FICCI welcomes appointment of Rajiv Kumar, new VC of NITI Aayog

New Delhi [India], August 6 (ANI): The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Sunday, while welcoming the new Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar, said the chamber has now become increasingly crucial, owing to the emphasis of the current government on cooperative federalism.


“NITI Aayog has increasingly gained in importance given the focus the current government has placed on the subject of cooperative federalism. FICCI welcomes the appointment of Dr. Rajiv Kumar as the new Vice Chairman of the organisation,” the chamber said.


Lauding the Centre for its immediacy in recruiting a new Vice Chairman following the resignation of Arvind Panagariya, the FICCI said it will help the think tank in maintaining its momentum of work.


“NITI is working in an array of areas that promote cross-learning and sharing of experiences amongst states for enhancing growth and development. This decision of the government will help NITI maintain continuity in its policy advocacy work,” it noted.


A DPhil holder in Economics from Oxford University and a PhD holder from Lucknow University, Dr Kumar is currently a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research (CPR), a non-governmental think thank on public policy.


Dr Kumar will be succeeding Panagariya, who resigned from his post as vice chairman on August 1, with August 31 being his last day.


The Indian American economist is reportedly returning to the United States to resume his academics.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appointed Panagariya as the first vice-chairman of NITI Aayog on January 5, 2015. (ANI)

Kerala Govt. needs to discipline its own cadres: Jaitley

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India] August 6 (ANI): Condemning attacks on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members in Kerala, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that the state government needs to have a hold on its own cadres rather than letting them loose on the opposition party leaders.


“This sort of attacks on political leaders has never happened in the past. Political will and determination by the state government is needed to discipline its own cadres rather than let them loose on political opponents. It is predominantly state government’s responsibility to ensure peace restoration,” Jaitley said while addressing a press conference here.


He added that the kinds of wounds inflicted on RSS activist Rajesh Edavakode would have embarrassed even terrorists.


“I had, since this morning, the opportunity of meeting a large number of victims of violence which has been going on in the state for the last several months. I must say that what, I have heard and seen, saddens me immensely as it should sadden and disturb every Indian. The state of Kerala and its people have a huge potential. Therefore the state needs peace, it deserves a peaceful environment and it deserves civility,” Jaitley asserted.


The Union Minister further said that in an environment of violence, people suffer, economy suffers, investment suffers and obviously the atmosphere of democracy suffers.


“I pray that this environment doesn’t continue for long and hope that the state government takes action against recurrence of any such incident. It is sad that every time Left Democratic Front (LDF) is in power, incidents of violence increase. You witness political opponents being killed,” Jaitley added.


Jaitley, earlier in the day, met the grieving family members of RSS worker Rajesh Edavakode, who was killed during political clash in Kozhikode.


A series of clashes between CPM and BJP-RSS activists had rocked Thiruvananthapuram last month in which the 34-year-old RSS worker was murdered in Kozhikode.


Earlier, the RSS urged the central and state government to take strict action towards bringing this series of murders to an end in Kerala.


“Centre must intervene in state sponsored violence in Kerala,” said RSS Joint General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale


RSS also passed a resolution in RSS Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal meet regarding these attacks on the RSS by CPM cadres in the state.


Eight suspects were detained in connection with the murder.


Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned the murder and called for an all-party meeting on August 6 regarding the same.


He said that party offices and workers’ houses can’t be attacked and political parties should be more vigilant and ask workers to keep away from such incidents.


Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had called on Vijayan to nab the perpetrators and bring them to justice expeditiously.


He even requested the Chief Minister to curb the political violence in the state and said, “I expect that the political violence in Kerala is curbed and that the perpetrators are brought to justice expeditiously.”


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on July 4 issued notice to the Kerala Government over growing incidents of political violence in the state and sought a report on the issue within four weeks.


The Commission also asked the state Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to take effective measures to stop such incidents. (ANI)

People’s support is my strength: Medha Patkar’s hunger strike enters Day 11

Dhar (Madhya Pradesh) [India], August 6 (ANI): With Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar’s health deteriorating as her hunger strike enters its eleventh day today, the activist said that the support extended to her is her strength.


Appearing to be severely frail as she lay on a cot, she said that she derives strength from the people who have been supporting her throughout the protest.


“It’s not only me but a lot of people. We tend to get stronger with every passing day,” she told ANI.


She has been fasting for the rehabilitation of the families who were affected by the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.


Medha Patkar and 11 others are on fast since July 27 on Narmada bank in Dhar district’s Chikhalda village.


