As the nation prepares to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the government has said it would offer Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the 3,325 victims. This amount would be additional to whatever compensations they have received so far. The Union Home Ministry has also approved a proposal to substantially increase compensations to civilians falling victim to communal, Maoist or terrorist violence from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Compensation to the anti-Sikh riot victims, which would cost the exchequer an additional Rs 166.25 crore, will be dispersed soon. The riots were triggered after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh guards. The decision to disperse additional compensation follows petitions by several Sikh organisations to the NDA government. The previous UPA government announced an Rs 717 crore package for the Sikh victims, including financial compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh to the next of kin of those killed, but it could only spend Rs 517 crore due to dispute over claimants. Home Minister Rajnath Singh also decided to increase compensation for victims of communal, Maoist and terrorist violence at a high-level meeting where the issue came up. Till now the next of kin of persons killed or civilians who suffered permanent incapacitation as a result of violence were paid Rs 3,00,000 as per provisions of the Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist/Communal/Naxal violence since 2008, an official statement said.Families of victims are eligible for the assistance irrespective of previous compensations. Official figures reveal that the government had dispersed Rs 6.12 crore as compensation to civilian victims in 204 incidents of terrorist, communal and naxal violence in 2011-12 and Rs 3.99 crore in 133 incidents in 2012-13.However, no compensations could be given in 2013-14 and 2014-15 (till July) since state governments have not mooted the proposals.
Following the public outcry near MM Hills in Chamarajangar district over the death of 40-year old poacher A Palani last week, forest and police officers of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will meet within 10 days to solve issues related to poaching in the border areas, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra has said. Speaking on the sidelines of the 60th Wildlife Week Valedictory Function, 2014, organised by the Karnataka Forest Department on Thursday, Luthra said, It has been confirmed that Palani was a poacher and hence was shot dead. The operation was carried out with the help of police from both the states. While Tamil Nadu officials are helping us, there are some elements who are instigating the local people. Hence, to ensure that the situation does not escalate, the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) has been deployed and special drives are being conducted. The meeting will ensure better co-ordination in border areas. The Wildlife Week celebrations, that began on October 2 with a nature conservation walk from Cubbon Park to Lalbagh here, concluded on Thursday. During this period, seminars, photography, essay writing, drawing and painting competitions, among others, were held. A book entitled, 'Born in Bandipur', was also released. Besides, a letter of Income Tax exemption for nature conservation under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, was handed over to the director of Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve, Srinivasulu. Twenty-one school and college students who had taken part in drawing and essay competitions were awarded with certificates and cash prizes. Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, B Ramanath Rai, said the fact that more girls had won the prizes showed they had more understanding and concern about wildlife and environment. According to him, Karnataka has more tiger and elephant population than others states, but more needs to be done to conserve wildlife. A meeting in this regard will be held soon, he added. Additional Chief Secretary, Forest, Environment and Ecology, M Madan Gopal, said that mere laws and rules on conservation would not help. More practical and social solutions are needed as conflicts are inevitable, he added.
Eminent scholar Lokesh Chandra has been appointed as the new president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations.Chandra, who was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2006, succeeded Karan Singh, a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha (RS), who demitted office of the ICCR president on August 18.An official press release said that Chandra had been appointed by President Pranab Mukherjee as the 17th chief of ICCR from October 27 for a period of three years.Chandra, a former RS member, is currently Director of International Academy of Indian Culture, a premier institution for research on Asian cultures.He has held several prestigious positions in the past, including chairman of Indian Council for Historical Research and vice president of the ICCR. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1974 to 1986.Chandra, now 87, has to his credit over 596 works and text editions, including classics like Tibetan Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Iconography of Tibet, and his Dictionary of Buddhist Art in about 20 volumes. He has travelled widely all over Europe, Asia and Russia.
