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INDIAN (E)

INDIAN (E)

No paper submitted on third day of nomination-filing in Nagaland

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KOHIMA: No candidate filed papers on Friday, the third day of filing of nominations for the February 27 Nagaland Assembly election, officials said. The filing of nominations in the northeastern started following the issuance of the poll notification by the Election Commission (EC) on January 31.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Nagaland, Abhijit Sinha, said no candidate had filed nominations for the election so far. The last date of filing of nominations is February 7.

In a significant development yesterday, the BJP, after backing out of a joint declaration signed by all the parties in Nagaland to boycott the polls, announced that it would contest the election.

The media cell convener of the BJP’s Nagaland unit, K James Vizo, had yesterday said that after a thorough deliberation, “it was agreed upon that the BJP would contest the election as scheduled for the cause of a solution in the state.”

The BJP, an ally of the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), is yet to finalise its candidates, while both the parties have not come to any conclusion on seat-sharing for the election to the 60-member state assembly.

Vizo said the party leaders were holding discussions with the national leaders to finalise the candidates, while talks were also going on with the NPF over seat-sharing.

Rajya Sabha member and NPF secretary general K G Kenye said the party had entrusted its president, Shurhozelie Liezietsu, and Chief Minister T R Zeliang with the task of finalising the candidates and taking a decision on seat- sharing with the BJP.

Except for the BJP, no political party in Nagaland, including the NPF and opposition Congress, has made any official statement on contesting the polls. But they have said they will file nominations if any party does so first.

“The NPF, as a party, has solemnly pledged its allegiance to the principle of socialism, secularism and democracy. However, our commitment towards a solution to the Naga political issue shall continue as in the past,” a party statement said.

Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) secretary Moa Imchen told PTI that the first list of the party’s candidates was approved by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), but the party would stand firm on its commitment that unless the other parties filed nominations, it would not do so.

Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s (NDPP) working president Nuzota Swuro said, “We are mentally and physically prepared to contest the election, but everything depends on the filing of nominations by the other political parties.”

JD(U) Nagaland convener Senchumo NSN Lotha said the party was preparing to contest from at least 10 seats, if the polls were held.

The Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hoho and Civil Organisation (CCNTHCO) has asked the presidents and office- bearers of all the apex tribal bodies and civil society organisations to attend a meeting here tomorrow to chart the future course of action.

A joint declaration was signed by all the political parties in the state on January 29 not to contest the polls, in solidarity with the call of the Naga tribal organisations and civil society.

But the BJP backed out the next day, stating that the final call on the issue would be taken by its central leaders.



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Scheme without money is like flying kite without string: Chidambaram

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NEW DELHI: Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram took a dig at the Centre’s new healthcare scheme on Friday and said a scheme without money was like “flying a kite without a string”.

He also took a swipe at finance minister Arun Jaitley over his claim that he would raise money for the scheme in the future by calling it a “perfect jumla (gimmick)”.

“Scheme without money is like flying a kite without a string. The kite flyer will say that the kite is flying, but there will be no kite and nothing will be flying,” the senior Congress leader tweeted.

Chidambaram had yesterday described the scheme as another “jumla” as the Centre had not earmarked any funds for it in the budget estimates.

“Yesterday, I had said that the new HEALTH CARE SCHEME is a jumla with no money provided in the budget. Today, FM has admitted that no money has been provided and he will ‘raise money in the future’. Perfect jumla (sic),” he said in another tweet today.

In his budget proposals for 2018-19, presented in Parliament yesterday, Jaitley had announced the world’s biggest health cover plan that would be a revamp of the Congress-led UPA government’s Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) by raising the cover up to Rs 5 lakh.

The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) announced by Jaitley in the budget aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country.

The scheme will cover about 10 crore households and give a maximum coverage of Rs 5 lakh per person. It is expected to impact about 50 crore people.

It would entail an investment of Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 crore and was likely to be launched either on August 15 or October 2, official sources said.

Seeking to allay the concerns about the funding of the scheme, Health Minister J P Nadda today said finances would not be a problem and added that the Centre was working out the nitty-gritties of the programme.



