Archive | July, 2016

Aadhar not required for Assam, Meghalaya for PMUY: Pradhan

Posted on 30 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 31st July 2016

Kolkata, Jul 30 (PTI) Residents of Assam and Meghalaya would not be required to submit Aadhar card for getting benefits under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said today.

“For Assam and Meghalaya, Aadhar cards will not be required for getting enrolled in the PMUY,” the Petroleum and Natural Gas minister said at a meeting of DNOs (district nodal officers) of the eastern states here.

He said 82 per cent of the LPG connections have been linked with Aadhar card.

“We are making efforts to bring the remaining 18 per cent in its fold,” Pradhan said at the meet also attended by IOC Chairman B Ashok and Joint Secretary (marketing) Oil ministry Ashutosh Jindal among others.

Pradhan claimed that since the launch of the PMUY project, 23 lakh BPL households have got “free connections” in the states where it had been rolled out since May 1.

He said the project would be launched in West Bengal before August 15.

In the budget for 2016-17, the government had allocated Rs 8000 crore to provide LPG connections to five crore BPL women in three years.

The selection of the BPL women would be done from the Socio-Economic Caste Census-2011.

Several DNOs complained that many women, despite being in the BPL category, did not figure in the SECC list.

Pradhan assured those not in the SECC list, would also get connections under the scheme for which a separate mechanism is being planned.

Pradhan said PMUY implementation and its district-wise success would be linked with the career progression of oil sector executives involved.

The government had been able to save Rs 21,000 crore by weeding away 3.5 crore ghost connections, he said.

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800 jobless Indians starving in Jeddah, Swaraj steps in to help

Posted on 30 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Sunday 31st July 2016

New Delhi, July 30 (PTI) Nearly 800 Indian workers are reportedly starving for the last three days in Saudi city of Jeddah after losing their jobs and Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is traveling to the Gulf nation to sort out the issue.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia has been directed to serve food to them and that she was monitoring the situation on an hourly basis.

Her response came following a tweet by a man who said around 800 Indians are starving for the last three days in Jeddah and sought her intervention.

“We have asked @IndianEmbRiyadh to provide free ration to the unemployed Indian workers in Saudi Arabia,” she tweeted.

Swaraj said Indians in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were facing various problems relating to their work and wage and that the “matters are much worse” in Saudi Arabia.

She said MoS External Affairs M J Akbar will take up the issue with Kuwait and Saudi authorities.

“My colleagues @Gen_VKSingh will go to Saudi Arabia to sort out these matters and @MJakbar will take up with Kuwait and Saudi authorities.

“I assure you that no Indian worker rendered unemployed in Saudi Arabia will go without food. I am monitoring this on hourly basis,” she said.

Swaraj said a large number of Indians have lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and that their employers have not paid wages and closed down their factories.

“As a result our brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are facing extreme hardship,” she said, adding while the situation in Kuwait is “manageable”, matters are much “worse” in Saudi Arabia.

Later, Swaraj posted pictures of food being provided to the Indian workers.

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Indian national not executed in Indonesia: Swaraj

Posted on 29 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 30th July 2016

New Delhi, July 29 (PTI) Indian national Gurdip Singh, who was to be executed last night on drug charges in Indonesia, has not been put to death, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.

“Indian Ambassador in Indonesia has informed me that Gurdip Singh whose execution was fixed for last night, has not been executed,” Swaraj said on twitter.

However, it was not clear why the Indian was not executed while four other convicts were put to death by the firing squad.

48-year-old Singh was among 10 convicts who were to be executed but were not put to death.

He was found guilty by an Indonesian court of trying to smuggle in 300 grams of heroin and was handed death penalty in 2005.

MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had yesterday said that Indian Embassy officials in Jakarta were reaching out to the Indonesian foreign office and the senior leadership of the country on the issue.

Swaraj had said government was making last minute efforts to save Singh

“Afdhal Muhammad, the legal representative of Singh was of the view that he can file for Presidential clemency under the relevant law before the President of Indonesia. The Embassy sent a Note Verbale to Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry requesting that all legal recourse should be exhausted before the death penalty is carried out,” Swarup said.

Singh, who hails from Jalandhar in Punjab, is among 14 people who were facing execution after the authorities decided to resume implementing death penalty. The decision has been criticised by human rights organisations.

The 14 convicts to be executed included persons from Indonesia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Singh was arrested on August 29, 2004, at the Soekarno Hatta Airport on charges of drug trafficking. The Tangerang Court awarded him capital punishment in February 2005, against the prosecutors’ request for 20 years imprisonment.

His appeal against the death penalty was turned down by the High Court of Banten in May, 2005. He then appealed to the Supreme Court which also upheld his death penalty. He is presently detained at Nusakambangan Pasir Putih, Cilacap.

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No bilateral meeting with Pak leaders during Rajnath’s visit: MEA

Posted on 29 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Saturday 30th July 2016

New Delhi, Jul 29 (PTI) External Affairs Ministry today made it clear that there will be no bilateral meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Pakistani leaders when he travels to Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference on August 4.

MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, “Let me categorically state that @Home Minister of India is going for SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan.”

The remarks by the Spokesperson come in the backdrop of the reports in the media quoting an unnamed Home Ministry official as saying that Singh will have a bilateral with his counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in contradiction to MEA’s statement.

Swarup had yesterday also clearly said that the Home Minister was going for a multilateral SAARC event and there will not be any bilateral meeting.

According to sources in Home Ministry, Singh is expected to bluntly ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring acts of terror in India and also raise the issue of slow pace of probe into the Pathankot airbase terror attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the trial into the Mumbai terror attack case in that country.

Rajnath’s visit comes in the backdrop of growing strain in Indo-Pak ties after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8. Wani was a wanted terrorist Commander of the banned terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.

Not only did Sharif praise Wani but he also remarked that “Kashmir will one day become Pakistan”, a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country “will not be realised even at the end of eternity”.

Singh will be accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the Home Ministry.

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Bihar court orders FIR against Mayawati, other BSP leaders

Posted on 28 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 29th July 2016

Hajipur (Bihar), Jul 28 (PTI) A Vaishali district court today ordered registration of an FIR against BSP president Mayawati and three other party leaders for allegedly making inflammatory speeches last week spreading animosity in the society.

The three other BSP leaders are its national general secretary Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Uttar Pradesh unit president Ram Achal Rajbhar and state secretary Mewa Lal.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Jairam Prasad took cognizance of a complaint filed by Hajipur resident Ajit Singh and directed that an FIR be lodged against the four in Town police station.

The petitioner, through his advocate, claimed that he felt aggrieved by the inflammatory speeches made by Mayawati and her partymen which have affected unity and integrity of the country.

At a public meeting in Lucknow on July 21, Mayawati instigated her party workers to target expelled BJP leader Dayashankar Singh’s mother, wife and daughter during a protest in the wake of Singh’s unsavoury remarks against the BSP chief, the petitioner alleged.

They case was lodged against them under various Sections of the IPC including 153(a) (promoting enmity between groups), 295(a) (deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), and POSCO Act.

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Oppn in LS voices concern over Chinese incursion

Posted on 28 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Friday 29th July 2016

New Delhi, Jul 28 (PTI) Opposition members in the Lok Sabha today expressed concern over incursion by Chinese troops in Chamoli district of Uttarkhand and wanted immediate steps to counter such actions while cautioning the government about intentions of China.

The issue was raised by Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia who said People’s Liberation Army had transgressed the border on land and by air in Chamoli district earlier this month when its men stationed themselves 200 metres inside the Indian territory.

Scindia, who was supported by his party colleagues, expressed surprise that neither the Home Minister nor the Prime Minister chose to clarify on the serious matter.

Speaking in similar vein, Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress said attack helicopter of the Chinese army had also transgressed into the Barahoti area and the Chinese army told an Indian revenue official there to go back.

Noting that Uttarakhand has a 350-km long border with China, Roy called for immediate steps to check such transgressions.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav used the ocassion to caution the government about the intentions of China which he described as “dhokebaz desh” (deceitful country).

“It is a deceitful country. When it is down it will keep mum, but when it is strong it will create problems,” said Yadav, noting that he had also been a former defence minister.

Contending that India faces no problem from Pakistan which can be tackled easily, he said there should be no bonhomie with China given the fact that it had attacked India in 1962 soon after then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru unveiled the red carpet for Chou En Lai, his Chinese counterpart.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that for the government the security of the borders and the unity and integrity of the country is above everything.

Concurring with opposition leaders, he said Indian army was second to none in valour. He said he would bring the issue to the attention of the ministers concerned.

Bhagat Singh Koshiari, BJP member and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, claimed that no such transgression had taken place. He said it was a usual occurence that the Chinese troops come into the no-man’s land but soon go back.

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Centre, states make headway on key GST issues

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 28th July 2016

New Delhi, Jul 26 (PTI) Making headway on the long- pending GST Bill, the Centre and States today agreed on the principle that the tax rate will be lower than the current levels even as the broad consensus emerged that the rate should not be part of the statute.

A meeting of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers convened by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also agreed to include in the Constitutional Amendment Bill the mechanism of compensating states for any loss of revenue in first five years of Goods and Service Tax (GST) subsuming all indirect tax levies including VAT.

There was also broad agreement on the principle that the ordinary businessman and the common tax man will benefit from introduction of GST by way of lower tax rates while the states will not face any loss of revenue, West Bengal Finance Minister and the panel chairman Amit Mitra said after the meeting.

Also, there was “consensus to keep the GST rate out of the Constitutional Amendment Bill,” he claimed.

The government is keen to get the GST Bill approved during the current monsoon session of Parliament ending August 12 but is facing opposition from Congress which wants a low tax rate to be part of the Constitutional Amendment Bill while the one per cent additional tax in hands of states over and above the GST rate be scrapped.

“As you know that no tax rates are provided in the Constitution. It was discussed and conclusion reached that Union Finance Minister will communicate to other parties. He will explain it to them that it can’t come in Constitutional Amendment but it can come in GST Bill or GST Act,” Mitra said.

