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Anurag Thakur attacks Rahul, says he was not prepared to speak on budget

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New Delhi [India], February 12 (ANI): In a veiled attack on Rahul Gandhi, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Thursday said the Congress leader was “not prepared” to speak on the union budget.
“A senior MP was speaking before me, so I thought he must be knowing the rules of this House and that if one issue has already been discussed, it is not discussed again. Secondly, I can understand that he was not prepared for Budget,” Thakur said while participating in the debate on the budget in the Lok Sabha.
Gandhi, who also participated in the debate, spoke only on the new farm laws.
Thakur rejected Gandhi’s allegations and said there is no provision of closing mandis in farm laws. “This indicates the depth of their (Congress) knowledge and reading. They do not have the basic information,” he said.
Taking on Rahul Gandhi over his “Hum do Hamare Do” jibe, Thakur said it refers to ”Didi, brother-in-law and his family”.
“Some people remain absent from the House as well as the country,” he said.
Thakur alleged that the Congress Party had only been raising slogans for the poor.
“Some raised slogans of gareebi hatao. Five generations have ruled the country, but poverty did not go,” he said, adding that BJP-led government had lifted many people out of poverty.
“Some people only make electoral promises and do not deliver,” he said.
The minister said the BJP government had linked 1000 mandis last year with e-NAM.
“We are connecting 1000 Mandis with e-NAM this year also. We have disbursed 1.14 lakh crore till now under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojna,” he said.
He said the Union Budget 2021-22 instills hope for ‘New India’ and for making the country a “economic and manufacturing powerhouse”.
“This budget shows a hope – a hope to build New India, hope for stronger India, a hope to build Aatmanirbhar Bharat. I would like to thank the Finance Minister because this is going to set the path to make India an economic and manufacturing powerhouse,” Thakur said. (ANI)

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Vishwa Hindu Parishad not afraid of repression, murder: VHP working president

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By Suchitra Mukherjee
New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker was killed in a clash between RSS and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) workers in Kerala’s Alappuzha district on Wednesday night.
The 23-year-old man, identified as Nandhu, was allegedly hacked to death by SDPI workers in a clash with RSS men near Vayalar town in Alappuzha.
International Working President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Alok Kumar said that this is not the first such killing in Kerala.
“This struggle is with the people of ruling party there. No fair investigation is done. Murderers are not punished. This is unfortunate. I will demand that the government conduct a quick investigation, arrest the culprits, file a charge sheet and prosecute them in the fast track court,” said Kumar.
The VHP international working president said VHP members are not afraid of such repression and murder. “We will continue our campaign of Indian nationalism and offer our heads to the nation,” he said.
“People of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are not afraid of the assassination and repression of the RSS activist in Kerala. We will continue our campaign of Indian nationalism,” he added.
Alok Kumar said Hindu girls are tricked by Muslim men by tying a kalva in hand and applying a ‘tikka’ on the forehead. They marry Hindu women by giving them the impression of being Hindu. If the truth is found later, there is no way to return.
“The prerequisites for any civilized society are not the misuse of our religious freedom. It is required that we congratulate the Assembly of Uttar Pradesh for passing this law,” Kumar said. (ANI)

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New guidelines for digital media, OTT to self-classify content into 5 age based categories

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): There should self-classification of content for Over The Top (OTT) platforms, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday while unveiling the new policies for digital media.

“For OTT, there should be self-classification of content — 13+, 16+ and A categories. There has to be a mechanism of parental lock and ensuring compliance that children don’t see that,” Javadekar said during a press conference.

The OTT platforms, called as the publishers of online curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).

As per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.

The publisher of online curated content shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or programme together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme, read the guidelines.
The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.
Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty-four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.
To ensure online safety and dignity of users, especially women users, intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images.
Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his or her behalf.
According to the guidelines, users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to do so and provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification. (ANI)

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Delhi Court directs police to not take coercive steps against Ford India Directors

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New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): A Delhi Court has provided relief to Ford India, its President and Managing Director Anurag Mehrotra and US national and Director David Allan Schock.
While granting the relief, the Court said, “no coercive steps should be taken against them” in a criminal complaint matter alleging cheating and criminal breach of trust investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EoW) of the Delhi police.
Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Kumar of Rohini Court said, “Considering the facts and circumstances I am of the considered view that since both the accused persons are Director and Managing Director of the Ford India and which has a large business in India, hence there is no chance of absconding from the investigation or jurisdiction of this Court”.
“….keeping in view the undertaking given by the accused persons to join the investigation either physically or by VC, simultaneously, not deny that investigation is at the initial stage and despite service of three notice under Section 41 A Cr. PC and Notice u/s91 Cr.PC, the applicant/ accused has not joined or produced the document, hence in the interest of justice, no coercive steps shall be taken against the aforesaid applicants /accused persons till Next Date of hearing which is March 17th,” the court order stated.
The accused persons had filed anticipatory bail applications before the Court of the Additional Sessions Judge.
Advocate Rohit Kochhar appeared for David Allan Schock whereas, Advocate Vijay Aggarwal appeared for Anurag Mehrotra.
Advocate Rohit Kochhar argued that the FIR was a litany of lies, fabrication and deceit, and had been orchestrated by the complainant with the mischievous and unlawful objective of evading his own legal financial obligations towards Ford India. Advocate Kochhar submitted that the dispute between the parties was purely civil in nature and that the entire FIR, even if read as a whole, did not disclose any criminality on the part of his client.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal argued before the Court that there was a huge delay of more than 18 months on part of the complainant in the registration of the FIR. He submitted that the offenses alleged in the FIR were punishable with less than seven years imprisonment, and therefore, the Delhi police was mandatorily required to follow the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.
The complainant Libra Cars, the Ford dealer for the GT Karnal Road, New Delhi area had filed a criminal complaint with the EOW against Ford India and its senior management, alleging cheating and criminal breach of trust on the ground that Ford India had violated the terms of the agreement between the parties by appointing another dealer within a radius of 10 km from the complainant’s showroom. The criminal complaint culminated in the registration of an FIR against the Managing Director and the US-based Director of Ford India.
Ford Motor Co. is a Fortune Global 500 Corporation, and one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies in the world with annual revenues of approximately Rs 12 lakh crores and almost 200,000 employees spread across 200 countries. (ANI)

