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LIVE! Economists favour cut in income tax rate; harmonise custom rate

23:27   India responds to China: We are NOT targeting any nation:  

Maintaining that its strategic capabilities were not targeted against any particular country, India has said that it abides by all applicable international obligations and expects others do the same, while responding to Chinese reaction to its test-firing of Agni V missile. 

“India’s strategic capabilities are not targeted against any particular country. India abides by all the applicable international obligations and hopes that all other do the same. 

“India’s strategic autonomy and growing engagement contributes to strategic stability,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The spokesperson’s remarks came after Chinese Foreign Ministry hoped that India’s test-firing of the nuclear-capable Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile that could cover all of China complied with UN Security Council rules and safeguarded South Asia’s strategic balance.

23:19  Economists favour cut in income tax rate; harmonise custom rate:  

Simplification and reduction in personal income tax rates and harmonisation of customs duties to global levels in a bid to boost economic activities were favoured by economists at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Niti Aayog.

The meeting, which comes ahead of the Budget slated to be presented in early February, did not go into the impact of demonetisation on the economy while the aspect of digitisation to make it a less cash economy figured. 

“Tax simplification figured quite a lot…on the direct taxation, both corporate and personal income tax on simplifying, reducing exemptions, bringing down tax rate and aligning tax system to make India competitive with international destination,” Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya told reporters.

He was briefing the reporters about the outcome of the meeting on “Economic Policy — The Road Ahead”. 

About the inverted duty structure, it was suggested to harmonise the tariffs to resolve the issue. 

“One of the issues that came up (for discussion) was tariff inversion whereby tariff on component and inputs are higher than the final products so that undercuts the incentive to produce the final product,” Panagariya said.


22:12  Bihar announces 50 pc reservation in judicial services:  

M I Khan reports from Patna: The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar governnment on Tuesday announced 50 per cent reservation for members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and minorities in judicial services in the state.

The decision reserves 21 percent quota for aspirants belonging to Extremely Backward Class, 16 percent for members of Scheduled Caste, 12 percent for Other Backward Class and 1 percent for Scheduled Tribe.

The state government also announced 35 percent quota for women in all categories.


22:03  50 days are ending, what should we do now, asks Uddhav:  Continuing his tirade against Narendra Modi government over demonetisation, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today asked what should we do now as the ’50-day’ period the prime minister asked for was about to end. 

“Narendra Modi had said give me 50 days’ time (for the situation to normalise after demonetisation) or else give me whip-lashes. Fifty days are getting over on December 30, what should we do on December 31?” Thackeray asked at a rally in Dhule, north Maharashtra. 

Referring to the Prime Minister’s speech at Bhoomi-pujan ceremony of Shivaji memorial off Mumbai coast, Uddhav said, “After listening to the Prime Minister’s speech, after some time I felt is there any end to this (constant speech-making)?” 


21:47  George Michael suffered from heroin addiction prior to death: Report:  

British pop superstar George Michael who died on Christmas Day was allegedly suffering from heroin addiction, it was reported today.

The ‘Careless Whisper’ star passed away from heart failure at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, aged just 53 and sources have now claimed the star “used heroin” and had been rushed to hospital earlier in the year for treatment after an overdose.

A source told the Daily Telegraph “He’s been rushed to Accident and Emergency on several occasions. He used heroin. I think it’s amazing he’s lasted as long as he has”.

The news comes as PR chief Gary Farrow a close friend of the ‘One More Try’ singer told The Sun newspaper that “easy access to drugs” ultimately caused the death of the singer.

He said, “I believe easy access to drugs was the cause of his problems. I thought George was too bright to get involved with illegal substances, but once this disease gets hold of you it’s hard to fight it”.

According to sources, cardiac arrest which was the cause of death according to George’s manager Michael Lippman is common among heroin users. 


21:46  Construction of bunkers along Indo-Pak border on: Singh :  Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh today said the construction of bunkers along the India-Pakistan border was underway. 

“The work for constructing bunkers for the border residents as well as the process to distribute five marlas of land among the border families are in progress and every endeavour shall be made to protect their lives,” he told the gathering at a function in Kathua.

Singh said over eight acres of land has been identified in Hiranagar tehsil for the five-marla plot to be distributed among those border families who migrate during firing and shelling at the border.

He added that the ex gratia for victims of firing at the border has been increased to Rs 5 lakh, at par with militancy-related victims. 

The Union minister hailed the Rs-2,000 crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the PoK refugees as a “landmark decision” and added that Rs 5 lakh per family was not the final award as said by the prime minister. 

He said the Centre had given a “special thrust” on improving road connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir for which a whopping Rs 3,600 crore has been sanctioned for the 10th stage of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana which, he said, was an “all-time high”.

Under the scheme, a total of 73 roads will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 405 crore in Kathua district, he added. Singh said Kathua will be developed as a model district for which several key projects have been taken up.