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Three Army soldiers killed in avalanche in Machhil sector of J&K

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| Updated: Feb 2, 2018, 21:23 IST
Representative photoRepresentative photo

SRINAGAR: Three Army personnel were killed on Friday when an avalanche struck their post in Machhil sector of Jammu and Kashmir, the Army said.

“In an unfortunate incident of avalanche in Machhil sector, the Army lost three valiant soldiers,” an Army official said.

The bodies of the soldiers have been recovered, the official said, adding further details were awaited.

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    Implement SC order, form Mahanadi tribunal: Odisha CM to PM Modi

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    BHUBANESWAR: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to form a tribunal to resolve Mahanadi water sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh by implementing the Supreme Court’s January 23 order on the issue.

    In a letter address to PM Modi, Naveen reminded the prime minister about the apex court’s order to constitute a tribunal under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 within one month and requested him to stop Chhattisgarh from construction works in the river till the tribunal is formed.

    “Pending the constitution and functioning of the tribunal, I would be grateful, if you could kindly instruct the Union Ministry of Water Resources to issue necessary administrative directions to Chhattisgarh to stop construction of the ongoing projects..,” Naveen wrote.

    Naveen requested PM Modi to particularly ensure that Chhattisgarh stop works on six barrages across Mahanadi.

    The CM mentioned that the SC judgment as a first step has brought a sense of relief to the people of Odisha by way of protecting its age-old rights and interests in the waters of Mahanadi. “I would like to emphasize that 60% of the population of Odisha depends on Mahanadi waters for meeting the needs of irrigation and drinking water. The ecology and environment dependent on Mahanadi is far too important to be ignored,” Naveen wrote.

    Odisha has been pressing for early formation of a tribunal under the Inter-State Water Disputes, Act 1956 since it first approached the Union government for it on November 19, 2016. Naveen had written letters to Modi on November 7, November 11 and December 12 last year pressing for the tribunal.



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    Sensex crashing a 'No Confidence Motion' against Budget 2018: Rahul Gandhi

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    NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday used ‘parliamentary language’ to mock the Centre’s Budget 2018, informing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government that the Sensex crashing 800 points was a “No Confidence Motion” against it.

    A ‘No Confidence Motion’ in Parliament can only be introduced only in the Lower House, that is, the Lok Sabha, and is allowed only when a minimum of 50 members support it.

    Such a motion, if passed, makes it obligatory for the government at the Centre to vacate office.

    The Sensex today fell almost 840 points to end the day at 35,066.75, the biggest single day fall of the index since August 24, 2015, when it had fallen by 1,624.51 points, reported PTI.

    Investors lost Rs 4.6 lakh crore amid massive selling in the stock market.

    “The major part of today’s correction can be attributed to the budget announcement of imposition of long term capital gains tax on equity, introduction of tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds and fiscal slippage. The move surprised the Street as most participants were factoring in a change in definition of Long Term to two or three years from a year,” Devang Mehta, Head – Equity Advisory, Centrum Wealth Management, told PTI.


    (With inputs from PTI)



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    Judiciary capable of handling 'internal matters': Government

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    The government on Friday made it clear in Parliament that it will keep away from the tussle between the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, saying the judiciary is capable of handling its “internal matters”.

    | Feb 2, 2018, 17:52 IST

    File photo of press conference by four senior-most judges of SC that brought the differences within the apex court in public domain. File photo of press conference by four senior-most judges of SC that brought the differences within the apex c… Read More

    NEW DELHI: The government on Friday made it clear in Parliament that it will keep away from the tussle between the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, saying the judiciary is capable of handling its “internal matters”.

    Responding to three separate questions in the Rajya Sabha on the “rift” in the higher judiciary, the government said it has not received any information about it from the Supreme Court.

    Minister of state for law PP Chaudhary replied in a negative when asked whether the government has “assessed the impact of the rift” in the apex court.

