Governor’s rule imposed in J&K

Governor’s rule imposed in J&K

President Ram Nath Kovind has approved imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Governor N.N Vohra sent a report to Union Home Ministry on Tuesday evening recommending Central rule in the State after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation since the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) pulled out of the alliance with People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

As Mr. Kovind is on a three-nation tour, the proposal was sent to Suriname, his current stop. “When the Governor sent the proposal on Tuesday evening, the President was already in transit from Athens to Suriname. As soon as he touched down in Paramaribo, he signed the recommendation giving his assent to Governor’s rule in J&K,” said the official.

J&K Governor N.N. Vohra, the man in the hot seat

N.N. Vohra, who has been occupying the J&K Governor’s office since 2008, is now the Centre’s best bet as the State plunged into a political crisis on Tuesday with the BJP pulling out of an alliance with the PDP.

Mr. Vohra (82), a 1959-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, has only briefly remained out of work after he retired as Union Home Secretary in 1994. He was appointed Principal Secretary to thet hen Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral, in 1997 and has been on several committees on internal security and defence. “There are no immediate plans to remove him. His experience in handling the affairs of the State during complex situations like the 2008 Amarnath agitation that claimed over 100 lives can be an advantage. We cannot push the State into another administrative crisis,” said a senior Cabinet Minister. A former police officer who has worked with Mr. Vohra said besides the rich experience he had an affable relation with people cutting across political lines.

“He is well-connected and keeps a low profile. He does his work with persistence and is not known to antagonise anyone,” the officer said.

Before he assumed office in 2008, Mr. Vohra held a dialogue with all stakeholders in the State as the Centre’s interlocutor for five years. Though there is no fixed tenure for the Governor, he continues in office at the pleasure of the President. Mr. Vohra’s six-year term (that equals the State Assembly’s term of six-years) ends on June 25.

The Centre is unlikely to remove him from the post as an experienced hand is required at the time of the Amarnath Yatra that commences on June 28. Another Minister said that he would remain in office till the yatra concludes on August 28.

Mr. Vohra is also the ex-officio chairman of the Shri Amarnath ji Shrine Board and is the first one to offer prayers and inaugurate the yatra. The Centre has made massive security arrangements for the yatra after eight pilgrims were killed in an attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants last year.

On June 17, the Centre did not extend the cease-ops announced for Ramzan and asked the security forces to resume action.

NEW DELHI, JUNE 20, 2018 

Jolt for Arvind Kejriwal: EC Disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs

Jolt for Arvind Kejriwal: Election Commission disqualifies 20 AAP MLAs in Office of Profit Case

Giving a severe Jolt for Arvind Kejriwal the Election Commission has recommended that 20 Aam Aadmi Party MLAs embroiled in the office of profit case be disqualified.  Sources said the EC has forwarded its recommendation to the President. If the President accepts the recommendation, Delhi will see a mini-assembly election with 20 seats up for grabs in the 70-member House.

Jolt for Arvind Kejriwal

Initially, 21 MLAs were named in the case. The number came down to 20 after Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh resigned to contest against Parkash Singh Badal in the Punjab Assembly elections.
In 2015, AAP had suspended Cabinet Minister Asim Ahmed Khan and the following year, it sacked another minister Sandeep Kumar who was embroiled in a sex scandal. In the AAP cabinet reshuffle, Kapil Mishra rebelled against the party after he was sacked. AAP MLA from Rajouri Garden quit his post to contest the Punjab Assembly elections but the AAP failed to win the bypoll. After this, the number dropped from 67 MLAs to 63. After the disqualification of 20 MLAs, the AAP’s strength will reduce to 42.

The EC decision comes days before Achal Kumar Joti retires as the Chief Election Commissioner. Interestingly, the OP Rawat, the next Chief Election Commissioner, had decided to recuse himself from hearing all AAP related issues. This came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned his impartiality in a media interview in April, 2017.

The option before AAP is to challenge the Election Commission ruling in the higher court. In August 2017, the Delhi High Court had refused to entertain AAP MLAs’ plea for staying the Commission’s order upholding maintainability of the petition.

The ground on which the High Court had quashed was that since EC’s proceedings on hearing the central issue of whether the MLAs had indeed held ‘office of profit’ were yet to begin, there was no scope for a stay.