Five Indian fishermen were given death penalty by a Sri Lankan court on Thursday for alleged drug trafficking, invoking a sharp reaction from India which took up the matter with Sri Lanka and said it would appeal to a higher court against the judgment.The five Indians - Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet -were among a group of eight people sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court. The other three were Sri Lankan nationals.The eight were apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy near Delft Island on the Palk Strait on November 28, 2011. They were accused of narcotics smuggling.Sri Lankan Navy claimed that the group of drug smugglers had pretended to be fishermen, when they were caught and handed over to police.The Tamil Nadu fishermen, however, claimed innocence right from the beginning of the trial. The Government of India through the High Commission of India, Colombo and the Consulate General of India, Jaffna has been extending all possible consular assistance to them, the MEA spokesperson said. After the Colombo High Court verdict, New Delhi asked the Indian High Commission in Colombo to help them appeal against the verdict in a higher court there.India also took up the issue with the Sri Lankan government through diplomatic channels, both in New Delhi and Colombo.Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said the government was committed to helping the TN fishermen.He said India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Yash Sinha, was in touch with the island nation's Foreign Minister G L Peiris after the court pronounced its judgment.The High Commission is in touch with the lawyers of the TN fishermen and they will appeal to the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka within the next 14 days. The arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly fishing in the territorial waters of the island nation has been an emotive and politically sensitive issue in the Southern Indian state, where all the political parties have been blaming the Union Government for not doing enough to resolve the issue.
The Rajyotsava award winners are: Mudnakudu B Chinnaswamy, H Girijamma, G H Hanneradu Math, Vishnu G Bandari (literature); Kanti Hanumantharayaru, Abdul Sahab Annegeri, T Nanjundaswamy, J Lokesh, Shivakumari (theatre); V Mani, D Kumara Das, S Shankar, Indu Vishwanath, Pankaja Ramakrishna (dance and music); S Yogalingam, Maruthi Hanamanth Bhajantri, Poojari Nagaraj, Lakshmibai Reval, Chikkamariyappa (folklore); Vanase Narayan Ganiga, Sampaji Seenappa Rai, Bheemappa Doddabalappa Shillekyata, Basappa Dudalappa Salala (yakshagana/bayalata); Gururaj Hebbar, Dr P J Jacob, N Venkatesh, Hanumanth Bommegouda, Leela Sampige (social service); Ankegowda, Dadapeer Panjarla, Kanchyani Sharanappa (personalities); Vyjyanath Biradar Patil, R T Rama, M S Rajashekar (cinema); Chandrashekar Y Shilpi, Y Yankappa, Lakshmi Ramappa, Kasim Kansavi (fine arts/sculpture); D A Choudappa, Shivananda Kalave, Keeranageri Jagadish, Asha Sheshadri (agriculture/environment); Khadri S Achyuthan, Abdul Hafeez, Lakshmana Kodase, M B Desai, Sandya Satish Pai (media); Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Shanti Kuteera (organisations/associations); Jaya Suvarna (non-resident Kannadigas); Dr B N Suresh (science/technology); Dr Sathish Chandra P (medicine); Mamatha Poojari, Vilas Neelagunda (sports).
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday directed the Water Resources department to prepare an action plan for reviving the Command Area Development Authority (CADA), the Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) and the Karnataka Engineering Research Station (KERS). Water Resources Minister M B Patil told reporters that the action plan will be prepared based on recommendations of the study report compiled by the department. Two teams of department officials recently visited Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, where CADA and WALMI are functioning effectively.Speaking to reporters after submitting the department's study report to the Chief Minister at his home office, he said that the department has made about 40 recommendations for reviving these agencies.
