Amid an ongoing face-off with microblogging platform Twitter, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad told Parliament on Thursday that strict action would be taken if social media was misused to spread fake news and fuel violence.
Specifically naming Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn in the Rajya Sabha, the Union Minister said, “You have millions of followers in India, you are free to do business and make money, but you will have to follow the Indian Constitution.”
The minister was speaking during Question Hour on the misuse of social media platforms. “We respect social media a lot, it has empowered common people. Social media has a big role in Digital India programme. However, if social media is misused to spread fake news, violence then action will be taken,” he said.
While cautioning the micro-blogging platform to pay heed to the law of the land, Prasad replied in Rajya Sabha: “There is freedom of speech but Article 19A says that this is subject to reasonable restrictions.”
“We respect social media a lot, it has empowered common people. Social media has a big role in the Digital India program. However, if social media is misused to spread fake news, violence then action will be taken,” he added. In response to the “‘legal requests” from the Central government, Twitter on Wednesday informed that it has taken multiple enforcement actions—including permanent suspension of over 500 accounts for clear violations of Twitter’s rules. However, the Central government has also conveyed to Twitter officials that the manner in which the social media giant officially allows fake, unverified, and automated bot accounts to be operated on its platform, raises doubts about its commitment to transparency and healthy conversation on the platform.
A meeting between the Secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Twitter officials took place in view of the order issued by the Centre directing Twitter to remove tweets and accounts using hashtag related to “farmer genocide” and accounts supported by Khalistan sympathisers and backed by Pakistan and blog post issued by Twitter.
This came after some of the protesting farmers did not follow the prearranged route on Republic Day for their tractor rally and broke barricades to enter Delhi. They also clashed with police and vandalised property in several parts of the national capital.
Farmers have been protesting at the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
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Sikkim Governor, wife receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Gangtok (Sikkim) [India], March 3 (ANI): Governor of Sikkim Ganga Prasad along with his wife Kamla Devi received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday at STNM Hospital in Gangtok.
Notably, Prasad is 84-year-old and his wife Kamala Devi is 80-year-old.
According to an official release, the Governor appealed to the residents of Sikkim to take the COVID-19 vaccination and follow all health protocols including sanitisation to curb spread of the virus.
He also thanked the Sikkim government, COVID-19 warriors, and health workers, for contributing to the fight against the virus.
The Governor also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministry of Health, researchers and scientists for providing COVID-19 vaccination in such a short period of time. (ANI)
‘The Illegal’ shortlisted for Oscar in Best Picture Category
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Indian-American film, ‘The Illegal’ has been shortlisted at the Oscars 2021 for the Best Picture category.
Directed by Danish Renzu, The Illegal which was released in 2019 is about a student from India who he leaves his home, country and family behind to pursue the American Dream after being accepted to study in a prestigious university in the US.
Due to an unfortunate turn of events, he is forced to work in a restaurant for his survival. The film uncovers the challenges faced by him and how he meets them.
The film is directed by Kashmir-born Renzu and produced by California born Tara Tucker, who had work on projects including Glee, The Simpsons, Family Guy and Avatar.
“The Illegal is a film on immigration, country-city contrasts and youthful dreams of the future told through an Indian immigrant Hassan who comes to America to become a filmmaker. It follows Hassan, who moves to Los Angeles to attend college and pursue his filmmaking dreams. Because of circumstances beyond his control, he is forced to drop out of school and get a job, becoming an undocumented worker,” says Renzu.
“I wanted to tell this story as a way for the audience to put themselves in the characters’ shoes and to recognize that illegal immigrants each have an individual story that we can relate to and showcase amusing misconceptions and common stereotypes. Behind the playful humour is a story rooted in the immigrant journey, the painful truths that can reveal themselves on the way and the motivations that drive it despite its difficulties is the crux of the story,” says the director.
The leading cast includes Suraj Sharma (as Hassan) who has previously worked on projects like ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Homeland’; Adil Hussain (portraying the character of Papa) who has previously worked on projects like ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘English Vinglish’; Neelima Azim (as Mummy) who has previously worked on projects like Alif, Dehraadun Diary, Ishq Vishk; Shweta Tripathi (as Mahi) who previously worked in Masaan among others.
Meanwhile, Preity Zinta took to social media to congratulate the team and wrote on Instagram: “So happy to hear The Illegal is on the list of eligible films for an Oscar in the Best Picture category. Congrats and Best of luck. Suraj Sharma and Renzu Films–So happy for you guys. Fingers crossed #TheIllegal #Allthebest #Ting”.
The 93rd Oscars will be held on April 25 and will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. (ANI)
Bhima Koregaon case: SC issues notice to NIA on Gautam Navlaka’s bail plea
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea filed by Gautam Navlakha, an accused in Bhima Koregaon violence case, challenging the Bombay High Court order rejecting his plea for default bail.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice UU Lalit sought NIA’s response and posted the matter for hearing on March 15.
The High Court had rejected Navlakha’s plea on February 8 saying that the period for which an accused is under illegal detention cannot be taken into account while computing the 90-day custody period for grant of default bail.
Navlakha, in the apex court, has sought bail on the ground that the NIA failed to file its chargesheet within the prescribed upper-limit of 90 days as per Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
He stated that the period for which he was confined to his house under house arrest should be calculated as part of judicial custody and should be taken into account while deciding the custody period under Section 167(2).
He had sought bail from the High Court on the same grounds. Last year special court had rejected his application for default bail.
Navlakha, one of the several civil liberties activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, has been booked under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for an alleged conspiracy to topple the government.
