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Farmers observe Bharat Bandh in protest against agriculture bills; cops in Punjab, Haryana on standby


Amid the protests, the Railways has partially cancelled 20 trains and short-terminated five trains till September 26.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union and several other organizations on Friday will hold nationwide demonstration and chakkajam against three contentious farm legislations which were passed in the Parliament earlier this week.

In Punjab, the state which has Agriculture as primary business, the farmer unions began a three-day ‘rail roko’ protest at six different locations in the state.

Amid the protests, the Railways has partially cancelled 20 trains and short-terminated five trains till September 26.

In Haryana, the farmers groups have urged residents to observe a bandh from 10 am to 4 pm today. However, the protesters have decided that the National Highways will be exempted from the bandh call.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni urged commission agents at mandis and traders to close their shops on Friday.

“There is a warm response to our stir in Haryana. There should be complete chakka jam on Friday. People’s support is must for the same. There should be no vehicles on roads during the bandh call,” claimed Chaduni, reported Indian Express.

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had yesterday, in view of the Bharat Bandh call by farmer groups against recent legislations, held a meeting with senior officers of Home and Police Department to review the entire situation in the state.

To mark the protest, the farmers, under the banner of Bharatiya Kisan Union and Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI), blocked the Amritsar-Delhi national highway near Phillaur in Jalandhar.

As many as 31 farmer organisations have also announced an indefinite ‘rail roko’ agitation from October 1.

In Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav drives a tractor, as he takes part in the protest against the farm bills passed in the Parliament.

“Government has made our ‘anndaata’ a puppet through its ‘fund daata’. Farm bills are anti-farmer and have left them dejected. They had said that they’ll double farmers’ income by 2022 but these Bills will make them poorer. Agriculture sector has been corporatized,” Tejashwi Yadav said while speaking to ANI.

In Karnataka, Members of Karnataka State Farmers’ Association hold protest near Bommanahalli on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu highway.

Police personnel deployed in the area to ensure law and order is maintained and COVID safety norms are followed during protest.




Before de-escalation, China wants India to vacate strategic heights in Pangong Lake


China first wants to resolve the mentions at the south bank of Pangong Lake where India is in a strategically strengthened position, but India wants a roadmap to de drawn out for de-escalation on all along the  LAC.

Ahead of the disengagement talks, China wants India to vacate strategic heights on the south bank of Pangong Lake on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), sources at Indian Army said.

In the Corps-Commander level talks for disengagement in the eastern Ladakh region which has seen built up by both sides for the past four months, China is adamant on not proceeding the disengagement talks till India vacates the strategic positions.

China first wants to resolve the mentions at the south bank of Pangong Lake where India is in a strategically strengthened position, but India wants a roadmap to de drawn out for de-escalation on all along the  LAC.

India during the commander level talks has stated that all friction points including Depsang should be discussed for de-escalation along LAC.

“Why should discussions be restricted to one or two places when there is a massive build-up all across the LAC,” a top Indian Army officer said to IANS.

India has taken control of Rechin La, Rezang La, and Mukpari on the south bank of the Pangong Lake which were unmanned till date. This move allows India to dominate the Spangur Gap under Chinese control and also the Moldo garrison on the Chinese side which has irked the China.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops have thus made multiple attempts to dislodge Indian troops that has lead to warning gunshots being fired. China has also armed its troops with medical weapons.

The Indian Army after these attempts had asked its commanders on the ground to take the decision on whether to use arms if their troops face a life-threatening situation and the same has been communicated to China.

India army has also put barbed wire along LAC to prevent any intrusion attempts by Chinese troops.

Senior commanders of India and China  held the 6th round of Military Commander-Level Meeting on September 21.

A statement by the Indian Army stated: “The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on stabilising the situation along the LAC in the India-China border areas,”

The statement further said, “They agreed to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgements, stop sending more troops to the front line, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground, and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation.”




Centre violated law, used funds for GST compensation elsewhere: CAG


This led to an overstatement of revenue receipts and understatement of fiscal deficit for the year.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in a report has said that the government has violated the law by retaining Rs 47,272 crore of GST compensation cess in the CFI during 2017-18 and 2018-19, and used the money for other purposes.

