Government Schools In Jammu And Kashmir Get Legal Literacy Clubs


The move aims to educate and empower students about the legal rights. (Representational)

Jammu: 

Two legal literacy clubs were inaugurated in the government schools of Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district today to educate students about the legal rights, the official said.

Under the supervision of Principal district and sessions Judge K S Parihar, the clubs were inaugurated at Government Model Girls Higher Secondary School and Government Model Boys, Higher Secondary School at Udhampur, he said.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Balbir Lal Jaswal inaugurated the clubs, formed under the aegis of National Legal Services Authority, with an aim to educate and empower students about the legal rights and give them a medium to highlight their grievances.

Retainer lawyers Brijesh Kumar and Pankaj Mangotra were also present on the occasion.





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Rajasthan Government Considers Banning Messaging Apps Around Exam Centres


Rajasthan government is considering a ban on social messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Jaipur: 

The Rajasthan government is considering a ban on social messaging apps like WhatsApp around exam centres to prevent cheating, instead of the current practice of disabling the mobile internet services entirely.

“We have suggested this to police department officials in a meeting and they are contemplating it. They will take a call on that and will reach out to mobile internet service providers for the specific configuration,” said Principal Secretary, IT and Communication Department, Akhil Arora said today.

“We will also provide them assistance, if required,” he added.

Following reports of cheating by candidates through hi-tech methods, the authorities shut down mobile internet services during competitive exams. Depending upon the nature of exam, sometimes the entire state suffers a shutdown.

But many officials believe this causes unnecessary inconvenience to others as well.

They feel there is no need of a complete mobile internet ban as restricting messaging apps was enough to check cheating.

Mr Arora said it was mostly applications like WhatsApp through which candidates indulged in cheating during exams.

“Complete ban on mobile internet used to create a lot of inconvenience to people who use mobile internet for various services of e-governance and services of Uber, Ola and others. A ban on selective applications will be hassle-free to the common man,” he said.

Mr Arora said the arrangement was “very much feasible” and the restriction will based on locality of the examination centres.

“In our e-governance intranet, we do not allow every user to use social media in offices. We can easily configure prohibition of applications which need not be allowed and restrict undesirable sites rather than putting an overall ban,” he said.





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Government Looking To Tighten Sexual Harassment Laws, Say Officials


Junior foreign minister MJ Akbar resigned on Wednesday after he faced #MeToo accusations (File)

The government is considering tightening sexual harassment laws, officials said today, after an avalanche of complaints of abuse lodged by women in recent weeks thrust the issue to the forefront of politics. Changes to the laws are being considered as the government weighs different proposals to tackle harassment, one of the officials said.

“The official announcement could come next week,” said the official, who works in the prime minister’s office.

The officials declined to give any details about possible changes.

The government focus on the law has come after women’s rights groups complained that the existing laws do not go far enough to address the widespread problem of sexual harassment.

Junior foreign minister MJ Akbar resigned on Wednesday after he faced #MeToo accusations from more than a dozen women. The allegations related to when Mr Akbar was a top newspaper editor. Mr Akbar has denied wrongdoing and said he was stepping down so that he could fight the allegations in court.

A Delhi court began proceedings today in a defamation suit filed by Mr Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani, the first of over a dozen women who levelled accusations against him. The next hearing will be on October 31.

The previous government passed a workplace harassment act and an act to amend criminal law in 2013. The latter made sexual harassment, stalking and voyeurism crimes.

But women’s groups say a requirement that accusations be made to a workplace complaints committee within three months is unfair as some women cannot quickly muster the courage to take that step.

The government should review certain provisions of the sexual harassment prevention law, said Rebecca John, a lawyer who is defending Ms Ramani in Mr Akbar’s defamation suit.

“The provision of filing a complaint within three months should be made more flexible,” she said.

In the case of many of the recent complaints against journalists, actors and other public figures, many of which were made under the #MeToo hashtag on social media, the accusations related to incidents that happened years ago.

Women’s groups also say that the law doesn’t make clear who in a workplace is in charge of ensuring compliance and is therefore responsible if its provisions are not followed.

The workplace law also only requires an organisation employing more than 10 people to set up an internal complaints committee to hear and redress sexual harassment grievances, but critics say many companies don’t do that.





