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National News

  • India to become 3rd largest economy by 2028, predicts BofA-ML report

    New Delhi, Nov 15: A report by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has said that in the next decade, India will overtake Japan to become the third largest economy. The factors that will enable this are reduced dependency on other nations, financial maturity, and higher income and affordability. The report also adds that India is likely to become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2019. As per data available in the report, India is likely to cross Germany and Japan in nominal GDP by 2028, assuming that the nation witnesses a 10% growth every year for the next 10 years.

    There are three factors that will enable India to achieve this goal. Firstly, reduced dependency ratios are expected to raise saving and investment rates. This is likely to fund 7% real growth. Secondly, financial maturity, due to financial liberalization and inclusion, should continue to lower lending rates structurally. Finally, increasing incomes and affordability will likely underpin the emergence of mass markets, supporting an expected 7% real GDP growth.

    SC affirms disqualification of 9 Uttarakhand MLAs

    New Delhi, Nov 14: The Supreme court on Tuesday affirmed the Uttarakhand High Court order disqualifying the nine state MLAs who triggered President's rule in the state. Mukesh Kumar Giri, Special counsel, appearing for the speaker of the legislative assembly, had told the apex court that this has become infructuous and the order passed by the speaker under 10th schedule is affirmed by the state HC.

    The Uttarakhand High Court order was challenged by nine state MLAs before the apex court. The Speaker had on March 27 this year disqualified nine Congress MLAs, including Vijay Bahuguna, who spearheaded the rebellion against former chief minister Harish Rawat under the anti-defection law.

    Govt orders Multi-Agency Group probe into Paradise Papers revelation

    New Delhi, Nov 7: Government has ordered a probe into the cases of Paradise Papers by the Multi-Agency Group (MAG) which is also probing the Panama Papers leak. The reconstituted MAG, headed by the Chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), will have representatives from the Enforcement Directorate, RBI and Financial Intelligence Unit. In a statement, CBDT said, the Investigation units of the Income Tax Department have been alerted to take note of the revelations for immediate action.

    The board said, it is yet to receive full details of the latest disclosures saying the names of only a few Indians have appeared so far in the media. It said, as soon as further information surfaces, swift action will follow, adding that many cases of offshore entities are already under investigation on fast track.

    Out of 180 countries represented in the data of offshore entities, India ranks 19th in terms of number of names. In all, 714 Indian entities and individuals figure in the list. MAG was constituted in April last year to investigate the legality of money stashed in offshore entities by Indians named in the Panama Papers.

    World Bank ranking result of all-round reform push: PM

    New Delhi, Nov 1: PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday hailed as "historic" the jump in India's ranking in 'ease of doing business' and said it was a result of "all-round & multi-sectoral reform push". He said the government is determined to further improve the rankings and scale greater economic growth with the mantra of 'reform, perform and transform'. "Historic jump in 'Ease of Doing Business' rankings is the outcome of the all-round & multi-sectoral reform push of Team India," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

    India has jumped 30 places to rank 100th in the World Bank's 'ease of doing business' ranking, helped by a slew of reforms in taxation, licensing, investor protection and bankruptcy resolution. "Over the last 3 years we have seen a spirit of positive competition among states towards making business easier. This has been beneficial," the Prime Minister said.

    He said it has never been easier to do business in India. "India welcomes the world to explore economic opportunities our nation has to offer," Prime Minister said. "Easier business environment is leading to historic opportunities for our entrepreneurs, particularly MSME sector & bringing more prosperity," he added in another tweet. "Guided by the Mantra of 'Reform, Perform & Transform' we are determined to further improve our rankings & scale greater economic growth," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

    EAM Swaraj flags off first wheat consignment from Kandla to Chabahar Port

    New Delhi, Oct 30: India and Afghanistan have jointly flagged off the first consignment of wheat from India to Afghanistan. The consignment is being shipped from Kandla to Chabahar in Iran. The shipment is part of commitment made by the Indian government to supply 1.1 million tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan on grant basis.

    Six more wheat shipments will be sent to Afghanistan over the next few months. Shipment of wheat is a landmark moment as it will pave the way for operationalisation of the Chabahar port. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj flagged-off the first consignment from Kandla to Chabahar Port, through video-conferencing from Delhi. In some good news for Afghan-India connectivity, the 22nd flight of the Afghanistan-India Air corridor programme also left Kabul for Delhi.

    Gujarat assembly polls on Dec 9 and 14, counting on Dec 18: EC

    New Delhi, Oct 25:Assembly elections in Gujarat will be held over two phases on December 9 and 14, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday, setting the stage for a high-stakes battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress. Counting will take place on December 18, Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said at a press conference in New Delhi. The Model Code of Conduct comes into immediate effect, he said.

    The poll process will start on November 14 with the issue of the gazette notification for the first phase. Candidates can start filing their nominations from that day. The first phase will be held in 89 of the 182 seats and will cover 19 of 33 districts. The notification for the second phase will be issued on November 20 for remaining 93 assembly seats.

    Paper trail of votes will be used in all the 50,128 polling stations in the state to ensure transparency, Joti said. The voters will be able to see their votes cast through the Voter-Verified Paper Trail Audit (VVPAT) machines. The Commission has also set up 182 all-women polling stations, one in each assembly constituency.

    Joti said CCTV cameras will be used at border checkposts to prevent the smuggling of liquor and money and to stop anti-social elements from entering the state. "Elections in Gujarat have always been peaceful and the Commission will take all steps to ensure that," the CEC said.

    South Asia's first 'Ro-Ro' ferry service begins in Gujarat

    Gujrat, Oct 23:History was made on Thursday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the first phase of the Rs 615 crore 'roll-on-roll-off' (ro-ro) ferry service between Ghogha in Saurashtra and Dahej in south Gujarat. He himself undertook the journey, the first ever not only for the country but the entire South-Asia. On January 25, 2012, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a service which would prove revolutionary in the coming days. The service is now set to ride the waves of the Gulf of Cambay bridging two regions of the state.

    The Ghogha-Dahej RoRo service set to transform the distance between two destinations. The service began on an auspicious note amidst the chanting of Mantras. The RoRo service was a challenging project considering technical issues and policy confines. Policy paralysis on part of the Congress govt at the Centre led to delays in the execution of the project. There were impediments related to altering the port in accordance with the service and the Ghogha terminal but the efforts of the current Central govt helped surmount them.

    The ferry service while riding the waves will shorten the 360 kms distance between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district to Dahej in Bharuch district to just 32 kms by water and the travel time will come down from 7 to 8 hours to just 1 hour. It will also boost tourism in Saurashtra.

    PM Modi celebrates Diwali with Army & BSF soldiers in J&K

    J&K, Oct 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday celebrated Diwali with troops posted along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Gurez Sector and lauded the soldiers for their penance and sacrifice saying he considers them his family. PM Modi arrived at Gurez on Thursday morning to celebrate Diwali with the army and BSF soldiers posted along the LoC. He spent two hours with the soldiers in Gurez valley, which is shouting distance of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    This is the fourth successive Diwali that the prime minister has celebrated with jawans on the border. Chief of the Army Staff Gen B S Rawat and other senior army officers were present on the occasion. PM Modi offered sweets and exchanged greetings with the jawans, the officials said. Addressing the jawans, he said like everyone else, he too wishes to spend Diwali with his family. Therefore, he had come among the jawans of the armed forces, whom he considers to be his "family", he said.

    North & South Block get new dynamic facade lighting

    New Delhi, Oct 12: The iconic North and South Block building flanking the Rajpath in the national capital began to shine with bright, shimmering reflected light combinations with the inauguration of new dynamic facade lighting. The honour of inaugurating this Rs.15 cr, 16 million colour combination new lighting was given to Mahipal Singh, the senior most support staff who joined the Ministry of Home as a daftary in 1975.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 20 other Cabinet Ministers attended the event including Shri Rajnath Singh, Smt.Nirmala Sitaraman and Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, with whom Shri Mahipal Singh was seated in the front row, with others behind them. After the inauguration, Prime Minister shook hands with Mahipal Singh, who is to retire in 10 days and complimented him.

    A twenty minute live demonstration of new lighting was organized for the Ministers, senior officials of the Government, media and the large number of public who attended the launch. Rashtrapati Bhawan located between the North and South Block buildings and overseeing the Rajpath will be covered with similar lighting from the first of January next, which would present a continuous stretch of visual delight.

    PM: Fundamentals of Indian economy strong

    New Delhi, Oct 5: Lashing out at the critics of his economic policies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Indian economy was on firm footing and that he will never jeopardise the country's future for the present gains. In an over hour long speech, punctuated with sharp comments and comparisons with track record of previous UPA regime, Modi told a gathering of Company Secretaries that his government will continue the reforms and will not hesitate to take decision to reverse the GDP slowdown witnessed in last two quarters.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi did some plain speaking on the state of the economy as he addressed the Golden Jubilee of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. The Prime Minister came down heavily on those pessimists who were exaggerating the extent of a fall in just a single quarter of growth. The PM said that many experts are in agreement that the fundamentals of the economy are strong and reforms are positive.

    PM Narendra Modi meets Chief Executive of Afghanistan A. Abdullah

    New Delhi, Sept 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met the Chief Executive of Afghanistan Dr Abdullah Abdullah in New Delhi. The Prime Minister extended a warm welcome to Abdullah, who is in India on a two-day working visit. Both leaders reaffirmed the strength and closeness of the multifaceted strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan. They welcomed the accelerated cooperation, including through the recent announcement of a New Development Partnership during the meeting of the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council in New Delhi.

    Both the leaders discussed enhancing bilateral economic and development cooperation and the abundant opportunities in this regard. Dr Abdullah conveyed Afghanistan's deep appreciation for India’s continuing support for infrastructure development and capacity building in Afghanistan.

    PM Modi launches 'Saubhagya' yojana

    New Delhi, Sept 26: Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay's vision of antyodaya becoming a reality as the nation celebrates his birth centenary. In a tribute to him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Saubhagya Yojana, the aim: to provide 24X7 electricity to every household in the country.

    In 2014, Prime Minister Modi set a goal of electrification of 18,000 villages by May 2018. Under the Deen Dayal Gram Jyoti Yojana, power has already reached 14,000 villages. But the challenge of ensuring 24X7 power for every household still remains.

    Saubhagya Yojana targets meeting this challenge by 2019, with a special focus on Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, J&K, N-E states, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha. There will also be spill over benefits like employment generation, women's empowerment and better health and education facilities.

    President Kovind visits Deekshabhoomi to pay respects to Babasaheb Ambedkar

    Nagpur, Sept 22: President Ram Nath Kovind today visited Deekshabhoomi to pay respects to Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Nagpur, Maharashtra. He was accompanied by Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadanavis, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, State’s Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Mayor Nanda Jichkar.

    President will inaugurate a Vipassana Meditation Centre at Dragon Palace temple in Kamptee. He will also attend a special Buddha Vandana at the temple. The President will also inaugurate Suresh Bhat Auditorium in the afternoon at Nagpur.

    India restates commitment to Palestinian cause at UNGA

    UN, Sept 20: India has reiterated its commitment to the Palestinian cause adding that New Delhi's solidarity with the people of Palestine can never be undermined. At the Non- Aligned Movement or NAM ministerial meeting on Palestine, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stressed that support for the Palestinian cause has been a reference point of India's foreign policy. She reminded that India's support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause is historical.

    Later, Sushma Swaraj also participated in the Secretary General's meeting with select leaders on Climate Change and confirmed India's commitment to the Paris Agreement on the issue. Infact India has said that it will continue to work above and beyond the agreement for the benefit of future generations. Sushma Swaraj also attended leadership summit on environmental pact chaired by France apart from holding bilateral talks with leaders from various nations.

    Despite obstacles, we built the Sardar Sarovar Dam: PM Modi

    Gujrat, Sept 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated and dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam project on the Narmada river to the nation, during his visit to Gujarat. The project is expected to benefit the people of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra through irrigation facilities and increased electricity generation.

    The gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project on the Narmada river will be shut bringing the project to completion on 17 September. It has been a wait of 56 years for the project to be completed since 1961 when its foundation was laid. The project is expected to be a lifeline to the farmers of Gujarat in terms of irrigation.

    In 1996, the Supreme Court placed a stay on the dam's construction over the issue of displacement of people from affected areas but granted permission for construction in 2000. The height of the dam was recently raised to over 138 meters increasing its usable storage capacity to over 4.7 million acre-feet. The dam will benefit 15 districts and 19 lakh hectares of Gujarat. The electricity produced by the dam will also benefit the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. It is expected to generate up to a billion units of hydropower.

    It will benefit up to 4 crore people by supplying drinking water to villages and towns through an elaborate canal and pipeline network. The dam, being constructed on the Narmada river, will be the second largest dam in the world.

    After dedicating Sardar Sarovar dam to the country, the Prime Minister also visited Amreli where he inaugurated a market yard in the district spread over 45 acres. The state of the art market yard will help farmers of the region sell their produce at competitive prices. He also did bhoomi pujan for the Amar honey and ice cream plant. Apart from this, he dedicated to the region the Hare Krishna reservoir, remotely from his public rally in Amreli.

    Government lifts ban on export of three pulses

    New Delhi, Sept 16: The government on Friday lifted the ban on export of Tur, Urad and Moong pulses to help farmers get remunerative prices. The ban on these varieties of pulses has been lifted with immediate effect. However, exports of these pulses can be undertaken after taking permission from agriculture export promotion body Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

    At present, only organic pulses and Kabuli Chana are allowed to be shipped in a limited quantity. The country's pulses production has touched a record of 22.4 million ton in 2016-17 crop year as against 16.35 million ton in the previous year on account of encouragement from the government.

    Prez Kovind pays tributes to Deen Dayal Upadhyay

    Lucknow, Sept 15: President Ram Nath Kovind today paid tributes to BJP ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay at a park named after him in Lucknow. He was accompanied by Governor Ram Naik, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other dignitaries.

    After meeting with some delegations at Rajbhavan, the President later left for Kanpur where he will launch 'Swachhta hi Sewa' campaign.The president is on a two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh on his first visit to the state after assuming the high office.

    PM Modi, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe jointly lay foundation stone for bullet train

    Gandhinagar, Sept 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe jointly performed the ground breaking ceremony of India's first-ever bullet train project at Sabarmati Station ground today. On the occasion, both the leaders also laid the foundation stone of High Speed Rail Institute to be set up at Vadodara where Japanese professionals would impart training to Indian engineers regarding the high speed rail project.

    Mr Modi called the bullet train the biggest gift from Japan to India. He called the moment historic and said the high speed rail corridor will give a new momentum to the development of New India. Mr Modi said the bullet train will not only bring about economic transformation but will also lead to social transformation of the country. He said the project will strengthen the make in India initiative as large number of employment opportunities and will be created in the country. He said majority of the human resources in the project will be utilized from India only.

    He expressed deep gratitude towards Japan for the cooperation and said the economic aid, technology and skill transfer by Japan will not only benefit Indian railway sector but will be beneficial for human resource development of the country. He said the emphasis of his government is on more productivity and high speed connectivity. Japan PM Mr Shinzo Abe called this historic moment as confluence of Indian ocean with Pacific Ocean and vow for developing a new world order based on these oceans. He said strong India is in the interest of Japan likewise Strong Japan is in the interest of India.

    Expressing the commitment of his government towards Make In India Intiative, Mr Abe said Indian Human Resource coupled with Japanese skill and technology, India would be manufacturing hub of the world. He said the Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train was instrumental in the economic growth of the country. Calling Shinkansen bullet train as one of the safest train networks in the world, Mr Abe said Japan will share with India expertise of safe transport which will help the whole Indian rail network.

    The Rs 600-crore high-speed rail training centre for the first bullet train project will be set up in Vadodara, This centre will come up inside the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) at Vadodara where more than 4000 enginees of High Speed Rail Corporation of India will be given training by Japanese professionals. Under the High Speed Rail Project, Sabarmati Railway station will also be renovated.

    India-Belarus sign 10 key agreements

    New Delhi, Sept 13: India and Belarus on Tuesday signed 10 key agreements to boost bilateral cooperation in various fields including vocational education, agriculture, culture and oil and gas sector. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will encourage joint development and manufacturing in defence sector under the 'Make in India' program. Visiting Belarus President Alexander Lucashenko and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation level talks at Hydrabad House in New Delhi.

    Earlier, President A.G. Lukashenko today paid floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. President Lukashenko was accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan. This is Lukashenko's third state visit to India as the President of Belarus, the last one being a decade ago.

    Belarus and India are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Belarus President Alexander Lucashenko had a meeting with Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi. Visiting Belarus President Alexander Lucashenko today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi. The leaders discussed steps to intensify bilateral relationship between two countries.

    Home Minister holds meeting with J&K CM in Srinagar

    J&K, Sept 9: Home Minister Rajnath Singh with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is underway at Nehru Guest House in Srinagar. The Home Minister arrived Srinagar this morning on a four day visit to review the security situation in the state. He is accompanied by the Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and senior officers of his Ministry.

    During his visit to the state, he will also meet the Governor NN Vohra. He will also interact with Jammu and Kashmir Police jawans, CRPF and BSF jawans in the state. Mr Singh will also review Prime Minister’s Development Package and meet various delegations at Srinagar and Jammu. Mr Singh's in visit is considered a follow-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech in which he had sounded a fresh reach-out to the people of the Kashmir Valley.

    Nirmala Sitharaman is new Defence Minister, Piyush Goel gets Railways

    New Delhi, Sept 4: Major portfolio reshuffle after Cabinet expansion.Nirmala Sitharaman is new Defence Minister, Piyush Goel gets Railways while Suresh Prabhu shifted to Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 9 new faces inducted in Cabinet expansion. 4 Ministers of States elevated to cabinet rank. Focus is to reinforce team with power of 4 Ps of Passion, Proficiency, Professional and Political Acumen for the vision of New India.

    PM Modi rewards four ministers of State with Cabinet rank for their excellent performance in Ministries. Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Power Minister Piyush Goel, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Parliamentry Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abaas Naqvi elevated to Cabinet rank. Four top professionals with diverse background and rich administrative experience make it to the Union Cabinet. President Ramnath Kovind administers oath of office and secrecy to former Home Secretary RK Singh, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh, former IAS officer K. Alphonse and former diplomat Hardeep Puri as new Ministers.

    Shiv Pratap Shukla is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh and also a Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development. He has a long experience in Uttar Pradesh politics and is known for his work in Rural Development, Education and Prison reform during his tenure. A Law Graduate, Shukla was also jailed for 19 months MISA during the Emergency.

    Representing Buxar Lok Sabha constituency of Bihar, Ashwini Kumar Choubey also has a long experience in public life. Active in politics since his college days, Choubey was very active in JP movement in the 1970s and was also jailed during the Emergency under MISA. He played important role in construction of 11,000 toilets for Mahadalit families.

    Govt. extends deadline for linking Aadhaar & PAN till December 31

    New Delhi, Sept 1: The government on Thursday extended the deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar by four months till December 31. The deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar for taxpayers was to end on August 31. This comes at a time when the government has granted a similar extension for the furnishing of Aadhaar for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes. The Finance Ministry said, "To facilitate ease of compliance by the taxpayers, CBDT has extended the date for linking Aadhaar with PAN till December 31, 2017”.

    In addition, the 'due-date' for filing Income Tax returns and audit reports has been extended by a month to October 31 for all taxpayers who were liable to file their returns by September 30, 2017. The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the government's decision on Aadhaar and has posted the matter for next hearing in November. Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says that every person having PAN as on July 1, 2017, and eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities.

    However, those categorised as non-resident Indians as per the Income Tax laws, people who are not citizens of India, those above 80 years of age and residents of the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir had been exempt from the requirement. However, people who do not have Aadhaar can file their Income Tax returns, but their returns will not be processed till they submit their Aadhaar number.

    India-Switzerland hold delegation level talks

    New Delhi, Aug 31: Visiting President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard and Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds delegation level talks in New Delhi today on entire gamut of bilateral relations; many key agreements expected to be inked to boost bilateral cooperation. President Doris Leuthard was given a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as she arrived in New Delhi on her three-day visit to India. Leuthard said her visit would give a boost to the Indo-Swiss ties as both countries have 70 years of friendship.

    "This visit will enhance our diversity of cooperation and I hope we can also give the pending negotiations on trade and partnership agreement a new impetus," she said. Leuthard also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reforms. "We are very pleased with Prime Minister Modi's reforms," Leuthard said.

    4 killed, 13 injured in Mumbai building collapse

    Mumbai, Aug 31: Four persons were killed, 13 others injured, while around 30 people are feared trapped after a five-storey residential building collapsed in Bhendi Bazaar area of south Mumbai on Thursday.

    The building, located at Pakmodia street near JJ Hospital, with 12 rooms and six godowns on the ground floor, crumbled at around 8:30 am. According to fire brigade sources present at the spot, "There were around nine families staying in the building. Thirty people are feared trapped." "Our disaster management cell received a call at 8.40 am about the collapse. We immediately rushed fire brigade personnel to the site to rescue the trapped people. We fear that several people are trapped under the debris," a senior official of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) said.

    Rajasthan: PM launches highway projects worth 15,100 crore

    Rajasthan, Aug 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicates and lays foundation stone for Highway projects worth 15,100 crore in Rajasthan; Calls roads as gateways to progress; Says, focus of his government is on timely completion of development projects; Also visits Pratap Gaurav Kendra.

    PM Narendra Modi inaugurated various National Highway projects. The total outlay on these projects is estimated to be over 15 thousand crore rupees. Among the projects being inaugurated are six Lane Cable Stayed Bridge across river Chambal at Kota, four laning of Gomati Chauraha - Udaipur section of NH and four laning of Rajsamand - Bhilwara section of NH.

    Besides, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of various projects including ---Jaipur Ring Road. Addressing a public meeting at Khelgaon, Chitrakoot Nagar in Udaipur, PM said that the focus of government is on timely completion of development projects. Prime Minister said that it is historic moment for the Rajasthan to get such a big projects inaugurated at one place.

    PM Modi said that GST will boost development in all sectors. PM Modi said that better road infrastructure will enhance chances of hazel free tourism. Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highway and Shipping Nitin Gadkari assured Prime Minister of timely completion of projects inaugurated by the PM Modi. PM Narendra Modi also visited Pratap Gaurav Kendra in Udaipur. The Kendra showcases the life and valour of Maharana Pratap.

    Dera violence: President, VP, PM appeal for peace

    New Delhi, Aug 26: Home minister Rajnath Singh has called a high-level meet on Saturday to take stock of the situation which followed after the conviction of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and decide the future course of action in the wake of violence in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana and Rajasthan. Top home ministry, Intelligence bureau, para military officials expected to attend the meeting.

    Earlier the minister spoke to the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the LG of Delhi Friday and assured all possible assistance to tackle the situation. President Ram Nath Kovind has condemned the violence in Punjab and Haryana by Dera Sachcha Sauda supporters. In a tweet, President said, "Violence and damage to public property after court verdict is highly condemnable." He also appealed to all citizens to maintain peace.

    Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also expressed grief at the loss of lives in the violence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condemned the violence in Punjab and Haryana. In a tweet, while strongly condemning the violence, PM said that the instances of violence are deeply distressing. He also urged everyone to maintain peace. PM also said that the law and order situation is being closely monitored and that he has reviewed the situation with the National Security Advisor and the Home Secretary.

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani also appealed people to maintain calm. She, in a tweet, drew attention of news channels to an advisory, asking them to refrain from causing panic, distress & undue fear. She also condemned attack on media and causing damage to property.

    President presents Colours to Ladakh Scouts

    J&K, Aug 21: Decorated with 605 gallantry and distinguished service awards, Ladakh Scouts on Monday got President's Colours from President Ram Nath Kovind at Leh. The President arrived in Leh on a day's visit to Jammu and Kashmir. It is Kovind's first visit outside Delhi after assuming the office earlier this month. "The President of India Ram Nath Kovind today presented the President's Colours to Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre and all five battalions of the regiment," defence spokesman said.

    A ceremonial parade was conducted as per the highest military traditions of the Indian Army which was attended by a spectrum of civil and military dignitaries including the Governor and Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, he added. The Chief of the Army Staff, GOC-in-C Northern Command, GOC 14 Corps besides a large number of serving and retired personnel witnessed the grand ceremony. He said that the President complimented the Ladakh Scouts personnel for their outstanding performance in all spheres and their exceptional valour and sacrifice while upholding the sovereignty of the nation in Ladakh region especially in the Siachen Glacier.

    The President released a documentary movie on Col Sonam Wangchuk, MVC, and also interacted with the veterans and 'Veer Naris', besides the gallantry awardees and complimented them. Raised as Nubra Guards in 1948, amalgamated into the Army as regular troops in 1963 and restructured as an Infantry Regiment in the year 2000 post 'Operation Vijay,' the Ladakh Scouts have carved a niche for themselves in the annals of history of the Indian Army, the spokesman said.

    Utkal Express derailment: 4 Railway officials suspended, GM sent on leave

    Muzaffarnagar, Aug 20: The government on Sunday suspended four railway officials and sent the General Manager of Northern Railway on leave following the derailment of the Kalinga Utkal Express that killed 23 passengers. Based on prima facie evidence, a Junior Engineer (Permanent Way), a Senior Section Engineer (Permanent Way), an Assistant Engineer and a Senior Divisional Engineer have been suspended, a Railway Ministry statement said. It said that the Chief Track Engineer of Northern Railway was also transferred while the Divisional Rail Manager, Delhi, and the General Manager of the Northern Railway as well as the Railway Board's Member (Engineering) were sent on leave.

    In a major train accident, at least 23 passengers were killed and over 150 others were injured when 14 coaches of the Utkal Express jumped the rails in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand. An FIR has been registered against unknown persons in the Utkal express derailment in U.P. for gross negligence.

    The accident occurred around 5.45 pm Saturday evening. NDRF teams were rushed to the spot for relief and rescue operations at Khatouli railway station. Heavyweight cranes and gas cutters were used, and locals were seen helping out those engaged in rescue work. The injured are being treated in nearby hospitals in Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. Muzaffarnagar authorities have set up a control room to assist families of those affected. The numbers are: 0131- 2436918, 0131-2436103 and 0131-2436564.

    India celebrates 71st Independence Day

    New Delhi, Aug 15: Wishes pour in from across the world as India celebrates 71st Independence day; President and Vice President greet the nation on the occasion; People across the country celebrate Independence day with festive fervour. Marking the celebrations on 71st Independence Day, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh hoisted the national flag at his residence in New Delhi. The home minister celebrated the Independence Day with Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) Jawans. The home minister said that they are the real heroes of our country. He also extended his heartiest greetings to the nation.

    Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore hoisted the national flag at Leh. The Minister is in Jammu and kashmir to celebrate Independence Day with the security personnel there. And mood for the 71st Independence Day celebrations was set by President Ram Nath Kovind through his first I-day eve address. The President urged the nation to contribute to the making of a New India where many ills of the society will become things of the past. The paths that he laid out for the purpose were selflessness and compassion.

    Women commandos - new face of Delhi Police's 'Parakram Army'

    New Delhi, Aug 14: Following the examples of Israel and the US, the Delhi Police has initiated a program to introduce women commandos into the force. 41 young women cadets from the North-east have been specially selected for the purpose and they will be joining Delhi Police's Parakram unit and will be seen in action this independence day. The new face of Delhi Police's 'Parakram Army' will be deployed on the ramparts of the capital for security on Independence Day. Delhi Police has decided to deploy 24 PCR vans at sensitive locations. The speciality is that this time female commandos have been included in this.
    41 girls from North East have become part of the Delhi Police for the first time they are being given special commando training. These women commandos are ready to provide Delhi security on August 15. The Delhi Police has also chosen its poster girl from Chainvelu Thale of Nagaland, the best commandos among them.

    Venkaiah Naidu sworn-in as 13th Vice-President of India

    New Delhi, Aug 11: Former Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was sworn-in as 13th Vice President of India today. He has been administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind at a special function at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Out going Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Governors, Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, Members of Parliament were present at the event.

    Mr Naidu, before proceeding to the Rashtrapati Bhavan paid tributes to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, Deen Dayal Upadhyay at DDU park and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Patel Chowk. After the swearing in ceremony, Mr Naidu reached Parliament House and took charge as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. He also chaired the proceedings of the Upper House.

    Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu was born on 1st July 1949 at Chavatapalem, in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. He acquired his bachelor's degree in law with specialisation in international law from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.

    Before being elected to the second highest constitutional post of the country, Mr Naidu has held several positions and carried his successful political career during his three decade long public life. He has served as national president of BJP from 2002 to 2004. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development.

    In present Narendra Modi led government Mr Naidu served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Broadcasting.

