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No India-Bangladesh passport service from November 15

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kolkata, The ministry of external affairs will discontinue the India-Bangladesh Passport (IBP) service from November 15. However, the passports already issued will remain valid till their expiry. No new applications for IBP will be accepted by any of the state governments, who were earlier delegated with the power to do so. The ministry has said that all applications received on or before November 15 should be processed and issued expeditiously. This is an outcome of the deal of revised travel arrangement between India and Bangladesh. The arrangement was signed on January 28, 2013, said regional passport officer Geetika Srivastava. IBP was introduced as a special travel document on August 1972 to facilitate travel between India and Bangladesh. Over the years, the central government delegated the power of issuing IBPs to the state governments of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and West
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Bill to bar criminal netas ready: Kapil Sibal

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Delhi, The law ministry will bring before the Cabinet the proposed bill to bar chargesheeted lawmakers from contesting elections in the next few weeks and will table it in the winter session of Parliament for its passage. Only those MPs/MLAs will be barred from contesting who have been chargesheeted for heinous crimes and where the sentence would not be less than seven years, law minister Kapil Sibal said. The minister told TOI that the government will not wait for the Law Commission to give its recommendation on this issue and would circulate the draft bill for its opinion to ministries concerned for their opinion before bringing before the Cabinet for its approval. We are ready with the draft bill and it will be circulated soon and then it will be taken to the Cabinet, Sibal said. He said the proposed bill was made much earlier and referred to the Law Commission for its views. Now, we will not wait for the Law commission to send its recommendation and move it in the forthcoming session after inter-ministerial consultations, he added. At present, a related matter is pending before the
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Japanese regulator raises alert for nuclear leaks

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tokyo, Japan`s nuclear regulator has upgraded the rating of a leak of radiation-contaminated water at its tsunami-wrecked nuclear plant to a serious incident on an international scale. Nuclear Regulation Authority official Yukiko Fukui said on Wednesday the severity of the August 19`s leak was raised to level 3 from the original level 1. The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant suffered triple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The plant`s operator is spraying tons of water into its reactors to cool them and is struggling to contain the resulting waste water. Tokyo Electric Power Co said 300 tons (300,000 liters, 80,000 gallons) of water had escaped from one tank and some may have reached the sea through a rainwater
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Navjot Singh Sidhu's secy bats for MP, not his party

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Amritsar, Neither the BJP and its alliance partner SAD (B) leadership came to defend Navjot Singh Sidhu, member of Parliament (MP) from Amritsar, from the scathing attacks of Congress party regarding his absence from his constituency nor Sidhu himself chose to address the people who voted him to victory. However, his lesser known political secretary Aman Sharma came out in open to shield his boss. Apparently advised by Sidhu, Aman used cliches usually framed and spoken by Sidhu himself, as in a statement issued to media on Tuesday he used the phrases like - Hathi challe bich bazaar, kutta bhonke ikk hazaar and Arabi ghora agar kamjor bhi par jaye, gadhon ke astbal se kahin behtar hota hai- presumably to give n impression that his boss is still mightier even if he is not in his workplace. He said, Everybody in Amritsar as well as in whole of Punjab is aware that certain elements in the SAD-BJP alliance have created circumstances to force an exceptionally honest politician Sidhu, to stay away from his constituency. Without naming anyone, he targeted both SAD-BJP and Congress leadership for their
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Rs 33,000 crore outlay to ensure food security

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Delhi, The annual additional subsidy on account of the food security scheme is likely to increase from the estimated Rs 25,000 crore to around Rs 33,000 crore. The spurt is on account of commissions to be paid to fair price shops along with transportation charges, and the additional outlay will have to be shared by both the Centre and states. Overall, the food subsidy is pegged at around Rs 1.33 lakh crore, increasing the Centre`s payout. The burden is likely to be a cause for concern for the government since the expanded outlay will have a cascading effect on the current account deficit (CAD). Food ministry sources said state governments are yet to work out commission. As of now, only three states - Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand — have launched the scheme based on the food security ordinance. So far, we have no information of any other state launching the scheme immediately. The Act will come to force in the next 10 days with clear signs of all parties supporting the Bill, which will pave way for its passage in the Rajya Sabha, sources said. However, advocating a strong case in favour
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Rapists should be castrated, says Haryana rape survivor