On Friday, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had requested Patkar to end the fast.


“I am concerned about your health and that of your mates. I politely request you to end the fast ,” Chouhan tweeted.


Earlier, a case was registered against the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ workers by the administration for keeping a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in captivity for three hours.


The administration had alleged that the workers protesting there held a team of NDRF under captivity for three hours.


Refuting the allegations Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Patkar had said, “The government is making false cases to defame the movement after the administration is has imposed a case.” (ANI)

Congress takes dig at Modi, say NaMo is ‘No agriculture Mal-governance’

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], August 6 (ANI): The Congress on Sunday lambasted the Narendra Modi led- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, describing sobriquet NaMo as “No Agriculture Mal-governance Only”.


Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Sunday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing the BJP-led central government of indulging in vendetta politics. He also said that the current political scenario in the country doesn’t go with the idea of a democracy.


Speaking in a press conference in Lucknow, he said, “The Chief Minister has done a terrible job with respect ro the situation of the farmers. The number of farmer suicides has increased ever since his government came into place.”


Making a cheeky dig on the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, he said that the government has done an ‘excellent’ job at increasing the rate of the onions, describing it as a ‘Get Rich Quicker’ scheme for the government.


Commenting on the CBI raids against Opposition leaders, Singhvi said, “CBI is conducting raids at houses of members of Opposition. Why was it sleeping during Vyapam investigation?” He also challenged the CBI to take up the Vyapam Scam and investigate into the matter.


He pointed out the names of a number of leaders like the Chief Minister of Chattisgarh Raman Singh and his son, Abhishek Singh, as members of BJP who have been previously accused of corruption.


Earlier this week, the Income Tax department had carried out searches at 64 locations and properties linked to Karnataka Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, who was overseeing the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat at a resort near Bengaluru, in connection with a case of alleged tax evasion. Similar searches were also conducted against other Opposition leaders in Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. (ANI)

B’luru: Congress Gujarat MLAs to fly back tomorrow

New Delhi [India], Aug. 6 (ANI): At least 44 Congress Gujarat MLAs, who were staying in Bengaluru’s Eagleton Resort to ensure they don’t succumb to police and political pressure to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will return back to Gujarat on Monday.


In the backdrop of Gujarat Congress MLAs quitting and joining the BJP, as many as 44 of the grand old party MLAs left for Bengaluru.


Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar earlier said, “To ensure that BJP is not successful in its mission, 44 of us Congress MLAs are leaving from Gujarat for Bengaluru. To hide their failure, the saffron party is trying to make sure our MLAs resign by offering money and through police pressure.”


Earlier, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had accused the BJP in the state of horse-trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for August 8.


The developments came after at least six Congress MLAs in Gujarat resigned from the party to join the BJP. (ANI)

Justin Gatlin gatecrashes Usain Bolt’s farewell party

London [U.K.], August 6 (ANI): The great Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, who was to retire after the IAAF World Championships 2017 in London, had to settle for bronze even as American Justin Gatlin surprised everyone with a season’s best 9.92.


Christian Coleman (9.94) took silver, with Bolt clocking 9.95 seconds.


This was not the last time we saw the eight time Olympic Gold winner on the track though, as the 30-year-old is set to race in August 12’s 4x100m final.


Bolt holds the world record for the 100m (9.58 seconds), the 200m (19.19 seconds) and the 4x100m relay (36.84 seconds). At the Rio Olympics in 2016, Bolt won the 100m in 9.81 seconds.


Bolt hasn’t lost at a major championship since he burst onto the scene in 2008 and took over.


Speaking ahead of his retirement, Bolt said he would like to go out at the pinnacle of his sport when he was “unbeatable, unstoppable.” He also joked that he was still waiting for a call from Manchester United to play football.


After Bolt’s retirement, the world will see the rise of American Christian Coleman and Canada’s Andre de Grasse – the only two who seem close to fill the former’s big shoes. (ANI)

Vijender Singh dedicates his ‘Battleground Asia’ victory towards India-China peace

New Delhi [India], August 6 (ANI): Boxer Vijender Singh, who on Saturday defeated China’s Zulpikar Maimaitiali in the unified WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental Super Middleweight title, has dedicated the victory towards peace and harmony between India and China, more particularly in the backdrop of the Doklam stand-off.


“Want to dedicate this victory towards peace and harmony between India and China! Jai hind,” Vijender Singh took to Twitter on late Saturday night.


Singh earlier in the day maintained his unbeaten streak by defeating Maimaitiali.


