News wrap

NITI Aayog replaces Planning Commission

4 01 2015

> PM to be chairperson

NITI Aayog replaces PlanComm; PM to be chairperson
The Planning Commission was on Thursday replaced by a new think-tank, NITI Aayog, that will be headed by the Prime Minister and will have all Chief Ministers as members in a broad-based Governing Council to involve states in evolving national development priorities.

The inclusion of Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors in the Governing Council is a break with the past in the structuring of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, described as a landmark change that will foster spirit of cooperative federalism.

The body will have a Vice Chairperson and a CEO in addition to five full-time members and two part-time members, while four union ministers would serve as ex-officio members.

The erstwhile command economy era body set up nearly 65 years ago by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a Deputy Chairman and full-time members with a member secretary, an official, as a convener.

A PMO statement said the Centre-to-state one-way flow of policy, that was the hallmark of the Planning Commission era, is now sought to be replaced by a genuine and continuing partnership of states.

It will put an end to slow and tardy implementation of policy, it said.

A Cabinet resolution setting up the new body said that Regional Councils will be formed to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region.

They will comprise the Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors in the region. These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.

The NITI Aayog will also have experts, specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge as special invitees nominated by the Prime Minister.

The two part-time members of the new body would be from leading universities and research organisations.

The body will serve as a ‘Think Tank’ of the government as a directional and policy dynamo and would provide the governments at the Centre and in states with strategic and technical advice on key policy matters including economic issues of national and international importance.

Commenting on the new body, Modi tweeted, “Having served as a CM (Chief Minister) in the past, I am very much aware of the importance of actively consulting the states. NITI Aayog does precisely that.”

“Through the NITI Aayog we wish to ensure that every individual can enjoy the fruits of development & aspire to lead a better life (inclusive growth),” said Modi, who had in his Independence Day speech mooted the idea of replacing the Commission with a new and more relevant body.

The resolution invokes the words of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, Swami Vivekanand and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya in the constitution of the new body.

As per the Resolution, the NITI Aayog will provide a ‘national agenda’ for the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to foster cooperative federalism while recognising that strong states make a strong nation.

It will also interact with other national and international Think Tanks, as also with educational and policy research institutions.

The NITI Aayog has been set up after extensive consultations across the spectrum of stakeholders including states, domain experts and relevant institutions.

The new body has been set up by a resolution of Union Cabinet as done in case of Planning Commission which was established on 15th March 1950.

The NITI Aayog will monitor and evaluate implementation of programmes and will seek to progress from food security to ensuring actual returns that farmers get from their produce.

Its objective would also include use of technology to reduce opacity and potential for misadventure in governance.

The PMO said that NITI Aayog aims to prepare the country to better deal with issues like poverty alleviation, safeguarding of environmental and ecological assets, redressal of gender, cast and economic inequalities.

It will also give policy support to more than 50 million small businesses to create jobs.

The PM in his tweet said, “A pro-people, pro-active & participative development agenda stressing on empowerment & equality is the guiding principle behind NITI Aayog. Through NITI Aayog, we bid farewell to a ‘one size fits all’ approach towards development. The body celebrates India’s diversity & plurality.”

The NITI Aayog, he hoped, will emerge as an active and important institution that will play a pivotal role in India’s development journey in the years to come.

It will provide key inputs on various policy matters.


Cong declares first list of candidates for Delhi polls

4 01 2015

Congress on Thursday released its first list of 24 candidates for Delhi Assembly polls repeating all its eight MLAs and 12 others who were runner-ups in the 2013 Assembly election in which the party had suffered a setback.

Usually the Congress list comes during the nomination process. The early release of candidates’ name comes at a time when the party is desperately trying to regain the lost ground in Delhi which has a 70-member strong Assembly.

The last election had brought an end to the 15-year-long rule of the party led by Sheila Dikshit, who herself was defeated by AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal in her home constituency New Delhi.

While Congress has so far not declared its candidate for the New Delhi seat, sources have maintained that former Chief Minister Dikshit will not be contesting this time and will remain a key campaigner for the party.

