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Tamil Nadu CM meets protesting farmers at Jantar Mantar in Delhi
In past 40 days, the protesting farmers have marched naked outside the Prime Minister's office, ate mice, shaved their heads, marked mock funerals and on Saturday even drank their urine... New Delhi, April 23: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Sunday met with protesting farmers from his state at the Jantar Mantar and assured help.The farmers have protested here for the past 40 days and demands loan waivers, drought relief packages and formation of a Cauvery management board to resolve their irrigation issues.Palaniswami, in a brief 20 minutes meeting, assured that he will take up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for funds to waive off the loan and urged the farmers to end their protest."We will try to cut down the unnecessary expenses and make arrangements...I will take up the farmer's demands to the Prime Minister...We urge the farmers to end their protest," Palaniswami said.P. Ayyakannu, president of the National-South Indian Rivers Linking Farme...




Parliamentary panel summons RBI Governor again over demonetisation issue
The Governor would also be asked when the banks' operations would become normal and also how digital economy is being implemented in the country  New Delhi, April 21: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel has been summoned by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance to appear before it on May 25 on the demonetisation issue.According to one of the panel members, he will be asked how money has so far come back into the system after demonetisation.The Governor would also be asked when the banks' operations would become normal and also how digital economy is being implemented in the country.The committee is headed by former Union Minister and Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily, who had in January called Finance Ministry officials besides top RBI officials to discuss demonetisation.(IANS) 




CPI seeks Centre's intervention to help TN farmers
From wearing human skulls to conducting mock funerals and even stripping at Raisina Hill here, the farmers have been grabbing eyeballs for over a month  New Delhi, April 21: The CPI on Friday flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what it said was "utter disregard" towards the plight of protesting Tamil Nadu farmers and sought the the government's immediate intervention.Communist Party of India General Secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy and National Council Secretary K. Narayana visited the Jantar Mantar -- where the farmers have been protesting for over a month to demand loan waivers, drought relief package and formation of a Cauvery river management board."Modi, during the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, promised to take care of farmers and solve water disputes once he came to power. Three years after assuming power, he has done nothing," the CPI said.The party pointed out that the Tamil Nadu farmers had been protesting peacefully for nearly 40 days. It asked the Centre...




BJP government accused of 'hollowing' MGNREGA
Questioning the BJP government's budgetary allocation for schemes under the MGNREGA in the current financial year, the statement said: "For 2017-18, the Union of India has budgeted Rs 48,000 crore." New Delhi, April 20: A group of activists on Wednesday alleged that the central government is "hollowing" MGNREGA through measures like mandatory linking to Aadhaar, compensation and the suppression of its wage rates.According to a statement from activists, who include Nikhil Dey of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and Annie Raja of National Federation of Indian Women, the programme is particularly needed at this time in the country where drought conditions are still prevalent and the informal economy is yet to recover from demonetisation.Questioning the BJP government's budgetary allocation for schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in the current financial year, the statement said: "For 2017-18, the Union of India has budgeted Rs...




Cabinet approves EC plan to buy VVPAT machines
New Delhi, April 19: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Election Commission's proposal to buy paper trail machines for electronic voting machines (EVMs), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.Talking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Jaitley said a total of 16,15,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units would be needed for the EVMs as per the Election Commission estimates."The Election Commission had been consistently demanding VVPAT machines to hold elections. The Cabinet approved the demand today." This would cost Rs 3,173.47 crore, he said."If we place the order in April, the whole supply would come by September 2018... Hence, VVPAT machines would be available in all polling booths in the subsequent elections," Jaitley said.He added that the expenses on the procurement of these machines would be spread over two financial years.Jaitley said the government would immediately provide Rs 1,600 crore to the poll panel and the rest in the next fi...




