Congress accuses PM Modi, Arun Jaitley of resorting to ‘fraudulent jugglery’ of GDP figures


Congress accuses PM Modi, Arun Jaitley of resorting to ‘fraudulent jugglery’ of GDP figures

New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of resorting to “malicious and fraudulent jugglery” of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures to hide the “enormous body blow” caused by them to India’s economy.

“Failed ‘Modinomics’ plus a ‘pakoda economic vision’ has sunk India’s economy in complete turmoil. A despotic Prime Minister and ‘pseudo economist’ Finance Minister have repeatedly caused economic mayhem by the ill-conceived decisions of demonetisation, a flawed GST coupled with tax terrorism,” Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

“Faced with utter and complete rejection of the ‘voodoo economics’ of Modi and Jaitley duo, they are resorting to malicious and fraudulent jugglery of GDP figures to hide the enormous body blow caused by them to India’s economy,” he said. His remarks came after the government on Wednesday released the much awaited back-series estimates for India’s GDP which showed a lower rate of growth during the UPA years between 2005-06 and 2011-12 than what was estimated using the earlier methodology.

Surjewala alleged that the entire GDP back series data released by the Centre reflects the desperate attempt of a “defeatist Modi government” to undermine India’s growth story over last 15 years. “Congress party had repeatedly pointed out that, when the base year was changed, the government should follow the healthy international practice and revise the numbers for the previous years. We had demanded that the back series data of GVA and GDP should be calculated and released so that meaningful comparisons can be made.

“The back series data as released by National Statistical Commission (NSC) in August 2018 is available in public domain. The numbers prove the dictum that truth cannot be suppressed,” Surjewala said. The Congress Spokesperson said that UPA 1 and UPA 2 delivered the highest decadal growth (8.13 per cent at factor cost) since Independence.

It is also a matter of record that during this period 140 million people were lifted out of poverty, he said, adding the three best years were 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. “Arvind Subramanian called them the “boom years”. That golden run would have continued but for the international financial crisis that hit the world in September 2008.”

He said when the UPA demitted office, economic growth had recovered to 6.39 per cent (at market prices) in 2013-14. “Besides, the fiscal deficit had been reduced to 4.48 per cent and the current account deficit had been contained at 1.7per cent.”

Surjewala accused that the revised ‘new series’ computed on Wednesday by the Ministry of Statistics and Niti Aayog has completely undermined the National Statistical Commission, the autonomous body for deciding data transparently and in accordance with global standards of calculating GDP as per market price linked methodology.

“Today, Modi government deceived the country by surreptitiously changing the methodology in order to manipulate GDP data. This is called ‘excel sheet management’ for example deciding the result first and filling the marks later. The new methodology is GVA based, which does not take into account tax, subsidies and consequently is extremely flawed to sub serve the myopic interests of the ruling government,” he said.




Telangana elections 2018: Missing transgender candidate turns up at police station


Telangana elections 2018: Missing transgender candidate turns up at police station

Hyderabad: Transgender candidate M. Chandramukhi, contesting the Telangana assembly elections from a constituency in the city, turned up at a police station late on Wednesday night. Chandramukhi, who is contesting the election from Goshamahal as a candidate of the Bahujan Left Front and was missing since early Tuesday, reached Banjara Hills police station along with her lawyer and some members of the transgender community.

She refused to give a statement to police about her whereabouts, saying she will reveal all the details in court on Thursday. The Hyderabad High Court had on Wednesday directed the police to produce her in the court on Thursday. The court passed orders on a habeas corpus petitioned filed by Chandramukhi’s mother Ananthamma.

Earlier, a missing case was registered at the Banjara Hills police station on a complaint by her mother. Chandramukhi, the only transwoman candidate in Telangana’s assembly elections, went missing early on Tuesday from her house in Jawaharnagar here. According to her supporters, two persons had come to meet her. Later, her mobile phone was switched off. They claimed she had been abducted.

However, after examining CCTV footage, police said on Wednesday that she left the house on her own and was seen walking alone. A police official said she had masked her face to hide her identity. Police had formed 10 teams to trace the missing candidate. A few teams were also deputed to Anantapur and other districts in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Bahujan Left Front leaders and transgender activists have alleged that people who were opposed to a transgender contesting the election were behind her disappearance. Chandramukhi is contesting from Goshamahal against Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Raja Singh and the Congress party’s Mukesh Goud.




Pakistan has changed the demography of Pakistan: Bipin Rawat


Pakistan has changed the demography of Pakistan: Bipin Rawat

New Delhi: India’s Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat today asserted that India has the hard power- the requisite military deterrence to take on Pakistan. Speaking on theme ‘Addressing the challenge of hybrid conflict in the 21st century’ at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, here, he however balanced his assertion by saying that “creating unrest in our neighbour’s country should not be our first choice.”