The issue in front of the Election Commission was whether the office of Parliamentary Secretary in the GNCTD, 1991 constitutes an ‘office of profit’. Article 191 of the Constitution has not defined what is an ‘office of profit’ which has paved the way to the Courts to lay down the law

The entire issue came into existence when on March 13, 2015, the Arvind Kejriwal government passed an order appointing 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. This was challenged by Advocate Prashant Patel who petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee on June 19, 2015, that these MLAs were now holding ‘office of profit’ and should be disqualified.

The Delhi Legislative Assembly, then passed the Delhi Member of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) ( Amendment Bill ), 2015 excluding Parliamentary Secretaries from “ office of profit’ with retrospective effect.  However, the President withheld assent to the amendment bill and referred the matter to the Election Commission.

-January 19, 2018

Diversity is key to India’s success: Prez Ram Nath Kovind

Diversity is key to India’s success: Prez Ram Nath Kovind

Newly-elected President Ram Nath Kovind today said the key to India’s success is its diversity and asked people to build a country that is “an economic leader as well as a moral exemplar”.
In his first address as president after taking oath at the Central Hall of Parliament, Kovind said there is need to sculpt an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society.
 Diversity is key to India's success: Prez Ram Nath Kovind
“We have achieved a lot as a nation, but the effort to do more, to do better and to do faster is relentless. It is appropriate that the land of Lord Buddha should lead the world in its search for peace, tranquillity and ecological balance,” he said.
“The key to India’s success is its diversity. Our diversity is the core that makes us so unique. We need to build an India that is an economic leader as well as a moral exemplar. We need to sculpt a robust, high growth economy, an educated, ethical and shared community, and an egalitarian society,” the 71-year-old said.
India’s 14th president made special mention of women and their role in nation building. Nations, he said, are not built by governments alone and requires national pride.
“Each citizen of India is a nation builder. Those police and paramilitary forces that fight terrorism and crime are nation builders. “Women who despite responsibilities at home and work raise children to be ideal citizens are nation builders,” he said.
The new president went on to say that a farmer toiling in the blazing sun to feed fellow citizens is a nation builder as is a scientist concentrating tirelessly to send an Indian space mission to Mars, or invent a vaccine.
“(A) nurse or doctor helping the sick to recover and fighting disease in a remote village, is a nation builder. Young person who founds a start-up and becomes a job creator is a nation builder,” he added.
Soon after taking the oath, Kovind had said he was honoured to be sworn in as the 14th president of India would be carrying out responsibilities “with all humility”.
 – 25 July, 2017 | PTI | New Delhi

Pranab Mukherjee conferred on National Film Awards

National Film Awards: President Pranab Mukherjee confers honour on ‘Rustom’ Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor for ‘Neerja’ and others

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the top honours on National Film Awardees today at Vigyan Bhawan. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar received the National Award for Best Actor in ‘Rustom’ whereas Ram Madhvani’s directorial venture ‘Neerja’ bagged the honour for ‘Best Hindi Film’.

President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the top honours on National Film Awardees today at Vigyan Bhawan. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar received the National Award for Best Actor in ‘Rustom’ whereas Ram Madhvani’s directorial venture ‘Neerja’ bagged the honour for ‘Best Hindi Film’.

The National awards were announced in April this year. Surabhi CM received the Best Actress award for her power-packed performance in Malayalam film ‘Minnaminungu—the Firefly’. Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and MoS Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore among others felicitated the National Awards Jury members, as a mark of their incredible work.

Sonam Kapoor looked beautiful in a light green silk saree and gajra tied back in her bun. She looked elegant while picking up her special mention honour for ‘Neerja’ making it a proud moment for father Ani Kapoor and mother Sunita, who were pleasantly clicking the pictures of their daughter. Akshay was accompanied by wife Twinkle Khanna, who looked gorgeous in a bright purple-pink saree and son Aarav, who too was dressed in a traditional attire. South superstar Mohanlal received a standing ovation while he took the top honour from the President.