Vijay Mallya arrested in London, gets bail
London, April 18: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, wanted in India for defaulting on over Rs 8,000 crore in bank loans, was arrested here on Tuesday. Within hours, a court granted him bail.Metropolitan Police said Mallya, 61, was taken into custody after attending a central London police station.The Westminster Magistrates' Court later gave him bail on a 650,000 pound bond. The next hearing of the case will be on May 17.A Metropolitan Police statement said officers from the Extradition Unit arrested Mallya on an extradition warrant from India."Mallya was arrested on behalf of the Indian authorities in relation to accusations of fraud," the statement said.After getting bail, Mallya tweeted: "Usual Indian media hype. Extradition hearing in court started today as expected."Mallya fled to Britain in March 2016 after being pursued in courts by Indian banks seeking to recover Rs 8,191 crore owed by his now defunct Kingfisher Airline.The banks had been able to recover only Rs 15...




Tamil Nadu: Opposition parties call for shutdown April 25 on farmers' issues
Chennai, April 16: Demanding immediate action on the part of state and central governments in resolving the issues of Tamil Nadu's famers, opposition parties on Sunday decided to observe shutdown strike on April 25.A meeting of opposition parties chaired by DMK Working President M.K.Stalin at the DMK's headquarters here decided to call for a state wide shutdown on April 25 among the several resolutions adopted there.Condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not meeting the farmers who are protesting in Delhi, the meeting also decided to meet Modi along with farmers and highlight their plight.The opposition parties also urged the Tamil Nadu government to waive all farm loans and convene a special session of the assembly to discuss the farmers' issues.The meeting also passed resolutions urging the central government to constitute the Cauvery Management Board, the Cauvery Regulatory Authority, declare the Cauvery delta region as Special Agriculture Zone, scrapping of the hydro-carbon pr...




Daughter ends life to save farmer father from debts in Maharashtra
I am ending my life to ease my father's financial burden and eliminate the practice of dowry in my Maratha-Kunbi community Latur (Maharashtra), April 15: On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a Rs 1 crore prize to a 20-year-old Latur woman for a digital transaction, another young woman from the district ended her life by jumping into a well as her father could not afford her marriage expenses, officials said.The 21-year-old victim was Shital Vyankat Vayal, a resident of Bhise-Wagholi village, who had completed her Secondary School Certificate three years ago. Her death has added a whole new dimension to the ongoing socio-agrarian crisis gripping Maharashtra.On Friday morning, Shital jumped into a well in her own farmland. But the real story emerged after a suicide note was recovered by her family.In the note, she has recounted how her parents are very poor and did not have money to organise her marriage."I am ending my life to ease my father's financial burden ...




BHIM-Aadhaar will revolutionise Indian economy, empower Indians: PM
The new app will enable payments with just a 'thumb' impression, which can be used by even an illiterate person to pay digitally with his/her biometric data on a merchant's biometric-enabled device Nagpur (Maharashtra), April 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the BHIM-Aadhaar digital payments platform has the potential to revolutionise the Indian economy while empowering common Indians in the same way as did the Constitution, framed by B.R. Ambedkar, whose 126th birth anniversary is being celebrated across the country on Friday.Launching the new combined platform here, he said that by enabling each Indian to pay digitally using their biometric data on a merchant's biometric-enabled device, the BHIM-Aadhaar will be like a SmartPhone with a biometric reader and boost digital payments in a manner unprecedented anywhere in the world.It is a step towards a "less-cash" economy and combating the black money menace, he said."'DigiDhan' is a 'Safai Abhiyaan' to fre...




Opposition raises EVM issue with Election Commission, seeks use of paper ballots
New Delhi, April 11: Opposition parties on Monday approached the Election Commission expressing their "complete loss of faith" in EVMs and demanded use of VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) and paper ballots in upcoming polls.A delegation of 13 opposition parties including Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Left parties, among others, met the poll panel following allegations of electronic voting machine (EVM) tampering during the February-March assembly polls in five states as well as the Sunday by-polls in several states."Going by what happened in the recent polls, be it the people or political parties, all have lost faith in EVMs. Therefore, the Election Commission should revert to using the old system of paper ballot instead of EVMs," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting."Representatives of 13 parties put forth their views about the EVMs to the EC. We told them that free and fair polls cannot be ensur...