On January 1, 2018, the violence left one dead and several others injured including 10 policemen. Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading towards the village for the commemoration of 200 years of Bhima-Koregaon war on New Year’s Day. The police had filed 58 cases against 162 people. (ANI)
Delhi Court remands terror accused Bengaluru-based surgeon to judicial custody
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): A Delhi Court on Wednesday remanded a Bengaluru-based surgeon, accused of terror charges, to judicial custody till March 31.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana sent Sabeel Ahmed to judicial custody after he was presented before him.
“Considering the nature of allegations and intricate nature of the investigation, accused Sabeel Ahmed is remanded to judicial custody till March 31,” the Court said
Additional Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed moved an application seeking to send the surgeon to judicial custody. It was opposed by surgeon defence counsel Advocates Ankit Karna and Mark Morris.
Special Cell of Delhi Police has arrested Ahmed last week and brought him to Delhi from Bengaluru on 10-day transit police custody in connection with a matter relating to allegedly trying to establish the Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
Ahmed was deported from Saudi Arabia last year and brought to India last year. He was arrested by NIA in connection with a case that pertains to a conspiracy hatched by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami to commit subversive activities and wage war against the Government of India. NIA has charge-sheeted him before the NIA Special Court, Bengaluru.
Ahmed is a cousin of the 2007 Glasgow international airport (United Kingdom) attack mastermind Kafeel Ahmed. (ANI)
Mumbai: Action against 58,000 people found without masks in last 13 days
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 3 (ANI): As Mumbai is witnessing a spike in the cases of coronavirus, the Mumbai police have tightened the noose around the violators of COVID-19 guidelines.
As per Mumbai Police PRO, the Mumbai police have taken action against 58,000 people who were found without a mask in public places in the last 13 days.
“Mumbai Police has collected a fine of Rs 1.16 crores so far,” the Mumbai Police PRO.
As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 80,302 active cases in Maharashtra.
“20,36,790 people have cured of the disease in Maharashtra while 52,238 people succumbed to the virus in the state,” the ministry said. (ANI)
Adani Ports to acquire 31.5 pc in Gangavaram Port from Warburg Pincus for Rs 1,954 Cr
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones (APSEZ) Ltd, a key subsidiary of the diversified Adani Group, is acquiring the 31.5 per cent stake held by Windy Lakeside Investment Limited (an affiliate of Warburg Pincus) in Gangavaram Port Limited (GPL).
According to the company’s release, the acquisition is valued at Rs 1,954 crore and subject to regulatory approvals.
GPL is located in the northern part of Andhra Pradesh next to Vizag Port. “It is the second-largest non-major port in Andhra Pradesh with a 64 million metric tonnes (MMT) capacity established under the concession from the Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP) that extends till 2059,” the company said.
The release said that GPL is an all-weather, deep water, multi-purpose port capable of handling fully laden super cape size vessels of up to 200,000 deadweights (DWT).
“Currently, GPL operates nine berths and has free hold land of 1,800 acres. With a master plan capacity for 250 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) with 31 berths, GPL has sufficient headroom to support future growth,” it added.
Notably, GPL handles a diverse mix of dry and bulk commodities including coal, iron ore, fertilizer, limestone, bauxite, sugar, alumina, and steel. It is the gateway port for a hinterland spread over eight states across eastern, western, southern, and central India.
In FY20, GPL had a cargo volume of 34.5 MMT, generated revenue of Rs 1,082 crores, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of Rs 634 crores (margin of 59 per cent), and profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 516 crores. “GPL is debt-free with a cash balance of over Rs 500 crores,” Adani Group said.
According to the release, APSEZ has a paid up equity share capital of 51.7 crores shares of which 58.1 per cent is owned by DVS Raju and Family (Promoter), 10.4 per cent by the government of Andhra Pradesh and 31.5 per cent by Warburg Pincus.
“APSEZ is acquiring the Warburg Pincus stake of 16.3 crore shares (31.5 per cent) at Rs 120 per share which works out to a consideration of Rs 1,954 crore. APSEZ is also in discussions with DVS Raju & Family for their 58.1 per cent stake (30 Cr shares) in GPL.
Karan Adani, CEO and Whole Time Director of APSEZ said, the acquisition of GPL is a part of his company’s continued strategy to build out a port and logistics network that is unmatched in its ability to serve customers across the nation.
“The location of GPL in the north of Andhra Pradesh is a strategic complement to our recent acquisition of the Port of Krishnapatnam that serves the south of Andhra Pradesh. We believe that GPL holds great potential to complement its bulk cargo terminals with new cargo catagories that we intend to develop,” said Adani
“The port provides us great access to an adjacent hinterland that was largely untapped by APSEZ thereby placing us in a position to serve a broader set of port customers as well as expand our overall hinterland logistics footprint for a much larger base of customers. We are grateful to the leaders of the Andhra Pradesh government for their support and are committed to doing our part to support their vision of accelerating the industrialization of Andhra Pradesh. The Raju family must be complimented for having built an absolute world class asset that we are proud to invest in,” he added.
Vishal Mahadevia, Managing Director and Head of Warburg Pincus India said, “From a green field project at the time of investment, Gangavaram Port has developed into a world class port . We have been very pleased with our partnership with the Raju family and the Gangavaram Port team, and look forward to the port’s continued success in partnership with the Adani Group.”
“We are very proud of the remarkable success of Gangavaram Port in becoming one of India’s leading and most efficient deep water ports with ultra modern infrastructure. Warburg Pincus has been a supportive partner in this journey, and we look forward to the Adani Group’s contributions in the next phase of the port’s growth,” said DVS Raju, Chairman of Gangavaram Port Limited. (ANI)
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