    Festival of Raksha Bandhan being celebrated in country today

    New Delhi, Aug 7: The festival of Raksha Bandhan is being celebrated in the country today. It is observed on the full moon day of the traditional Indian luni-solar calendar month of Shravana to remember the love and duty between brothers and sisters. On the occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Hamid Ansari have conveyed their greetings to the citizens.The President said, this unique festival celebrates the sacred bond of commitment between sisters and brothers. Mr. Kovind said, the day is an occasion for all of us to renew the spirit of fraternity among the citizens of India.

    President Ram Nath Kovind today celebrated the festival of Raksha Bandhan at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Children and women tied rakhis on hands of the President. On the occasion, Mr. Kovind offered gifts to the children. Children also tied Rakhi on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wrist on the occasion.

    The Vice president greeting the people said this festival reaffirms the strong bond of love and affection between brothers and sisters in the society. He said, it upholds the high place traditionally accorded to women in Indian society. Mr Ansari appealed to rededicate to upholding the dignity and respect of women in the country.

    Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in the country as well as in other places of the world also. Symbolizing their love, sisters will today tie the sacred thread on their brother's wrist with a prayer for his prosperity and happiness. On other hand the brother provides her a token gift and a promise to protect her.

    Voting for vice presidential poll underway

    New Delhi, Aug 5: Polling to elect the next vice-president of India began at Parliament House this morning and the results would be declared this evening. Ruling NDA's candidate M Venkaiah Naidu is tipped to be the country's next vice president. The ruling NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha, will find it easy to place its candidate in the post. The opposition has fielded Gopal Krishna Gandhi against Naidu.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu, who is a member from Rajya Sabha, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, a Lok Sabha member, were among the first to cast their ballot. In fact, the prime minister was standing in queue even before the voting hall was opened at 10 am. Rajya Sabha member and boxer Mary Kom, Union minister Prakash Javadekar and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh were also seen in the queue.

    The BJD and the JD(U) which had supported NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind for the post of president, have decided to back opposition nominee Gandhi. Though the JD(U) has broken ties with the secular alliance in Bihar and joined hands with the BJP to form a new government, it has decided to vote for Gandhi, a former governor of West Bengal. Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice in the election which will conclude at 5 pm.

    UP govt makes marriage registration mandatory for couples from all religions

    UP, Aug 2: The Uttar Pradesh cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on Tuesday approved a proposal for mandatory registration of all marriages, including those in the Muslim community. Health Minister and government spokesman Siddharth Nath Singh, while briefing the media about the cabinet decisions, informed that Muslims will have also have to get their second, third and fourth marriages registered under the new provisions. The motive behind the move, he said, was to protect the interests of women, cutting across caste and community lines.

    So far the central government rule in this regard had been implemented across the country except in Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland but with Tuesday's decision by the cabinet, it will be implemented in UP now, he said, adding that the Women and Child Welfare Department has been assigned the task while the Stamp and Registration Department will get this executed.

    Indian Coast Guard seizes 1,500 kgs heroin off Guj coast

    New Delhi, Jul 31: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has seized 1,500 kgs of heroin, valued at around Rs 3,500 crore, from a merchant vessel off the Gujarat coast. The ICG, Intelligence Bureau, police, customs, Navy and other agencies are further probing into the seizure.

    The Indian Coast Guard ship 'Samudra Pavak' intercepted and apprehended a merchant vessel carrying approximately 1,500 kg of heroin valued at about Rs 3,500 crore off the coast of Gujarat, a statement by defence spokesperson said. Based on intelligence inputs, the vessel was intercepted yesterday. This is the largest single haul of narcotics seized till date, the statement said.

    PM inaugurates Memorial of 'People's President' Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

    New Delhi, Jul 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's memorial in Tamil Nadu's Rameshwaram on Thursday, along with unveiling a statue of the late President. PM Modi, unveiled a statue of Dr. Kalam playing a 'veena', a musical instrument, and was accompanied by Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan and NDA's vice presidential nominee M. Venakaiah Naidu.

    The Prime Minister unfurled the national flag at the entrance of the memorial. Later, PM Modi interacted with the family members of Dr. Kalam. He was seen holding affectionately the hands of the late President's elder brother APJ Mohamed Muthumeeran Maraikayar while speaking to him.

    With 'unity in diversity' as its theme, the memorial features quotes of Dr. Kalam and his pictures as a scientist and as the President of the country. Resembling the arch of the India Gate, the memorial has on display replica of rockets and missiles on which Dr. Kalam had worked. While the first phase of the memorial was inaugurated Thursday, its second phase was scheduled to be completed in another 18 months. It would then house a library, planetarium and auditorium.

    The Memorial has four main halls each depicting the life and times of Dr Kalam. Hall-1 focuses on his childhood and educational phase, Hall-2 the Presidential days, including address to Parliament and UN Council, Hall-3 his ISRO and DRDO days and Hall-4 his post-Presidential days, till he breathed his last at Shillong. There is a separate section to exhibit some of the personnel belongings of Dr Kalam, including his famous Rudra Veena, G-suit he wore during his Su-30 MKI flight and numerous awards he received. Twelve walls have been utilized for murals and paintings. The entire area has been landscaped beautifully to reflect the peace and harmony aspect of Dr Kalam’s personality.

    PM reviews the progress of the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana

    New Delhi, Jul 22: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Friday reviewed the progress of the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana . Senior Government officials briefed him on aspects such as addressing of debt, improvement in financial parameters and consumer empowerment.

    During a presentation on coal mine and mineral block auctions made by senior Government officials, the Prime Minister emphasized on a roadmap for faster operationalization of mines and post-auction. He also called for greater coordination between all mineral-related departments during the survey and mapping of geological potential regions

    GST rate not dependent on Star rating of hotels: Govt

    New Delhi, Jul 19: Government has received reports wherein doubts have been expressed whether 5-star hotels are liable to pay GST at 28 per cent irrespective of declared tariff of a unit of accommodation. The Finance ministry has come out with a clarification, saying all guest houses clubs and hotels including 5-star hotels will attract GST as per the tariff of the units. Star rating of hotels is, therefore, irrelevant for determining the applicable rate of GST.

    As per the rate structure decided by the GST Council, hotels, guest houses and clubs having room tariff of 1,000 rupees and above but less than 2,500 rupees per room per day will attract 12 per cent tax rate. In cases where the room tariff is 2,500 and above but less than 7,500 rupees per room per day, an 18 per cent GST would be charged.

    Voting underway to elect 14th President of India

    New Delhi, Jul 17: Voting is currently underway to elect the 14th President of India. Members of Parliament and legislative assemblies are exercising their franchise at designated centers at Parliament House and state assemblies complex. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah who is also a legislator from Gujarat cast their vote. Former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind and former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar are in the direct fight in the polls in the race to the Raisina Hills.

    Mehbooba Mufti discusses situation in J&K with Home Minister Rajnath Singh

    New Delhi, Jul 15: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said, terrorists and outside forces, trying to vitiate the atmosphere, are responsible for the ongoing situation in the state. according reports Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today, Ms Mufti said, now China has also started interfering in the state.

    The Chief Minister said that the problem in the state is not a law and order issue. She said, the recent terror attack on Amarnath Yatra was intended to create communal tension in the country. Ms Mufti said, she is happy that all political parties are united to resolve the problem in Kashmir. She also thanked the people of the country and the Home Minister for their support.

    India tops medal tally at Asian Athletics

    New Delhi, Jul 10: In a stunning show of dominance, India clinched five gold to top the medal tally for first time in the history of Asian Athletics Championships, pushing China to second spot, in their most successful campaign in the continental flagship event on Sunday. With Sunday's 5 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze, India ended the four-day championships on top with their highest ever medal haul of 29 medals in total.

    These include 12 golds, 5 silver and 12 bronze. India's best came way back in the 1985 Jakarta edition where they had won 22 medals including 10 golds. China ended this edition on second position with 8 gold, 7 silver and 5 bronze. India also suffered a huge setback after 800m runner Archana Yadav was disqualified, after being initially declared as the gold medal winner, for pushing Sri Lankan rival Nimali Waliwarsha Konda from behind near the finishing line.

    The gold medal was then awarded to Konda and India thus lost a yellow metal in dramatic circumstances. It was heptathlete Swapna Barman who gave India the first gold of the day as she collected a total of 5942 points from the seven events. After that Lakhsmanan Govinda took the centrestage as he grabbed his second gold of the championship by winning the men's 10,000m event in 29 minute and 55.87 seconds.

    World junior record holder javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra struggled in his initial attempts but got his touch in time to clinch the gold with a final throw of 85.23m. India fittingly wrapped up the championships by winning gold in the men's and women's 4x400m relay races to send the packed crowd to wild celebrations, knowing fully well that it was a historic moment with the host country topping the medal tally for the first time. Jinson Johnson in men's 800m and Purnima Hembram in women's heptathlon won a bronze each.

    Achal Kumar Joti takes charge as new Chief Election Commissioner

    New Delhi, Jul 7: Election Commissioner, Achal Kumar Joti Thursday took over as the new chief election commissioner succeeding Nasim Zaidi. Joti retired as the Gujarat Chief Secretary in January 2013. He was also the Secretary in the Industry, Revenue and Water Supply Departments in the State. He served as Gujarat vigilance commissioner and worked in various capacities in the state, including as the chairman of the Kandla Port Trust between 1999 and 2004 and the managing director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.

    A 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Joti,joined the three-member Commission as an Election Commissioner on May 8, 2015...and will continue in office till January 17, 2018. He will be the 21st CEC. A CEC or an EC can have a tenure of six years or hold office till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

    PM releases photo book titled "Prez Pranab Mukherjee- A statesman"

    New Delhi, Jul 3: PM Narendra Modi released a book based on President Pranab Mukherjee during a launch event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday. While addressing the gathering Prime Minister got emotional and said that Pranab Mukherjee is a father figure to him. The Prime Minister said that the book will offer people a perspective into the human being that President Mukherjee is and will enable people to understand that beyond politics, a politician is also a human being.

    While addressing the gathering at the event President Pranab Mukherjee has expressed his gratitude and appreciation towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. President said that they both have acted in close co-operation by keeping aside their divergences. Book titled "President Pranab Mukhejee - A Statesman" is a comprehensive photographic record of India's 13th Head of State Pranab Mukherjee.

    President Pranab Mukherjee lauds GST council

    New Delhi, Jul 1: President Pranab Mukherjee heralding history in the Central Hall of Parliament and indeed he played an important role in its scripting both as the President of India and as a Finance Minister nearly six years ago. Calling it a moment of personal satisfaction, President Mukherjee hailed implementation of GST as a sign of India's wisdom and maturity as a democracy. The new era in taxation, PATCH is the result of a broad consensus arrived at between the Centre and States. This consensus took not only time but also effort to build.

    The effort came from persons across the political spectrum who set aside narrow partisan considerations and put the nation's interests first. It is a tribute to the maturity and wisdom of India's democracy. The President hailed the joint efforts put in by the Centre and the states to achieve the common goal of GST. He congratulated both the government and the GST Council for achieving this mammoth task in such a short period of time.

    It is remarkable that in the 18 meetings held so far, all decisions have been taken by consensus in the Council. I congratulate them. There were apprehensions whether the task of fixing rates for thousands of items could be accomplished by the GST Council, given the wide variations across states. The Council has pleasantly surprised everyone of us by completing its task on time.

    Addressing the function, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India has achieved a broader goal even when the world faces the challenges slow growth and isolationism. Listing the benefits of the landmark tax reform Jaitley said that it will ensure the single flow of goods and services across the country. The Finance Minister said that GST marks India's transition from an economically fragmented system into a new nation with limitless possibilities.

    Air India brand name: GoM to look into issue

    New Delhi, Jun 30: Should the national carrier retain its brand name once it is privatised? A group of Ministers to be set up to look into Air India's future will decide on it. "We may have a view on brand name but that is a decision to be made by the Alternative Mechanism (AM). Are we going to insist on the brand name being retained? Will we give them (private players) the freedom? (on the name). That is a decision to be taken by the AM," said R N Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation.

    Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha emphasised that the brand name has both sentimental and economical value. "The economically sensible thing to do and the sentimental thing to do will be to keep the Air India brand. The brand has a value as well as from emotional, sentimental and national perspective it has value. So, we think that anybody who would be interested in Air India would be interest in the brand as well," he said.

    With the decision of the Cabinet yesterday to grant in- principle approval for divestment of the national carrier, Air India's history has come full circle. It was nationalised in 1953 because it was perceived as a matter of national prestige. The government is now mulling selling its stakes because of its massive debt of Rs 52,000 crore. The carrier was born as Tata Airlines when it was established by industrialist J R D Tata in 1932 with an initial investment of Rs 2 lakh from Tata Sons and two second-hand de Havilland Puss Moths.

    J R D Tata himself piloted a single-engine plane carrying 25 kg of mail from Karachi to Bombay. An occasional passenger would be ferried perched on top of the mail bags. In 1933, the first full year of operations, Tata Airlines flew 160,000 miles, carrying 155 passengers and 10.71 tonnes of mail. The airline spread its wings for the first time overseas, to Colombo, in 1938. During World War II, it was involved in a survey of the South Arabia route, carriage of supplies to Iraq, movement of refugees from Burma and overhaul and maintenance of the equipment of Britain's Royal Air Force.

    Tata Airlines went public and became a joint stock company in 1946 and was called Air India Ltd. On June 8, 1948, Air India International, with the famous Maharaja as its mascot, spread its wings to Europe. In 1953, a profitable Air India was nationalised though J R D Tata was appointed as the company's first chairman and served in that capacity until 1977, when the new government decided to unceremoniously terminate his services. J R D's successor Ratan N Tata was later appointed as the chairman of Air India in 1986 and held that post till 1989.

    In 2000, the Vajpayee government cleared a proposal to disinvest its stake in both Air India and Indian Airlines. Seven years later, both entities would be merged into National Aviation Company of India. Both these firms were already making losses then, and the merger significantly spiked Air India's costs. A CAG report in 2011 would later blame the government for causing financial loss by going in for expansion without a proper business plan just before the merger.

    The CAG had questioned the rationale behind the government's decision to order 111 airplanes for Air India and Indian Airlines 48 from Airbus and 68 from Boeing for about Rs 70,000 crore in 2006 and had called it a "recipe for disaster". In 2012, the UPA government approved a turnaround plan of Rs 30,000 crore till 2021 for Air India which had dues worth Rs 67,520 crore.

    Surgical strikes proved that India can defend itself: PM Modi

    US, Jun 27: PM Narendra Modi defended the right of India to conduct surgical strikes across the LoC. Addressing the Indian community members in Washington DC, PM Modi said that if India exercises restrain, it can also give a glimpse of its prowess when required. While urging the members present there to contribute to India's progress in their capacity, PM Modi promised that they will be able to witness the India they had always dreamt of.

    Prime Minister spoke like a statesman, a leader who is not averse to be frank and candid in his speech and who does not mince words. Talking of the surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army across the line of control in Pakistan occupied Kashmir in September 2016, PM Modi put the message in crisp and clear words - don't consider the desire for peace as a mark of weakness.

    Further he emphasized that surgical strikes also proved that India was able to put the point across the nations that terrorism is a scourge that has to be dealt in rights earnest. Prime Minister Modi has been inviting big corporates to invest in India. He utilized the moment to appeal to gathering to invest their intellect in India and contribute to the development of the nation.

    Prime Minister Modi also stressed that continuous reforms in economic sphere has brought in welcome changes in the investment climate in the country. He also cited instances of direct benefit transfer, success of neem coated urea and other schemes which have brought many changes in the country.

    Presidential election: Ram Nath Kovind, Meira Kumar to file nomination today

    New Delhi, Jun 24: NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind will file his nomination papers on Friday in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states. Meanwhile, less than a month away from Election Day, the Opposition finally made its move on the Presidential contest. 17 opposition parties led by the Congress met in the Parliament complex on Thursday and declared India's first woman Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as its joint candidate for the battle for raisina hill.

    JDU's leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had declared his party's support for the NDA candidate, putting a question mark on Opposition unity. While Opposition is trying to keep its flock together..the number of parties supporting NDA's candidate has only swelled. Apart from BJP, YSR Congress, TRS, Shiv Sena and JD(U). Even the AIADMK has come forward to back him. Presidential contest will take place on 17th of July and counting will be held on the 20th.

    President Mukherjee urges people to make Yoga a habit

    New Delhi, Jun 22: The Third International Day of Yoga is being celebrated across the states in the country. Yoga performance sessions are being held at various places in different states. Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. And on the occasion of 3rd International Day of Yoga, the entire world got connected to one another.

    President Pranab Mukherjee began Yoga Day celebrations with urging all Indians to turn yoga into a habit in order to lead a healthy life. Participating in celebrations at Rashtrapati Bhawan, President Mukherjee said the ancient Indian practice was useful for curing physical as well as mental disorders.

    Urban development Minister Venkaiah Naidu participated in yoga celebrations at central park in the national capital. After which he visited is ministry at Nirman Bhawan and performed yoga with his employees. Addressing the gathering, Naidu said that Yoga is a traditional art which has no connection with politics or religion or community.

    On the Yoga Day, a programme was organized at BJP headquarters. Many senior party leaders participated in the programme. In Gujarat, Yoga guru Ramdev and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani participated in a yoga camp in Ahmedabad. Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah also graced the event and practiced Yogasana to mark the event. Ex-Chief minister Anandiben Patel also participated in the event.

    Union Health minister JP Nadda participated in the function organized in Chandigarh. Much enthusiasm was also witnessed in Bengaluru on the occasion of Yoga Day. Union minister Ananth kumar and social activist Anna Hazare attended the function. World's oldest Yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch and India's oldest yoga teacher Amma Nannamal today performed yoga in Bengaluru. Both the ladies are 98 years old.

    In Odisha's capital- Bhubaneshwar, people from all ages practised yoga. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan performed yoga with other participants. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also performed yoga with people from all walks of life. In Maharashtra, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Railway minister Suresh Prabhu performed Yoga at a function organized in Mumbai.

    Now, no need to travel 50 kms for passport: Swaraj

    New Delhi, Jun 19: No Indian citizen will have to travel more than 50 kms to get their passport, as the government is planning to set up a comprehensive network of Passport Seva Kendras across the nation. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said, major post offices will also provide the service. Announcing the opening of 149 new Post Office Passport Seva Kendras, Swaraj said these will be set up in the second phase.

    In the first phase 86 such kendras were to be set up - 52 of which are now functional. Sushma Swaraj also launched a web portal for the foreign ministry's flagship "Know India Programme" aimed at connecting the Indian youth living abroad.

    PM inaugurates Kerala's first metro rail service at Kochi

    Kochi, Jun 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kochi Metro today. He took a ride in the Metro from Palarivattom station to Pathadippalam station. Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and E Sreedharan popularly known as Metro man also travelled with Mr Modi.

    Speaking at the inaugural ceremony held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium premises, the Prime Minister said, Kochi Metro Rail Limited is a 50-50 Joint Venture of Centre and the Kerala government. He said, the Union Government has so far released over 2000 crore rupees for the project. Prime Minister said, the coaches reflect 'Make in India' vision.

    He said, they have been built by Alstom near Chennai and have an Indian component of around 70 percent. Calling the Kochi Metro as an example of Public transport model, the Prime Minister said, this is a zero carbon emitting project. He said, all of its stations have achieved environmental clearance of platinum level. Mr Modi said, Kochi, the queen of Arabian Sea was once an important spice trading centre and today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala.

    The Prime Minister said during the last three years, his government has laid special emphasis on development of infrastructure areas. He said, efforts were made to strengthen public transport in urban areas. This has resulted in increased land values. The Prime Minister said, there is need to bring about a paradigm shift in urban planning by adopting a people-centric approach and integrating land-use and transport. He said, rail and road transport are government's priority areas. Mr Modi said, the Centre is focusing on next generation infrastructure, which includes logistics, digital and gas.

    JP Nadda gets WHO award for India's tobacco control initiatives

    New Delhi, Jun 8: Union Health Minister J P Nadda was conferred the WHO Director-General's Special Recognition Award for accelerating India's tobacco control initiatives and taking bold measures to protect people against hazards of tobacco use. The global recognition was presented to Nadda by Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, at the 'National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for Achievement of SDGs'.

    Accepting the award, Nadda said that it was recognition of the collective endeavour of his ministry, NGOs, social activists, civil society organisations and many more who had been contributing to the cause across the country. Holding that tobacco is a prime driver of poverty and affects the family as a whole, the community and the country, Nadda stressed the need for a multisectoral approach to control it.

    "It has rightly been identified as a development issue. I am happy that tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakh and youth consumption of tobacco sees marked decrease," Nadda said. "My mantra for success in tobacco control efforts is 'Catch them Young'," he added. He said there had been a 54 per cent relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among minors (15-17 years) and 28 per cent reduction in the age group of 18-24 years. Further, age of initiation among the youth has also increased by one year, he said.

    Nadda further said that India has come a long way in controlling the use of tobacco as it has implemented 85 per cent pictorial health warnings on both sides of tobacco packets, conducted second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), strengthened and upscaled cessation facilities with the launch of the toll-free 'national tobacco quitline and cessation services'.

    India also made substantial investment under the 12th Five Year Plan for expansion of National Tobacco Control Programme - which has been recognised by the WHO as the best practice in its Global Tobacco Control Report, 2015. The health minister said India has also put a ban on smokeless tobacco products and has strengthened the implementation of the tobacco free film and television policy.

    ISIS failed in India despite large Muslim population: Rajnath

    ND, Jun 3: India has one of the largest Muslim population in the world but ISIS had been unable to establish itself in the country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here today. Singh was giving a report card of his ministry on the completion of three years of the Narendra Modi government. "We have strived to provide security for the nation, with full responsibility," he said at a press conference. He said 90 ISIS sympathisers had been arrested across the country.

    Singh said ISIS and Ansar Ul Ammah have been included in the list of terrorist organisations. According to the minister, there had been a 25 per cent reduction in Naxal attacks in 2014-17 as compared to 2011-14 (UPA tenure). He also said three years of NDA government had seen a 42 per cent reduction in deaths in Naxal attacks as compared to last three years of the UPA.

    Singh said there was 45 per cent reduction in infiltration from Pakistan in the six months post-surgical strike at the Line of Control in September last year as compared to the corresponding period previous year. The minister said the government would put an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

    President, PM Modi condemn Kabul attack

    ND, Jun 31: India has strongly condemned the terror blast in Kabul which caused death of at least 80 people and wounded hundreds on Wednesday when a massive truck bomb ripped through Kabul's diplomatic quarter. In a tweet the President Pranab Mukherjee said "condolences to families of deceased and prayers for injured".

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolence with the grieved family of the deceased. In his tweet, he said, India stands with Afghanistan in fighting all types of terrorism and forces supporting terrorism need to be defeated.

    PM Modi inaugurates country's longest bridge in Assam

    Assam, May 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the country's longest bridge over the Lohit river in Assam. He said the NDA govt. is working to make the northeast region a trade hub for Southeast Asia. The 9.15 km-long bridge is named after Dadasaheb Phalke awardee and legendary lyricist-singer Bhupen Hazarika who hailed from Sadiya. The bridge joins Sadiya in Assam to Dhola in Arunachal Pradesh.

    It is the country's longest bridge, an engineering marvel built on the river Lohit, a tributary of the Brahmaputra. Prime Minister Modi dedicated this massive bridge to the country on Friday. The 9.15 kilometer long bridge connects Sadiya in Assam to Dhola in Arunachal Pradesh. The strategic bridge is built at a cost of 2,056 crore rupees. After inaugurating it, PM Modi drove down the bridge by car and then took a walk on the bridge taking stock of its engineering.

    While addressing the masses, Prime Minister Modi said that this bridge will change their lives, and bring about an economic revolution. This bridge will reduce the distance by road between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam by 165 km, and the travel time by five hours. In strategic terms, the bridge's importance can be gauged by the fact that the China border is just 100 kilometers away by air. The bridge is designed to carry heavy equipment so that they can be made available at the border. On the connectivity front, the bridge will connect some of the most remote parts of the North east to the rest of the country.

    The gigantic idea of a bridge dates back to Atal Bihari Vajpayee government but work was only started in 2011. PM Modi lamented this delay and said that had the Vajpayee government been re-elected in 2004 the bridge would have become a reality much sooner. Prime Minister Modi said his government has placed immense importance on development of the Northeast, wanting Assam to be developed as a major trade destination for the entire South East Asia. He announced that the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge will be named after Bhupen Hazarika. The prolific musician and poet late Bhupen Hazarika was a resident of Sadia.

    Prime Minister Modi even lauded Sarbanada Sonowal led government in the state. He said the Centre and state governments are working closely with each other for the development of Assam and the entire north east. PM Modi reiterated his commitment to the development of the Northeast and said that its development is the first step towards fulfilling India's dream of becoming a super power.

    Army destroys several Pak post in Naushera

    New Delhi, May 25: Army reveals to have launched "punitive fire assaults" on Pakistani positions across the Line of Control. The Army also released a video of the military action. While the Army did not give operational details, sources said the strike was carried out on May 9, nine days after the bodies of two Indian soldiers were mutilated. The retributive assault took place across the Line of Control against Pakistani positions in Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which were "aiding" infiltration.

    Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the action was to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir. Army carried out punitive fire assaults on Pakistani posts as a retaliation for aiding and abetting infiltration across the LOC. The posts were instrumental in giving cover fire to help infiltrators cross into the Indian Territory. The video proves that contrary to Pakistani claims their posts have indeed been destroyed with heavy weaponry.

    Though the exact date of the action is not given, it is reliably learnt that the video pertains to recent action by the army. This is part of the proactive strategy of the Army to dominate the LOC and also bring down the number of terrorists operating in the valley.

    The government is standing solidly behind the armed forces and supports the proactive action. In a series of tweets, defence minister Arun Jaitley gave thums up to the preemtive & measured actions to counter terrorism in valley & disengage Pak posts across LoC supporting infiltration. Jaitley further declared unstinted support for the army and infact called such steps vital to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Home Minister to meet CMs of Indo-China border states

    New Delhi, May 20: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair a meeting of the Chief Ministers of five States on the Indo-China Border to review the Indo China Border Security issues, in Gangtok on Saturday. The five states are Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

    This is the first time such a meeting is being held by MHA. The objective of the meeting is to strengthen the coordination of MHA with the five States on Indo-China Border to improve the overall border security as states are also partners in Security of the borders. In this meeting, discussion will be held about the border infrastructure work under taken by MHA, Border Area Development Programme and coordination issues between the states and the ITBP.

    Foodgrains, cereals, milk to be cheaper under GST

    New Delhi, May 19: Foodgrains, cereals and milk will cost less from July 1 when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is rolled out as the GST Council on Thursday decided to exempt these daily-use commodities from the levy. Common use products like hair oil, soaps and toothpaste will be charged with a single national sales tax or GST of 18 per cent instead of present 22-24 per cent tax incidence through a combination of central and state government levies. The GST rates for all but six items were finalised at the first day of the two-day meeting here of the GST Council, headed by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state representatives.

    Milk and curd will continue to be exempt from taxation when the Goods and Service Tax (GST) replaced current indirect taxes. 'Mithai' or sweets will attract 5 per cent levy. Daily-use items like sugar, tea, coffee (barring instant coffee) and edible oil will attract the lowest tax rate of 5 per cent, almost the same as current incidence. Prices of foodgrains, especially wheat and rice, will come down as they will be exempt from GST.

    Currently, some states levy Value Added Tax (VAT) on them. "We have finalised tax rates for majority of items as well as the exempt list (at today's meeting)," Jaitley told reporters. The GST rate for all but six out of the 1,211 items was decided on the first day, he said, adding the tax rate for items that would be decided on Friday include gold, footwear, branded items and bidi. "Rates have been finalised for the rest," he said. Also, the GST for packaged food items is to be finalised.

    Friday’s meeting will also decide on the rate of tax for services, he said. Seven per cent of the items fall under the exempt list while 14 per cent have been put in the lowest tax bracket of 5 per cent. Another 17 per cent items are in 12 per cent tax bracket, 43 per cent in 18 per cent tax slab and only 19 per cent of goods fall in the top tax bracket of 28 per cent. As many as 81 per cent of the items will attract 18 per cent or less GST. Aerated drinks and cars will be in 28 per cent bracket.

    On top of the peak rate, small cars will attract a 1 per cent cess, mid-sized cars will attract 3 per cent and luxury cars 15 per cent. On gold, states demanded a 4 per cent tax even though the rate is not among the 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent approved bands. ACs and refrigerators will fall in the 28 per cent tax slab while life saving drugs have been kept at 5 per cent rate. Jaitley said there will be no inflationary impact as most of the rates which are at 31 per cent have been brought down to 28 per cent.