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Resignation MJ Akbar’s Idea, Won’t Set Precedent, Say Government Sources


MJ Akbar has said levelling accusations without evidence has become a “viral fever” among some sections.

New Delhi: 

Union minister MJ Akbar’s resignation on Wednesday, following accusations of sexual harassment by around 20 women, was his own decision and will not set a precedent, sources told NDTV. The lawmaker from Rajya Sabha, they said, will continue to be a part of the BJP.

Mr Akbar’s resignation came two days after he sued one of the 20 women for defamation, contending that the accusations were meant to malign his “goodwill, reputation and political standing”.

Announcing his resignation in a short statement, Mr Akbar said since he was seeking justice in a court in his personal capacity, “I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me, also in a personal capacity”. A Delhi court will take up the case today.

On Sunday, as Mr Akbar returned from an official visit to Nigeria amid demands for his resignation, sources had ruled it out, saying it would “set a bad precedent”, since the government had nothing to do with the allegations.

Since then, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been come under harsh criticism from a section in the social media which maintained that it would have been appropriate for Mr Akbar to step down till his name was cleared.

A group of women journalists have written to the Prime Minister and President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking action against Mr Akbar. Pursuing a case in court while continuing as a minister, they pointed out, will be “highly unethical and improper and will cast a cloud over any investigation into his alleged misdeeds”.

A couple of PM Modi’s ministers – Maneka Gandhi and Ramdas Athawale – have also said the accusations against Mr Akbar should be investigated.

Journalist Priya Ramani was the first woman to call out Mr Akbar after the MeToo movement – triggered by the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US – gained traction in the country after former actor Tanushree Dutta’s allegations of sexual harassment against actor Nana Patekar.

Mr Akbar has trashed the allegations, saying levelling accusations without evidence has become a “viral fever” among some sections.

Ms Ramani said she was ready to fight the defamation complaint and “truth and absolute truth” was her “only defence”.

A group of 20 women journalists who had earlier worked with Mr Akbar have supported Ms Ramani. Urging the court to hear their testimonies, they said several of them have suffered sexual harassment from Mr Akbar in his days as an editor and others have been a witness to it.





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As Pakistan Debts Rise, Government Vehicles At Auction To Raise Funds


Imran Khan was elected in July on a platform of anti-corruption reforms. (File)

Islamabad: 

Cash-strapped Pakistan government today put on auction 49 more vehicles, including 19 bullet proof cars, as Prime Minister Imran Khan grappled with a major debt crisis.

The government, which has approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial bailout, sold 61 vehicles during the first auction held one month ago.

It also auctioned eight buffaloes kept at the Prime Minister House and raised more than Rs 2.3 million. The buffaloes were kept by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The highest bid for a buffalo was Rs 385,000 and three of the cattle were bought by supporters of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.

Another 49 vehicles of Prime Minister’s house will be auctioned on Wednesday as part of austerity drive, Radio Pakistan reported.

The vehicles up for sale also include 19 bullet proof cars, it said.

The government led by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party has announced that it would auction a total of 102 luxury cars under the austerity drive.

Talking to reporters, the PM House administrator said the bidding price included import tax and the buyers will only have to pay withholding tax on the vehicles, the Express Tribune reported.

After the first auction, the PTI claimed on Twitter that three 2015 model Land Cruisers V8 were sold for Rs 27.4 million, Rs 26.5 million and Rs 26.1 million respectively.

Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the first batch of cars were sold above their market price and the money fetched from the auctions will be deposited in the national exchequer.

Khan, who was elected in July on a platform of anti-corruption reforms, has made much of his so-called austerity drive.

The cash-strapped Pakistani government is facing grave economic challenges as it struggles to keep the economy afloat.

As well as selling off surplus luxury cars, its proposals include turning state-owned buildings into universities, dispensing with VIP security protocol and cutting air conditioning in government offices. 





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Andhra Government Saving Power Worth Rs 1,000 Crore By Energy Initiatives


The state generates energy from thermal, hydro and renewables.

New Delhi: 

The Andhra Pradesh government is conserving 2,000 million units (mu) of power and saving about Rs 1,000 crore annually by promoting energy efficiency initiatives for the last three years, according to a senior state government official.

