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8 Pages Rs: 1.00 Jammu Edition www.thestudentage.com

STUdenT aGe
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2013

JKENG/2012/41612 Vol. 2 No: 33

Pawar speaks up for Rajnath is a leader banned mining with difference industry in Goa
Page 6 Editorial

Israel will 'regret aggression against Syria': Iran


Page 7

IN BRIEF
High court notice to Congress, BJP on foreign funding
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Monday issued notice to the Congress and the BJP on a plea seeking directive for a CBI or SIT probe for allegedly taking donations from subsidiaries of Britainbased Vedanta Group. A division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice contd on page 2

Govt defends ordinance, welcomes CWG scam: Charges framed against Kalmadi and nine others suggestions from public
'Nothing rejected from Verma report': Chidambaram
Women groups protest anti-rape ordinance

D
NEW DELHI: The government on Monday defended its decision to pass an ordinance on sexual harassment saying there was an urgent need for amending the criminal law. The conglomerate of changes, which introduced the death penalty for extreme rape cases, has to be cleared by parliament within six months. Union Minister P Chidambaram addressed a press conference on Monday and announced the measures taken up by the government in the ordinance. "There will be changes in the ordinance," said Finance Minister P Chidambaram. "There will be decisions with political parties, parliament...I appeal to everyone to complete the process in the parliament session." Chidambaram rejected claims that the recommendations of the Justice JS Verma panel have been rejected. He said, "As we were expected to be prompt, we have brought this ordinance. Marital rape a difficult issue in which we need more consultations. Some clauses like AFSPA need more discussions." "The ordinance is the first step in the making of

LS polls anytime after September: Mulayam


LUCKNOW/DELHI: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday asked party workers to get ready for snap Lok Sabha polls as they may be held anytime after September 2013. Yadav has been goading party workers to get their act together and work towards ensuring maximum number of seats for the party in the polls. Recently he had asked party members to "leave their fascination" of staying contd on page 2

ubbing the government's ordinance on sexual violence against women an "eyewash," a number of women's groups today protested at Jantar Mantar seeking full implementation of Justice Verma committee recommendations. "This ordinance is an eyewash. It is diluting the actual reccontd on page 2 ommendations of Justice
to assure everyone that further consultations will take place." The minister also clarified that some recommendations of Justice JS Verma panel have not been incorporated because of divergence of opinion. "It is not correct to say that Justice Verma Committee report has not been accepted. The ordinance is only the starting point of legislative process. Justice Verma also agreed to the 22 clauses put in ordinance yesterday," said Chidambaram. He also said that the Cabinet contd on page 2

Two-day strike call to give a strong message: Yechury


KOLKATA: Extending support to the two-day strike call given by all central trade unions of the country, CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury on Monday said the strike will sent out a strong message against the anti-people policies of the Centre. "Earlier also we had given a one-day strike call against the policies of the Centre. But that strike call didn't send a strong message to them," Yechury said. "So now a twoday strike call has been given to deliver a stronger message," contd on page 2

law," Information and Broadcasting Minister Manoj Tewari told the media here. "If there are objections, the government will look into them with a positive framework and take into consideration whatever is necessary," the minister said. Chidambaram added that the government welcomed the suggestions from public to replace ordinance with a bill in Parliament. "There will be debate, consultation with political parties, which will give ample opportunities to reflect broadest perspective. The government wishes

NEW DELHI: A CBI court has framed charges against sacked CWG Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi and nine other accused in CWG timing and scoring scam on Monday over two years after the Commonwealth Games. They have been charged with cheating, conspiring, abusing his official position and causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to public exchequer in a games-related graft case. Kalmadi pleaded not guilty in the court. All the accused in the case are out on bail. Special CBI Judge Ravinder Kaur framed charges under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act against Kalmadi and other accused, including OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot, in the case. Besides cheating and criminal conspiracy, the accused have also been charged with offences relating to forgery and use of forged documents as genuine, criminal intimidation, destruction of evidence of the IPC and section

13(1)(d) read with section 13(2) (criminal misconduct by public servants) of the PC Act. The court has fixed February 20 as the date for the commencement of trial in the case. The judge said that the evidence will be recorded on a day-to-day basis barring Monday and Friday. The Central Bureau of Investigation claimed that they were involved in illegally awarding the contract for timing and scoring for the games to Swiss Timing. This allegedly caused a loss of about Rs 90 crore to the exchequer. After framing of charges contd on page 2

BJP welcomes Kalmadi charge-sheet


NEW DELHI: The BJP Monday welcomed the filing of charge-sheet against former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi but sought to know if action would also be taken against Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for irregularities during the 2010 games. "While the BJP welcomes the belated chargesheeting of Suresh Kalmadi," it would like to know contd on page 2

Rajnath asks BJP leaders not to comment on PM candidate


NEW DELHI: Amidst the growing hullabaloo within the Bharatiya Janata Party for declaring Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the next prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday urged the party members not to speculate or comment on the issue. "I am appealing to all my leaders of BJP and workers not to speculate or give any statement on BJP's PM candidate," the newly-elected BJP president said. He further reiterated that

Governor releases brochure about Do's and Don'ts


Shri Amarnathji Yatra, 2013

BJYM announces its new State team


JAMMU, FEB 4: State Unit of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha has announced its new state office bearers and its seven new district Presidents. After the consultation with BJP State President Jugal Kishore Sharma and the Senior party leaders, BJYM State President Ravinder Raina announced the team of new BJYM office bearers with Narinder Singh Kotwal (Badherwah), Bharat Sharma, Advocate Naresh Bhagat (Udhampur), Vicky Mahajan, Karan Sharma, Sanjay Kumar, Advocate Bhanu Singh Jasrotia as State Vice-Presidents while two post of vice presidents; one from Kashmir and another from Ladakh region shall be announced after the consultation with the senior leaders of the respective regions. Inderjeet Singh Sambyal nominated as State General Secretary while Ranjeet Tara (Rajouri),contd on page 2

Solicitor General RF Nariman resigns


NEW DELHI: Solicitor General of India Rohinton F Nariman resigned on Monday from his post. The reason behind his resignation is not yet clear, but sources familiar with the incident said that Nariman was upset due to some tiff with Law Ministry officials. Nariman was appointed as the Solicitor General by the government in July 2011 after Gopal Subramaniam quit the post.

only the BJP's central parliamentary board can take a decision on the PM candidate. "If any decision is to be taken on PM candidature, only the central parliamentary board will decide, we should not speculate on this," Singh said. contd on page 2

N. N. Vohra, Governor along with others releasing a brochure listing Do's and Don'ts for the intending pilgrims at Jammu. JAMMU, FEB 4: Mr. N. N. Vohra, Governor, who is Chairman of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, released a Brochure brought out by the Jammu Kashmir & Ladakh Tourism Development Cooperative Ltd. (JKLTDC), Jammu and Kashmir, at Raj Bhavan, here today. This Brochure, listing Do's and Don'ts for the intending pilgrims, has been brought out by the JKLTDC with a view to enlarging awareness among the Yatris about the various aspects of the annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra, including the terrain and topography, and the precautions to be taken during the pilgrimage. This year's Yatra commences on 28th June, 2013. Interacting with a delegation of the JKLTDC on this occasion, the Governor lauded their initiative of bringing out the Brochure, which would serve as a useful guide for the pilgrims. He observed that such literature could be usefully made available at the Yatra Registration Counters across the country for the benefit of the intending pilgrims. Mr. Rajesh Gupta, Chairman, JKLTDC, briefed the Governor about the activities of this organization and the aims and objects of bringing out the Brochure. He said that the JKLTDC volunteers will also provide free assistance to the Yatris and support during healthcare emergencies, hospitalization assistance and attendants at various locations. The 9-member delegation comprised Syed Sajjad Madni, S. Gurmit Sing, Mr. Asif Iqbal, Mr. B. B. Kotwal, Mr. Rajinder Singh Kotwal, Mr. Shujahat Madni, Mr. Ajay Kumar Mahajan and Mr. Sudhir Gulati. Mr. Navin K. Choudhary, Chief Executive Officer of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, was present on the occasion.

BJP's PM candidate from eight leaders: Naqvi


AGARTALA: Any of eight leaders in the BJP, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, could be the prime ministerial candidate, party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Monday. "The parliamentary board will choose one from among the eight top leaders at an appropriate time as the prime ministerial candidate," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice president told reporters. He said there was no confusion or discontd on page 2 agreement within the

UP spends Rs.120 cr to protect VIPs


LUCKNOW: With security often seen as a status symbol, the Uttar Pradesh government is spending a whopping Rs.120 crores in public money a year to provide security cover to around 1,500 VIPs of different hues, deploying as many as 2,913 police officials, officials records show. Inspector General of Police (Law & Order) Badri Prasad Singh admitted that 1,476 VIPs (very important persons) were being given security based on "pre-emptive threat perception". "Police does a security check of the threat perception to a contd on page 2

Karnataka Budget Session begins today, Shettar asserts no threat to govt


BANGALORE: In Karnataka, the Budget Session began Monday with the customary address by Governor H R Bhardwaj to a joint sitting of the Assembly and Council. The Governor enumerated the success and progress of this government in the last four and a half years. He referred in his speech about drought management, waiver of loans, generation of additional electricity, implementation of social welfare and infrastructure programmes and financial jurisprudence. Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar today asserted there was no threat to his government in the wake of resignation by some BJP MLAs and he would be presenting his maiden budget on February 08. "There is no threat to the government. On February 8 I am going to present the budget. Nothing to worry", he told

Cold conditions Jammu Marathon ED slaps Rs 98.5 grip North on Feb 17: Taj crore notice on India again takes a review Rajasthan Royals
JAMMU, FEB 4: North India is again in the grip of cold conditions. Himachal Pradesh is reeling under cold wave condition with upper parts of the state experiencing fresh snow fall and lower parts wide-spread rain since last night. The people in the glacier prone areas have been told to shift to the safer areas. In Jammu and Kashmir, the 300-km-long SrinagarJammu national highway, contd on page 2 JAMMU, FEB, 04: The Jammu Marathon race would be held on February 17 and it would invite participation of around 25, 000 people including some 10 celebrities. This was disclosed in an interactive meeting the Minister had with a deputation of Managing Committee of the Marathon race. The meeting was informed that the race would start at 9 am from MAM Stadium, contd on page 2 NEW DELHI/MUMBAI, FEB 4: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has slapped a penalty notice of approximately Rs 100 crore against IPL team Rajasthan Royals for allegedly violating forex laws in its business operations. The agency, which issued the penalty notice after a two years of investigations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), has sent out three separate notices to the IPL franchise totalling contd on page 2

'Will not move no-trust motion': Congress


BANGALORE: The Congress will not move a no-confidence motion as it expects the BJP government to collapse on its own, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly said in Bangalore on Monday."We will not move", Mr Siddaramaiah said, when asked if the Congress was planning to bring in a no-trust notice in the budget session, which commenced on Monday. "We don't have the numbers (to succeed)". The BJP government "technically" enjoys a majority. However, the "ground reality" is contd on page 2 reporters after Governor HR Bhardwaj's address to the joint state legislature session here. Shettar said he would welcome constructive criticism contd on page 2

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STUDENT AGE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2013

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as President Akhnoor (Jammu Rural), Sudershan Singh as President Reasi, Amit Gupta as President Ramban, Ashish Sharma as President Kishtwar and Prince Sharma as District President Poonch, where as District Presidents of Kathua, Basoli, Samba, Udhampur, Doda, SunderbaniNowshera and Rajouri shall be finalised shortly after the consultation with local BJP units. Provincial and the District Bodies of Kashmir valley and the Ladakh region are being finalised. in Karnataka in May.

Contd. from page 1...


Govt defends ...
approved a draft ordinance and advised President Pranab Mukherjee to promulgate the ordinance. He said, "The death penalty exists in Indian law for several offences. The Supreme Court says where death is a punishment it can be awarded in rarest cases, we have kept that principle. One where the rape is followed by injury that causes death, causes the person in a vegetative state, or repeats the crime of rape." On Juvenile Justice Act, Chidambaram said that this is a separate law that deals with any offence committed by juvenile. "Whether the age should be reduced for certain kind of offences has to be considered very carefully," clarified the Union Minister. Reacting to recent comments by the Opposition, Chidambaram said, "We have been completely faithful of Justice Verma panel report, don't understand what is the eye wash." Talking about the juvenile accused in Delhi gang rape, he said, "Criminal law cannot apply in retrospective. Whatever changes we make they will apply to crimes made post making the law and will not apply to crimes that have already occurred, that is the constitution of the country." "If the family of the victim demanded that the Juvenile Act should be amended, I can understand their sentiment, but opinions differ. Opinions are so divergent then we should kept that aside for the time being and discuss it in Parliament," stated Chidambaram. Committee and going beyond, also proposes to replace the word 'rape' with 'sexual assault' to expand the definition of all types sexual crimes against women

Cold conditions....
connecting the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country has been closed due to landslides, triggered by heavy rains and fresh snowfall. Met department has already issued a forecast for heavy to very heavy rains and snowfall for two days from tomorrow in the Pirpanjal range, including the highway. Surface and air transport are also likely to get affected due to this Western Disturbances. A cloudy day greeted Delhiites today with parts of the national capital witnessing rains overnight and in the early hours. The minimum temperature this morning was recorded 11.7 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal, it is likely to dip later in the day. The Met department has predicted more rain as well as hailstorm for Delhi today, accompanied by strong winds, which is expected to bring back the chill. In Rajashthan, Cold conditions today subsided in parts of the state where Sriganganagar recorded the lowest temperature of 11.2 degrees Celsius. Other places including the state capital recorded minimum temperature between 13 degrees to 17.3 degrees Celsius.The MET department has predicted light rains at isolated areas in the state. Light to moderate rains lashed most parts of Punjab and Haryana though minimum temperature rose sharply by up to eight notches above normal in both the states. Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 13.7 deg celsius, up by seven notches above normal. The city also witnessed rainfall of 3.8 mm. In Haryana, Ambala, Karnal and Narnaul settled at 14.2 degree Celsius while Hisar had a low of 14.6 degree up by 8 degrees above normal. The MeT in its forecast said light to moderate rain may continue in next 48 hours, while hailstorm or thunderstorm may occur at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana.

ular manner and shares were allegedly issued in violation of forex rules stipulated and framed by the RBI.