Minutes after a Sri Lankan court sentenced five Indian fishermen to death on charges of smuggling drugs, fishermen from Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu went on rampage — burning buses, damaging railway tracks and public properties.Police sources from the headquarters here said that one bus belonging to a private agency was burnt allegedly by the angered fishermen after forcing passengers to alight in Rameshwaram area. Irate fishermen tampered with the railway track at Rameshwaram over the Colombo High Court judgment. They also blocked the road traffic at important junctions especially on the Rameshwaram-Madurai national highway. At least three people including a woman sustained minor injuries in stone-pelting incidents in coastal districts such as Cuddalore and Kaniyakumari. Following violence, security has been beefed up in all coastal districts including Chennai. Special police team have been deployed at Sri Lankan High Commission in the state capital to prevent any untoward incident. Railway sources said that trains from Rameshwaram to Chennai has been cancelled following violent incidents. Transport department sources said that services of all government buses to different areas of Ramanathapuram district were also suspended for a while.Politicos condemn verdict Meanwhile, political parties in Tamil Nadu including All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam senior leader and Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and NDA partners strongly condemned the death penalty awarded by a Lankan court to five Indian fishermen and sought Centre's immediate intervention to secure their immediate and safe release.The conviction of these fishermen and the award of death penalty is particularly shocking and unexpected. The manner in which the entire trial was conducted and the orders delayed, gives rise to serious doubts as to whether the fishermen received a fair trial, O Panneerselvam said in a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Failure to take immediate decisive action in this case and secure justice for the five fishermen will greatly inflame the already bruised emotions among the people of Tamil Nadu, he said.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister HKPatil on Thursday said the government had received recommendations from the Nanjaiah Math Committee to conduct direct elections to the post of president for the gram panchayats. However, the minister said the recommendations would be considered only after the KRRamesh Kumar-led committee on the Panchayat Raj reforms submitted its report.Speaking to the media, Patil said the department would place before the Cabinet the Nanjaiah Math Committee report for its approval. Once it gives its approval to the recommendations, barring the direct election reforms, we will issue a government order to implement the same, he said.Patil said the department had enrolled 2,485 daily wage workers under the Karnataka Daily Wage Employees Welfare Act of 2012. The employees at various levels in government services will be given the same wages as that of a permanent employee. These employees have been considered based on their 10 years of service since 2006.
As a row erupted over the demand for separate canteen for vegetarian students at IITs and IIMs by a group of people, including some associated with the RSS, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on Thursday said it was not pushing for such segregation and only wanted the demand to be examined.The ministry issued a fresh letter to the IITs, clarifying that copy of the letter from a section of people demanding separate canteens for vegetarian students was forwarded to them and an action taken report was sought in a routine manner. The ministry had not taken any view on the demands, it told the IITs in its clarification, even as an under secretary of the ministry sought action taken report from the IITs on October 15, saying he had been directed to forward the copy of the demands.We keep receiving such representations and simply forward them to the concerned department or organisation without taking any view, saying that you may take action that you deem fit, a HRD ministry official told Deccan Herald.Such letters are forwarded to the concerned department or organisation in a routine manner because people send their representations and then seek information under RTI (Right to Information Act) on action taken by the ministry. Many people also lodge complaints online on the website of the Prime Minister's Office, in case they do not feel satisfied, he maintained.The clarification came even as HRD Minister Smriti Irani held a meeting with RSS leaders in which Sangh's pet agendas on education were discussed earlier in the day.Though the ministry and the RSS remained tight-lipped on what was deliberated during the meeting, sources said reforms in the education sector was the key agenda. Representatives from a range of Sangh-affiliates, including its educational bodies like the Vidya Bharti, Bhartiya Shiksha Mandal and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, participated in the meeting. The meeting was crucial as the government is set to constitute a national commission to review the country's education policy next year. The RSS linked educational bodies favour a education system where a mix of modern and traditional knowledge can be imparted to students.
The Haryana Police on Thursday claimed a major breakthrough with the arrest of two people in the multi-crore heist at the Punjab National Bank, Gohana, in Sonipat district on Saturday night. The burglars had dug a 150-foot long tunnel straight up to the locker room and decamped with gold and valuables worth millions. The police have recovered 10 kg of gold and silver items from two accused, Balraj and Surinder. They are residents of village Katwal in Sonipat. Police sources said the accused have confessed to the crime saying that the idea to dig a tunnel to loot the bank came from a movie. While the main accused is still at large, another suspect in the case from whose house the tunnel work began has committed suicide.The police said the gold and silver ornaments were recovered from a bag hidden in a brick kiln in a nearby village. The police are on the lookout for the other suspects, Satish and Rajesh. The Sonipat police have also booked the bank staff for negligence.