“As a nation, we have never been expansionist. We also believe in fairness. India strongly believes in living in peace and harmony with its neighbours. The well being and development of its people through sustained economic growth remains our continued focus are our core national interest. Thus, creating unrest in our neighbour’s country should not be our first choice,” he said while delivering the Y B Chavan memorial lecture, to a distinguished audience.

He added, “ We will continue working with all agencies which work on peace in our country. Our narrative is superior. What can be better than a vibrant democracy for a human mind and human aspiration to thrive upon? This narrative needs to be propagated better.”

Replying to a question, he said, “ Let me say that if you have to take on Pakistan, it cannot end in stalemate. Let me tell you we have this kind of (military) deterrence. If we have to take the call, it is possible to take the call. I don’t think, we should be concerned about this kind of capability we have with Pakistan.”

While warning that “cyber domain emerge as the next battleground’; he said that India’s advanced capabilities in space technology and GPS systems in South Asia which can be used to liquidate a recalcitrant adversary in cyber domain.” Recommending a pro active defence option against hybrid warfare, the Army Chief chalked out an action plan that entails coordination with agencies within India, working with international friends, communication of the right narrative to our people and harnessing of technology optimally.

The Army chief said that hybrid warfare warfare is very much organised. “It is gaining momentum these days and is becoming a new form of warfare. Therefore, this form of warfighting is all encompassing and rather than destroying the military capability of an enemy, it focusses on the population and infrastructure as being the centre of gravity. The use of the word hybrid warfare in military lexicon appears to be relatively new but let me tell you that it repeatedly comes into place in Arthashastra. It is nothing new to us.“

Replying to another question, the Army Chief said that Pakistan has very cleverly changed the complete demography of so called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. “That is an issue that we have to look at but let us first look at our own part of Kashmir, bring it under control, get the system moving there and then start looking across.”

To the last question, General Rawat said that it is unfortunate that proliferation of internet and social media is attracting people to IS but they don’t really know IS ideology. If you ask them why they fly the black flag, they will tell you that it somehow it irritates the Indian security forces. If you ask them about’ Azadi’, it is not what we feel is ‘Azadi’. So, really speaking, most Kashmiris are actually confused about their own religion.




Chhattisgarh: DRG jawan injured in IED blast in Sukma


Chhattisgarh: DRG jawan injured in IED blast in Sukma

Sukma (Chhattisgarh): A District Reserve Guard (DRG) jawan sustained injuries in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast which took place on Tuesday in the forest area of Minpa in Sukma district. The explosion took place when the troops of 206 CoBRA and DRG were returning to their base camp in Chintagupha.

This is the second attack that has taken place in Sukma district in the last two days. On Monday, as many as nine Naxalites and two security personnel were killed in the same district in two separate operations carried out by security forces. A huge cache of arms and ammunition, including automatic rifles and IED, were recovered by the police.




Voting begins for fourth phase of Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir


Voting begins for fourth phase of Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu/Srinagar: Voting started normally on Tuesday for the fourth phase of Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir under tight security arrangements. Voting is taking place at 2,618 polling stations across the state, with 639 in Kashmir division and 1,979 in Jammu division. The process started at 8 a.m. and will end at 2 p.m.

Poll officials said 777 polling stations have been categorised as hypersensitive in this phase — 571 in Kashmir division and 206 in Jammu division. There are 5,470 candidates in the fray for 339 Sarpanch and 1,749 for Panch seats, while 99 Sarpanchs and 969 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this phase. A total of 4,72,160 electorates will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies while 3,32,502 will be voting for Panch constituencies, a poll official said.

Photo Voter Slips have been distributed to inform them of their polling station. Voter turnout in the first phase on November 17 was 74.1 per cent. In the second phase on November 20, 71.1 per cent and in the third phase on  November 24, it was 75.2. Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations. Government has declared a holiday on the day in all the panchayat areas going to polls. The nine-phased Panchayat polls will be completed on December 17. The last Panchayat polls were last held in 2011 in the state.




Supreme Court asks CPCB to prosecute government officials for not acting on Delhi’s air pollution complaints


Supreme Court asks CPCB to prosecute government officials for not acting on Delhi’s air pollution complaints

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to initiate prosecution against government officials who have not acted on 249 complaints received on its official social media and e-mail accounts with regard to pollution in Delhi.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that officials who have failed to act on the complaints were required to be prosecuted. “Why do not you prosecute these officials? You should prosecute them. Let these people realise what they have done,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, who was appearing for the CPCB. Nadkarni said that from November 1-22 this year, they had received 749 air pollution complaints on their social media accounts and action was taken on around 500 such complaints.