    Coal will attract GST of 5 per cent as against the current tax incidence of 11.69 per cent. "Cereals will be in exempt list. But what is to be done with packaged and branded food that has to be separately decided. We are yet to make a decision on that," he said. Jaitley said the key feature of Thursday's rate decision has been that "tax rate under GST will not go up for any of the commodities. There is no increase. On many commodities, there is a reduction particularly because the cascading effect of tax is gone."

    "Of several commodities, we have consciously brought down the tax. In the overall basket there would be a reduction, but we are banking on the hope that because of a more efficient system, evasion would be checked and tax buoyancy would go up. That despite reduction the revenue neutrality and tax buoyancy thereafter would be maintained," he added.

    Can women be given option of saying no to triple talaq: SC to AIMPLB

    New Delhi, May 17: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) whether a woman can be given an option of saying 'no' to triple talaq at the time of execution of 'nikahnama' (Islamic marriage contract). A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar also said if all 'Qazis' can be asked to include this condition at the time of marriage.

    "Is it possible that Muslim women are given an option to say 'no' to triple talaq at the time of execution of nikahnama," asked the bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer While seeking response from former Union Minister and senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing AIMPLB, the bench said, "Don't infer anything from our side."

    Wednesday is the fifth day of the hearing on a clutch of petitions challenging triple talaq, polygamy and 'nikah halala' which is going on before a bench comprising members of different religious communities including Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim. Tuesday, the law board had equated the issue of triple talaq with the belief that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya, saying these were matters of faith and cannot be tested on grounds of constitutional morality.

    Supreme court to hear WhatsApp privacy case today

    New Delhi, May 15: The Supreme Court will hear the WhatsApp privacy case from today. A five-judge constitution bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, will start examining the privacy policy of the mobile app which provides instant messaging service. The app has come under challenge on the ground that it allegedly infringed on the fundamental rights.

    The crucial matter has been listed before a second constitution bench during the summer vacation. The Centre on April 27 had told the bench that a regulatory regime for data protection was in the offing as an individual's freedom of choice needs to be protected. The government's submission had come after the constitution bench had asked it to clarify its stand on the issue.

    The apex court had on January 16 sought the responses from the Centre and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the plea that privacy of over 157 million Indians has been infringed by social networking sites WhatsApp and Facebook for alleged commercial use of personal communication.

    Home Minister calls for financial choking of Maoists

    New Delhi, May 8: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday called for the choking of financial resources of the left-wing extremist groups and said it was the fundamental instrument to counter the Maoist violence. Rajnath also called for a more proactive approach to deal with left-wing extremism. "Today we need to consider whether to react only after the occurrence of any incident or we should be more proactive," he said.

    The Home Minister added that left-wing extremist groups were trying to weaken democracy in the country but would "never succeed" in doing so. He also called for increasing use of technology in security operations and to counter left-wing extremism. "We need to have enough unmanned aerial vehicles with each battalion. Since extremists use looted weapons, we need to have trackers in the weapons, embed biometrics in triggers and have unique identification numbers in explosive material," he said.

    Highlighting the need for motivation and training, the Home Minister said there was a need to improve the training and other facilities at the camps. "The residential camps of security forces should be well equipped with power and water facility, and better connectivity," he said.

    PM stresses on preventive health care system

    Haridwar, May 4: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed upon the need to have a system of preventive health care. Speaking at the inauguration of Patanjali Research Institute in Haridwar, the Prime Minister said sanitation can contribute a lot in this direction. He referred to the progress made by India in the field of innovation and said young Indians have proved their mettle in the field of IT.

    The Prime Minister said, Yoga is necessary for the purification of the mind, body and the soul. He commended the role of Baba Ramdev in making Yoga a people's movement across the world. He said this is why International Yoga Day is being celebrated every year. The Prime Minister released World Herbal Encyclopedia on the occasion.

    PM Modi pays obeisance at Kedarnath temple

    New Delhi, May 3: PM Narendra Modi today paid obeisance at Kedarnath as the portals of the Himalayan shrine were reopened for devotees after remaining closed for six months for the winters. Accompanied by Uttarakhand Governor K K Paul and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Modi arrived in an army chopper at the helipad built close to the temple and headed straight for the shrine located at a height of over 11000 ft.

    The temple doors were opened at 8.50 AM and the prime minister arrived just about half an hour later to offer prayers and perform a 'rudrabhishek' in the sanctum sanctorum of the centuries old shrine. After 20 minutes, Modi, who was wearing a brown overcoat, emerged out of the temple and waved to the crowds waiting outside for a glimpse of the Prime Minister.

    He was gifted a shawl, a rudraksha, a wooden replica of the temple and books on the Himalayas by the priests of the temple as he came out of the shrine. He did a 'parikrama' of the Nandi statue outside the temple before making way through the crowds to convoy that was to take him back to the helipad.

    The Prime Minister also went to the spot where a huge rock named Bhimshila had rolled down from the mountains in the wake of the June 2013 deluge and got stuck at the back of the temple. Christened Bhimshila after the tragedy, also known as the Himalayan Tsunami, the truck sized rock is credited with protecting the shrine from major damage.

    PM Modi inaugurates International Basava Convention

    New Delhi, Apr 29: PM Narendra Modi today inaugurated the golden jubilee celebrations of Basava Samithi in New Delhi. To mark the birth anniversary of 12th century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer Basavanna, Prime Minister Modi will unveil translated volumes of 'Vachana', penned social reformer Basavanna and others saints, in 23 Indian languages on the occasion.

    He will also release the digital version of the work at the first ever celebration of Basava Jayanti at the national level in New Delhi. The event also coincides with golden jubilee of Basava Samiti, set up by former Vice President B D Jatti in 1964 with an aim to spread Basavannas message across India.

    Cyprus President to arrive in India on 5-day visit

    New Delhi, Apr 25: President of Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will be coming to India on a State Visit from April 25-29, 2017. This is the first visit of the President Anastasiades to India. Earlier, he had substantive meetings with Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2015.

    India and Cyprus enjoy close, friendly and time-tested ties. With cumulative Foreign Direct Investment of above US$ 8.5 billion, Cyprus is the eighth largest foreign investor in India and has invested in areas such as financial leasing,

    PM condemns terror attack on Afghan military base

    New Delhi, Apr 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday condemned the terror attack on a military base in northern Afghanistan. "Strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Mazar-i- sharif. Our prayers and condolences to the families who lost loved ones," he said in a tweet.

    Over 50 Afghan soldiers were killed when the Taliban attacked the base near the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Friday. The attack targeted soldiers at prayer in a mosque and others in a dining facility. The Taliban had claimed responsibility for the operation.

    Nepal President accorded ceremonial reception

    New Delhi, Apr 18: Visiting Nepalese President Vidya Devi Bhandari accorded ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan; shall hold bilateral talks with President and Prime Minister later in the day. Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari arrived in New Delhi on Monday afternoon on a five day visit to India. She is accompanied by a high level delegation comprising Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior officials.

    Ms Bhandari will hold meetings with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. Vice President Hamid Ansari, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will call on the visiting dignitary. President Pranab Mukherjee will host a state banquet in honor of the visiting dignitary.

    PM Modi holds mega road show in Surat

    New Delhi, Apr 16: PM Narendra Modi on Sunday led an 11 km roadshow in Surat where he was accorded a rousing reception. The roadshow, which began from the airport around 7.25 PM and ended at the Circuit House. A large number of people, waving the tricolour, and chanting "Modi! Modi!" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai", stood along the road illuminated with lights of different colours as the Prime Minister acknowledged greetings from the cheering crowd by waving to them.

    On his arrival at the Surat airport this evening, PM Modi was greeted by Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel and state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani before he embarked on the roadshow to the Circuit House in Athwalines area, where he will stay overnight. During the roadshow, PM Modi was welcomed by various community organisations, youths and women at welcome points set up every 200 meters along the route. Apart from the 3D laser shows at regular intervals and colourful LED light decoration, an 11 km-long saree with names of various government schemes printed on it was also tied along the route.

    City residents had started thronging the route since afternoon to have a glimpse of PM Modi and to capture his image on their cell phones. After the roadshow, PM Modi held a meeting with senior state BJP leaders at the Circuit House. PM Modi will inaugurate a hospital, built by Patidar Samaj Arogya Trust in Katargam area of Surat on April 17. PM Modi would then head to Bajipura village in the neighbouring Tapi district to inaugurate a cattle feed plant and an ice-cream plant of Surat District Co-operative Milk Producers Union, popularly known as Sumul Dairy.

    In Silvassa, PM Modi will address a public rally and inaugurate development works. In a tweet, Prime Minister said that he will lay the foundation of various irrigation schemes & inaugurate a drinking water scheme that will benefit people living in Tapi district in Gujarat. He will also inaugurate government projects and distribute sanction letters to beneficiaries of various Government initiatives In Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

    PM Modi expressed his gratitude to all those who are participating in the various programmes. He also said that visiting the vibrant city of Surat is a matter of great joy.

    PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina to hold official bilateral talks

    New Delhi, Apr 8: More than 20 pacts are set to be inked after delegation level talks between the two Prime Ministers. Topmost among them are a comprehensive defence pact and a civil nuclear deal which could see India building nuclear power reactors for Bangladesh. Bus service connecting two cities of India and Bangladesh and train services involving West Bengal and Bangladesh will be launched during the visit.

    Earlier Friday afternoon, PM Modi, setting aside the protocols, travelled to the Indira Gandhi International Airport to receive his Bangladeshi counterpart. On their arrival, officials from Bangladesh, including Hasina's entourage, also took selfies with PM Modi. Friday evening External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the visiting dignitary at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    Bangladesh Prime Minister will start her official engagements today with ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan. After that, she will visit Rajghat to pay floral tribute to Mahatama Gandhi. This will be followed by talks with PM Modi at the Hyderabad House. She will launch the bus and train service at the same venue. In the afternoon, Ms Hasina will participate in the "Sommanona Ceremony" to honour Indian Martyrs in the Liberation War, followed by call on Vice President Hamid Ansari.

    The Bangladesh Prime Minister will visit the Dargah of famous Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer on April 9, and come back to the national capital the same evening to attend a dinner hosted by President Pranab Mukherji at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Hasina will be joined by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji at the Prime Minister's lunch and other programmes at the Hyderabad House on Saturday, and the President's dinner on April 9. She will leave for her home country in the afternoon of April 10, after attending a business event jointly organised by the three Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

    PM Modi calls upon J&K people to connect with priceless culture of Sufism

    J&K, Apr 3: PM Narendra Modi has called upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir to connect with the priceless culture of Sufism in the state. Addressing a rally at Batal Balian in Udhampur district, Mr Modi said, our future will be pushed into darkness if the priceless culture of Sufism is forgotten in the state. He said, Kashmir was the pride of India and people should connect with its culture and civilization to make themselves proud.

    He said people of Kashmir should work shoulder-to-shoulder with the government for their bright future. Prime Minister reiterated Atal Bihari Vajpayee's doctrine of Kasmiriyat, Insaniyat and Jamuriyat for securing peace and prosperity in the state. Prime Minister said, Centre is fully committed to provide every possible help for peace and development of Jammu and Kashmir. He said tourism, not terrorism will change the destiny of the state.

    Earlier, Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the Chenani-Nashri Tunnel. The all-weather route reduces the distance between Jammu and Kashmir by 31 kilometers. Prime Minister said that Tunnel is symbolic of a ushering of a new era of development in the state.

    PM Narendra Modi to address students at Smart India Hackathon

    New Delhi, Apr 1: PM Narendra Modi will address the students participating in Smart India Hackathon 2017 through video conferencing today. The Hackathon is intended to promote innovation and out-of-the-box thinking in young minds, especially engineering students. According reports that the Prime Minister will address the innovators at 10 tonight through video conferencing.

    The grand finale of the Hackathon starts this morning and would end at 8 PM tomorrow at 26 different locations in the country, with each location handled by one department or Ministry. It is a 36-hour non-stop digital programming competition during which student teams from all over India will compete to offer innovative solution to technical problems being faced by 29 Central Government departments.

    A total of 7,531 teams from across India had submitted ideas from more than 2,100 technical institutions of which 1,266 teams have been shortlisted for the Grand Finale. Maximum interest was shown in solving road and transport problems with 84 teams out of the 674 in this sector making it to the finals.

    President to inaugurate 'Namami Brahmaputra' festival

    Guwahati, Mar 31: The biggest river festival of India, Namami Brahmaputra, begins in 21 districts of Assam today. President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the festival on the banks of the river, which is considered country's only male river. Prime Minister of Bhutan, Governor of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and Chief Ministers will also attend the inaugural ceremony. Various cultural programmes, traditional sports, Brahmaputra Aarti, exhibition, film shows, seminars and competitions will be the part of the 5 day festival. Spiritual leader Dalai Lama and several Union ministers will also attend the festival.

    According reports that Guwahati city has got a new look for the festival. Big banners and hoardings have been put up across the city welcoming all to the event. This festival is likely to give a boost to the investment and tourism prospect in the state. Security has been beefed up in and around Guwahati city ahead of the visit of the President and Dalai Lama. Prime Minister of Bhutan, Governor of Assam and Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will also attend the inaugural ceremony.

    Mann Ki Baat: PM highlights terrorism threat to humanity

    New Delhi, Mar 26: PM in his 30th edition of Mann Ki Baat, touched upon a range of issues ranging from Swaraj to New India and Depression to maternity leave. Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the 30th edition of his radio address programme 'Mann ki Baat' with remembering the sacrifice of great freedom fighters Bhagat singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. Remembering the three bravehearts, the Prime Minister hailed their contribution in the Independence struggle.

    Besides, he also said that Mahatama Gandhi ignited the fire of revolution and through Champaran Satyagrah laid the foundation of non-cooperation movement. The PM Modi also talked about "New India Vision." He said New India is neither a government's campaign nor is a manifesto or a project of any political party.

    PM Modi said it is a resolve of 125 crore Indians to transform India. He also highlighted a recently taken very important decision by the government for working women. He added that the maternity leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, which will benefit over 18 lakh women in formal sector.

    Talking about public health, Prime Minister said United Nations has decided to focus on "Depression" on "World Health Day" on 7th April. He said that problem on depression is curable by creating a psychological environment for its cure. He also added that Depression needs expression, not suppression and that yoga will be highly helpful in this.

    The PM Modi also highlighted how few young men are using a mobile app to arrange collection of leftover foods and make it available to the poor. He added that they can inspire us not to waste food and always fill our plates depending on our consumption. PM Narendra Modi has expressed gratitude to the countrymen for whole heartedly embracing and participating in the Digidhan Movement.

    The Prime Minister said that ways of digital payments have increased after demonetization. He added that digital payments will help in curbing corruption and black money. He also called upon citizens to opt for digital payments in daily life and thereby become a crusader against black money, corruption.

    Prime Minister said that the recently launched BHIM App has been downloaded by around 1.5 crore people. Recently, many awareness programs called digidhan mela were organised for the masses. Digi Dhan Mela will culminate on 14th April on the birth anniversary of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar. PM expressed confidence that BHIM App will be continue to be promoted leading to less cash transactions.

    This was followed by PM speaking on cleanliness which is an issue close to his heart. PM Modi said that cleanliness has taken the form of a movement which is aimed at promoting better civic sense. From Swaraj to New India and Depression to maternity leave, PM Narendra Modi in his 'Mann ki Baat' episode has sent out some very motivational and encouraging messages to the countrymen.

    Nation paying tributes to Bhagat Singh, Rajguru & Sukhdev on their 86th martyrdom day today

    New Delhi, Mar 23: Nation is paying tributes to freedom fighters - Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev - on their 86th martyrdom day today. On this day in 1931, British rulers had executed them in Lahore for their revolutionary activities against the British rule. They were hanged a day before the scheduled date of execution. A number of programmes have been organised in Punjab today to mark the day.

    SC to hear Babri Masjid demolition case on Thursday

    New Delhi, Mar 22: Supreme Court has adjourned hearing on Babri Masjid demolition case for tomorrow. The apex court said the appropriate bench will hear the case..The hearing came a day after another bench of the SC urged an out-of-court settlement to the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute with Chief Justice of India J S Khehar himself offering to mediate.

    The CBI had chargesheeted senior BJP leader LK Advani and 20 others under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy).

    The court in Rae Bareli had released Advani and 12 others including Vinay Katiyar and Kalyan Singh of conspiracy charges. The decision was later upheld by the Allahabad High Court.

    Farmers have bright future, income to double by 2022: HM

    New Delhi, Mar 20: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday made an assurance that farmers' income will double by 2022 while terming agriculture as a sunrise sector of the 21st century with ample growth potential. Allaying fears that prospects of agriculture are bleak, the minister maintained that on the contrary, farmers have a bright future. "Our Prime Minister has already spelt out the vision of doubling farmers' income by 2022 and we will convert that vision into reality," Singh said while addressing a summit on agriculture organised by the Haryana government here.

    The minister also spoke of the challenges faced by farmers with regard to high input costs and a fair price for their produce. Dispelling the notion that agriculture has no potential and Indian farmers have no future, Singh said: "People like me and many more believe that neither the potential for growth in agriculture has ended nor the future of farmers is bleak."

    He corroborated his stand by saying a lot of people around the world have started believing that farming is the only sunrise sector of the country in the 21st century, thanks to the way technology is deployed to increase output.

    Govt approves National Health Policy to provide assured health services to all

    New Delhi, Mar 16: The government has approved the National Health Policy which proposes to provide assured health services to all in the country. Sources said, the policy was approved at the meeting of Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

    Sources also said the policy increases the gambit of sectors covered in the Primary Health Centre (PHC) level and envisages a comprehensive approach. Health Minister J P Nadda will make a statement in the Parliament tomorrow elaborating on the salient features of the Policy.

    Supreme Court refuses to stay Manohar Parrikar's oath taking ceremony today

    New Delhi, Mar 14: The Supreme Court has refused to stay the swearing in of Manohar Parrikar as Goa Chief Minister today. The court ordered floor test on Thursday and not after 15 days as ordered by the Goa Governor Mridula Sinha.

    The Apex Court directed that all pre-requisites for holding floor test be completed tomorrow including the formalities required by Election Commission.The court requested the Governor to summon the House tomorrow at 11 AM and directed that only business of the House will be the holding of floor test after swearing in of the members.

    The Apex court was hearing a writ petition filed by the Congress that Goa governor's invitation to BJP to form the government is violation of the well established constitutional conventions of inviting the single largest party.

    Rajya Sabha passes bill to amend the enemy property act

    New Delhi, Mar 11: Rajya Sabha has passed a Bill to amend a 49-year-old law to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China. The bill was passed by a voice vote. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in March last year. After this, the Rajya Sabha had sent it to a select committee, following whose recommendations, the government had moved a number of amendments to it.

    Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitely explained the urgency to get the Bill passed. The Bill amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the Custodian. It declares transfer of enemy property by the enemy, conducted under the Act, to be void. This applies retrospectively to transfers that have occurred before or after 1968.

    The Bill prohibits civil courts and other authorities from entertaining disputes related to enemy property. After the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, the Enemy property law was enacted. It regulates enemy properties and their title. China too is categorised as an enemy state after the 1962 war. Under the enemy property law of 1968, government was made the guardian of enemy properties.

    At present there are about 9429 enemy properties in the country, which are worth about Rs 1 lakh crore. In view of the Supreme Court's 2005 order regarding enemy property the UPA government had brought an ordinance in 2010. Later, the Modi Government presented a bill in this regard in the Lok Sabha. After the Supreme Court's order, Raja Mahmudabad was asked to return property in Lucknow and surrounding areas. In order to clear any discrepancies government brought in an ordinance.

    The government had wanted to pass the enemy property law in the winter session, but due to a stand off by the opposition, the Ordinance was re-promulgated for the fifth time and would lapse on March 14. Dissatisfied with the government's stand even on Friday, the Opposition members from the Congress, Left, Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party, staged a walkout.

    Exit Polls: BJP to win 4 states, AAP likely in Punjab

    New Delhi, Mar 10: After the hard-fought elections in five states, attention has now shifted to the results on March 11. In UP, Times Now VMR poll gives the BJP a majority. In the 403-seat assembly, BJP could get 190 to 210 seats. The SP Congress combine could get between 110 and 130 seats, while the BSP seat share can range between 57 and 74 seats. The India News MRC poll gives the BJP around 185 seats, the SP Congress around 120 seats, the BSP 90 seats, and others could get 8 seats.

    C Voter India TV predicts the BJP will get between 155 and 167, the SP Congress combine 135 and 147 and BSP 81 to 93 seats, others between 8 and 20. ABP Lokniti predicts a closer fight between the BJP and SP-Congress, giving the BJP between 164 and 176 seats, the SP Congress between 156 and 169 and BSP between 60 and 72 seats... Others between 2 and 6. And India Today Axis says the BJP will get 185 seats, SP Congress 120 and the BSP 90 seats, while others could get 9 seats.

    Second part of Parliament's budget session from today

    New Delhi, Mar 9: The second part of Parliament's Budget Session is beginning today. In a month long session, the priority of the government is to get the Finance Bills and bills related to GST passed. The govt has forthrightly said that it is ready to discuss all issues and its spirit of cooperation and working together should be reciprocated by the opposition.

    The government has a long list of legislative business for the session which will continue till 12th April. The legislative business includes the Finance Bill for the smooth implementation of budgetary provisions from 1st April.

    In a first, the government recommended start of the Budget Session from January 31 followed by the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1. During the second half the budget session, GST related bills are also on govt's agenda for rolling out the indirect tax reform.

    GST Council meet approves Central & Integrated GST final drafts

    New Delhi, Mar 6: The GST Council approved the final draft of Central GST and Integrated GST laws in its meeting headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. Briefing media in New Delhi, Jaitley said, the UT-GST and SGST laws will be approved in the next meeting on March 16. The compensation bill has been approved by the Council in its last meeting at Udaipur. These legislative proposals will be taken up in the second half of Budget session of Parliament beginning next week.

    He exuded hope that GST will be rolled out from First of July this year. Replying to a media query, the Minister said, there will be no change in the tax rates approved by the Council. However, there will be a cap of 40 percent in the legislation.

    Agriculturists will be exempt from registering under the GST regime. Apart from this, business entity with an annual turnover of up to 20 lakhs rupees will also not be required registration under the new tax regime.

    Exit polls can be telecast after 5.30 pm on March 9: EC

    New Delhi, Mar 4: The Election Commission today said that the exit polls can be telecast after 5-30 pm on March 9. The decision to postpone the exit poll has been taken in view of the election to be held on March 9 in the Alapur (UP) and the Karnaprayag (Uttarakhand) constituencies following the demise of candidates of recognised parties. EC sources said in New Delhi today the exit polls will be telecast after polling ends in the two constituencies.

    The last phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur is on March 8. But following the demise of two candidates in UP and Uttarakhand, the Commission had postponed elections there and fixed March 9 as the new date. According to election laws, exit polls can be telecast half-an-hour after the end of polling in all the phases and states.

    PM Modi says if poverty, unemployment & diseases are removed from UP

    Lucknow, Mar 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that if poverty, unemployment and diseases are removed from Uttar Pradesh, the country will automatically progress.

    Addressing an election rally in Mirzapur today, Mr. Modi said if these evils are removed, the state has potential to lead the country's development. The Prime Minister said this election will decide who will shape the future of youth in the state and who will provide safety and security to women.

    CBI submits preliminary report to Sports Ministry over alleged fraud

    New Delhi, Mar 1: CBI submits preliminary report to Sports Ministry. CBI today submitted preliminary report to sports ministry on alleged fraud after wards of office bearers of Badminton Association of India were sent to Japan as players of goodwill trip. The tournament was organised in 2014 by the Japanese government in Tokyo as part of Youth Sports Exchange Programme.

    According to reports, these 'players' were the children and relatives of officials at BAI and its Delhi unit -Delhi Capital Badminton Association. The Japanese government had paid all the expenses.

    Foreign Secy to visit US; H1B visa likely in talks

    New Delhi, Feb 27: Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will visit United States from Tuesday during which key bilateral issues, including India's concerns over a possible clamp down on H1B visas and safety of Indians are expected to be discussed.

    According to officials, Jaishankar will hold talks on regional and international issues of mutual interest with senior members of the Donald Trump administration during his four-day visit.

    On Mahashivratri, PM unveils 112 ft Adiyogi statue

    Coimbatore, Feb 24: On Mahashivaratri, PM Modi unveiled a 112 feet high statue of Adiyogi in Coimbatore, kicking off the Maha Yoga Yagna. He said the statue of Lord Shiva will inspire people to come to Coimbatore and that Yoga is integral to understanding Lord Shiva. Extolling the ancient Indian discipline of Yoga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for efforts to protect nature and mould human activities to bring them in sync with ecological surroundings. He also termed unity in diversity as the speciality and strength of the Indian culture.

    "This (Maha Shivaratri celebrations) symbolises a spirit of vigilance, that we have to protect nature and mould our activities in sync with our ecological surroundings," he said addressing a gathering after unveiling a mammoth 112 feet bust of 'Adiyogi" Lord Shiva at Isha Yoga Foundation in Coimbatore.

    Underlining the need for peaceful coexistence, PM Modi said, "Lord Shiva is everywhere" and referred to the bull, peacock and mouse that were the vehicles of the Lord and his sons -- Ganapathy and Karthik. He also talked about the venomous snake Vasuki curled around Shiva's neck to emphasise the importance of peaceful coexistence. He asked people to remain united, insisting unity in diversity was special to Indian culture.

    Praising the ancient practice of Yoga, whose goal is to bring the practitioner's body, mind and spirit in tune with each other, PM Modi told the gathering that by "practising Yoga, a spirit of oneness is created. Oneness of mind, body and the intellect, oneness with our families and with the society we live in, with fellow humans and with birds, animals and trees." "This is Yoga, Yoga is a journey from me to we," he said, emphasising India's biggest strength was its diversity.

    PM began his speech by greeting people in Tamil "Ungal Ellorukkum En Anbana Vanakkam," (My loving greetings to all). Founder of Isha Foundation, Jaggi Vasudev, said the bust of 'Adiyogi' was built in eight months. He also lauded PM Modi for practising Yoga. Before unveiling the giant 'Adiyogi' bust, PM lighted the "Maha Yoga Yagna" and released the book 'Adiyoga: The source of Yoga', which deals with yogic sciences.

    PM Modi was shown around various places in the Isha Yoga complex, including the Dhyana Linga, Surya Kund, Nandi statue and the inner and outer corridors (prakaras) by Sadhguru Vasudev. The Prime Minister offered aarti and showered flower petals over the Dhyana Linga. He later sat in the Dhyana Linga mandapam, where a yogic dance was performed by a group of youngsters to the accompaniment of traditional music and Sanskrit shlokas.

    The city and the venue of the event was placed under a multi-tier security cover by police and the Special Protection Group, which guards the Prime Minister. Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami received Modi on his arrival. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi also attended the event.

    The statue and the foundation are located in the foothills of Velliangiri mountains in the Western Ghats. The bust was unveiled to coincide with Mahashivaratri celebrations. The festival of Mahashivratri is being celebrated with great religious zeal and fervor across the country. The festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This auspicious night comes on the fourteenth day of the moon in the month of Phalguna.

    People offer prayers through the night. The celebration includes offerings of fruits, leaves of the bel fruit, sweets and milk to Shiva. Devotees observe fast and worship Lord Shiva by chanting 'Om Namah Shiva'. Shiv Lingam is bathed with milk, water, honey, curd and ghee signifying purification of the soul. It is believed that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married on this day.

    India, China discuss NSG, Masood Azhar

    New Delhi, Feb 23: India and China discuss India's NSG membership bid; UN ban on Masood Azhar, CPEC and economic relations; in the first Upgraded Strategic Dialogue between the two countries India says Masood Azhar's actions are well-documented and onus of proof against him is not on India. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar did some plainspeak in Beijing on Wednesday on China's belligerence on the issue of imposing UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

    Addressing the media after co-chairing the first India-China Strategic Dialogue, the Foreign Secretary hit out at China for demanding solid evidence for getting Azhar banned by the UN, saying the extent of his actions were "well-documented" and the "burden of proof" was not on it. The Foreign Secretary said, 'In the case of Azhar, Jaish itself is proscribed under 1267. So the proof is in (the) 1267 Committee action. In this case what he has done, extent of his actions are well-documented'

    Speaking in the same vein, he asserted, 'The proposal in question this time is not moved by us. It is not that the burden of proof is on India to convince. The sponsors seem to be very well convinced, otherwise they would not have taken the initiative to move the proposal' China has twice put a technical hold last year at India's bid to list Azhar on 1267 UNSC Sanctions Committee. In January this year, China put a technical hold on a US move backed by France and UK to achieve the same end.