As many as 344 films were competing for the top spot, and the jury saw 88-89 movies of all those movies, reportedly. The jury included eminent film director, producer and National Award winner, Priyadarshan, as the chairperson in Feature Films category.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Best Animation: Hum Chitra Banate Hain

Best Educational Film: The Waterfalls

Best Environment Film: The Tiger Who Crossed the Line

Best Biographical/Historical reconstruction: Zikr Uss Parivash Ka

Best Environmental Film including Agriculture: The Tiger who crossed the Line’

Best Marathi Film: Dashakriya

Best Kannada Film: Reservation

Best Bengali Film: Bisarjan

Best Film on Social Issues: PINK

Best Tamil Film: Joker

Best Hindi Film: Neerja

Best Gujarati Film: Wrong Side Raju

Best Telugu Movie: Pellichuplu

Best Visual Effects: Shivaay

Best Female Playback Singer: Iman Chakraborty

Best Male Playback Singer: Sunder Iyer

Best Actor: Akshay Kumar, ‘Rustom’

Best Actress: Surabhi, ‘Minnaminungu’

Best Children’s Film: Dhanak, Hindi

Best Supporting Actress: Zaira Wasim, ‘Dangal’

Best Supporting Actor: Manoj Joshi, ‘Dashakriya’

Best Film on Social Issues: Pink

Best Action Choreography: Vysakh for Pulimurugan

Best Feature Film: Kasav (Marathi film)

Best Director: Rajesh Mapuskar, ‘Ventilator’

Indira Gandhi Award for debut director: Khalifa (Bengali)

Best action director and stunt choreographer: Peter Haines, ‘Pulimurugan’

Best Editing – Rameshwar, ‘Ventilator’

Sound designer – Jayadevan, ‘Kaadu Pookunna Neram’

Best production design – 24

Best Costume Designer – Sachin

Best Make-up Artist – MK Ramakrishna

Best Music Direction – Babu Padmanabha

Special Mentions:

The Eyes of Darkness

Kadvi Hawa

Adil Hussain for Mukti Bhawan (Hindi)

Adil Hussain for Majirathi Keki (Assamese)

Sonam Kapoor (Neerja)

Madipur (Tulu)

Joker (Tamil)

Wrongside Raju (Gujarati)

Pelli Chupulu (Telugu)

Dasakriya (Marathi)

Maheshinte Prathikaram (Malayalam)

Ke Sara Sara (Konkini)

Reservation (Kannada)

Neerja (Hindi)

– Special Jury award for Mohanlal for Pulimurugan, Janatha Garage and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

-May 3, 2017, New Delhi


Indian origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, US

Days after Kansas shooting, Indian-origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, US

indian business man

 Indian origin businessman shot dead in Lancaster, US

On Thursday night, Harnish Patel, 43, had closed his convenience store in Lancaster County, South Carolina, at 11.24 pm and barely 10 minutes later, he was shot dead outside his house, a media report said. The store is about 6 km from his house.

The incident took place two days after US President Donald Trump denounced the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas on February 22 and said the country “stands united in condemning hate and evil”.

Local officials in Lancaster, however, did not believe that Patel`s killing was a bias crime as investigations are on, The Herald reported

County Sheriff Barry Faile said on Friday that the Indian ethnicity of Patel does not appear to be a factor in the crime.

“I don’t have any reason to believe that this was racially motivated,” Faile said

In the February 22 Kansas killing, Kuchibhotla was shot dead by a man screaming, “Get out of my country”.

Another Indian Alok Madasani, who was with the victim at a bar, and an American, Ian Grillot, who tried to stop the shooting, were also shot and injured.

Adam Purinton, a white and a former Navy SEAL was arrested and charged with murder. He had reportedly said that he had shot two Iranians after shooting the Indians.

The hate crime was condemned by leaders in both the US and India.

In his State of the Union address to the joint session of the Congress on February 28, Trump said: “Last week`s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

Local WSOCTV said that in Lancaster there was a lot of anger over the killing of Patel, who was considered an important member of the community and a kind person who treated his customers as friends and helped law enforcement.

His store was close to the Sheriff`s office and deputies often frequented the store.

Faile said on TV that Patel was a “great family man” and a friend.

The station said that Patel was survived by his wife and child in elementary school, who were at home when he was killed.

People had created an impromptu shrine outside Patel`s Speed Mart store by leaving balloons and flowers in his memory, the station said. A sign on door read, “Store closed for few days because of family emergency. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

A tearful customer, Nicole Jones, told the station that when someone didn`t have money, Patel gave them food. “I would have no idea who would do this to him as good as he is to everybody,” she said.

A store employee, Keira Baskin, said that he only wanted the best for his employees and his family.

