Category Archives: National

Nawaz Sharif elected as new Prime Minister of Pakistan

Islamabad/June 5
Thirteen years after he was deposed in coup by Parvez Mushraff and sent into exile, Mian Muhmmad Nawaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan’s Prime minister after a vote in the National assembly.
Nawaz Sharif will be sworn in as Pakistan’s PM today and he will take oath from President Asif Ali Zardari.
Nawaz Sharif will start his third term with the country facing a daunting tasks of curbing Taliban militancy and improve country’s economic and social conditions.
Sharif will have to face the task of improving energy crisis in Pakistan that is hampering economic growth of the country besides making ordinary Pakistanis’ lives a misery.
Sharif will make a to the National Assembly where his Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) holds a majority of the 342 seats that put forward his views on the problems that are being faced countrymen and his agenda to solve these crisis. He is likely to lay out government priorities but not go into policy in any great detail as he will share the details in his address to the nation in coming days.
Sharif will also have to address the issue of drones attacks by US on Talibani militants as he had said that he wants peace talks with the Taliban and had even criticized drone strike that killed Taliban deputy Waliur Rehman.
Nawaz Sharif’s party PML-N had registered a comfortable win in the May 11 General Elections as Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was routed in the elections and it was being blamed for power shortages and increasing militant activities in the country.

Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to lead BJP’s poll campaign committee

New Delhi/June 5
After reports of infighting within BJP over Narendra Modi’s claim for top post in coming general election, senior party leaders including LK Advani and reportedly RSS has also given nod for the appointment of Gujarat CM as campaign committee head that will oversee strategy for upcoming assembly elections.
The main opposition party, BJP is likely to announce Modi’s appointment as head of poll campaign committee in a two-day session of BJP top leaders in Goa that be held from June 8.
“Narendra Modi is likely to head a committee that would oversee the party’s campaign and strategy for upcoming Assembly elections,” party sources said.
As per sources, senior party leader LK Advani is opposed to Modi’s claim to Prime Minister post in 2014 General elections and Advani had even termed Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as a better administrator than the Gujarat Chief Minister.
But now, it is being reported the Advani has given his consent for Modi’s elevation and Modi will oversee poll strategy for upcoming assembly elections in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.
Yesterday, media reports had claimed that Advani had approached Gadkari for chairing a committee that will be responsible for finalizing the party’s strategy for campaigning for upcoming elections that is termed as the semi-final for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile, BJP on Wednesday won the Porbandar, Banaskantha Lok Sabha seats and all four assembly seats for which bye-poll elections were held on Sunday.

Female sex ratio increases by 2.1 percent in Punjab

Chandigarg/June 4
In a good news for Punjab on female sex ratio front, the India’s northern state has witnessed an increase of 2.1 percent in female sex ratio to 895 in 2011 as compared to 876 in 2001, the latest Census data of 2011 reveals.
As per the new Census data, two districts of the state, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar with a sex ratio of 961, 954 respectively, has higher sex ratio as compared to India’s overall sex ratio of 943. Other districts of Punjab including Jalandhar and Rupnagar (915 each), Kapurthala (912) and Tarn Taran (900) also registered an increase in sex ration except Bathinda which recorded a marginal decline of two points from 870 to 868. Meanwhile, the highest increase in sex ratio was witnessed in Ludhiana district from 824 to 873 in the last decade.
While releasing the Primary Census Abstract of Punjab, Indian Home ministry’s Joint-Secretary Seema Jain said that the use of technology in data processing has helped in placing the data in public domain on full count basis in record time.
“As per Census 2011, child sex ratio in Punjab also shows an increase from 798 to 846 (48 points) during 2001-2011 as against all India child sex ratio of 919 and all districts in Punjab have registered an increase in child sex ratio,” Jain said, adding that the child population in the age group of 0-6 years is 30.8 lacs and of this, 19.5 lakh are in rural areas while 11.3 lakh reside in urban areas.
As per final figures of Census 2011, Punjab has witnessed lowest decadal growth in terms of decadal growth rate of population since 1961 and the states’ population has a growth rate of 13.9 percent.
“During 2001-2011, the population of Punjab has increased from 24,358,999 to 27,743,338 recording an absolute increase of 3,384,339 persons at a growth rate of 13.9 percent that is lowest decadal growth rate since 1961,” Seema Jain said, adding that the growth rate during 1991-2001 was 20.1 percent.
Now, Punjab ranks 15th in terms of population and accounts for 2.3 percent of total population of India with Ludhiana coming out as most populous district of Punjab with a population of 34.99 lakh. Distribution pattern in terms of regions shows that 59.93 percent of the population is concentrated in Malwa, 21.30 percent in Majha and 18.77 percent in Doaba.
The highest growth rate was witnessed in SAS Nagar (33.2 percent) while SBS Nagar witnessed lowest growth rate of 4.2 percent.
Punjab is also experiencing rapid urbanization and the increase in urban population at 25.9 percent is more than thrice the increase of rural population (7.8 percent).
Meanwhile, Punjab has highest percentage of scheduled castes population in total population (31.9 percent) which is the highest among States/UTs in the country and the state accounts for 4.4 percent of the total scheduled castes population in India.
In 2001 also, Punjab with 28.9% of its population as scheduled castes ranked highest in the country in terms of proportion and during 2001-2011, two more castes namely, Mochi and Mahatam/RaiSikh castes have been notified as scheduled castes in the state, Jain added.