    On China's claim thatthere was no consensus on the issue, the Foreign Secretary attributed the lack of consensus to China not joining itand said that there is overwhelming support in the UNSC Committee for India's position. On the NSG issue, the Foreign Secretary said that during the Upgraded Strategic Dialogue.

    Vikas Swarup appointed High Commissioner to Canada

    New Delhi, Feb 17: Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup has been appointed the new High Commissioner to Canada. Swarup, a well-known author, became the MEA spokesperson in April 2015. He will replace Arun Kumar Sahu who is currently working as acting Indian High Commissioner to Canada. Swarup is expected to join his new post in Ottawa by mid-March.

    Five new judges appointed to Supreme Court

    New Delhi, Feb 16: President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed five new Judges to the Supreme Court of India. Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Naveen Sinha, Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Chhattisgarh High Court Chief Justice Dipak Gupta, Kerala High Court Chief Justice Mohan M Shantanagouder and Karnataka High Court judge Justice S Abdul Nazeer have been appointed to the Apex Court by the President. The working strength of Supreme Court is now 28 against the sanctioned strength of 31.

    SC convicts Sasikala and 2 others in disproportionate assets case

    New Delhi, Feb 14: Supreme Court today set aside Karnataka High Court's order acquitting Jayalaithaa, Sasikala and the other accused in the Disproportionate assets case. Convicting Sasikala and her two relatives, the court announced a jail term of 4 years and directed them to surrender forthwith to the trial court in Bengaluru. The apex court restored in entirety the judgement and the findings of the trial court in Bengaluru.

    They were held guilty under Prevention of corruption Act & Criminal conspiracy. After the conviction, Sasikala cannot contest elections for the next 6 years or hold any constitutional office. So her hopes of becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu stand dashed. After the apex court upheld the decision of the trial court, there were celebrations at the residence of caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.

    Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict on Disproportionate Assets Case against AIADMK Genaral Secretary Sasikala, senior BJP Leader Subramanian Swami has said that now Sasikala will have to serve the sentence. Senior advocate B V Acharya hailed the Supreme Court's judgment and said the verdict proves that justice is supreme for one and all.

    Reacting to SC verdict, BJP has said now the political scenario in Tamil Nadu is clear and those people have also got an answer who were questioning the role of governor in the power struggle in Tamil Nadu. DMK hailed SC verdict in the DA case against Sasikala.

    DMK Leader Tamilan Prasanna said this is a great success for Tamil Nadu people and it is a victory of truth and judicial system. Meanwhile, AIADMK has expelled O Panneerselvam from the party and elected Minister Edappady K Palaniswamy, a Sasikala loyalist as AIADMK Legislature Party Leader.

    500-kg Egyptian woman reaches Mumbai for surgery

    Mumbai, Feb 11: A 36-year-old Egyptian woman weighing 500 kilogram, who has not moved out of her house for 25 years, reached Mumbai today for her weight reduction treatment. Eman Ahmed, one of the heaviest women in the world, is currently under the care of a city-based bariatric surgeon Muffazal Lakdawala, and his team of doctors. Dr Lakdawala and his team have been treating Eman for almost three months and have taken all the necessary precautions needed for the transportation of bed-bound Eman from Egypt's Alexandria city.

    As a precautionary measure, the flight has been furnished with all the equipments required in case of an emergency such as portable ventilator, portable defibrillator, oxygen cylinders, intubating laryngoscopes and other safety drugs.

    Prime Minister Modi says Budget 2017 gives wings to 125 crore Indians

    New Delhi, Feb 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Budget aims at giving wings to 125 crore Indians and fulfilling their dreams. Responding to comments in favour of the Budget on twitter yesterday, Mr Modi had said the aim of this year's Budget is all-round and all-inclusive growth, impacting every section of the society positively.

    Thanking respondents for their comments hailing the Budget, Mr Modi calling the hardworking middle-class the pride of India. He said they are vital to the India Story. Prime Minister said India is being transformed and this transformation is powered by each and every Indian.

    Nation pays tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his 69th death anniversary

    New Delhi, Jan 30: The Nation pays tributes to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 69th death anniversary on Monday. President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to him at Rajghat, his memorial in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Tributes 100 times over... to our beloved Bapu on his death anniversary."

    Mahatma Gandhi's Martyrdom Day is observed as Martyrs day in the country. A 2-minute silence was observed at 11 am across the country to pay homage to all martyrs of the country. Programs were organized across the country in memory of Mahatma Gandhi. Khadi Gramadyog and NDMC set up a giant spinning wheel, (charka) in Delhi's Connaught Place to recall the priority Gandhiji gave to khadi.

    A Museum had also been built to highlight the role Khadi played in the freedom movement. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 in New Delhi.

    Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also paid tribute to Gandhiji at Rajghat complex and inaugurated a set of solar panels there, which will provide power to Rajghat and its surroundings.

    PM: NCC experience offers a glimpse of India

    New Delhi, Jan 28: PM Narendra Modi addressed the NCC Rally in Delhi Cantonment today. Prime Minister also inspected the guard of honour by NCC Cadets. Addresing the rally the PM said 'Life of a NCC cadet is beyond the uniform, the parade and the camps. The NCC experience provides a sense of mission'. NCC experience offers a glimpse of India, India's strengths and diversities, said PM Modi at NCC Cadets rally.

    The Prime Minister said that Kings, emperors, rulers, governments don't make a nation. Citizens, youth, farmers, scholars, scientists, Shramiks, saints make a nation. PM further added that the role of NCC to further cleanliness has been appreciable. PM Modi said 'Let's continue the movement towards digital transactions'.

    India, UAE reiterate their strong condemnation to terrorism

    New Delhi, Jan 27: India and the UAE on Thursday reiterated their strong condemnation and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere. A joint statement on the visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that the the two sides condemned efforts, including by States, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries.

    Earlier atleast 38 pacts or memorandum of understanding between the two countries across various fields. Another 14 agreements were signed during the crown prince's visit It was the second time a leader from a Persian Gulf country will be attending the Republic Day parade after king of Saudi Arabia in 2006.

    When PM Narendra Modi visited UAE in 2016, it was a visit by Indian Head of the state to the UAE taking place after 34 years. Since then the relationship between the two countries are only moving from strength to strength. The momentum of cooperation between India and United Arab Emirates has accelerated over the last few years and the two countries are seeking to elevate the bilateral relationship to higher levels.

    Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday noon. 14 agreements were signed during the crown prince's visit in areas including terrorism, defence, cyber space, maritime, shipping and commerce to boost regional cooperation. Addressing joint press conference with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that UAE is an important partner in India's growth.

    PM Modi said, India's growing engagement with UAE is necessary to counter violence and terrorism. He said peace and stability in West Asia and the Gulf have a shared interest. PM Narendra Modi expressed gratitude to His Highness for looking after welfare of Indian nationals in UAE and allotting land for a temple in Abu Dhabi.

    Quiet significantly, in the last two and a half years, this is the third meeting between the two leaders and the two sides agreed to take forward the cooperation to fight the menace of terror unitedly besides bolstering the trade ties. Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince visit to India will only prove to be one of the significant milestones to take ties between India and the UAE to next level.

    Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi arrives in New Delhi

    New Delhi, Jan 25: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has arrived in New Delhi. He will be the chief guest at the Republic day parade. In a gesture of the highest protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received Sheikh Mohamed Nahyan at the airport. The visiting dignitary will hold official level talks on Wednedsday and will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on 26th January.

    India and the UAE will sign an agreement sealing a "comprehensive strategic partnership" between the two countries. UAE Soldiers rehearsing for the Republic Day parade. 144 soldiers from the UAE will be marching down the Rajpath along with their military band on the 68th Republic Day Parade.

    The Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed of Abu Dhabi will be the Chief Guest. He is only the second leader from the Gulf region to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade-after the late king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2006. India is looking forward to sign a number of pacts including elevation of relationship to strategic partnership.

    16 agreements will be signed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi will meet at Delhi's Hyderabad house. MoUs will be signed in defence and investment. Meanwhile, UAE has pledged total support to India in combating terrorism, as it looked towards elevating bilateral defence and security ties and inking a Strategic Cooperation Agreement.

    This is the second visit of the Crown Prince in a span of less than a year. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces. Ever since the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE in August 2015, the first by any Indian premier in 34 years , the two countries have been working on strengthening their bilateral relationship.

    PM Modi presents National Bravery Awards to 25 children

    New Delhi, Jan 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi told children that "Bravery is a state of mind. Therefore, we need to make the mind strong." he encouraged them to read biographies of leaders, sportspersons and others who have done great deeds in their lives. The PM presented the National Bravery Awards to 25 children chosen from across the country for their outstanding acts of valour.

    These are the children who have not just set examples with their bravery and courage but are also an inspiration for many. They have broken the barriers of race, religion, caste and creed to save lives and help others. 25 children received the National bravery awards from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

    Motivating the students and addressing other attendees at the event he started off his speech by applauding their determination. The PM exhorted the young bravehearts to work towards the dream of ek bharat shreshtha bharat. He said that studying the biographies of great people would help them in this direction.

    Twenty-five children, including 12 girls and 13 boys, were selected for the National Bravery Awards 2016. Four of the awards were given posthumously. The awardees will all be participating in the Republic Day parade at Rajpath on January 26th when the nation celebrates Republic Day.

    The awards were initiated to give due recognition to to the children who distinguish themselves by performing outstanding deeds of bravery and to inspire other children to emulate their example. The selection of the brave children was made by high-powered committee comprising representatives of various ministries, departments, NGOs, as well as office-bearers of Indian Council for Child Welfare.

    Geospatial will help in Good governance: Venkaiah Naidu

    New Delhi, Jan 23: Minister of Information & Broadcasting Venkaiah Naidu today hailed the government's initiatives on digital economy, demonetisation and smart cities. Addressing the gathering of leaders, innovators and inventors at Geospatial World Forum 2017 at Hyderabad International convention centre, Naidu said that Geospatial will help in Good governance.

    Venkaiah Naidu also highlighted the urban renaissance that is gripping the nation and the govt's smart city initiative that relies heavily on the use of technology to improve the standard of living.

    President inaugurates Bengal Global Business Summit

    Kolkata, Jan 21: President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Bengal Global Business Summit 2017 organized by the Government of West Bengal on Friday in Kolkata. Speaking on the occasion, the President said India is a conglomeration of states and it's strength rests in cooperative federalism, especially in matters relating to economic development. He said India is today a leading destination for foreign investment.

    India has clocked a high growth rate, with the economy growing at an average of 7.6 percent annually during the last ten years. This is in spite of the large-scale slowdown after the financial crisis of 2008, which afflicted most economies of the world and led to a slowdown in the major economies. India has a comfortable external situation. It has pursued prudent fiscal management and has adopted investor friendly policies.

    The President said the Bengal Global Business Summit showcases investment opportunities in West Bengal, which is a leading state of our country. A popular saying is - what Bengal thinks today, India will think tomorrow. The economy of the state suffered on account of the partition of India. However, there has been significant progress in last six years. Growth in State GDP and revenue buoyancy has been impressive. The large participation in the forum, including from 29 countries shows the level of interest in the state amongst investors.

    The President complemented the State Government for its focus on infrastructure and adoption of investment friendly policies. He said the State has skilled manpower and a stable political regime which should bring a good response from investors. He called upon the State government to also pay attention to specific problems of investors even as it adopted overall policies to encourage growth and investment.

    The President concluded pointing out that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her team organized in the past two successful business summits. He expressed confidence that the summit will bring good results, promoting business linkages and consolidating existing partnerships.

    SC agrees not to pass any interim order on Jallikattu issue

    New Delhi, Jan 20: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the supreme court that.. Centre and the state are in talks to find a way out on Jallikattu issue. Yesterday TN Chief Minister Paneerselvam rushed to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request for an ordinance. However the PM said the matter is sub-judice. President Pranab Mukherjee has also raised concern about the growing conflict and difference of opinion in society.

    State wide protests have been taking place and today a bandh has been called across Tamil Nadu. Activists in favour of the sport, which has been banned by the Supreme Court, are protesting even on foreign shores in Sri-lanka, Australia, and the UK.

    PM Modi: Youth have resisted radicalisation

    New Delhi, Jan 19: A delegation comprising Muslim Ulemas, intellectuals, academicians and other eminent people called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. The delegation congratulated the PM on the steps taken by the Union Government for inclusive growth, socio-economic and educational empowerment of all sections of the society including Minorities.

    The delegation was appreciative of the Saudi Government’s decision to increase the number of Haj pilgrims from India, and thanked the Prime Minister for having successfully pursued the same. The delegation, in one voice, supported wholeheartedly the campaign launched by the Prime Minister against corruption and black money. The delegation agreed that the fight against corruption will benefit the poor people including the Minorities the most.

    The delegation congratulated the Prime Minister for his efforts to strengthen relations with the countries across the world and said that today every Indian in every corner of the world is instilled with a sense of pride. Members of the delegation also praised the Prime Minister for his efforts towards Swachh Bharat.

    PM Modi to inaugurate second Raisina Dialogue

    New Delhi, Jan 17: The 2nd edition of Raisina Dialogue is all set to open with much fanfare. PM Narendra Modi will deliver the inaugural address at the opening session of the three-day Raisina Dialogue. The 2nd Edition of Raisina Dialogue is all set to take place in New Delhi from 17-19 January, 2017. PM Narendra Modi will deliver the Inaugural Address at the 2nd Raisina Dialogue at Taj Palace in New Delhi on 17 January, 2017.

    The theme of the dialogue, this year, is 'The New Normal-Multilateralism with Multi-Polarity'. The Prime Minister's address will be attended by former Heads of State and governments, foreign ministers and senior ministers from a number of countries and prominent foreign policy thinkers from around the world.

    The Dialogue is India's flagship Geo-political conference which is held annually. The dialogue is styled on the Shangri La Dialogue held annually in Singapore. And within a short span the it meet has emerged as a much awaited global conference in the international calendar.

    The dialogue takes place in the back drop of Trump taking charge as US president by end of weekend and other global issues threat of terrorism. The second edition will feature participation from about 65 countries and more than 250 foreign participants. The dialogue will see participation of whos who of Indian and global opinion makers and thinkers.

    Supreme Court rejects probe into Sahara-Birla papers

    New Delhi, Jan 12: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a probe into the Sahara-Birla diaries; Apex court observes if investigation is ordered on the basis of inadmissible evidence democracy will not be safe. BJP says big jolt to those who leveled allegations. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi managed to garb Nation's attention and media frenzy by repeatedly talking about big exposes in Sahara Birla Diaries. But on Wednesday, his allegations and claims got a major drubbing when Supreme Court rejected a probe into the Sahara-Birla diaries.

    Rubbishing the documents placed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, the apex Court said the evidence isn't credible enough to direct a SIT probe. The apex court made following observations.

    -that the evidence isn't credible enough to direct a probe.
    -that the plea is devoid of merit, and the process of law can be misused for 'ulterior goals' if such documents are treated as legal evidence, and if a probe is ordered.
    -the income tax settlement commission also observed that material obtained from sahara diaries is fabricated
    - If investigation is ordered on the basis of inadmissible evidence like this, constitutional functionaries can't function and democracy will not be safe.

    Naidu inaugurates 2-day National Conf. for e-Governance

    Visakhapatnam, Jan 10: Information and Broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday inaugurated the 2-day National Conference for e-Governance in Visakhapatnam. The theme of this year's conference is 'Internet of Things and e-Governance' and will be covering newly evolving areas of e-Governance across five plenary sessions. Built on the premise of "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance", the conference is an opportunity for the public and private sectors to discuss best practices and explore new areas of partnership in areas related to e-Governance.

    Three books have been released on the 1st day of the conference. Speaking on the occasion, the Information and Broadcasting minister hit out at oppositon parties on the issue of demonetization. Naidu said those hiding black money are opposing demonetization.

    France supports India's membership of UNSC

    New Delhi, Jan 9: French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault meets PM Narendra Modi. France reiterates its support for India's membership of NSG and candidature as a permanent member in a reformed and expanded UN security council. Seeking to give a greater momentum to the Indo-French strategic relationship, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault on Sunday discussed a wide spectrum of issues, including defence and terrorism.

    The French side said the bilateral ties should move forward with the speed of a Rafale fighter jet. During the talks, on the sidelines of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Bengaluru, both leaders had considerable discussions on international terrorism of which the two countries are victims.

    The two leaders also discussed about the cooperation in civil energy with specific reference to Jaitapur nuclear plant.

    PM to address valedictory session of BJP National Executive Meet

    New Delhi, Jan 7: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today address the valedictory session of the 2 day BJP National Executive Meet. Earlier in his opening remarks. The BJP President Amit Shah hailed demonetisation and surgical strikes as the two historic decisions taken by the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.

    Shah said that while the surgical strikes showed Centre's zero tolerance for terrorism, the demonetisation decision will result in higher revenues for the govt which in turn would be used by the govt for the welfare of the poor, farmers and weaker sections of society.

    He targeted the opposition parties for criticizing demonetisation saying they used to earlier question what the government has done against black money and now they are questioning the government.

    PM Modi attends Prakash Parva in Patna

    New Delhi, Jan 5: Prime Narendra Modi today exhorted people to adopt the path of Guru Govind Singh ji Maharaj and maintain high moral values , standards and social harmony in their lives. Addressing devotees at Patna on the occasion of 350 th birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh.

    Mr. Modi said, Guru Gobind Singh ji's entire life was devoted to serving the people and fighting for values of truth, justice and compassion. The Prime Minister said, he is delighted to be part of Prakash Parva celebration of Guru Gobind Singh ji. Earlier, he bowed in reverence in front of the holy Gurugranth Sahab.

    PM Modi also released special commemorative stamps on Prakash Parv. Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, Union Minsters Ravi Shankar Prasad Ram Vilash Paswan and Harsimrat Kaur were present on this occassion.

    Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar sworn-in as CJI

    New Delhi, Jan 4: Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar sworn-in as the Chief Justice of India on Wednesday. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office and secrecy to Justice Khehar at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan. Justice Khehar is the 44th CJI and replace Justice TS Thakur whose tenure ended on Tuesday. Justice Khehar's tenure will be till the 27th of August this year.

    Army Chief Bipin Rawat pays tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti

    New Delhi, Jan 1: The New Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who succeeded Gen Dalbir Singh, on Sunday paid tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti and inspected the guard of honour. Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat had taken over as the 27th chief of Indian Army on Saturday, succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh, who retired after 42 years of service.

    Lt General Bipin Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the 'Sword of Honour'. Addressing media persons on Sunday, the new army chief said that the Indian army is duty bound to maintain the security and sanctity of borders.

    PM launches BHIM App to boost digital transactions

    New Delhi, Dec 31: PM Narendra Modi on Friday launched UPI based mobile payment application called BHIM or Bharat Interface for Money, at the Digi Dhan Mela event in Talkatora stadium, New Delhi as the 50-day window to deposit old Rs. 500 and 1000 notes neared its close. He said boosting digital connectivity will do wonders for our nation, adding that the day was not far off when the cash-based transaction will turn completely digital.

    PM hailed this app as not just a revolution for the country but for the world as well. While calling the BHIM app a tribute to Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the PM said that your thumb will now be your bank and announced that soon biometric system will be in place for cashless transactions.

    Taking a dig at previous governments the Prime Minister said earlier money lost in the scams made news but now the nation is talking about money coming back into the system. The Prime minister came down heavily on his detractors.

    The PM said that there has been a massive change post November 8th when the country has come together to fight internal evils rather than just external ones. He said that people are standing together to remove dishonesty which has spread like termite and are fighting for honesty.

    Cabinet approves ordinance on demonetised notes

    New Delhi, Dec 29: Union Cabinet approves ordinance related to demonetisation of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. After 31st March 2017, possession of the demonetised notes beyond a specified amount to attract a monetary fine. Currency notes across the world carry their Central Banks' promise to pay the bearer the amount of the value of the note but Reserve Bank of India will not be bound by that pledge anymore with the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra giving its approval to an ordinance relating to demonetised 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

    The ordinance proposes to end the liability of the govt and RBI on the demonetised high denomination notes after 31st March. The Specified Bank Notes Cessation of Liabilities Ordinance makes holding of old 1,000 and 500 rupee notes post 31st March beyond a threshold amount an offence that will attract a monetary fine. Strict conditions have been imposed for allowing deposit of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes in specified branches of RBI after 30th December.

    PM lays foundation stone of Char Dham Highway Dev. Programme

    Uttarakhand, Dec 28: To make Char Dham pilgrimage safe and convenient, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of 900 kilometre long Char Dham Highway Development Programme in Dehradun on Tuesday. Prime Minister Modi dedicated the ambitious project to all those who lost their lives in the natural disaster that rocked Uttarakhand in 2013. After laying the foundation stone for the mega project, the Prime Minister said that the long over due project will help lakhs of people by creating employment opportunities, boosting tourism and strengthening the local economy.

    He said that people will remember the Union government as Shravan Kumar a historical character who finds mention in the Ramayana and epitomises devotion towards parents. Every year thousands of pilgrims from across India and beyond its shores visit the four abodes of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath in Uttarakhand.

    But the highway network along Char Dham got severely devastated following the cloudburst in 2013. And this badly affected the influx of pilgrims. Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre has taken the onus of making the pilgrimage safe and convenient for pilgrims. The main objective is to develop around 900 kms of national highways at an approximate cost of Rs. 12,000 crore. Around Rs 3,000-crore project has already been sanctioned.

    PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial

    Mumbai, Dec 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Mumbai today on a day-long visit to Maharashtra, where he will lay the foundation stones of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial at an island in Arabian Sea off Mumbai Coast. The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stones of major infrastructure projects like two new Metro lines, Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and Kalanagar flyover.

    These projects are expected to improve connectivity and reduce overcrowding in local trains as well as vehicular traffic on Mumbai’s roads.

    Later Mr Modi will address a public function in suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). Prime Minister will also inaugurate the newly-built campus of SEBI's National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) at Patanganga near Mumbai. The Prime Minister will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project.

    PM to lay foundation of country's first ever Indian Institute of Skills at Kanpur

    New Delhi, Dec 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the country's first ever Indian Institute of Skills in Kanpur, the idea of which was conceptualized by Mr. Modi during his visit to Singapore's Institute of Technical Education. The institute will be opened by the Skill Development Ministry in partnership with the Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.

    Prime Minister will also inaugurate the Kaushal Pradarshani (Skill Exhibition) for the youth. The Exhibition will showcase state-of-the-art vocational training practices of various sectors. Mr. Modi will also launch a number of skill development initiatives including Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras and Drivers’ Training Institutes.

    Prime Minister will also address a Parivartan rally in Kanpur today. This will be the sixth Parivartan Rally to be addressed by Prime Minister in Uttar Pradesh.

    India-Indonesia sign three key agreements

    New Delhi, Dec 13: Visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo held wide ranging discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. President Widodo is accompanied by a high-level delegation including several cabinet ministers, senior officials and a 22 member business delegation. India and Indonesia signed three agreements in fields of sports, stopping illegal fishing and standardisation.

    Both countries have agreed to cooperate in maritime security to ensure the safety of sea. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed confidence that the discussions & the agreements will help shape an action agenda and add new intensity to Strategic engagement.

    PM Modi said that defence cooperation, combating terrorism, organised crime & human trafficking are high on agenda. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that discussions centered on deepening trade ties between both countries. Earlier today, Indonesian President was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

    President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the visiting dignitary at the President's House. The Indonesian President's 2 day visit is the first since former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's trip to India in 2011. He also visited Rajghat and offered respects at memorial of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

    Gujarat: PM Modi addresses rally, inaugurates public projects

    Gujrat, Dec 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Deesa in Banaskantha district of Gujarat where he inaugurated a cheese and whey plant set up with state-of-the-art technology at a cost of 350 crore rupees at the milk co-operative dairy plant of Banas dairy. Milk of the famous Kankrej variety of cow of this area will be used at this plant.

    PM Modi also inaugurated a honey plant. In a boost to less cash digital economy, PM Modi also inaugurated Banas bank with online and mobile facilities. He also released a book. Speaking at a rally in Deesa Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the opposition for not allowing Parliament to function.

    An anguished Prime Minister said that since he is not being allowed to speak in Lok Sabha, so he is speaking in the Jan Sabhas. The Prime Minister said the farmers in Banaskantha heard my request and embraced drip irrigation. He added that this has changed the lives of people here and lives of future generations.

    PM Modi said that along with 'Shwet Kranti' in Banaskantha, there is also a 'Sweet Kranti.' He added that People are being trained in honey products. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed on stage with garlands and gifts.

    PM Modi to address farmers, inaugurate Amul unit in Gujarat

    New Delhi, Dec 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a cheese plant set up with state-of-the-art technology at a cost of 350 crore rupees at the milk co-operative dairy plant of Banas dairy in Banaskantha district of Gujarat on Saturday. Visiting the Deesa town in Banaskantha district of North Gujarat after 28 years, Prime Minister Modi address farmers and milk producers from the region.

    Preparations are in full swing and adequate security arrangements line up in Deesa town. Cheese plant at the Banas dairy has a capacity of producing 30 metric tonne cheese daily. With better revenue through this project, the milk producers will be given good prices of their produce in future. Prime Minister will also inaugurate a Whey plant, which has a capacity of 40 metric tonne per day.

    Two powder products are to be produced as per market demand through this plant. Milk of the famous Kankrej variety of cow of this area will be used to produce Whey powder. The Prime Minister will address the public rally at airstrip ground in Banaskantha.

    Since August PM Modi has visited the state five times and addressed public meetings in Saurashtra, Central and South Gujarat and Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar. He will also kickstart Golden Jubilee year celebration of the dairy.

    Cabinet approves reforms to boost employment generation

    New Delhi, Dec 8: Union Cabinet approves reforms to boost employment generation and export in textile sector; decides to keep Fertilizer subsidy rate unchanged for Oct-Mar 2016-17; also approves MoU between India & Thailand on Cooperation in controlling narcotic drugs & psychotropic substances.

    The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to keep P&K fertilizer subsidy rate unchanged for October-March period of 2016-17. Cabinet also approved expansion of mandate of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project Implementation Fund. Cabinet has also given nod to reforms to boost employment generation and export in textile made-up sectors.

    Cabinet has given approval to Election Commission's proposal for purchase of voting machines, at a total cost of around Rs 1,000 crores during 2017 to 2019. This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. Cabinet has also approved MoU between India & Thailand on Cooperation in controlling narcotic drugs & psychotropic substances.

    Heart of Asia: Amritsar declaration calls for elimination of Terror

    Amritsar, Dec 05: The Amritsar Declaration, unanimously adopted at the Sixth Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process, called for dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terror networks. Besides, strengthening connectivity with Afghanistan was a core issue in the multilateral deliberations.

    Intensifying efforts to combat terrorism, ways to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan and boosting regional connectivity for Afghanistan's economic growth were some of the major focus areas during two day's deliberations at the Heart of Asia conference. Addressing joint press conference with Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister after the conclusion of Heart of Asia Conference in Amritsar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Amritsar Declaration recognised terrorism as the biggest threat to peace and demanded immediate end to all forms of terrorism.

    The Amritsar Declaration called for dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in the region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical and logistical support for terror networks. The Amritsar Declaration called for intensifying efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations through solidarity and collective action.

    The Declaration also sought early finalization of the draft on Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. For the first time, the Heart of Asia Declaration expressed concern at the violence caused in Afghanistan and the region by terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Daesh, LeT and JeM and others.

    The conference, whose theme was 'Addressing Challenges, Achieving Prosperity', also deliberated on major connectivity initiatives including Chabahar project. Reiterating India's firm commitment to boost connectivity and linkages with Afghanistan, Arun Jaitley said that New Delhi is quite open about the possibility of both road and rail linkages with Afghanistan.

    The two-day conference was attended by nearly 40 countries and leading groupings like the European Union, NATO and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

    SC orders status quo on Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal land

    New Delhi, Dec 01: The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on land acquired for the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal's stretch in Punjab and appointed the Union Home Secretary, Punjab's Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police as receivers.

    The Apex Court pronounced the order on a plea by the Haryana government that sought status quo ante in the wake of Punjab government's decision to de-notify the acquired land and restoring it to original owners. The court, however, made it clear that the receivers are only for the purposes of submitting a report on the ground situation.

    PM Modi: New tax bill not an amnesty

    New Delhi, Nov 29: Addressing BJP MPs, PM Modi said that the government's war against black money and the income tax amendment bill aims at returning money looted from the poor to them and in ensuring welfare of the downtrodden sections of society. He categorically said that the tax amendment was not meant to provide an opportunity to turn black money into white.

    Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar today said PM will intervene in the demonetisation debate in both houses of the parliament. Addressing media after the meet of BJP Mps led by Prime Minister Modi, the Union minister said that the government has been ready for a debate from the very first day of the winter session. PM has asked all BJP MPs, MLAs to submit details of their bank account transactions between November 8 and December 31 to BJP President Amit Shah.

    133 dead, over 180 injured in Kanpur train tragedy

    Kanpur, Nov 21: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu promises "strictest possible action" against those guilty behind train derailment near Kanpur; assures to expedite replacement of old coaches; separate comprehensive investigation with forensic analysis ordered apart from a statutory probe by Railways Safety Commissioner. 145 people have died in the Indore-Patna Express derailment in Pukhrayan near Kanpur and around 180 people have been injured.

    NDRF has completed the Rescue and search operation. All the derailed bogies have been removed from the tracks and track repairs are on. They are expected to be completed soon after which train services are likely to resume. Meanwhile, a special train with rest of the passengers of the ill-fated Indore-Patna express reached Patna on Monday morning.

    President presents awards to squadrons of IAF

    Ambala, Nov 11: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday presented the awards of Standards to 501 Signal Units and 30 squadrons of Indian Air Force. During a function at Ambala Airforce Station, President Mukherjee was given Rashtriya Salute. He also released special covers and brochures of Indian Airforce.
    Photo Exhibition was also organised on the occasion. Parade March by the Indian Air Force personnel was one of the main attractions of the function. Speaking on the occasion, the president said though the country remained firmly committed to peace, that we use all our might to protect the sovereignty of the nation.

    President Pranab Mukherjee says bold step of govt will help

    New Delhi, Nov 9: President Pranab Mukherjee has welcomed the Government's decision. In a series of tweets, Mr Mukherjee said, the bold step of the Government will help unearth unaccounted money and counterfeit currency. The President called upon people not to panic and follow Government guidelines for exchange of the1000 and 500 rupee notes.

    President Pranab Mukherjee reaches Nepal on 3-day visit

    New Delhi, Nov 2: President Pranab Mukherjee is holding official discussion with Nepalese President Vidyadevi Bhandari at Sheetal Niwas on various regional, bilateral and international issues. The President reached Nepal on a three-day state visit this afternoon.

    He was received at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan airport by Nepalese President, and was accorded ceremonial Gaurd of Honour. This is the first visit by an Indian head of the state in 18 years to the neighbouring Himalayan country.

    PM seeks report on Ease of Doing Business

    New Delhi, Oct 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi asks all Chief Secretaries and Secretaries to study and analyze the World Bank report on Ease of Doing Business in India; During his PRAGATI interaction, PM asks for earmarking potential areas with a scope for improvement; Seeks a report on this within a month.

    Making a mention of the world bank's latest report on ease of doing business in India, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all Chief Secretaries and Secretaries to study the report, and analyze the potential areas where there is scope for improvement in their respective departments and states. He asked for a report from all concerned in this regard, within a month, and asked the Cabinet Secretary to review the same thereafter. PM Modi also expressed concern at a large number of grievances of labourers and EPF beneficiaries across the country.

    UDAN to provide affordable air travel option

    New Delhi, Oct 24: Udey Desh Ka Aam Nagrik or UDAN, a much anticipated scheme by the Centre to strengthen regional connectivity has been unveiled. The scheme aims to provide air journey opportunities at cheaper fares for people in tier 2 and 3 cities and towns. Apart from this, the scheme also has the potential make almost 50 underutilized airports across the country operational.

    It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and dream to travel air travel more affordable to all the people of the country. To make that dream a reality, Ministry of Civil Aviation has unveiled a new Regional Connectivity scheme- Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik.

    The scheme is aimed at operating regional flights by capping fares at Rs 2,500 for per hour of flight. That means people can take a flight at Rs. 2500 to travel a distance of around 500km. During the occasion Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju said Airlines play a key role in making this prestigious scheme successful.

    A "first of its kind" in the world, UDAN will be based on market mechanism as well as bidding for a minimum of 9 seats and a maximum of 40 seats in a fixed wing aircraft. For 50% of the seats of flights under UDAN, the fare cap will be Rs 2,500, and the rest will be market-based pricing.

    Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha said UDAN scheme will improve the regional connectivity and boost the regional aviation market which will in turn contribute in the complete growth of the sector. Government expects the first flight under this scheme to take off around January.

    Government: Will keep giving such replies

    J&K, Oct 22: Government hails security forces for their strong retaliation to Pakistan killing 7 Pakistani Rangers and one terrorist in Hiranagar sector; MoS Home Hansraj Ahir says we will keep giving such replies whenever Pakistan provokes. In a major breakthrough for security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, seven Pakistani rangers and an infiltrating terrorist were gunned down on friday in retaliatory fire by the Border Security Force along the international border in Hiranagar sector of Kathua.

    An Indian officer was also injured in the exchange but our troops have been responding to repeated Pakistani provocations of ceasefire violations and infiltration bids with full fire and determination. After the surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir by the Indian Army in response to the Uri terror attack, the ceasefire along the LoC and international border has been consistently violated by Pakistani forces. In the last two days there has been relentless firing by Pakistani forces in Kathua and Rajouri sectors of Jammu.

    On Friday morning at 9:35 am Pakistan troops opened sudden fire on BSF posts in Bobiya in Hiranagar sector of Kathua. The Indian troops retaliated in a befitting manner. In the firing Capt Gurunam Singh was injured and immediately taken to the hospital. One Pakistani Ranger was killed in the return fire. In the last two days, there has been firing from the Pakistani side many times in the whole region.

    Thursday saw heavy firing from Pakistani troops in the Bimber Gali sector of Rajouri. The intense firing by the Pakistani Rangers is clearly to facilitate 'terrorist infiltration'. The Army foiled an infiltration bid along the LoC in Poonch on Friday. Suspicious activities led to Indian troops challenging two to three intruders. In the exchange of fire the intruders escaped. On Thursday an infiltration attempt in the Bobiya area was foiled.

    On the one hand infiltration attempts are being foiled, on the other Security forces are conducting intensive search operations from house to house for terrorists hiding in Baramulla. On Tuesday, in the old town of Baramulla during a 12 hours extensive search operation more than 700 homes were searched in which 44 people were arrested for alleged involvement in terror-related activities.

    Perhaps for the first time in Kashmir security forces seized Chinese flags, petrol bombs, Pakistani flags, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad letter pads and unauthorized mobile phones along with anti-national propaganda material. Both the Centre and state governments have made it clear that Pakistan would need to stop sponsoring terrorism for any resumption of dialogue between the two countries to take place.

    The government says India is in favor of peace, but will not come under pressure from terrorists and will continue to pursue a policy of zero tolerance on terror. On September 28 after in response to an attack on an Army camp in Uri, Indian special forces crossed the LoC and killed several militants. Pakistan has been spending sleepless nights since then, and has increased the intensity of ceasefire violations along the LoC and International border.

    PM Narendra Modi showers high praise on Army

    Bhopal, Oct 14: PM Modi dedicates a War Memorial to the nation in Bhopal; showers high praise on contribution of soldiers to the country; PM says army believes in acts of valour, not words. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the soldiers at the event of inauguration of the Shaurya Smarak, built to honour the country's braveheart martyred soldiers in Bhopal.

    The Shaurya Smarak is spread over an area of 12.67 acre land and the tales of their bravery are on display at this memorial. Without naming the surgical strikes that were conducted across the LoC after the Uri attack, the Prime Minister said that the most important weapon of the army is its morale and will power.. the army does not believe in speaking but in displaying its valour.

    He added that the Government has fulfilled the promise of one rank, one pension. He also said that the Government would try to give the full benefit of the Seventh Pay Commission to the soldiers. He also said that the army never "forgives" the country if it is found "sleeping" when it should be awake.

    Prime Minister Modi also said that there are war memorials, there are memorials for martyrs but shaurya smarak includes everything. Praising the memorial, PM Mdoi said it is like a pilgrimage site.

    Gujarat ATS arrests two ISI agents

    Gujrat, Oct 13: Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad Wednesday night arrested two Pakistani ISI agents from the border town of Khavda in Kutch district. Identified as Mohammad Alana and Safur Sumara, ATS is learnt to have recovered several incriminating documents pertaining to the movements of Indian army and paramilitary forces in the region with them.

    Revelations suggest that a Pakistani woman was used as honey trap to lure the two. Alana appointed Safur Sumra. Sufra collected information related to security forces. ATS suspects that some visits of Alana were arranged by ISI. The ATS sources added that the captured ISI agents had communicated this information to the Pakistani side.

    Terrorism is the modern day Ravan: PM

    Lucknow, Oct 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent out a strong message against the evil of terrorism in his address at the Dussehra celebrations in Aishbagh in Lucknow. PM Modi said terrorism is the enemy of humanity and that vigilant people can thwart the designs of terrorists. Prime Minister Modi also said that those who help terrorists and provide shelter to them cannot be spared.

    He said communalism, casteism, and nepotism are ravanas within us that we need to get rid of. Breaking with tradition Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attended the historic Ramlila at the Aisgbagh maidan in Lucknow, and participated in the Dussehra program. He performed aarti of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Hanuman at the beginning of the program. PM Modi was presented with a mace, weapons and the Sudarshan chakra symbolising the means used to quell evil.

    In his address on the occasion, Prime Minister raised the issue of terrorism prominently, and said that those giving sanctuary to terrorists cannot be spared at any cost. He also said India is a peace-loving country and is a country that leans towards 'budhh' more than 'yudh', but sometimes war becomes an unavoidable.

    Govt committed towards housing for all scheme: President

    Gwalior, Oct 3: President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday presided over a function for distribution of keys and ownership certificates for EWS houses at Jiwaji University in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. These houses were built under the Integrated Housing & Slum Development Project. Out of a total 1088 houses, keys and ownership certificates, were given to 632 beneficiaries from economically weaker sections.

    The keys were given to six selected beneficiaries at the function, while remaining 626 beneficiaries will be given keys later on. Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar was also present on the occasion.

    Speaking on the occasion, President Mukherjee complimented prime Minister Narendra Modi for launching Housing for All scheme to provide homes to weaker sections by 2022. He also said that government is committed to fulfil its promise.

    Indian Army conducts surgical strikes: DGMO

    New Delhi, Sep 29: In a media briefing on Thursday the DGMO and MEA said that Indian Army has conducted surgical strikes last night at LoC, aimed at foiling infiltration bid. The DGMO added "Matter of serious concern that there have been many infiltration bids at LoC; this is reflected in terror attacks in Poonch and Uri". According to DGMO "Despite persistent urging to Pakistan to not allow territory under its control to not be used for terror activities, nothing was done."

    PM calls meeting to review MFN status to Pakistan

    New Delhi, Sep 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls meeting to review 'Most Favoured Nation' Status to Pakistan on 29th September; Officials from MEA & Commerce Ministry to attend; Meeting comes close on the heels of Indus Water Treaty review meeting held by PM on Monday. Taking India's tough stand further against Pakistan after the Uri attack, PM Modi has called review meeting on ''Most Favoured Nation' Status to Pakistan' on 29th September.
    The Meeting came close on the heels of Indus Water Treaty review meeting held by PM on Monday. The Centre may consider proposal to withdraw the 'Most Favoured Nation' (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan in the meeting. The MFN status was accorded to Pak in 1996 as per India's commitments as a member of the World Trade Organisation. Even after the India's commitment on it, Pakistan has not yet given the MFN status to India.

    PM inaugurates platinum jubilee celebrations of CSIR

    New Delhi, Sep 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the platinum jubilee celebration of Council for Scientific & Industrial Research in New Delhi. He called for making CSIR the 'Ease of doing Technology Business' platform to bring in right stakeholders so technologies reach beneficiaries. releases 7 new plant varieties to farmers located at five different locations through video conference.

    The celebrations began with an aim to push the institution to work more vigorously for bringing the result of its research, new technology and discoveries from lab to people and industries. The Prime Minister also released a new variety of turmeric called CIM pithamber which can double the yield and can withstand leaf blotch. This variety of turmeric is developed by Central Institute Medicinal and Aromatic plants to the farmers.

    Congratulating scientists of the CSIR, The Prime Minister said that It is a matter of pride for every Indian that CSIR is celebrating 75th year of committed contribution to the development of modern India. He expressed confidence that CSIR scientists will keep developing new technologies in the years to come.

    PM chairs meeting to review steps towards holistic development of islands

    New Delhi, Sep 22: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the steps towards holistic development of islands. The Prime Minister was given a presentation on the vision for holistic development, which involved inputs from the NITI Aayog, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and other senior officials.

    India has a total of 1382 offshore islands, out of which officials have initially proposed 26, which could be considered for holistic development. These 26 islands are located along different parts of India’s coastline, including some in the Andamans and Lakshadweep. Officials informed the Prime Minister that developmental activities shall be centred around basic infrastructure, tourism, agriculture (including organic agriculture and fisheries), and carbon-neutral energy generation

    India successfully test-fires surface-to-air missile 'Barak-8' off Odisha coast

    Odisha, Sep 20: India today successfully test-fired the most advanced surface-to-air missile 'Barak-8' off the Odisha coast. The long-range nuclear capable ballistic missile, developed jointly with Israel, was launched at 10:13 AM from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur in Balasore district. The 4.5-meter missile weighs around 3 tonnes and can carry a payload of 70 kilograms.

    The system also includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile. Defence sources said, the missile swung into action after getting a signal from the radars to intercept a moving aerial target supported by an unmanned air vehicle 'Banshee' over the Bay of Bengal. Barak-8 was successfully test fired twice on June 30th and once on July 1st.

    Bodies of 17 martyred jawans to be brought to Srinagar

    J&K, Sep 19: Bodies of 17 martyred jawans in Sunday's Uri terror attack will be brought to Srinagar today. The soldiers were martyred in the attack after heavily armed terrorists stormed an the army camp in the town in the early hours. In a counter action, security forces gunned down four terrorists, belonged to Jaish e Mohammed. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will visit Jammu and Kashmir today to assess the situation in wake of Uri Attack.
    Army releases names of Jawans martyred in Uri: 1. Subedar Karnail Singh (J&K) 2. Havildar Ravi Paul (J&K) 3. Sepoy Rakesh Singh (Bihar) 4. Sepoy Javra Munda (Jharkhand) 5. Sepoy Naiman Kujur (Jharkhand) 6. Sepoy Uike Janrao (Maharashtra) 7. Havildar NS Rawat (Rajasthan) 8. Sepoy Ganesh Shankar (U.P.) 9. Naik SK Vidarthi (Bihar) 10. Sepoy Biswajit Ghorai (West Bengal) 11. Lance Naik G Shankar (Maharashtra) 12.Sep G Dalai (West Bengal) 13. Lance Naik RK Yadav (U.P.) 14. Sepoy Harinder Yadav (U.P.) 15. Sepoy TS Somnath (Maharashtra) 16. Havildar Ashok Kumar Singh (Bihar) 17. Sepoy Rajesh kr Singh (U.P.)

    PM Modi's birthday to be celebrated as ''Sewa Diwas''

    New Delhi, Sep 17: Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday on September 17 will be celebrated as ''Sewa Diwas''. Lakhs of BJP workers have organised large number of social welfare programmes throughout the country on the occasion of PM Modi's birthday on Saturday.

    Using a special section of the Narendra Modi App, people can directly greet the Prime Minister on Saturday when he turns 66. People can also take a pledge towards various causes to help in nation building. People can share their thoughts, anecdotes and wishes people can directly greet PM on Namo app.

    People can use their photos in making greeting card for PM. PM's stress on connect with common man prominent personalities join PM's vision of development.

    HM chairs high level meeting to discuss situation in J&K

    New Delhi, Sep 12: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday reviewed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other top officials during an hour-long meeting. He directed all concerned to try to bring back normalcy in the state within a week. The officials gave a briefing on the prevailing situation as well as along the border and the steps taken to restore normalcy in the state.

    Literacy: Make the world a better place

    ND, Sep 8: The world is celebrating 50th International Literacy Day on September 8 under the banner "Reading the Past, Writing the Future". The International Literacy Day 2016 honored the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world.

    It also aimed to address current challenges and look for innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future. Functions are being organised to mark the day. President, Pranab Mukherjee will be the Chief Guest at the celebration of International Literacy Day function in New Delhi.

    During the function President will give Saakshar Bharat Award to Sonitpur district of Assam and Surguja district of Chhattisgarh. Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar will preside over the celebration of International Literacy Day. Ministers of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey and Upendra Kushwaha will be the also be present on the occasion.

    PM Modi to attend India-ASEAN Summit in Laos

    New Delhi, Sep 7: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches Laos on a two-day visit to attend the India-ASEAN and East Asia summits. In a statement before departure, PM termed ASEAN a key partner for India's Act East Policy; said, our engagement and approach can be best encapsulated in just one word - connectivity. PM to also hold bilateral meetings with several leaders on sidelines of the summits.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to pitch for expanding trade ties with the powerful grouping besides enhancing overall cooperation at the 14th India-ASEAN summit scheduled for Thursday in Laos capital, Vientiane. Discussions will be carried out for furthering cooperation between India & ASEAN countries in Agriculture, Climate Change, Non-traditional security areas, and cyber crimes and strengthening connectivity.

    PM will also attend the 11th East Asia Summit which is likely to deliberate on issues related to security and threat of terrorism. PM Modi has described ASEAN as a key partner in India's Act East Policy in his departure statement. He has also expressed the wish to enhance India's physical and digital connectivity with the region.

    Home Minister briefs PM Modi about all party delegation's visit to J&K

    New Delhi, Sep 6: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who led the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation, briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the visit today. Yesterday, in Jammu, Mr Singh had said that the team had very good interactions with individuals and groups and that it would meet in Delhi and discuss the future action plan. The delegation was in Srinagar on Sunday and had visited Jammu before returning to Delhi.

    Before winding up the visit, the Home Minister sent out a clear message to separatists, asserting that Jammu and Kashmir will always remain an integral part of India. He, however, said as far as talks are concerned, doors are open to everyone who want peace and normalcy.

    Mr Singh had said, opposition leaders tried to meet the Hurriyat Conference in their individual capacity, but what the separatists did was neither Kashmiriyat nor Insaniyat.

    Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begin today

    Mumbai, Sep 5: Ten-day Ganesh Chaturthi festivities began across the country with decorated pandals of Lord Ganesha to attract the devotees. President Pranab Mukherjee has greeted people on the occasion. In his message, the President wished that the blessings of Lord Ganesha be upon all and bestow good fortune and happiness.

    Vice President M. Hamid Ansari extended wishes that the festival bring 'peace, harmony and prosperity in our country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted the nation on the occasion and said 'may the blessings of Lord Ganesh always remain with us'

    India and Vietnam agree to elevate bilateral relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership; Sign agreements

    Hanoi, Sep 3: India and Vietnam have agreed to elevate bilateral relations from Strategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This was announced in a joint press statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi. Mr Modi said that this will provide a new direction, momentum and substance to bilateral relations. He said that common efforts of the two countries will also contribute to stability, security and prosperity of the region.

    The Prime Minister also announced a line of credit of 500 million US Dollars to Vietnam to facilitate deeper defence cooperation. Mr Modi said that new trade and business opportunities will be tapped to achieve the 15 billion Dollar trade target by 2020. Later speaking at a banquet hosted by his Vietnamese counterpart, Mr Modi said, Vietnam is a strong pillar of India's Act East Policy and bilateral ties are based on strong mutual trust, understanding and convergence of views on various regional and international issues.

    Earlier, India and Vietnam signed 12 agreements in different areas of cooperation including exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, double taxation avoidance, co-operation on UN peacekeeping operation, health, cyber security, advanced IT training, sharing of shipping information between the Navies of the two countries and mutual recognition of standards. The two countries also agreed to celebrate 2017 as the Year of Friendship.

    PM Modi & Egyptian President hold delegation level talks

    New Delhi, Sep 2: India and Egypt have signed an agreement in the area of Maritime Transport to step up co-operation on the seas. The agreement was signed after delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in New Delhi. In his press statement, Mr Modi said, growing radicalisation, including violence and spread of terror are a real threat across regions.

    Pitching for greater information and operational exchanges to combat terrorism, the two countries also agreed to cooperate on emerging challenges of cyber security. They will work together to fight drug trafficking, transitional crimes and money laundering. Saying trade and investment linkages are essential for eco prosperity of the societies, Mr Modi called for increased flow of goods, services and capital between India and Egypt. Mr Modi appreciated Egypt's good work during its current term on UNSC.

    US talks tough on Pakistan-sponsored terror

    New Delhi, Sep 1: Wrapping up his three-day visit, the US secretary of state John Kerry on Wednesday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the last day of his India visit. He briefed Prime Minister on the 2nd India-U.S. Strategic & Commercial Dialogue that concluded on Tuesday. They discussed progress in bilateral engagements since Prime Minister's visit to U.S. in June 2016.

    Secretary Kerry also shared U.S. perspective on developments in the region and beyond with PM Modi. In turn, PM conveyed satisfaction at the expanded and strengthened strategic partnership between India and the United States over the past two years.

    He also said that he looked forward to rapid progress and successful completion of the decisions taken with President Obama at the recent Summit Meeting in June and that he looked forward to meeting President Obama at the G-20 Summit in China.

    Earlier Kerry said that Pakistan needs to push harder against indigenous groups engaged in terrorists activities from its soil. At an interactive session with IIT Delhi students on Wednesday, Kerry specifically used the term indigenous groups, stressing the fact that Pakistan has to face the reality that its home grown networks are spreading nothing but terror in the neighbourhood which also includes Afghanistan.

    Bring perpetrators of Mumbai, Pathankot attacks to justice:US

    New Delhi, Aug 31: Denouncing any distinction between good and bad terrorists, India and the United States have asked Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and the January 2 Pathankot airbase attack. During the second strategic and commercial dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her US counterpart John Kerry focused discussions on security, terrorism, trade and investment.

    The visiting US Secretary of State is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. India and the US held talks under their Second Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) during which the issues relating to security, terrorism and trade and investment were discussed.

    Be the change that you seek: President to law students

    New Delhi, Aug 29: President Pranab Mukherjee has said legal fraternity, especially students of law, must be in the vanguard of the battle for the rights and welfare of our people. The President was addressing the 24th Annual Convocation of National Law School of India University , in Bengaluru. The President urged the law students to help the nation create better citizens who are able to access all opportunities offered by it and society.

    "I urge all of you students of law to study our Constitution well. Understand our political system, its institutions and processes as established by the Constitution and law. Analyse the choices that were made to build the country into what it is today," he said. "Be the change that you seek through participation in all matters relating to governance and the state. Choose to engage with our beautiful, complex, often difficult and sometimes noisy democracy help strengthen and refine our legal and political institutions," he said at the convocation, which was not open for the media.

    PM to inaugurate NITI Aayog's maiden annual lecture on Transforming India

    New Delhi, Aug 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate NITI Aayog's maiden annual lecture on Transforming India in New Delhi today. On the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam will deliver a keynote address on the subject Fulfilling India's Potential in the Global Economy.

    Nearly 1,400 delegates, including Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and senior officers will also attend the event. A panel discussion and brainstorming session are also part of the event where Ministers and officers will exchange ideas on economy, governance and development with Shanmugratnam. The annual lecture series on Transforming India was proposed by PM Narendra Modi to bring in international personalities to share their experiences and ideas on India.

    Deputy PM of Nepal meets PM Modi

    New Delhi, Aug 20: Bimalendraimalendra Nidhi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs of Nepal called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. Bimalendra Nidhi briefed the Prime Minister about developments in Nepal.

    Stating that the relations between India and Nepal were not merely between the two Governments, but between the people of both countries, the Prime Minister reiterated that India is committed to strengthening these traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is fully committed to support the Government and the people of Nepal in the post-earthquake reconstruction efforts. PM Modi also conveyed an invitation to the Prime Minister of Nepal to visit India at his earliest convenience.

    FS-level talks: Ball in Pak's court, says India

    New Delhi, Aug 19: India has conveyed its position vis-à-vis Pakistan's offer of Foreign Secy level Talks that it accepts the invitation to visit Islamabad but made it clear the discussions should focus first on the more pressing aspects of the Jammu & Kashmir situation.

    In the latest Response , MEA has underlined the importance of bringing to justice all those guilty in Pakistan for the Mumbai terror attack of 2008 and Pathankot airbase attack while stressing that a visit to Islamabad should provide the opportunity to receive a briefing from Pakistan's Foreign Secretary on progress in this regard.

    India has toughened its stand vis-a-vis Pakistan after rejecting Pakistan's offer to hold talks on Kashmir and proposing talks on terrorism instead. It says it is looking forward to discussing with Pakistan the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan's illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar has expressed govt's keeness to discuss that aspect in his letter to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

    People of Balochistan, Kashmir thanked me: PM Modi

    New Delhi, Aug 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day said the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have thanked him a lot in the past few days and he is grateful to them. Prime Minister Modi has mentioned PoK and Balochistan for a second time within a week.

    No compromise on Kashmir, PoK is ours: PM Modi

    New Delhi, Aug 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK) is ours as much as Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh.

    He asked the External Affairs Ministry to contact residents of PoK staying abroad and get information from them about the pathetic conditions in PoK and let the world know the fact. He said terrorism has adversely affected common life in Kashmir and time has come to expose Pakistan's atrocities in PoK and Balochistan.

    Addressing an all party meeting in New Delhi on prevailing situation in Kashmir valley, PM Modi said the main cause of unrest is cross-border terrorism emanating from the neighbouring country. He reiterated government's commitment for peaceful and permanent solution of Kashmir issue as per the basic principles of the Constitution.

    Govt committed for development, safety of dalits: Naidu

    New Delhi, Aug 11: Government has said, it is committed for the development, safety and security of dalits in the country. Talking to media outside Parliament, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, the Centre has taken several initiatives for their empowerment.

    He criticised Congress and other political parties for unnecessarily politicising the issue. He said attempts are being made to defame the NDA government at the Centre. Mr Naidu wondered why the Congress has become pro-dalits suddenly despite the fact the states ruled by it have witnessed atrocities against them.

    PM launches Yaad Karo Kurbani celebrations at Azad's birthplace in MP

    Bhopal, Aug 9: PM Narendra Modi today launched the Yaad Karo Kurbani celebrations today at the birthplace of freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad at Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh to mark 70 years of Independence and 74 years of Quit India Movement. Prime Minister also payed floral tributes at Chandrashekhar Azad's birthplace and visited an exhibition related to the life the freedom fighter.

    The 70 saal Azaadi, Yaad karo Qurbani campaign is aimed at developing a feeling in every person that nation is first and individual is secondary. It will provide an opportunity for the people to recall the supreme sacrifices made by freedom fighters during freedom struggle.

    PM to launch programme - 70 Saal Azadi - Zara Yaad Karo Kurbani on Aug 9

    New Delhi, Aug 2: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the programme - 70 Saal Azadi - Zara Yaad Karo Kurbani - on the 9th of this month. Talking to media after BJP Parliamentary Party meeting in New Delhi today, Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said, the campaign is aimed at developing a feeling in every person that nation is first and individual is secondary.

    He said, it will provide an opportunity for the people to recall the supreme sacrifice made by freedom fighters during freedom struggle. The Minister said, a week-long Tiranga Yatra to evoke nationalism and patriotism will also be undertaken from the 15th of this month on the occasion of Independence Day...

    Ex-CMs not entitled for govt accommodation for lifetime: SC

    New Delhi, Aug 1: The Supreme Court today held that former Chief Ministers are not entitled for government accommodation for lifetime. The court, which pronounced its verdict on a 2004 plea, said any such government accommodation should be vacated within two to three months.
    The judgment came on a plea filed by a UP-based NGO, which had sought a direction against allotment of government bungalows to former CMs and other what it said non-eligible organisations.

    India seeks US help for missing AN-32 aircraft

    New Delhi, Jul 30: Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has told Parliament that India has sought help from US to check if their satellites captured any signals from the missing AN-32 aircraft, while noting there was very little possibility that sabotage played any role. Giving clarifications on the missing aircraft in the Rajya Sabha, the minister said he was disturbed at the aircraft's sudden disappearance, and even experts are puzzled.

    Assuring the house that the aircraft had "adequate lifetime", Parrikar also said that maximum efforts are being made to reduce accidents and also that any aircraft not fit for flying was not flown. He also said that the aircraft had undergone its first overhaul, and had already flown for 179 hours after that. The pilot had flown for over 500 hours on the route. An Indian Air Force plane with 29 people on board had gone missing over the Bay of Bengal amid inclement weather.