The new faces in the Congress list are ex-Mayor Satbir Singh, who will contest from Mehrauli, and Sachin Bidhuri from Tughlakabad.

Five-time MLA from Matiamahal Shoaib Iqbal, who contested the last Assembly polls on a JD(U) ticket and had joined Congress on 20th November, has been fielded from the same seat.

PCC Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, former Minister Harun Yusuf, Devendra Yadav, Jaikishan, Prahlad Singh Sawahney, Asif Mohammed Khan, Mateen Ahmed and Hasan Ahmed, who had won the polls last time, have been repeated.

Lovely will contest from his traditional stronghold Gandhinagar from where he was elected four times while Yusuf, a five-time MLA, will fight from Ballimaran.

Jaikishan will seek a fifth term from Sultanpur Majra while three-time MLA Sawahney will contest from his Chandni Chowk seat.

Khan gets renominated from Okhla while Mateen Ahmed will seek re-election for the sixth term from Seelampur. Hasan will fight from Mustafabad.

Former Ministers in Sheila Dikshit’s Cabinet Raj Kumar Chauhan and A K Walia, who were defeated in the last Assembly election, have also been given the party nomination from Mangolpuri and Laxminagar respectively.

Both Chouhan and Walia had represented their constituencies four times before they were defeated in the last polls.

Besides Walia and Chouhan, ten other candidates of Congress, who had come second in the last Assembly election, have also been renominated.

They are Surendra Kumar (Bawana), Bijender Singh (Nangloi Jat), Dhanvantri Chandela (Rajouri Garden), Mukesh Sharma (Uttam Nagar), Tarvinder Singh Marwa (Jangpura), Balram Tanwar (Chhatarpur), Subhash Chopra (Kalkaji), Ram Singh Netaji (Badarpur), Naseeb Singh (Vishwas Nagar)and Narendra Nath (Shahdara).

Bheesham Sharma, who came third in the 2013 Assembly election, has been renominated from Ghonda.

A senior AICC functionary said that while the party has depended mainly on trusted faces in the first list of candidates, there will be more new faces especially of youth and women and intellectuals in the second list, which will also have some surprise names.

There was a speculation that the party may ask some of its former MPs to contest polls but sources say that most of them have not evinced any keenness to fight. Some young former MPs, however, may be asked to contest.

Polls in Delhi are likely to take place in February and neither Congress nor BJP has declared their chief ministerial candidates so far.

In the last Assembly election, Congress had fielded its three-time Chief Minister Dikshit and BJP had declared Harshvardan as its CM candidate.

The Assembly polls in December 2013 had thrown up a fractured mandate with BJP getting 31 seats and its ally Akali Dal one in the 70-member House.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which had made an impressive debut in last Delhi polls, bagged 28 seats, while Congress was decimated with its tally plummeting to only 8, its worst-ever performance in Delhi.

Congress has also plans to hold a mega rally in Delhi to kickstart its poll campaign, which will take place any day after 10th January, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi could address an election rally.

Congress will go to the polls on the plank of development and stability, the sources said.

