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SC bar on registration to leave thousands of BS-IV vehicles in the lurch

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Thousands of BS-IV vehicles can’t get registered as the Supreme Court has restrained transport authorities across the country from completing the process till further orders. Justice Arun Mishra-led bench expressed displeasure over a large number of vehicles that were sold in March and observed that something “fraudulent” may have taken place. The observation was based on the affidavit filed by the Centre which contained VAHAN registration details of BS-IV compliant vehicles.

On 8 July, the SC had reversed its 27 March order which allowed the sale of BS-IV compliant vehicles after the end of lockdown. The top court had come down heavily on the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association of India (FADA) for selling more BS-IV vehicles than allowed by the court. The SC held that its order will protect only those vehicles whose details have been correctly uploaded on the e-VAHAN portal, noting that data of over 17,000 sold vehicles wasn’t available on the portal.

The top court observed that it can’t allow violation of the spirit of its order by allowing sale even after the end of lockdown. Court also ordered that claims made by four states to be verified if they are registered on the e-VAHAN portal or not.

FADA contended that they sought registration of vehicles sold before 31 March. They had submitted it on 31 March, their member dealers had sold 94,000 BS-IV vehicles and non-members had sold over 1.3 lakh BS-IV vehicles, although the top court had allowed the sale of only 1.09 lakh vehicles. On 27 March, the SC allowed the sale of unsold BS-IV inventory for 10 days post end of lockdown, provided they get registered within 10 days of sale. The interim order was passed in view of FADA citing Force Majeure.

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Uma Bharti opts out of ‘bhoomi pujan’ ceremony

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Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti has asked the senior officials of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to remove her name from the list of invitees for the “bhoomi pujan” ceremony of Ram temple in Ayodhya on 5 August.

Taking to Twitter, Uma Bharti said that she is concerned about the health of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others who will be attending the mega event at Ayodhya, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. She wrote that she is concerned after getting the news of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and few others from the party having also tested positive for Covid-19.

“There is a possibility that I might come in contact with an infected person. In such a situation, I have decided to maintain a distance from Prime Minister Modi and other attendees,” she said.

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India restricts entry of Chinese firms in commercial coal mine auctions

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New Delhi: The government has restricted participation of companies from countries sharing a land border with India in the ongoing auction of coal mines for commercial extraction by the private sector.

The Coal Ministry has issued a corrigendum to the tender document issued for commercial coal mining, bringing out the fact that though 100 per cent FDI, under the automatic route, is permitted in the new activity, investment proposals or bids from countries sharing a land border with India will only be done through the government route. This would mean such proposals will first be vetted by the government before any participation is allowed.

The coal block auction has so far received good response from the investors.

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Traders write to Amit Shah slamming BCCI’s move to retain Chinese firm as IPL sponsor

Sabyasachi Roy Choudhury

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The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, opposing the recent decision of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) to retain Chinese company Vivo as its title sponsor for the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is to be held in the United Arab Emirates from 19 September to 10 November 2020.

The CAIT mentioned that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is uniting the nation with his call for “vocal for local” and “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”, the decision of the BCCI contradicts the policy of the government and hurts sentiments of the nation which is still facing China›s aggression at the borders. The apex trade body has also urged the government to withhold permission for the event.

“Under such a scenario, the decision of the BCCI smacks of its lust for money in utter disregard of safety of the people and that too involving Chinese companies,” reads the letter by Praveen Khandelwal, national general secretary of CAIT. “On the other hand due to Covid-19, various restrictions have been imposed by the Government for holding events in any part of the country which are in the larger interest of the people of India and contribute significantly to the efforts of the Union Government to curb spreading of Covid,” the letter reads further.

“It is also worthwhile to mention that mega international sports events like the Olympics and Wimbledon have been cancelled due to Covid. Whereas, the BCCI being unable to hold IPL events in India choose to hold the event in Dubai which clearly speaks its resolve to hold IPL positively come what may. Such an attitude of BCCI is highly regrettable and needs to be condemned in the strongest words. We would like to add that holding of IPL event in Dubai is away from the fact that uppermost in mind should be the concern about health and safety of all of those who come together to make IPL happen — the public in Dubai and visitors from around the world including India, players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents as well as broader responsibility of BCCI to Country›s efforts to tackle this global challenge to the way of life,” Khandelwal added.

RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) also opposed the decision of the BCCI to retain Vivo on Monday.

“Whole world is boycotting China, IPL is sheltering them,” Ashwani Mahajan, national coconvener of SJM, tweeted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah too slammed the IPL on Sunday, tweeting, “Chinese cellphone makers will continue as title sponsors of the IPL while people are told to boycott Chinese products. It’s no wonder China is thumbing its nose at us when we are so confused about how to handle Chinese money/investment/sponsorship/ advertising.”

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India increasing military might to ‘unnerve’ China

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With China not giving any indication of de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India is keeping its powder dry. Apart from cornering China through diplomatic channels, India has accelerated its efforts to strengthen itself on the defence front. As part of this exercise, New Delhi has started to take defence ties with various nations to a new high.

India has two-pronged strategy. First, it aims to boost its military strength keeping in view the Chinese threat. Second, India wants to put China under psychological pressure by deepening strategic and defence ties with the nations which are loathe to Beijing’s expansionist policy. These countries include the United States, Russia, the UK, Australia, Japan, etc.

Diplomatic sources believe that China is closely watching how India is preparing itself in order to deal with its neighbours who are creating trouble. With this on view, India can step up pressure on Beijing by being engaged in defence deals and military exercises with powerful nations.

 India expediting efforts to take a defence deal with Russia is also being seen in this context. Russia has offered India its light weight tanks Sprut SDM1 during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Moscow in June. Sources said that the tanks offered by Russia are capable of being airlifted. It means that they may be useful as far as highaltitude areas like Ladakh are concerned. This deal will take place between India and Russia with China in mind.

 According to sources, New Delhi and Moscow have also prepared a list of defence equipment to be used in the wake of tensions along the LAC. Moreover, India has also planned to enter into several other defence deals with the USA and Israel. South Block officials are removing bottlenecks, if any, to pave the way for the deals to reach logical conclusion. marathon meeting between senior commanders of India and China was held on Sunday to discuss ways to reduce tension through disengagement of troops. Sources said China is pushing up conditions. However, the meeting of the China Study Group headed by NSA AjitDoval is yet to take stock of the progress of the deliberations. But defence strategy is that China should be given a strong message as and when needed. India has, therefore, spared no effort to take the defence deals with various countries to logical conclusion as soon as possible. Sources said India has already started scouting for emergency purchases of weapons and other defence equipment.

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Rahul takes dig at PM Modi as Covid tally crosses 18-lakh mark

Aishvarya Jain

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Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi by putting a graph on his Twitter handle showing India first in the list of top 10 countries with highest spike of Covid cases in the last 24 hours. Taking a dig at PM Modi’s handling of the pandemic, the Congress leader said, “The right decisions at the right time means India is better off than other countries. Earlier, PM Modi had said that India was in a better position than many countries because right decisions were taken.”

Almost near the 2-million mark, the total number of Coronavirus cases has crossed the 18-lakh mark. With 52, 972 fresh cases, 771 deaths in the last 24 hours, India now has a total of 18,03,695 cases. The country has recorded 38,135 so far. The deadly virus has affected over 18 million people in the entire world and the numbers are still growing at a rapid pace.

 Maharashtra reported 8,968 fresh Covid-19 cases. 10,221 recoveries & 266 deaths were recorded in the last twenty-four hours here, taking total cases to 4,50,196. The state now has 2,87,030 recovered patients and saw 15,842 deaths. Number of active cases now stands at 1,47,018 out of which 41,664 cases were reported from Pune only.

Delhi registered 805 more coronavirus cases, taking the tally to over 1.38 lakh, while the death toll rose to 4,021 with 17 more deaths. The number of active cases stood at 10,207 while the total number of cases climbed to 1,38,482. Seventeen more fatalities were recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the total death count to 4,021.

