating threats of terrorism, radicalism, drug trafficking and cyber crime. We have also agreed to enhance interaction between our defence and security institutions on regional and maritime security,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here.

Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Islamic nation after 15 years on a bilateral visit after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was addressing a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after one-on-one talks.

His visit comes months after lifting of international sanctions on Iran following Tehran’s historic nuclear deal with the Western powers over its contentious atomic programme.

Terming terrorism as a “big problem running rife and rampant in the region”, Rouhani said that both the nations have discussed the issue and agreed to share intelligence to combat the menace.

“Due to the importance of stability and security in the region and especially in the countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and because a big problem called terrorism is running rife and rampant in the region.

“The two countries discussed about political issues as well and how they can cooperate on intelligence sharing and how they can get closer to each other in the fight against terrorism and extremism and how they can contribute to peace and stability in the whole region,” Rouhani added.

As regards the economic cooperation, besides developing the Chabahar port, the two sides also signed agreements in diverse fields like trade credit, culture, science and technology as well as railways.

“The bilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port and related infrastructure and availability of about USD 500 million from India for this purpose, is an important milestone,” said Modi.

“This major effort would boost economic growth in the region. We are committed to take steps for early implementation of the agreements signed today,” he said.

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PM congratulates ISRO scientists on launch of space shuttle

Posted on 23 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 23rd May 2016

New Delhi, May 23 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated scientists on the successful launch of India’s first indigenously made space shuttle- the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).

“Launch of India’s first indigenous space shuttle RLV-TD is the result of the industrious efforts of our scientists.

Congrats to them,” he said in a tweet.

“The dynamism & dedication with which our scientists & @isro have worked over the years is exceptional and very inspiring,” the Prime Minister said.

India today successfully launched the first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

RLV, being dubbed as India’s own space shuttle, is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access, according to ISRO scientists.

RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.

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India successfully launches its own ’space shuttle’

Posted on 23 May 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Monday 23rd May 2016

Bengaluru, May 23 (PTI) India today successfully launched the first technology demonstrator of indigenously made Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

“Mission accomplished successfully,” an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spokesman told PTI soon after RLV-TD HEX-01 was flight tested with the take off at 7 am.

This is the first time ISRO has launched a winged flight vehicle, which glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres from the coast.

Known as hypersonic flight experiment, it was about 10 minutes mission from liftoff to splashdown.

The RLV-TD is a scaled-down model of the reusable launch vehicle.

RLV, being dubbed as India’s own space shuttle, is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access, according to ISRO scientists.

RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle, ISRO said.

It has been configured to act as a flying testbed to evaluate various technologies, including hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion, it said.

The 6.5 metre long ‘aeroplane’-like structure weighing 1.75 tons was hoisted into the atmosphere on a special rocket booster.

The RLV-TD is described as “a very preliminary step” in the development of a reusable rocket, whose final version is expected to take in 10 to 15 years.

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