IPL spot fixing case: Delhi police names Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakil as co-accused

New Delhi/June 4
Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel were on Tuesday named by Delhi police as co-accused in the IPL spot fixing case and invoked controversial MCOCA ACT against S Sreesanth and 26 others arrested in the case.
Police officials have also invoked provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Dawood and Chhota Shakkel and their gambling syndicate that they allegedly control in India through hawala channels and fix the rates of gambling.
Delhi Police today told a Delhi court today that evidence collected by them points out towards the involvement of organised crime syndicates and slapped MCOCA charges on S Sreesanth and 26 others.
“On investigations, we have found direct links between some bookies arrested in the case and the Mumbai underworld and their bosses abroad, including don Dawood Ibrahim’s men like Chhota Shakeel,” Delhi police said, adding that while betting and spot-fixing in the IPL is controlled from abroad, the money is generated in India and is then funneled out.
If police manages to prove the arrested cricketers and bookies links with organised crime syndicates, they will have stay inside jail for long as under provisions of MCOCA, getting bail is very difficult..
Meanwhile, the court rejected Sreesanth and other accused persons’ custody till June 18, however, the court is yet to decide whether Sreesanth and others can be charged under MCOCA and begin trial.

US national gangraped in Manali

Shimla/June 4
A 29 year old foreign tourist was allegedly gang- raped near tourist town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh by three local youths on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.
The foreigner , a US national, was said to be living in Old Manali village. She was on a tourist visa with her friends and it was her maiden visit to the area.
Police sources said the victim had arrived in Manali on Monday and had gone to village Vashishth to meet her friends. While she was coming to Old Manali from Vashishth at about 1.00 AM on Tuesday, she took lift in a tipper.
There were three persons in the vehicle and they, while crossing some distance, turned the tipper back and went towards Goshal village and allegedly raped her in the vehicle.
Sources said they later left the foreigner near the Manali bus stand.
Sources said the victim lodged a complaint with the police at around 4.30 in the morning against three youths aged 18 and 25 years. In the complaint, she reported theft of cash and valuables. The medical examination of the victim has confirmed the crime committed on her. “We have identified the youths, but they are at large,” said Superintendent of Police (SP) Kullu Venod Dhawan said.
The Police have registered a case and further investigation was in progress.
The Police have, meanwhile, informed the US embassy about the incident.

HRTC restarts Delhi-Leh bus service after a gap of 8 months

Shimla/June 4
Eight months after bus services were stopped to arduous 1,050 km journey to Leh due to heavy snowfall, Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) on Monday restored bus services on Delhi-Leh route via Manali.
“Delhi-Leh bus service via Manali had been restarted from Monday and it will take 33 hours to complete the 1,050 km journey to remote region of Leh,” said a HRTC official.
The bus to the Ladakh capital will make brief halts and it will stop at major tourist spots like Manali in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district and Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district.
The bus journey crosses four high mountain passes in the cold deserts of Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir, Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft), Lachungla Pass (16,620 ft) and Tanglangla Pass (17,480 ft) on its route to Leh and one-way fare between Delhi-Leh is Rs 1,203.
Booking for the bus tickets have started and a passenger can even book journey tickets online.
The Delhi-Leh bus service via Manali normally operates during four months in summer season and the 475 km Manali-Leh highway remains shut rest of the year due to snowfall.
The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) has announced that its luxury bus service between Manali and Leh would restart in the first week of July and it runs a 35-seater bus on the Manali-Leh route via Keylong.
The bus leaves Manali in the morning and stops overnight at Keylong. From there, it departs for Leh and reaches the destination in the evening.

