Armed Forces Veterans Day

The Armed Force are celebrating the Veterans Day on 14 Jan to honour the veterans of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  To mark the occasion, veteran rallies will be held country wide at Armed Forces stations.  The main celebration in Delhi will take place at the Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt.  Raksha Mantri and Raksha Rajya Mantri will grace the occasion amongst many other eminent officials associated with the Veterans affairs.

This special day started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service and was originally called Armistice Day.

It fell on Nov. 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to ‘Veterans Day’ in order to account for all veterans in all wars.

For the first time the Indian Armed Forces celebrated the Veteran’s Day on 14th January 2015, the day on which the first Field Marshall General KM Cariappa retired from service.

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Centre signs pact with 5 States on Renuka dam

The Centre has signed an agreement with Chief Ministers of five States — Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh — to restart construction of the Renuka multipurpose dam project in the Upper Yamuna Basin.

The Renuka dam project has been conceived as a storage project on the Giri river (a tributary of the Yamuna) in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The project envisages making a 148-meter-high dam for supplying water to Delhi and other basins States. It will also generate 40 MW of power.

The Renuka dam project has been conceived as a storage project on the Giri river (a tributary of the Yamuna) in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh.

The project envisages making a 148-meter-high dam for supplying water to Delhi and other basins States. It will also generate 40 MW of power.

Funding: Around 90% of the cost of irrigation/drinking water component of the project i.e. ₹3,892.83 crore will be provided by the Central government and the remaining ₹432.54 crore by the rest of the basin States.

Significance and impacts:

After the construction of the dam, the flow of the Giri river will increase by about 110%, which will help meet the drinking water needs of Delhi and another basin States.

Water from the Renuka dam will be used by U.P., Haryana and National Capital Territory of Delhi from Hathnikund barrage, by the NCT of Delhi from Wazirabad barrage and by U.P., Haryana, and Rajasthan from the Okhla barrage.

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VP Naidu inaugurates 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 in Mumbai

Governor of Maharashtra C. Vidyasagar Rao and Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. New India Rising to Global Occasions is the theme of the inaugural session of the Summit.

What is it?

The Partnership Summit provides for a global platform to dialogue, debate, deliberate and engage Indian and global leaders on economic policy and growth trends in India.

It is expected to build new partnerships and explore investment opportunities through high-level exchanges and B2B meetings.

It will showcase India in the present landscape of an emerging “New India”, the “New Global Economic Address”.

CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process.

Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has around 9000 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs.

CII works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the development of India, partnering industry, Government, and civil society, through advisory and consultative processes.

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Collegium Recommends Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna for Elevation to SC

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the names of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court for elevation as judges of the apex court.

The five-member Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took the decision in its meeting on January 10 to recommend the names of justices Maheshwari and Khanna for their elevation to the Supreme Court.

The decision of the Collegium, comprising justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Arun Mishra, was made public on the apex court’s website Friday.

The apex court, which has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges, is presently functioning with 26 judges.

The decision put on the website noted the issue of elevation of judges was deliberated on December 12, 2018, when Justice M B Lokur was also a member of the Collegium.

Justice Mishra became a member of the Collegium after Justice Lokur retired on December 30.

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Launch of Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza

The Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP), an initiative to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform was launched on 10th January 2019. This is a partnership by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian. A Joint Venture comprising of one Indian and Chinese company has been tasked with the running of the platform.

About the SIDCOP:

The initiative aims to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform. This platform will be managed by a joint venture comprising of one Indian and Chinese company.

The initiative aims to encash the expertise of Indian IT enterprises in business transformation and operational optimization by using IT tools in complex business environments.

It offers a boundary-less marketplace for Chinese enterprises in order to assist them in operational optimization and adopting industry best practices in business solutions by connecting with Indian enterprises.

National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM):

NASSCOM is a not-for-profit industry association and is the apex body for the Indian IT-BPM industry.

The membership of the NASSCOM is open for Companies registered in India and are focused on providing IT-BPM products and services.

NASSCOM aims to make sure that service quality and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights have been properly implemented in the Indian software and BPM industry.

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PM to release a Commemorative Coin to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh ji

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a commemorative coin on Guru Gobind Singh Ji, on January 13, 2019, at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi. The event marks the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Prime Minister will also address a select gathering on this occasion.

The Tenth Guru of Sikhs- Guru Gobind Singh has been a source of inspiration for many through his teachings and ideals. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj in Patna on January 5, 2017. He released a commemorative postage stamp to mark the occasion. In his address, the Prime Minister underlined how Guru Gobind Singh made a unique attempt to unite the country through the Khalsa sect and the five PanchPyaras belonged to different parts of India. He said that Guru Gobind Singh Ji put knowledge at the core of his teaching.