High court ...


Indermeet Kaur sought response from both political parties within three weeks and posted the matter for March 19. The court earlier sought response from the home ministry and the Election Commission saying it will go through their responses before asking the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to respond.

Cadet dies during training at NDA


MUMBAI: A second year (fourth term) Army Cadet, Ajitesh Anuj Goel (19), of the National Defence Academy (NDA) expired on the night of 2 February 2013 whilst participating in a routine training activity, which was being conducted in accordance with the promulgated programme. The fourth term cadets were being given practical exposure in the aspects of night navigation and map reading. This activity, conducted each term within the geographical limits of the academy, is part of exposing the cadets to the various aspects of field craft; and was supervised by group of trained instructors with proper medical cover. This training exposure focuses on technical map reading skills and to facilitate better supervision. The entire 4th term course was split into two groups of approximately 180 cadets in each group. The cadet was part of the first of the two groups. Only the first group took part in night navigation training on 2nd February. The cadet collapsed short of the finishing point at around and immediate CPR was administered on site. He was then rushed to the Military Hospital located within the NDA campus, but could not be revived. FIR was lodged at the Uttam Nagar Police Station, Pune. The cadet's body was handed over to his father and all the administrative arrangements made for an officer to escort the body by air to Delhi, and onward to his home town, Kashipur, Uttrakhand; and to be present till completion of last rites. An internal enquiry on the incident leading to the loss of life has been initiated.

CWG scam...
the trial will begin and the court will summon prosecution witnesses in the case. According to the CBI, the selection process for awarding the contract took around three years. Swiss Timing's first presentation was made one year after the publication of expression of interest. This was issued by Lalit Bhanot without the knowledge of Organising Committee's finance department. Swiss Timing itself recorded Rs 18 crore as escalation cost due to delays. VK Verma then changed the eligibility criteria of the TSR deal without bringing it to the notice of OC executive board and Kalmadi ensured the committee formed to approve the TSR deal consisted of those who favoured Swiss Timing. VK Gautam and Sujit Panigrahi were forced to resign from their positions in the OC as they opposed the choice of Swiss Timing. An overall loss of Rs 90 crore was incurred due to awarding the contract to Swiss Timing.

BJP's PM...
BJP on this issue. After releasing the BJP manifesto for the Feb 14 Tripura elections, Naqvi said at least eight important political parties would soon join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Refusing to disclose their names, he said some of them were earlier BJP allies. "Manmohan Singh is a prime minister on deputation with remote control in Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi's hands," Naqvi said. He added: "Our rivals portray the BJP as a Hindutva party although ours is a nationalistic party. "Even though several northeastern states are Christian-dominated states, the BJP's aim is to develop each part of the region." The BJP has fielded several candidates in all three northeastern states which will see elections this month: Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.

LS polls...
in the state capital and carry out extensive campaigning in favour of the party in their respective areas. Samajwadi Party has to repeat the history of UP assembly elections in Lok Sabha polls, he said, adding that the top priority should be to achieve the target of winning maximum seats in Lok Sabha elections. The SP supremo said more the number of party candidates winning the polls, more the party would gain a decisive role in national politics.

Two-day strike...
Yechury said on the sidelines of a programme here. Trade unions CITU, INTUC, AITUC, BMS and Left-backed banking sector unions have jointly called the country-wide general strike opposing financial sector reforms and allowing FDI in retail on February 20 and 21.

BJP welcomes...
about the other recommendations of the Shunglu Committee, which was constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to examine the entire CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report pertaining to the Commonwealth Games, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here. "The Shunglu Committee has given very stringent comments against the collusion and inaction of the Sheila Dikshit government. It has used an expression, 'there was a method in the madness'," he said. Prasad said, "Manmohan Singh had assured the house that he would take appropriate follow up action in the light of the conclusion and recommendations of the Shunglu Committee." "The BJP would like to know whether the prime minister will allow the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to fairly and honestly investigate the role of the entire Sheila Dikshit government as far as massive irregularities relating to the preparations are concerned," he said.

Karnataka Budget...
and suggestion from opposition parties, when his attention was drawn to opposition criticisms on his government. In the event of Assembly elections approaching shortly, the Governor appealed to the people of Karnataka to actively participate in the electoral process and urged the legislators to play a constructive and effective role for the formulation of people friendly policies. On the other hand, the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah has termed Governor's speech as bundle of lies. He said that the Government has made Governor to read lies. Replying about the question of no confidence motion, Siddaramaiah said they will not move 'no confidence motion' as they do not have required numbers in the House. He however added that the Government has no moral right to present the budget. He said technically speaking the Government has simple majority now, but with Yeddyurappa's supporters resigning by the day, the Government will fall soon. Days ahead of the session, 13 rebel BJP MLAs loyal to former Chief Minister and Karnataka Janata Party president BS Yeddyurappa had submitted their resignations from the House membership to Speaker KG Bopaiah, who accepted 12 and rejected one on technical grounds. One more BJP MLA had submitted his resignation on Feb 1, but its fate is yet to be known. The development posed no threat to the six month-old Shettar ministry as the effective strength of the 224-member House has been reduced with 12 more seats falling vacant in addition to the two earlier. With the acceptance of resignation of 12 MLAs, the BJP now has a strength of 105, Congress 71, JDS 26, independents seven (one of whom is supporting the Government and is in the Ministry) and the Speaker.

UP spends...
person who has applied for security from the state and thereafter the home department approves it," Singh said. Government sources said that more than 10,000 applications requesting security cover are pending before the home department and the officials are at their wits' end handling them. They point out that the "craze for 'sarkari suraksha' (state security)" is bigger under the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP). "With the state hardpressed for police, the situation is sad. Crime rate is soaring and people are looking for better security mechanism," said a police officer. Security cover taken away from civil police force impeded not only routine policing but also burnt a hole into the state's coffers, the officer said.

Women groups...
Verma committee. We want a bill based not on this ordinance but the panel's suggestions," said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of AllIndia Progressive Women Association (AIPWA). Sehba Farooqui, secretary of All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), listed their demands which include recognising marital rape. "While we wanted a gender specific definition of rape, government's ordinance has made it gender neutral. Also, Verma panel's recommendation that no sanction will be required if the armed forces personnel are accused of a crime against woman has been turned down," she said. "We were also in favour of recommendation that recognised marital rape. But this ordinance instead of strengthening the law will derail the issue," Farooqui said. She also said that government's permission should not be required to pursue cases where public servants are accused of rape. "Why should the government decide which cases are fake. Let the courts take a call on that. Also, command responsibility should be fixed where the armed forces are involved," argued Krishnan. The protesting groups said they will continue their demonstrations to build pressure on the government. "The government might have wanted to push the ordinance to give a message that it is moving fast on the issue of violence against women. But this should happen in a transparent manner. We will not defuse the pressure and will continue to push for our demands," she added. Krishnan said women's groups will carry out a signature campaign in favour of implementing Justice Verma's recommendations. "From February 21, we will all gather here at Jantar Mantar to hold a people's watch over Parliament to make sure that Justice Verma's recommendations are implemented," she said. The women's groups have been protesting against the ordinance, saying it ignored several recommendations of the Justice Verma committee. President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday promulgated the Ordinance under which rape that leads to death of the victim can attract death penalty. The Union Cabinet on Friday recommended the draft of the ordinance to the President for his assent in a bid to fast-track stringent amendments to the criminal laws to check crime against women. The ordinance came less than three weeks before the start of the Budget Session of Parliament. The ordinance, based on the recommendations of the Justice J S Verma

Vikar for adequate essential services in winter


JAMMU, FEBRUARY 04: Minister of State for Technical Education and Information, Vikar Rasool, has said that necessary instructions have already been passed to ensure adequate power supply especially in rural and farflung areas in the winter months. The Minister was interacting with a deputation form Poonch led by MLA, Aijaz Jan. The Deputationists, while expressing thanks for speedy restoration of power supply in Poonch district, said that they are grateful to the government. They also demanded allocation of additional funds for the border districts besides seeking early payment under MGNREGA. Vikar assured the deputationists that all their problems and genuine demands would be looked into for an early redressal. He said that the government is committed to ensure that the people of the State get better facilities. In this regard, instructions have already been conveyed to the concerned for ensuring adequate supply of essential services especially power supply in border district of Poonch and other such parts of the State.

Jammu Marathon...
go through BC Road, Kachi Chawni, Parade, Gumat to finally end back at MAM stadium. Appreciating the initiative, the Minister asked the organizers to attach a slogan for the marathon so that more and more people feel inclined to it. Mr. Taj directed the Secretary, Sports Council to facilitate conduct of the race in the most hassle free manner. He assured the organizers of the race all help in making the event a success. The Minister said Government is very keen to inculcate sports culture among youth of the State and organizing such events would go a long way in this direction. He said Government is contemplating more and more events to benefit youth. Secretary, Sports Council, Mr. Dileep Thusoo and representatives of the managing committee were present in the meeting.

Rajnath asks ...


His appeal came a day after VHP leader Ashok Singhal openly said Modi should be declared the PM candidate by the party. "If people themselves are demanding that Modi should be made the PM candidate then BJP will also have to think about it. Such a thing is happening for the first time. After all, the BJP president himself has said that Modi at present is their most popular leader," Singhal said. Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani have last month openly endorsed Modi's name as prime ministerial candidate. The other BJP leaders have been so far evasive on this issue. NDA allies like the Janata DalUnited (JD-U) have indicated that Modi's name is not acceptable to them. The Shiv Sena had earlier said that Sushma Swaraj is its first choice for the prime ministerial candidate in 2014.

Slathia inaugurated several Developmental Works Worth Rs 93 lacs in Bari -Brahamna


JAMMU 4 FEB : Surjit Singh Slathia ,MLA Vijaypur , Senior Vice President and Former Minister of J&K state today inaugurated several Developmental works worth Rs 93 lacs which include lanes and Drains and link road along distributory in Bari Brahamna . On the occasion, Slathia said that National Conference leadership is determined to fulfill promises made with the people during the elections. National Conference does not believe in hollow slogans but is committed for the upliftment of down trodden and poor sections of the society. He said challenges ahead are serious but, present coalition government under the leadership of dynamic young Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah is committed to give justice to the people of the state & ensure equitable development of all the three regions of the state. He further said that the coalition government has made a holistic development and has achieved visible significance during the last four years in various fields like education, tourism, empowerment, road connectivity, public dealing etc. He assured the people that National Conference has always been their voice for their aspirations and feelings and will be on the forefront to mitigate their sufferings.

JKSPDC wins National Football Tournament


JAMMU, JANUARY 4: The Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation has won the "All India Invitation Malwa Football Tournament 2013". The JKSPDC's football team defeated Sahara India Lucknow by 2-0 in the final played here today at Sironj in Badesha district of Madya Pradesh winning a prize money of Rs 1,00,000 with cash reward of Rs 11000/= each for man of the match (Gulzar) and the man of the tournament (Damny). The team has clinched this prestigious tournament for the second time in a short span of 2 years since its inception. The corporation has expressed gratitude to Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who is the Chairman of the Corporation and its Managing Director, Basharat Ahmad Dhar for taking keen interest in development of the team. Besides, contribution of Manager, Iftikhar Kakroo, Coach, Abdul Majeed and Assistant Coach, Rajinder Choudhary was also recognized. The team is now leaving for Nagpur to participate in another National level tournament to be held from 7th February 2013 to 17th February 2013.

ED slaps...
to Rs 98.5 crore plus some other similar notices earlier, sources said. While a Rs 50 crore penalty has been slapped on Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited (JIPL) and its directors, owners of Rajasthan Royals, Rs 34 crore notice for evasion of forex duties has been issued against EM Sporting Holding, Mauritius and its directors. A fresh notice of Rs 14.5 crore has been issued against Ms ND Investments, United Kingdom and its directors. All the three parties can appeal against this penalty order in the appellate authority of FEMA. The order requires the IPL team to pay up in 45 days. The ED has been investigating financial and foreign exchange irregularities against all the IPL franchises for almost two years now and this is the first big order against any team. It comes just a day after auctions concluded in Chennai for the sixth edition of the glamorous cricket extravaganza. The penalty order said the probe agency found that foreign investment in JIPL was made in "flagrant contravention of FEMA" and the investment made in this regard was made "much prior to the incorporation of JIPL". The penalty was issued after investigations pointed out that the funds in the firm have been remitted in an irreg-

'Will not move ...


different and it's in minority as some of the ministers supporting former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa are only continuing in office "to loot", Mr Siddaramaiah alleged. "The government will fall on its own", he said and likened the step to move a no-trust motion as "flogging a dead horse"."If government respects the Constitution, it should recommend dissolution of the House, and seek a fresh mandate', Mr Siddaramaiah added. In the 211-member House, after acceptance of resignation of 12 MLAs and two vacancies, the ruling BJP has a strength of 108, including an independent who is a minister, a nominated member and the Speaker. The BJP headcount includes two members who have tendered their resignations, yet to be accepted by the Speaker K G Bopaiah. Assembly elections are due

BJYM announces..
Sachin Gupta (Ramnagar), Neelam Langeh (Ramban), Ishant Gupta, Sudesh Kumar Sethu, Mackson Bharti and Ajay Pargal are nominated as State Secretaries. Mohinder Pratap Gupta as State Treasure and Tarun Sharma is nominated as New State Media Secretary and Suza Iqbal Khan as Additional Media Secretary while Dr. Gurpreet Singh Khalsa (Cancer Specialist), Fayaz Ahmed and Jamyang Tsering Namgyal are nominated as Spokespersons. Honey Singh Jamwal and Rajeev Dubey as State Publicity Secretaries. Vikas Sharma is nominated as State Office Secretary. State Unit of BJYM has also announced its seven new district Presidents with Ajay Vaid as President Jammu district, Rajesh Choudhary as President R.S. Pura, Vikas Choudhary

Snowfall Control Rooms established at Kupwara


KUPWARA, FEBRUARY 04: On the instructions of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir as the fresh western disturbances are approaching due to moderate to heavy snowfall is expected from February 03 to 07, 2013, the District Administration Kupwara has issued weather warning forecast of snowfall. All the concerned departments have been directed to remain vigilant and not to leave the headquarters to meet any eventuality and keep close contact with Police Control Rooms of Kupwara and Handwara on contact Nos. 01955-252451, 01955-262295, 01955-252280 and 9419046946 respectively.