This led to an overstatement of revenue receipts and understatement of fiscal deficit for the year.

However, last week, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has told the Parliament that there was no provision in the law to compensate states for loss of GST revenue out of the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).

“Audit examination of information in Statements 8, 9 and 13 with regard to collection of the cess and its transfer to the GST Compensation Cess Fund, shows that there was short crediting to the Fund of the GST Compensation Cess collections totalling to Rs 47,272 crore during 2017-18 and 2018-19,” the CAG said.

“The short-crediting was a violation of the GST Compensation Cess Act, 2017,” it added.

“The amount by which the cess was short credited was also retained in the CFI and became available for use for purposes other than what was provided in the act,” CAG said.

“Short crediting of cess collected during the year led to an overstatement of revenue receipts and understatement of fiscal deficit for the year,” it added.

According to the GST Compensation Cess Act, the entire cess collected during a year is required to be credited to a non-lapsable fund — GST compensation cess fund.

This fund is a part of the Public Account, and is meant to be used specifically to compensate states for loss of revenue.

“From the Fund it paid out Rs 69,275 crore (inclusive of an opening balance of Rs 15,000 crore in the Fund) as compensation to the States/ UT. This resulted in savings of Rs 35,725 crore on account of short transfer to the Fund and of Rs 20,725 crore on account of payment of compensation to the States/ UTs as against BEs of Rs 90,000 crore each for transfer and payment of compensation,” the CAG said.




India’s Covid tally crosses 58-lakh mark; country records highest single-day tests


India which remains the second worst affected nation by the pandemic, total coronavirus cases now stands at 58,18,570, out of which 9,70,116 are active Covid-19 cases, which account for 16.67 per cent of all cases.

India has recorded 86,052 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. With this, the country total tally of Covid-19 cases has crossed the 58 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health.

India which remains the second worst affected nation by the pandemic, total coronavirus cases now stands at 58,18,570, out of which 9,70,116 are active Covid-19 cases, which account for 16.67 per cent of all cases.

The country has recorded 1,141 fatalities, taking the total death toll to 92,290. The fatality rate of India stands at 1.59 per cent.

In the last 24 hours, more than 80,000 patients have recovered from Covid-19. India which leads the world in Covid-19 recoveries, with a recovery rate  of 81.74 per cent. India’ total Covid-19 recoveries now stands at 47,56,164 cases.

Around 74 per cent of the total new Covid-19 cases are concentrated in ten states and union territories, with  Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka reporting the higher number of coronavirus cases and recoveries also, according to data by Ministry of Health.

Maharastra which remains the worst affected state has with 12,82,963 coronavirus cases and 34,345 fatalities recorded till date.

Delhi’s total coronavirus case load stands at 2,60,623 Covid-19 cases. Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that the national capital was witnessing the second wave of coronavirus and has now turned the corner.

India has also recorded its highest number of testing on 24 September with 14,92,409  Covid-19 tests conducted in a single day, taking the total tally of Covid-19 tests conducted to 6,89,28,440.




Congress leader Salman Khurshid named in police chargesheet in connection with Delhi riots case


He has been booked in the case for giving ‘provocative speeches’ resulting in violence in the national capital.

The Delhi Police in its fresh chargesheet has named Congress leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid in the Delhi riots case which was induced due to CAA/NRC.

He has been booked in the case for giving ‘provocative speeches’ resulting in violence in the national capital.

“Umar Khalid, Salman Khurshid, Nadeem Khan they all used to give provocative speeches (at anti-CAA/NRC sit-ins in Delhi) and people used to get mobilized,” the witnesses said.

The Delhi Police have filed the 17,000 pages chargesheet on September 17.

However, the exact nature of the provocative speech was not mentioned in the chargesheet filed by the police.

“If you do garbage collection, you get a lot of filth. Any garbage can be put to support statements made by individuals. I would be intrigued to know what is a provocative statement,” NDTV quoted Congress leader as saying.