Recalling Guru Gobind Singh’s fight for the weaker sections, the Prime Minister in his Mann Ki Baat radio program broadcast on 30th December 2018 said that Guru Gobind Singh ji believed that the biggest service is to alleviate human sufferings. He lauded Guru Gobind Singh Ji for his heroism, sacrifice, and devotion.

At the Ludhiana National MSME Awards ceremony on 18h October 2016, the Prime Minister recalled how Guru Gobind Singh’s message that people should consider entire mankind as one- no one is superior or inferior, no one is touchable or untouchable is still relevant. In his Independence Day Address on 15th August 2016, Prime Minister once again brought to the fore the saga of sacrifice for the country which has been the tradition of Sikh Gurus.

Death of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.

On 7 October 1708, Guru Gobind Singh died of wounds inflicted when he was stabbed by an assassin. He was the last Sikh Guru.

Born Gobind Rai, Guru Gobind Singh was installed as the Sikh Guru aged nine when his father and the ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to embrace Islam.

His notable contribution to Sikhism is the establishment of the Khalsa in 1699.

The only son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna in December 1666.

He was educated in reading, writing, and also martial arts, archery, and horse riding.

Not only was he a brave warrior, but he was also a great poet and philosopher.

His literary contributions include the Jaap Sahib, Benti Chaupai, Amrit Savaiye, etc.

He took part in many battles, particularly against the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.

In the Battle of Anandpur (1704), the Guru lost his mother and two minor sons who were executed. His eldest sons also died in battle.

The Khalsa: Guru Gobind Singh’s most significant contribution was the institutionalising of the Khalsa, which was basically a warrior community. An initiation ceremony called Amrit Pehul was created and rules were formulated for the Khalsas. A male Khalsa was given the title ‘Singh’ and a female was given the title ‘Kaur’. This code solidified the martial spirit of the Sikh community.

Guru Gobind Singh started the tradition of the Five K’s for the Khalsa. The Five K’s are kesh (uncut hair), kanga (wooden comb), kara (iron or steel bracelet), kirpan (dagger) and kacchera (short breeches). These were the five articles of faith that a khalsa must always adorn. The tradition is still followed.

The Guru also laid down many other rules for the khalsa warriors to follow like abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, halal meat, etc. The khalsa warrior was also duty-bound to protect innocent people from persecution. Everyone was treated equally and caste was abolished.

The Khalsa tradition was responsible for converting the Sikhs into a strong and disciplined fighting group. This also paved the way for the establishment of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1799.

Another significant contribution of Guru Gobind Singh was the enshrining the Sikh scripture Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism. Thus, after his death, there were no more Gurus in human form.

Guru Gobind Singh also wrote the Zafarnama which was a letter to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is believed to have agreed to a meeting with the Guru but died before that.

The Guru along with his troops was stationed in the Deccan when two Afghan assassins commissioned by Wazir Khan gained access to the camp. One of the assassins stabbed the Guru at Nanded. The assassin was killed by the Guru while his accomplice was killed by Sikh guards. Guru Gobind Singh died of wounds a few days later on 7 October 1708 aged 42.

After the Guru’s death, there ensued a long and bitter war between the Sikhs and the Mughals.

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National Wildlife Board clears ONGC Trishna gas project

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Tripura Asset would soon start extracting natural gas from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Belonia subdivision of Gomati district following National Wildlife Board’s clearance of its proposal.

As the gas bearing zones are in the wildlife sanctuary, we needed permission from the National Wildlife Board. The National Wildlife Board, following recommendations from the state Wildlife Board, has cleared the project

The gas extracted from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary would be transported to the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) owned 100 MW gas-based thermal power project at Monarchak in Sonamura subdivision of Sipahijala district.

The geographical,  area of the state still remains to be explored and it would be a great achievement if gas is discovered in even 10 per cent area.

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Manifesto release 72 hours before poll begins: EC panel

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) should be amended to ensure that political parties release their manifesto at least 72 hours before voting ends in the first phase of polls, a committee set up by the Election Commission has recommended

Section 126 of the RP Act prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.

“Election matter” has been defined in that Section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.

The provision prohibits the conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of their results during the period mentioned therein, in the hour fixed for the commencement of polls in the first phase and half hour after the time fixed for a close of poll for the last phase in all the States.

Violation of the provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment up to a period of two years, or with fine or both.

What has been suggested?

Internet service providers and social media companies should take down content violating the 48-hour ban on campaigning prior to polling, instantly and latest within 3 hours of EC issuing such a direction.

Amend Section 126(1) of the R P Act to impose the “campaign silence period” on print, electronic media, and intermediaries. The definition of intermediaries, as per Section 2(w) of the Information Technology Act, includes telecom service providers, internet service providers, web-hosting service providers, search engines, etc.