Even as the Transport department is making efforts to contain overloading of commercial vehicles and illegal carrying of commercial luggage in private buses, the malpractices continue unabated.The transport department officials on Thursday claimed that since October 1 to 25, there has been regular checkings throughout the State and especially on the four checkposts of Bagewadi in Belgaum, Koppal, Mangalore and Tumkur.In all, 82,000 vehicles were checked and 820 vehicles seized and the department also earned a penalty of Rs 70 lakh from over 500 vehicles found violating the norms on carrying load. This was stated in a report submitted to the Lokayukta on Thursday.Speaking with Deccan Herald, Transport Commissioner Ramegowda said: We have been conducting regular drives both for commercial vehicles and private buses despite so many holidays during the festival season. We are making all out efforts to curb the malpractices, he added. On the other hand, B Channa Reddy, president of Federation of Karnartaka Lorry Owners Association (FOKLOA), said: We have been campaigning against overloading of lorries and the alleged connivance between the RTO inspectors and the police. We are in fact whistleblowers in this matter. As citizens, if we witness some violation happening around us, why should we not report about it, he added.The private buses continue to flout the Central Motor Vehicle Act with impunity by carrying commercial luggage atop the vehicles. During the drive conducted during the festival, 98 buses were seized. Many of the buses are still in the custody of transport department after the operators did not come forward to pay the penalty and get the buses released.Commuters shockedI was recently travelling in a private bus from Bangalore to Davangere and was shocked to see that the bus operator was busy loading commercial luggage atop the bus. The luggage was approximately 2 feet above the bus. In spite of strict prohibition to carry commercial luggage in private passenger buses, the operators are boldly violating the norms, said advocate Uday Kumar Singh, a resident of the City.Speaking with Deccan Herald on condition of anonymity, a manager of a private bus operator in the City with over 100 luxury buses in his fleet, said it is very difficult for them to make their ends meet only by the passengers' fares as they have to make payments to several authorities from top to bottom. He added that it is a common sight around Anand Rao Circle late in the night when the private bus operators are loading the buses with commercial luggage and the authorities are in the know of it for many years now.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to former Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanidhi and other accused in the Aircel-Maxis case to appear before it to record their statements.The notices were issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). On Wednesday, a Delhi court had asked Marans and other accused to appear before it on March 2 next year after taking cognizance of a charge sheet filed by the CBI in the Aircel-Maxis case.The ED may issue notice to attach assets worth around Rs 742 crore, which the CBI alleged, was given as bribe to Maran. However, officials said, before moving ahead with attachment, they would want to get the side of Marans and other accused.
Home Minister KJGeorge on Thursday dubbed the State BJP's charge that the law and order situation had deteriorated in the State as politically motivated.Addressing a press conference in Bangalore,George said that the BJP was targeting him as he had not allowed the party's hidden agenda of inciting communal violence in the State. George said that certain vested interests were trying to create problems in places like Chikamagalur, Sira, Bijapur and Mangalore. But we have used a firm hand in controlling the situation. This is the prime reason why BJPis targetting me, he said. The BJP has been repeatedly demanding that George be dropped from the Cabinet, alleging that he had not been able to handle his portfolio effectively. On Thursday, the party state leaders had submitted a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala to take cognizance of the deteriorating situation in all aspects of governance in the State and take steps under the constitutional guidelines to bring back administration on the right track. The memorandum mentioned the assault on IASofficer Rashmi Mahesh at Mysore, the recent incidents of child abuse in schools, attackson people from North-Eastern states, among others.George said the incidents mentioned by the BJP were specific cases and could not be construed as deterioration of the law and order situation. Besides, the police had initiated stern action and arrested the culprits in each of the cases, he added.
Filing complaints against board members of public sector companies when they are due for an extension is not going to sway the government any more. The government has decided not to stall such extensions just on the ground that vigilance clearances are pending.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Thursday announced the streamlining of policy for extending the tenure of board members. According to the guidelines, departments can go ahead with extending tenures even if the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) clearance has been delayed beyond the prescribed timelines, merely on account of procedural reasons, and where there is no denial of vigilance clearance. This is imperative as it has been frequently observed that there is a spate of allegations and complaints against board-level officials whose cases become due for extension of tenure, it said.According to rules, if a board-level appointee is due for extension, their services cannot be terminated on completion of initial term without the consent of Appointments Committee of Cabinet.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is understood to have been compiling a report on the performance of each of his ministerial colleague to be submitted to the party high command shortly.The Chief Minister's Office has started collecting information about the ministers with the help of department heads and district in-charge secretaries. The performance will be assessed based on the number of review meetings held by each minister, implementation of budgetary programmes and schemes and file clearance, sources said.Sources said Siddaramaiah's move was aimed at projecting himself as a proactive leader. Moreover, he wants to spike KPCC president G Parameshwara's plans to conduct a separate assessment of the government's performance. The State Congress president has been critical of the Siddaramaiah government, and he had recently termed Anna Bhagya scheme a blunder.Parameshwara, who has been lobbying for the post of deputy chief minister, had announced that he would commission an independent agency to assess the performance of the ministers before the Lok Sabha polls. But Siddaramaiah, who was against it, managed to convince the high command that the assessment would affect the party's prospects in the polls and got it postponed. The Siddaramaiah government has completed one year and five months in office.Sources said Siddaramaiah would also prevail upon the high command to use his own performance report as the basis for either revamping the ministry or reshuffling the portfolio, as and when the central leadership decides to do it.New formula This apart, the State Congress leaders are said to be toying with the idea of appointing chairmen and members to boards and corporations for a period of 20 months in order to accommodate as many party workers. The government still has 42 months in office. The party has received close to 10,000 applications for the appointments.