The “broad consensus put together is satisfactory to all political parties and all states,” he said adding “fool proof” wording for compensation to states has been worked out.

There are indications that the government may now bring the GST bill in Rajya Sabha next week instead of earlier plans of doing it this week.

Mitra said while there was no talk on specific tax rate, it emerged at the meeting that the rate should be such that is lower than existing levels otherwise “there is no point of reform.”

The states, he said, were of the view that small businesses with turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore in a year should come under purview of only state governments and dual control of states and centre can be exercised over businesses larger than them. .

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Hillary makes history as first woman White House nominee

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Thursday 28th July 2016

Philadelphia, Jul 27 (PTI) Scripting history, Hillary Clinton today became the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major US party as she secured the backing of the Democrats at the convention here to set up an epic clash with Republican rival Donald Trump in the November polls.

Clinton, who has been secretary of state, first lady and a Senator from New York, secured her nomination at the Democratic National Convention here after a majority of the 4,764 party delegates formally backed her.

If elected in the November 8 polls, Clinton would become America’s first female president and commander-in-chief.

In an electrifying end to the Democratic convention’s second night, Clinton appeared by video from New York, saying, “What an incredible honour that you have given me and I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.”

“This is really your victory. This is really your night.

And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say I may become the first woman president but one of you is next,” the 68-year-old said.

Her rival from the primaries, Bernie Sanders moved a resolution for her nomination when the roll call got to his home state of Vermont — sending out a vital message of unity for a party struck by deep divisions.

“I move that Hillary Clinton be nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate of the United States,” Sanders said as he called for suspension of rules to pave the way for unanimous nomination of Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate.

Moments later, the Democratic delegates nominated Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate, setting up a high-stakes showdown with Republican Trump.

“This moment is for every little girl who dreams big.

#WeMadeHistory,” tweeted Clinton.

“Stronger together,” she said in another tweet.

Clinton’s nomination was proposed by Congresswoman Barbara A Mikulski, the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate, and the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“It is with a full heart that I am here today as we nominate Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president,” she said.

“Many of you have broken barriers. You were the first to go to college. You were the first to start a business. Maybe the first to be a citizen. But you knew when you broke a barrier you didn’t do it for yourself. You did it so others would not have to face them again. That’s what Hillary wants to do. She wants to break down all the barriers to opportunity,” Mikulski said.

Legendary civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis seconded Clinton’s name as the Democratic presidential nominee. .

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Four militants killed, another apprehended in Kupwara

Posted on 26 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 27th July 2016

Srinagar, July 26 (PTI) Four militants were today killed and another apprehended by security forces during an encounter in Naugam sector near the LoC in Kupwara district of Kashmir, an army official said.

“Four terrorists have been killed while one has been apprehended alive during an operation in Naugam sector,” the official said.

He said all the militants were foreign nationals.

The operation was in progress when reports were last received from the encounter site.

The official said as the operation was still going on, it would be premature to say whether it was an infiltration bid or not.

“We have got one of them alive and expect some vital information from him,” he added.

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Show ‘utmost respect’ for law of seas: India on SCS row

Posted on 26 July 2016 by admin

AIHRA News Wednesday 27th July 2016

Bangkok, Jul 26 (PTI) Identifying maritime cooperation as a key priority, India today called for all stakeholders in the South China Sea issue to show “utmost respect” for the UN body that establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans as it sought peaceful resolution of the dispute.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh described the sea lanes of communication passing through the South China Sea as “critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development” and appealed to all parties in the matter to avoid any activity that could escalate tensions.

“India believes that States should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability,” he said, without naming any country.

“India has noted the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) in the matter concerning the Philippines and China.

“As a State Party to UNCLOS, India urges all parties to show utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which establishes the international legal order of the seas and oceans,” he told the 14th ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, referring to the tribunal’s July 12 rejection of Beijing’s claim over the strategic waters.

“India supports freedom of navigation, over flight and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS,” Singh said while pitching for resolving the dispute through peaceful means.

His remarks came a day after US National Security Advisor Susan Rice visited Beijing for the first time after the tribunal verdict and held extensive talks with top Chinese civil and military officials besides calling on President Xi Jinping, who said China has no intention to challenge the present international rules and order and will never seek hegemony.

Singh, in comments that also touched upon issues like terrorism and nuclear disarmament, identified maritime cooperation as a key priority in the current scenario.

“Maritime cooperation is today a key priority, especially following the adoption of the Statement on Enhancing Regional Maritime Cooperation at the tenth East Asia Summit,” he said.

He also announced India’s plans to host a second East Asia Summit (EAS) Maritime Conference in November this year following the success of the first such conference convened in the same month last year.

Singh called for deepening security cooperation based on an outright rejection of state-sponsored terrorism while de-linking religion from terrorism besides isolating those who harbour, support, finance or sponsor terrorists, without distinguishing between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ terrorists.

Buoyed by UNESCO’s decision to list Nalanda University as a World Heritage site earlier this month, Singh also pitched for a concerted effort in developing the varsity as an EAS hub for excellence in education.

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