Bollywood actress Jiah Khan found dead at her Mumbai apartment

Mumbai/June 4
Nishabd fame Bollywood actress Jiah Khan was found dead at her Juhu residence in Mumbai on Monday night and police suspect that she might have committed suicide.
“Jiah was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her Juhu apartment by her mother and sister when they returned home at around 11 pm last night,” said the police, adding that prima facie evidence suggests that she might have committed suicide.
Police officials said that they are questioning 25-year-old actress’s maid, watchman and neighbours to find out about the last visitors to her residence. Jiah’s mother and sister had gone out when the incident took place.
“The doctors will conduct autopsy on her body today and we have registered a case of accidental death,” added the police. Police officials are yet to record her mother’s statement, however, she told mediapersons that Jiah was depressed as she rejected for a roles in movie few days back and she wanted to quit Bollywood as she was not future in the film industry.
Police is likely to question her boyfriend Suraj Pancholi, son of actor Aditya Pancholi, to ascertain the reasons that led to her suicide.
Jiah was brought up in England but she had shifted to Mumbai to work in Bollywood.
Jiah had made her acting debut in Ram Gopal Varma’s controversial movie, Nishabd, where she had played a leading lady’s role in the movie opposite Amitabh Bachchan.
Jiah was praised by critics for her confidence, attitude and sex appeal and she had got a Filmfare Best Debutant Nomination for her acting.
She had acted alongside Aamir Khan in A R Murugadoss’s Ghajini and in Sajid Khan’s multi starrer comedy film Housefull (2010) as supporting actress.
Bollywood’s super star Amitabh Bachhan expressed shock over her death and wrote on social networking site Twitter, “WHAT …!!! Jiah Khan ??? what has happened ? is this correct ? unbelievable !!!”
The news of her death was broke by Dia Mirza who wrote on her Twitter account, ‘RIP Nafisa(Jiah) Khan. You were too young and beautiful…’
Meanwhile, Shahid Kapoor wrote, ‘Shocked n saddened to hear about jiah khan … Very disturbing … RIP ….may her soul rest in peace’ and Pritish Nandy also expressed his condolences and wrote on Twitter, ‘So sad to see unhappiness and disappointment destroy a young life… Jiah Khan RIP.’

Indian political parties to come under RTI ambit

New Delhi/June 3
In a landmark judgment that will further broaden ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act and bring more accountability in the functioning of political parties, the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) on Monday ruled said that all political parties come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
After the CIC judgment, now general public has the right to get information about political parties’ functioning and funding through RTI.
As per reports, a Full Bench of Indian CIC Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Information Commissioner ML Sharma and Annapurna Dixit ruled that six parties including Congress, BJP, CPI-M, CPI, NCP and BSP fulfill the criteria of being public authorities under the Right to Information Act.
“The Presidents, General Secretaries of these parties are hereby directed to designate CPIOs and Appellate Authorities at their headquarters in six weeks. The CPIOs so appointed will respond to the RTI applications extracted in this order in four weeks time,” the CIC bench directed.
The CIC has directed them to comply with the provisions of mandatory proactive disclosures clauses given under the RTI Act and put those details on their websites.
The CIC gave the decision on the case of RTI activists Subhash Agrawal and Anil Bairwal of Assosication of Democratic Reforms who have filed RTI queries to these political parties and had sought to know the finances of voluntary financial contributions received by these six parties and the names and addresses of the donors besides other details.
All the political parties had refused to provide information claiming that they do not come under the RTI Act.
The CIC observed that the income tax exemptions granted to the parties and free air time given by All India Radio and Doordarshan at the time of elections also substantially contribute to indirect financing from the government.
Therefore, we have no hesitation in concluding that INC/AICC, the BJP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the NCP and the BSP receive finances from Indian government and therefore, they are held to be public authorities under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, the CIC bench ruled.
The CIC further noted that ‘political parties affect the lives of the citizens, directly or indirectly in every conceivable way and are continuously engaged in performing public duty. It is, therefore, important that they become accountable to public.’
The CIC, the landmark judgment, ruled that ‘It would be odd to argue that transparency is good for all state organs but not so good for political parties, which, in reality, control all the vital organs of the State.’
The CIC also cited an order of Indian Supreme Court order where it had held that people of India must know the source of expenditure incurred by political parties during elections.

