Several jawans were injured in an attack by militants on a CRPF patrol party near Lazibal area, Anantnag district of south Kashmir, on Thursday morning.However, unconfirmed reports suggest four jawans were injured. “We are assessing the situation. Reinforcements have been sent to nab the attackers,” said a police official.
In a bid to curb stubble burning that has been one of the reasons for dense smog in the country’s northern States, the Punjab government has decided to set up 400 processing plants before next year’s paddy season to convert paddy straw into bio-energy. “The plants will become operational before the next paddy season, thus preventing recurrence of the environmental hazard triggered by stubble burning,” an official spokesperson said in a statement.The MoU was signed on behalf of the Punjab government by R.K. Verma, CEO, Punjab Bureau of Investment Promotion, and K. Iyyapan, MD of NEWAY, a Chennai-based company. “Plants will be set up by NEWAY Engineers MSW Private Limited with a total investment of ₹10,000 crore over the next 10 months,” added the spokesperson.The spokesperson said the company would use its breakthrough and patented pollution-free zero residue technology to ensure that there was no residue at the end of the process, thus preventing any land filling. “The technology will provide a sustainable solution to the environmental problems caused by burning of paddy residue in the State.” Under the agreement, the company will set up 400 cluster units for the 20 million tonnes of paddy straw expected to be generated in the State in a season. Each unit will have the capacity to process 50,000 tonnes through the year, or 150-175 tonnes per day per unit.
A group of Christians were arrested by the police after they were found to be praying inside their house in Mathura. They were accused of “forcible conversion” of people in Irauli Gurjar village of Mathura. According to a local resident, Mamta, a Christian resident of the village, had invited fellow Christians in her house and was holding a prayer when they were attacked by her Hindu relatives. Mamta’s extended relatives filed a complaint alleging “forcible conversion” by Mamta and her friends. She denied any kind of conversion bid and had told the police that she and her friends were “holding prayer in her house as December was the month in which Jesus Christ was born.”According to Aditya Shukla, Superintendent of Police (Mathura rural) police received a complaint that a few Christians were trying to “convert people” in the village. “Seven people have been booked and arrested under IPC Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). They have been sent to 14 days judicial custody by the local Mathura court,” Mr. Shukla said. Their bail petition is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday in the local court.Pramod Singh from Christian Legal Association told The Hindu that this “was an attempt to spread fear among the minorities and make them feel like second class citizens.”“All that these people were doing in Mamta’s house was holding prayer when they were attacked by Hindutva goons and arrested by the police. Since when holding prayer and practising one’s own religion became illegal in this country,” he said. “The Christian community in Mathura is scared. There is atmosphere of fear and apprehension about practising one’s faith. Christmas is approaching and Christians are scared of holding prayer,” he alleged.
Three Bangladeshi nationals were arrested by the city unit of the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) on Saturday on suspicion of being part of an Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic extremist organization.The trio, who had been apparently residing using forged identity papers, were believed to have links with the outlawed Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) – the militant outfit also called as Ansar Bangla, said ATS sources.“The suspects were picked up for questioning from the city’s Akurdi and Wanowrie areas. They were residing illegally with forged Aadhaar and PAN cards which were retrieved from their persons. We are interrogating them to ascertain the nature of their association with the ABT, and their role here,” said an ATS officer.Two of those nabbed hailed from Khulna, while the other came from Shariatpur district in Bangladesh.The city ATS team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ATS) Sunil Darekar acted on a tip-off received on Friday about an alleged ‘infiltrator’ from Bangladesh living in the Kondhwa-Wanorie area.On detaining and quizzing the suspect, the team secured information about the whereabouts of the other two Bangladeshi nationals.
Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday welcomed former President Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to accept an invitation to attend an RSS event, saying it is a “good start” and “political untouchability” is an outdated concept.Mr. Gadkari, the Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur, also said the RSS was not Pakistan’s ISI, but an organisation of nationalists.Mr. Mukherjee has been invited to be the chief guest at the valedictory function of Sangh Shiksha Varg — a training camp for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers — at its headquarters in Nagpur. The event is to be held on June 7 and a senior RSS functionary had said on Monday that Mr. Mukherjee has accepted the invitation.“Mukherjee’s acceptance of the invitation is a good start. Political untouchability is not good,” Mr. Gadkari told reporters here when asked about reported reservations in the Congress over the former President accepting the RSS invite.“It is the prerogative of the organisers to invite someone and it is the prerogative of those invited to accept it or not,” he added. Calling political untouchability “outdated”, Mr. Gadkari said, “I believe political untouchability in a democracy is not good. We should meet each other, discuss each others’ views. If we don’t agree with the views, we should express it.” Citing an example, Mr. Gadkari said, “When I became BJP national president, I went to the CPM headquarters to seek the blessings of A. B. Bardhan, who hails from Nagpur and whom I consider an icon.” Hitting out at opponents who often refer to the BJP as a “communal” party, Mr. Gadkari said that such people themselves were “small hearted”.“Those calling others communal are communal themselves and small hearted people,” Mr. Gadkari said. Even though there has been no official reaction from the Congress on Mr. Mukherjee’s decision, several party leaders had expressed surprise over the development.
A team of Manipur’s Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) on Wednesday caught the head of a tribal council and seven others for possessing 4 kg of heroin and 2.8 lakh Yaba tablets besides old notes of ₹500.Yaba is an intoxicant made from methamphetamine and caffeine. NAB officials said the seized drugs are worth ₹20 crore in the grey market.NAB officials said a team led by deputy superintendent of police Thounaojam Brinda caught Lhukhosei Zou, a Congress leader and chairman of Chandel Autonomous District Council, and the others from his residence at Lamphel in State capital Imphal. district borders Myanmar.NAB officials said the consignment of drugs, procured from adjoining Myanmar, was in the process of being trafficked to Meghalaya capital Shillong and other states in the Northeast. Chandel
Criticising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments at the Centre and the State for “utterly failing at governance” during its four years in power, the Maharashtra Pradesh Yuva Congress on Wednesday held a state-wide ‘mock’ yoga protest targeting the governments for failing to deliver on it’s promises.“The Modi government at the Centre and the BJP-Sena government at the State are misleading youth. None of the pre-electoral promises touted by them have been fulfilled. Instead, fake statistics showing fantastic employment generation figures are being published by both the Centre and the State,” said Satyajeet Tambe, president, MPYC, who led the agitation in Aurangabad district.Youth Congress workers lampooned Mr. Modi’s fondness for yoga, and performed a number of mock ‘asanas’ like ‘berozgari asan’ (to protest against unemployment), Rafale asan (on the Rafale jet fighter deal) and mehengai asan (to condemn the rising fuel prices) among several others in a two-hour mock agitation simultaneously across the State including Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Thane. With an eye on general and Assembly elections due next year, the protest also doubled up as a voter outreach programme to connect with the youth across the State.“The two crore jobs promised by PM Modi and the BJP are nowhere to be seen even after four years of the party’s rule,” Mr. Tambe said, remarking that merely signing a several Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreements amounted to nothing.He further alleged that the BJP government’s much-vaunted programmes like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Magnetic Maharashtra’ had come to a cropper.“There is no sign of any fresh investment or employment generation through such ambitious ventures. Furthermore, the government seems completely apathetic about taking any action on granting reservation to the Maratha, Dhangar and Muslim communities,” Mr. Tambe said.To protest against the Modi government’s alleged crackdown on dissent, the Youth Congress workers performed a ‘trollasan’ and a ‘bhakt asan’ to satirize the acolytes of the Prime Minister. They also did a ‘maun asan’ to rebut the BJP and Prime Minister Modi’s bitter criticism of former PM Manmohan Singh for allegedly remaining ‘silent’ all the while.“Mr. Singh’s actions spoke louder than his words. But Mr. Modi conveniently remains silent on issues that matter and instead delivers speeches making tall claims which have turned out to be hollow,” said Brijkishore Dutt, general secretary, State Youth Congress.
The Gujarat High Court on Friday upheld the prosecution of two BJP Ministers of the then Modi government in the State, in connection with the ₹400 crore fisheries scam in which contracts for fishing were awarded without bidding in 58 dams and reservoirs in 2008.Justice J.B. Pardiwala dismissed petitions of Parshottam Solanki and Dilip Sanghani, who challenged a lower court’s order initiating criminal prosecution for alleged irregularities and corruption in awarding fisheries contracts.In 2016, a local anti-corruption court in Gandhinagar had initiated the prosecution after the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed its probe report.A detailed probe conducted by the ACB had implicated the former Ministers and officials of the agriculture and fisheries departments.The High Court has now asked both political leaders to surrender before the local court within two weeks and face trial.The High Court acted on a petition filed by Ishaq Maradia, who has been fighting to bring the scam to light.“Both will have to face the trial now. In the case of Solanki, even the Governor has granted sanction of prosecution in the scam,” a government official said after the High Court order.
