|Modi denounces communalism, says his govt stands for all|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): Breaking his silence in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denounced communalism and asserted that his government stood for unity wherein all religions prosper within the framework of the Constitution.
"My government's only religion is 'India first', my government's only religious book is 'Indian Constitution', our only devotion is 'Bharat Bhakti' and our only prayer is 'welfare of all'," he said in Lok Sabha while replying to a debate on President's Address.
He declared that as the Prime Minister, it was his "responsibility" not to allow "anaap shanap (ridiculous) comments in the name of religion.
"Nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion... "No one has the right to take law into his hands," the Prime Minister said.
|43 fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Naval personnel|
|RAMESWARAM, Feb 27 (Agencies): As many as 43 Indian fishermen were today arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel while fishing in Nedunchivu and Mullaithivu areas off the island nation, officials said.
The naval personnel came there on being informed by Sri Lankan fishermen that two of them had been injured in a clash with the Indian fishermen, Joint Director of fisheries (Karaikal) Ilayaperumal, and Kennedy, 'Q' branch inspector of Ramanthapuram, said.
While the 43 fishermen and their six boats were taken to Karainagar naval camp, the injured Sri Lankan fishermen were taken to Jaffna, they said....|
|Make law to 'break hands and legs of rapists', demands MP|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): A Rajya Sabha MP today demanded that Parliament should enact a law to "break the hands and legs of rapists" as he expressed concern over the growing number of rapes and incidents of women atrocities.
Expressing concern over the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in Lonavala, Ramdas Athawale (RPI-A) expressed anguish over rapes of girls aged 3-7 years and said a law should be made under which the hands and legs of perpetrators of such crimes should be broken.
"Hands and legs of the males who commit rapes should be broken. A law for this should be enacted in this House," Athawale said.
He said while there is punitive provision including of hanging in cases like Lonavala, the other law is also needed.
The Rajya Sabha MP also suggested that physical rel...|
|Air pollution levels in Delhi 9 times that of WHO limit|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): Amid growing concerns over deteriorating air quality in the capital, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has said that air quality in Delhi is seriously violative of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
CPCB stated before the National Green Tribunal that Delhiites are inhaling highly contaminated air in comparison to neighbouring places like Faridabad, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad.
A CPCB survey, which covered 16 cities in NCR and spanned over a period of 68 days from December 5, 2014 to February 10, 2015, stated that Delhi tops the list in terms of highest levels of nitrogen dioxide, benzene, and carbon monoxide.
"During the total monitoring period for nitrogen dioxide, it was observed that Delhi exceeds the NAAQS... While the remaining cities are ...|
|No case of Ebola identified in the country: Nadda|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): No case of Ebola has been identified in the country and an integrated disease surveillance project is tracking the passengers who arrive India from affected countries, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda said there is screening of passengers from affected West African countries at seven international airports and nine major ports. Special Health Units are functioning at these airports and are manned by trained medical and paramedical staff.
"The Integrated Disease Surveillance Project is tracking such passengers who arrived from affected countries and have a history of contact with a suspect of confirmed Ebola case," he said.
Nadda said an Indian travelling from Liberia who had undergone treatment for Ebola in that country and...|
|42 crashes, 42 lives lost since 2011 in Indian military|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): As many as 42 military aircraft and helicopters have crashed since 2011 in which as many lives were lost, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said today.
Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said 28 defence aircraft including 14 MIG fighter jets have crashed while 14 helicopters were lost in accidents since 2011.
"42 lives were lost in thse accidents. The loss in terms of value of aircraft and service property in respect of 26 accidents assessed so far is estimated at Rs 1127.37 crore," Parrikar said.
He said the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in August last year had decided to meet army and IAF's requirement of helicopters by procuring the ones required immediately and go for domestic manufacturing as well.
Russian-made MIG-21 and MIG-27s were ba...|
|Gujarat govt accepts resignation of IPS officer Rahul Sharma|
|AHMEDABAD, Feb 27 (Agencies): The Gujarat government today accepted the resignation of IPS officer Rahul Sharma, who had taken on the then state administration over the 2002 communal riots.
Sharma had applied for early retirement during November last year and gave three months notice, which ends tommrrow.