Tamil Nadu recorded 5,609 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, taking the overall infection count to 2,63,222. As many as 109 people succumbed to the coronavirus as the death toll mounted to 4,241. Total 5,800 people were also discharged from different hospitals across the state taking the total recoveries to 2,02,283. Active cases in Tamil Nadu stood at 56,698 on Monday. Kerala reported 962 fresh cases, taking the total infection tally to 26,867 while the death toll climbed to 84 with two more fatalities. As many as 11,484 people are presently under treatment and 15,278 have recovered, including 815 recoveries in the last 24 hours across the state.

 Karnataka reported 4,752 new coronavirus cases and 98 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally to 1,39,571 in the state. This includes 62,500 recovered patients from different hospitals across the state. Total fatalities due to Covid-19 stood at 2,594 in the state.

In the meantime, Uttar Pradesh reported 4,441 new Covid-19 cases in the last twenty- four hours, taking the total to 97,362. 50 more fatalities pushed the death toll in the state to 1,778. Among the fresh cases, the highest number of 507 infections was reported from Lucknow, followed by 415 in Kanpur and 194 in Varanasi. Andhra Pradesh saw the surge of 7,822 Covid-19 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 1,66,586. While 5,786 patients had recovered and been discharged from hospitals across the state, another 63 succumbed to the pandemic in the last 24 hours. With a total of 88,672 recoveries so far, the number of active cases now stands at 76,377 and the total fatalities have increased to 1,537.

Gujarat reported 1,009 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking its tally to 64,684 and the death toll crossed the 2,500-mark. With 22 Covid-19 patients dying in the last 24 hours, total fatalities rose to 2,509. The number of recovered cases in Gujarat rose to 47,561 with 974 more patients getting discharged from various hospitals.

Haryana reported 654 new coronavirus cases and 7 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking total cases to 37,173, including 30,470 discharges and 440 deaths. Number of active cases stands at 6,263.

With 590 fresh cases in Jammu and Kashmir, the Covid-19 tally went past the 22,000-mark. 11 patients succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 407 in the Union Territory.

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All’s not well in Rajasthan BJP, Vasundhara sidelined

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The BJP, which was allegedly digging a pit for the Ashok Gehlot government, seems to be slowly slipping into it. The crisis in the BJP has begun with the announcement of the state executive of the party.

In the newly announced executive, BJP heavyweight Vasundhara Raje seems to have been sidelined. What is being seen as bad augury for the BJP is Raje’s deafening silence. Raje’s differences with the high command are also obvious. She has been on the collision course with party bigwigs ever since she emerged a big power centre in the state BJP. These biggies included Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Jaswant Singh, Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi to Raguvir Kaushal. Her relations with the top leadership were also not smooth on many occasions.

 Vasundhara Raje treaded on her own path in the political terrain of the desert state. And, she continues to be so.

The former CM commands popularity in the state, as Ashok Gehlot does. Both have tremendous hold over every nook and corner of the state. Gehlot’s image is that of a worker. Raje belongs to the royal family, but she connects with the grassroots and wins their support.

Raje has the quality of connecting with the rural population. That’s why no BJP high command could ever sideline her. Amit Shah couldn’t appoint Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as BJP Rajasthan chief just because of a veto from Raje in 2017. The choice of Vasundhara Raje got the job. When the BJP got defeated, new experiments in terms of organisation were sought to be made.

Shekhawat was elevated to the level of Cabinet minister at the Centre. Satish Pubia was given state charge. The BJP high command implemented its decisions. Vasundhara’s adversaries like Hanuman Beniwal, Kirori Lal Meena and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat were promoted. BJP president Satish Puniya also joined this group. It’s said that Amit Shah had allegedly assured this group that the Gehlot government would be toppled. The high command actually wanted to hit two birds with one stone. First, dislodging the Gehlot government, and second, anointing Shekhawat as his successor which would automatically end Raje’s era in Rajasthan. But CM Ashok Gehlot turned the tables on the BJP. And Shekhawat found himself accused of corruption charges.

Sources say that now the BJP is preparing to promote MP Diya Kumari. The new team of the BJP bears testimony to that. Diya Kumari is also from the royal family and what also goes in her favour is that she is young. Sources believe that the high command has plans to make her a minister in the Modi Cabinet. Her stature will go up with this move.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that at the present juncture, the BJP cannot afford to ignore Raje as the party has no leader in the state who could lead the BJP to victory.

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