WILL THE GOVT. WAKE UP TO THE POLLUTION ISSUES IN 2018?

Delhi Begins New Year With 'Hazardous' Levels of Pollution NEW DELHI: The first day of New Year was not very happy for Delhi as air pollution levels showed a sharp rise. The levels of lethal particulate matter hovered around the danger mark. If they rise further and stay there for four days, emergency pollution control measures like odd-even road rationing scheme and ban on construction activities will have to be brought back. On Monday, the average Particulate Matter or PM 2.5 was recorded at 292 micrograms per cubic metre - which comes under the 'very poor' category. The levels of PM10 were at 444 micrograms per cubic metre, which is 'severe' according to Central Pollution Control Board guidelines. The Graded Response Action Plan or GRAP laid out by a Supreme Court-monitored panel recommends strict action when PM2.5 and PM10 levels turn 300 and 500 and persist for 48 hours and weather conditions indicate that they will be there for at least two more days. Delhi currently has three plans to control pollution and while one is being followed, there is no clarity on what is to be done with the other two -- one by the National Green Tribunal and the other...

WILL THE 2G SCAM SENTENCE BE A WARNING TO ALL CORRUPT NETAS?

2G scam case: CBI court likely to deliver verdict today New Delhi: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court is likely to deliver its verdict on Thursday on alleged irregularities in the 2008 allocation of 2G telecom spectrum and licences—a scandal that contributed to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s electoral downfall in 2014. Special judge O.P. Saini reserved the verdict on 26 April after hearings ended in related cases involving political figures, bureaucrats and telecom executives. Saini has presided over the trial for six years. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has estimated a presumptive loss of Rs1.76 trillion because of flawed allocation of spectrum when A. Raja was telecom minister in the UPA government. The so-called 2G scam, together with a scandal over the allocation of coal blocks that surfaced later, cast its shadow over much of the UPA’s second term in office, exposing it to charges of corruption that became a key electoral issue in the 2014 general election which the coalition lost. Raja, fellow Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) politician Kanimozhi and 15 others are accused in the 2G case, in which they have been tried on charges ranging from cheating and criminal conspiracy to abuse of public office. Former telecom secretary...

HAS RAHUL GANDHI ATTAINED LEVERAGE BY COMING TO MODI’S DEFENSE?

Rahul Gandhi's Handling of Mani Shankar Aiyar Gives Him Upper Hand Rahul Gandhi showed who's the boss and reacted decisively in what can be termed his first decision as nearly Congress president - the suspension of Mani Shankar Aiyar for his "neech" comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gandhi's swift and tough action - he first demanded a public apology from Aiyar and then threw Aiyar out in a bid to damage control - represents a clear break from the way the Sonia Congress did things. Aiyar's ridiculous and ill-timed jibe that "Modi would never be PM but was free to sell tea outside the All India Congress Committee (AICC)" had virtually wrecked the Congress campaign in the 2014 general elections. Modi and the BJP capitalized on the sneer to the full. Modi quickly used Aiyar's comment yesterday to similar effect and Aiyar who seems to be the gift that does not stop giving to the BJP tried to brazen it out with a perfunctory non-apology. Gandhi was having none of it and Aiyar, who seems to think that he is still debating in the rarefied environs of the Shakespeare Society in St. Stephen's college, was out. Contrast that with his motor-mouthing when...

IS THE CONGRESS RIGHT IN EXPELLING MANI SHANKAR AIYER?

After Rahul Gandhi Rebuke, Congress Suspends Mani Shankar Aiyar Over "Neech" Remark NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar was suspended from the primary membership of the party on Thursday for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a "neech aadmi", a remark that PM Modi said was aimed at his humble origins. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had responded to the volley of attacks from the BJP over the comment by his sharp disapproval of the language used by Mr Aiyar during the day and asking him to apologise. The Congress' decision to later suspend Mr Aiyar and seek his explanation is seen as an attempt to insulate the party from the controversy that erupted just two days before the first phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat. The BJP and PM Modi, who was campaigning in Gujarat, had invoked Mr Aiyar's remarks to target the Congress through the day. "Shriman Mani Shankar Aiyar today said that Modi is of 'neech jaati' (low caste) and is 'neech' (vile). Is this not an insult to Gujarat? This is an insult to the great legacy of India. This is born of Mughal mentality," he told an election rally in the state's diamond city, Surat. PM Modi...

Need of New Reform Agenda to Revive India’s Growth Story – By Areesha Fatma

In this decade of rapid developments in the global economy vis-a-vis emerging new economic stance in the United States, emerging protectionism in the advanced economies, recovery in Global trade; turn around in China’s economic growth and various geo-political issues, India stands on the cusp of major change, a transformation that could lead to unprecedented economic growth. The Indian economy has been observing various changes, turmoil and adjustments in the form of reforms during the past two-three years. Two key reforms undertaken in the regime of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi primarily historic demonetization drive and newly introduced GST have been both bane and boon for our economy which is quite evident as per the GDP estimates for Q1 and Q2 for FY2017-18.The economy still hasn’t revived from the aftershocks of cash crunch as the consumption demand has been impacted severely and the teething problems associated with GST implementation are still persisting. According to the much awaited CSO data released by Ministry of Statistics and Implementation recently, real GDP registered an increase in the growth rate from 5.7% in the Q1 of FY18 to 6.3% in Q2 of FY18. Also, quarterly Gross Value added (GVA) registered an increase in...

