NOT CEDED ANY TERRITORY TO CHINA: GOVT ON RAHUL’S CHARGE - The Daily Guardian
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NOT CEDED ANY TERRITORY TO CHINA: GOVT ON RAHUL’S CHARGE

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says that India has ceded territory in Pangong area; Defence Ministry counters the allegation, saying that ‘those who doubt the achievements made possible by the sacrifices of our military personnel are actually disrespecting them’.

Rajat Rakesh Tandon

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The government strongly objected to the misinformation in the media and its amplification on social media regarding the disengagement of Indian and Chinese troops after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed on Friday that India has ceded territory to China as part of the process.

China and India began their synchronised disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh on Thursday, bringing to an end the nine-month-long standoff between the two Asian giants.

However, sections of the media claimed that India has ceded the territory between Finger 3 and 4 in the Pangong Lake area, which was a point of contention between the two sides since last year.

Rahul Gandhi cited the same, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has let down the country and the armed forces in front of the ‘Dragon’. While addressing a press conference in Delhi at the AICC headquarters, the Congress leader said that the Indian forces used to be operational at Finger 4 and used to do patrolling from 4 to 8, but during disengagement, India will now be limited to Finger 3, showing that the present government has negotiated the deal by moving back.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence described this assertion that Indian territory in Ladakh is up to Finger 4 as “categorically false”, reiterating that the factual position has already been clearly communicated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his statements to both Houses of the Parliament.

Setting the record straight, the ministry also said the territory of India is as depicted by the map of India and includes more than 43,000 sq km which has been under illegal occupation of China since 1962. Even the Line of Actual Control as per Indian perception is at Finger 8, not at Finger 4, it said. “That is why India has persistently maintained the right to patrol up to Finger 8, including in the current understanding with China,” the statement explained.

The ministry also added that permanent posts of both sides at the north bank of Pangong Tso are longstanding and well-established. On the Indian side, it is Dhan Singh Thapa Post near Finger 3, and on the Chinese side, east of Finger 8, the ministry informed.

The current agreement, the ministry said, provides for the cessation of forward deployment by both sides and continued deployment at these permanent posts.

Rahul Gandhi also said that India had an advantage while its forces were placed at the Kailash range and it was a strategic location on its side but the government decided to leave that point under Chinese pressure. He asked the Prime Minister to speak on the current situation at the Depsang and Pangong lakes, which are still in the dark.

The Defence Ministry’s statement made clear that there are outstanding problems to be addressed, including at Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang, but “the outstanding issues are to be taken up within 48 hours of the completion of the Pangong Tso disengagement.”

“The effective safeguarding of our national interest and territory in the Eastern Ladakh sector has taken place because the Government has reposed full faith in the capabilities of the armed forces,” the statement said.

The government further asserted that India has not conceded any territory as a result of this agreement. “On the contrary, it has enforced observance and respect for LAC and prevented any unilateral change in the status quo,” said the Defence Ministry.

On being asked why the Congress did not raise these issues in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi replied, “We had wanted to speak but were denied.”

The Congress leader has been critical of the government regarding issues related to China and has been cornering the government on matters of national security. However, the ministry’s statement added, “Those who doubt the achievements made possible by the sacrifices of our military personnel are actually disrespecting them.”

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Fake-news matter will be heard by new bench, says Delhi HC after adjourning hearing

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on a petition seeking to frame the necessary guidelines and to constitute a committee for handling fake-news on various social handles and said that the matter will be heard by a new bench.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that a new bench will be designated for hearing the petitions.
The Court was hearing two petitions filed by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Manjit Singh GK.
Earlier the Delhi High Court issued notice to a leading media organisation, News Broadcasters Association, Press Council of India and Union of India on a petition seeking direction to restrain the fake-news by setting the accountability and responsibility of the concerned authorities, to frame the necessary guidelines and to constitute a committee for handling the fake-news on various social handles.
The petition was filed by Manjit Singh GK through advocate Parminder Singh Goindi challenging the vicious, unmitigated, concocted and reprehensible actions of certain media houses, claimed that certain media houses had unleashed an offensive and potentially fatal communal attack on the Sikh community by continuous circulation and constant transmission of unverified videos through different platforms including their respective news channels, YouTube, and other such digital and online platforms, pursuant to the events that unfolded New Delhi on the 72nd Republic Day on January 26.
“Such vicious campaign directed against a particular community especially at a time when public sentiments are flared up could result in disastrous consequences for the community including endangering the lives, property and liberty of people belonging to the Sikh community,” the petition said.
The petition also sought direction in the nature of mandamus for organising press-conference or uploading/ circulating/ broadcasting the authentic news on the official website of the concerned authorities/ department to counter fake news.
It also sought to issue a direction to restrain the respondent media house from circulating, transmitting and showcasing videos or news content that is directed towards vilifying a particular community and inciting hatred. (ANI)