Face of the Patidar quota agitation in Gujarat, Hardik Patel is set to take a plunge in the politics by joining Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Mr. Patel on Thursday given green signal to join Congress in a meeting of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) held in Rajkot district.“The issue of Hardik’s joining politics was discussed and all members of the PAAS, which is the apex decision making body of the agitation, has given him go ahead to join Congress party,” PAAS member Geeta Patel said after the meeting.His entry into the opposition party will likely take place on March 12 after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to be held in Ahmedabad.After the meeting, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and others will address a public rally at Adalaj where the 25-year-old Mr. Patel is likely to be inducted into the party.Meanwhile, amidst political buzz about his contesting Lok Sabha polls, the PAAS members said that Mr. Patel will take that call after joining the party.“He is likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls but from where is yet to be decided,” a person close to Mr. Patel said.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Saturday announced names of candidates for 39 of the total 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. The candidate for the seat in Khagaria, which has gone to the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), has been left out as LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan said there were several claimants to it.BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain, who had contested from the Bhagalpur seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll but was defeated by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate Bulo Mandal, has been dropped this time.Social mixA good mix of social compulsions is also seen in the list. — 13 seats have gone to upper caste candidates, 12 to Other Backward Classes (OBC), seven to Economically Backward Classes (EBC) and six to Scheduled Castes (SC). One seat — Kishanganj — has been given to a Muslim candidate, Mehmood Ashraf, from the JD(U)’s quota.Of the 17 seats in its quota, the BJP has fielded 10 upper castes candidates, five OBC candidates, one EBC candidate and one SC candidate. Similarly, the JD(U), too, has tried to balance caste composition by six tickets each to OBC and EBC candidates. It has also fielded two upper caste, two SC and one Muslim candidate.As was widely expected, rebel BJP MP from Patna Sahib Shatrughan Sinha, too, was out of the NDA list. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has replaced Mr. Sinha. The latter is likely to join the Congress in the coming days, and is expected to contest from the Patna Sahib seat against Mr. Prasad. Both Mr. Sinha and Mr. Prasad belong to the upper caste Kayastha community, which has a sizeable presence in this BJP stronghold constituency. Five sitting BJP MPs — Satish Chandra Dubey from Valmikinagar, Janak Ram from Gopalgunj, Om Prakash Yadav from Siwan, Birendra Chaudhury from Jhanjharpur and Hari Manjhi from Gaya (reserved) seats — have been dropped, too, as these seats have gone to the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) kitty under the alliance’s seat distribution.
Only a handful of U.K. universities are deeply involved in the fight to improve global health, according to a new ranking table released yesterday at the United Kingdom’s Houses of Parliament. The idea behind the list—which follows a similar ranking for U.S. and Canadian universities and another one for pharmaceutical companies—is to encourage spending on global health research and to increase the pressure on stragglers to step up their efforts.The University of Oxford came out on top in the table, followed by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Imperial College London, University College London, and the University of Liverpool. These five account for 74% of the United Kingdom’s global health research spending and 78% of the spending on neglected tropical disease, according to the ranking. Out of the 20 others listed in the table, eight are ranked with a D grade; only six received a B or above. The University of Cambridge, which shared the No. 2 spot in a ranking of the world’s best universities last year, is 15th on the list with a C-minus grade.The list received plaudits from Harvard University’s Paul Farmer, the co-founder of Partners in Health, a U.S. research and aid group. The table helps “illuminate the effects of academic biomedical research on the health of the world’s poor, and hold universities accountable for the impact, or lack of impact, that their policies have on global health,” Farmer said in a statement yesterday.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) and Medsin-UK, which together produced the table, used two key criteria: “Innovation,” for instance, what proportion of research funds is used for neglected diseases and how many papers focus on low- and middle-income countries; and “Access,” which gauges how much universities are doing to make the fruits of their research widely available. “Despite most research funding coming from government grants, medicines developed in universities can be priced out of reach of patients in the developing world,” UAEM’s Dzintars Gotham said in a statement yesterday.LSHTM Deputy Director and Provost Anne Mills says she’s “pleased” about her institute’s second place. “I would expect that—we are a school of global and public health,” she says. But Mills says that the ranking system’s methodology has its limitations. It relies in part on publicly available information and websites, for instance, which according to Mills helps explain why LSHTM only scored a B minus on “Access.” “It’s not that we don’t make our discoveries available, it’s that we don’t have statements about it on our website,” she says.