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chandigarh, A year ago she was gang-raped by upper caste youths in a Haryana village and then threatened with a MMS clip of the crime, following which her father committed suicide due to harassment. This week, the 17-year-old dalit rape survivor came out in support of another victim, who was allegedly abducted, raped and murdered in Jind on August 24. The girl came to Hisar city from her village on Monday to support the dalit victim from Jind. She also addressed media persons, and flayed the cops for mishandling the Jind rape-cum-murder case. A 20-year-old dalit girl from a village in Jind district was found dead near a canal on Sunday, a day after she left home to appear for JBT (junior basic teacher) exam. Her parents suspected that she was killed after rape. I got upset when I came to know that the cops misbehaved with the family members of the Jind rape victim, the rape survivor-turned activist told TOI on Tuesday. We cannot change what happened to the victim but at least police can express sympathy with her family. Further, the police can take stern action against the rapists, she
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Coal scam: 7 files, 173 applications and 9 documents missing, says Centre

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Delhi, The mystery of missing coal block allocation files deepened on Tuesday with the Centre admitting before the Supreme Court that seven files, 173 applications and nine documents remained untraceable but gave an assurance that all out efforts were on to trace them. Accepting the opposition`s charge about missing files, the coal ministry in its affidavit told the court that out of 43 files sought by the CBI, 21 were handed over and 15 were available to be given to the agency. Efforts are being made to locate the rest of the seven files, it said. The acknowledgement came amid indications about CBI`s readiness to tell the court that some of missing files were crucial for investigation into the irregular allocation of coal blocks, and could set the stage for potentially stormy proceedings in the apex court on Friday when the apex court is set to hear the mega scam case. Sources in the agency said the absence of details of deliberations of the 35th meeting of the screening committee, the body which determined the eligibility of bidders for the rich coal deposits, could hit the probe hard. The
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Food Security Bill: From a bare bones law to a mega welfare measure

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Delhi, Hardly any bill has seen as many changes as the food security legislation, metamorphosing from a bare bones law delivering a minimum of wheat and rice to a mega-scheme incorporating a host of welfare programmes. Soon after UPA-2 returned to power, the first draft of the proposed food security law envisaged 25 kg or rice or wheat to below poverty line beneficiaries and little else. The model was seen to be financially wise and intended to benefit those who hovered on the poverty line and who might need the protection of a special law that enshrined food security as a legal right. Things changed fast with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that vulnerable sections of society are not left out of the proposed bill`s ambit. The intervention set the cat among the pigeons in the Prime Minister`s Office as Sonia`s move was correctly read as a rather direct hint that the government should consider the omnibus law proposed by the National Advisory Council she headed. The law being pushed by NAC aimed at including various at risk sections such as
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CBI to tell SC today it is 'not satisfied' with coal ministry's replies on missing files

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Delhi, The Central Bureau of Investigation will submit a status report of its probe into the Coalgate scam to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. According to highly placed sources, the report will mention the missing files and reasons why the agency has not been able to file chargesheets in any of the 13 cases registered in the scam, some of them under probe for almost a year now. The agency will also inform the SC that it is not satisfied with the reply of the coal ministry as the files it had sought have not been provided yet. The agency, sources said, will inform the SC about the documents/files it is yet to receive from the coal ministry despite two reminders and how non-availability of files was an obstruction in the apex court-monitored probe. There are around 225 files/documents pertaining to 45 allocations done between 1993 and 2004 including 157 applications, besides crucial files related to allocations done between 2006 and 2009. Sources also said that disappearance of the minutes of the 35th screening committee was a serious blow to the investigations. The 35th meeting of the screening
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Uproar in Parliament over ban on VHP yatra, Mulayam defends UP govt

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Delhi, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday defended the UP government`s action to prevent the Vishwa Hindu Parishad from going ahead with its yatra in Ayodhya. Accusing the BJP of playing vote bank politics, Mulayam told Lok Sabha that the UP government was only following the orders of the Supreme Court. Rejecting the SP charges, BJP MP Yogi Aditya Nath demanded that the UP govt be dismissed for its actions on Sunday against the Hindu priests. Earlier, both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned till noon following noisy protests by the BJP and SP members over the UP govt`s move to prevent the Vishwa Hindu Parishad`s yatra. In the Lok Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) moved notices for suspending question hour to discuss the issue. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar requested them to take up the matter in zero hour but SP members resorted to sloganeering. Following this, the speaker allowed the Samajwadi Party to speak on the matter. But chaos prevailed as many members started speaking, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House till noon. Similar scenes were
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Narendra Modi blasts 'mute' PM, says both UPA and rupee have lost value