Besides demand-side management, the state government has undertaken steps to install LED street lights, promote solar pumps in farm fields and supply LED bulbs and energy saving appliances at cheaper rates for domestic consumption.

“We have made rapid progress in conserving energy. We have been able to save 2,000 mu annually for the last three years. This has helped to save about Rs 1,000 crore every year,” the official told PTI.

Under the energy efficiency programme, the state government has so far completed installation of 18 lakh street lights in both rural and urban areas.

“Our aim is to complete 30 lakh LED street lights by December. No other state has made so much progress. In the entire country, about 68 lakh LED street lights have been installed as of now,” the official said.

The state government has distributed over 2 crore LED bulbs to one crore families so far at a cheaper rate of Rs 10 per piece. Also, farmers are being encouraged to use solar pumps in their fields to save energy, he added.

While the state’s total power requirement is 60,000 mu annually, the official said that the Andhra Pradesh government aims to conserve 15,000 mu of power in the next five years,

The state, which has an installed power capacity of 18,000 mega watts, generates energy from thermal, hydro and renewables. 





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Union Minister Inaugurates ITO Skywalk, Accuses Delhi Government Of Stalling Project


Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the ITO Skywalk in New Delhi today.

New Delhi: 

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the ITO Skywalk in New Delhi today and accused the Arvind Kejriwal-led government of stalling it for one year.

The minister also said the Delhi government created hindrance in execution of several other projects including the Metro Phase-IV.

Mr Puri, who also inaugurated a foot over bridge at ITO, alleged that a “false narrative” was being created around these projects and some people who have nothing to do with the project are trying to take credit.

The Union housing and urban affairs minister claimed that when the Delhi government, which was supposed to provide 20 per cent of the project cost, did not give its clearance, his ministry decided to execute it on its own.

The ITO Crossing and ‘W’ Point Junction are the two busiest crossings in the city.

There are over 25 major offices and other institutions located in this area. Approximately, 30,000 pedestrians cross various roads around ITO Crossing and ‘W’ Point. The skywalk, which has been constructed with a cost of Rs 55 crore, has six lifts.

“When I became the minister in September 2017, I was told that the skywalk project, which was cleared in 2016, was still awaiting the Delhi government’s nod. We then decided to execute this project on our own,” Mr Puri said.

Last week, Delhi Public Works Department (PWD) minister Satyendar Jain said none of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ministers were invited for the inauguration of the project.

According to the Union housing and urban affairs ministry, the project has been executed with the funds provided by the Centre. The PWD of the Delhi government was an executing agency.

The Delhi government issued a statement saying, “No amount of tall claims and rhetoric will be able to mislead the people of Delhi, who will finally judge, whether cutting ribbons will be a substitute for hard work.”

It said that bureaucratic queries were raised about the necessity of the project and a former Delhi PWD secretary, now posted outside the city, raised questions about the need for such a project.

“His objections were, however, overruled by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia who headed the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC), which gave its approval for providing the Delhi government share of Rs 12 crore for the skywalk project,” the statement said.





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With Or Without Manohar Parrikar, BJP-Led Goa Government Should Continue, Says Key Ally


Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar reached Goa on Sunday after being discharged from Delhi AIIMS. (File)

Panaji: 

A key ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa has said that the government in the state should continue “with or without” the ailing Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister.

The Goa Forward Party (GFP) president and Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said BJP chief Amit Shah called him Sunday afternoon to discuss the political situation in Goa.

“Amit Shah spoke to me and I have said no to mid-term polls. With or without Manohar Parrikar as the chief minister, this government should continue,” Mr Sardesai said.

Mr Sardesai said the BJP had given a commitment when the coalition was formed in Goa after assembly polls in March 2017, that the government headed by Mr Parrikar would continue for five years.

“We also want the same,” the GFP leader said. “In the wake of our commitment to this government, the onus is on the BJP high command to fulfill their commitment and see that the government completes its tenure,” he said.

In the 40-member Goa Assembly, the Parrikar government has the support of 23 MLAs. These comprise 14 BJP MLAs, three each from the GFP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) as well as three Independents.

“If they (BJP) want, they can go for dissolution but not going for dissolution (of the Assembly) will prove they keep their word. The people of Goa are watching them,” Mr Sardesai added.

