Rajasthan BJP chief Madan Lal Saini dies at 75

Rajasthan BJP chief Madan Lal Saini dies at 75

Jaipur: Rajasthan BJP president Madan Lal Saini died on Monday while undergoing treatment at AIIMS in Delhi, a party spokesperson said. Saini, also a Rajya Sabha MP, was 75.

He was diagnosed with infection in lungs and was admitted at a private hospital in Jaipur. On Saturday, he was shifted to Delhi owing to his deteriorating health conditions and was being treated under the Hematology Department at AIIMS.

"He was later shifted to the ICU after his condition further deteriorated. He passed away today around 7.09 pm," a source at AIIMS said.

Saini was appointed BJP state president last year. He was a former MLA and RSS volunteer who held various posts in the Bhartiya Kisan Morcha as well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief and said Saini's death was a major loss for the BJP.

"The passing away of Shri Madanlal Saini Ji is a major loss for the BJP family. He contributed to strengthening the Party in Rajasthan. He was widely respected for his congenial nature and community service efforts. My thoughts are with his family and supporters. Om Shanti," he tweeted.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said, "Saddened by the sudden demise of Shri Madan Lal Saini, Member of Rajya Sabha. In his extensive public life as an MP, MLA and State BJP President in Rajasthan, he served with distinction. My profound condolences to bereaved family members and followers. May his soul rest in peace." Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also expressed grief over Saini's demise and said, "Shocked and saddened to hear about the passing away of Sh. Madan Lal Saini ji, President of BJP #Rajasthan. My thoughts and prayers are with his family members. May God give them strength to bear this loss. May his soul rest in peace."


Difficult to provide estimate of black money says parliamentary panel

Difficult to provide estimate of black money says parliamentary panel

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel of the previous Lok Sabha headed by Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily has said it is difficult to provide a credible estimate of the black money in India and of Indians abroad.

The panel, whose preliminary report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday, also called upon the Finance Ministry to make efforts with greater vigour to unearth black money in and outside the country.

"The unaccounted income and wealth inside and outside the country do not appear amenable to credible estimation in the context of India," the Standing Committee on Finance (2018-19) said.

It said a study on black money was conducted by National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP), National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) following recommendations made by the parliamentary panel in 2009 to conduct a thorough assessment of unaccounted wealth.

It said the three institutions found real estate, mining, pharmaceuticals, pan masala, gutka and tobacco industry, bullion and commodity markets, film industry, educational institutes and professionals as among sectors where the unaccounted income is found to be the highest.

Sectors such as securities market and manufacturing also showed a high incidence of unaccounted income, it said.

The three organisations made separate estimations of `unaccounted income and wealth' and `unaccounted wealth outside the country'.

"It appears that the reliable estimation of unaccounted income and wealth inside and outside the country is a difficult task, this inference is validated by the widely varying estimates of the unaccounted income arrived at by these three institutes. The Chief Economic Adviser has opined that there is no scope for arriving at a common estimate of unaccounted income by combining estimates from the three reports," the panel said.

The committee said that Revenue Secretary had said in his oral evidence that the three studies have observed that the reliable estimation of unaccounted income and wealth is extremely difficult as regards the macro estimation of unaccounted income and wealth is extremely difficult.

He told the panel that the studies have also reported a very huge variation in estimations of unaccounted income ranging from 7 per cent to 120 per cent of the reported GDP and there is a lack of consensus regarding the most suitable method in the Indian context.

In its recommendations, the committee said it would expect the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) to "continue efforts with greater vigour to unearth and bring to book unaccounted income/wealth both within and outside the country including follow-up action on reports of Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted on Black Money as well as the three study reports".

The committee said it would expect more fruitful outcomes both in terms of a much wider tax base as well as actual tax yield.

"In this context, the committee desires that the long-delayed Direct Taxes code should also be finalised at the earliest and reintroduced in Parliament with a view to simplifying and rationalising the direct tax laws in the country," it said.


Budget 2019 countdown: Is Nirmala Sitharaman India’s first woman finance minister? The answer’s rather interesting

Budget 2019 countdown: Is Nirmala Sitharaman India’s first woman finance minister? The answer’s rather interesting

Nirmala Sitharaman is all set to present the Union Budget of FY 2019-20 on July 5. Her appointment as the Minister of Finance took many by surprise as lot of people expected Piyush Goyal to be the next Finance Minister.