Arvind Kejriwal the 10% Honest Party

4 01 2015

Swatchh Corporate, Arvind Kejriwal 10% Honest Party
January03, 2015 (C) Ravinder Singh
This is response to two important debates last night – one was related to Finding Faults with Planning Commission, second is Arvind Kejriwal campaign ‘I Fund Honest Party’.
Som Pal and others were STUPIDLY debating Effectiveness of Planning Commission. Every country and every government has budget and planning strategy Planning Commission was performing useful functions in distributing Taxes Collected among states but BOGUS economists like Montek Alhuwalia and Crooked Experts like Pitroda or Kirit Parikh damaged its usefulness.
You can’t have any development when Corporate Directly or Indirectly had secured over 80% Bank Credit to Private Sector but not developing new technologies and products for world market when India accounts for just 2% of world market are basically traders.
Annual Budget of India was just Rs.400 crores in early phase of Independent India or $4b or $10 per capita and out of this half of it was spent on feeding people.
India can’t expect BIG development with petty amount of budget for a poor starving nation without any infrastructure.
Private Companies are Nothing But Traders and Moneylenders who were evading taxes, would import some Outdated Second Hand Factoryand run it for next 50 years without any improvement – Hindustan Motors.
Corporate are most corrupt – Promoters, Board of Directors & Top Management are all in one and are mostly family members with some retired bureaucrats as Independent Directs with Lame Duck qualification.
Arvind Kejriwal 10% Honest Party
It is totally misleading to assume AAP is Dry Clean. [# I Fund Honest Party.]
For various reasons and on evidence Arvind Kejriwal is not more than 10% honest.  
1.      He doesn’t talk of Moneylender Exploitation,
2.      Corporate Hoarding of Rs.50,00,000 crores Bank Credits,
3.      Corporate Illegally operating Off Balance Sheet Companies,
4.      Traders and Middlemen Fraudulently Milk over 70% Retail Value as profits.
5.      He doesn’t admit AAP lacks Skills to Deal With Professional Crooks,
6.      He doesn’t admit People of India all 1.25b are Real Shareholders of National Wealth and should 90% plus equity in $2000b Worth Corporate.
7.      He doesn’t admit Tax Collection in India is barely 16% of GDP to 50% required.
8.      Indian Factory workers earn just $16b which is just $12 per capita annual wage bill.
9.      GOI is neglecting 800m Foodgrain farmers who earn just $52b from sale of Foodgrains [260m x $200] and around $25b as Income which, just $30 per capita/year.
Ravinder Singh, Inventor & Consultant, INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND PROJECTS

AAP names its candidates for all 70 Delhi assembly constituencies

4 01 2015

Wazirpur candidate changed

From: AAP Media Cell  Sat, 3 Jan ’15 2:42p

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Show full Headers

Saturday,  3 January

Aam Aadmi Party has replaced its candidate from the Wazirpur assembly constituency of Delhi.

The party has dropped Mr Suresh Bhardwaj from its list following some prima facie negative report received against him from the area.

The party has replaced him with Rajesh Gupta, who will be the AAP candidate from Wazirpur.



AAP Media cell

AAP names its candidates for all 70 Delhi assembly constituencies

From: mediacellaap  Fri, 2 Jan ’15 7:22p

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Show full Headers

Friday, January 2

Aam Aadmi Party on Friday announced the names of eight more candidates for the coming Delhi assembly elections. With these eight names, the party has completed the process of naming its candidates for all 70 constituencies of the Delhi assembly.

Given below are the names of these eight candidates and their constituencies

Sarita Singh                   Rohtash Nagar  (President Delhi unit CYSS)

Pankaj Pushkar              Timarpur

Haji Yunus                    Mustafabad

Ch. Goverdhan Singh    Mehrauli

Ajay Dutt                      Ambedkar Nagar

Suresh Bhardwaj          Wazirpur

Pramila Tokas              RK Puram

Pawan Sharma             Adarsh Nagar


Bogus voters in Delhi

4 01 2015

Bogus voters in Delhi: HC seeks poll panel’s reply

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Chief Election Commissioner on a petition on the presence of large number of bogus voters in Delhi.The Court also issued notice to the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi seeking an explanation about the allegation that there are many persons in the city who have numerous voter cards in their name but with different addresses.The Court has sought replies from the CEC and the CEO before 5th of January on the plea for deletion of bogus voters from the voter list.The petitioner has alleged that there are a large number of bogus voters including many in the Mundka constituency.Last week, the Congress had also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner on the issue.