Employment fair postponed


DODA, FEB 04: Two days Employment Fair which was scheduled to be held with effect from 05-022013 to 06-02-2013 at Government Higher Secondary School Bhagwah has been postponed due to some unavoidable circumstances. Fresh dates shall be intimated later on.

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SRINAGAR: The hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference on Monday distanced itself from the 'decree' issued by grand mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, that had termed singing as "unIslamic", even as it dismissed the reported threats to the Valley's maiden all-girls rock-band as "mere propaganda". "We disassociate ourselves from the 'fatwa' issued by Mufti Bashiruddin (grand mufti of Jammu and Kashmir). People do not recognise him as grand mufti (chief cleric)... Only the government recognises him," Hurriyat Conference spokesman Ayaz Akbar souces said. Akbar termed the decrees issued by the grand mufti as "mysterious" saying such things give rise "lawlessness in the society". "It is mysterious...The way he issues fatwas...It arises lawlessness," Akbar said, adding fatwas can be issued only when a nation is governed under Shariah rule. The Hurriyat spokesman also dismissed as "mere propaganda" the reported threats to the rock-band 'Pragaash', saying "a big bomb is being made out of the issue". "There is no threat to the girls. Nobody has issued any threats. It is a mere propaganda by Indian media and they are making a big bomb out of a normal issue to defame Kashmiris," he said. Akbar said some youngsters posting abuses on social networking sites cannot be termed as threat, adding Hurriyat does not support such abuse or coercion and force in any way. The teenage girls, who came to limelight in late December last year after their scintillating performance at the annual 'Battle of the Bands' competition here received online threats and absurd comments, leaving their parents a worried lot and forcing them to keep a low profile. The girls had defied the convention by stepping into the male-dominated bastion and faced online threats and abuses from conservative sections of the society. Grand mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad yesterday issued a decree terming singing as un-Islamic. "I have said that singing is not in accordance with Islamic teachings," Ahmad

NEWS IN BOX

Ban light bulbs in state govt offices


JAMMU, FEB 04: State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had decided to ban use of incandescent bulbs in government and public buildings in the state to cut down on power bills. The chief minister, who also holds the power portfolio in the state, posted on his Twitter site: "Am going to move a proposal in the cabinet to ban the use of incandescent bulbs in govt & public buildings. Can't sustain power losses." The incandescent bulbs are likely to be replaced by compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, which consume less power. The state spends around Rs.4,000 crore annually on its electric power import bill for use by its consumers but low recoveries have led to mounting losses. "The total recovery by way of electric tariff does not exceed Rs.1,500 crore anually," said an engineer of the department here. The power tariff in the state is the lowest in the country after Sikkim, while the transmission and distribution losses (T&D) losses are around 65 percent. The Omar Abdullah-led Jammu and Kashmir government has been focusing on setting up new micro and macro electric power generating units in the state, which include the Chenab Valley Power Development Corporation on Chenab river from which 10,000 mega watt (MW) of power could be generated

Hardline Hurriyat distances itself from grand mufti's decree


sources said. Mufti said he has advised the members of the band to abandon singing as it is against Islamic teachings and will not help them in playing any constructive role in the society. "Society cannot be built or developed by doing unIslamic acts like singing. I have advised these girls, and other Muslims as well, to stay within the limits of modesty as prescribed for them," he added.

BJP praises Omar, takes on critics of Kashmir's all-girl rock band


NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW: With Kashmir's first all-girl rock band now facing a fatwa from Muslim clerics after threats on social networking sites, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice president Najma Heptulla on Monday said that such restrictions under the banner of religion are not correct. "I think this is not justice for religion. If you don't like the songs, then you should not listen to them, but to cite religion as an excuse to restrict them from singing is just wrong," she said. Muslim cleric Khalid Rashid, however, supported the diktat and threat and termed the band as ''against the culture and traditions of India''. "I think that their decision and their concern regarding the rock band and music are completely according to the basic tenants of Islam and such kind of music and such kind of rock bands are not allowed as far as Islamic teachings are concerned. And they are against the Indian culture and tradition and they also promote noise pollution," he told the media in Lucknow. Support has poured in for the Kashmir Valley's first all-girl rock band Pragaash, who have now stopped live shows following threats and criticism on social networking sites, from all sections of the society, including National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma. After threats, Kashmir's first all girls music band is now facing a fatwa from Muslim clerics. Kashmir's Grand Mufti has condemned the rock band and issued a fatwa against them, saying music is bad for the society and women must be under a veil at all times. The criticisms have hit the morale of these young girls, but they have remained defiant and are fighting on. 16-year-old Nazir is the vocalist and guitarist, while Khalid is the bass guitarist and Deeba is the drummer. Both Khalid and Deeba are 15 years old. The focus of this band, which is decided against public performances for now, is on producing an album. The band Pragaash, which means from darkness to light, was formed last year.

Monitoring Cell to oversee construction of college buildings: Lone


JAMMU, FEBRUARY 04: The Minister for Higher Education, Mr. Muhammad Akbar Lone today said that a Project Monitoring and Coordination Cell (PMCC) would be constituted in Higher Education Department to oversee development of infrastructure, including College buildings. Chairing a high level meeting convened to review the status of work on various college buildings in Jammu region, the Minister asked the executing agencies, the Roads and Buildings Department and Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) to complete the works in a time bound manner. He said the process for the constitution of the Monitoring Cell would be soon started which would have experts and planners as members. Mr Lone directed the executing agencies to speed up the pace of work on under construction college buildings and other allied infrastructure to ensure completion in a time bound manner. He warned that any lapses on the part the Higher Education Department to depute a team of officers and engineers for conducting survey and preparation of the reports so that the funds could be arranged accordingly. Detailed deliberations were held on acquisition of land, removing of bottle-necks, process of floating tenders and speedy construction of the buildings already sanctioned for new colleges in the State. The Minister directed the concerned District Development Commissioners to settle the issues, if any, with the help of local representatives of the area and ensure that the colleges are made functional at an earliest. Earlier, the Minster reviewed over all working of the Department and stressed for quick disposal of official procedure. He directed the Principals of the Colleges to ensure punctuality and attendance of the staff and students in the class rooms. He also stressed for proper maintenance of the Laboratories and other crucial sections within the college campuses.

4 injured, one missing as avalanche hits Banihal town


BANIHAL : Four persons were injured as avalanche hit mountainous belt of Banihal in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir Monday. Ten persons, including four women, were trapped in the avalanche triggered in Mahoo-Mangit mountainous belt of the region, said Anil Magotra, Superintendent of Police Ramban. An operation was launched by security forces with the help of civilians, and nine of them were rescued. One person, Ali Mohammad, was missing, the SP said adding that operation to trace him was on. Four of rescued persons have been hospitalised due to their critical condition, officials said.

Minister for Higher Education, Mr. Muhammad Akbar Lone Chairing a high level meeting at Jammu. of the department or executing agencies will not be tolerated and stern action under rules shall be initiated against the erring officials. The Minister directed the concerned to complete the construction work on Rs 2.05 crore Auditorium of Government M. A. M. College, Jammu by ending April this year. He also directed PHE authorities to ensure replacement of the water pipes damaged due to construction of flyover at Government Women Colleges Gandhi Nagar within a week's time for which Rs 6 lakh has already been released. He asked the PHE authorities to supply the water to the college through water tankers till the normal supply was restored. He also directed the R&B Department to complete the construction work of GCW Gandhinagar boundary wall by the end of this month, for which the government has already sanctioned Rs 60.78 lakhs. While taking stock of functioning of the GGM Science College, Jammu and Amar Singh College, Srinagar, Mr. Lone directed for preparing comprehensive Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for conserving these colleges as heritage institutions of the State. In this pursuit, he asked

Kundal chairs Petition Committee meet


JAMMU, FEB 04: The Committee on Petitions (PC) of Jammu and Kashmir, Legislative Council today discussed the LAWDA report with regard to land compensation petition filed by Mr. Ali Mohammad Renu and Ghulam Mohammad Renu, Nandpura, Srinagar. The Committee, which met here today under the Chairmanship of Mr. B. R. Kundal, discussed the report received from LAWDA on the subject under the examination. The committee directed Vice Chairman, LAWDA to take necessary action on the order passed by the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, in the year, 2009 with regard to the subject and submit action taken report to the Committee before the next meeting. The committee directed the Vice Chairman LAWDA to issue the warrant to recover the compensation from the wrongful person and also lodge the FIR against them and start investigation in this regard. Legislators, Ch. Nizam-ud-Din Khatana, Mr. Naresh Kumar Gupta, Mr. Ghulam Qadir Pardesi, Master Noor Hussain and Dr. Shahnaz Ganai, besides officers and officials of the Legislative Council attended the meeting. Vice Chairman, LAWDA, Mr. Irfan was Yaseen also present on the occasion.

Shabir chairs NRHM Society meeting, asks for incorporation of all deficits in the plan
JAMMU, JAN 4: Underscoring the need for timely submission of next fiscal State Programme Implementation Plan (SPIP) of the State to the Centre for approval under National Rural Health Mission, the Minister of State for Health, Mr. Shabir Ahmad Khan has stressed upon the concerned functionaries of Health department to incorporate all the deficiencies in the plan for overall development of healthcare facilities in the State. Chairing a meeting of Health Department and State NRHM Society here on Monday, convened to discuss proposed SPI plan for 2013-14 of the State under NRHM, the Minister exhorted upon the concerned authorities to double their efforts and ensure time bound completion of ongoing health projects and other health care facilities under implementation in the State under NRHM funding. He said that non utilization of funds besides late submission of utilization certificates of the projects obstruct in the release of funds and inflate next year's allocation under the Mission. The meeting discussed the components of proposed plan formulated by State NRHM Society for next financial year under which the Society has proposed to include some new initiatives to improve health care facilities. The Minister said that due consideration in the next year plan should be given for up gradation of health infrastructure and setting up of health centers in difficult areas where health centers not established and people suffered lot for want of these Earlier, Mission Director, NRHM, Dr. Yashpal, gave a power point presentation on the proposed plan, besides the physical and financial achievements registered in the State under the Mission. He informed that Society has formulated the draft SPIP 2013-14 for Rs. 568.99 crore as per the guidelines of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the inputs received from Health Services, ISM, Medical Education Departments and District Health Societies. Commissioner Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Mr. M K Dwivedi, Mission Director NRHM, Dr. Yashpal Sharma, Director Health Services, Jammu, Dr. Madhu Khullar, Director Family Welfare, Dr Kassar, besides senior officers of Health, NRHM Society, Planning and Finance wings of Health Departments attended the meeting.

Sham conducts surprise inspections of PHE establishments, orders attachment of AEE


JAMMU, FEB 04: Taking a tough stance against the poor performers, the Minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Mr Sham Lal Sharma today attached a AEE of City Division with the Chief Engineer and sought explanation from two Executive Engineers of I & II City Divisions for their unsatisfactory functioning. During his maiden surprise inspection of City Division, Gandhi Nagar and Sitli Division, after taking the charge of PHE here today, the Minister asked the officers and employees to change their attitude and ensure work culture and accountability in their functioning. Anybody found lacking in his performance would face action as warranted under law, he warned. He said the Department has already issued an advisory after introductory meeting of the officers for improving work culture and efficiency in the offices and these instructions should be followed strictly. He stressed the need for rationalization of staff in different divisions for smooth functioning. He said those indulging in corrupt practices and skipping duties will face strict action. Every head of the institution will be accountable for the functioning of their establishments and they have to maintain the transparency and efficiency in the overall functioning, he asserted.

3-days sale-cum-exhibition of Khadi & Village Industries products concludes


SAMBA, FEB 04: A three day sale-cum-exhibition of Khadi & Village Industries Products manufactured by the artisans of J&K Khadi & Village Industries Board (KVIB) concluded today at Block Development Officer complex Vijaypur. The people from adjoining villages thronged in hundreds to the place and showed their keen interest in the products manufactured by the entrepreneurs of KVIB. A sale of Rs. 3.65 lakhs in total was recorded during the three days exhibition. The District Officer KVIB Samba Santosh Saraf distributed the certificates of participation among the participants. He appealed to the unemployed youth to take inspiration from these successful entrepreneurs and setup their own income generating units. He assured of all possible help from the KVIB Department in establishing their units.

1st batch of diploma holders leave for Apollo Foundation Vadodara under Udaan scheme
JAMMU, FEB 04: 1st batch of 63 selected Diploma holders from the State left today by train for Vadodara Gujarat for Apollo Foundation for training and placement under Udaan scheme in collaboration with National Skill Development Corporation of India. Mr. Shabir Ahmed Mobilization Executive of Apollo Technical Education Foundation accompanied the batch from Jammu Railway Station. The batch was seen off by Er. Neetu Maini, Principal of Government Polytechnic Jammu and Mr. Hamid Malik, Training and Placement Officer at the railway station. The students were asked to work with dedication.

Singers can't be silenced by morons: Omar Abdullah on all-girl band


SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has come down heavily on those threatening the three young girls who have formed the Valley's only rock band, Pragaash, and Monday promised police investigations into the threats. He encouraged the girls, saying their talent should not be stymied by "a handful of morons who are trying to silence them". Late Sunday evening, Kashmir's Grand Mufti (head priest) Mufti Bashiruddin had issued a 'fatwa' (religious decree) against the singing of the girls, and criticised the government for "trying to encourage a shameless act". The chief minister, however, was unfazed and poured scorn on the 'fatwa'. "Given the importance people attach to the fatwas of the Grand Mufti, the less said the better," he tweeted. The three local girls formed the Valley's only girls' rock band last year. The girls had earlier received threats on social media. Local police have begun investigations into the threats, and the girls have taken a break from performing. The girls' band attracted public attention when they finished third in a local competition, 'Battle of Bands' last month.