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rajkot, Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday continued his tirade against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the falling rupee, saying both he and the domestic currency have turned `mute`. There was a time when Indian rupee was making lots of noise. But today it has lost its voice. And similarly we are unable to hear the voice of our Prime Minister. Both have turned mute, he said here in Saurashtra region. The chief minister was speaking at a function organised to felicitate him for creation of Morbi as a separate district carved out of Rajkot. Modi, on August 15, had announced the formation of seven new districts. The BJP election campaign committee chief, in his Independence Day speech, had attacked Singh on various issues, including the falling rupee and the stand-offs with Pakistan and China. Expressing serious concern over the continuous fall in the value of rupee, Modi said, today our currency is on deathbed. It is in terminal stage and urgently needs attention of a doctor. Training guns at the Congress-led ruling coalition at the Centre, he said at the time of coming to
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Onion traders made Rs 150 crore in four days

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pune, In the four days from August 12 to 15, five lakh quintals of onions moved out of enormous storage facilities in Nashik and elsewhere in the country to flood the wholesale markets, TOI has learnt. After creating an artificial shortage by hoarding the crop since July, traders, big farmers and dealers in several cities raked in a whopping Rs 150 crore when their stock hit the markets on August 12. This triggered a price rise in the retail markets that stung badly. Since that day, people have been buying onions that usually cost about Rs 12 per kg at Rs 50 per kg. In the days that followed, prices peaked to Rs 80 per kg. Traders who had bought the crop from farmers at an average rate of Rs 1,500 per quintal in June and July sold it for Rs 4,500 per quintal in those four days, TOI found out after interviewing many onion farmers, exporters, middlemen, representatives of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC), National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India, National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation and government officials. When state officials inspected
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India to miss green energy target: Anil Kakodkar

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Delhi, India is lagging behind in achieving the 12th plan green energy targets set out by the Planning Commission in view of big constraints like environment clearance, land acquisition and lack of strong institutional mechanism, Solar Energy Corporation of India has said. Delivering a Special Address at India Energy Forum (IEF) Sustainable Energy Summit here today, Anil Kakodkar, chairman, Solar Energy Corpn of India, also called for revised Green Energy Policy so that clean energy projects become attractive for investments. It was also stressed by the experts assembled here that renewable energy projects are becoming unsustainable in view of high installation costs, unpredictability of future returns and inefficient implementation of single window clearances system for small scale entrepreneurs of renewable energy projects. The India Energy Forum (IEF) and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Paper released at the Summit strongly recommended that financial instruments such as viability gap funding and the partial risk guarantee fund that provide immediate support for project developers and
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Pakistan stalls release of 'Indian' fisherman

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mumbai, The Pakistan government has declined to release one of the 338 Indian prisoners who will be freed from Karachi jail Friday. In a last-minute announcement, the government claimed that the Indian authorities had not confirmed the nationality of fisherman Manoj Kumar Warma, son of Pannalal. All other prisoners as per the list will be released according to schedule, said Rizwanullah Jamil, a representative of the Legal Aid Office in Pakistan who learnt of the development. The 338 prisoners, among them eight children, are mostly fishermen. They will be released from Karachi`s Malir jail Friday and will cross over into India through the Wagah border
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Anil Ambani tells court he does not recall statement to CBI

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Delhi, Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani, who on Thursday had to appear in a special CBI court as a prosecution witness, was described by the public prosecutor as having resiled from the statement he allegedly made to the CBI in 2011 in the 2G spectrum allocation scam. (The dictionary meaning of `resiling` is abandoning a position or course of action.) An ADAG spokesman emphasized that Ambani had not turned hostile and said, There is no concept in Indian law of a witness being declared hostile. This was in response to people using the non-legal, common parlance to say the witness had turned hostile. Ambani kept saying I am not aware and I don`t recall while responding to a series of questions posed by the prosecution on the existence of companies, board meetings he attended and transfer of his shares to companies such as Tiger Traders, Swan Consultants and Parrot Consultants. Ambani`s replies prompted the judge to say, Sir, you are forgetting too much. Try to recollect something. On another occasion, the judge observed, This is an advice to you. It can go against you that you
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Green panel halts DRDO project at Chitradurga in Karnataka