3 01 2015

AS OF 2 JANUARY 2015 21:00 HRS LT (GMT+7)
SURABAYA, 2nd JANUARY 2015 – The Disaster Victim Identification Police Department of Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today confirmed that the remains of three more passengers on board QZ 8501 were identified as Grayson Herbert Linaksita (male), Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi (female), and Kevin Alexander Sutjipto (male).
The handover of the remains from AirAsia to the families took place earlier today at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya.
Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi was one of the flight attendants on board QZ 8501, and has been with AirAsia Indonesia since 28 January 2013. Khairunisa was well known for her professionalism as well as dedication at work.
Group CEO of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes together with Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of AirAsia Berhad, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and CEO of AirAsia Indonesia, Sunu Widyatmoko flew to Palembang today to officially handover the remain of Khairunisa Haidar Fauzi to her family and attended her burial.
To date, DVI POLRI team has identified four remains of QZ 8501 passengers. A total of twenty two remains of QZ 8501 passengers have been recovered.
AirAsia would like to take this opportunity to urge the public seeking for progress on the search and evacuation of QZ 8501 passengers to refer solely to official information from the National Search and Rescue Agency.
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of our passengers and colleagues on board QZ 8501.
Further information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

Delhi side continued its winning streak

3 01 2015

Bhilwara, Rajasthan: The experienced Delhi side continued its winning streak to end the league stages on a high. Internationals Raspreet Sidhu, Prashanti Singh and Preeti Kumari connected from outside and inside to take their side to a convincing 69-43 win. For opponents Uttar Pradesh, this fourth straight loss means that it will now be relegated to the lower Level, while Delhi progresses to the quarterfinals as the second seeded team from Group ‘B’.

Kerala men avoided relegation with their face saving win in their last league assignment and in the process sent hosts Rajasthan down to Level 2 for next year. The first half, in particular, was exciting with back to back buzzer beaters at the end of the first and second quarters.

Uttarakhand men too eased into the quarterfinals as the top seeded team from Group A, easily beating Chhattisgarh to stay undefeated after four league games. In contrast, bottom placed Chhattisgarh was condemned to the lower Level 2 for next year.

Vying for top honours in Level 1 Men’s Group ‘B’, the undefeated sides Punjab and Services locked horns. Punjab teams have always been overflowing in talent, while Services men have tons of experience behind them. In this battle between talent versus experience, Punjab had the upper hand in the first quarter, taking a 19-9 lead. The second quarter saw a furious fightback by Services which outscored Punjab 27-14 to take a slender three point lead at halftime. The second half began with Services continuing its scoring spree. International point guard Joginder Singh was money from downtown and would eventually end the match with 21 points, all of which came from beyond the three point line. 7 ft giant Satnam Singh Bhamara’s double double of 26 points and 22 rebounds couldn’t prevent his team from going down 66-79 at the final buzzer. Services and Punjab are both through to the quarterfinals from their Group as the top two teams with a 4-0 and 3-1 record respectively.

Afternoon Results from 2-1-2015 (upto 6:00 PM)

Level 1


1)      Delhi (Raspreet Sidhu 15, Prashanti Singh 12, Preeti Kumari 11) bt Uttar Pradesh (Radha 15, Nimarika 12) 69-43 [17-15, 25-7, 12-14, 15-17]


1)      Kerala (Manoj R 27, Basil Philip 22, Albin Baby 18) bt Rajasthan (Harshvardhan 19 pts & 16 rbs, Sharad D 16) 85-66[21-23, 24-10, 22-17, 18-16]

2)      Uttarakhand (Amritpal Singh 27 pts & 11 rbs, Trideep Rai 17, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 10) bt Chhattisgarh (Ajay Pratap Singh 20, Kiranpal Singh 15) 80-47 [19-14, 28-7, 11-7, 22-19]

3)      Services (Joginder Singh 21, Narender Grewal 19, Jairam Jat 13) bt Punjab (Satnam Singh 26 pts & 22 rbs, Gurkirpal Singh 12) 79-66 [9-19, 27-14, 24-14, 19-19]

Loser’s Knockout Semifinals (Level 2)


1)      Gujarat (Vinay Kaushik 26, Dishant Shah 23) bt Jammu & Kashmir (Iqbal 17) 87-47 [25-15, 16-11, 25-9, 21-12]


1)      Assam (Anju 20, Kiran 7) bt Uttarakhand (Rhea 6) 43-19 [11-4, 14-8, 10-0, 8-7]

Noted journalist B G Verghese passes away

3 01 2015


Noted journalist B G Verghese passes away

Eminent journalist B G Verghese, a Ramon Magsaysay award winner and former editor of leading dailies Hindustan Times and Indian Express, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87 after brief illness.