"We have decided to accept Sharma's resignation. He will be relieved from his duties from February 28, which is the last date as per his three months notice," state Home Secretary G R Aloria said.
Sharma is a 1992 batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer and currently serving as the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Armed Units at Vadodara. He has openly taken on the Gujarat government over the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
Sharma had submitted a CD carrying call data records of the important state...|
|Sena slams Prabhu for depriving Maharashtra in railway budget|
|MUMBAI, Feb 27 (Agencies): A day after Suresh Prabhu presented the Railway budget, a disappointed Shiv Sena today said barring a few announcements Maharashtra has not received any "long-term benevolence" from the Centre and that much more was expected from the BJP leader.
"A lot more was expected out of Suresh Prabhu as he is a leader from the Konkan region of Maharashtra. There is nothing extraordinary about it. Except the Wardha-Nagpur third line, Pune-Nashik railway line and the Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli- Baijnath line, the minister has not bestowed any long-term benevolence on the state," the Sena said in an edit in its mouthpiece Saamana.
There were no special announcements for the Konkan region as well, except his promise of providing livelihood to 50,000 people of the region through ...|
|37 elephants, wild animals fell victim to speeding trains|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): As many as 37 elephants and wild animals have come under speeding trains since 2013, the Rajya Sabha was told today.
While 26 animals were victims of such mishaps in 2013, the figure was nine last year and two till February this year, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, he said several proposals have been mooted to check such accidents.
They include use of modern wireless animal tracking device to track the movement of elephants and satellite space navigation system to pre-warn drivers and battlefield surveillance radar system to avoid accidents.
He also mentioned about the measures highlighted by the Supreme Court to check mishaps on rail tracks, which include identification of paths and corridors taken by ...|
|UGC to review syllabus of defence and strategic studies|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): The UGC has set up an expert committee to review the existing syllabus of defence and strategic studies in the country, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Lok Sabha today.
In a written reply, he said that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) collaborates with various universities and academia to impart specialised education in the field of defence and strategic studies to provide skilled manpower to domestic defence industries in the country.
"University Grants Commission (UGC) has set up an Expert Committee to review the existing syllabus of defence and strategic studies at Under Graduate/Post Graduate and M. Phil./Ph.D. Levels," he said.
UGC has also decided to support the upgrading of the department of defence and strategic ...|
|SC defers hearing petition for removal of PP in Jaya's DA case|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 27 (Agencies): Supreme Court today deferred to March 9 the hearing on the plea by DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking stay on proceedings before the Karnataka High Court on an appeal filed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa against her conviction in a assets case.
"We have not gone through the petition," a bench comprising justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and R K Agarwal said while adjourning the matter.
"We are not making any comment," the bench said. The bench deferred the hearing as the matter was allocated to it this morning only....|
|FinCom recommendations 'loss' for Bihar: Nitish to PM|
|PATNA, Feb 27 (Agencies): Describing recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission as "regressive" for resource-hit states like Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today send a protest letter and sought special arrangements for the state against the expected loss.
"I urge you to make special arrangements for expected loss to a poor state like Bihar after implementation of 14th Finance Commission recommendations to ensure increase in plan expenditure," Kumar said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Kumar, who had a brief interaction with the PM at the wedding of daughter of RJD President Lalu Prasad at Delhi last night, told reporters at Patna Airport that the occasion did not permit him to talk on such a sensitive matter with him.
He, however, said he had a meeting with Unio...|
|Rail Budget futuristic and passenger centric: Modi|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 26 (AgenciesZ): Hailing the Rail Budget as "futuristic" and "passenger-centric", Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it touches all aspects of development and lays out a clear roadmap to make the national transporter the key driver of the country's economic growth.
He said the budget is a watershed moment for the railways, marking a paradigm shift from mere announcement of number of trains to a comprehensive railway reform.
Modi highlighted that without raising the passenger fare, the government has earmarked Rs 8 lakh crore for development and modernisation of the railways.
"RailBudget2015 is a forward looking, futuristic & passenger-centric budget, combining a clear vision & a definite plan to achieve it," Modi tweeted.