    PM: States to be equal partners in development

    New Delhi, Jul 29: NITI Aayog is all set to usher into a paradigm shift in the way planning is done for meeting India's development goals. It is working on a 15 year vision document that will replace the system of formulating 5 year plans that have been followed for the last 6 decades. PM Narendra Modi's prescription to NITI Aayog today was that it's vision document should usher in transformational change since the country cannot wait for incremental change.

    Giving a broad policy direction to NITI Aayog, PM Narendra Modi said that the institution should lead the way in fostering innovative and out of the box, thinking for India's development and do futuristic planning to develop its natural and human resources.

    He said that India cannot wait for incremental change and needs transformational change which can come only with drastic policy reform. In line with govt's emphasis on co-operative federalism,PM stressed on the need to make States equal partners in economic and social development.

    PM committed to the vision of Dr. Kalam: Venkaiah Naidu

    Rameshwaram, Jul 27: A grateful nation paying glowing tributes to former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on his first death anniversary today; Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu says PM Narendra Modi is committed to the vision of Dr Kalam; announces construction of a guest house for the visitors at Rameshwaram in memory of India's missile man.

    Nation lost him last year on 27th July in Shillong. Known as the 'people's president', Dr. Kalam had collapsed on stage while addressing students at IIM, Shillong last year. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu paid tributes to the former first citizen of the country at Rameswaram, his native place.

    The two ministers, then, unveiled a six-feet statue of Dr. Kalam along with laying the foundation stone of a memorial for Dr. Kalam. A year has passed by but no one can forget the spontaneous outpourings of the common people soon after the news broke that the People's President has been admitted to Bethany Hospital Shillong after he collapsed while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong on July 27, 2015.

    Emotions ran high as thousands thronged the city hospital, eager to know the condition of their beloved president. IIM Shillong which had seen many an innovative lecture delivered by the former president, recalled the creative yet humble nature of Dr Kalam. Their heart pounded faster than usual while their tears rolled down their cheeks, soon after they received the news that Dr Kalam's heart gave up just minutes after he was admitted.

    Amongst most people, the students of the IIM who spent most of the time with Dr Kalam couldn't simply believe the fact that the same mentor, who was delivering lecture just moments ago, was no more. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam lives on in the hearts of people of Shillong and today they are paying tributes to the People's President-remembering him as a person, as a teacher and as a friend-philosopher-guide.

    Four militants killed, another apprehended in Kupwara

    J&K, Jul 26: In Jammu & Kashmir, four militants were killed and another apprehended by security forces during an ongoing operation near the Line of Control in Kupwara district today. According to a senior army official the operation is underway in Naugam sector near the LOC in Kupwara district. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has termed the apprehending of a terrorist alive in J&K's Kupwara district as a 'big achievement'.

    Search operation for missing IAF AN32 aircraft continues

    New Delhi, Jul 25: The search operation for the missing AN32 aircraft of Indian Air Force, code named "Operation Talash," continues for the fourth day today in the Bay of Bengal. An international safety network has been activated to alert the merchant ships passing by the zone of search operation to look out for any survivors or the debris.
    The Andaman and Nicobar Command of the defence forces are keeping a watch for it even beyond the search zone. As part of the procedure, a formal complaint about the missing aircraft has been registered with the Selaiyur police station in Chennai by the Air Force authorities.
    India's largest ever search operation over the sea to trace the missing twin-engined AN32 aircraft is getting imageries of the search area from the ISRO through its radar imaging satellite RISAT. The Indian Mission Control Centre of the space agency responsible for Satellite Aided Search and Rescue in the region is supplementing the Operation Talash by offering its services.

    Massive search & rescue operations on to locate missing IAF aircraft AN-32

    New Delhi, Jul 23: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday inspected the search operations to trace the Indian Air Force's missing aircraft AN-32. Mr Parrikar reached Chennai Saturday morning in a special military aircraft. A senior official of the INS Rajali naval base told, Mr Parrikar embarked on a P8i long-range reconnaissance aircraft, and reviewed the Navy's largest ever search mission by hovering over a vast area of the sea around the location from where the transport aircraft went off the radar screens Friday morning.
    Intensive search operations are continuing in a frenetic pace to trace the aircraft that had 6 crew members and 23 other military personnel and defence civilians.

    IAF plane with 29 people on board goes missing; Search operation on

    New Delhi, Jul 22: A transport plane of the Indian Air Force with 29 people on board went missing today while flying from Chennai to Port Blair. Defence sources said the AN-32 aircraft took off at 0830 hours from Tambaram in Chennai and the last contact with it was made 16 minutes later. Defence spokesperson report the aircraft was estimated to arrive Port Blair at 1130 hrs.

    A massive search operation has been launched by the IAF, Navy and the Coast Guard. One P8I aircraft and one Donier aircraft have been pressed into seach and rescue operation while four ships have been diverted to join them. More military assets are being sent to help in the search and rescue operation.

    Two Bills to be introduced in Lok Sabha today

    New Delhi, Jul 19: Two bills seeking to replace ordinances to keep state boards out of the ambit of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for this academic year to be introduced in the Lok Sabha today; On first day of the monsoon session of the Parliament, PM Modi appeals to all political parties to keep national interest at the forefront and work shoulder to shoulder.
    Two important bills that seek to replace ordinances to keep state boards out of the ambit of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for this academic year will be introduced in the Lok Sabha today. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs S S Ahluwalia said the two bills include the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which will amend the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 and The Dentists Act of 1948. He said the business advisory committee of the House had fixed four to six hours for discussions on the bills.
    The Centre had in May promulgated the two ordinances to keep the state boards out of the ambit of the pan-India medical and dental entrance examination (NEET) for 2016. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that passing these two bills will be government's top priority.

    Monsoon session of Parliament begins, hopes high for GST

    New Delhi, Jul 18: Monsoon session of the Parliament began today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling on MPs to work together in the interest of the nation. He added that the mood all around is to take good decisions and move towards the path of progress.

    While Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after obituary references, In Rajya Sabha 42 newly elected and re-elected MPs took oath of office. On the agenda in this session is the much awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill which is likely to take centrestage .

    In both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the session began with newly elected and re-elected MPs taking oath of office. In Lok Sabha, this was followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi introducing the recently inducted members of the Cabinet. The House was then adjourned after an obituary reference to Dalpat Singh Paraste, Lok Sabha MP from Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh who passed away on 1 st of June and 6 former MPs. The session will have 20 working days and will conclude on the 12th of next month. Eleven bills are pending in the Lok Sabha while 45 are to be taken up in the Rajya Sabha. All eyes will be on the Goods and Services Tax Bill.

    Operation 'Sankat Mochan' rescues 156 Indian nationals

    New Delhi, Jul 15: Indian Air Force adds another feather to its cap as Operation 'Sankat Mochan' successfully evacuated 156 Indians from South Sudan's Capital Juba. 1st rescue aircraft landed at Thiruvananthpuram around five this morning.

    The C 17 Globe master will reach New Delhi around 10 am. Earlier the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said that both the aircrafts will reach New Delhi today. She further added that Indian railways and Air India will facilitate the onward journey of the evacuated Indians.

    No respite from rain as MeT predicts more rainfall in MP

    New Delhi, Jul 13: Flash floods triggered by torrential rain in Madhya Pradesh and Assam have killed at least 22 people and forced more than 170,000 from their homes. The weather department has predicted more rains across Madhya Pradesh in the next 24 hours. Flood situation is also grim in Gadhchiroli district of Maharashtra.

    Several rivers and rivulets are in spate. Due to heavy monsoon rain, several states across the country have seen flood conditions continuing. Bundelkhand which days ago, was craving for water has seen most areas under water.

    There is some respite from Assam and life is slowly limping back to normal in flood affected areas of the state. Several parts of capital Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh have seen light to heavy rain.

    Eid-ul-Fitr being celebrated with great enthusiasm across the country

    New Delhi, Jul 7: Eid-ul-Fitr is being celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety across the country today. The faithfuls attired in their best thronged Eidgahs and mosques to offer Eid prayers. Later they exchanged Eid greetings.

    In Delhi,main congregations were held at Jama Masjid, Fatehpuri Masjid and Shahi Eidgah. Speaking on the occasion, the Imams, who led the prayers appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony and prayed for the progress and prosperity of the country. Reports of Eid congregations have also come in from other parts of the country. In Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir,Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated yesterday.

    PM expands Council of Ministers, 19 new faces sworn in

    New Delhi, Jul 5: In a much awaited council of minister's expansion, 19 new ministers have been inducted in the government while one has been elevated to the cabinet rank. President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly inducted ministers at Rastrapati Bhawan. While Minister of State (Independent charge) Prakash Javadekar elevated to the cabinet rank, 19 new ministers took oath as the minister of State in the government.

    Vijay Goel, Faggan Kulaste, Ajay Tamta, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Krishna Raj, Ramdas Athawale, Ramesh C Jigaginagi, Anupriya Patel, S S Ahluwalia, P P Chadudhary, C R Chaudhary, M J Akbar, J Bhabhor, Purshotam Rupala, Mansukhbhai Mandaviya, S R Bhamre, Mahendra Nath Padey, A M Dave, Rajen Gohain administered oath of the office.

    Cabinet approves recommendations of Seventh Pay Commission

    New Delhi, Jun 29: The Union Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the seventh pay commission. The decision will result in a hike in salaries and pensions of Central government employees and pensioners. The recommendations that will benefit over one crore employees and pensioners will be implemented with effect from January 1, 2016. The government in January had set up a high-powered panel under the Cabinet Secretary to process the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

    The Commission then recommended a 23.55 per cent overall hike in salaries, allowances and pension. The entry-level pay has been recommended to be raised to Rs 18,000 per month, from the current Rs 7,000, while the maximum pay, drawn by the Cabinet Secretary, has been fixed at Rs 2.5 lakh per month from the current Rs 90,000

    India becomes 35th member of MTCR

    US, Jun 28: India has become the 35th country to gain membership into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which sets guidelines to control the production and delivery of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of mass destruction. It was accepted after a consensus decision taken by the other pre-existing member nations.

    India has formally joined the Missile Technology Control Regime or MTCR. Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar received MTCR membership papers from Envoys of France, Netherlands and Luxembourg at the south block. India thanked each of the thirty-four MTCR partners for their support for India's membership.

    The External Affairs Ministry in a statement said India's entry into the regime as its thirty-fifth member would be mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives. MTCR membership will now enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia. The group was established in April 1987 by the G-7 countries.

    Since its civil nuclear deal with the US, India has been trying to get into export control regimes like NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies.

    China is still not the member of the MTCR and has been trying for a decade to get in the exclusive club. India now will be able to buy high-end missile technology and can enhance its joint ventures with Russia.

    PM Modi launches Smart City projects in Pune

    Pune, Jun 25: On June 25, 2015, the government had launched the smart city mission and released its mission statement and guidelines. It also shortlisted 98 potential smart cities in August last year and through a contest, 20 winners, including Pune and Solapur, were selected as the beneficiaries.
    Now after one year the Union Urban Development Department has decided to hold the first anniversary celebrations of the mission in Pune after assessing the performances of the selected 20 cities on the implementation of the projects. The Pune Municipal Corporation ranked second in the contest under the smart city mission a year ago, will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25 to mark the the first anniversary of the launch of smart city mission.

    India set to become a member of SCO

    Tashkent, Jun 24: India is set to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) when the security grouping meets for its summit in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent. PM Narendra Modi is in Tashkent to attend the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit. During his meeting with Chinese President, he thanked China for supporting India's membership of SCO.

    Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, is hosting the important Shanghai Cooperation Organization annual meeting. PM Narendra Modi will be attending the two day meeting from June 23. Following his arrival in Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Prime Minister said that his talks at the SCO Summit will strengthen India's bilateral ties with the SCO nations.

    During his bilateral meeting with Chinese President, Prime Minister thanked China for supporting India's membership to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. India, which had earlier attended the SCO as an observer, will now do so as a full member of the organization.

    The meeting assumes greater significance for India. Since 2005 Indian has been an observer country at the SCO. In December 2014 India applied for SCO membership. On May 24 this year the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers in Tashkent adopted the memorandum of obligations for India to gain full membership.

    The SCO started as the Shanghai Five in April 1996 in Shanghai when China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed a Treaty on Deepening Military Trust among them.

    PSLV C34: ISRO all set to create history

    Sriharikota, Jun 22: Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, All set to create history with the launch of PSLV C-34 which will place a record 20 satellites in space from Sriharikota. Placing 20 satellites in a single launch, a record of sort will include India's latest earth observation Cartosat-2 Series Satellite as well. These satellites include those from the US, Germany, Canada and Indonesia. With 20 satellites, the ISRO has beaten its previous record of placing 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.

    The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO is set for the historic launch of 20 satellites including 17 foreign payloads using its flagship rocket PSLV C3 on Wednesday. The versatile launch vehicle will lift off with India's Cartosat 2 Series satellite meant for earth observations as the primary payload and 19 other micro and nano satellites from the second launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta.

    It is the highest number of satellites ever to be launched by the space agency. ISRO had earlier sent 10 satellites on a single mission in 2008. The primary payload will be an earth observation satellite of India in the Cartosat- 2 series.

    The launch will help place India in a select league of nations like US, Israel and China who have satellites with similar capabilities.

    Govt approves 100% FDI in Aviation, Defence and e-commerce sectors

    New Delhi, Jun 20: With an aim to give impetus to job creation and ease of doing business in the country, Government today approved 100 per cent FDI in Aviation, Defence and e-commerce sectors under the government approval route. Present FDI regime permits 49 per cent FDI participation in the equity of a company under automatic route. Foreign investment beyond 49 per cent has now been permitted through government approval route, in cases resulting in access to modern technology in the country or for other reasons to be recorded.

    Today's decision will allow 100 per cent FDI under government approval route for trading, including through e-commerce, in respect of food products manufactured or produced in India. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today.

    Air travel to become cheaper

    New Delhi, Jun 15: Union Cabinet has cleared the new Civil Aviation Policy with an aim to increasing regional air connectivity, and ease rules for airlines to fly overseas. The Policy lays focus on regional connectivity with an aim of providing affordable aviation services in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Civil Aviation Ministry is planning to bring down the prices of air tickets by giving exemptions including service tax, customs duty, landing and parking fee and VAT.

    BJP National executive meet ends in Allahabad

    Allahabad, Jun 14: The 2-day BJP National executive in Allahabad that deliberated on a vision for the country and party's strategies in election-bound states concluded with Prime Minister Modi's valedictory address. According to the BJP, the objective of the meeting was to assess the present political scenario and determine ways and means to strengthen the party and steering the country forward.

    In the last leg of the meeting Prime Minister Modi addressed party leaders and workers during which he recounted the achievements of the govt and its pro-poor schemes. Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley quoted the Prime Minister as saying that the people of the country need a strong nation and the govt is working to achieve that objective.

    Prime Minister Modi urged party workers to see power as a means to serve the people. Prime Minister Modi presented 7 mantras at the party national executive to guide the conduct of party leaders and policies of the govt. They are Service, balance, restraint, coordination, positivity, empathy and dialogue.

    Five Delhi hospitals fined Rs 600 crores for refusing free treatment to poor

    New Delhi, Jun 13: The Delhi government has asked five private hospitals to deposit unwarranted profits of over 600 crore rupees for refusing free treatment to the poor. An official said, these five hospitals Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Shanti Mukand Hospital, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Pushpawatib Singhania Research Institute were provided lands at concessional rates on the condition that they will treat the poor free of cost.

    He said, these hospitals have not abide by the conditions.The hospitals have been asked to pay the amount by July 9, failing which further action will be initiated against them. According reports total 43 private hospitals in Delhi were allotted land at concessional rates on the condition that they will keep 10 per cent of their in-patient department capacity and 25 per cent of out-patient department capacity to treat Economically Weaker Section patients free of cost.

    UGC forms pay review panel for academic staff of Universities, Colleges

    New Delhi, Jun 10: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has constituted a five-member committee for pay revision of academic staff of Universities and Colleges. The Pay Revision Committee will be chaired by UGC member Prof V S Chauhan and it will submit its report in six months, official sources said yesterday.

    The panel will also examine the present structure of emoluments and service conditions of university and college teachers, librarians, physical education personnel and other academic staff. Among other things, the panel will suggest revision in the pay structure, taking into account the minimum qualifications, career advancement opportunities and benefits like superannuation benefits, medical and housing facilities.

    It will also make recommendations on the ways and means for attracting and retaining talented persons in the teaching profession among other things.

    Govt procures 1.11 lakh tonne of pulses to control retail prices

    New Delhi, Jun 7: The government has procured 1.11 lakh tonnes of pulses so far from farmers for creating buffer stock and also contracted to import 38,500 tonnes as part of its effort to control the retail prices. Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry in a release said, 51,000 Ton of pulses has been proccurred in Kharif season and 60,000 Ton in Rabi season so far.

    This was informed during the inter-ministerial committees meeting held in New Delhi today to review prices of essential commodities. The Meeting was chaired by Secretary Consumer Affairs, Hem Pande.

    The Ministry in a release said, about 13,000 Ton imported pulses have reached the country and delivery of about 6,000 Ton pulses is in pipeline. It said, the state governments have been urged repeatedly to seek allocation of pulses from the buffer stock to sell at reasonable prices which should not be more than 120 rupees per kilogram.

    Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Telangana have already been allocated some quantity on receiving their requests. The Ministry also said, NAFED and SFAC have procured 15,635 Ton onions so far.

    PM in Geneva: Focus on black money, NSG

    New Delhi, Jun 6: PM Narendra Modi reached Switzerland's Geneva International Airport on the third leg of his five-nation visit. Exchange of high level visits in the recent past has provided an impetus to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the countries. PM Modi is likely to take up the issue of black money with Swiss President Johann Schneider Ammann in a meeting seeking an agreement for automatic exchange of information on cross-border tax evasion.

    The 2 countries are already in touch to facilitate the agreement and India is hoping that PM's visit will expedite the process. With growing bilateral trade and foreign investment, India and Switzerland enjoy strong economic ties.

    Swiss-India bilateral trade nearly tripled from USD 1.6 billion in 2004 to USD 4.5 billion in 2011 even as the balance of trade has remained in favour of Switzerland.

    From April 2000 to Sept. 2015, Switzerland invested as FDI approximately USD 3.18 billion in India, thus becoming the 11th largest investor and accounting for about 1.2% of total FDI in India during this period.

    Switzerland has a vibrant Indian community. It comprises approximately 18,000 Indians, including over 6300 persons of Indian origin. Most of them are professionals in Engineering, IT, pharmaceuticals and paramedical fields.

    Centre to establish 10 startups in higher educational institutions

    New Delhi, Jun 3: Centre will establish 10 startups in higher educational institutions across the country to promote energy and zeal among young entrepreneurs. It will also support setting up of 35 new livelihood colleges in states to fructify the skill India programme.
    This was announced by Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani while dedicating initiatives carried out in ten states through Video conferencing from New Delhi under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan. She said the government will also set up modern language labs in all states to promote different languages.

    On the occasion, the Minister digitally launched New Model Degree Colleges in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha among other initiatives.

    Correspondent reports that the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan aims at strengthening infrastructure and ensuring quality education in states. It provides strategic funds for states besides giving impetus to governance, academic and administrative reforms. Under the scheme, 115 Universities and 1183 Colleges across the country are provided grants for enhancing infrastructure for the first time.

    PM releases National Disaster Management Plan

    New Delhi, Jun 2: PM Narendra Modi yesterday released country's first ever national Disaster Management plan in New Delhi. It aims to make India disaster resilient and significantly reduce loss to life and property. The plan is based on four priority themes of the Sendai Framework that is Understanding disaster risk, Improving disaster risk governance, Investing in disaster risk reduction and Disaster preparedness, Early warning, and Building back better in the aftermath of a disaster.

    The plan spells out the roles and responsibilities of all levels of Government right up to Panchayat and Urban Local Body level in a matrix format. The plan has a regional approach, which will be beneficial not only for disaster management but also for development planning. To prepare communities to cope with disasters, it emphasizes on a greater need for Information, Education and Communication activities.

    Petrol price hiked by Rs 2.58 per litre; diesel by Rs 2.26

    New Delhi, Jun 1: Petrol price has been hiked by 2 rupees and 58 paise a litre and diesel by 2 rupees and 26 paise per litre. The new rates came into effect midnight last night. Petrol will now cost 65 rupees 60 paise per litre in Delhi after the increase while diesel will cost 53 rupees 93 paise per litre. In Bhopal Petrol 71.42 & Diesel 60.95 Rs/Ltr. The last hike was made on May 17.

    Indian Oil Corporation said, the current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and Rupee-Dollar exchange rate warrant increase in prices of petrol and diesel.

    "The current level of international product prices of Petrol & Diesel and rupee-dollar exchange rate warrant increase in price of Petrol and Diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision," Indian Oil said.

    Admiral Sunil Lanba takes charge as Navy chief

    New Delhi, May 31: Admiral Sunil Lanba today took over as the Chief of Naval Staff. 58-year-old Lanba, a specialist in Navigation and Direction, will have the full three-year tenure as the Navy Chief. He succeeded Admiral R K Dhowan.
    An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Lanba is the 21st Indian to be the Navy Chief. Admiral Lanba is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Athi Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service.

    Bread-makers to stop potassium bromate & potassium iodate

    Shillong, May 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Elephant Falls near Shillong in Meghalaya Saturday morning. He was accompanied by Minister for Department of North-Eastern Region (DONER), Jitendra Singh. Prime Minister took some pictures at the famous tourist site which is about 12 kilometres from the state capital. Mr. Modi also visited Mawphlang village, 25 kilometres from Shillong.

    Prime Minister enjoyed cultural programme presented by local folk artists belonging to Khasi tribe. He also had local drink at the village. Mr Modi also interacted with local dancers at the heritage village.

    Bread –makers to stop using potassium bromate & potassium iodate

    Bhopal, May 27: With the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), coming with the report of carcinogenic chemicals in bread, the All-India Bread Manufacturers Association (AIBMA) announced that its members would immediately stop using the cancer-causing additives. The news has resulted in countrywide fall in the sale of bread. It was also clarified by the bread manufacturers that they were using potassium bromate, and potassium iodate as their use was allowed.

    Meanwhile, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also been requested by AIBMA to verify the CSE's findings. The health minister had directed FSSAI officials to submit a report on the CSE's findings.

    India, China poised to play constructive role

    Beijing, May 26: India and China are poised to play a significant and constructive role in the 21st Century. When Indians and Chinese come together to address global challenges and build on their shared interests, there will be no limits to what our two peoples can jointly achieve.

    Today, I am happy to see central institutes of higher learning from India are signing Memoranda of Understanding for co-operation with partner institutions of China. I am confident that these understandings will create a collaborative platform for academic cooperation in the areas of research and education, joint seminars and exchange of faculty and students.

    These views were expressed by the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at a roundtable held at the Peking University, in Beijing. Greater exchanges between institutions of higher learning, more cultural festivals and joint research and scholarship programmes would prove that our peoples need not look only to the West to make progress in education, science & technology.

    Phenomenal progress in India-China relations: Pranab

    Guanzhou (China), May 25: President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India's policy towards China is expanding areas of cooperation and reducing differences. Addressing the Indian community at Guanzhou in China, he said, frequent bilateral visits reflect expanding relations between the two great nations. (Pic shows President, Pranab Mukherjee being received by the Vice Governor of Guangdong, Zhongyou and the Vice Minister, Liu Zhenmin on his arrival, at Guangzhou.)

    Mukherjee said, there has been phenomenal progress in bilateral relations since 1990 and trade between the two countries has increased from 2.9 Billion US Dollars in 2000 to more than 71 Billion US Dollars today. The President said India and China are closely cooperating with each other in most multilateral fora.

    Mukherjee will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on bilateral, regional and international issues in Beijing today. The President will also meet Chinese Premier Le Keqiang and other top leaders. Mr. Mukherjee arrived in Guanzhou yesterday on a four-day visit to China. He is accompanied by a delegation of top Indian Academicians including Vice Chancellors of Central Universities and Directors of IITs.

    India's first reusable space shuttle, RLV-TD launched

    Sriharikota (AP), May 23: India successfully launched its maiden indigenous winged Reusable Launch Vehicle, RLV from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh at 7 am today. Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO said, the mission has been accomplished successfully. The Re-Usable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator, RLV-TD, that is ultimately aimed at putting satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter atmosphere, was carried up on a solid rocket motor.

    The nine-metre long rocket weighs 11 tonnes. Very similar in its looks to the US space shuttle, the double delta-winged RLV-TD being experimented is a scale model which is almost 6 times smaller than the final version. The 6.5 meter long RLV-TD has aeroplane like structure which weighs about 1.75 tons. The cost of this project is Rs 95 crore.

    After launch from the Sriharikota spaceport, it glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal. The vehicle re-entered the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km. The mission, known as the hypersonic flight experiment, lasted about 10 minutes. Earlier, explaining the importance of the experimental RLV, ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said, it is essentially an attempt by India to bring down the cost of making infrastructure in space.

    President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have congratulated the Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO for the successful test of the RLV-TD.

    Cyclonic storm in Bihar, 12 dead; Rains in TN; heat wave in North

    New Delhi, May 19: In Bihar, at least 12 persons were killed and several others injured in cyclonic storm that hit North Eastern and Kosi region of the state last night. Intense heat wave conditions continue to prevail in North, North West India and Central India. The India Meteorological Department has issued a severe heat wave warning for parts of north and central India, which are already reeling under the scorching sun, over the next three days.

    The Met office said, heat wave conditions continue at most places with severe heat wave at a few places over west Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and at isolated places over Haryana and Delhi, east Rajasthan, east Uttar Pradesh and central Maharashtra.

    Ahmedabad recorded the maximum temperature of 46.9 degrees Celsius. Parts of Tamil Nadu received rains even as the MeT office said the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal is expected to intensify into a cyclonic storm, bringing heavy rains in north coastal areas of the state and Puducherry.

    Ministry seeks comments on draft policy for Women

    New Delhi, May 18: Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has unveiled a Draft National Policy for Women to create a society in which women attain their full potential and participate as equal partners in all spheres of life. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, the Minister said that the draft policy focuses on safety and security aspect of women, their economic upliftment and nutrition.

    To provide immediate assistance to women in case they fall victim to any kind of crime, she talked about installing a panic button in mobile phones. Ms Gandhi said, her Ministry is also considering to put in place a mobile application with panic button for the help of women in case of emergency.

    The policy stresses on the need for making cyber space safer for women, review Constitutional provisions to enable equitable and uniform entitlements for women and comprehensive social protection to address vulnerabilities of single women and protection of surrogate mothers.

    On Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme, the Minister said that the scheme was successful in improving child sex ratio in the targeted areas particularly in Haryana. She said, sex ratio for girl has risen from 830 to 907 per thousand male child in the state. The draft policy has been uploaded on the Ministry's website for wider consultations with all stakeholders. The Minister has sought comments on the draft policy so that the final document can be a true reflection of the voice of all women.

    NEET row: Centre may approach SC to defer common medical test

    New Delhi, May 17: The central government is likely to move the Supreme Court requesting it to postpone the common medical and dental entrance exam, National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), to next year, said reports on Tuesday.

    The development comes a day after Union Health Minister JP Nadda assured to look into all issues raised by the states pertaining to the common medical entrance test following an all-party meeting in this regard. Earlier, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sat with representatives of political parties over this issue

    Voting underway in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry

    New Delhi, May 16: Polling is underway for assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry amid tight security. Voting began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all the voters in states going to polls today to vote in record numbers. In a tweet, Mr Modi asked them to be a part of the festival of democracy.

    In Tamil Nadu, voting is being held today for 232 seats of the 234-member Assembly as polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly seats has been deferred. The Election Commission deferred polling in the two constituencies on the basis of Observer's reports which suggest that money was offered by candidates to lure voters. The two assembly segments would go to polls on May 23. The voting is on in 65,486 booths as against the planned 66,007 booths due to deferment of polls in two seats. The number of candidates has also come down from 3776 to 3728.

    In Kerala, voting is being held for 140 assembly seats. Elaborate security arrangements have been made on 21,646 polling booths to ensure free and fair poll. A total of 1,203 candidates including 109 women are in the fray. The State will have a triangular electoral battle, for the first time. The BJP has fielded the maximum number of 98 candidates followed by the Congress 87 and the CPI(M) 85.