Based on her stints as the Defence Minister in the last Modi cabinet, and the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs under the Ministry of Finance and the Minister for Commerce and Industry with independent charge, she was chosen by Narendra Modi to lead the major institution.

She would be the first full time woman Finance Minister of India. However, she's not the first woman Finance Minister of India. Before her, Indira Gandhi held the charge of Finance Ministry along with the PMO. Indira Gandhi served as the Finance Minister during her first tenure as Prime Minister of India from 1966-1971. She formed her first government with Morarji Desai as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

Due to the growing feuds between the senior Congress party leaders on a number of issues in 1969, she was expelled from the party for her indiscipline. One of the major feuds was the nationalisation of banks without the consultation of Finance Minister Morarji Desai. Gandhi then floated her own party (Congress (R)) and led the government with the support of DMK. She then briefly took the additional charge of Finance Ministry from July 7, 1969 – June 27, 1970.

Indira Gandhi's policies included proposals for the abolition of Privy Purse (to former rulers of the Princely states) and the 1969 nationalisation of the fourteen largest banks in India.

What is Privy Purse?

Privy Purse was a payment made to the ruling (royal or lower) families of erstwhile princely states as part of their agreements to first integrate with India in 1947 after the independence of India, and later to merge their states in 1949 whereby they lost all ruling rights. The payment was continued to the royal families until the 26th Amendment in 1971, by which all their privileges and allowances from the Central Government ceased to exist.


Terror alert in Ayodhya following intelligence inputs

Terror alert in Ayodhya following intelligence inputs

Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

"We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements," Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs. According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

IMD predicts thunderstorm and lightning for Himachal, Uttrakhand

IMD predicts thunderstorm and lightning for Himachal, Uttrakhand

New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday said thunderstorm accompanied with lightning and gusty winds (40-50 kmph) at isolated places are very likely over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand tomorrow.

Besides, the weather forecasting agency also predicted that some isolated places of Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha are likely to be hit by dust storm accompanied with lightning and gusty winds of 40-50 kmph tomorrow.

The weather organization also predicted that isolated places over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim are likely to witness heavy downpour on Sunday. "Heavy rainfall at isolated places over Assam & Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Konkan and Goa, and Coastal Karnataka," it added.

As Cyclone Vayu is likely to recurve and hit Kutch on June 17-18, strong wind speed of the order of 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph very likely over Gujarat coast. "The sea condition is very likely to be rough to very rough over rest parts of the east central Arabian Sea till June 16, 2019," stated IMD in its weather forecast bulletin.

Fishermen are advised not to venture into the north Arabian Sea and along and off Gujarat coast till June 17 and over east central Arabian Sea till June 16.

Dharmendra Pradhan, SAIL chairman donate Rs 3 crore cheque to Odisha Chief Minister's relief fund

Dharmendra Pradhan, SAIL chairman donate Rs 3 crore cheque to Odisha Chief Minister's relief fund

New Delhi: Union Minister of Steel Dharmendra Pradhan and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Odisha Bhavan on Friday. Pradhan along with Chaudhary handed over Rs 3 crore cheque to Patnaik for Chief Minister's relief fund for cyclone Fani restoration.

On Thursday, the Odisha Government released an additional amount of Rs 123.90 crore to the collectors of Puri, Khordha and Cuttack districts which were severely affected by cyclone Fani, for payment of different assistance. These include assistance for house building, clothing, utensils and assistance to fishermen for replacement/repair of damaged nets and boats, fish ponds, fish seed farms and replacement of drought and milch animals.

This is in addition to Rs 197.59 crore which was released to the Puri Collector on June 10 for disbursement towards house building assistance. So far, a total amount of Rs.1481.05 crore has been released to different departments and collectors of the affected districts for various relief and restoration measures relating to extremely severe cyclonic storm 'Fani'.

In May, the Odisha Police had contributed over one crore rupees to the Chief Minister's relief fund to support people affected by the cyclone 'Fani'. The tropical cyclonic storm 'Fani' made landfall in Odisha's Coast at Puri on May 3, leaving a trail of devastation and havoc in the state. Over one crore sixty-five lakh people of the state have been adversely affected due to the cyclone.