Chidambaram questions: Was money paid to R.K. Nagar voters white?
New Delhi, April 10: Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday asked if Rs 100 crore distributed in cash to voters in R.K. Nagar of Chennai was black or white after the Election Commission indefinitely postponed the April 12 by-election to the assembly constituency following allegations that the ruling AIADMK had bribed electors in violation of the code of conduct.The Congress leader also criticised the central government questioning if demonetisation had indeed put an end to black money in India."We were told demonetisation has put an end to black money. Was money distributed in R.K. Nagar white money," Chidambaram asked in a tweet.The poll panel in a late Sunday night order said the voting would now be conducted "when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to lure the electors gets removed with the passage of time, and the atmosphere in the constituency becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair election".The move ca...




CBI files cases against companies for defrauding banks
New Delhi, April 9: The CBI on Sunday registered cases against a Chandigarh-based company and three of its directors for cheating a bank in Punjab of over Rs 1,300 crore, officials said.The Central Bureau of Investigation also registered cases against a Jabalpur-based company and four of its directors for siphoning off nearly Rs 44 crore from a Madhya Pradesh bank.The CBI booked Kudos Chemie Ltd, Chandigarh, and its directors Jitendra Singh, Kabir Sodhi and Gurmeet Sodhi under several offences including criminal conspiracy and cheating.The case was registered following a complaint by the Punjab National Bank (PNB) that the directors along with several unknown persons siphoned off Rs 1,301 crore from the bank by availing credit facilities using false and fabricated documents.The Jabalpur based Jagdamba AMW Automotive Ltd. and Pushpendra Singh, Yogendra Singh, Shailendra Singh, and Pratima Singh were booked for allegedly defrauding the Canara Bank of Rs 43.77 crore by availing credit fac...




18 lakh accounts being probed for large deposits after note ban: Jaitley
Jan Dhan accounts and dormant accounts, to see if they have been misused after demonetisation, we are extensively doing data mining. We are concentrating on those who deposited big amounts: Jaitley  New Delhi, April 7: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said post the November 8 demonetisation, around 18 lakh bank accounts have been found where the amount deposited does not match with the income profile of the account holder.Replying to questions in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Jaitley said data mining was used to find such accounts."Jan Dhan accounts and dormant accounts, to see if they have been misused after demonetisation, we are extensively doing data mining. We are concentrating on those who deposited big amounts," Jaitley said."There are around 18 lakh such examples in which income profile and account profile do not match. Preliminary information has been sought. Some have given the information; those who have not will get notice as per law," the Minis...




Jethmalani to fight Kejriwal's case against Jaitley for free
New Delhi, April 4: Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Tuesday said he will fight the defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for free.Jethmalani made the comments after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) denounced the Delhi government's decision to pay a bill of Rs 3.4 crore to the lawyer from the public exchequer.But even as Jethmalani, a former BJP MP, declared that he won't charge money from Kejriwal, the Chief Minister's aides and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) justified the decision to pay the lawyer from government funds."I charge only the rich but for the poor I work for free. If the (Delhi) government doesn't pay or he (Kejriwal) can't pay, I will appear for free. (I) will treat him as one of my poor clients," Jethmalani told the media.Jethmalani said he was keen on cross-examining Jaitley over the alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) when Jaitley headed it."I will appear in the ...




'Post-merger with associate banks, SBI opens as one bank'
The associate banks which merged with the SBI are State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank Of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore. Mumbai, April 3: After the merger of five associate banks and the Bharatiya Mahila Bank, top public sector lender State Bank of India (SBI) began operations on Monday with 500 million customers.The associate banks which merged with the SBI are State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank Of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore besides the Bharatiya Mahila Bank."The SBI opened as 'one bank' today and will continue to operate in the same manner as before post-merger. New products and services will come across more seamlessly," SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told the media.Bringing cheer to its old customers, SBI also cut the base rate by 15 basis points (bps) to 9.10 per cent with effect from April 1. Earlier, the base rate stood at 9.25...