Regarding the court’s suggestion to prosecute the officials responsible for not acting on the complaints, he said that the CPCB would look into it. The CPCB had on November 1 told the apex court that it has created social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook where citizens could lodge their complaints about pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR). In an affidavit filed in the court, which is seized of matters related to pollution in Delhi-NCR, the CPCB has said that “of 749 complaints received on social media and e-mails till November 22, 2018, about 500 complaints (67 per cent of the total) were attended by 52 teams of CPCB while associating with clean air campaign during November 1-10, 2018”.

It further said that the teams continued “similar campaign on its own on November 13 and November 20 exclusively to attend the air pollution complaints received on social media and e-mails. Remaining 249 complaints have been assigned to respective nodal agencies and are in the process getting resolved”. It said that in continuation to opening of social media accounts on October 29, CPCB has setup a separate cell for management of citizen’s complaints on social media being received through Facebook, Twitter, e-mails and CPCB’s website since November 5.

“Complaints received at social media accounts namely Twitter and Facebook have to be resolved by respective nodal agencies who are responsible for taking appropriate action,” it said. “An efficient mechanism for resolving the complaints through social media can be ensured through respective nodal agencies when they open their official social media accounts and follow the account created by CPCB so that the complaints received at CPCB end can be forwarded to respective agencies. Action taken by agencies can be informed to the complainant on the same platform,” the affidavit said.

It said that on October 31, an e-mail was sent to the nodal agencies to create their own social media accounts so that complaints received at by CPCB could be attended by them and CPCB had also held four review meetings in November with the representatives of the nodal agencies. It said that as on November 24, 18 nodal agencies have provided their social media accounts to CPCB which included the Haryana State Pollution Control Board, National Highway Authority of India, Delhi Traffic Police, Delhi Transport Department, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi Development Authority, Gurgaon Municipal Corporation, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

It said that “between November 1, 2018 to November 22, 2018, CPCB has received 749 air pollution complaints on social media and website accounts which represents 479 complaints from Twitter account, 65 from Facebook and 205 are e-mails/website complaints”. The CPCB has said that in order to prioritize action on complaints received through social media, the board has started attending to complaints through its field teams by sending them to locations of alleged air pollution.

It said that the CPCB has acknowledged receipt of complaints and also conveyed information on action taken to complainants through social media as well as e-mails. “The inspecting teams of CPCB have taken spot measures such as dousing of fire by calling fire-tenders, covering of construction material, instructions to responsible persons, issuance of challans etc during the campaign. Some complaints were also lodged on Sameer App for necessary action by nodal agencies,” it said.

Sameer App provides hourly update of national air quality index (AQI). “As on November 23, the Twitter handle received 737 tweets and is being followed by 1,441 people with an outreach of 1.42 lakhs while the Facebook page has an engagement of 1,872 people with an outreach on 44887 and 419 followers,” it said. It further said that as per analysis of complaints during clean air campaign, highest number of air pollution incidents relates to construction and demolition activities, followed by burning of waste, road dust, unpaved areas/roads, traffic congestion and industrial emissions.

CPCB has also said that based on feedback received from clean air campaign, chairman of the board had issued directions under the provision of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to various nodal agencies including the local authorities in Delhi-NCR responsible for control of air pollution incidents. “Show cause directions were also issued to nodal agencies indicating the intent to initiate criminal prosecution under section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 in case of failure to act in controlling air pollution incidents,” it said.




US national’s death by Sentinelese tribe: 3 accused fishermen taken into police custody


US national’s death by Sentinelese tribe: 3 accused fishermen taken into police custody

Port Blair: Three of seven fishermen who were arrested earlier in the day in connection with the alleged killing of American Tourist John Allen Chau were taken into police custody here on Thursday. Police will interrogate the accused to investigate various aspects of the case including the sequence of events, the sea route followed for North Sentinal Island, the location where the victim landed and the place of incidence, the location where John Allen Chau was last seen.

Further, the personal journal of Chau will be analysed afresh accordingly. It will also be ascertained whether the victim had taken the help of the fishermen or others to venture to the North Sentinal Island on an earlier occasion. To make the picture clearer, one another police team is being sent to the North Sentinal Island waters.

As the case pertains to the ultra-sensitive tribal group-Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), the police are also taking help of Anthropologists, Academics, Forest department experts etc to guide and assist the police during the investigation of the case. The deceased was allegedly killed in North Sentinel Island of Andaman which is home to the Sentinelese, a native tribe which is completely against outsiders’ intervention in their life.

“On the basis of the information received by an email of the US Consulate, Chennai on 19 November, the Andaman and Nicobar police immediately lodged a missing report. The police have apprehended seven people who supported John Allen Chau and actively facilitated him to go to north Sentinelese Island,” said Andaman and Nicobar Director General of Police Deependra Pathak. Two cases have been registered in the connection.