Bring in changes in the model code of conduct to ensure that parties release their manifesto at least 72 hours prior to polling (or 72 hours prior to polling for the first phase in a multi-phase election).

Star campaigners should desist from addressing press conferences or giving interviews on election matters during the silence period. Also, in a multi-phased election, there should be no direct or indirect reference seeking support for parties/candidates in constituencies observing silence period.

Intermediaries should ensure that their platforms are not misused to vitiate free and fair polls. This would include a notification mechanism by which EC may notify the platform of potential violations of Section 126 of the R P Act.

While EC will appoint an officer to liaise with the intermediaries, the latter should open a special grievance redressal channel for EC and have a dedicated team during the election period to interface with and take quick action on receipt of EC order to take down or disable content in violation of R P Act.

Intermediaries should report to the Commission on measures taken to prevent abuse of their platforms, including generating publicly-available action taken reports. All political advertisements may be clearly labeled as such and be pre-approved by an EC-appointed content monitoring committee.

The intermediaries would also need to maintain a repository of political advertisements with information on their sponsors, expenditure and targeted reach.

Significance and implications:

The recommendations made by the Committee, when implemented will help in minimizing the possible interference of activities which aim at indirectly influencing voters during the valuable silence period of 48 hours provided to them.

The task of maintaining campaign silence during last 48 hours before the conclusion of polling is becoming increasingly onerous in light of the increasing influence of digital media. So, apart from the regulation by law and ECI instructions, the resolve, proactive support and sustained effort by all stakeholders is necessary to contain the evil impact.

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Political Parties Oppose Footing Bill for ads on criminal record

Congress and BJP have both questioned the Election Commission’s diktat that a candidate should foot the bill to publicize his criminal record, especially since it eats into his poll expenditure limit.

Candidates from both the national political parties are learned to have written to the EC red-flagging their concerns over the decision initiated by a Supreme Court order in September last year.

People familiar with the development said the EC would look into the issue in view of the communications and take a fresh position on it.

Key highlights directed by the SCs:

The SC had, in a bid to check increasing criminalisation of politics, ordered that it be made mandatory for every candidate in the fray in an election to inform the public at large about his criminal record in “bold letters” and at least three times after filing of nomination papers through newspapers at large and electronic media.

EC implemented the order for the first time in the recently held state elections, bringing out standard formats for each candidate to make a public declaration of his criminal record.

While the SC order did not clarify on who would foot the bill for these advertisements and under which precise electoral account it would fall.

It was added to the candidate’s election account in the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Mizoram.

Key concerns mentioned in this bill:

They pointed out that the impact could be significant for candidates in urban centres as compared to their counterparts from rural constituencies as newspaper and TV advertisements pricing is typically higher in cities.

The Election Commission has already sought details of expenditure incurred towards such public notices by the candidates who contested in the recent elections, to make an assessment.

One suggestion being made to EC is to shift the expenditure to the political party’s account instead as there is no expenditure limit for the party as of now.

There are also, however, arguments that the party and candidates are being unfairly made to bear the expense for advertising their own criminal record and it may be better to allocate airtime and newspaper space for this purpose as well just as is done for campaign purposes.

As of now, the expenditure limit for a state assembly candidate has capped at Rs 28 lakh while it is Rs 70 lakh for candidates for general elections.

All newspaper and electronic media advertisements/publicity material are currently included within this limit. Interestingly, many a candidate does not even exhaust this limit towards campaign expenditure even as a flow of cash and freebies is only increasing in every election.

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Proposal to revive National Register of Indian Citizens Project

The Union government’s fight against illegal immigrants will soon get a national canvas as it has decided to give a fresh impetus to the department of the National Population Register (NPR) under the Registrar General of India.

The division had turned almost non-functional after Aadhaar gained supremacy in the NDA government’s agenda in late 2014.

Key highlights of the NPR project proposal:

According to top sources in the government, data for NPR was collected in 2010 along with the house-listing phase of the Census.

However, the main task assigned to the department for the creation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) had been shelved by the government.

The NPR’s main task is to generate the NRIC.

The rest will automatically become National Register of Residents or NRR.

It is called a filtering process and involves field verification as well as scrutiny of documents.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam and the subsequent releasing of the data appears to have provided a much-needed push for the NRIC project.

Since the idea of the NRIC was first mooted during NDA-I, the deliberation within the government to revive the crucial department to identify and provide identity cards to Indian citizens is being seen as a last-ditch effort to contain the influx of illegal immigrants.

Over 40 lakh people were left out of the Assam NRC in July, and after claims and settlement, a final list will be released.

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