On Thursday night, a woman called the police and said that she heard screaming and gunshots and when sheriff`s deputies arrived there they found Patel dead from apparent gunshot wounds a few feet from his house, WBTV reported.

Police found two shell casings at the crime scene. A police dog could not pick up any scent to follow from there, WSOCTV reported.




-March 4, 2017, New York





There should be no room for intolerant Indian:President

There should be no room for intolerant Indian, universities must not propagate culture of unrest: President Pranab Mukherjee

there is no room

President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday that universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest and there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian.

Delivering the sixth KS Rajamony memorial lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ in Kochi, Kerala, he said, “Our premier institutions of higher education are vehicles on which India has to propel itself into a knowledge society. These temples of learning must resound with creativity and free thinking. Those in universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest.”

“It is tragic to see them caught in the vortex of violence and disquiet. There should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian. India has been since ancient times a bastion of free thought, speech and expression,” President Mukherjee added.

He maintained, “Our society has always been characterized by the open contestant of diverse schools of thought and debate/discussion. Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent. Leaders/political activists must listen to people, engage with them, learn from them and respond to their needs & concerns Our lawmakers must never take the people for granted.”

 “They must focus on the fundamental task of law-making and raising of issues of concern to the people. The trust placed by the people in the political system and those elected should not be betrayed. I do not consider a society or state to be civilised if its citizens’ behaviour towards women is uncivilised. When we brutalise a woman, we wound the soul of our civilisation,” the President said.

He pointed out, “The acid test of any society is its attitude towards women and children. The time has come for collective efforts to re-discover the sense of national purpose and patriotism. Sense of national purpose and patriotism alone can lift our nation on to the road of sustained progress and prosperity. The nation and the people must always come first.”

– March 2, 2017, New Delhi


ISRO successfully launching 104 satellites in single mission

ISRO sets world record by successfully launching 104 satellites in single missionISRO sets world record by successfully launching 104 satellites in single mission

Indian space agency ISRO on Wednesday morning scripted history by successfully launching a record 104 satellites, including country’s Cartosat-2 earth observation satellite, in a single mission from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Exactly at 9:28 am, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37 carrying 104 satellites blasted off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

About 28 minutes into the flight, PSLV first injected Cartosat-2 series satellite into orbit, followed by the other 103 nano satellites, including 96 from the US, in a gap of about 30 minutes.

This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.

As the scientists at the Mission Control centre broke into cheers, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar announced: “All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done.”

ISRO’s new feat beat superpowers like Russia, which had launched 37 satellites in one go in 2014, and the US, which orbited 29 satellites in 2013.

Last year, ISRO had sucessfully launched 23 satellites in a single mission in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee congratulated team ISRO for the successful launch.

In today’s complex mission after the end of 28-hour countdown, the PSLV-C37 injected the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite followed by ISRO’s nano satellites INS-1A and INS-1B in an 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

This was followed by launch of the other 101 nano satellites of overseas customers in blocks in a series of separations.

INS-1A and INS-1B will carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments, ISRO said

Cartosat-2 series satellite, with a mission life of five years, will send images that would cater to coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, distribution of water, creation of land use maps among others.

Of the 101 co-passenger foreign satellites, 96 belong to USA, five from international customers of ISRO including Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.

Kiran Kumar also said that ISRO was enabling the MARS Orbiter Mission to survive a long eclipse duration after which it would function for at least 2-3 years unless “we encounter any more difficulties”.

“Now we are targeting GSLV MkII and then Mk III…A series of launch activities planned to ensure like last year this year also we have many exciting events coming,” he added.

PSLV-C37 Project Director B Jayakumar said it was a “great moment for each and everyone of us. It is confirmed all 104 satellites have been successfully deployed in the orbit.

“Launching 104 satellites onboard a single rocket was a complex mission. “But our teams came up with very good solutions. The integration part are also done very well by our team. It is enjoyable mission and excellent team work,” he said.

Satish Dhawan Space Centre Director P Kunhi Krishnan said the launch clearly reiterated ISRO’s capability in handling complex missions very professionally.

ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director K Sivan said it was a matter of national pride that the country had launched 104 satellites in one go using PSLV.

“It is one of the toughest missions we have handled,” he added.

So far the Indian space agency has launched 226 satellites, out of which 179 are from foreign nations.