“Did I attend a protest to sing a lullaby or support a constitutional, legitimate cause. (This is) an attempt at garbage collection. Sadly, the garbage collectors are not doing a good job. Don’t pick up garbage and ask questions on the quality of garbage,” he added.

“Has (the witness) not lied by saying I made provocative statements. Have the police acted on the statement? If they have not acted on it what is the value of the statement,” Congress leader added.

In its earlier chargesheet filed over the investigations in the Delhi violence, the Delhi Police said the conspiracy was plotted right after the 2019 parliamentary elections.

“From the day that the results of the 2019 Parliamentary elections were declared, the tone and tenor of the public utterances of the key conspirators of the present case have shown a clear streak of affinity towards violence which had started playing out in their minds,” it said.

Police have filed a 2,695-page “final report” in the chargesheet filed against 15 people under the stringent UAPA in a case of alleged conspiracy related to the February riots in Northeast Delhi.




Dassault aviation has not made good on its offset obligation to DRDO on Rafale deal: CAG


As per the offset policy, a certain percentage of the deal value with foreign firms should flow into India as foreign direct investment.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on India in a report tabled in parliament criticised the Defence Ministry’s policy for offsets and said that the French firm Dassault aviation has so far not made good on its offset obligation to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

As per the offset policy, a certain percentage of the deal value with foreign firms should flow into India as foreign direct investment. This in-flow of funds would include technology transfer, local manufacturing of advanced components and creating jobs.

“In the offset of four contracts relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), the vendors Dassault Aviation and MBDA initially proposed (September 2015) to discharge 30 per cent of their offset obligation by offering high technology to DRDO,” the Comptroller and Auditor General or CAG said in the report tabled in parliament, referring to the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

“DRDO wanted to obtain technical assistance for indigenous development of engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft. Till date the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology,” the CAG said. The policy of offsets has “not yielded the desired result,” the top auditor said.

“The (Defence) Ministry needs to review the policy and its implementation. It needs to identify the constraints faced by the foreign suppliers as well as the Indian industry in leveraging the offsets, and find solutions to overcome these constraints,” the report said.

The Indian Air Force has inducted the Rafale aircraft on 10 September at Air Force Station, Ambala. The aircraft will be part of 17 Squadron, the “Golden Arrows”.

The DRDO has been involved since the project began over three decades ago.

During the Rafale negotiations, France agreed to help India work on an upgraded Kaveri engine. It promised to achieve with better thrust that can potentially replace the American engine.




India’s coronavirus tally crosses 57-lakh mark, death toll over 91,000


With a fresh spike of 86,508 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, India has crossed the 57 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health on Thursday.

India, which continues to remain the second-worst affected country’s total Covid-19 caseload now stands at 57,32,518 out of which 9,66,382 are active coronavirus cases which account for 16.85 per cent of all cases.

With 87,374 patients that have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the recoveries continue to remain more than the number of new coronavirus infections for the fifth consecutive day, according to data by Ministry of Health.

With a recovery rate  of 81.6 per cent, India total Covid-19 recoveries now stands at 46,74,987 cases.

The country has also recorded 1,129 fatalities in the last 24 hours taking the total fatalities due to Covid-19  to 91,149. The fatality rate in the country is at 1.59 per cent.

Maharashtra remains the worst affected state in the country, with 12,63,799 coronavirus cases and 33,886 fatalities recorded till date. Maharastra is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh that remain the most affected states by the pandemic.

Delhi’s total coronavirus case load after daily spike of 3,714 cases now stands at 2,56,789 Covid-19 cases.

India has conducted a total of 11,56,569 tests, taking the total tally of Covid-19 tests conducted to 6,74,36,031.




‘I accept my mistake, express regret’: MP Home Minister apologises for ‘I don’t wear a mask’ comment


‘It wasn’t in line with the sentiment of the Prime Minister. I accept my mistake and express regret. I’ll wear a mask,’ he said.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Thursday took back his statement on the ‘I don’t wear a mask’ comment which he made yesterday by saying that he regretted making the remark.