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chennai, Defence Research and Development Organisation`s project for setting up an aeronautical testing range at Chitradurga in Karnataka has been halted by the National Green Tribunal as it did not have necessary clearance from Karnataka Pollution Control Board. The southern bench of the tribunal passed the interim order while hearing a petition filed by environmental activists from Bangalore, who alleged that the farm lands in the area were converted for the testing range. The petition submitted that over 10,000 acres of farm lands called `Amrit Mahal Kaval` in Karnataka were being converted for industrial purposes violating norms and the land was transferred to various organisations such as the DRDO, Indian Institute of Science and Indian Space Research Organisation by the Karnataka government. The petition further sought a direction to restore the lands to its original self without any encroachment and construction. The NGT had set up an expert committee to go into the actual status of the land in Chitradurga and the committee had submitted its report recently. When the matter came up on
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2G case: I don't recall each meeting, Anil Ambani tells court

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Delhi, Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani on Thursday appeared as a prosecution witness before a Delhi court trying the 2G spectrum case and said he does not recall the various board meetings of a company, said to be an associate of RADAG, as the minutes were not prepared by him. Getting no relief from the Supreme Court to avoid appearing as a CBI witness, Ambani took the witness stand for the first time and said he does not recall about each and every meeting of AAA Consultancy Services (P) Ltd when special public prosecutor U U Lalit showed him the minutes of meetings the firm held in 2005-06. I attend a large number of meetings and I do not recall. I am going by the records only, he told special CBI judge O P Saini. To this, the judge told Ambani that although he does not recall about these meetings, in which he was present, the records must not be false. But you do not maintain false records. Your record must be correct, the judge asked Ambani. The records should be correct, Ambani said in response to the judge`s query. Sir I want to take a call. One I do not recall now.
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Govt agrees to opposition demand, says PM may speak on coal issue

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Delhi, In a bid to end the stand-off, government on Thursday bowed to opposition demand by agreeing to an intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament on the issue of missing files related to coal block allocations whenever a debate is taken up. Asserting that the government has nothing to hide and nothing to conceal in the missing files matter, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said in the Lok Sabha that the Prime Minister can intervene in a debate on a statement by coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on the issue. The coal minister will make a statement. Thereafter a discussion can be held in the House in which the Prime Minister can intervene, Nath said after a strong demand by opposition parties. A similar indication was given in Rajya Sabha by minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla after AIADMK members stalled Question Hour seeking response from the Prime Minister on the issue. Prime Minister may also intervene in case it is required, Shukla told the House which saw a brief adjournment soon after it assembled for the day. Opposition has been
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Ruckus in Lok Sabha on motion to suspend 11 MPs on Telangana

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Delhi, High drama was witnessed in Lok Sabha on Thursday as an exasperated government brought a motion to suspend 11 members from Andhra Pradesh, including seven from Congress, for protesting over Telangana issue, but an aggressive opposition scuttled the move. Hell broke loose as parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath moved a motion to suspend seven Congress and four TDP members for disturbing the proceedings regularly since the beginning of the monsoon session from August 5. Moving the motion, Nath said, Unfortunately the House has not been able to function since the beginning of this session in light of the protests by these members. Nath brought the motion as TDP members were in the well protesting division of Andhra Pradesh, repeating the scenes witnessed ever since the session began. Immediately, members of almost the entire opposition were on their feet, vociferously protesting the motion. Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) stormed the Well as several members angrily shouted no, no in disapproval of the motion. N Sivaprasad, an agitating TDP member who was in the Well and is among
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit White House on September 27

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Washington, President Barack Obama will welcome Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the White House on September 27, for talks on trade, investment and regional security, US officials said Tuesday. The administration unveiled the date of the meeting after US National Security Adviser Susan Rice met her Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon here. Obama visited India in 2010 during his first-term, as part of his administration`s strategy of rebalancing US diplomacy towards rising Asia. Singh paid a state visit to Washington in 2009, Obama`s first year in the White House. Menon and Rice discussed civil and nuclear cooperation, regional security challenges, trade and Afghanistan, said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. The announcement of Singh`s visit came as renewed tensions in Kashmir threaten to derail a possible meeting between Singh and Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the United Nations next month. The Obama-Singh talks had been previously reported in India, but that the White House had not revealed the exact date. The visit will follow a trip to India by US Vice
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