"I am particularly delighted that for the 1s...|
|Smooth ride for Suresh Prabhu and his maiden Rail Budget|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 26 (Agencies): Suresh Prabhu's maiden Railway Budget presentation, peppered with personal references and quotes, turned out to be a smooth affair even as possibly for the first time, no new trains were announced today.
In a reflection of the challenging tasks before him, the Minister remarked, "Hey Prabhu, ye kaise hoga? (Oh God, how can this be done?)," while spelling out his long term vision for transforming the railways.
Without leaving any room for doubt, the Minister was quick to complete his remarks saying that large resources and strong political will ensure "re-birth of the railways", evoking peals of laughter across the House.
In yet another achievement of sorts, Prabhu did not encounter any major disruption from opposition during his speech.
Only when he urged...|
|Best Railway Budget in 2 decades: Lok Satta|
|HYDERABAD, Feb 26 (Agencies): Bureaucrat-turned-politician and Lok Satta Party founder Jayaprakash Narayan today hailed the 2015-16 Railway Budget as the best railway budget in the past 20-25 years.
"In contrast to the traditional political practice of announcing new trains and hundreds of projects that would be held up for lack of funds, the Railway Budget presented in Lok Sabha today was prepared with a long term perspective and strategy," Narayan said in a statement here.
"The budget has rightly identified that the government resources are limited and it came up with a strategy to use the strengths of railway for the country's long term interest," he said.
The Railway Minister made an effort to involve state governments, cities and private sector in the endeavour, he said.
|Govt serious in dealing with Swine Flu situation: Nadda|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 26 (Agencies): Even as 926 people have perished to swine flu and over 16,000 are affected, government today asserted that it is "very serious" on combating the challenge and asked people not to panic but be alert as necessary arrangements are in place to deal with the situation.
Health Minister J P Nadda also termed the recent imposition of prohibitory orders disallowing gatherings in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat to prevent swine flu as a "precautionary" measure and a "strategy to control."
"The government is very serious on the issue. It is taking all precautionary measures and trying to control it. We are doing whatever we can do to the best of our ability.
"We are supporting the state government. H1N1 virus is very much in the environment. What we have to do is to ta...|
|Rail Budget to improve passenger amenities: Labour Minister|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 26 (Agencies): Hailing the Rail Budget as "progressive and well thought out", Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today said it would improve amenities and infrastructure without burning a hole in passgengers' pockets.
"This is a progressive and well thought out Rail Budget, without increasing the passenger fare. Moreover, there is an increase of 64 per cent (in spending) on passenger amenities," he told reporters in a press conference here.
He said the budget is reformist, development-oriented and gives direction to development over the next five years.
The minister said the proposal to raise electrification target by 133 per cent to 6,608 km would help Railways in improving efficiency.
He further said the move to eliminate 3,438 level crossings at a cost of Rs 6,581 c...|
|Air India plane from Delhi suffers tyre burst while landing|
|KOCHI, Feb 26 (Agencies): In a narrow escape for over 170 people on board an Air India flight from Delhi, a rear tyre of the aircraft burst as it landed at the Nedumbassery airport here today.
All the 161 passengers and 12 crew members of flight AI467 have safely disembarked, airport sources said.
As the plane landed at 9.10am, smoke was noticed and further examination revealed that the rear inner tyre had burst, the sources told agencies.
Technicians from Bengaluru have arrived at the airport and the flight is being examined.
The onward journey of the flight to Sharjah with 138 passengers scheduled at 10.20am was delayed due to the incident, the sources said....|
|BJP foils Sena's move for rooftop restaurants in Mumbai|
|MUMBAI, Feb 26 (Agencies): In an indication of growing rift with Shiv Sena, the BJP has shot down the ruling partner's move to allow rooftop restaurants in the city.
At a meeting of Improvements Committee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) here yesterday, the BJP voted against the new rooftop restaurants policy proposed by the Shiv Sena.
Members of BJP along with those of Opposition opposed the policy to allow restaurants to serve food and liquor and host parties on their terraces.
The policy was rejected by the committee after finding support only from the Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party members.
The BJP, which is part of the ruling alliance in BMC and also the state ministry, had earlier deferred the proposal twice, saying the concept was against 'Mumbai's culture'.
|Oppn forces LS adjournment over Naidu's 'insulting' comments|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 26 (Agencies): A united Opposition today stalled proceedings of the Lok Sabha seeking an apology from Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu for his remarks made yesterday, forcing him to say he did not intend to hurt their sentiments.