The BJP-led NDAgovernment will commemorate the birth anniversary of India's 'Iron man' Sardar Patel in a big way today and the Congress party is making sure that the October 31 martyrdom anniversary of 'Iron lady' Indira Gandhi is not forgotten.The Congress has made elaborate arrangements to observe Indira's death anniversary at her 'Shaktisthal' memorial adjacent to the Rajghat. The decision comes in the wake of the government's announcement last week that it would only observe the birth and death anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi.AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken refrained from criticising the government when asked whether there was an attempt to overshadow the legacy of Indira Gandhi.No one can overshadow anyone's legacy. Both Sardar Patel and Indira Gandhi have made contributions to the country which the country can never forget. No single leader, no single government can ever make people forget the legacy and contribution of such great leaders, Maken said.Maken also said it was Congress President Sonia Gandhi who had made a suggestion in August 2012 that the government should only observe the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The Central government used to make arrangements to observe the birth and death anniversaries of Gandhi, late prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. However, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor attacked the government for ignoring Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary.Disgraceful that the government is ignoring the martyrdom of our only Prime Minister who was killed in office in the line of duty. Oct 31 forgotten, Tharoor, who has otherwise been praising Modi for his Swachh Bharat campaign, said on Twitter. Meanwhile, the government has drawn up elaborate plans to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on Friday as National Unity Day.President Pranab Mukherjee will flag off the Run for Unity at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to mark the day.
Simmering differences within the Siddaramaiah Cabinet have come to the fore again, with Revenue Minister Sreenivas Prasad accusing Law Minister T B Jayachandra of interfering in his work. Prasad, who is in the national capital to meet Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to seek compensation for drought-hit districts, told reporters on Thursday that indeed Jayachandra is interfering in my department affairs, to which I have strongly objected. Political experienceI am also a senior minister in the government. I too have vast political experience as I have served as union minister in the past. I have told the law minister not to interfere in my department, to which he has agreed, Prasad said.The row erupted after Jayachandra recently came to Delhi and met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to seek central assistance for relief work in flood-hit areas.Sent to DelhiApparently, Jayachandra was sent to Delhi by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to meet Singh.Srinivas Prasad reportedly objected to Jayachandra meeting the Home Minister without his knowledge, as drought and flood relief are the domain of the Revenue department. Prasad, who is learnt to have complained to Siddaramaiah against the law minister, said, Now, the matter is settled as Jayachandra agreed not to interfere in the affairs of the Revenue department. Recently, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwara had accused the Siddaramaiah government of being unable to check corruption.
Women activists are questioning the logic behind the move to legalise prostitution even as the National Commission for Women said it will put up a proposal before a Supreme Court appointed panel to recommend amendments in trafficking laws. Legalisation of prostitution goes against the International Labour Organisation's definition of decent work and is considered as selling sex under distress, says Ranjana Kumari , president, Women Power Connect. Instead of criminalising the buying and selling of sex, we are giving more power to those who exploit sex workers, she said. However, NCW Chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam is all set to put forth the issue in the National Consultation scheduled to be held on November 8, by a Supreme Court panel. The court ordered the NCW to attend the meetings of the panel and it is to make recommendations for amending Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. According to its reference, the recommendations are to be made for making conditions conductive for sex workers to live with dignity in accordance with the provision of Article 21 of the Constitution''. The NCW chairperson is advocating legalising prostitution to regulate the trade and ensure better living conditions for women engaged in commercial sex work. According to her, it will also bring down trafficking and lower the incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought to examine if defamation laws went beyond the reasonable restrictions on the citizen's right to free speech on account of cases slapped against persons who criticise certain executive decisions in public. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit said the court would determine questions over criminal proceedings on a person for public criticism of executive action and its effect on the growth of a healthy democracy.It framed issues on a petition filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who challenged the legality of Sections 499 and 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 199 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. In his argument, Swamy contended that the court needed to decide the validity of the provisions concerning defamation as he faced criminal prosecution in as many as six cases due to complaints instigated by former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha at a Chennai court. The court stayed proceedings initiated against him and also sought response from Jayalalitha within six weeks.