21:07  Congress worker shot at by militants in Kashmir:  Militants tonight shot at and injured a Congress worker in Bandipora district of Kashmir, police said.

The ultras shot Baahir Ahmad Shiekh, 40, inside his residence at Ashtengoo at around 7.30 pm, a police official said. 


20:55  CWG scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi made life president of IOA:  

Suresh Kalmadi, accused in Commonwealth Games scam, today appointed lifetime patron of Indian Olympic Association.

The former chairman of the CWG organising committee is facing graft charges over alleged financial irregularities, and was even jailed for 10 months. 

Kalmadi was arrested in 2011 with two of his aides on charges of corruption and criminal conspiracy in the scam that cost the exchequer Rs 90 crore. 

The Congress suspended his membership following the arrest.


20:13  PM Modi meets economists to review economy post note ban:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met top economists, officials and members of the Niti Aayog to take stock of the economy, especially in view of the notes ban and the cash crunch that has followed. 

Sources said that the PM wanted feedback from the experts and is keen to chalk out a strategy to deal with the adverse impact of the currency crunch on the economy, particularly in the unorganised sector where people have lost jobs.

PM Modi, during the meeting, said the budget cycle has an effect on the real economy, and “the date of budget presentation is being advanced, so that expenditure is authorized by the time the new financial year begins,” according to a government statement. 

The meeting was held just over a month before the government presents the union budget on February 1.  


19:45  Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan slams National Film Awards selection:  

Noted filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan has come out strongly against the jury members chosen to head this year’s national film awards.

He has written to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting urging it to ensure that the jury to select this year’s national award is headed by a filmmaker of eminence who is familiar with modern trends in cinema and who enjoys a national stature.

In his letter, he urged the Centre to treat the selection of jury chairman and members seriously and stop an incompetent jury from sitting in judgement.

“The national film awards were conceived as a means to select and award films for their thematic relevance, social commitment, original approach, technical excellence and above all aesthetic brilliance. Unfortunately, when the national awards of 2015 were announced all major awards including best film, and director went to outright commercial movies, undermining the very purpose of which the awards were instituted,” said Gopalakrishnan in his letter.

19:19  Centre confirms of H5 N1 strain of avian influenza virus in Keranga village of Khorda district in Odisha.

19:07  Sudip Bandopadhyay of TMC summoned by CBI on December 30 in chit fund case, PTI reported quoting sources.


18:39  Indrani Mukherjea attends her father’s last rites:  

Indrani Mukerjea, prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, was on Tuesday taken out of the Byculla jail to attend the post-death rituals of her father in suburban Mulund in Mumbai.

A special Central Bureau of Investigation court had last week granted her the permission to attend the rituals anywhere in Mumbai, including at her residence, between 7 am and 7 pm on December 27.

The court had, however, rejected Indrani’s plea for interim bail to visit her hometown Guwahati. Her father Upendra Bora had died on December 15.

Photograph: Sahil Salvi


18:08  Sensex posts biggest single-day gain in 3 weeks, gold up from 11-month low:  Markets saw a big pullback rally today, with the Sensex logging its biggest single-day gain of over 406 points in nearly three weeks and gold rebounding from an 11-month low, but the rupee struck a discordant note as it weakened to breach the 68-mark against the dollar.

The rally helped the broader Nifty get past the psychological 8,000 level.

The rally helped the broader Nifty get past the psychological 8,000 level. Investors took comfort from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement, who underlined the need to have globally compatible tax rates to broad-base the economy. He has also sought to allay market fears that the government has no intention to impose tax on long-term capital gains on stock earnings. The flagship BSE Sensex after a positive start continued its climb on increased buying activity and closed at 26,213.44, up 406.34 points, or 1.57 per cent. Today’s gain is the biggest single-day rise since December 8 when the 30-share barometer had jumped 457.41 points.

17:48  Only 13,000 NGOs now legally valid as govt cancels FCRA licences of 20,000 out of 33,000 such organisations for violation of laws.


17:47  Cong, JD-U won’t support Lalu’s anti notebandi rallies :   The Congress and JD-U will not join RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in the protest rally against demonetisation.

In a setback to Lalu Prasad Yadav, both his allies — the Congress and the JD-U —  have decided not to join his ‘maha dharna’ against demonetisation on December 28 in Bihar.

“JD-U president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has supported demonetisation as a step against black money. He will review the impact of demonnetisation after 50 days. There is no question of supporting or joining any protest against demonetisation before that,” JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said today.

President of the Congress unit in Bihar, Ashok Choudhary, said his party will not participate in RJD’s dharna against  demonetisation. “Congress will not support the RJD dharna against notebandi,” Choudhary, who is also Bihar Education Minister, said.

Lalu announced that RJD will stage a protest rally against demonetisation at all the district headquarters on December 28 followed by a big rally in Patna in early 2017.

Lalu has been opposing demonetisation since last month, unlike ally Nitish Kumar.

MI Khan in Patna/

Image: Dost dost na rahaa: Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar in a file picture.