Slaughterhouse ban to hit leather goods industry, exports
In case of short supply of raw materials from the indigenous market, manufacturers need to look for costly imports of raw materials instead of cheap domestic sourcing which would make Indian leather exports less competitive in the world market. By Bappaditya Chatterjee, Kolkata, April 1: Leather goods manufacturers, who have experienced a slump in raw material supply from domestic sources, fear that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Uttar Pradesh government's action against illegal slaughterhouses could hit supplies and raise prices. They also say a "blanket ban" on slaughterhouses could defeat the purpose of the Make in India programme for the $12 billion Indian leather industry, which is among the top five in the world's leather market.In case of short supply of raw materials from the indigenous market, manufacturers need to look for costly imports of raw materials instead of cheap domestic sourcing which would make Indian leather exports less competitive in...




Truckers begin indefinite strike to protest premium hike
Kolkata/Chennai/Mumbai/Bengaluru, April 1: Truck owners began an indefinite strike from Saturday to protest mainly against the proposed 50 per cent hike in the third party insurance premium, amid apprehensions that the protest could lead to supply disruption and raise commodity prices in the coming days.In a bid to resolve the stand-off, the strikers will meet Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) Chairman on Monday, and take a decision on whether to continue with the agitation based on the discussions with the regulator."One of the reasons for going on strike is the drastic 50 per cent increase in the third party premium charged for trucks by the insurers. We have a meeting with the IRDAI Chairman on Monday at Hyderabad," said P.V. Subramani, Vice President, All India Motor Transport Congress-South Zone.The third party premium for automobiles is decided by IRDAI while all other premium rates are decided by the insurers - private and government-owned...




India's longest highway tunnel set to open
Built at a cost of Rs 2,519 crore, the tunnel forms part of the proposed widening of National Highway 44 between Jammu and Srinagar. Udhampur (Jammu and Kashmir), March 31: India will set a benchmark in infrastructure when the country's longest highway tunnel of 10.98 km opens between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.To be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it will also be Asia's first longest bi-directional tunnel with fully transverse ventilation system, according to the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.Built at a cost of Rs 2,519 crore, the tunnel forms part of the proposed widening of National Highway 44 between Jammu and Srinagar.Constructed in the most difficult terrain, the tunnel will reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours.Among the features the state of art tunnel are a fully integrated tunnel control system that will control ventilation, communication, power supply and incident detection.There will also be SOS ...




States should waive farm loans: Union Agriculture Minister
New Delhi, March 30: Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Thursday said states should consider loan waiver for farmers after the Congress in Lok Sabha demanded that the Centre announce the measure across the country.The issue was raised by Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia soon after Question Hour."This government says Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas (inclusive development) but the farmer is only committing suicide," Scindia said.He said the way the BJP promised farm loan waiver in Uttar Pradesh, the Centre should do that across the country."We demand that farmers' loans should be waived off," he said.Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, however, said the government has given Rs 15,000 crore from the disaster fund in 2015-16, and added that states had received more funds from the Finance Commission this year, so states can take the step."Our sympathy and support is with the farmers," the minister said."In Uttar Pradesh, BJP said they would waive loa...




Iron Ore Mining: Supreme Court orders SIT probe against two former Karnataka CMs
New Delhi, March 30: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Karnataka Police to probe two former Chief Ministers - H.D. Kumaraswamy and N. Dharam Singh - in connection with large scale illegal iron ore mining in the state between 1999 and 2004.A bench of Justice P.C. Ghose and Justice R.F. Nariman directed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Karnataka Police to probe the role of Kumaraswamy and Singh in de-reservation of 11,797 square km of forest in Bellary district that led to the large-scale illegal iron ore mining.The bench also barred other courts from entertaining cases related to the probe.The court gave the SIT three months time to file a report before it after probing the roles of other two CMs and former and serving bureaucrats. (IANS)




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