Delhi: Man hangs self after shooting at girlfriend following an altercation


Delhi: Man hangs self after shooting at girlfriend following an altercation

Noida (UP): A 22-year-old man allegedly committed suicide on Thursday after shooting at his girlfriend following an altercation at a guest house here, police said. The woman, who survived the gunshot, was admitted to a hospital in Delhi where she is battling for life, they said.

The couple, who were studying together at a coaching institute in Ghaziabad, had come to the guest house in Sector 63 where they had booked a room, police said. The man, identified as Mohit, hailed from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh and was living in a rented accommodation in Ghaziabad, officials said. “The couple had arrived at the guest house in the morning and the incident took place after an altercation between them,” a police official said.

The woman was critically injured after Mohit shot at her from a pistol, which was recovered from the spot by the police, the official said, adding that the man later hung himself from the ceiling fan in the room. “The woman has been referred to Delhi for treatment, while the body of the man was sent for post-mortem,” the officer said. Police are investigating the matter for other details including how the man procured the pistol which was found from the guest house room, he said.




Rajasthan Elections 2018: BJP 11 rebel leaders for contesting against official party candidates in upcoming polls


Rajasthan Elections 2018: BJP 11 rebel leaders for contesting against official party candidates in upcoming polls

Jaipur (Rajasthan): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday expelled 11 rebel leaders from the primary membership of the party for six years. The action has been taken against these leaders for contesting against the official party candidates in the upcoming Rajasthan assembly elections.

Two leaders each have been expelled from Churu, Jaipur and Pali districts of the state. Whereas one leader each from Sri Ganganagar, Alwar, Bikaner, Banswara and Dungarpur has been expelled for fighting against party’s official candidate. After the announcement of the candidate list, many BJP leaders have shifted camps. On November 18, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sitting MLA from Ramgarh constituency Gyandev Ahuja had resigned from the party and later announced to contest as an independent candidate after the party declined to give him ticket.

Last Wednesday, former BJP legislator Habibur Rahaman Ashrafi Lamba joined the Congress party. Rahman had tendered his resignation on November 12 to state BJP chief Madan Lal Saini after he found his name was missing from the party’s first list. Rajasthan will go to polls on December 7, and results will be declared on December 11.




Vijay Mallya faces setback in case to save London home


Vijay Mallya faces setback in case to save London home

London: Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya on Wednesday faced a setback in his battle to save his posh London home from foreclosure by Swiss bank UBS after the UK High Court rejected many of the arguments relied on by his legal team.

The bank has sought repossession of the property at Cornwall Terrace, overlooking Regent’s Park in central London, over the non-payment of a 20.4-million pounds mortgage loan. The property was referred to in the UK High Court as a “high class home for Dr Vijay Mallya and his family members and United Breweries Group corporate guests”. While a trial in the case has been set for May next year, the High Court on Wednesday ruled on the UBS’ application to strike out parts of the defence and found substantially in favour of the bank.

“UBS is pleased with the decision. Given that proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” UBS said in a statement. In his judgment following a two-day hearing last month, Judge Chief Master Marsh concluded that he can see no basis upon which the defendants should be given an opportunity to amend their defence. “They have had an ample opportunity to explain their case in answers to UBS’ request for information. The case they put forward is not curable by simple amendments,” he said.

“The language of the contractual terms in this case could not be more stark. The loan was made on an uncommitted basis and repayable on demand,” the judgment notes. The judge also expressed his displeasure at the way Mallya’s defence team had conducted itself during the case, which meant avoidable delays for the court. There was a breakdown in the relationship between Mallya’s previous law firm, Blake Morgan LLP, “including in relation to fees”, which was one of the factors flagged by the court.

“I accept that the change of solicitors put the defendants’ legal team under considerable pressure. However, I am not satisfied that the defendants (Mallya) have shown a good reason for seeking an adjournment. It seems to me that the defendants are largely the authors of their current misfortune,” the judgment reads. The case relates to a mortgage taken out by Rose Capital Ventures, one of Mallya’s companies, with the 62-year-old businessman, his mother Lalitha and son Sidhartha, listed as having the right of occupancy on the property.

While Mallya’s team claims the bank had called in the loan ahead of an agreed period, the bank has claimed that it is within its rights to call in the mortgage for non-payment. The application relating to the judgment this week was filed by the bank to strike out claims that any rights to remain in the property by the defendants take priority over the mortgage before a full trial in May 2019. Meanwhile, Mallya remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard last year on fraud and money laundering charges brought by the Indian government, amounting to nearly Rs 9,000 crore.

A ruling in his extradition case is expected at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London next month. The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and establishing there are no bars to him being extradited to face Indian courts over the allegations relating to loans made out to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

In separate legal proceedings, the businessman had also lost his appeal in the UK’s Court of Appeal against a High Court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds. The High Court order, earlier this year, in favour of the State Bank of India (SBI) led consortium had reinforced a worldwide freezing order against Mallya’s assets.




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