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Congress leaders meet Telangana Governor, demand ‘court monitored CBI probe’ into lawyer-couple murder

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 26 (ANI): Congress leaders led by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president Uttam Kumar Reddy met Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan on Friday and demanded a fair probe into the murders of advocates Gattu Vaman Rao and PV Nagamani, who were killed in broad daylight in Telangana’s Peddapalli district last week.
TPCC President Uttam Kumar Reddy, speaking to ANI said, “The recent incident where two High Court advocates were hacked to death on a highway in broad daylight by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party activists in Manthani Assembly Constituency has shaken the Telangana state.”
According to Congress, the sand mafia, TRS leaders and the police collaborated in the murders.
Reddy said, “We believe that the local police have colluded in this murder and if the investigation is done by local police, this will yield nothing. We are also shocked that the Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao has neither condemned the murder nor ordered any speedy justice for the family of the deceased.”
The Congress leader further said, “We have come to the Governor of Telangana Tamilisai Soundararajan, to request her to order a ‘court monitored CBI probe’ into this issue.” (ANI)

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Local self-government symbol of democracy, development: Om Birla

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Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], February 26 (ANI): Local self-government is a symbol of both democracy and development Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday stated that it provides a framework for decentralisation of democracy.
The Lok Sabha Speaker’s comments came at the inauguration of outreach and familiarisation programme for local bodies of North-Eastern States in Shillong.
“Local Self Government is a symbol of both democracy and development. It provides a framework for the decentralisation of democracy. It strengthens the democracy at the grass-root level through which citizens get an opportunity to become a stakeholder in the local self-government of their area,” the speaker said.
“There are several provisions in our Constitution providing optimal opportunities for the development of all the areas in the country. North East India is quite distinct from the geographical and socio-cultural point of view, therefore keeping it in view; a special provision for three Autonomous District Council for these States has been made in the Sixth Schedule of our Constitution,” Birla said.
The prime objective of setting up these Councils is to protect the rights of the tribal communities of the North East, provide them equal rights in the decision-making process and to ensure that their administration is carried out in accordance with their traditions and conventions, he said.
“Mahatma Gandhi believed that the soul of India lives in villages. He believed in rural self-government and the development of the nation (Rashtrodaya) through the development of the villages (Gramodaya). He believed that every village should be self-reliant. The Government is formulating policies and schemes to make this very self-reliance a nationwide phenomenon. But, a self-reliant India can only be possible when we are Vocal for Local,” he said.
Highlighting the digital penetration in governance, he said that e-Panchyat has been introduced which has brought revolutionary changes in the working of local self-government.
It is our responsibility to make a collective effort to make democracy strong, transparent and accountable, he added.
Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma, Speaker of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Metbah Lyngdoh, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Food Processing & Industries, Rameshwar Teli and a range of MPs from across the North Eastern region also took part in the event.
The programme was organised by Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE), of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
The theme of the programme was ‘Panchayati Raj System/Autonomous District Council- Strengthening Decentralised democracy’. (ANI)

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BJP, Cong afraid of people who voted for AAP in Gujarat, says Arvind Kejriwal

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Surat (Gujarat) [India], February 26 (ANI): Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said that BJP and Congress are afraid of the people who voted for the AAP in the local body polls in Gujarat.
“I have been listening to statements of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, over the past few days after the results. They are perturbed and a little scared. We have to understand that they are not scared of you or AAP. They are scared of people who voted for you,” Kejriwal said addressing the newly elected corporators in Surat.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met newly elected corporators of the party and its volunteers here, after getting a rise in the local body elections in the state.
Addressing the event, Arvind Kejriwal asked the reason of being BJP always the ruling party in the state for the last 25 years.
“Why has BJP been governing here for the last 25 years? It is not because of they are doing great but because there is no opposition. People of the state are facing a lot of issues but when they saw option (AAP) against the BJP, they applauded you (by making AAP win),” he said.
The BJP on February 23 put up a spectacular performance in the Gujarat municipal corporation elections improving its numbers over the 2016 polls and nearly decimating the Congress. The party has retained power in all municipal corporations, which went to the polls. The performance appears all the more credible as BJP has been in power in the state for the last 25 years.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) put up a fight in Surat where it won 27 seats in its first outing. The BJP secured 93 out of the 120 seats in Surat, while the AAP secured 27. Congress and other parties did not win any seats. (ANI)