Open for talks with West Bengal CM Minister Mamata Banerjee, will decide venue later: Agitating doctors

Open for talks with West Bengal CM Minister Mamata Banerjee, will decide venue later: Agitating doctors

Kolkata: The impasse in West Bengal showed signs of easing as agitating doctors said Saturday night that they were open for talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to end their stir, but they would decide on the venue of the meeting later.

They had earlier in the evening turned down an invite for a closed-door meeting with Banerjee at the state secretariat and had instead asked her to visit the NRS Medical College and Hospital for an open discussion to resolve the impasse. Late on Saturday night, the joint forum of junior doctors held a press conference their meeting. "We are open for dialogue always. If the chief minister extends one hand we will extend 10 of ours... we are eagerly waiting to break the deadlock," the spokesperson said.

The agitating doctors said they would wait for their governing body to decide on the proposed venue for the meeting. The agitating doctors had also turned down Banerjee's request saying there was no honest effort on her part to break the deadlock. "We are eagerly waiting to start our duty, but from the chief minister's side there is no such honest initiative to find a solution (of the ongoing problem)," he had said earlier in the night.

The agitating junior doctors also rubbished her claims that a few of their colleagues visited her at the state secretariat. Banerjee, during a press conference at the state secretariat, had urged the agitators to resume work and said her government has accepted all their demands. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory seeking a report on the stir. But she reacted sharply to it and said such advisory should be "sent to states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat where several murders are reported since the last couple of years".

Bengal Governor K N Tripathi wrote to Banerjee advising her to take immediate steps to provide security to the medicos and find out a solution to the impasse. Banerjee later said that she has spoken to the governor and apprised him about the steps taken by the state government to resolve the impasse. She also said her government has not invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) even after five days of the strike by the junior doctors.

"We have the laws, but we do not want to use them... We are not going to take any stringent action against any of the agitating junior doctors and hamper their career," she told a news conference after the agitators did not turn up for a meeting at 5 pm. The strike began on Monday night when two junior doctors of NRS hospital were injured in an attack by relatives of a patient, who died. Banerjee said, on Friday, she "waited for the junior doctors for five hours. And today, I cancelled all my programmes for them. You must show some respect to the constitutional body".

On the mass resignation of the doctors across the state, she said it was not legally tenable. "If the junior doctors think I am incapable, they can always talk to the governor or the chief secretary... or the commissioner of police," she said. Earlier, Banerjee, while addressing the press at the state secretariat, left it midway, claiming that a few junior doctors have appeared there in order to meet her. In its advisory, the MHA said it has received a number of representations from doctors, healthcare professionals and medical associations from different parts of the country for their safety and security in view of the strike in West Bengal.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asked states to consider enacting specific legislation for protecting doctors and medical professionals from any form of violence in the wake Bengal assault on junior doctors. Patients in Delhi faced hardships for the second consecutive day as protest by doctors, in solidarity with their striking colleagues in Kolkata, spread to several government hospitals, which could not join a nationwide stir on June 14. The opposition BJP, CPI-M and Congress in Bengal lashed out at Banerjee "for not being serious in resolving the impasses over doctor's strike" and asked her to resolve the crisis.

Jammu and Kashmir: Security forces shot down a terrorist in a gunfight in Sopore

Jammu and Kashmir: Security forces shot down a terrorist in a gunfight in Sopore

Srinagar: A terrorist has been killed in an overnight gunfight with security forces in Sopore area of Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district, a police official said Wednesday.

The exchange of fire began during a search operation launched by security forces Tuesday evening after they received information that terrorists were present there, the official said. He said the cordon was strengthened to prevent the terrorists from escaping.

"In the ensuing gunfight, an unidentified terrorist was killed. The body has been recovered while his identity and group affiliation is being ascertained," he added.


Cyclone Vayu: IAF C-17 aircraft lands at Jamnagar with NDRF team

Cyclone Vayu: IAF C-17 aircraft lands at Jamnagar with NDRF team

Jamnagar: The IAF C-17 aircraft which planned to airlift about 160 personnel of NDRF from Vijayawada, has landed at Jamnagar with the team to carry out the humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) missions for the people affected by Cyclone Vayu in the state, IAF said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Indian Air Force had tweeted that its C-17 Globemaster got airborne from New Delhi for Vijayawada.