Taking it to twitter the minister said in the morning, “My statement on not wearing a mask appears to be a violation of law. It wasn’t in line with sentiment of the Prime Minister. I accept my mistake and express regret. I’ll wear a mask. I also appeal to everyone to wear mask and observe social distancing.”


Yesterday, the BJP leader had told the reporters that “I don’t wear a mask in any programme. Isme kya hota hai?”

On his remarks, Congress in MP had launched an attack on social media.

Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesman Narendra Saluja in a tweet in Hindi said, “The state’s Home Minister has given an open challenge to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Is there anyone who has the courage to take action against him (Mr Mishra). Are rules only for common people?”

Amid the surge in coronavirus cases in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has regularly emphasised on wearing mask, especially when at public places.

Coronavirus cases in India have crossed the 57 lakh toll with over 90,000 patients have died so far.




Massive fire breaks out at ONGC plant in Gujarat, no casualty reported; PM Modi monitoring rescue ops


As per the reports, the fire was reportedly caused by a rupture in the 36-inch Uran-Mumbai gas pipeline.

In the wee hours of Thursday, a massive fire broke out at an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) gas processing plant in Gujarat and has been brought under control, the company said.

“There is no casualty or injury to any person,” ONGC said in a tweet.


As per the reports, the fire was reportedly caused by a rupture in the 36-inch Uran-Mumbai gas pipeline.

All terminals have been closed down as a precautionary measure.

“Around 3:05 am last night, three consecutive blasts took place at the ONGC Hazira plant which led to the fire. Seven fire tenders and several firefighters immediately reached the spot to provide relief. No casualties have been reported so far,” Surat Collector Dhaval Patel was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“We are relieved that the fire was contained inside the premises of the plant and did not escalate to an off-site emergency,” he added.

CR Patil, the BJP state President of Gujarat in a tweet said, “A blast occurred in Hazira plant of ONGC in Gujarat this morning. Due to the blast, people are in fear.”

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in continuous touch through telephone to take update regarding the matter and also directed quick action in the incident,” he said.


“The fire is under control and the rescue work  in under way at the spot,” he said.

“Fire at Hazira Plant has been completely extinguished. Efforts are being made to resume normal operations at the earliest: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) Three consecutive blasts took place at around 3 am today, at ONGC Hazira Plant which had led to the fire,” ONGC said later.




Rajya Sabha passes FCRA Bill amid opposition boycott


Earlier, it was restricted to Legislators, election candidates, journalists, print and broadcast media, judges, government servants or employees of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the government.

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill sans opposition making Aadhaar mandatory for registration of organisations receiving foreign funds, and also to give the government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, which seeks an amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

“The Bill ensures that the NGO has to open mandatory an account in the SBI FCRA branch to receive funds and then one more account to another bank of choice, for this they don’t have to travel to Delhi but the nearest SBI account will facilitate the opening of account in New Delhi,” said Minister of State of Home Nityanand Rai.

It has also sought to prohibit any transfer of foreign contribution to any other association or person. Amendment of section 17 of the Act has sought to provide that every person who has been granted a certificate or prior permission under section 12 shall receive foreign contribution only in an account designated as ‘FCRA Account’.

There was a need to streamline the provisions of the earlier Act by strengthening the compliance mechanism, enhancing transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contribution worth thousands of crores of rupees every year and facilitating genuine non-governmental organisations or associations who are working for the welfare of the society.

He gave an example of the amendment made in 2010 when administrative expenses were reduced to 50 per cent, then also a demand was made to reduce it up to 10 per cent. He said P. Chidambaram had then mentioned that 10,000 crore of the foreign contribution is not even audited.

The Minister said the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 was enacted to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest.

Criminal investigations also had to be initiated against dozens of such non-governmental organisations which indulged in outright misappropriation or mis-utilisation of foreign contribution, he said. Seeking to amend clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Act, the government has proposed to include “public servants” within its ambit, to provide that no foreign contribution shall be accepted by them.

Earlier, it was restricted to Legislators, election candidates, journalists, print and broadcast media, judges, government servants or employees of any corporation or any other body controlled or owned by the government.





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