    “Judiciary being an independent organ under the Indian Constitution, is capable of handling its internal matters. The government is committed to the independence of judiciary,” he said in a written reply to one of the questions.

    Four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court had virtually revolted against CJI Dipak Misra in January, raising several issues, including assigning of cases in the apex court.

    Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph have now been allocated important cases as per the new roster made public by the apex court.

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    India looks forward to work with Nepal's democratically elected govt: Sushma Swaraj

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    KATHMANDU: India is looking forward to working with Nepal’s democratically elected government to take bilateral ties to newer heights for mutual benefit and supports its efforts for economic growth and development, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj assured the country’s top leadership.

    Swaraj, who arrived here on Thursday on a two-day goodwill visit, today called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and held talks with CPN-Maoist Centre chairman ‘Prachanda’.

    Swaraj during her interactions on Friday discussed ways to advance India’s multi-dimensional and historic ties with Nepal.

    Swaraj conveyed to all political leaders of Nepal that the Government of India was looking forward to working with the democratically elected government to take forward bilateral ties to newer heights for mutual benefit, and to support the Government of Nepal, as per its priorities, in its endeavours for rapid economic growth and development, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

    “We will extend full cooperation to Nepal in attaining political stability and development,” Swaraj said during her breakfast meeting with Prachanda.

    “We discussed about the situation emerging after the conclusion of the elections and the preparation for formation of new government,” said Prachanda, whose party formed Left Alliance with CPN-UML during the recently held elections in Nepal.

    “I told Swaraj that we want political stability and development for which we need cooperation from the neighbours. Swaraj assured that India will extend full cooperation to Nepal in her efforts towards attaining political stability and development,” Prachanda said.

    The Maoist chief said Swaraj was curious to know about the political developments taking place in Nepal.

    “The talks we had were very positive and constructive. She also congratulated the Left Alliance for gaining victory during the recently concluded elections,” he said.

    “EAM @SushmaSwaraj met with Chairman CPN (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda of #Nepal and complemented him on his party’s performance in the recent elections. The two leaders discussed steps to further deepen our unique India- Nepal bilateral relations,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

    During her courtesy call on Nepal Prime Minister Deuba, she congratulated him on the successful conduct of the recent elections.

    “Discussions focused on enhancing our bilateral cooperation to take our age-old and historical partnership forward,” Kumar said.

    During her talks with Bhandari, Swaraj congratulated her on the successful conduct of election in Nepal.

    “Exchange of views on advancing our multi-dimensional relationship took place,” Kumar said.

    Swaraj on Friday held one-on-one talks with CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli, who is likely to be the next prime minister, and prominent leaders of Madhesi parties.

    Swaraj congratulated Oli for the victory of the Left Alliance in the recently concluded elections and expressed willingness to work with the new government.

    Oli said his party is eager to work in collaboration with neighbouring countries and would forge partnership with India to move forward the country towards the path of economic prosperity, according to CPN-UML sources.

    The clear victory to the Left alliance — CPN-UML led by Oli and the CPN-Maoist led by Prachanda — was not seen as a positive development for India given that Oli had publicly criticised New Delhi for interfering in Nepal’s internal matters and accused it of toppling his government last year.

    Swaraj left for home in the afternoon.



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    Judge Loya death case: Next hearing in SC on Feb 5 as arguments remain inconclusive

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    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) today said it will continue to hear the plea in the judge Loya death case on February 5, Monday, after arguments remained inconclusive, reported news agency ANI.

    The SC had on January 22 transferred to itself two cases from the Bombay high court (HC) about the alleged suspicious death of CBI judge BH Loya.

    The SC then also asked other HCs not to entertain any PILs on the issue relating to Loya’s death and posted the matter for hearing on February 2.

    As the Maharashtra government presented documents related to the Judge Loya death case, the SC said the issues raised in the current petitions are serious and “we must look into all documents with utmost seriousness.” The apex court then asked all parties to file any and all documents relating to judge Loya’s death.

    A PIL seeking a probe into the judge’s death was filed before the Bombay HC on January 8 by the Bombay Lawyers’ Association (BLA).