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Mumbai’s Oval Maidan to be closed from 26 Feb due to spike in COVID-19 cases

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 25 (ANI): As the city has been witnessing a rise in the number of COVID 19 cases, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to close the iconic Oval Maidan in Mumbai from February 26, said Chanda Jadhav, BMC Assistant municipal commissioner.
No activity will be allowed in the Maidan in south Mumbai, including sports till further orders.
“BMC to close the iconic Oval Maidan from tomorrow, 26th February due to rise in #COVID19 cases in Mumbai,” said Chanda Jadhav.
The ground is frequently occupied on weekends by cricket and football enthusiasts, however political rallies and religious functions are banned in the maidan.
Maharashtra on Wednesday witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases, with more than 8,000 new cases of infections being reported in a single day after a gap of over four months. (ANI)

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NHRC handicapped without Chairperson, DG Investigation: PIL in SC

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By Suchitra Kalyan Mohanty
New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): For the first time in the history of the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) since its inception, the apex human rights watchdog of the country is at present, running without its full strength as it does not have a Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members and the Director-General of Investigation.
This was claimed by noted human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer, Radhakanta Tripathy in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Supreme Court.
Tripathy filed the petition seeking the intervention of the top court to ensure the apex human rights watchdog of the country runs with its full strength.
Tripathy’s petition pointed out the vacancies of Chairperson, two members and Director General of Investigation of National Human Rights Commission as required under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019.
“The Commission cannot function without its Chairperson, members and Director General of Investigation,” Tripathy claimed in his petition.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing in the second or third week of March, as per the Supreme Court Registry.
“The NHRC has become handicapped due to the inaction of the government. The negligence, failure and inaction of the Respondents in filling up the vacancies in the NHRC violate Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition filed by Tripahty claimed.
This situation has arisen for the first time in the history of the NHRC, since its inception, when there is no Chairperson, Acting Chairperson, two members and the Director-General of Investigation, Tripathy pointed out in his PIL.
The petition of Tripathy contended that Section 3 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2019 prescribes the Constitution of a National Human Rights Commission with a Chairperson and five other members.
Similarly, Section 11 of the Act prescribes for the appointment of a Director-General of Investigation. Section 7 of the Act Prescribes of appointment of an Acting Chairperson in the absence of Chairperson, the petition stated.
The posts in the NHRC have remained empty since Justice HL Dattu retired on December 2 last year as the Chairperson, and Justice D Murugesan retired from the Commission in September 2018, as a member.
A new post for membership has been created by the Amendment of the Protection of Human Rights Act in 2019. The post of Director-General of Investigation has been lying vacant since May 2020, after the retirement of Prabhat Singh, IPS, who retired as Director General (Investigation) in the NHRC, the petition said.
Tripathy, in his plea, also alleged that the non-appointment of a Chairperson, two members, and Director General of Investigation in the NHRC has made it handicapped and dysfunctional in the eyes of law.
“It is, therefore, directly connected with the administration of justice and rule of law, increasing pendency of cases and investigation of serious cases,” the petition said.
Negligence and inaction of the government in not appointing the Chairperson, members and Director General of Investigation of NHRC, in the circumstances is arbitrary, unreasonable and therefore violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India, Tripathy said in his petition. (ANI)

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Delhi will face water crisis if Centre closes Nangal Hydel channel, says Raghav Chadha

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New Delhi (India), February 25 (ANI): Delhi Jal Board chairman Raghav Chadha on Thursday said that the national capital will face a water crisis if the Central government stops the water flow by closing the Nangal Hydel channel.
“In summer the water consumption in Delhi has increased, but the Central government is going to stop the water of Beas river for a month by closing the Nangal Hydel Channel. This will reduce 232 million gallons of water per day in Delhi, which is 25 per cent of Delhi’s water supply,” said Chadha.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also informed that the board has written a letter to the Central Government, Haryana Government and Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) asking them not to stop the water flow from the Beas river
He also asked Gajendra Singh Shekhawat Union Minister of Jal Shakti to call a meeting of all the stakeholders on this problem. (ANI)

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