Verghese was diagnosed for dengue a month back and was suffering from low-grade fever and weakness for last couple of weeks. He was survived by his wife Jamila and sons Vijay and Rahul.

Verghese, who authored many books, was editor of Hindustan Times from 1969 to 1975 and The Indian Express from 1982 to 1986. He was also information adviser to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1966 to 1969 but was critical of her for imposing the Emergency in 1975.

A crusader for civil rights, Verghese has long worked on problems of development. He was part of the Editors Guild of India Fact Finding Mission after the Gujarat riots in 2002.

His books include Waters of hope, India’s North East, Fourth Estate (2005) and his autobiography First Draft: Witness to Making of Modern India.

Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash said demise of Verghese was a big loss and recalled his fight for media rights during Emergency imposed by the then Indira Ganshi government in 1975. ]

“We have lost a great journalist and valliant fighter for media freedom. We can never forget his contribution to restoration of media rights during and after the Emergency in mid-70s,” he told media.

The Editors Guild of India tonight said the passing away of B G Verghese, a veteran journalist and a “sensitive chronicler” of post-Independence India’s triumphs and travails, is a grievous loss to the world of journalism and to public and humanistic causes in general.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described eminent journalist B G Verghese, who passed away on Tuesday, as an “accomplished writer and an insightful thinker.” Condoling the death of Verghese, Modi said “may his soul rest in peace”.

PM’s remarks at the 102nd Indian Science Congress

3 01 2015

PM calls for efforts to ensure that science, technology and innovation reach the poorest, the remotest and the most vulnerable person

PM: We must restore the pride and prestige of science and scientists in our nationThe Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has called for efforts to ensure that science, technology and innovation reach the poorest, the remotest and the most vulnerable person. He said that for a prosperous future for India, we need to put science, technology and innovation at the top of national priorities. In his address to the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai today, the Prime Minister said more resilient agriculture, appropriate and affordable technologies for rural areas, improving healthcare, making clean technology affordable, and making India a leading manufacturing nation and a hub for knowledge and technology-intensive industries, were some of the key objectives before Indian scientists.

The Prime Minister said a nation`s progress and its human development are linked to science and technology. He added that China`s emergence as the second biggest global economy is in parallel to its rise to the second place in science and technology activities.

The Prime Minister said, that a discussion on science and human development, cannot be divorced from the questions of political decisions; social choices; and of equity, ethics and access. He said human development has been the larger purpose and the driving force of India`s scientific pursuits, and science has helped shape modern India.

The Prime Minister appreciated Indian scientists for rising to the occasion “whenever the world shut its door on us.” He said that when the world sought our collaboration, they reached out with the openness that is inherent in our society. He also lauded Indian scientists for putting Mangalyaan in the Mars orbit in the first attempt, and saving thousands of lives through their accurate prediction of Cyclone Hudhud.

The Prime Minister said that when he speaks of ease of doing business in India, he also wants to pay equal attention to the ease of doing research and development in India. He said funding proposals must not take too long to clear, and scientific departments must have flexibility of funding decisions based on the uncertainties inherent in research activities. He also called for clear regulatory policies for research and development in areas like biotechnology, nanoscience, agriculture and clinical research.

The Prime Minister said each government department should have an officer focusing on science and technology relating to its area of work; and, allocate a percentage of its budget for such activities. “We have to place the university system at the cutting edge of the research and development activities in the country,” he added. He said universities must be freed from the clutches of excessive regulation and cumbersome procedures.

The Prime Minister called upon Indian industry to step up investments in science and technology in its own interest. He said India`s own pharmaceutical industry has carved out a place for itself in the world, because it invests significantly in research.

He welcomed the initiatives of Department of Science and Technology for involving thousands of children and youth in science and technology.

The Prime Minister said India must “restore the pride and prestige of science and scientists in our nation; revive the romance for science in society; rekindle the love for it in our children; and, encourage our scientists – to dream, imagine and explore.”

The Prime Minister began his address by paying homage to eminent scientist Vasant Gowarikar, who passed away recently.


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