The remarks come on the same day the BJP legislature party meeting was held in Panaji without Mr Parrikar. After the meeting, state unit president Vinay Tendulkar had ruled out change of leadership.

Independent MLA and civil supplies minister Govind Gawade, who is supporting the Parrikar-led coalition, said the chief minister should have stayed back at AIIMS for some more time and fully recovered before returning to Goa.

“But we welcome him back. Goa was missing its leader,” he added.

Mr Parrikar reached Goa on Sunday night after being discharged from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences where he was admitted for a pancreatic ailment since September 15.

The 62-year-old leader is now undergoing treatment at his private residence at Dona Paula, where a team of doctors from the state-run Goa Medical College and Hospital have set up make-shift medical facility.

The Congress today petitioned President Ram Nath Kovind today, urging him to ensure that the state Assembly is not dissolved by “foul play”.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Girish Chodankar referred to the opposition party’s earlier pleas to Governor Mridula Sinha about staking claim to form government in the state.





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Tripura Government Cheated Employees Over 7th Pay Commission: Opposition


CPI(M) has accused that the Biplab Deb-led government assured the 7th CPC only as “false promises”.

Agartala: 

Opposition CPI(M) in Tripura today criticized the BJP-IPFT government for deceiving the employees of the state government in the name of 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) benefits.

The ruling BJP, however, said the teachers have received a 14 per cent hike following the CPC which has made them happy.

“The recent pay revision by the new government is nothing but cheating the employees in the name 7th CPC. It is only a concocted story. It was not on par with central pay scale,” former Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha of the CPI(M) told reporters.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb assured 7th CPC to employees and pensioners of Tripura but the assurance turned out to be false promise.

Mr Saha said, revised pay matrix, which the state government has claimed to be at par with 7th CPC, is not compatible with central perks.

“Neither 7th pay commission nor any other central scale was implemented by the state government. These failed promises were concocted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb,” Mr Saha said.

Ruling BJP-IPFT coalition government announced revised pay scale for employees and pensioners and claimed the revised perks were at par with 7th central pay commission.

Mr Saha alleged that state government did not follow what they had said earlier in their vision document.

Before the February 2018 elections, they tried to woo the voters saying that 7th CPC would be awarded to them. Now everything has become clear. It was false promise, Mr Saha said.

BJP state unit spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty said, “There has been 14 per cent hike for all employees and for many, the hike was as good as CPC. Those who were at the helm of affairs for 25 years had made a history of cheating people and employees. They have no right to speak against this good initiative of the government.”





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Delhi Government Launches Chief Minister’s Urban Leaders Fellowship Programme


New Delhi: 

With an aim to attract young leaders across the country and work alongside on addressing serious urban challenges, the Delhi government on Saturday announced Chief Minister’s Urban Leaders Fellowship Programme. ‘Thrilled to announce the launch of Delhi CM’s Urban Leaders Fellowship Programme. If you r young professional, under 35 yrs age, have a dream to contribute for India, we invite you to work with us in #DelhiGovernanceRevolution,’ tweeted Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia yesterday.

 

 

 

 

‘Experience what ‘making change happen’ look like,’ reads the official announcement. Upon selection candidate will be assigned to work with Ministers or Senior Officials of Education, Health, Water, Environment, Transport, etc.

 

While Fellows will receive remuneration of Rs 1,25,000 per month, it will be Rs 75,000 for Associate Fellows. A total of 30 positions will be filled up out of which 10 will be for Associate Fellows.

‘Delhi government has received global acclaims for its policies, be it transformation of government schools, introduction of Happiness curriculum in schools, provision of high-quality primary healthcare at mohalla clinics, 24X7 electricity provided at lowest tariff in India and home delivery of government services,’ said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. ‘It is your time to join and be a part of the change to make Delhi among the best governed cities in the world,’ he added further.

The deadline for submitting applications for CMULF is November 4. Interested candidates can apply at cmulf.dtu.ac.in.

The first list of candidates for interview will be announced on November 15. Final interviews will be held on 26 and 27 November. Candidates will be given time to accept the offer till December 7.

The programme aims to attract youth who are “passionate about public service and are willing to work for two years,” it said.

(With Inputs From PTI)

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