High quality standards in education imperative for socio- economic growth: Mir
JAMMU, FEBRUARY 04: Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Ghulam Hassan Mir today said that achieving high quality standards in education was imperative for socio- economic development of the State. The Minister was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Girls Higher Secondary Institute opened by Galaxy Group of Educational institutions, here at Saink Colony here this afternoon. The Minister said that during last two decades a lot has been done to upgrade the educational infrastructure both by government and private sector across the state and need of the hour was to improve quality of education to help students to achieve excellence. Saying that the private sector has helped to infuse the competition in education sector, the Minister stressed for introduction of job oriented courses so that human resources produced by different educational institutions could be utilized for the nation building. On the occasion, the Minster also distributed blankets among the needy people provided by the organization. Earlier, the students of the institute also presented variety cultural programme.

Health check up conducted at GM School Majheen


JAMMU, FEB 04: A school health checkup of children of Government Middle School Majheen was conducted by Dr. Abdul Shabir a renowned paediatrician and neonatologist of J&K, Health Department. The programme was inaugurated by Zonal Education Officer Gandhi Nagar S. Santokh Singh in presence of head of Panchayat Chowdhary Alam Din. About 300 children of Majheen, Sidhra and adjoining locality were examined and provided free consultation and medicines under school health programme. Head Master of School Mr. Raj Kumar Uppal briefed the gathering about the importance of health and hygiene in the building stage of children. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Nodal Teacher for implementing WIFS (Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation) of Gandhi Nagar Zone highlighted the initiative taken by NRHM where free medicine and treatment being provided to the children.

Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir distributing blankets to

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Education priority area, getting focused attention: Dy CM


JAMMU, FEB 4 : Underlining education as priority area of the government, Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Tara Chand said that focused attention is being paid to upgrade infrastructure in the sector and to equip education institutes with most modern facilities. He said education has a vital role to play in enlightening society as well as individuals. Flagship programmes like SSA and RMSA would go a long to improve the facilities provided in schools all across the state, he added. He was addressing annual day cum prize distribution function of one of oldest and premier girls education institute of the city Government Girls Higher Secondary, Mubarak Mandi, here today. cance to curb the social evils," he exhorted. He said secularism, democracy and lessons of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi are to be taught to young minds of children and the same need to be discussed in morning assembly sessions in the schools. Earlier to facilitate larger participation by the students, Mr. Tara Chand gave instructions for shifting venue of the function from indoor to outdoor. Stressing on in-service training for teachers, the Deputy Chief Minister said that to update professional skills in tune with modern day teaching techniques the teaching fraternity would be sent to different institutes. He said necessary education reforms would also be initiated in the department to fine tune it with the changing requirements of the education system. Appreciating role on women is different spheres, Mr. Tara Chand said Indian women is second to none and by hard work and dedication women have proved their mettle in the fields of administration, science, sports, politics and space. He said Laxmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, President Mrs. Pratibha Devi Patil, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Lata Mangeshkar, Mallika Pukhraj and Kalpana Chawla are some of the names of daughters of the country on which the nation will always be proud of.

Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand along with others during cultural function organised by Government Girls Higher Secondary, Mubarak Mandi at Jammu. The Deputy Chief Minister was chief guest on the occasion. MLA, Jammu (East) Mr. Ashok Khajuria, Commissioner/ Secretary, Education Mr. F.A. Factoo, Director, School Education, Jammu Ms Dev Lata, DIG Mr. J.P. Singh, CEO, Jammu Mr. N.R. Dingra, parents, staff and school children attended the grand event. On the occasion prizes were distributed among students of the school who had excelled in the different curricular and co-curricular activates. Annual School magazine 'Sahtiya Sarita' was also released on the occasion. Lauding role of the teachers, Mr. Tara Chand said that the community commands special respect in the society and status of Guru is next to god, adding that bond of Guru-Sishya is a pious bond which has special status in every body's life. "Education is torch light of the society and teachers are torchbearers who lead us from darkness to the enlightened world of knowledge," he added. He said in the era of cut throat competition right guidance by the professional teacher can ensure success of student in various competitive examinations at state and national level. He appreciated the performance shown by the students of the school and called for maintaining the same in coming years also. "Besides preparing our children in studies special efforts need to be made to promote moral education among them, as morality in society has a special signifi-

Capacity building, skill development focused area: Omar


JAMMU, FEBRUARY 04 : Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Monday said that capacity building of youth and upgradation of their skills has been flagged as focused area and is receiving due attention to enhance employability of youth to ensure them employment in open job market. Receiving presentation on capacity building of ITIs here this afternoon, the Chief Minister said that training of trainers is key to impart modern skills to students and ensue their placement in open job market. Omar Abdullah said that with the expansion of polytechnics and ITIs in the State during the last four years, his government has also initiated various measures to introduce

Modernization of ITIs receiving fillip: Viqar


new trades in these institutions and provide latest training to trainers so that students are made market ready and job relevant. It was informed in the meeting that the government has introduced a scheme of upgradation of ITIs through PPP mode and 34 ITIs have been covered under this scheme so far. As many as 30 new trades have been introduced under this scheme and 40 existing trades have been upgraded to suit market trends. State Power Development Corporation has been involved as industrial partner in five ITIs, while NHPC, TATA Motors and Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University have been involved under the scheme to upgrade the ITIs and make these centres of modern skill development. Taj Group has also agreed for knowledge partnership with Jammu and Kashmir in the field of vocational education. The Department of Technical Education is also tying up with Maruti Suzuki India, Apparel Training and Design Centre, Foot Wear Design and Development Centre and Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology for their involvement in skill upgradation programme in the State. Under the Skill Development for J&K Youth Programme 9583 youth have received training so far within and outside the State while 1238 youth have received training under Skill Development Initiative (SDI) and 1200 candidates are undergoing training at present. Minister for Planning and Development, Ajay Sadhotra, Minister of State for Technical Education, Viqar Rasool, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, Principal Secretary Planning and Development, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Commissioner Secretary Employment, Yedullah, Director Technical Education and representatives of BTGT were present in the meeting in which BTGT made the presentation about the module of capacity building in ITIs aimed at developing sufficient grass root level knowledge and bring systematic reforms in Vocational Institutions ensuring better employment for youth in open market. Minister of State for Technical Education said that modernization of ITIs has been underlined as a thrust area by the government and focused attention is being given to train the trainers in latest technology and modules of trainings so that they in turn impart best possible trainings to the students.

DRSC reviews functioning of Revenue department


JAMMU, FEB 04: The Departmental Related Standing Committing (DRSC) of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council on Revenue met today under the Chairmanship of Sheikh Ghulam Rasool and reviewed the functioning of the department. The meeting discussed the issues with regard to land settlement operations in Jammu and Kashmir, Transfer Policy with regard to Patwaries, disbursement of Land compensations, land acquisitions problem and vesting of ownership rights under the Roshani scheme, besides filling of the vacant posts of Tehsildars, Naib Tehsildars, Girdawars and Patwaris. The Committee as ked the department to furnish a status report covering all these issues and points in the next meeting. The Legislators, Haji Ali Mohammad Bhat, Mr. Subash Chander Gupta, Syed Asgar Ali, Dr. Bashir Ahmed Shah (Veeri) and Sham Lal Bhagat gave their valuable suggestions to improve the functioning of the department. After threadbare discussion, the Committee was of the view that a uniform policy shall be adopted with respect to the eviction of the encroachment on the State and forest land. The Committee called for adopting a proper procedure for eviction of encroachments. The members of the Committee expressed concern over the way the eviction was conducted in Sidhra area recently. They were of the opinion that the drive was carried out without any proper procedure and severing any notice to the illegal encroachers, who according to the reports were in possession of the land for last more than five to ten years and even where residing in the land/houses . Commissioner Secretary, Revenue Mr. B. A. Runyal, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Verma and other senior officer of the revenue department also participated the meeting. Earlier, the Chairman took serious note on the absence of some concerned officers at the meeting and expressed dissatisfaction over the statement submitted by the department in response to the agenda points.

State Central Labour Union Jammu held a meeting at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan


JAMMU 4TH FEB: A meeting of State Central Labour Union Jammu was held today at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan under the Chairmanship of Kr. Rachpal Singh MLA, Central Secetary J&K National Conference to take stock of the problems of labour class. The meeting was attended among others by PHE & PDD labourers. While addressing Kr. Rachpal Singh said that the labourers are most important part of the society and National Conference from its very inception has fought for the cause of the labourers. He said National Conference is the party of peasants, labourers and down trodden people. It has always stood for their welfare which is now visible in their living style in the state as nobody is shelter less or sleeps without taking meals. He further asserted that National Conference labour wing which is known as State Central Labour Union is working day in and day out to uplift the labour class in the state. It has established various units in every district and is trying to organize the units in other institutions. The measure demands have been addressed by the government and rest of the issues of this class is in the active consideration of the government. He assured the labourers that their pending issues would be taken up with the government under the banner of National Conference. He asked them to unite themselves and strengthen the hands of Omar Abdullah for betterment of the state.

Rs. 4.78 cr earmarked for face-lifting of Narwal F&V mandies: Bhalla


JAMMU, FEBRUARY 04: Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Culture Mr. Raman Bhalla has called upon the concerned officers to motivate the growers and traders to ensure that quality fruit and vegetables were brought to the market, adding that in this era of competition the quality control is must and "We have to focus on this vital area to maintain the credibility of State's horticulture produce". This was stated by the Minister, while chairing a meeting of officers of Horticulture (Planning and Marketing), convened to review the functioning of the department at Narwal, here today. Director Horticulture (Planning and Marketing) Mr. A R Natnoo, Managing Director, Syed Rafiq Ahmed, Managing Director J&K HPMC Mr. Syed Rafiq Ahmed Furahi, Director Horticulture, Mr. J R Sharma, besides other senior officers of the department were present in the meeting. Mr. Bhalla stressed for exploring new markets to promote State's horticulture products. He said horticulture was the mainstay of the state's economy and all out efforts will be made to promote this vital sector appropriately across the country. Calling for well-knit and coordinated efforts to achieve the targets, the Minister asked the officers to put in their best efforts to enhance the business activities in their jurisdictions to improve the State's economy further. He stressed for regular interaction between the officers and traders to sort out the petty issues and problems being faced by the business community associated with this trade. In order to bring more transparency in the functioning and to respond quarries of customers with regard to the quality and other aspects of products and trade, the Minister directed for arranging awareness camps in the established Fruit and Vegetable mandies, adding that this would also help in getting valuable feedback and suggestions from the stakeholders to improve the functioning of the department. Regarding the problems of field functionaries, which are posted in different parts of the State as well as outside, Mr Bhalla assured that the Government would create modern infrastructure in the offices of Area Marketing Officers according to the present requirements at the earliest. He said the Government acknowledges their difficulties and every effort will be made to overcome these in a phased manner. He directed the Director Horticulture (Planning and Marketing) to formulate a comprehensive proposal for equipping the offices as per the present needs to enhance the efficacy of the officers. Earlier, the Minister also visited fruit and vegetable mandies here at Narwal, reviewed the facilities being provided by the Horticulture (Planning and Marketing) department to the fruit and vegetable traders. Mr. Bhalla said the Government has approved Rs. 4.78 crore for face lifting of Phase-I and Phase-II mandies at Narwal. He said the places would be developed with modern line basic amenities like improved power, safe drinking water, better roads besides toilet blocks. He said Government has also earmarked Rs. 70 lakh for construction of auction platform in vegetable mandi, adding that the project is nearing completion and would be dedicated to the traders shortly. Later, the Minister also reviewed the functioning of Directorate of Archives, Archeology, Museum, Libraries, Research and Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. Commissioner/Secretary Culture Mr. Atul Dulloo, Secretary, Art, Culture and Languages Mr. Bashir Ahmed Bhat, Consultant Department of Culture, Mr. S K A Qadri, Chief Engineer, R&B Mr. Tehseen Mustafa besides other senior officers of the departments were present in the meeting. Mr. Bhalla said Government has earmarked Rs. 30.76 crore for construction of Shri Paratap Singh Museum at Srinagar, besides RS. 17.40 crore for interior designing and other ancillary works. He said for digitization of archives records, Government has earmarked Rs. 5.34 lakh for Phase-I 2 lakh folios, Rs. 47.94 lakh for Phase-II 17 lakh folios digitized besides Phase-III 50 lakh folios to be digitized during next two years, adding that tendering process is under progress.