    In Puducherry, people were coming out in large numbers to cast their votes since 7 am. In response to the Met Department prediction of first summer showers in Puducherry, the Election Commission has raised pavilions in front of polling stations to provide protection from elements for voters. 14% polling is reported till now 9.30 am. Karaikal too is experiencing thunder showers hence polling has slowed down in the enclave. 344 candidates are contesting for the 30- member Assembly. Voting is underway at 930 polling stations spread over four regions of the Union Territory. Over 9 lakh voters will exercise their franchise today. Congress is fighting the elections in alliance with DMK while left parties have joined hands with VCK, DMDK and MDMK under the umbrella of People's Welfare Front.

    Counting of votes for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam Assembly elections will be held on the 19th of this month. The counting of votes in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly seats of Tamil Nadu will take place on May 25.

    Disaster mitigation fund should be created to tackle drought: SC

    New Delhi, May 11: The Supreme Court today said that a disaster mitigation fund should be created by the Centre to tackle drought-like situation. It said Centre should revise the drought management manual to provide effective relief to calamity-hit farmers.

    The apex court said that Centre should define time limit for declaration of drought. The court further said Agriculture Ministry should hold a meeting in a week with Chief Secretaries of Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana to assess drought situation.

    SC: No separate entrance exams for MBBS, BDS; order on NEET-2

    New Delhi, May 10: The Supreme Court has rejected the pleas of State governments and minority institutions for allowing them to hold separate entrance exams for MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17. It said, only the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) provides for conducting such a test. The court put to rest all confusion by refusing to modify its last month's order by which it had allowed Centre and CBSE to conduct a single common entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses through NEET.

    The apex court also said that all eligible candidates who could not appear in NEET-I on May 1, and those who had appeared but have apprehension that they had not prepared well, be permitted to appear in NEET-II on July 24th. However, they will have to give up their candidature for NEET-I. The court also allowed the Centre and CBSE to reschedule the date of holding NEET-II, if they find it necessary.

    Pre-monsoon rain in 2 weeks: IITM; rain lashes Marathwada

    Pune, May 10: Pre-monsoon showers are expected in different parts of the country in the next two weeks, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune said on Monday. Pre-monsoon thunder showers are likely in Kerala and Karnataka by May 21.

    Above-normal rain is likely in the western Himalayan region and northeast India between May 12 and 16. Rainfall is also expected in parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, the forecast said. Meanwhile, parts of parched Marathwada, including Aurangabad city, witnessed heavy rain, thunder and lightning early on Monday morning.

    Government prematurely retires 33 tax officers

    New Delhi, May 6: Cracking the whip on non-performing officials, the government, for the first time, has prematurely retired 33 tax officers, including seven Group 'A' officers. The Finance Ministry said in a statement that 72 officers have been dismissed, including six Group 'A' officers, in other departmental or disciplinary actions in the last two years.

    The Ministry said, there is a general perception that no action is taken against the defaulting tax officials for their non-performance as well as in case of harassing the tax assesses among others.

    Invisible hand in preventing AgustaWestland deal probe: Parrikar

    New Delhi, May 5: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha, over the controversial AgustaWestland deal, suggested the role of an invisible hand in preventing a proper investigation earlier. Replying to a short duration discussion in Rajya Sabha on AgustaWestland chopper deal, Parrikar said, it appears that an invisible hand was guiding the action or inaction of CBI and ED and the country wants to know as to who instigated, supported and benefited from corruption, and the government will unravel the truth..

    He said, there was corruption in AgustaWestland chopper deal, finalised during the UPA regime. The Minister said the Government will leave no stone unturned in bringing to justice those involved in the scam. Quoting Milan court recent observation in AgustaWestland case, the Defence Minister said there is a proof of malafide intentions and there were omissions at many stages leading to cancellation of deal by India.

    Focus on performance of Indian economy in global slowdown

    New Delhi, May 4: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will leave today for an official visit to Frankfurt to attend the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In his speech at the First Business Session of ADB, Jaitley will focus on performance of the Indian economy in global slowdown and also highlight micro and macroeconomic indicators of the economy. In a official statement Finance Ministry said, cooperation with ADB in development will also be on his agenda.

    Jaitley will also meet Finance Minister of Bhutan Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, and discuss about economic assistance packages to Bhutan, progress of work of hydro power projects funded by India and sub-regional co-operation in the region.

    First scorpene-class sub Kalvari undergoes maiden sea trial

    Mumbai, May 2: 'Kalvari', Indian Navy's first indigenous Scorpene-class stealth submarine, sailed out for first sea test on Sunday. Kalvari is the first of the India's six Scorpene-class submarines being built under the much-delayed Project 75. The vessels are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in collaboration with French company DCNS. In October 2015, Kalvari had been set afloat. "The sea trials of Kalvari have begun on Sunday. It is a proud moment for us," a Navy official said.

    Hot weather tormenting citizens; Banda touches 45.2 degrees C

    Bhopal/Lucknow, Apr 30: Hot weather conditions are prevailing in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of India. The temperatures are hovering around 41 degree Celsiu. Banda in UP recorded temp of 45.2 degree Celsius yesterday.

    However, the Met dept in Bhopal forecast cloudy condition today. Drizzles was experienced at several places yesterday. A few areas also experienced dust storm. Temp in Bhopal is expected to hover around 41.0 and 26 degrees Celsius during the next 24 hours.

    SC orders common entrance test for MBBS, BDS through NEET

    New Delhi, Apr 29: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre and CBSE to conduct two-phase single common entrance test for MBBS, BDS and PG courses through the NEET for the current (2016-17) session itself. AIPMT, which is to take place on Sunday, would be considered as first phase of the NEET, the court said. The second phase would be conducted on July 24, the SC said. The SC turned down plea of state governments and private colleges that NEET cannot be imposed on them.

    With today's SC order, all other examinations scheduled for next month stand scrapped. The final result of two phases of the NEET would be declared by August 17. "Those students who have not applied for AIPMT will be given opportunity to appear in second phase of the NEET examination on July 24," the SC said. NEET, which was declared illegal and unconstitutional by SC in 2013, was restored on April 11 after a five-judge Constitution bench recalled the earlier verdict and allowed the Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI) to implement the common entrance test till the court decides afresh on its validity.

    AgustaWestland helicopter deal heats up political atmosphere

    New Delhi, Apr 28: The Upper house witnessed pandemonium after BJP member Subramanian Swamy raised the Agusta Westland chopper deal and a letter by middlemen Christian Michel referring to Sonia Gandhi as the main person in the VVIP helicopter deal. The Congress objected to her name being raised also since she was a member of the other house. But the matter he raised has certainly dominated the political mind space.

    Now that the Italian bribe givers have been found guilty of international corruption and money laundering, it is time to convict the bribe takers. The 6 year old Agusta Westland chopper deal has taken parliament by storm. Allegations of corruption now signal Congress president Sonia Gandhi's and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's involvement.

    BJP MP Subramanian Swamy while raising the issue through an adjournment motion referred to the allegations made by Christian Michael, the middleman in the deal, through a letter in the High Court of Italy. But even before he could raise the issue in Rajya Sabha, the Congress refuted the allegations as baseless the government rebutted the Congress defence in the House.

    While Subramanian Swamy was raising the name of Sonia Gandhi the opposition benches created an uproar. The pandemonium continued which led to several adjournments of the upper house. Sonia Gandhi on her part later refuted the allegations.

    Despite Sonia Gandhi's denial, the BJP continues to be on the offensive, the ruling party intends to get to the bottom of the case based on several proofs that have come to light .

    Huge outstanding bad loans shows something is missing: SC

    New Delhi, Apr 27: Supreme Court has asked Union Finance Ministry to inform it about the mechanism in place for recovery of huge Non-Performing Assets (NPAs). The apex court asked the ministry to inform as to what safeguards it is bringing in to curb bad debt. Supreme Court also observed that if the present system would have been perfect then banks would not have huge outstandings.

    Chief Justice TS Thakur observed that such huge outstanding bad loans shows that something is missing, something is not working. The apex court has also asked Reserve Bank of India and Indian Banks Association to respond to the steps being taken to tackle the problem. The government told the court that some amendments are already in the offing and Bankruptcy Code will soon be put in place.

    Heart of Asia conference begins today in New Delhi

    New Delhi, Apr 26: Heart of Asia (HoA) conference begins today in New Delhi. The conference is with the objective of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan and speeding up its reconstruction with a focus on enhancing investment and connectivity to the country. The conference to be attended by officials of a number of countries including Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, is likely to deliberate on a host of issues like combating challenge of extremism and terrorism.

    The key elements of HoA process have been to devise a sustained, incremental approach to implementation of the confidence building measures (CBM) in Afghanistan and the officials are set to deliberate on them during the conference. Energy, infrastructure and investment deals to shore up economic growth of Afghanistan may figure in the talks.

    India hosted the senior officials Meeting of the Istanbul process in January 2014 in New Delhi and is set to host the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the HoA Process in the last quarter of this year. The 14 participating countries in HoA process are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and UAE. The supporting countries include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK, US and the EU.

    256 districts in 12 states affected by drought: Govt tells SC

    New Delhi, Apr 20: Government told Supreme Court that 256 districts with a population of about 33 crore spread over 12 states are affected by the drought. Additional Solicitor General PA Narasimha, however, clarified that the declaration of a particular area as drought affected does not mean that the entire population of the area is affected by the natural calamity.

    He said the total population in such areas may be 33 crore but the actual number of people affected by the drought is likely to be less than what is reflected in the gross population figures of affected districts. A bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice NV Ramana said that about 25 per cent of the country's total population is affected by the drought. The court asked the Centre to apprise it that how many households in the drought-hit areas got 150 days employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA).

    The Apex Court also said that the Centre should adopt modern technology to assess drought situation in the States instead of following eye estimation method which is not even mentioned in the manual for drought management.

    PM exhorts youth to contribute in nation building

    Katra, Apr 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the youth to forget what not worked out instead think of what you have achieved. In his address at the convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University at Katra, PM Modi asked youth to "Dream to do something and not to become someone."

    During the function PM Modi presented medals and awards to outstanding students. He also said that this is a century of knowledge and whenever there has been an era of knowledge India showed the way. Referring to the students of the university, the Prime Minister said that there is a mini-India in Jammu and Kashmir.

    He added that the country is reaching new levels in development and with over 800 million youths, we can achieve more heights. PM Modi said that today women are excelling in all fields. He added that gymnasts like Deepa Karmakar have made country proud not just because of availability of resources but her determination.

    PM Modi in a lighter vein said that seeing the number of women winning medals, men may ask for reservation one day. Students of the University felt motivated and aspired by PM speech at the convocation.

    Gujarat bandh: Curfew withdrawn in Mehsana but internet ban, sec 144 continues

    Gujrat, Apr 18: In Gujarat, curfew imposed in Mehsana since last evening has been withdrawn from today morning following improvement in the situation. However, internet ban and prohibitory orders under section 144 will remain in force. Police has also filed complaints against more than 50 persons in connection with violent incidents in Mehsana including stone pelting on police and torching of government vehicles.

    Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order situation in view of today's Bandh call. Gujarat Bandh call has been given by Sardar Patel Group and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in protest against police lathicharge on patidar agitators in Mehsana yesterday. No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state since last night barring sporadic incidents of stone pelting and road blockage by the mobs.

    Meanwhile, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has appealed the people to maintain peace and harmony in the state. In her tweet last evening, she said that violence has never & will not be the solution of any issue. Mrs. Patel said that State Government has already formed the committee of 7 Ministers which is making persistent efforts to resolve the issue amicably. She appealed the people to cooperate with the State Government & help in maintaining peace.

    Mobile internet and bulk SMS services have been banned in most of the cities to check the rumors. Vehicular traffic is running normally expect state transport buses and local bus services. Authorities have suspended many trips of State Transport buses towards Mehsana and Patan. Local bus service and BRTS are partially affected in Ahmedabad and Surat following half of the service cancelled by authorities on precautionary measures. Police has been asked to intensify its patrolling in sensitive areas of the state. Prohibitory orders have been issued under article 144 in all sensitive districts to prevent gathering of four or more persons.

    Need of speedy, accessible & affordable justice, says President

    Bhopal, Apr 16: President Pranab Mukherjee has said, judicial activism should not lead to dilution of the separation of powers, which is a constitutional scheme. He was addressing the fourth Retreat of Supreme Court Judges at National Judicial Academy in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh today.

    Mukherjee said, each organ of our democracy must function within its own sphere. Mr. Mukherjee said, the exercise of powers by the executive and the legislature is subject to judicial review, however only check for the exercising of power by the judiciary is self imposed discipline and self restraint. The President emphasized the need of the speedy, accessible and affordable justice. He also expressed concern over pendency of cases in different courts. Mr. Mukherjee said, pending cases must be quickly cleared through multi-dimensional efforts. He said that for speedy justice, use of IT and e-governance can make a positive impact.

    Addressing the Retreat, Chief Justice of Supreme Court T S Thakur spoke on the objectives of the Retreat. He said, the modern global challenges required modern solutions. Union Law Minister Sadanand Gowda said, the government is revising national litigation policy. He said, the steps are being taken to improve legal infrastructure. In his address, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan advised that the Lok Sabha and the state assembly elections should be held simultaneously.

    PM Modi reaches out to farmers in Ambedkar's birthplace

    Mhow, Apr 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid tribute to father of India's Constitution and nation's first Law and Justice Minister Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar at the late leader's birthplace in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary.

    Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also accompanied the Prime Minister to Dr. Ambedkar's memorial, where Modi garlanded his bust and sought his blessings with folded hands. Prime Minister Modi had, earlier in his tweets, said that the architect of the Indian Constitution was a ' Vishwa Manav', who devoted his life in service of the poor and the marginalised.

    A function was held in the lawns of the Parliament house complex today where political leaders and people from different walks of life paid floral tributes to the statue of Dr. Ambedkar. Meanwhile, the United Nations also celebrated Dr B. R. Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary 'Ambedkar Jayanti' at the UN headquarters in New York.

    On this day, the international organisation aims to focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and vouch his vision to create a nation on the firm grounds of democracy and social justice and equality for all.

    Centre plans to promulgate uniform Minimum Wages Act

    New Delhi, Apr 12: Union Minister of State for Employment and Labour Bandaru Dattatreya said that the Centre is planning to promulgate a uniform Minimum Wages Act all over the country after discussing the issue at length in the ensuing session of Parliament.

    Addressing the media, after inspecting the dispensary of the Employees State Insurance Corporation in Kakinada yesterday, he said there is a need for ensuing minimum wages to all the workers including those who were in the unorganised sector. He said that a 100-bed ESI hospital would be set up in Kakinada as it was listed as one of the 100 Smart Cities in the country and also a lot of industrial activity is going on.

    SC allows common entrance test for all medical courses

    New Delhi, Apr 11: The Supreme Court today paved the way for implementation of National Eligibility Entrance Test, NEET for medical courses across the country. The top court set aside its 2013 order by which the common entrance test for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges was quashed.

    Hearing a review petition on NEET, a five-member Constitution Bench said it will hear the case afresh on validity of the common test. The bench said, till the matter is decided, NEET can be implemented. The Bench observed that the policy on NEET was legal as it would stop corrupt practice which enabled undeserving students to get admissions by paying huge capitation fees or donations.

    The NEET was introduced by Medical Council of India, MCI in 2012, but private medical colleges challenged it and obtained a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that it was not a must for them. However, the MCI had opposed the verdict and had moved the court for a review. Over 90 medical entrance tests are held across India.

    JEE Mains online test on Apr 9 & 10, changes in the pattern for 2017

    New Delhi, Apr 9: Class 12th marks will not be a factor for determining rankings in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admissions to engineering undergraduate courses from next year. The Human Resource Development Ministry notified the changes in the pattern of JEE for 2017 after examining the Ashok Mishra Committee's report and considering the public feedback. The present system gives 40 per cent weightage for the Class 12th marks in calculating the ranks in JEE Main.

    The Ministry said in a statement that the performance of the students in the 12th Class Examination will be a crucial parameter for determining the eligibility of the student for the JEE examination. To qualify in the JEE, the students will have to secure at least 75 per cent marks or be in the top 20 percentile in the 12th Class Examination. It said, for SC and ST students, this condition will be relaxed to 65 per cent marks. The Ministry said, all other JEE Examination systems will remain unchanged.

    In November last year, the Mishra committee had recommended major changes in the JEE structure, including setting up of a National Testing Service to conduct tests for shortlisting about four lakh students for the exam. Its recommendations were aimed at weaning IIT aspirants away from the dependence on the coaching institutes.

    Is IPL more important than water, HC asks BCCI

    Mumbai, Apr 7: Expressing concern over severe water shortage being faced in Mumbai and other Maharashtra districts, the Bombay High Court took up a petition, filed by Lok Satta Movement, for shifting of the IPL matches to places where there was less water problem. IPL T20 matches, beginning from Apr 9, have Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune as venues. The pitch maintenance would require about 60 lakh litre of water. The High Court would take interim decision on the stay today (Thursday).

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has pulled up the Central Govt for not releasing sufficient funds to states facing drought conditions. The court said that the Centre should release funds to states under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

    The petition, filed by Swaraj Abhiyan Sanstha, wanted the Apex Court to direct the Centre for release of funds to states including Haryana, UP, MP, Karnataka, AP, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

    Centre directs for safety review of highway, bridge projects

    New Delhi, Apr 2: Centre has ordered safety review of all ongoing highway and bridge projects under NHAI and Road Transport and Highways Ministry. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said in New Delhi that Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and NHAI have been once again advised to undertake further review of all the ongoing projects with a view to avoiding untoward incidents in any of our ongoing projects.

    Terming the Kolkata incident as tragic and most unfortunate, Gadkari said the review has been ordered to avoid any such incident.

    India, US sign MoU for setting up LIGO observatory in India

    Washington, Apr 1: India has signed a memorandum of Understanding with the United States on setting up Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in India. The MoU was signed by Secretary, Directorate of Atomic Energy and Director, National Science Foundation in the presence of Mr Modi on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington yesterday.

    The Prime Minister described the LIGO project as a great example of India-US scientific collaboration and said the success of this project could well inspire an entire young generation of Indian scientists.

    He met Indian scientists working at the US based LIGO in Washington and invited them to visit India and ignite the younger generation to take up the study of science. Nancy Agarwal was among the Indian scientists who met Mr Modi. Talking to AIR, Ms Agarwal said, the Prime Minister asked Indian origin LIGO scientists to visit Indian universities to ignite younger minds.

    Budget session prorogued to issue ordinance for U'khand expenditure

    New Delhi, Mar 30: The Budget session of Parliament has been prorogued to enable the Centre to issue an ordinance for authorising expenditure beyond 1st of April in Uttarakhand which is under President's rule.

    With only two days left, government would not have been in a position to issue an Ordinance for drawing funds from the Consolidated Fund to enable the state to meet its expenditure needs beyond of 1st April. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

    After the CCPA meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu met President Pranab Mukherejee to brief him about the decision taken in the CCPA as well as developments that took place in Uttarakhand. Both the Houses were adjourned on 16th of this month to meet on 25th of April in the second part of the session. Questions were being raised over the status of the Appropriation Bill which was declared as passed by the Speaker in the Uttarakhand Assembly under controversial circumstances.

    Under Article 357 of the Constitution, the President can authorise, when the Lok Sabha is not in session, the expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State pending the sanction of such expenditure by Parliament. The CCPA meet also gave its nod for prorogation of Rajya Sabha to enable re-issuing the Ordinance bringing changes in the Enemy Property Act, 1968, which is pending in the Upper House after being passed by the Lok Sabha.

    The Ordinance for amendments in the Act was promulgated on January 8 this year. The Bill to replace the Ordinance was passed by Lok Sabha on March 9.However, it could not get Rajya Sabha's nod and the Bill was finally referred to a Select Committee.

    PM Modi's three-nation visit to give further fillip to trade

    New Delhi, Mar 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said tomorrow's India-EU Summit will advance multifaceted engagement with EU. In a Facebook post ahead of his three-nation visit, Modi said, the EU is a vital trading partner and the biggest export destination for India.

    Terming relations with Belgium as deep rooted and time tested, the Prime Minister said, no words are enough to salute the resilience and spirit of the people of Belgium. He said, India stands shoulder to shoulder with them in the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels and share the grief of those who lost their loved ones.

    Writing about his US visit where he will go after Belgium, Modi said, the 4th Nuclear Security Summit will deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism. He said, leaders would discuss ways and measure to ensure that non-state actors do not get access to nuclear material.

    During last leg of his tour to Saudi Arabia on 2nd and 3rd of April, Modi said, India wants the prominent Saudi businesses to partner with its development priorities. He said, that would be one of the key objectives of the business event planned in Riyadh.

    Lack of electricity access in villages is a serious concern: Govt

    New Delhi, Mar 26: "India is poised for decadal double digit growth in the days to come. It is poised to become a superpower with a billion plus happy people. India has the potential to transform and can move into the big league very rapidly if we bring in greater degrees of transparency and monitor work that has been undertaken," said Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power. Goyal was speaking at the session, "Making India a Global Economic Superpower" at the Conference on Young Indians, here yesterday.

    However, adding the caveat of the need to ensure equal opportunities for people at the bottom of the pyramid, Goyal said, "We cannot become a super economic power unless the person at the bottom of the pyramid gets equal opportunity to study, to be skilled and has the opportunity to move towards a better quality of life. To my mind, lack of electricity access in villages across the country is a serious concern for us as a nation. There are about 50 million homes which do not have access to electricity.

    In Arunachal Pradesh, there are about 808 villages which lack electricity access. While we are now working on building a grid in Sikkim and Arunachal, it will take time. Hence, we are looking at off-grid solutions in the interim." Emphasizing on the importance of working together he said, "The Government and the youth need to work together, ideate together and implement the ideas together and work as a team we can take the fruits of development to the bottom of the pyramid."

    Dispose of public grievances within 60 days, PM tells officials

    New Delhi, Mar 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the top officials of Central government's Departments to ensure that public grievances are disposed off within 60 days barring exceptions. Interacting through PRAGATI - the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation, Mr Modi emphasied that grievance redressal is one of the biggest aspect of democracy. He reviewed the progress towards handling and resolution of public grievances and asked the officers to further speed up the pace of work in this regard.

    Examining the progress of Digitization of Land Records, the PM called for integration of all land records with Aadhaar at the earliest. Modi asked about Mission Mode projects under Digital India. Reviewing the progress of provision of citizen-centric services electronically, the PM called for a comprehensive district-wise review of services actually being delivered online. Mr Modi also reviewed the progress of vital infrastructure projects in the road, railway, power, and oil sectors, spread over several states including Madhya Pradesh.

    He said, it is important to monitor the successful implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The Prime Minister also reviewed the status of the Widow Pension Programme, and the progress towards eradication of leprosy.

    Clinical trial of new TB drug found effective

    New Delhi, Mar 22: 'Drug resistance is a big cause for concern and our strategy this year will have a major focus on dealing with multi and extensively drug resistant TB,' said CK Mishra, additional secretary, Union ministry of health. The world will observe Tuberculosis Day on Mar 24. An estimated 81,000 people living with TB suffer from a strain that has stopped responding to existing medicines, of which 2,700 suffer from XDR-TB, shows data from Annual TB report 2016.

    To combat these strains, the Govt on Monday announced a newly approved drug that Johnson & Johnson reportedly produced after 50 years of research and has been added to the National TB programme in a controlled manner. Clinical trials have proved the drug is effective against the strains.

    A person can develop drug resistance for various reasons, including failing to keep proper treatment regimes, taking wrong drugs or sub-standard drugs. One can also get exposed to the strain by coming in direct contact with the person suffering from drug resistance.

    What actually is TB? TB is caused by a type of bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The condition is spread when a person with an active TB infection in his lungs, coughs or sneezes and someone else inhales the expelled droplets, which contain TB bacteria. If the immune system weakens, TB bacteria can become active.

    PM Modi 'god's gift for India, messiah of poor': Venkaiah Naidu

    New Delhi, Mar 21: The national executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party concluded on Sunday with Union parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "god's gift for India" and the "messiah of the poor".

    While moving a political resolution Naidu said, 'Modi is a god's gift for India. He is the messiah of the poor. He inherited challenges in each and every sector. He is steering clear of them."

    There was profuse admiration for his foreign policy initiatives that have been modelled on the lines of the 'Panchsheel' and described as 'Panchamrit'.

    Some of the PM's achievements listed were help extended to Nepal post the earthquake, renewing India-Afghanistan ties, land border agreement with Bangladesh, fillip to connectivity in the SAARC through the BBIN accord, and his visit to Pakistan.

    Married kin cannot be deprived of accident compensation: Madras HC

    Madurai, Mar 18:The Madras High Court on Friday held that excluding married daughters and siblings of those who succumb in motor accidents from claiming compensation for the death would be against the object of the Motor Vehicles Act.

    Dismissing an appeal filed by an insurance company challenging the order of a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Kumbakonam to grant compensation to a married sister of a deceased person, Justices S Manikumar and R Mahadevan said "marriage of a kin could not be a reason to deny compensation".

    "That is what various Supreme Court decisions and Motor Vehicles Act-1939 and Workmen's Compensation Act say", the judges said. The Workmen's Act listed the "dependants" who were entitled to claim compensation under that legislation and it did not confer a statutory right on a married daughter.

    However, the 1939 Act stated "all legal representatives of the deceased were entitled to claim compensation", the judges said. The judges noted that there was a distinction between being dependent on the income of the deceased and receiving a contribution from the deceased, either monetarily or through the services rendered by the deceased to the members of the family, and the same was a decisive factor in computing the compensation.

    Budget session productive; 10 Bills passed in first part

    New Delhi, Mar 17: The first part of the budget session of Parliament came to a close last night. Both the Houses were adjourned to meet on 25th of next month. The Rajya Sabha sat till late in the night to complete discussion on General Budget and returned the Appropriation Bill for 2016-17 to Lok Sabha.

    The first part of the session turned out to be a very productive. Lok Sabha worked 123 per cent of the scheduled time while productivity of Rajya Sabha was 103 per cent. Both Houses deliberated on issues relating to women and most of the female MPs were given time to participate on International Women's Day. There were quality debates on Motion of Thanks on President's Address, Real Estate bill and General and Railway Budgets. Disruptions of proceedings came down substantially during the period.

    The important bills which got Parliament's nod included Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, Aadhar Bill and Election Laws Amendment Bill.

    Legal heirs of a deceased convict liable to pay fines,compensation

    Mumbai, Mar 14: The Bombay High Court has held that legal heirs of a deceased convict are liable to pay fines and compensation, imposed by the trial courts, from the properties left behind by them. While delivering the judgement, Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi observed that death of a convict does not discharge him from the liability of paying fine and compensation imposed by court, and the amount can be recovered from the properties left behind by the deceased.

    The judge recently dismissed a petition, seeking relief from paying fines. The petitioner, a widow of the convict, prayed that she cannot be compelled to pay the fine and compensation imposed by a court on her husband as she was merely a legal heir of a dead convict.

    The High Court, however, rejected her plea saying if a convict fails to pay the fine under the provisions of CrPc, the amount can be recovered from his properties. The judge ruled that the properties of the convict were now in the custody of his widow and all these came to her along with the liabilities of her deceased husband. The petitioner's husband, was convicted by a magistrate in Srivardhan (Maharashtra) for not honouring a cheque issued by him to a local businessman in 2006. The trial court had ordered him to pay Rs 25000 fine to the state government and Rs 2.85 lakh to the victim.

    The convict had challenged the order in a higher court and during pendency of the appeal, he passed away. The victim, however, approached the trial court for recovery of compensation and the magistrate in December last year ordered convict's widow to pay the amount. She moved the Bombay High Court by challenging the magistrate's order who had asked her to pay the fine and compensation from the estate of her deceased husband.

    Cyber crime biggest challenge with the development, technology

    New Delhi, Mar 12: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said the cyber crime is the biggest challenge these days with the development and access to technology across the globe. Addressing the International Security Summit in New Delhi , Singh expressed concern over the high incidence of cyber crime. He said the main problem with cyber crime is its detection and prosecution, as it is faceless and borderless.

    Singh said, the expert group constituted to prepare a roadmap for effectively tackling cyber crimes in the country has recommended for setting up an Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre. He said, with the increasing inter-connectivity in the world, the challenges will come and India must find ways to tackle these challenges and address the security loopholes in the networks.

    CCEA approves free LPG to women members of poor households

    New Delhi, Mar 10: Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA today approved an Rs 8,000-cr scheme to provide cooking gas, LPG connections free of cost to women members of poor households. Briefing media in New Delhi today, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Cabinet has approved Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana which will be implemented from ensuing financial year, 2016-17.

    It will provide access to clean cooking and preserve the health of women and families. Pradhan said the decision will fuel Make In India in petroleum sector, and will also create lots of jobs. He said the scheme is a boost for women's health as it brings free LPG to poor families that suffered the curse of smoke while cooking.