Not satisfied with his reaction, Opposition members trooped into the Well forcing a brief adjournment. When the House reassembled, similar scenes were observed which forced the second adjournment in the first hour itself. The matter was put to rest thereafter and the Question Hour continued for about ten minutes.
As soon as the House met for the day, Naidu, aware of the Opposition anguish over his remarks yesterday, rose to make a suo motu statement.
He said he respected all parties and leaders and he had not used any unparliament...|
|Will oppose Land Acquisition Bill at any cost: Shiv Sena|
|MUMBAI, Feb 26 (Agencies): Stepping up its resistance against the land acquisition law, the Shiv Sena today said it will fiercely oppose the bill and not commit the sin of "damaging" the interest of farmers at the cost of being in power.
Calling it as a "draconian" law that will finish off the very existence of farmers, the BJP-ally in Maharashtra said the Government cannot budge an inch forward by "insulting" the struggle of farmers assembled at Jantar Mantar in Delhi under activist Anna Hazare's leadership.
"The government has shocked everyone by bringing in the ordinance. Will oppose the (land acquisition) bill at any cost," Sena said in a editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna.
Charging that the government was helping corporates acquire land of farmers, it said questions are bein...|
|Chhattisgarh govt order allowing staff to join RSS sparks a row|
|RAIPUR, Feb 26 (Agencies): Chhattisgarh government has kicked up a controversy with a notification that allows its employees to join RSS and attend "shakhas", evoking sharp criticism from the Congress which today demanded its immediate withdrawal.
The BJP-ruled state revoked the ban which was imposed during undivided Madhya Pradesh, barring government employees from participating in RSS' activities, Special Secretary, General Administration Department, DD Singh said.
The order in this connection was issued by the department on February 23. It said, "as far as Rule 5(1) of Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1965 is concerned, its restriction does not apply to RSS".
Slamming the Government decision, Congress said, "This is a blatantly illegal order. RSS is clearly a political or...|
|Action will be taken against dance bars: Goa CM|
|PANAJI, Feb 26 (Agencies): Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar today said appropriate action will be taken against those involved in running dance bars and alleged prostitution in the coastal belt.
"I have received reports about what has been happening in the coastal belt. I have initiated appropriate action in the matter," Parsekar, told PTI on the sidelines of two-day long 'Science Fiesta' programme.
Last week, a group of protesters, purportedly led by BJP MLA Michael Lobo had demolished two structures at two separate bars in the Calangute-Baga belt, claiming that it housed dance bars.
Lobo, had also sat on one-day long hunger strike on February 23, demanding action against prostitution activities running illegally in the belt.
Parsekar said appropriate action would be taken to ch...|
|Parliament Panel rejects proposal to try Juveniles as adults|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 26 (Agencies): A parliamentary committee today rejected the government's proposal to try as adults juveniles between 16 and 18 years involved in heinous cases such as rape, saying the move is "in conflict with law" and should be "reviewed".
Giving its observation on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD said children below 18 years are amenable and should be treated in the same manner and "differential treatment" for children above 16 years of age "should not arise".
The report of the committee comprising J P Nadda and Satyanarayan Jatiya was submitted in Parliament today.
The comprehensive bill to tackle increasing crimes committed by youngsters aged between 16-18 years like the Delhi gangrape case...|
|Govt trying to 'mislead' people on Land Act: Hazare|
|NEW DELHI, Feb 25 (Agencies): Social activist Anna Hazare, who is spearheading agitation against amendments in the Land Acquisition Act, today rubbished Government's claim that these were more "effective" and "farmer-friendly", saying it was trying to mislead the people.
Hazare said the BJP government has misled people on several fronts including the black money issue and decentralisation of power, while asking for votes in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
The Gandhian activist threatened to go ahead with a nation-wide 'jail bharo andolan' if the government does not pay heed to the demands.
He added that the earlier UPA government was brought down by the anti-corruption agitation led by him and also claimed to have taken "6 wickets", an apparent reference to six Cabinet ministers...|