Pre budget discussion starts with stakeholders in Srinagar


SRINAGAR FEBRUARY 4: Reiterating that the Government attaches much significance to good and cordial relationship between administration and the trade and industry, the Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs, Mr. Abdul Rahim Rather today said that effective and judicious use of resources and better deliverance of services to the citizens is the main policy framework of the states planning process and its implementation on the ground. Speaking at marathon seven hours long pre-budget discussions with the nominated representatives of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Kashmir Hotel Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Kashmir Hotel and

Lakhanpur toll to be 24 x 7 checkpost for traders convenience: Rather


emancipation. The Economic Advisor to Government, Mr. Jalil Ahmad Khan, Commissioner Commercial Taxes, Mr. Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, Director Budgets, Dr. M. Ishaq Wani, Special Secretary Finance, Mr. Zubair Ahmad, Additional Commissioner Commercial Taxes, Mr. Rafiq Ahmad Hakim, Deputy Commissioner Commercial Taxes Central, Mr. Showkat Aijaz and other concerned Officers were also present in the meetings. Mr. Rather announced that representatives of Trade and Industry would be included in the permanent grievance redressal Committee (PGRC), so that their grievances and demands are heard appropriately at the highest level for immediate redressal. The PGRC is a high powered committee headed by the Financial Commissioner Finance, to address the day to day problems. Responding to queries of the business community, Mr. Rather assured that Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode for undertaking mega projects and schemes will be given first priority adding that PPP mode of development is emerging as the preferred mode for the self sustained progress and economic development in the 12th Five Year Plan. He said that he has personally ensured that prebudget discussion take place with representatives of trade, commerce and industry, civil society, economists and intellectuals, so that government keeps itself abreasts with the vision, inspiration and ideas of the stakeholders and every effort is made to accommodate as many ideas as possible in the new Budget proposals year after year. "There discussions bear fruit and stakeholder in the socioeconomic development feel as much involved in budget preparation as Government" Mr. Rather added. " I have earlier also impressed upon Union Finance Ministry at a prebudget meeting with the State Finance Ministers of the Country held at New Delhi to give further boost to the PPP mode through adequate budgetary initiatives to attract additional investments in different sectors of economy", Mr. Rather added. In response to another query, Mr. Rather said Government has in clear terms asked the Officers of Excise and Commercial Taxes that business community is a respectable and reasonable segment of the society and all precautions need to be taken that no trader is unnecessary harassed during his dealings with the department. " I have strictly instructed the Officers and field agencies to ensure better tax management system at various Toll Posts of the State so that there are 'zero seizures', Mr. Rather said and added that this will be a step forward towards removing

Restaurant Associations (KHARA), Kashmir Traders & Manufacturers Federation (KTME), Federation Chamber of Industries, Kashmir (FCI), Transporters Federation, Goods carriers Transport Association and the Association of Kashmir Motors and Drivers Association at the Excise & Taxation Complex, Solina Srinagar today, Mr. Rather said that synergy of Ideas between the Government and the Civil society, including traders and business community, was primarily imperative to harness goals and benefits of various government programmes and schemes aimed at state's sustainable socio-economic development with focus on employment generation and economic

complaints about alleged harassment to the traders. Last year only 2% seizures have been registered through test checks at Lakhanpur toll plaza, though about 6000 vehicles move to and fro daily through this Checkpost. While assuring that all the possibilities will be explored to make the next year's Budget proposal more people and trader friendly, Mr. Rather asked the business community to discourage tax evasion attempts by a few unscrupulous traders and to bring it to zero level so that there are no seizures at all and the system of random checking is done away with steadly with the passage of time. He also sought cooperation of trade and business community in revenue

realization as tax revenue was also important for development of the state which cannot be compromised. Mr. Rather asked the business community that before implementation of Goods and Services Tax regime in the State alongwith other states of the Country, all the stake holders including trade and Industry will be taken on board adding that the interests of the State's people would be protected at all levels. The representatives of the Trade and Industry, while thanking the Minister for providing them an opportunity to highlight their demands, congratulated him for achieving the distinction of No. 1 state in the country with regard to tax collection, i.e. highest tax collecting state.

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he Union Government has done well to bring in an ordinance that stiffens punishment for sexual assaults including rape. There has been criticism from some quarters that the Government should have deliberated more deeply before pushing through the ordinance. The criticism also has been that the ordinance fails to take a holistic view of the recommendations that the Justice JS Verma Committee has made. But deliberations can still happen - and will hopefully happen - in the coming Budget Session of Parliament. The two Houses can then take that holistic view during the discussions and bring in fresh laws or amendments to the existing ones. The ordinance itself will have to be approved by Parliament within six months of its promulgation. So, there is nothing wrong in the UPA Government's decision. Of course, it must not be forgotten that the regime has adopted the ordinance route primarily because it had been under pressure from not just the Opposition but also various social rights groups to 'immediately do something concrete' that demonstrates its willingness to walk the talk. The Government had faced flak for the lackadaisical and insensitive manner in which it had initially handled the issue of the gang rape of a 23year old girl in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16. From all accounts, people cutting across ideological and political leanings had slammed the Congress-led regime for its failure to move swiftly in bringing stringent laws to tackle rising crimes against women. Mr JS Verma too had added to the pressure by pointing out that, since his panel 'with private resources' had been prompt in the completion of its task, there was no reason for a Government with huge resources at its command to delay an ordinance that incorporates at least the 'non-controversial' suggestions which his committee had

Now, Centre must follow up on the ordinance


made and which had the broad consent of the law-makers and the activists. There is no doubt that the panel completed its task in a record 30 days and produced a report that is as comprehensive as it can get - though there can be some dispute over a few of its recommendations. And so, the Government was persuaded to match that promptness But what has taken many by pleasant surprise is that the Government has gone beyond the recommendations of the Verma Committee in providing the death penalty in the 'rarest of rare' cases, such as when rape leaves a victim in a permanent vegetative state. The Verma panel had not recommended capital punishment for rape, even in the 'rarest of rare' case, and this had attracted the ire of many activists and politicians who believed, more so in the backdrop of the December 16 incident, that death alone was the fit punishment for criminals involved in such a heinous crime. In fact, they had even demanded a change in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, to ensure that juveniles involved in rape and accompanying violence too are tried under the normal laws of the land and given the death penalty. The other welcome features of the ordinance are the enhancement of the seven-year sentence for rape convicts to 20 years and the replacement of the word 'rape' with 'sexual assault' in the statute books. The latter will bring a range of crimes such as acid attacks, stalking and groping into the ambit of serious sexual crimes against women, while the former will ensure that the rape accused is no longer let off with a small jail term. But all this is work half done. Parliament must now consider the Verma panel report in its entirety and enact comprehensive legislations - involving political, judicial and police reforms - that will make society a safer place for women.

Unless India changes in crucial spheres, China will stay ahead


By S.L. Rao n a recent article in The New York Times Steven Rattner compares the Indian and Chinese economies and shows that on all economic parameters, India has lagged far behind China. He says, "China has lunged into the 21st century, while India is still lurching toward it While China often seems to eradicate its past as it single-mindedly constructs its future, India nibbles more judiciously at its complex history [A]fter years of rocketing growth, China's gross domestic product per capita of $9,146 is more than twice India's. And its economy grew by 7.7 per cent in 2012, while India expanded at a (hardly shabby) 5.3 per cent rate." In GDP per capita, its annual growth, inflation, investment as a portion of GDP, unemployment, budget deficit and current account in the balance of payments, China is far ahead of India. China has 16 subway systems to India's five. China is building a superhighway in the high altitudes of Tibet. Indian roads even on the plains are few and badly kept. India's electricity grid experiences frequent shortages and blackouts. "India's rigid social structure limits intergenerational economic mobility and fosters acceptance of vast wealth disparities." But rapid urbanization, massive migration from rural areas, a youthful population, growing literacy and new skills, massive penetration of mobile telephony everywhere, of the internet and social media in urban India dilute the adverse effects of caste and social structure. They do coexist with more than half the urban population living in slums, often devoid of electricity or running water, and with monstrous inequalities. Rattner blames India's failing in the race with China on India's social structure and base in tradition. China's totalitarian regimes have prevented it from being held up by public opinion. China's relatively unitary culture, and a respect developed for authority over centuries make for better implementation of decisions in China. China has diversity but not on the scale of India with its many languages, races, religions and castes. These differences also strengthen India, not weaken it. India's famed democracy, its ability to hold increasingly free and fair elections on a mammoth scale, and the docile handing over of power by one elected gov-

A RACE TO THE FUTURE


ernment to the next, have reinforced people's faith in democracy. India's ability to move speedily in tackling crises - earthquakes, tsunamis - is legendary. So is the ability to organize mega events like the kumbh mela. This requires building, every 12 years, a megacity larger than many large cities together, with roads, sanitation, safe drinking water, and so on. under state ownership or control. With economic growth, natural resources (land, spectrum for telecommunications, coal, iron ore, other minerals, water, electricity and so on) are in increasing demand. Their allocations by government agencies require bribes to be paid to politicians and bureaucrats. Black money, that is, untaxed income, accounts for perhaps

India has fallen far behind China on almost all economic and human development indicators. It is unlikely to catch up unless there is a revolution in governance.
The ability to settle most arguments by discussion and compromise is a strength. An orientation towards languages and mathematics has made India an information technology superpower. Strong family orientation and values ensure that families stay together and look after their weak and vulnerable. But India has not reached its potential. An abysmal infrastructure, poor maintenance of roads, buildings and so on, the inordinate time taken to complete infrastructure projects, difficulties to start new businesses are glaring differences from China. Capital is more expensive. Employing labour in industry is subject to many controls. It is difficult to start labourintensive industries, and almost impossible to close weak or dying industries. Bankruptcy laws do not permit a quick restructuring of industries. There is no provision, as in the United States of America, for a title 11 of the bankruptcy code. Indian tax laws are archaic and unfair. For example raw materials (products like PVC) are subject to higher import duties than the finished products. Without a goods and services tax and uniform tax rates in each state, it is easier for foreign competitors. They pay only standard import duties while domestic industries pay differential taxes in each state. Corruption is endemic and has increased with the liberalization of the economy. All natural resources are 50 per cent of the GDP and is interspersed through it. The government loses the tax revenue. As a major investor in the economy, the government is into massive road construction, the building of flyovers and metro rails in cities, housing for the poor, slum clearance, garbage removal and so on. These require large government expenditures and construction contracts. These are also a source for corruption. Economic development has been accompanied by large social expenditures for the benefit of the poor, on livelihoods, health services, education and so on. These expenditures experience large-scale thefts by government employees as benefits are distributed to non-existent beneficiaries, or only partially to beneficiaries. China is also known for massive corruption. But the government's schemes are implemented to a large extent, and quickly. It is not so in India. Jobs in Indian governments (teachers, recruits to the army, police and so on) at times require payments to recruiters. Government certified documents also are given for an extra price to the issuer. Corruption in India slows the system. It does not speed it. The Indian civilian administration has little or no individual accountability. Collective responsibility holds no individual responsible for poor delivery. In most of India the police are avoided by citizens because they harass the ordinary person. Women

and the poor are particularly vulnerable. India, unlike China, has regular and bitterly fought elections whose cost has been escalating. These are held for Parliament, state legislatures, municipal bodies in urban India and local bodies in villages. The cost of fighting an election is high. Money, mostly unaccounted for and untaxed, is spent much in excess of given limits on publicity, on bribes to leaders who can deliver blocs of votes and to individual voters themselves. While the Election Commission tries bravely to prevent these excessive expenditures, it is only marginally effective. This expenditure has to be recouped by the winning candidates by using their positions in governments as elected representatives. They sell governmentowned resources, contracts or permissions and are paid in 'black' money. Thus it is not social structure and caste that are alone or even mainly responsible for holding India behind China. It is the poor governance and lack of accountability of government officials. In China the government bureaucracy is overseen by a parallel party bureaucracy which is more powerful. While party officials might take extra benefits, party monitoring also ensures that the government is accountable for performance and follows party directives. Provincial and local governments have greater financial clout and are able to take decisions at lower levels. There is better supervision of government officials than there is in India. The administrative reforms commissions and the various police commissions have made many recommendations for administrative and police reform, as has the Verma committee this month. So have the judicial reforms commissions for improving the appointment, speed and performance of the judiciary. The political and bureaucratic system has a vested interest in the status quo and has stalled all such reforms. Thestatus quo enables them to accumulate undreamt of wealth. This prevents fundamental change in governance in India, an imperative for faster and more equitable growth. India has fallen far behind China on almost all economic and human development indicators. It is unlikely to catch up unless there is a revolution in governance.

Rajnath is a leader with difference

By KG Suresh ajnath Singh is known as an amiable politician who does not badmouth his adversaries either within his party or outside. But now, the newly appointed BJP president will have to be firm rather than play safe and maintain status quo. After Rajnath Singh took over the reins of the main Opposition BJP for the second time recently, anchors and analysts were seen speculating on the challenges before him including dealing with the 'volatile' Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-BJP ties, reconciling the differences among senior party leaders and, of course, naming a prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election. A significant part of such discussions also dwelt on his uneasy relationship with party leaders in his own home turf of Uttar Pradesh, with many observers and experts holding him responsible for the party's sorry state of affairs in the electorally crucial State. Undoubtedly, though credited with administrative acumen amply displayed both as Education Minister in the Uttar Pradesh Government and later, as the State's Chief Minister, Mr Singh's past electoral record in the State has not been very bright. Under his leadership, the BJP fought the 2007 Assembly poll and lost heavily; its tally came down to 51. His critics point out that he was the national president, when the NDA lost to the UPA in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll and the BJP fared poorly in Uttar Pradesh too, bagging just 10 seats. However, Uttar Pradesh is more of an opportunity for the BJP leader rather

than a challenge. Call it a coincidence: Mr Rajnath Singh's so-called bete noire former Chief Minister and one-time Hindutva poster boy Kalyan Singh returned to the party fold for the first time ahead of his maiden tenure as party president and rejoined the party for the second time just a month ahead of his second term in office. With the law and order situation deteriorating in Uttar Pradesh, growing perception among the majority community that the Samajwadi Party Government was bending over backwards to appease the minorities, the courts tightening the noose around Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati and media exposes of her brother's rag to riches story, people in Uttar Pradesh are looking for an alternative. The BJP, which once reigned supreme in Lucknow, can be the chosen one, if it puts its house in order on priority. Inflation, corruption, safety and security of women and surviving at the Centre at the mercy of the two political rivals in the State, is unlikely to help the Congress at the hustings in Uttar Pradesh, notwithstanding the expected projection of Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi, the MP from Amethi, as the prime ministerial candidate. Uma Bharti, who was closely associated with Mr Kalyan Singh, is now firmly established in the State's politics. If Mr Rajnath Singh rises above State politics, mends fences with leaders such as Kalraj Mishra and motivates leaders such as Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi, Kesri Nath Tripathi and Om Prakash Singh to take the lead, he has the potential to change the party's fortunes in the

2014 Lok Sabha poll. Uttar Pradesh is important not just for Mr Rajnath Singh but for the BJP as a whole if it hopes to make a comeback, without too much dependence on allies, unpredictable and otherwise. Even if the BJP bags half of the Lok Sabha seats at stake in Uttar Pradesh, it will have more seats than the total seats in Gujarat or equivalent to all the seats in neighbour-

would not be an exaggeration to say that, while there may be more competent leaders in the BJP, after Atal Bihari Vajpayee and late Pramod Mahajan, it is Mr Rajnath Singh who can emerge as the new 'consensus builder' in the party. Mr Rajnath Singh's skills would come handy not only in maintaining the party's delicate ties with the RSS and evolving an understanding for the