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Steps taken to end non-transparent credit culture in country, says PM Modi

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The country’s financial and banking sector was weakened in the name of aggressive lending about 10 years ago, but the BJP-led central government has taken several steps to deal with the non-transparent credit culture, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
Addressing a webinar on the implementation of Budget in the financial services sector, Prime Minister Modi said that his government has made reporting of non-performing assets (NPAs) compulsory, instead of sweeping it under the carpet.
“The government’s vision of the country’s financial sector is very clear. It is our top priority that both the depositor and investor experience trust and transparency in the country. Steps have been taken one-by-one to end the non-transparent credit culture in the country. Now reporting of nonperforming assets (NPAs) from day one is compulsory, instead of sweeping it under the carpet,” he said.
He said protecting the earnings of ordinary families, effective and leakage-free delivery of government benefits to the poor, and encouraging investment related to infrastructure for the development of the country are the priorities of the country.
“Looking at long-term financing needs of infrastructure and industrial projects, we’ve built a new Development Finance Institution. Sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and insurance companies are being encouraged to invest in infrastructure,” the PM stated.
The Prime Minister said that Atmanirbhar Bharat would not just be big industries or big cities, it will be made with the hard work of village, small entrepreneurs in small towns, ordinary Indians.
“Atmanirbhar Bharat will be made up of farmers, units making agricultural products better. Our start-ups and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) would be the identity of Aatmnirbhar Bharat, that is why special schemes were formulated for MSMEs during the COVID pandemic. 90 lakh micro, MSMEs have received credit worth Rs 2.4 trillion in a push that we provided to them during COVID-19. The government has also opened up the agriculture, coal, and space sector among others for businesses,” he said.
The PM said the Fintech start-ups are doing excellent work in the country today, and they also have a high share in the start-up deals that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Better help of technology has played a keen role in financial inclusion in the last few years. Today, 130 crore Indians have Aadhar, and over 41 crore people have Jan Dhan Accounts. Over 55 per cent of such accounts belong to women and have nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore. With the help of Mudra Yojana, loans worth about Rs 15 lakh crores have reached small entrepreneurs in the past years. In this also about 70 per cent are women and more than 50 per cent are Dalit, Tribal and backward class entrepreneurs,” the PM added. (ANI)

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Petition against mandatory FASTags of motor vehicles: SC asks petitioner to go to Delhi HC

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New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea and asked the petitioner, a retired civil servant, to first approach the Delhi High Court in connection with his petition challenging the mandatory fitting of FASTags in motor vehicles required for renewing of fitness certificate and also for insurance by third party.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde refused to entertain the petition filed by Rajesh Kumar, a retired Civil servant, and asked him “you first approach the Delhi High Court”.
“We want to have the advantage of the opinion of the High Court first,” the CJI Bobde said, and refused to entertain the petition filed by Rajesh Kumar.
The retired civil servant, Rajesh Kumar, had filed the PIL before the Supreme Court, through his lawyer Dhruv Tamta, and seeking relief and appropriate directions and orders in the issue of making FASTag mandatory for all motor vehicles.
Kumar, in his petition, said there may be class of citizens who are having limited means of survivor.
Kumar also said many people are leading retired life but have to maintain vehicles in their home for limited purpose such as, some require cars for going to visit hospital in the city itself or emergencies.
The petitioner, a retired civil servant, Rajesh Kumar, had filed the petition in the Supreme Court and challenged the making of FASTags mandatory for all motor vehicles.
The CJI, Bobde, during the course of the hearing, observed, “Why Article 32?” To this, lawyer Tamta, replied, “It (FASTag) will have countrywide ramification, Mylords. Please consider it.”
The CJI said, “That is alright. But you go to the Delhi High Court first.”
“We will have the opinion of HC also. Dismissed as withdrawn. Liberty to approach the High Court,” the CJI Bobde said. (ANI)

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