-February 15, 2017,New Delhi

Barack Obama delivers farewell speech

Barack Obama delivers farewell speech

Barack Obama delivers farewell speech, says `we rise or fall as one`

Addressing the nation for the last time as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama on Tuesday advocated for religious freedom and called on supporters to pick up the torch and forge a new “social compact”.

Saying goodbye to the US citizens in a dramatic reinterpretation of a presidential farewell address, Obama asserted, “Democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity, for all our outward differences, we are all in this together,” adding, “we rise or fall as one.”

Capping his eight years in office, Obama returned to his adoptive hometown of Chicago to recast his “yes we can” campaign credo as “yes we did.”

He said that he recieved a lot of messages and it was his turn to say thanks. While noting that he America was a better place now, Obama told his supporters that they made him a better President.

“After eight years as your President, I still believe that, and it’s not just my belief. It’s the beating heart of our American idea — our bold experiment in self-government,” he said.

In an emotional address enriched with wisdom and optimism, the outgoing President said he would never give up on his vision for change and reminding Americans that they made him a better leader.

“This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it, he said.

In comments that resonate as Americans ponder whether Russia helped to put Trump in the White House, Obama said “that order is now being challenged.”

“First by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets, open democracies, and civil society itself as a threat to their power.”

“The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile.”

Instead of the Oval Office or East Room for his last formal set of remarks, Obama chose Chicago — the city where he declared victory in 2008 and 2012 — to address a sold-out crowd of supporters.

Earlier, he wrote on Facebook that he was returning to the city “where it all started.”

Obama also raised the issue of global warming saying, “We can and should argue about the best approach to solve the problem.”

“But to simply deny the problem, not only betrays future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this country, the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our founders.”

-January 11, 2017, Chicago






BJP wins municipal corporation elections in Faridabad

Faridabad municipal corporation elections results: BJP creates history, wins 30 out of 40 seats

Faridabad municipal corporation elections results: BJP creates history, wins 30 out of 40 seats

Registering yet another victory in local body elections, BJP has bagged 30 out of 40 seats in Faridabad municipal corporation elections.

Creating history, BJP won 30 out of 40 seats with 10 going to independent candidates.

Win a people’s approval of demonetisation

Projecting BJPs win in Faridabad local polls as a victory of the party’s “pro-development” ideology, its president Amit Shah said it was yet another evidence of people’s approval of demonetisation as the party has won polls across states since the decision was taken.

‘Sabka saath, sabka vikaas’

“This historic win is a victory of BJPs ideology of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and the pro-development agenda. In every election following demonetisation, people of the country have put their stamp of approval on it,” Shah said in a statement.

Referring to his party’s performance in various polls in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra besides the Union Territory of Chandigarn, he claimed it is now clear that the opposition is merely doing politics over notes ban while people are supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in building an honest India.

“This is the sixth consecutive win of BJP in local polls after demonetisation,” Shah noted.

-January 9, 2017, New Delhi

President approves Ordinance to pay salary through banks

President approves Ordinance to pay salaries through banks

The Ordinance empowers State or Central government to specify industries or establishments where wage payment can be made mandatory through the banking system.

President Pranab Mukherjee has approved the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 to enable industries to pay wages through cheque or by direct credit into bank accounts of workers earning up to Rs. 18,000 a month, without their permission.

The Ordinance, promulgated on December 28, however doesn’t make payment of wages mandatory through the banking system and employers can still pay salaries through cash. The Payment of Wages Act of 1936 required employers to take permission from employees before paying salaries through cheque or bank credit.

PresidentThe Ordinance, promulgated on December 28, however doesn’t make payment of wages mandatory through the banking system and employers can still pay salaries through cash. The Payment of Wages Act of 1936 required employers to take permission from employees before paying salaries through cheque or bank credit.

The Ordinance empowers State or Central government to specify industries or establishments where wage payment can be made mandatory through the banking system.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had introduced the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha on December 15, but it couldn’t be cleared owing to the impasse in Parliament. The Payment of Wages Act states that all payment of wages should be in cash, with a provision asking employers to obtain written permission of the worker to pay either by cheque, or by crediting the wages to his or her bank account.

The Centre decided to take the Ordinance route as its decision to scrap the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes in November led to a cash crunch and employers were encountering problems in paying workers through cash.

An Ordinance is valid for six months and the Centre needs to get it passed in Parliament within that period.