After the most successful season of his fledgling career, KL Rahul set the tone for a fresh one with another splendid century for South Zone in the Duleep Trophy final at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on Thursday. The opponents Central Zone could barely perturb the Karnataka youngster, who steered South to a position of domination at stumps on the second day. Rahul's fifth first-class hundred was a stroke-filled knock, underlined by poise and gumption, one that would certainly have made an impression on the two Indian selectors, Vikram Rathour and Saba Karim,who were watching the contest from the sidelines. The 22-year-old carried the bat through the day, his presence soothing the sudden collapse of the middle-order by Pankaj Singh (3/55) in the last session.Rahul, with an unbeaten 75-run stand with Hanuma Vihari (38 n.o.) was holding the fort at 308/4 at close with South 32 runs ahead. I like pressure and challenging situations. This was a final, a big occasion. Last year I was not converting my starts. I used to get tired. So, I worked on my fitness because I knew it was important to get big scores, said a mild-mannered Rahul.It was a successful day for South, who dominated all three sessions of the day. They wrapped up Central Zone, who could add a mere 39 runs to their overnight 237/7, in 13 overs to muster a first innings total of 276.In reply, Robin Uthappa (80, 97b, 113x4, 2x6) and Rahul began with a positive intent while Central lacked ideas to control their rampant strides. If Rahul squeezed out the gaps and attacked the bowling, Uthappa chose to pace his innings, giving strike to his partner, before cutting loose. Uthappa was delectable with his off and straight drives, most of them coming against Ishwar Pandey. A couple of cuts racing to the boundary off Ali Murtaza captured the form Rahul is enjoying. Central captain and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and Murtaza bowled in tandem for most of the second session but failed to make an impact. They put up ordinary fare against the two quality and set batsmen.Uthappa was unlucky to miss out on his century, trapped plumb by Jalaj Saxena, the ball straightening after pitching and ending their 168-run opening stand. Rahul, though, kept his focus. It was a near flawless innings by the opener who was the second highest run-scorer in last year's Ranji Trophy. His timing this day was perfect, his shots adorning all sides of the park. The reverse sweep off Saxena in the 33rd over just stood out.I liked my timing of the ball. It was an easy-paced pitch and this was one of my top innings, he said.Chawla, costliest of all bowlers, was in for a rough treatment by Rahul who tonked him twice -- once over long on and once long off. He and his bowlers had no solution to the challenge the Karnataka batsman posed at them.The only time, Central could sense a chance in the day, was when South lost three wickets for two runs post tea. Baba Aparajith nicked to wicketkeeper Naman Ojha to reduce South to 231/2. Dinesh Karthik survived two balls before being trapped in front to make it 231/3 and two overs later R Prasanna was on his way back after being caught behind. Pankaj had created a stir, however briefly.But Rahul continued in the same vein, and got good support in Vihari. An off-driven boundary brought his 150 and with it also the lead for South Zone.I enjoy playing the short ball. I attack and leave it, a mix of both. I know once you settle down you can dominate, said Rahul.