The 'party with a difference' tag has come to be ridiculed about. The difference has to be displayed not only in terms of discipline or ideological pronouncements but in terms of conduct and policy. In recent years, pragmatism has often prompted the party to compromise. Power has come to be an end in itself and not the means as envisaged by its founding fathers. The BJP should prefer to sit in opposition rather than align with opportunist outfits such as the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka or the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand, as it had hurriedly done in the past and repented at leisure.
ing Madhya Pradesh. However, it would be unfair to judge the BJP president on the sole basis of the party's performance in the State. Mr Rajnath Singh's strength lies in his capacity to carry along people. He is not known to have made uncharitable remarks against any of his party colleagues, either in private or public. Even during his first tenure as the national president of the BJP, Mr Rajnath Singh was acutely aware how some party colleagues were speaking ill of him in private and in media debriefings, but never did he utter a word against them. It party's prime ministerial candidate ahead of the 2014 general election, but also in building bridges with existing and prospective allies. However, the BJP national president's priority should not be the prime ministerial candidate for the moment. Electoral climate in a parliamentary democracy is built in a short span. Announcing a prime ministerial candidate far ahead of the election would only lead to muck-raking by opponents and wild speculations by the media. Moreover, with Assembly polls scheduled in five States crucial for the party in

2013, the onus for defeat in any of the States would be put on the prime ministerial candidate. Mr Rajnath Singh's hands are full. He has a serious problem at hand in Karnataka. In Jharkhand, the Assembly is in suspended animation and the Assembly poll is due in key States, where dissidence and factionalism continue to haunt the party. In the era of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, the greatest challenge for the BJP president would be to restore the credibility of the party as the alternative in an atmosphere where the people have lost faith in politicians and look at both the national parties as two sides of the same coin. The 'party with a difference' tag has come to be ridiculed about. The difference has to be displayed not only in terms of discipline or ideological pronouncements but in terms of conduct and policy. In recent years, pragmatism has often prompted the party to compromise. Power has come to be an end in itself and not the means as envisaged by its founding fathers. The BJP should prefer to sit in opposition rather than align with opportunist outfits such as the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka or the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand, as it had hurriedly done in the past and repented at leisure. In both the Assembly and the Lok Sabha polls, the party should scrupulously avoid giving tickets to people accused of corruption or charged with crimes, including that against women, under the garb of 'winnability'. The plight of the masses and not the lavish praise heaped by capitalists should motivate the party towards its

goal of a strong and prosperous India. Mass leaders who have risen from the grassroots should get preference over moneybags, when it comes to organisational responsibilities or Rajya Sabha seats. Mr Rajnath Singh need not be apologetic about his agricultural background or the alleged lack of sophistication. The middle-class youth, much like their counterparts in the rural areas, are more concerned about livelihood and safety issues rather than the attire or language of their leader. The dhoti-clad, impure Hindi-speaking Anna Hazare still remains a hero for them. While the media is important, the party should not remain media-centric alone. The BJP has to be equally visible on the streets, in the slum clusters, in the university campuses and on the dusty streets of Hindustan. Its State Governments would have to practise what the party preaches. The Governments and the Chief Ministers have to be the role models to capture the nation's imagination in terms of good governance. In his previous innings, Mr Rajnath Singh played safe. This time around, he can ill-afford to do that. A clean image, a consensual approach, past experience and a good track record of administrative performance, both in the State and also as a Union Minister responsible for implementing the NDA's ambitious highway plans, which the party still claims credit for, coupled with strong anti-incumbency against the ruling coalition, are the assets which the new president can utilise effectively to make the BJP battle-ready for 2014.

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Andhra CM meets Sonia Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad over Telangana crisis
NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy met Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in the capital on Monday to discuss the Telangana row. These talks come after the Centre went back on its promise last month to grant statehood to Telangana. Earlier in the day, Reddy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to hold consultations over Telangana issue. Mr Reddy, along with state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, declared that a decision on the issue would be announced within a month. However, a day before the month's deadline ended, both Mr Shinde and Mr Azad said some more time was required for consultations. Pro-Telangana groups have been protesting against what they term a betrayal of the promise made by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. State Congress President B Satyanarayana is also expected to go to Delhi for consultations undertaken by the Congress high-command. Azad, in-charge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, had said the central leadership would discuss the Telangana issue with the Chief Minister, the PCC president and senior leaders from the three regions of the state as part of a consultation process.

Assam asks Centre for CBI investigation into rhino poaching


GUWAHATI: The Assam government Monday has asked the Centre to order a CBI probe into the rising incidents of rhinoceros poaching in Kaziranga National Park and other places of the state. The decision was taken after noticing increase in instances of rhino poaching, said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. In 2012, 40 rhinos were poached across Assam. "There may be a political conspiracy behind the killings. This and the involvement of some insurgent elements, forest department personnel or others with poachers will be unearthed by the CBI probe," said Mr Gogoi. In the last week alone, seven rhinos have lost their lives to poachers, their horns severed and taken away. It's an alarming trend at one of Assam's, and India's, biggest national parks. Most of the animals poached are near the Karbi-Anglong district in upper Assam, considered a safe haven for poachers. In a major crackdown on Thursday, the forest department had suspended two officers, issued show-cause two others and removed three home guards for 'dereliction of duty' following the killing of two rhinos. One person has been detained for questioning. The state govt. has also increased patrolling at the park and placed commandos with sophisticated weapons to help the staff protect rhinos. The Central govt. too has assured that it will provide unmanned choppers for surveillance. According to the latest census by the government, there are about 2300 rhinos in two of Assam's national parks, including Kaziranga. Alarmingly, last year, one rhino was poached every five days. The activists, however, slam the govt. officials.

reached the national capital by an early morning flight today. The party leadership had summoned them for discussion before taking a deci-

sion on the issue. After an all-party meeting on Telangana on December 28, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had

'Restore diesel subsidy for bulk consumers': CPI(M) to Govt


NEW DELHI: CPI(M) has asked the government to restore the subsidy on diesel to bulk customers like state transport undertakings and railways in public interest, terming as "retrograde" the decision to charge market rate on the item. "I urge you to reconsider the decision. You are requested to restore the subsidy on diesel to bulk consumers like the State Transport Undertakings which will be in public interest," party general secretary Prakash Karat said in a recent letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This withdrawal of subsidy for the supply of diesel to bulk consumers would "cripple the public transportation system at a time when the necessity is for strengthening the public transportation system." The CPI(M) leader said the sharp increase in private vehicles and traffic was causing rising pollution and a major environmental problem and the only way out was to restrict the expansion of private vehicle and strengthen public transport. "Instead of doing that, the government's retrograde decision is a serious blow to public transport and will lead to further privatisation of transport services," Karat said.

Cauvery water row: SC directs K'taka to release more water to TN


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has directed Karnataka to release 2 tmc feet of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court has also slammed the Centre for not notifying the order given by the Cauvery Water Tribunal five years ago. It has now directed the Centre to notify the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award by February 20. In the last hearing the apex court refrained from passing any fresh orders after Tamil Nadu and Karnataka failed to reach a consensus on sharing water. Earlier on January 30, Karnataka had told the Supreme Court that it cannot spare any more water for Tamil Nadu as it would affect the water needs of its own people. The court was hearing cross petitions by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rooted in the September 19, 2012 interim order of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) d i r e c t i n g Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu every day till October 15, 2012. The apex court had on September 28 pulled up Karnataka tions, Justice Lodha suggested that the matter be referred to CRA to look into the Cauvery Monitoring Committee's decision on release of water. "An order was passed by CMC. You are aggrieved with it. You can go before CRA, and if you are still not satisfied, then you can come to us. That is the logical course to follow," Justice Lodha told Vaidyanathan. As Vaidyanathan resisted the suggestion, Justice Lodha adjourned the hearing: "Let it then come on February 4" when the case is listed for hearing.

Rain lashes Punjab, Haryana; min temperature goes up


CHANDIGARH: Light to moderate rains lashed most parts of Punjab and Haryana though minimum temperature rose sharply by up to eight notches above normal in both the states. UT Chandigarh recorded a minimum of 13.7 degrees Celsius, up by seven notches above normal. The city also witnessed rainfall of 3.8 mm, the MeT office said here on Monday. In Haryana, Ambala, Karnal and Narnaul settled at 14.2 deg C, 14 deg C and 8.8 deg C respectively, while Hisar had a low of 14.6 deg, up by 8 degrees above normal. With rainfall of 4.6 mm, Bhiwani had a minimum of 10.4 deg C. In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a minimum of 8

for not complying with the direction of CRA, which is headed by the prime minister. With both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu not budging from their posi-

LoC tensions: 'US counselled India, Pakistan' Pawar speaks up for banned
ISLAMABAD: The US State Department has said the country was involved in "intensive counselling" during the recent crisis along the Line of Control, urging both India and Pakistan to revive direct talks. Last month, relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated rapidly after clashes along the LoC left several soldiers dead, reports The Dawn. Media reports stated that a Pakistani soldier was killed in a cross-border exchange between the Indian and Pakistani militaries on January 06. The Indian side claimed it was seeking to thwart an infiltration bid by Pakistanbased militants. On January 08, in another sector of the LoC, two Indian soldiers on routine patrol duty were killed and their bodies brutally mutilated. Last week, Pakistan also submitted a report to the United Nations, detailing how Indians had disfigured Pakistani soldiers in the LoC clashes. However, relations between the two countries have improved since, with both sides restoring people-to-people contacts and cross-border trade. State Department's spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the US had played a role in reducing tensions between India and Pakistan during this crisis through US ambassadors in both Delhi and Islamabad. The two ambassadors, she said, had been intensively counselling direct dialogue.

mining industry in Goa

Left should focus on issues of poorest of the poor: Amartya


KOLKATA: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen urged the Left parties to raise the issue of sanitation and other basic needs of the poorest of the poor, apart from the issues of food security and LPG price hike. "I am sometimes accused of being critical of the Left parties. I am particularly upset, when they go after the issues of cooking gas (price hike) and other issues. These are the issues of the middle class. But what about the issues of the poorest of the poor," Sen asked while addressing a session ries of a m a j o r p o w e r blackout in north India, m a n y missed out on the fact that for a third of the population, "it was not a blackout on that particular night, but an everyday reality". Professor Sen added that he felt particularly upset with the Left parties protesting on issues such as cooking gas and electricity prices and 'aam admi' pursuits rather than the broader picture. Forty-eight percent of the households in India have no toilets and people have to resort to open defecation, a problem that does not get addressed. The figure for China was one percent while that of Bangladesh was between 9 and 10 percent, he said. Earlier on several occasions, Sen has raised the issues of open defecation and child malnutrition in the country

PANAJI: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar Monday came out openly in support of the banned mining industry in Goa. Pawar, who is in Goa on a day's visit to oversee party affairs, met members of the pro-mining lobby who have been protesting for a week against the ban. He told reporters that there should be "no war between development and environment". "Mining is a global phenomenon. Goa cannot turn its back on the industry. We do not support illegal mining, but

there should be legal mining. It was in our manifesto. The ban is unfortunate," Pawar said. "My efforts will be to speak to the union mines and environment ministries to ensure that the mining issue in Goa is sorted out at the earliest," Pawar said. Mining has been banned in Goa for over two months now, after the Supreme Court, hearing a petition filed by activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, announced a probe by a central empowered committee. The petition followed the revelation of a Rs.35,000 crore illegal scam exposed by a judicial commission headed by Justice M.B. Shah, which said that top mining companies, politicians as well as bureaucrats were beneficiaries of the scam.

deg C with rainfall of 11.4 mm. Ludhiana and Patiala had a low of 13 deg C and 14.2 deg C, up by six and seven notches above normal respectively. Among other places, rains also lashed Madhopur at 20.4 mm, Ranjit Sagar dam at 9.6 mm, Nangal at 11.2 mm and Shahpur Kandi area at 18.2 mm. The MeT in its forecast said light to moderate rain may continue in next 48 hours, while hailstorm or thunderstorm may occur at isolated places in Punjab and Haryana.

SC dismisses plea for removal of Andhra High Court judge


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of Justice NV Ramana as a judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court on the ground that a criminal case was pending against him at the time of his elevation to the bench. A bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam also imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the petitioner who had sought quashing of appointment of the judge. The court passed the order on a PIL filed by one M Manohar Reddy who had alleged that appointment of Justice Ramana was unconstitutional and illegal. The petitioner had alleged that Justice Ramana, at the time of his appointment, was a proclaimed offender in a case of rioting and destruction of public property in 1981 when he was a student of Nagarjuna University. Justice Ramana was elevated as permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000.

Mass resignation by central excise, service tax superintendents on April 30


NEW DELHI: All Central Excise and Service Tax superintendents will submit their resignations on April 30 over their demand for no promotions, lower salary and lack of working conditions. They have been presenting their case to the concerned authorities regularly for more than two decades, but without response. They have already observed satyagraha programmes for many years like fasting, Anshan, dharnas, Shantigoshthis, Gandhigiri, lunch hour protests, bearing black badges, boycott of Excise day etc, but the concerned authorities have always had a deaf year to their demands. Before submitting their resignations on April 30, they will observe a protest week from Feb 25 to March 1 by wearing black badges. A demonstration would be held on March 1, while there will be a total boycott of the Excise Day function on Feb 24 throughout the country. They will also observe only "work to rule" in relation of budget related as well as revenue collection work and will perform only the official duties to achieve the revenue targets.

at the Kolkata Literary Meet. He also said that when newspaper headlines were splashed last year with sto-

SC to examine definition of juvenile in JJ Act


NEW DELHI: Amid growing nationwide demand for a review of Juvenile Justice Act, the Supreme Court on Monday decided to examine the definition of the juvenile in the act. Acting on a PIL which contended that treating all offenders below 18 years of age as juvenile was arbitrary since it did not take into account gravity of the offence, the apex court sought the response of the Centre on the issue. Filed by advocates Kamal Kumar Pandey and Sukumar, the petition sought nullification of the judicial discretion in judging the offence by a juvenile under 18 years of age as it was contrary to the criminal justice system but also unconstitutional since it violated the rights of the victims to seek justice. The PIL gains prominence as it would be taken up by the court of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra in the backdrop of the possibility of one of the six accused in the Delhi gang-rape case getting away lightly after being declared a minor. "The Bharatiya Janata Party would like this to be done otherwise it would be evident that the CBI is being abused to bail out the govt.," he added.