Singh won his second title and ninth consecutive pro bout as he beat his Chinese opponent on points by a unanimous decision.


He, however, returned the title saying, “I don’t want this title, because I don’t want tension at the border (between India and China).”


Speaking about the much-awaited encounter, Vijender had earlier trolled his opponent and said that he would try to finish the bout as soon as possible as “Chinese products don’t last long”.


Vijender, who has remained unbeaten since his debut in professional boxing, has also fought eight bouts, last one being against former world number one boxer Francis Cheka from Tanzania where he defended his title.


Vijender clinched his first title in July 2016 against Kerry Hope of Australia, becoming the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion. He has 30 rounds under his belt, which gives him a slight edge over his opponent, who has fought 24 rounds till now. (ANI)

Jadeja’s fifer spins India to innings-win in Colombo Test

Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 6 (ANI): A five-wicket haul from Ravindra Jadeja helped India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 53-runs in the Colombo Test on Sunday, thus taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.


Following on Day Four at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Sri Lanka came out with a spirited performance and showed some signs of promise in their second innings. However, they suffered another batting collapse and were ultimately bundled out for 386, thus handing India yet another comprehensive win.


The hosts, who displayed a shambolic batting performance in the first innings and got for 183, showed great fightback in the second, courtesy inspiring batting performances from Kusal Mendis (110) and Dimuth Karunaratne (141).


Both the batters scored terrific centuries and made the Indian bowlers toil hard on the SSC wicket which went on getting slower with the passage of time.


However, once the duo got, followed by the wicket of Angelo Mathews (36) and Niroshan Dickwella (31), it was rather easy for the Indian bowlers to get past the tail.


Jadeja, the no. 1 ranked bowler and all-rounder in the world, was the pick of the Indian bowlers as he picked up yet another five-wicket ball. He was well supported by Ravichandran Ashwin (2-132), Hardik Pandya (2-31). Umesh Yadav also chipped in with a wicket.


Jadeja was adjudged the Man of the Match for his match figures of 7-236 in 61 overs apart from unbeaten 70 with the bat in the first innings.


In the first innings, he had completed 150 wickets in Test cricket with two wickets in 32 Tests. He is the fastest left-arm bowler to the mark.


Earlier in the game, India continued their dominance over the host on day one of the second Test after registering a historic win at Galle.


The visitors posted a gigantic first-innings score of 622/9 declared, courtesy centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara (133) and Ajinkya Rahane (132). Apart from the two, Ashwin (54), Wriddhiman Saha (67), Lokesh Rahul (57) and Jadeja (70*) contributed to the score.


This was India’s eighth consecutive Test series win.


Virat Kohli’s men will now the play the final Test beginning August 12 before starting off with the five-match ODI series and a lone T20. (ANI)

Amarnath terror attack: Kashmir Police reiterates Lashkar involvement

Jammu and Kashmir [India], August 6 (ANI): The Kashmir Police on Sunday made it clear that the Amarnath pilgrim attack that shook the whole nation, was carried out by Pakistani terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) only.


Addressing the media, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Munir Khan said that they stick to their initial statement that LeT was involved in the attacks.


“In our initial statement after the attack we said Lashkar was involved and also that the accused has been identified. So, today after the investigation has been almost completed we stick to that stand. Lashkar was involved and the accused has been identified,” IGP Khan said.


Khan emphasized the fact that on the day of the attack, the Police didn’t have any knowledge about the “ground work” of this particular group.


“We never knew how the attack was planned, where it was planned and who provided the logistics for them but once the investigation was started it was revealed that Ismail Kod Harun, a Pakistani militant of Lashkar and along with him two other Pakistani militants and one local Kashmiri militant carried out the actual attack,” he said.


He also said that a few days back two militants were killed in a “chance” encounter and the Police had claimed that they were suspects in the pilgrim attacks as well, for that IGP khan said, “Their involvement is investigated and is under progress.”


“Our emphasis is to investigate the cases, crack them and bring the investigation to a logical conclusion,” Khan said.


As many as seven people were killed and fifteen others injured after a group of terrorists opened fire on a bus carrying 17 pilgrims from Baltal to Mir Bazar earlier on July 10.


A group of terrorists had earlier opened fire at a bus carrying the Amarnath pilgrims in the Anantnag district and killed seven pilgrims including five women.


The incident occurred on July 10 at 8:20 pm when the bus, carrying 17 pilgrims from Baltal to Mir Bazar, became victim to the terror attack. (ANI)