    On January 22, the BLA’s counsel, Dushyant Dave, said the documents produced by Maharashtra were incomplete. In fact, he said he had documents obtained under RTI to show there were indeed suspicious circumstances attached to judge Loya’s death.

    At the time of his death, on December 1, 2014, Loya was hearing the case of the alleged fake encounter killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which BJP chief Amit Shah was an accused party along with several others. Shah was subsequently discharged from the case by the judge who took over the case after judge Loya’s death.

    The two petitions which are pending in the apex court have been filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla and Maharashtra-based journalist BS Lone.

    Later, an application was filed by former Navy chief L Ramdas seeking an independent inquiry by a panel of retired apex court judges and former police officers into Loya’s death.

    The Maharashtra government is represented by advocate Harish Salve.

    Dave, the BLA’s counsel, took issue with Salve representing Maharashtra. He said Salve was Amit Shah’s counsel in the fake encounter case and therefore cannot appear for the Maharashtra government.

    A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra are hearing the pleas seeking an investigation into the death of the CBI judge.


    (With inputs from ANI)



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    Bofors payoffs: CBI moves Supreme Court challenging 12-year-old Delhi high court verdict closing case

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    | Feb 2, 2018, 15:29 IST
    Supreme Court Supreme Court

    NEW DELHI: The CBI today moved the Supreme Court (SC) challenging a 12-year-old Delhi high court verdict closing the Bofors case.

    CBI officials had on Tuesday told a parliamentary panel looking into the Bofors deal that they have enough evidence to file a special leave petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court in a case pertaining to the defence deal.

    Attorney General K K Venugopal reportedly gave permission orally to the CBI to file appeal, after it earlier advised the government that the investigating agency should not file an SLP in the case related to the Bofors gun payoff as it is likely to be dismissed.

    A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is hearing the case on a plea filed by BJP leader Ajay Aggarwal.

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    Govt to roll out health cover scheme from next fiscal: FM Arun Jaitley

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    NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the world’s biggest health cover plan announced in the Budget will be cashless and not a reimbursement scheme, and promised more funds if required depending on the rollout later next financial year.

    The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) touted as ModiCare envisaged to provide medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, constituting 40 per cent of total population.

    “It takes care of hospitalisation, the secondary and tertiary care. Obviously, it will involve various state hospitals and selected private hospitals. It can be on trust model, it can be on insurance model. It’s not on reimbursement model because too many complaints come on the reimbursement model,” he said here.

    The model is now being worked out between NITI Aayog and Health Ministry, he said adding the date of implementation would be next financial year and sometime in the course of the year it will be worked out.

    If assuming the model to be insurance led, the premium shrink with the increase in number of policy holders, he said at an event organised by Open magazine.

    The scheme although appreciated by experts also raises apprehension about its implementation and the initial corpus of just Rs 2,000 crore.

    Assuring that the scheme will be entirely state funded, Jaitley said initial funds of Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated and whatever funds required, as the scheme rolls over, would be made available.

    “In the coming year, I see more comfortable situation as far as revenues are concerned because the graphs as far as direct tax is concerned would move very fast,” he said.

    Following demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax, the number of direct tax assesses have gone up … once anti-evasion measures, I do expect a little bump up in the GST collection also. I don’t see revenue going to be a major challenge in that,” he said.

    Yesterday, Jaitley in the Budget speech said, “We are all aware that lakhs of families in our country have to borrow or sell assets to receive indoor treatment in hospitals. Government is seriously concerned about such impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families. Present RSBY provide annual coverage of only Rs 30,000 to poor families.”

    Several state governments have also implemented supplemented health protection schemes providing varying coverage, he had said in the Lok Sabha.

    The finance minister also advocated that the central and the state government can pool in resources for health care to achieve efficiency.

    He also emphasised on having better hospitals in rural areas even though Tier I and Tier II cities have good hospitals.

    Setting up of hospitals in various districts is the state subject under the federal structure, he added.



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