"Headquarters South Western Air Command has proactively enhanced its preparedness to meet any contingencies which may occur due to cyclonic storm Vayu. Medium lift helicopters and light utility helicopters have been positioned at nodal points in Gujarat. These are equipped to undertake disaster relief operations and highly mobile deployable radar have also been placed at a high state of readiness in Gandhinagar," Wing Commander Puneet Chadha, Defence PRO, Gujarat said.

He further maintained that the radar along with its own satellite communication system can be deployed at a remote location for channelising helicopter operations towards relief and evacuation as well as establishing communication with control centres.

According to the forecast of India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclonic storm is expected to touch Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and Diu region as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph on the morning of June 13.

"Mobile communication vehicles have been positioned at nodal points along with communication support groups who have been formulated at air bases in Gujarat to handle potential contingencies," the Defence PRO added.

Cyclone Vayu is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat along with storm surge, which may cause inundation in the low lying coastal areas of Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir, Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall.

NDRF has mobilised 35 teams in Gujarat and four teams in Diu in coordination with the local administration. Rescue teams of SDRF, Army, Coast Guard, and BSF are also in the readiness.


Delhi BJP's gherao at DJB office ends, police escort CEO out

Delhi BJP's gherao at DJB office ends, police escort CEO out

New Delhi: A BJP delegation that held the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) CEO Nikhil Kumar "captive" for more than 10 hours at the utility's headquarters here over alleged lack of water supply in the city ended the protest early Wednesday after the officer called the police.

Former Union minister Vijay Goel, who led the delegation, told PTI that the DJB CEO "called the police who escorted him out and the gherao ended around 3:30 am Wednesday".

Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Dinesh Mohaniya said they had been supplying water beyond their capacity and accused the BJP of politicising the issue.

Around 5 pm on Tuesday, the BJP delegation, which besides Goel included MLA O P Sharma and BJP city unit vice president Jai Prakash, went to meet DJB CEO Kumar, who took charge on June 6.

The DJB headquarters, however, soon turned into a protest venue as the delegation started raising slogans against the Aam Aadmi Party government alleging the utility, headed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, had no plans to deal with the "water crisis" in the national capital.

Goel told PTI that the delegation had "held the CEO captive and that he would not be allowed to leave till he promises to form a task force to address issues related to contaminated water, upload all complaints on DJB website and release a summer action plan, among other things".

Sharma, the BJP MLA, said the DJB staff had locked the doors on the ground floor to prevent other BJP supporters from moving up to the CEO's room.

Goel, a former Delhi BJP president, Sharma and other party leaders indulged in arguments with DJB officials over the water supply issue.

"They have no clue as to how many complaints have been received. They don't have any knowledge about the areas where people have been getting contaminated water or no water at all. They have no plans to resolve the crisis. We have gheraoed the CEO office, we have held him captive and will not let him leave tonight," Goel said, before the protest ended.

Later, police were called in as the raucous protesters jostled with the DJB staff in a bid to force their way into the CEO's office on the third floor.

Earlier, BJP's Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari wrote a letter to Chief Minister Kejriwal on Tuesday drawing his attention to "power outages" and "acute water crisis" in the national capital.

Kejriwal tweeted that Delhi gets round-the-clock power supply at the cheapest rates in the country.

DJB CEO Kumar said officials have been given strict instructions to redress grievances in the shortest possible time."We have a toll-free number and sub-zonal offices where complaints are registered and time-bound action is taken. We will take strongest possible action. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any laxity on the part of field-level officers," he said.

"I and other senior officials will be monitoring the situation (so that) there's no problem of water contamination or water shortage in this summer season," Kumar said.

The BJP leaders have been attacking the ruling AAP over power and water supply that the ruling party counts among two of its most significant achievements since coming to power in Delhi in 2015.DJB Vice-Chairman Mohaniya said that in many areas, such as in Anand Parbat, geographical constraints don't allow laying water and sewer pipelines.

"They always tell half truth. It's not that only Delhi has been facing issues. The entire country is reeling under a severe heatwave and facing water shortage. We have been supplying water beyond our capacity. Our supply hasn't declined, but the demand has been increasing due to the oppressive heat," Mohaniya said.

"All rivers, lakes and ponds across the country are running dry. But, instead of helping people in such a situation, the BJP is politicising the issue," he alleged.