A nearby dwarf galaxy is giving astronomers a unique view of what the first stars and galaxies in the universe may have looked like. The early universe was made up almost exclusively of the hydrogen and helium created shortly after the big bang. All the other stuff we have today was made by stars burning hydrogen and helium as fuel, fusing them into heavier elements, and then spewing them out when they explode as supernovae at the end of their lives. Models suggest that the first generation of stars, made almost exclusively of hydrogen and helium, were unlike anything we see today—huge monsters hundreds of times the mass of the sun pumping out intense high-energy radiation. Such stars are thought to have played a role in the epoch of reionization—a period before the universe was 1 billion years old during which all the gas it contained was stripped of electrons, becoming ionized—but they are too far away to be studied. Now, a team of astronomers has surveyed a dwarf galaxy called IZw 18 (pictured above), which has the least heavy elements of any galaxy in the nearby universe. They found a large region of the galaxy giving off a signal of helium being ionized. It takes intense radiation to knock electrons from helium, so the team suggests this month in The Astrophysical Journal Letters that IZw 18 may be the home of modern-day equivalents of those primordial, bright, supergiant stars. Studying them more closely could teach us more about conditions during the epoch of reionization.
Indians were the largest group of skilled workers granted visas to live and work in the UK last year at 57 per cent, according to official figures released here today. Related Items
Landlords who crammed up to 40 migrants inside their semi-detached townhouse face losing hundreds of thousands pounds, a court heard.Harsha Shah, 53, her daughter Chandni, 27, and brother-in-law Sanjay, 54, rented out their four-bedroom property through an agent who at one point managed 40 Indian migrants living there.For over five years the Shah family, together with agent Jaydipkumar Valand, 42, were paid between £40 and £75 per week in cash by the tenants for rent and to have food delivered because the kitchen was unusable.Read it at Independent Related Items
Long-standing Indian plans to build a naval base on Assumption Island in Seychelles have stalled amid mounting resistance throughout the sparsely-populated 115-island, Indian Ocean nation.Seychelles is strategically situated in the western Indian Ocean, about 1,500 kilometres east of Kenya. Its 94,000 people live on a group of 42 islands that sit astride east African and south Asian sea lanes, amongst the busiest in the world.Read it at WSWS Related Items
The UK has announced the closure of its probe into corruption charges against senior executives of British aerospace and defence major Rolls-Royce in India and six other countries.Read it at Money Control Related Items
For some time now, Indian Americanss have enjoyed an enviable reputation as a community of physicians, techies and, lately, spelling bee wiz kids. We have occasionally tired of correcting a notable omission from the list – that of motel owners. It is a stereotype rooted in some fact. Nearly one in 15 U.S. physician is Indian, as are perhaps one in six software engineers and one-third to half of all U.S. motel owers. And this year, not just the winner, but all four finalists in the spelling bee happened to be Indian.It bears recognition, however, that notwithstanding the fact that Indians are disproportionately represented in these categories than the general population, these groups alone do not make up the community, or even a majority of it. There are, after all, maybe about 20,000 Indian doctors; perhaps 150,000 to 200,000 Indian techies and possibly 8,000 Indian motel owners in a community that is currently over 2 million strong.Our stories this month reveal that the community has spread its wings well beyond the confines of the public stereotypes associated with it. Our cover story on Indian attorneys, for example, shows how the profession has graduated far beyond the pigeon hole of immigration law, into which most first generation Indian attorneys were slotted.An Indian attorney, Neal Katyal, is leading the charge in challenging the Bush administration’s roundly criticized detention policies in Guntanamo Bay. Another young Indian attorney, Vanita Gupta, spearheaded a highly publicized civil rights appeal in Tulia, Texas, successfully overturning scores of wrongful drug-dealing convictions and securing the release of 43 African Americans defendants.We also feature this month super model Saira Mohan, who was splashed across the cover of Newsweek as “The Perfect Face.” She has graced scores of other provocative magazine covers, from Vogue to GQ. Modeling in bikinis for Stuff and FHM might seem an incongruous profession in a community associated in the public mind with nerdy techies and bookish spelling bee contestants. But it is a welcome trend, evidence that the new generation of Indians is fast embracing the full spectrum of American life for its canvas.Which is the way it ought to be. Related Items