Top IAS officer Arvind Mayaram, who was shunted out as Finance Secretary and posted in Tourism Ministry, has been transferred for the second time in a fortnight as the Narendra Modi government continued with its reshuffle of top bureaucracy.Even before the officer took charge of the new post, it has been decided to shift him to the Minority Affairs Ministry as its Secretary. The decision to transfer Mayaram, a 1978-batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, to Tourism Ministry taken on October 16 was cancelled by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) led by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.The BJP-led government's aversion to Mayaram, who is considered close to the previous Congress regime, is also seen in the decision to give Expenditure Secretary Ratan P Watal additional charge of Economic Affairs Department as the replacement, Rajiv Mehrishi, currently Rajasthan Chief Secretary, is yet to take charge. Watal will hold additional charge for a period of one month with immediate effect or until the assumption of charge by Mehrishi or until further orders, whichever is earlier, the order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.In usual circumstances, a transferred officer will continue in the assignment until the new appointee takes charge. While cancelling Mayaram's transfer to Tourism Ministry, the ACC decided to shift Minority Affairs Secretary Dr Lalit K Panwar, a Rajasthan IAS officer of 1979 batch, to Tourism Ministry where its incumbent Parvez Dewan is super-annuating on Friday.Incidentally, Mayaram and Mehrishi are batchmates while Panwar is a year junior to them in Rajasthan cadre. Mayaram's transfer from Finance Ministry came just when the budget exercise had started and it was read as government's move to have its own people in key places.Mayaram was the senior-most among the four Secretaries in the Ministry of Finance with dual roles as finance and economic affairs secretary. He was appointed by the previous government and will retire on October 31 next year.Mayaram was brought into Finance Ministry by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2012.However, he is the second senior official to be shifted from Finance Ministry. Earlier, Rajiv Takru, who was Financial Services Secretary, was transferred to Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region and later to National Minorities Commission.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's remarks asking the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) not to sensationalise its audit findings has kicked up a row with the Congress accusing the BJP government of virtually issuing threat to the government auditor.The Finance Minister's suggestions to the CAG amount to threats, AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken told reporters. He wondered whether the government feared being targeted on the basis of CAG reports like the one on United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.Jaitley, who also faced flak on social networking sites, issued a clarification saying news reports on his remarks at a CAG conference did not accurately reflect the spirit of my speech.Wish he (Jaitley) had realised this when 2G and Coal Block CAG report came, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh said.The Congress also used the opportunity to get back at the BJP, accusing the government of making several 'U-turns' after winning the Lok Sabha elections in May.Why there is a sudden change of heart and a U-turn? Is it because of the CAG report on Gujarat which talks about irregularities worth Rs 25,000 crore in land affairs when (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi was the chief minister, Maken asked.Maken said Congress does not see Jaitley's statement as a one-off incident but as one sequence.He said since the BJP came to power in May not a single day has passed when the government has not reversed its stand on any issue.We have the Henderson-Brooks Report, FDI in insurance, GST, the position on black money, Maken said.At the same conference where Jaitley had made the controversial remarks, Congress leader and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee K V Thomas had asked the CAG to limit its audits to probing financial impropriety and not come out with astronomical figures of notional losses.Maken said Thomas had only articulated the Congress stand. For the past five years, the Congress has been saying CAG reports should not be sensationalised, he said.
A fit-again Rohit Sharma and Manish Pandey slammed strokeful centuries as India A feasted on Sri Lanka's mediocre attack before registering a comfortable 88-run victory in a warm-up match for the visitors ahead of their ODI series against India, here on Thursday.Playing his first match after recovering from a fractured finger and shoulder injury, Rohit cracked a brilliant 111-ball 142 before getting run out.Pandey stroked his way to an unbeaten 135 off 113 balls at the Brabourne Stadium.Invited to bat, India A scored runs at a brisk pace, with the openers - Rohit and Unmukt Chand - carting the bowlers all over the park and helping the team post 72 runs in the first 10 overs. The home team notched up a mammoth 382 for six and in reply, the Sri Lankans were restricted to 294 for nine.Rohit dominated proceedings initially before Chand (52, 39b, 8x4, 1x6) upped the ante.Rohit then forged a 214-run partnership with Pandey. The duo remained aggressive as they sent the bowlers on a leather hunt.Rohit, playing after a two-month injury layoff, showed no signs of discomfort and took to the attack from the start.The 27- year-old's scintillating knock was laced with 18 fours and a six, and included some beautiful cover drives.The Mumbai batsman fell short of his crease while trying to steal a second run when a direct hit from Lahiru Gamage found the target in the 41st over.The 25-year old Karnataka batsman, Pandey, however, remained undeterred. His brilliant knock included 15 fours and a six, while skipper Manoj Tiwary chipped in with a cameo, scoring 36 with the help of two sixes and as many fours.The island nation opted to give a chance to all their 15 members and utilised the services of as many as 10 players in the bowling department.Bangar impressedRohit Sharma showed no signs of the finger injury, said India A coach Sanjay Bangar.Rohit Sharma showed he's absolutely fit while batting. He is a quality player. He didn't get a game because of the injury. His match fitness had to be assessed and that was the reason the selectors had dropped him (from the first three ODIs against Lanka). He gave a fantastic account of himself.Bangar also praised Manish Pandey and said the Karnataka batsman's punishing knock would give him a lot of confidence. He also said the India A bowlers stuck to their plans.