ISRO endows fellowship at Caltech in the memory of Satish Dhawan

New Delhi/June 3
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has endowed a fellowship at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology in US in the memory of former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation Satish Dhawan.
Satish Dhawan, an alumni of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), had obtained his PhD in aerospace in 1951 and the fellowship will provide an opportunity every year starting from the winter session of the academic year 2013-14 to one meritorious graduating student from the Aerospace Department of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram to be sponsored by the Department of Space, to pursue Masters in Aerospace Engineering at Caltech, said a spokesperson of Department of Space.
Dhawan, an Indian aerospace engineer and widely regarded as father of experimental fluid dynamics research in the country, had served as Distinguished Visiting Professor during 1971-72 at Caltech, immediately preceding his assumption of the Chairmanship of ISRO in 1972.
Dhawan was also bestowed with the Distinguished Alumni Award by Caltech in 1969, the highest alumnus honor and Indian government had honoured Satish Dhawan by awarding him Padma Vibhushan in the year 1981.

RPO Chandigarh to provide better passport services to consumers

Chandigarh/June 3
Consumers under the jurisdiction of Regional passport office (RPO) Chandigarh are likely to receive passport services in a timely and more accessible way as Indian External Affairs ministry has decided to start online appointment booking system to ensure faster and smoother services.
Three new Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) in Chandigarh, Ambala and Ludhiana have also established under Passport Seva Project.
Joint Secretary PSP and Chief Passport officer in Indian External Affairs ministry Muktesh Kumar Pardeshi announced the launch of online payment system for booking appointments at PSKs under the jurisdiction of RPO Chandigarh.
“Indian government was reviewing the operations over the last one year and it was observed that large numbers of applicants were not turning up at the PSKs despite taking valid appointment. This was not only resulting in lesser utilization of processing capacity of the PSK, but was also causing denial of appointments for other genuine applicants,” Pardeshi said, adding that to resolve the issue of non availability of appointments and to reduce no-shows of applicants, Ministry has launched online payment system for booking appointments.
Pardeshi said that with launch of online payment based appointments, applicants will be required to make payment at the time of booking appointment on the MEA website and now, only genuine applicants will book the appointment and number of no-shows will reduce.
“Under the new process, payments can be made while booking an appointment on the website – www.passportindia.gov.in either by Credit /Debit card (both Master and Visa) or internet Banking of State Bank of India. Applicants can also use the e-Challan option provided on the website and deposit the money in State Bank of India (SBI) branch after generating Challan online. In such cases, upon the confirmation of payment receipt by SBI in online system, applicants can take appointment,” Pardeshi said, adding that instead of applicant choosing the date and time slot of appointment, system will automatically give earliest available appointment.
He announced that Chandigarh has been chosen as one of the pilot RPOs for launching the online payment system starting soon, for which the date will be announced on the website in advance.
“Gradually the facility of online payment will be extended to other PSKs in the country and the layout of PSK is designed to ensure faster and smoother processing of passport applications. The sitting arrangement, drinking water facility is available so that applicants can wait comfortably. Meanwhile, floor coordinators have also been deployed in the waiting and token area to help applicants in clearing their doubts before submission of application,” Pardeshi added.
He said that a kiosk facility is also provided at the PSK for assisting applicants in submitting their online form, or checking for application status/other information. Other facilities include a snack-bar and a photocopy machine and baby care room. Public announcement system has been installed at PSK to guide the applicants and to efficiently manage the movement of applicants within different processing zones at the PSK.
Regional Passport Officer Chandigarh Rakesh Agrawal said that since the implementation of the Passport Seva Project in Chandigarh in august 2010, more than 10 lakh passports have successfully been issued to the citizens.
“Appointment slots have been increased by 19 percent from 39,000 to 46,000 (April 2012 – April 2013) per month meanwhile, applications processed have also increased by 16 percent from 24,000 to 28,000 (April 2012 – April 2013) per month and more than 26500 passports have been issued through the city’s Passport Seva System (April 2013,”Agrawal said, adding that police verification was also completed within 21 days and witnessed an increased from 31 percent in year 2010 to 60 percent in quarter ending March 2013.