LDF disrupts assembly, demands fresh probe against Kurien


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPI(M)-led LDF opposition disrupted proceedings in the Kerala Assembly on Monday, demanding a fresh probe into the allegation of the victim against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien in the Suryanelli gang-rape case. Rejecting the LDF's adjournment notice on the issue during Zero Hour, Home Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan held that the state Government could not comply with the demand for a re-investigation since the complaint against Kurien had been dismissed by the Supreme Court. The placard-waving Opposition members, led by their women colleagues, then rushed to the well of the house and raised slogans denouncing the government's stand, forcing Speaker G Karthikeyan to adjourn the the Home Minister, seeking a fresh probe. He said the revelation of a former police officer, who was part of the team that investigated the case that Kurien's alleged involvement was not properly looked into was also significant in view of recent developments in the case. Seeking to turn the tables on the opposition, the Home Minister said when the complaint against Kurien was rejected by the apex court in 2007, LDF was in power in the state and sought to know why the then government had not filed an SLP (Special Leave Petition) and remained silent all these years. The minister said he would not blame the opposition for that as a government could act only within the framework of the law in any matter.

Don't crucify innocent man: Chandy

proceedings briefly. Seeking leave for the motion, CPI(M) leader and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the recent apex court verdict ordering the Kerala High Court to conduct a retrial in the 1996 case paved the way for reinvestigating the victim's complaint against Kurien. Balakrishnan said the girl had persisted in her complaint and last week had forwarded a request to

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday sought to protect the image of party colleague and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J Kurien as chaos reigned in the Kerala assembly over the apex court order on the Suryanelli sex case. Chandy said wrong-doers should be brought to book, but those who are innocent should not be pilloried or crucified. The remarks came as the Left opposition stuck to its stance that the government should order reinvestigation of the Suryanelli sex case. Meanwhile, the victim too has been asserting that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien was among those who exploited her in 1996. "You were

the chief minister (2006-11) and you never did anything when the apex court exonerated Kurien. We know that none can go against the rule of law of the land and according to the rules, no appeal can be given. Hence we will not blame you," Chandy said, referring to leader of opposition in the house V.S. Achuthanandan.

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Iraq suicide blast kills 21 north of Baghdad
BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber struck a group of anti-al-Qaida fighters north of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 21 people and wounding 44 in an attempt to destabilize the government and shake confidence in Iraqi security forces, officials said. The bomber had mingled among the men gathering to collect their salaries outside one of the militia's headquarters in the town of Taji, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of the Iraqi capital. Three Iraqi soldiers and 18 members of a local militia known as Sahwa, or Awakening Councils, were among the dead, police officials said. Three medical officials confirmed the casualties; all officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to release information to the media. The Sahwa was formed from fighters who switched sides and joined US and Iraqi government forces to fight al-Qaida at the height of the insurgency. Since then, they have been among the favorite targets for insurgents who see them as traitors. Violence has ebbed across Iraq since the peak of the fighting, but deadly bombings and shootings still occur almost daily nationwide. The blast comes a day after several suicide attackers on foot and in two explosives-laden cars hit a provincial police headquarters in Kirkuk, also north of Baghdad, killing at least 15 people and wounding 90. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, but suicide bombings are a hallmark of al-Qaida in Iraq. SEOUL: South Korean and U.S. troops began naval drills Monday in a show of force partly directed at North Korea amid signs that Pyongyang will soon carry out a threat to conduct its third atomic test. The region is also seeing a boost in diplomatic activity focused on North Korea's announcement last month that it will conduct a nuclear test to protest U.N. Security Council sanctions toughened after a December satellite launch that the U.S. and others say was a disguised test of banned missile technology. Pyongyang's two previous nuclear tests, in 2006 and 2009, both occurred after it was slapped with increased sanctions for similar rocket launches. As it issued its most recent punishment, the Security Council ordered North Korea to refrain from a nuclear test or face "significant action." On Monday, South Korean and U.S. militaries kicked off threeday exercises off the Korean Peninsula's east coast that involve

7
S Korea, US begin naval drills amid N Korea nuclear threat
live-fire exercises, naval maneuvers and submarine detection drills. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the maneuvers are part of regular joint military training that the allies had scheduled before the latest nuclear tensions began. North Korea says U.S. hostility and the threat of American troops in South Korea are important reasons behind its nuclear drive. The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The chief nuclear envoys of South Korea and China met in Beijing on Monday and agreed that they would closely coordinate on ways to stop North Korea from conducting a nuclear test, according to Seoul's Foreign Ministry. China is North Korea's main ally and aid benefactor. China's Foreign Ministry on Monday reiterated Beijing's opposition to a test, though it did not mention North Korea by name.

Malala "vows to serve people" in first public statement after attack


BIRMINGHAM: In her statement after being attacked by the Taliban last October, Malala Yousafzai thanked the thousands of people around the world who supported her and sent her their good wishes. In a message recorded in the days before her most recent operation on Saturday 2 February, Malala spoke of her hopes for the future and the work that she intends to undertake through the charitable fund which has been created and which bears her name - 'The Malala Fund'. Malala said: "Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone andI am getting better day by day. It's just because of the prayers of people. Because all people - men, women, children - all of them have prayed for me. "And because of all these prayers God has given me Malala Yousafzai's campaign for the right to education for children across the world. Vital Voices - a global nonof the cause including The United Nations Foundation, Girl Up, and several other organizations and individuals. Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices President and CEO said: "We stand with Malala and girls around the globe who are boldly speaking out as advocates for education and equality. When girls move forward, they take their communities forward too." The Fund supports the education and empowerment of girls in Pakistan and around the world and will provide grants to civil society organizations and individuals focused on education. It will be advised by a committee comprising several education experts and entrepreneurs, as well as Malala and her family.

this new lifea second life. And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organised the Malala Fund." The Malala Fund supports

governmental organization advancing girls' and women's leadership through training and mentoring - has established the Fund on behalf of Malala and her family, working together with supporters

Huge crowds mourn Cambodia's former king


PHNOM PENH: Hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered in Cambodia's capital today awaiting the cremation of former King Norodom Sihanouk, the revered ''King-Father'', who survived wars and the murderous Khmer Rouge regime to hold center stage in the southeast Asian nation for more than half a century. Cambodians from across the country flocked to Phnom Penh to pay their last respects as Sihanouk was given elaborate funeral rites mingling Hindu, Buddhist and animist traditions last seen 53 years ago with the death of Sihanouk's father, King Norodom Suramarit. And they may never be seen again in a rapidly modernizing country where monarchy has lost much of its power and glamour. "I don't have any words to express the sorrow and suffering I feel when knowing his body will soon disappear," said a weeping, 79year-old woman, Hin Mal, from the southern province of Takeo. "I love and respect King Sihanouk like my own father." His body had been lying in state since he died of a heart attack in Beijing on October 15 at the age of 89. Following a procession through the streets of Phnom Penh Friday, his body was placed inside a temple-like, 15-story-high crematorium where his son King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath will light the funeral pyre. The evening cremation will climax seven days of official mourning for Sihanouk, who was placed on the throne by the French as a teenager. Instead of proving the puppet the colonials had hoped for, Sihanouk went on to win independence, then rule the country both as monarch and head of state until ousted in a 1970 coup. A charismatic figure regarded as a "God-King" by many of his subjects, a prideful Sihanouk sided with the Khmer Rouge against the US-backed government, but after the victory of the ultra-communists in 1975, he and his wife were held prisoners in the palace. Five of his children died during the reign of terror. A consummate survivor, Sihanouk emerged as a leader of an insurgency fighting a Phnom Penh government installed by the Vietnamese and went on to broker a peace accord that enabled his return to the throne in 1993. He abdicated 11 years later in favor of Sihamoni, a former ballet dancer who had spent most of his life in European artistic circles and has proven a low-keyed constitutional monarch overshadowed by strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Israel will 'regret aggression Qadri announces 2nd phase of against Syria': Iran 'revolution SYRIA: A top Iranian official visiting march' Damascus said on Monday that Israel
will regret its "latest aggression" on Syria and urged the entire Muslim world to be ready to defend the Syrian people. Israel has all but confirmed it was behind the airstrike near Damascus last week. U.S. officials said the Israelis struck a military research center and a convoy next to it carrying anti-aircraft weapons destined for the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon. Just as it regretted its aggressions after the 33-day, 22-day and eightday wars, today the Zionist entity will regret the aggression it launched against Syria," Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran's National Security Council, said at conference in Damascus. He was referring LAHORE: Tahirul Qadri has announced the second phase of his 'revolution march', which came to an end after a deal between the cleric and the PPP-led government. He said that the second phase would be launched on February 15 from Gujranwala. He said that rallies would be held in Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, Sukkur and Rawalpindi. "People will have to decide whether they want to support Constitution or incumbent ruling class," he said. He added that the prevailing system always violated the Constitution. Qadri said he didn't intend to delay election and the army was also not in favour of martial law.

to past wars between Israel and Hezbollah or the Palestinian Hamas rulers of Gaza. Israel has been growing increasingly concerned that Assad, fighting a civil war with rebels who want to overthrow him, is losing his grip on power and on his country's arsenal including chemical weapons.

ECONOMY

Global consumer confidence declines, Indians still most positive


LONDON: Global consumer confidence dipped at the end of last year, a survey showed, and more than 60 percent of respondents said the next 12 months would not be a good time to spend. Concerns about U.S. budget talks, which have since eased, and worries about the euro zone crisis weighed on consumer sentiment in the final quarter of 2012, according to the survey by global information and insights company Nielsen. Sixty three percent of respondents said it was not a good time to buy discretionary or non-discretionary things over the next 12 months, with spending restraint most notable among Europeans. Consumers in the Asia Pacific were most upbeat but even there 59 percent said the next 12 months would not be a good time to spend, the survey showed. India remained the most optimistic consumer market globally for a second straight quarter, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index dipped 1 point in the fourth quarter to 91, after rising 1 point in the third quarter, and was 2 points higher than a year earlier. Confidence was worst in euro zone countries grappling with debt problems, notably Greece, where consumer sentiment fell sharply in the fourth quarter from the previous three months. "With continuing uncertainty concerning the United States debt ceiling and mandated spending cuts, along with as-yet tentative signs of economic stabilization in Europe, we can expect continued caution and moderate growth in the first quarter of 2013," said Venkatesh Bala, chief economist. "The major downside risk continues to be in Europe, where policy missteps within the European Union or within individual countries could damage fragile consumer confidence and take hold globally." Confidence in China edged up slightly while Norway was the only developed market to be ranked among the top 10 most optimistic consumer markets globally. In the United States, confidence dipped slightly between the third and fourth quarters but job prospects improved. "North America is slowly, but steadily heading in the right direction," said Bala. "With continued weakness in Europe and uneven growth in Asia, it may well be that with a brighter job market, the United States serves as the critical engine of improved global economic activity in 2013." The U.S. economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012 but has got off to an encouraging start this year with manufacturing growing at the fastest pace in nine months in January and employment rising modestly.

Mumbai needs to reviews FSI policy: Maken

Gold prices decline for thirdday on subdued demand


NEW DELHI: Gold prices dipped for the third day, losing Rs 50 to settle at Rs 30,750 per ten grams in the national capital today on sustained selling by stockiest, driven by sluggish demand at prevailing higher levels. Gold had lost Rs 245 in last two sessions and silver by Rs 280. Silver followed suit and lost Rs 395 to Rs 58,305 per kg, due to less buying by industrial units. Traders said sustained selling by stockiest on sluggish demand at prevailing higher levels amid a weak global trend mainly kept pressure on both gold and silver prices. Gold in global markets, which normally set price trend on the domestic front, declined by $1.60 to On the domestic front, gold of 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity fell by Rs 50 each to Rs 30,750 and Rs 30,550 per ten grams respectively, while sovereign remained steady at Rs 25,300 per piece of eight gram in scattered deals. In a similar fashion, silver ready declined by Rs 395 to Rs 58,305 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs 20 to Rs 58,400 per kg. Silver coins also dropped by Rs 1000 to Rs 81,000 for buying and Rs 82,000 for selling of 100 pieces.

REC quarterly profit jumps 33% to Rs 1,026 cr


MUMBAI: Rural Electrification Corporation today reported 33% jump in net profit to Rs 1,026.65 crore for the three months ended December 2012. The state-run entity had a net profit of Rs 769.51 crore in the third quarter of last financial year. Total income in the 2012 December quarter climbed to Rs 3,552.23 crore from Rs 2,699.12 crore in the year-ago period, the company said in a filing to the BSE. REC's board of directors has declared an interim dividend of Rs 6.75 per share for the financial year 2012-13. "This interim dividend on equity shares will be paid on February 18, 2013," the filing said. The company is mainly into financing and promoting rural electrification projects. Shares of REC surged 4.69% to close at Rs 247.95 on the BSE.

MUMBAI: To give boost to the affordable housing, the Union Ministry of Housing has decided to ask the Finance Ministry to give infrastructure status to the segment in the upcoming Budget. "In order to create more affordable housing stock, we have decided to ask the Finance Ministry to give infrastructure status to affordable housing segment in this Budget," Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation Ajay Maken told reporters here today on the sidelines of a CII event. The infrastructure status will help banks get access to bank loans easily, Maken said. The Finance Ministry has sent the proposal to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for consideration, he said. There was also a need to relax population density and FSI norms for creating housing stock, he added.

"Urbanization is inevitable and people are going to come to urban areas for jobs. If they are not provided with housing, illegal settlement will also be inevitable. Therefore it is necessary to relax these norms," he said. This will also help in meeting the 18.78 million housing shortage for LIG and the EWS segments. "Today there is a situation where 11 per cent of housing for HIG and MIG segments is lying vacant. But at the same time, there is a shortage of 18.78 million affordable housing stock. If relaxation of these norms is implemented, we will be able to reduce the shortage. Also, if there is shortage of land, going vertical is inevitable," he said. However, relaxation of such norms was a state subject and that the central government cannot give any directions for its implementation, he said.