SHOULD PEOPLE WHO PROMOTE VIP CULTURE BE PUNISHED BY LAW?

VVIP culture needs to stop Hours after a video went viral, wherein a woman was seen arguing with Union Minister K. J. Alphons after her flight was delayed by two hours, the former said on Wednesday that because of one person others should not be made to suffer and the VVIP culture needed to be stopped. "I was waiting and crying, so I approached him (K. J. Alphons), thinking a minister can give a solution, as he has certain powers. I wanted a solution so that I could reach my brother's funeral. Everyone has their own issues in life and I think for one person that should not be hampered. This VVIP culture should be stopped," Dr. Nirala Singh, who argued with the minister, told media. Dr. Singh, who was supposed to reach Patna to attend her brother's funeral on Tuesday, missed her connecting flight from Kolkata to Patna as her Imphal-Kolkata flight got allegedly delayed by two hours due to closure of airspace on account of President Ram Nath Kovind's arrival at the airport. Meanwhile, Union Minister Alphons refuted allegations on Wednesday that a flight was delayed because of the VVIP movement at the Imphal airport. Speaking to ANI, Alphons said, "I don't...

SHOULD TRIPLE TALAQ BE BANNED IN EVERY SENSE?

Triple talaq: Govt plans to make practice a punishable offence, likely to table Bill in winter session Three months after the Supreme Court set aside the centuries-old practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in which Muslim men divorce their wives by uttering talaq three times in quick succession, the government has taken the first step to consider a legislation that will make triple talaq a criminal offence. A Bill to this effect is likely to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament. “The government is contemplating making talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence. Very serious consideration is being given by the government,” a senior government functionary said Tuesday. A committee of ministers has been constituted to finetune the legislation, the official said. The committee comprises Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. SOURCE - INDIAN EXPRESS Modi Govt. Mulling Law To End Triple Talaq The government is considering bringing a legislation in the winter session of Parliament to put an end to instantaneous triple talaq, a Muslim way of divorce which is still in practice despite the Supreme Court striking it down. A ministerial committee has been...

WILL PARTY POLITICS RUIN DELHI’S HEALTH?

Amardinder Singh tweets to Kejriwal; Punjab decides to shut all schools from 9-11 Nov Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday reached out to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the latter's concern over stubble management in the neighbouring states. In a series of tweets addressed to Kejriwal, Singh said, "Share your concern over stubble burning and pollution @ArvindKejriwal, Centre alone can solve the problem given its national implications." Singh also said that the smog situation is serious but "Punjab is helpless" as problem is widespread and state has no money "to compensate farmers for stubble management." SOURCE - FIRSTPOST Delhi inches towards pollution emergency, air highly toxic The toxic haze hanging over Delhi today thickened, leading to near zero visibility at many places, even as air quality slid further and touched calamitous levels. The air quality index of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had a score of 487 on a scale of 500, indicating 'severe' levels of pollution, which can affect even healthy people and "seriously impact" those with existing diseases. If the score touches 500 and persists there for at least 48 hours, measure .. SOURCE - ET

EASE OF DOING BUSINESS RANKINGS – MYTH OR REALITY?

India improves on ease of doing business, but much work left to be done The World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report has come as a nicely-timed shot in the arm for the Union government. All of a sudden, our country’s ranking on the ease of doing business has gone up by 30 notches, the highest jump this year for any nation. India also finds itself in the World Bank’s list of the top ten most improved countries. Years of effort to improve the business environment, particularly since 2003 when the World Bank began the assessment process, has finally borne notable results. While till now India’s position on this list had oscillated between 140 and 130, this year we jumped to the 100th spot. In an otherwise patchy and challenging business environment, this should serve as a much-needed morale booster. SOURCE - LIVEMINT How Maharashtra helped India get big jump in ease of doing business ranking The big jump in India’s ease of doing business ranking has a lot to do with the reforms undertaken by the Maharashtra government. Since ease of doing business in India is assessed based on data collected from Mumbai and Delhi, the performance of the two cities is...

IS IT RIGHT FOR A STATE GOVT. TO CHALLENGE A NATIONAL MANDATE?

Supreme Court rebukes Mamata govt: How can a state challenge central law? NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court snubbed the West Bengal government on Monday for challenging the Aadhaar Act when the law had been duly passed by Parliament and said that chief minister Mamata Banerjee could seek remedy as a common citizen if she felt aggrieved. The SC pulled up the state for taking the constitutionally impermissible route of filing a petition against the Parliament-enacted Aadhaar Act and asked, "How can the West Bengal government file a petition challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act? An individual can file a petition but how can a state challenge the law enacted by Parliament? Let CM Mamata Banerjee file the petition in her individual capacity and we will hear her case. This is a matter which needs examination, but how can a state file this petition?" "In a federal structure, how can a state take recourse to Article 32 (a provision of the Constitution that allows an individual to move the SC directly if her/his fundamental right is violated) to challenge a law framed by the Central government?" the bench asked. Trinamool Congress MLA and party general-secretary Mohua Maitra then quickly filed a writ petition...

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