The face of middle-class, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, a master-planner and orator par excellence with 'Mr Clean' image, will be sworn in as the 27th Chief Minister of Maharashtra on Friday at an impressive ceremony at the Wankhede Stadium here.However, the Shiv Sena is unlikely to join the BJP-led government at this stage and power-sharing agreement is yet to be clinched. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has chaired a series of meetings over the last two days with his close aides - but a convincing deal is yet to be arrived at.Shiv Sena leaders and MLAs, as of now, have decided to refrain from attending the event.Fadnavis, 44, would be sworn in with a compact group of ministers of the BJP and other allies and independents would not be taken on-board pending negotiations with the Shiv Sena.Fadnavis, a four-term MLA from Nagpur, will be administered the oath of office by Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several of his Cabinet colleagues, BJP President Amit Shah, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, corporate leaders, Bollywood stars, sportspersons and other celebrities. Fadnavis on Thursday visited New Delhi and met Modi, Shah and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari - to finalise the portfolios.A small Cabinet of around ten ministers, including state BJP Core Committee members Eknath Khadse, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde, would be sworn in. Some Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe MLAs are also likely to be inducted.The ministry's expansion would be taken up once the BJP wins a trust vote. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP has extended unconditional outside support and decided to abstain during the vote of confidence - in favour of BJP, but the saffron party is yet to take a call on the offer of NCP.Talks with Shiv Sena going on very amicably. No outcome yet. Seems unlikely Shiv Sena will be part of government as of now, BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said. However, another general secretary Om Prakash Mathur said: No proposal has come so far from the Shiv Sena.Shiv Sena leader Vinayak Raut said that several of Shiv Sena MLAs and leaders feel that the party is not getting enough respect. As of now we have decided not to go....but by tomorrow if things are favourable, we may change our decision, he said.Sena MP and spokesman Sanjay Raut said, positive talks were on between the two parties. We wholeheartedly welcome the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra… We are confident that with Narendra (Modi) in Delhi and Devendra (Fadnavis) in Maharashtra, nobody can prevent 'achhe din' (good days) from coming to Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena said in an editorial that appeared in mouthpieces - 'Saamna' in Marathi and its Hindi version 'Dophar ka Saamna'.
Younis Khan became the first batsman in 90 years to hit three hundreds in consecutive innings against Australia as Pakistan took early advantage of the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.The 36-year-old, who smashed twin hundreds in the first Test, notched an unbeaten 111 for his 27th century to help Pakistan close the opening day on a solid footing of 304/2 after they won the toss and batted on a flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.In the last over before stumps Azhar Ali also completed his sixth Test hundred and was unbeaten on 101 on a day Australia used as many as eight bowlers and unusual fielding placings but failed to break the Ali-Younis third wicket stand which has so far yielded 208 runs.Younis lofted spinner Glenn Maxwell to long-on boundary for his tenth boundary to complete his hundred before raising his bat to his team-mates and a few dozen people who gave him a standing ovation.Englands Herbert Sutcliffe was the last man to score three hundreds in three consecutive Test innings against Australia way back in 1924-25.Before Younis, three Pakistani batsmen Zaheer Abbas (v India in 1982) Mudassar Nazar (v India in 1982) and Mohammad Yousuf (vs West Indies in 2006) had achieved the feat.So ruthless was Younis that even the second new ball taken soon after it was due couldnt disturb him. He has so far hit ten boundaries and a six during his 155-ball knock.Things went wrong for Michael Clarke right from the toss when he wrongly called tails. He did everything, from using two short mid-wickets, a short mid-on and a man almost behind the umpire at bowlers end but even that failed to get him any wicket, leaving him frustrated in his bids to avoid first series defeat against Pakistan since 1994.