    CCEA has also approved policy for grant of extension to Production Sharing Contracts, PSCs for small and medium sized discovered fields. The policy deals with 28 fields and will grant extensions in fair manner and enable companies to take investment decisions on reserves. CCEA also gave its nod to proposal to grant marketing including pricing freedom for gas from High Pressure High Temperature, Deep water and Ultra Deep water areas.

    Gov today cleared a proposal to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to include the provisions of allowing transfer of captive mines granted through procedures other than auction. The step will help in checking the stressed and non-performing assets of banks by allowing them to liquidate the same where a firm or its captive mining lease is mortgaged. It will also spur mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the sector.

    India must have courage to deal with social evils, says Sonia

    New Delhi, Mar 8: In Parliament, members cutting across party lines today demanded passage of Women’s Reservation Bill. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, on occasion of International Women's Day, Congress President Sonia Gandhi called for passage of the bill in the Parliament. The bill granting 33 per cent reservation to women in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and state assemblies is pending in Parliament. Ms. Gandhi advocated for equal rights to women saying the country must have the courage to deal with the social evils that women are facing. Ms. Gandhi, while taking on NDA government, said the maximum governance does not mean only of accelerating economic growth but it also involves debates and discussion without any retaliation. She said despite their remarkable performance in different fields, women continue to be the victims of oppression and discrimination.

    The Congress President said women account for around 40 per cent of elected representatives in Panchayat and local bodies after enacting a law which makes mandatory 33 per cent reservation. She also expressed concern over laying down of some eligibility criteria regarding education by some states for fighting local bodies polls. She said such things result in denying the rights of women belonging to SC and ST communities. Ms Gandhi said, the matter needs urgent attention.

    Earlier, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called upon the MPs to re-dedicate themselves for the cause of women participation, equality and commitment towards mitigating the hurdles in women education. She said that women have always been contributing to the upliftment of the society in various human forms like daughter, sister wife and mother. She also stressed the need for ensuring maximum participation of women in decision making process, nation building and in development in all walks of life. Participating in the discussion, BJP MP Hema Malini said every girl should be allowed to dream big like boy. She said the society that nurtures women automatically becomes a cultured society. TMC MP Satabdi Roy advocated for financial strength for women. NCP MP Supriya Sule, TRS MP K Kavitha, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi and others also participated in the debate.

    Air Warriors a great source of encouragement,a matter of pride

    Jamnagar, Mar 4: The resilience and tenacity displayed by the Air Warriors is a great source of encouragement and a matter of pride for the Nation. The nation is immensely proud of the Indian Air Force and remains eternally indebted to the air warriors for their selflessness and sacrifice, said President Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the President's Standard to the 119 Helicopter Unit and President's Colours to 28 Equipment Depot of the IAF at Air Force Station in Jamnagar in Gujarat today.

    He said, the massive relief operations undertaken by the Indian Air Force during many natural calamities in the past is all etched in the people's memories. The President said, nation is immensely proud of the Indian Air Force and remains eternally indebted to the air warriors for their selflessness and sacrifice.

    The President said India is firmly committed to peace and equality for which the country needs an effective deterrence and a strong defence force. He said, the Armed Forces give the confidence in the Nation’s ability to face any aggression and safe guard its interests.

    Big provision for roads, social security programmes and health

    New Delhi, Mar 2: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the thrust of Union Budget is to fill the gap in rural and agriculture sectors. In his Post Budget Interactive Session with industry associations in New Delhi, Jaitley said, government has made big provision for rural roads, social security programmes and health sector in the Budget and concentrated upon areas like irrigation programmes, and Swachh Bharat campaign. He said government will take steps to keep public sector banks in good health.

    The Finance Minister also said, Direct Benefit Transfer, DBT has resulted in a lot of savings, which is partly being used to benefit the weaker sections. He informed that 75 lakh people have given up subsidies under Give It Up campaign. The Minister claimed that targeted disbursal of subsidies is probably one of the most significant reform measures the government has announced.

    He said listing of General Insurance Companies, pilot project for DBT in fertilisers, resolution of disputes in infrastructure projects were some significant structural reforms in the Budget. He said a reform measure that has gone relatively unnoticed is reform in state transport, which is one of the most unreformed sectors.

    Jaitley also said the budget allocated to MGNREGA scheme was fully spent last year unlike the previous years. He said if entire money allocated for MGNREGA is spent this year, it would be highest ever. Saying that Fiscal Deficit target was earlier met by spending less, Jaitey said this time government collected more and spent more

    Agriculture, infrastructure focus of 2016-17 budget

    New Delhi, Feb 29: The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the Government's agenda is to transform India, with incentives for agriculture and farmers' welfare, rural employment and development of infrastructure, covering all welfare and health services as well as Making India as a knowledge based and productive society. Jaitley said that Government will reorient its intervention in the farm and non-farm sectors to shift focus beyond the country's food security to farmers' income security. He said that a total allocation of Rs.35, 984 crore is proposed for this purpose in order to double the income of farmers by 2022. He said that a Unified Agricultural Marketing E-Platform will be dedicated to the nation on the Birthday of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar on 14th April this year to help farmers in accessing markets which is critical for enhancing their income.

    The Finance Minister said that Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojna will be implemented in Mission Mode in order to bring 28.5 lakh hectares under the scheme. He said that a long term Irrigation Fund will be created in NABARD with an initial Corpus of about Rs.20,000 crore. Jaitley said that allocation of Rs.19,000 crore is proposed during 2016-17 for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. The Finance Minister said that special focus has been given to ensure adequate and timely flow of credit to the farmers. He said that all time high of Rs.9 lakh crore is being allocated for agriculture credit. He added that to reduce the burden of loan repayment on farmers, a provision of Rs.15,000 crore has been made towards interest subvention. A provision of Rs.5,500 crore has been made in the budget for Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojna.

    To tackle undisclosed income, the budget proposed payment of tax at 30 per cent, surcharge 7.5 per cent and penalty at 7.5 per cent amounting to a total of 45 per cent. The scheme has a limited period of compliance from 1st of June to 30th of September this year.

    The undisclosed amount should be paid with tax within two months of declaration. It also proposes a new dispute resolution scheme to cut down the three lakh cases pending for disposal. A tax payer who has appeal pending can settle his case by paying the disputed tax and interest upto the date of assessment. No penalty in respect of income tax cases with disputed tax upto ten lakh rupees will be levied. Mr. Jaitley reiterated the assurance given by him that the Government will not retrospectively create a fresh tax liability. The penalty rate for concealment of income is proposed to be reduced to 50 per cent of tax in the case of under reporting and 200 per cent of tax for misreporting of facts. This will replace the Income Tax Officer’s discretion of levying in penalty at the rate of 100 to 300 per cent.

    Brain recalls the right answer at the right time if the mind is calm

    New Delhi, Feb 28: Prime Minister has counseled students to set their own targets and work towards achieving their goals. In his Mann Ki Baat programme on All India Radio, Narendra Modi asked students appearing in examinations not to buckle under pressure and expectations. Saying dedication, diligence and determination are important to achieve success, he asked the students to maintain good health by following a fixed routine and getting adequate hours of sleep.

    In his nearly half an hour address, he quoted legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar where the champion sportsman asked students to set realistic targets and work hard to achieve them. Sachin stressed on adopting a positive and focused approach to beat exam stress.

    Speaking in one segment of the programme, Vishwanathan Anand appealed to students to have good night's sleep and calm attitude to sail through exams. Likening Chess with exams, Anand said brain recalls the right answer at the right time if the mind is calm.

    Laying importance on inner peace, Modi recounted his own experience how deep breathing helps him cope with day to day pressures. The PM laid emphasis on Yoga and how it is the key to develop the inner mind. Bharat Ratna CNR Rao also spoke in this episode of the Mann Ki Baat programme. He emphasised the spirit of not giving up as key to success. Rao said all that is needed is determination and tenacity.

    PM gave examples of Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of light bulb, and Harry Potter's author JK Rowling, to drive home this message. He said, Edison had to face multiple failures before making his great invention.

    Modi also laid emphasis on the importance of Science and Technology, saying innovation is only possible through science. On the occasion of National Science Day today, Modi lauded the efforts of Indian scientists who were part of the team that discovered Gravitational Waves. He announced that India will set up a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory which will assist in furthering the research.

    Concluding his address, Modi said the General Budget, which will be presented in Parliament tomorrow, is going to be his examination. He said, nation will prosper if he and students pass their exams with flying colours. He said, people can listen to regional versions of his Mann Ki Baat address by giving a missed a call on 81908-81908.

    Swacch Bharat Mission: College students to take pledge on Monday

    New Delhi, Feb 27: Students of colleges and universities across the country will take pledge to spread the message of Swacch Bharat by Monday as the Centre aims to make them ambassadors of social change.

    In a letter to all Vice-Chancellors, the UGC has said that the Swachh Bharat Mission has entered a very crucial phase and requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders to achieve its objectives. The letter of UGC Secretary says kindly conduct mass pledges of students by 29th February in university and affiliated colleges and also encourage the students to take up cleanliness activities to honour their pledges.

    As per the pledge, students will express commitment to remaining clean and give two hours every week to voluntary work for cleanliness.

    Survey: 7th Pay Comm. unlikely to destabilize prices, inflation

    New Delhi, Feb 26: The Economic Survey has predicted a GDP growth of 7 to 7.75 per cent in 2016-17. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today presented the Economic Survey in Parliament. The Survey for 2015-16 presents an optimistic picture of the national economy amidst a volatile international economic environment.

    It says the government will meet its fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent of GDP. Inflation will ease between 4.5 to 5 per cent in 2016-17. The Current Account Deficit is likely to be in a low range of 1 to 1.5 per cent. The Survey underlined that the country's economic growth is amongst the highest in the world. The report said the increase in wages as recommended by the 7th Pay Commission is unlikely to destabilise prices and will not impact on inflation.

    The Survey said major public investments have been undertaken to strengthen the country’s infrastructure. It also pointed out that the wholesale price inflation has been negative for more than a year. The consumer price inflation has also declined to about half of what it used to be in earlier years. It points out that with the decline in the inflation rate, the Reserve Bank brought down the repo rate by 125 basis point at the beginning of 2015 to 6.75 per cent by the end of September 2015.

    The Survey expects a good performance by the industrial, corporate and infrastructure sectors in the wake of various recent reform measures taken by the government. The growth in freight carriage by Indian Railways, shipping, civil aviation and the telecommunications sector has been impressive.

    The Survey points out that the rupee has overcome the depreciation pressure better than the currencies of most of the countries. The Survey says that the gaps in sectors like education, health and housing has to be bridged. It underlines that the country’s tax system will undergo a compete change after the proposed Constitution amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax, GST, is passed.

    Rly Budget: No hike in passenger, freight rates; Rly Varsity on cards

    New Delhi, Feb 25: Presenting his second Railway Budget, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said that core objective is to become an engine of employment generation and economic growth at national level. He said Railway will generate 9 crore man-days employment by 2017-18 and 14 crore man-days by 2018-19. Minister announced New freight corridors Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Mumbai and Kharagpur-Vijayawada. He said that he is happy to announce that action has been initiated on 139 Budget announcements last year.

    The minister announced setting up a Rail university at Vadodara. He announced to take up on priority the provision of passenger amenities and beautification on stations at pilgrimage centres including Ajmer, Dwarka, Gaya, Puri, Varanasi and Parasnath. In addition to this, Mr Prabhu said to spread awareness about our national animal, the tiger, complete packages would be provided by railways to wild life circuits.

    Country cannot be held to ransom by agitations, says SC

    New Delhi, Feb 24: The Supreme Court today said, strict action must be taken against individuals or political parties that destroy public property during any of their agitations. The bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said this while hearing a plea filed by Hardik Patel challenging sedition charges against him.

    Expressing concern over damage to public property during the Patel agitation, the apex court noted that the country cannot be held to ransom by agitations. It added that BJP, Congress or any other organisation can be held accountable for damage to property during agitations.

    The top court also said it would lay down parameters to fix accountability for damage of property during agitations. The court had in its previous hearing on Hardik's plea expanded its ambit to examine the issue of damage to public property during last year's Patel reservation agitation led by Hardik.

    Discharge responsibilities in spirit of cooperation: Prez

    New Delhi, Feb 23: President Pranab Mukherjee has said Parliament reflects the supreme will of the people and democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction. He said the government will constantly strive for smooth and constructive conduct of Parliamentary business.

    Addressing the Joint Session of both the Houses in the Central Hall of Parliament today, he urged all members of Parliament to discharge their solemn responsibilities in a spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation.

    In his more than hour-long address, the President said the government is focused on Sabka Vikas beyond just the economic advancements that dominate headlines. He said Sabka Vikas is development for the entire world, which is why the country has to be a responsible member of the global comity of nations helping all humanity solve major challenges such as terrorism, climate change and financial instability.

    He said the government's development philosophy is Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas and overriding goal is to eradicate poverty. Mr. Mukherjee said, the government is focused on the welfare of poor, farmers and jobs for the youth. He said the government is trying hard to make this possible through financial inclusion and social security. Saying that government working towards second green revolution, strengthening agricultural sector, the President said the government is committed to per drop, more crop.

    PM releases guidelines for Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

    Sherpur, Feb 18: PM Narendra Modi launched a new crop insurance scheme at a farmers' convention in Sherpur village of Madhya Pradesh. Tight security and other arrangements were in place to control huge gathering at the venue. The convention was the first in a series to be held across the country to apprise the farming community of PM Narendra Modi's idea of comprehensive growth.

    The Prime Minister presented trophy of Krishi Karman Award to MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.At the programme, the Prime Minister was conferred Kisan Mitra and Kisan Hiteshi Samman on behalf of Madhya Pradesh government for his historic decisions in the interest of farmers community.

    Soil health cards and benefits of crop insurance scheme for Kharif were told to farmers.

    2200 senior govt officials under CBI surveillance as graft suspect

    New Delhi, Feb 18: The Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI has kept 2,200 senior central government officials under surveillance for suspected corruption during the last one year and has registered FIR against 101 officials. In a rare informal interaction with journalists in New Delhi, CBI Director Anil Sinha said, registration of cases from surveillance has increased by 94 per cent from 2014 when CBI had registered only 52 cases to 101 cases this year.

    The agency lodged the cases after it came to the light during its monitoring that the concerned officers had demanded bribe to grant favours. Talking about the performance of the central agency, Mr Sinha said, CBI has managed to file 1,044 charge sheets this year which is the highest by the agency during the last five years.

    CBDT resolves disputes to the tune of Rs 5000 cr under MAP

    New Delhi, Feb 17: Since 1st April, 2014 till date, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has resolved 180 cases through a Mutual Agreement Procedure (MAP). The total amount of income locked- up in dispute in these cases is approximately Rs. 5,000 crore. The resolved cases pertain to various sectors of the economy like software services, IT enabled services, manufacturing and consultancy services, etc. The countries with which cases have been resolved are USA, Japan, United Kingdom and China.

    MAP has emerged as an effective alternative tax dispute resolution mechanism. Its use to resolve disputes has provided comfort to foreign investors and also reduced the number of cases under litigation. This is one of the actions taken by CBDT to ensure a fair and judicious dispute resolution regime to encourage foreign investment. In the last two years, increased focus on MAP has resulted in resolution of large number of disputes relating to double taxation.

    Mysore cleanest City at first place; Bhopal cleanest in MP

    New Delhi, Feb 16: The Urban Development Ministry on Monday made public the cleanliness survey 2016 carried out by it. The survey names 73 clean and dirty cities. Four cities from Madhya Pradesh find their names in the list. Bhopal, the State capital is placed at 21 position, Indore the commercial capital at 25th, Gwalior at 30th and Jabalpur at 63rd spot. (File photo of Bhopal VIP road)

    Mysore in Karnataka finds its name at first place, for being the cleanest city.
    The ranking of some other cities of states include- in Rajasthan- Jaipur (29), Jodhpur (57) and Kota (58); in Chhattisgarh (Raipur at 68th place); in Gujarat – Surat at 6th spot, Rajkot at 7th and Vadodara at 13th place, Ahmedabad at 14th and Gandhinagar at 42nd place. In Karnataka- Bengaluru is at 38th place and Hubli Dharwad (54). Tamil Nadu- (Coimbatore 18), (Chennai -36) . West Bengal- (Asansol 72nd).

    Rijiu slams politicians, intellectuals supporting 'anti-India elements'

    New Delhi, Feb 15: Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiu has said, it is a tragedy for India that some politicians and intellectuals are supporting elements propagating anti-India sentiments. In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Rijiju said, freedom of expression is not absolute and unqualified and it cannot be at expense of national interest.

    His statement came in the wake of JNU controversy. The Minister said, he was deeply hurt by the anti-India slogans raised by some students at JNU recently at an event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. He also advised such people to stay in border states like Arunachal Pradesh and learn patriotism from villagers.

    PM Modi inaugurates Make in India Centre in Mumbai

    Mumbai, Feb 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Make in India Centre at MMRDA Grounds in Mumbai. He cut the ceremonial ribbon in the presence of Finland Prime Minister Juha Petri Sipilä and Sweden Prime Minister Kjell Löfven along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other high profile dignitaries.

    Later in the evening, Prime Minister will formally inaugurate the 'Make in India' Week at NSCI, Worli where he will address a gathering of more than 800 delegates comprising senior leaders and captains of industry from both India and abroad. Make in India Week is the flagship event to provide greater momentum to the Make in India initiative, and to promote India as a preferred manufacturing destination globally. Government delegations from 49 countries and business delegations from 68 countries are slated to attend the event.

    Cong and CPI(M) should apologize to people: Rajnath

    New Delhi, Feb 12: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Pakistan has been exposed after David Headley's revelations, but made it clear that India wants to maintain cordial relations with Islamabad. Talking to reporters at Thiruvananthapuram airport, Rajnath Singh also said the Congress and CPI(M) should apologize to people of the country for opposing Gujarat Government on the Ishrat Jahan issue in the past.

    Earlier, addressing the BJP rally in Thiruvananthapuram, Mr. Singh said the BJP will lead a third force in Kerala as an alternative to both LDF and UDF. He hoped the party will come to power in the State this time. Singh said only the BJP can bring development and peace to the State as both fronts have failed miserably.

    Mr Singh said, no one will be spared who raises anti-India slogans and tries to raise questions on national unity and integrity. He said, strict actions would be taken against them, who raised anti-India slogans at JNU.

    Leave behind some form of legacy to states, PM exhorts Governors

    New Delhi, Feb 11: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Governors occupy a unique high position and can therefore work as catalytic agents in the States, speeding up and improving processes without themselves becoming a part of it. He also stressed on the importance of cooperative federalism, which he said must be implemented in letter and spirit. He said the Centre and States must work together as "Team India." He added that the spirit of cooperative federalism must also extend to cooperative, competitive federalism, with healthy competition for development among states.

    The Prime Minister also noted that India is the only major economy across the world, which is moving ahead strongly despite the global economic crisis. The Prime Minister urged all Governors to think about some form of legacy which they would leave behind at the end of their terms, as their contribution to the States. Earlier, addressing the Conference, President Pranab Mukherjee had called on all the incumbents of constitutional positions, to maintain the sanctity of Constitution.

    One Army jawan miraculously rescued in Siachen

    New Delhi, Feb 9: An army jawan who was buried under 25 feet of snow following an avalanche in the Siachen glacier was on Monday miraculously found alive in critical condition after six days of rescue efforts. Lt Gen DS Hooda, Northern Army Commander told a news agency that Lance Naik Hanumanthappa has been found alive.

    He said, all efforts are being made to evacuate the Lance Naik to the RR hospital in Delhi Tuesday morning. He hoped that another miracle continues with Hanumanthappa, who hails form Karnataka. He also said, five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified.

    A Junior Commissioned Officer and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment were buried after their post was hit by the avalanche at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control with Pakistan where the tempreature was minus 45 degrees Celsius.

    Deployment of troops in Siachen based on security needs: Parrikar

    Visakhapatnam, Feb 8: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has dismissed suggestions for withdrawal of troops from Siachen. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an international maritime conference in Visakhapatnam yesterday, he said, the military presence in Siachen is in consonance with the country's security needs. Mr. Parrikar emphasized the need to understand the importance of troops deployment in spite of the hostile conditions. Referring to the death of ten soldiers in an avalanche on the Glacier last Wednesday, he said, there was no loose end which could have resulted in the death. He said it was nature's show of strength and the Government can't help it.

    Throwing open a discussion on maritime challenges in the Conference, the Minister called for a new dispute resolution mechanism to avoid conflicts between sea faring nations. He said, in today's world, the scenario is changing as more and more resources are being discovered deep in the sea. Mr. Parrikar also said, the original laws and treaties are not enough and countries need to find more ways to ensure the resolution of the issues.

    52 countries taking part in Indian Navy's Fleet Review

    Visakhapatnam, Feb 6: Supreme commander of the three Armed Forces, President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspected the prestigious International Fleet Review of the Indian Navy at Vishakapatnam. Navies of 52 countries have gathered in the Bay of Bengal. Along with warships from across the world, Indian navy is displaying its firepower and blue sea capabilities in this event.

    90 ships and vessels of the Indian navy are participating in the review. The 5-day event began on Thursday with the inauguration of maritime exhibition and IFR village.

    Navies from 52 countries including China, Russia, USA, Japan, Vietnam, Israel, France, Britain and Australia are participating in the review. Representatives of the participating countries have hailed the military exercise as a significant event. Around 90 ships of Indian Navy are participating in the event. The 5-day event began on Thursday with the inauguration of maritime exhibition and IFR village.

    Ten soldiers buried in avalanche in Siachen, rescue operations on

    New Delhi, Feb 4: One junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine jawans of the Army's 19 Madras battalion have been trapped after an avalanche struck their post in Siachen early Wednesday morning. Rescue operations are on by the Army and the Air Force.

    The post is at 19,600 feet on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) - the border with Pakistan at Siachen glacier - in the vicinity of Bana post.

    Siachen is the world's highest active battlefield, contested by India and Pakistan since 1984 when India launched Operation Meghdoot. In April 1984, the Indian Army moved in to pre-empt a move by the Pakistan Army to occupy the glacier. Indian Army currently occupies the full Siachen glacier, while Pakistani forces are deployed at the lower heights of Saltoro ridge.

    Since the start of Operation Meghdoot, India has lost 33 officers, 54 JCOs and 782 jawans due to climatic conditions, and environmental and other factors at Siachen. Last November, an officer of 3 Ladakh Scouts died after he was buried in an avalanche on the southern glacier.

    The maximum tenure of any soldier on the northern glacier is three months, while for some tougher posts, such as Bana post, it is restricted to 30 days. Units deployed on the northern glacier are rotated after a six-month stint.

    SC panel to sell PACL's assets, refund Rs 49K cr to investors

    New Delhi, Feb 3: Supreme Court has appointed a committee under former chief justice RM Lodha to sell assets of Pearls Agrotech Corporation Ltd (PACL) and refund Rs 49,000 crore rupees to the investors. A bench headed by justice Anil Dave also said that the title deeds of various lands belonging to PACL should be handed over by the CBI to the SEBI.

    SEBI will accordingly take appropriate steps to ensure their sale. It also directed the PACL not to accept any deposit from the public and restrained any court from interfering with sale proceedings. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 2, 2016.

    Earlier, the SEBI passed a refund order against the various group companies of PACL after finding them guilty of illegitimately pooling funds from the public through a collective investment scheme. The plea was filed by PACL Customers and Employees Association seeking a direction to the SEBI to initiate proceedings against PACL for allegedly swindling around Rs 500 cr from various investors in Kerala.

    Centre for promotion of Ayurveda, traditional systems of medicines

    Kozikode, Feb 2: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the Centre is fully committed to promotion of Ayurveda and traditional systems of medicines. Speaking at the Global Ayurveda Conference in Kozikode, He said, in India we have had a long great tradition of saints & hermits who evolved our own indigenous systems of healthcare.

    He said, we need to look beyond providing healthcare and engage in the pursuit of good health, a combination of physical and mental well being.

    The Prime Minister pointed out that escalating costs of treatment, side effects of medicines have prompted experts to think of widening horizons to traditional systems. He also said that for quality control of AYUSH drugs, steps are being taken to bring regulatory amendments for effective enforcement and strengthening.

    Thoughts on Bapu inspire us to live for the country

    New Delhi, Feb 1: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said that paying tributes to the Father of the Nation, on his martyrdom day, Jan 30, reminds us of the sacrifice, valour and patriotism of great men and women who were martyred for the country. However, there are many amongst us, who must have not joined in this prayer. Don't you think that it should become part of our nature. We should make it our national duty.

    My Dear Countrymen I was recently reading Sardar Patel. One thing impressed me a lot, referring to Khadi, he said India's independence is manifested in Khadi. India's civilization is represented in Khadi And Ahimsa or Non Violence, which we consider as our foremost value, is reflected in Khadi Welfare of Farmer, for whom we all are so concerned, is also inherent in Khadi. People have realized that though they cannot completely turn to Khadi, still they can have some dresses of Khadi too, besides many of other fabric.

    Dear Countrymen, we all celebrated 26th January with great fervor and enthusiasm. In the midst of terror threat all around, countrymen showed courage, grit and celebrated the republic day with elan and pride. On this occasion, the govt schools in Gujarat and Haryana invited the most educated daughter of the village, for flag hoisting.

    It was a matter of tremendous pride and I am happy that I started the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign from Haryana. In Haryana the sex Ratio had become highly skewed. Today, Haryana has registered rapid increase in the birth rate of girl child. I complement Haryana for its social transformation. All these things boost our morale.

    Govt to get Rs 726 crore via 2nd tranche of gold bond scheme

    New Delhi, Jan 29: More than three lakh applications were received by the Banks during the Second Tranche of Sovereign Gold Bonds. Finance Ministry in a release said, during the second tranche of Scheme from 18th January to 22nd January this year subscription of 2790 Kilograms of gold amounting to Rs 726 crore was received by the Banks.

    These Bonds will be issued on 8th of next month. The Ministry said, the trend during the Second Tranche of scheme shows that the scheme is gradually picking-up amongst the investors with increase in awareness and more clarity about the provisions of the scheme. The objective of the scheme is to reduce the demand for physical gold and shift a part of the domestic savings used for purchase of gold, into financial savings.

    SC recalls order appointing Justice Virendra Singh as UP Lokayukta

    New Delhi, Jan 28: The Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Prafulla C Pant today recalled its earlier order appointing Justice Virendra Singh as Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta. The Apex Court appointed Justice Sanjay Mishra, another former judge of Allahabad High Court, as UP Lokayukta.

    Recalling the sequence of events leading to the appointment of Singh as the Lokayukta on December 16, 2015, the court regretted that constitutional authorities - the chief minister, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) and the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court - despite prolonged meetings could not decide on a simple issue of the appointment of Lokayukta.

    French Prez arrives to warm welcome; calls to fight terror

    New Delhi, Jan 25: India and France need to strengthen cooperation to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestation as its threat is hovering around the world.

    Talking to media after being accorded ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan here, French President Francois Hollande also added that the two countries will focus on increasing cooperation in economic engagements as well as in space and agriculture. Hollande praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his role in COP 21 Paris climate change summit.

    Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee formally welcomed his French counterpart at a grand ceremony. Hollande was given Guard of Honour and a 21-gun salute. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his several Cabinet colleagues were present on the occasion. Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar, who is President Hollande's minister-in-waiting during the visit, was also present on the occasion.

    Earlier, Hollande laid a wreath at Rajghat and paid tributes to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. Later, Hollande will hold bilateral talks with PM Modi at Hyderabad House. Thereafter signing of agreements in various key sectors will take place. On 26th, the French President will witness Republic Day parade at Rajpath as the chief guest.

    ECOSOC guiding philosophy must be welfare of poorest of poor

    New Delhi, Jan 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for putting in place conditions for rapid socio-economic development, improvement in the human conditions and an end to hunger and deprivation to achieve a peaceful and prosperous world.

    Modi said, the work of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in advancing the improvement in the human conditions and ensuring a life of dignity for all is central to the overall agenda of the United Nations. The Prime Minister was addressing through video message a special event in New York to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ECOSOC Friday night.

    He said, there has been remarkable progress during the last 70 years but eradication of poverty remains the greatest unfinished business of the 20th century. Modi said, so long as there is poverty in the world, people would remain deprived of basic human amenities, rights and opportunities and the work of ECOSOC will not be complete. He said, the guiding philosophy of the ECOSOC must always be the welfare of the poorest of the poor, or 'Antyodaya'. He also called for the use of available resources and technology to rejuvenate the Economic and