Shell India to challenge order by tax authorities


MUMBAI: Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSa.L) Indian unit is to challenge an order by local tax authorities that a share sale to its overseas parent in 2009 was undervalued by $2.7 billion. Shell India said that as part of its investment in the country Shell India Markets Pvt. Ltd issued 87 million shares to parent Shell Gas BV at 10 rupees apiece in 2009. Tax authorities have valued those at 183 rupees, proposing an adjustment in the value of the deal of 152 billion rupees, Shell said. The company said the transfer pricing order by the tax authorities was based on an "incorrect interpretation" of tax rules and was "bad in law" as the amount is a capital receipt on which income tax cannot be levied. "Taxing the money received by Shell India is, in effect, a tax on foreign direct investment, which is contrary not only to law but also to the spirit of the recent global trip by the finance minister," Shell India Chairman Yasmine Hilton said. News of the tax dispute with Shell came ahead of a visit to India later this month by British Prime Minister David Cameron. An Indian foreign office spokesman confirmed the trip on Monday. Shell's tax case also comes amid uncertainty about the outcome of a more than $2 billion tax dispute between British group Vodafone (VOD.L) and India's tax office that has dented investor confidence in the country. India expects to raise $70 billion from corporate tax and $37 billion from individual tax payers in its 2012/13 fiscal year to end-March, according to the finance ministry estimates. Net corporate tax collections for the first nine months were up 10.6 percent, compared with a 15 percent target.

$1,666 an ounce and silver by 0.41 per cent to $31.71 an ounce in London.

Indian shares ended near 3-week low; BOB, IDFC fall


MUMBAI: Indian shares provisionally fell for a fourth consecutive session to a three-week low on Monday after disappointing quarterly earnings hit Bank of Baroda and IDFC, while investors continued to book profits in recent Outperformers such as ONGC. Bank of Baroda shares dropped 7.72 percent, while IDFC Ltd shares lost 5.4 percent. Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd fell 2 percent after surging 26.8 percent in January. The BSE index provisionally ended down 0.23 percent, the lowest close since Jan. 11. The 50-share NSE index fell 0.19 percent.

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appeal against this penalty against all the IPL franchises for almost two years now and this is the first big order against any team. It comes just a day after auctions concluded in Chennai for the sixth edition of the glamorous cricket extravaganza. The penalty order said the probe agency found that foreign investment in JIPL was made in "flagrant contravention of FEMA" and the investment made in this regard was made "much prior to the incorporation of JIPL". The penalty was issued after investigations pointed out that the funds in the firm have been remitted in an irregular manner and shares were allegedly issued in violation of forex rules stipulated and framed by the RBI.

8
Watson returns to international cricket ahead of India tour

ED slaps Rs 98.5 crore notice on Rajasthan Royals


NEW DELHI:The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has slapped a penalty notice of approximately Rs 100 crore against IPL team Rajasthan Royals for allegedly violating forex laws in its business operations. The agency, which issued the penalty notice after a two years of investigations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), has sent out three separate notices to the IPL franchise totalling to Rs 98.5 crore plus some other similar notices earlier, sources said. While a Rs 50 crore penalty has been slapped on Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited (JIPL) and its directors, owners of Rajasthan Royals, Rs 34 crore notice for evasion of forex duties has been issued against EM

Indians win 20 medals in Special Olympics World Winter Games


NEW DELHI: Indian athletes have won 20 medals, including six gold, in the ongoing 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games at Pyeong Chang, South Korea. 12-year-old Anishka Upadhyay from Lucknow, the youngest delegate at the Games, won two gold in Alpine Skiing in the event competed by over 2200 mentally-challenged athletes from over 120 countries. India have so far won six gold, six silver and eight bronze in the eightday event which began on January 29 and will end on February 5. Raj Kumar Tiwari won a gold in Figure Skating and a silver in the Doubles Skating with Kirti Kalra, another Special Olympics Bharat skater. Kriti and Simran are two sisters

Sporting Holding, Mauritius and its directors. A fresh notice of Rs 14.5 crore has been issued against Ms ND Investments, United Kingdom and its directors. All the three parties can

order in the appellate authority of FEMA. The order requires the IPL team to pay up in 45 days. The ED has been investigating financial and foreign exchange irregularities

with hearing disabilities who glide like angels on the skating rink, performing to music they can barely hear, a special Olympics Bharat release said. The Games are being competed in eight sports - alpine skiing, crosscountry skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, figure skating, short track speed skating, floor hockey and floorball.

Delhi Waveriders continue unbeaten run, thrash UP Wizards 3-0


and earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 10th minute. The second one saw them go 1-0 up, with Andres Mir Bel striking a low flick to the left corner, which easily beat the Wizards' goalkeeper. Uthappa and De Nooijer combined well to make some interesting moves for the hosts, but were not allowed to take a shot at the goal by alert Waveriders' defence. The hosts got a big blow in the 17th minute when Waveriders' increased their lead. Oscar Deecke's hard hit from the top of the Wizards' circle took a deflection from Simon Child and went into the goal, which put the home side's defence under more pressure. Wizards kept coming at the visitors' defence regularly, but a strong midfield play, and an alert defence denied them clear opportunities.

NRAI bars state officials who supported Chautala in IOA polls


NEW DELHI: The National Rifle Association of India has barred all state association officials, who sided with Abhay Singh Chautala`s faction in the last IOA elections, from voting in its April 6 polls on the directive of ISSF and the International Olympic Committee. The Indian Olympic Association was last December suspended by the IOC for ignoring the world body`s warning against holding its elections under the National Sports Code and also due to government interference. "No individual, who has taken part in the illegal & impugned election of the IOA on 25th Nov 2012, will be allowed to sit in any capacity on any forum of the NRAI, including its affiliated units or its General Body or Executive," the NRAI stated after its last governing body meeting on Feb 1. "IOA elections were held in contravention of IOC ruling. So, those who were involved in the elections, have been debarred from voting," another federation official said. "Randhir is close to the current NRAI regime, and he was the one who lost the IOA elections to the other group. So, the NRAI thought that if these state shooting officials are allowed to vote in the April elections, they might favour those who are against the present body," a source said. Sources claimed that Randhir, who is India`s representative in the IOC, may have convinced the international body to write to the International Shooting Sport Federation against the state officials. NRAI president Raninder Singh, who is a relative of Randhir, after the GBM, wrote to all state associations, communicating the resolution of the governing body. Some of the officials who will not be able to vote in the April 6 elections under the latest directive are IOA vice-president Anurag Thakur from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab Olympic Association`s secretary, Raja Sidhu and Tripura association`s Rupak Deb Roy.

LUCKNOW: A clinical allround display helped Delhi Waveriders thrash Uttar Pradesh Wizards 3-0 and maintain their supremacy in the Hero Hockey India League, at the Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday. Andres Mir Bel, Simon Child and Gurwinder Singh Chandi scored for the Waveriders to help them earn full five points. The win has taken the HIL's only unbeaten team's tally to 44 points.

Waveriders' win also kept Dabur Mumbai Magicians' hopes of making the cut for the semi-finals alive. The competition for the fourth spot in the semifinals will be between Wizards and Magicians. With Waveriders winning by three goals, Wizards were denied even one point, although they lead Magicians by eight points with two games to play. A K Bansal's boys made some good moves early on,

MELBOURNE: With the four-Test series against India round the corner, Shane Watson will look to touch up his batting skills at international level following his inclusion in Australia's 13-member one-day side for the next two matches against the West Indies. Watson will be replacing Usman Khawaja, who played in the first two ODIs, before heading to India along with the last group of Test players as Cricket Australia decided to send the squad to the subcontinent in three separate groups. Australia has already won the first two matches and would look to seal the fivematch ODI series against the West Indies in the third one-dayer in Canberra, where Watson will play as an opening batsman. "Shane Watson comes back into the squad against West Indies as an opening batsman. Shane has recovered from his injury and we look forward to seeing him get back to his best," the national selector John Inverarity said. After recovering from a calf injury, all rounder Watson returned to action as a nonbowling batsman and played a Sydney club game and an interstate one-dayer. Australia will play two warm-up games, scheduled to be held from February 16-18 and February 12-13, before the first Test in Chennai is scheduled for February 22-26.

The Czech Republic will now travel to Kazakhstan in April for the quarter-finals
ASTANA: Kazakhstan, who beat Austria 3-1 in their World Group clash on Sunday in Astana, knocked the Czechs out in the first round in 2011. In Turin, Italy beat Croatia to make the quarter-finals for the first time since 1998. Italy had led 2-1 overnight but Marin Cilic won his second singles match of the tie by easing past Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-3, 7-5. Fabio Fognini then saw off Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the winning point. The other quarter-final will see Argentina facing France after they completed comfortable victories over Germany and Israel respectively on Saturday.

Azharuddin expresses desire to coach Team India


LONDON: Former captain Mohammad Azharuddin has expressed his desire to coach the India cricket team in future if the BCCI approaches him with an offer. "Whatever little cricket I have played, I have learnt a lot and I would like to impart those skills to young players. It is up to the board (BCCI) to use me in the best way. I would certainly like to be involved with Indian cricket," Azhar said. "It is the board's prerogative to decide on coaching the Indian team, but I am available in any capacity for the benefit of Indian cricket," added Azhar, who was the chief guest at an India-Pakistan students' friendly match at Lord's stadium as part of the London School of Economics annual India Week. In Nov last year, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had lifted the life ban on Azharuddin imposed by the BCCI for his alleged involvement in matchfixing. The 49-year-old Congress MP from Moradabad said it's high time to inject fresh blood in the side to prepare the team for the future. "The team needs some new blood. It is important that young players are given the chance to play. The IPL format has been good for the game in that sense, as it has thrown up some very good players.

Davis Cup: Spain crash out to Canada, US battle to survive


PARIS: Five-time champions Spain crashed out of the Davis Cup on Sunday when Canada completed a famous World Group triumph while 32-time winners United States edged Brazil in a dogfight.Milos Raonic secured the crucial winning point in Canada's 3-2 victory in Vancouver by beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to send Canada into their first Davis Cup quarterfinal. They will tackle Italy in April for a place in the semi-finals. Missing top players Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco, Spain, winners of the title three times in the last five years, and the 2012 runners-up, had been 2-0 down on Friday. Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez kept their hopes alive with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-2 victory over Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil in Saturday's doubles. \But Raonic, the world number 15, was unstoppable on Sunday firing 22 aces and 55 winners past the hapless Garcia-Lopez, the world 82, as Spain were beaten in the opening round for the first Americans a 3-2 triumph. Querrey fired 26 aces for a perfect weekend in his first Davis Cup home tie. Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci battled back to defeat John Isner 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 6-3, in Sunday's opener at Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares, going down 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The Americans will meet 2010 champions Serbia, who had already defeated Belgium. Tomas Berdych beat Stanislas Wawrinka in a battle of Davis Cup ironmen as defending champions Czech Republic reached the quarter-finals. The Czechs led Switzerland 2-1 overnight after Berdych and Lukas Rosol beat Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 24-22 in the longest-ever Davis Cup match, an exhausting doubles which lasted a minute over seven hours. World number six Berdych and Wawrinka, the 17th-ranked player, returned on Sunday for the first of the reverse singles in Geneva and three hours 15 minutes later, it was the Czech who triumphed again, claiming a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) win.

AITA forms three-member committee to resolve tennis row


NEW DELHI: The AITA formed a three-member committee, including Justice Deepak Verma and former Davis Cupper Naresh Kumar, to resolve the issues with the rebel players, but its suggestions apparently would not be binding on the national tennis federation. Apart from Verma, a former justice of Supreme court, and Kumar, the committee has retired bureaucrat M C Gupta as the third member. The decision to appoint the committee was taken at the All India Tennis Association Executive Committee meeting here. The committee will discuss the issues with the rebel players and before giving a final report within four months, it will file an interim report so that top players could be brought back for the next tie, slated for April 5-7 in India. Asked what was the need of forming the committee when the players just wanted an assurance in writing, AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee said they wanted a certain process to the end. "This policy of blackmailing has been going on for long. The availability came with pre-conditions and we do not appreciate that. We want to stop it. It is a neutral committee and I am hopeful that the suggestions it would make would be acceptable to both the parties," Chatterjee said. "It's a step forward, pre-conditions are not welcome. Hopefully, they (players) will not challenge this committee." Asked if the suggestions of the committee would be binding on AITA, Chatterjee said, "I am not saying that". Since AITA will give terms and references to the committee, it was asked how then the committee can be branded as neutral, to which Chatterjee said since none of the committee members are associated with AITA in any way, it was neutral. When pointed out that if the committee makes suggestions which the AITA does not like, the CEO said he was hopeful that it will not come up with anything which will be "unacceptable to anyone".

NOTICE
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time since 2006. Albert Ramos beat Frank Dancevic 7-5, 6-4 in a dead rubber to create the final margin. The United States escaped an upset when Sam Querrey rallied to beat Thiago Alves 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) and give the

Jacksonville, Florida. Isner fired 22 aces in the clash but also committed 81 unforced errors. The US had been 2-0 ahead on Friday before twins Bob and Mike Bryan suffered a stunning loss in the doubles - just the third of their Davis Cup career - to

Snails offer wealth of information on past weather


LONDON: Snails can provide a wealth of information about the prevailing weather conditions thousands of years ago, says a new research. Researchers from the University of York and the Scottish University's Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) analysed the chemistry of snail shells dating back 9,000-2,500 years recovered from Mediterranean caves, looking at humidity at different times in the past. Their findings revealed that when the first farmers arrived in Italy and Spain, the western Mediterranean was not the hot dry place it is now, but warmer, wetter and stickier, the journal Quaternary International reports. Andre Carlo Colonese, palaeoecologist from York and co-authors believe that land snails have great potential as a source of information about human behaviour and palaeoclimatic conditions, therefore, should be given much more attention, according to a York statement. Colonese, Marie Curie Fellow in York's Centre for Human Palaeoecology and Evolutionary Origins, said: "By putting together research on snails from multiple sites across Spain and Italy, we were able to produce a large scale regional picture for weather conditions over the western Mediterranean area. "This allowed us to observe differences in climate across the region. Interestingly, when compared with previous studies, we found that while conditions on the Atlantic coast of northern Spain were probably much like those of today, on the Mediterranean side in locations such as southern Spain and Sicily, conditions were much more humid." By putting together research on snails from multiple sites across Spain and Italy, we were able to produce a large scale regional picture for weather conditions over the western Mediterranean area.

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