Amid speculation that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led State government was considering halting ‘excess’ water supply for agriculture to the Baramati and Indapur talukas, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said any comment on the drought and water crisis must be made with extreme sensitivity.“The whole of Maharashtra is in the grip of an unprecedented water crisis. At such a time, there is a need to speak with extreme sensitivity on this issue. One must ensure there is no discrimination between different regions and talukas in the State as regards the distribution of water,” Mr. Pawar said, urging the government not to resort to politics over drought and water allocation.The NCP chief, who was on a tour of the drought-hit parts of Baramati, was responding to the rumours that State Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan was thinking of cutting the allegedly excess water supply from the Nira left bank canal to Indapur and Baramati.Mr. Mahajan has said that Baramati and Indapur — strongholds of the Pawar clan and Congress leader Harshavardhan Patil respectively — have been receiving more water than required. He implied that Mr. Pawar and his nephew, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, had tweaked rules to divert more water to Baramati when the Congress-NCP government was in power.The Nira project consists of a storage reservoir on the Yelwandi river near Bhatgar and two canals. The left bank canal, which originates from the Nira river at Vir, irrigates areas of Pune district, including Baramati and Indapur, and parts of Solapur district. The right bank canal irrigates some other tehsils in Solapur.Mr. Mahajan said more water was diverted to the left canal that passed through Baramati and Indapur, while areas in Solapur district like Malshiras, Madha and Sangola were left high and dry.“The local MP from Madha and other leaders from Solapur district have complained that five talukas are receiving only 40% water from the Nira left bank canal, while Baramati and Indapur are receiving the remaining 60%,” Mr. Mahajan told a vernacular television channel. It is believed that the newly elected Madha MP Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar and other leaders from Solapur like Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil, son of former NCP MP Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, met the minister on this matter. According to rumours, Mr. Mahajan is expected to issue an ordinance on this matter soon. The move, if implemented, is seen as a stratagem on part of the BJP to break the Pawars’ stranglehold on Baramati ahead of the Assembly elections.Ajit Pawar, who toured Baramati with his uncle, said, “I have yet to hear anything said by Mr. Mahajan on this issue. I am not aware if such a decision has been mooted… But the government should know that there are people living on both sides of the Nira canal.” Senior Congress leader Harshavardhan Patil, whose bastion is Indapur, however warned of a strong agitation if such an ordinance comes into effect. “The Water Resource Department has no right to take such a decision, if at all it is being mulled. Indapur and Baramati are catchment areas. If water supply to these talukas is going to be stopped, we will be compelled to launch an agitation and take legal recourse,” Mr. Patil said.
The Rajasthan Assembly on Monday passed the Rajasthan Lokayukta and Up-Lokyuktas (Amendment) Bill to reduce the tenure of the Lokayukta from earlier eight years to five years. The Bill was presented by Energy Minister B.D. Kalla in the House on behalf of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and was passed by voice vote. Under the amendment in the Bill, which was brought to replace an ordinance issued in March this year, the tenure of the Lokayukta has been reduced to five years from eight years. The previous BJP government had increased the Lokayukta’s tenure to eight years from five years last year. “Recently, the term of office of the Lokayukta was increased from five years to eight years by amending section 5 of the Rajasthan Lokayukta and Up-Lokayuktas Act, 1973. But in most of the States of the country the Lokayukta holds the office for a term of five years. “Moreover, the term of the chairperson under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (Central Act No. 1 of 2014) is also five years,” the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill said. “In order to maintain parity with the term of Lokayukta in other States of the country and, chairperson of Lokpal in the Centre, it was decided by the State government that term of five years is adequate for the office of the Lokayukta,” it further said. Heated argumentsDuring the debate on the Bill, heated arguments broke out between Speaker C.P. Joshi and Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore when the latter was asked to be specific on the topic.