17:10  To the stars we’ve lost this year…:  The Beatles’ iconic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album cover has inspired a tribute to all of the celebrities who died in 2016. George Michael, Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Robert Vaughan, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Leonard Cohen were among the dozens of famous faces featured in Chris Barker’s poignant creation. There are also references to major world events, such as Donald Trump’s presidential election win and Britain’s Brexit vote. 


17:01  Don’t need unsolicited advice on Islam, says Mohammed Shami’s father :  Mohammed Shami’s father Touseef reacts to the intense trolling the ace Indian fast bowler received over the outfit his wife was wore in a picture posted on Facebook.

Touseef said, “This is a well planned strategy to harass him. Appeal to all Indians to continue to support him. We know what Islam says, we don’t need anyone’s unsolicited advice.”

Former cricketers have come to defense of ace Indian fast bowler who came under sharp criticism of Muslim fanatics for posting his wife Hasin Jahan’s pictures on social media.

On December 23, Shami posted a picture along with his wife after which he was viciously trolled, with some even abusing him for the outfit of his wife.

Shami was reminded of his religion, with some even asking why his wife was not wearing a hijab.

Coming to Shami’s defense, former Indian cricketer Syed Kirmani said no body has right to interfere into anybody’s religious matters, adding that people should learn to look into themselves first before they point fingers at other. “Nobody should interfere into anybody’s personal life. Secondly, there is no force in our Islam. And we have no right to interfere into anybody’s religious matters,” former Kirmani told ANI.

Echoing similar sentiments, former wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta said it was sad that people have reacted in such an irresponsible manner. “It’s sad because the way people are reacting. See that’s one of the evils of the social media where there are people who are like that. It’s sad that some people in 21st century talk like that. But you cannot really do much,” Dasgupta told ANI.

The Bengal pacer also took to Twitter to hit back at these internet trolls in a fitting manner and by being completely polite in his response. “Very good morning Har kisi ko jindagi mai mukam ni milta, kuch kismat wale hi hote hai jinhe ye nasib hota hai.!.jalteee rahooooo (Not everyone get what they desire, only a lucky few get it. They are my wife and daughter and I know what I should do. We should all look inwards),” he said “Ye dono meri zindage or life partner hai me acha trha janta hu kiya karna hai kiya nahi.hame apne andar dekhna chahiye ham kitna accha hai.( These two are my life and life partner. I myself know what to do and what not to do. We should all look within ourselves how nice we are),” he added.

Image: Mohammed Shami with his wife Hasin Jahan and daughter Aairah.


16:47  Pakistan Army will continue to perform its role towards national security: General Bajwa :  Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has pledged that Pakistan Army will continue to perform its role towards national security.

General Bajwa was addressing the officers of Rawalpindi Garrison at the GHQ auditorium.

He focused on professional matters and security challenges in his address.

The Army Chief acknowledged and appreciated the role and sacrifices of officers in strengthening the institution, particularly during the operation Zarb-e-Azb, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

General Bajwa also shared his thoughts about the prevailing security environment and challenges confronting Pakistan, armed forces and way forward.

16:44  Sensex racks up most gains in 3 weeks, Nifty up from 7-mth low:  The market notched up its biggest single-session rally in about three weeks today to end above the 26,000-mark as the Sensex rebounded by over 406 points after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley underlined the need to have globally compatible tax rates to broad-base the economy. He has also gone to great lengths to allay market fears that the government has no intention to impose tax on long-term capital gains on share earnings.

16:43  Maharashtra Cabinet to set up a separate ministry for development of OBCs.

16:42  Former prime minister of Sri Lanka Ratnasiri Wickremanayake passes away aged 83 after brief illness.


16:25  Being Dalit’s daughter is no licence for corruption: Ram Vilas Paswan:   Slamming Mayawati for linking the Enforcement Directorate action against BSP to her being a Dalit, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said her Dalit origin does not give her a “licence” to indulge in corruption and she should let the law take its own course. Paswan, a prominent Dalit face of the ruling BJP-led NDA, hit out at the former UP chief minster over alleged deposits of Rs 104 crore in BSP’s bank account following the note ban and said it was shocking that a party claiming to represent the most downtrodden sections of society has so much money.


16:08  Mamata likens PM to Gabbar Singh, says Centre runs on fear :   Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee address a joint press conference as they attack the government over the notes ban. Highlights…

Rahul Gandhi:
PM should answer the nation, that what was the real motive of demonetisation and what will he do for those affected by it.

Dec 30 is about to come and the situation is the same. The motive of demonetisation has failed completely. Woes continue on the ground.

— PM should be the first person to say if I am facing allegations then there should be an inquiry. Sheila-ji is ready for probe.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: Demonetisation is a mega scam, biggest one after independence.

— Three days are left. You (PM Modi) are not a magician that you can change things in three days.

— India has gone back by 20 years.

— Will PM lift restrictions after December 30. India robbed in the name of acche din.

— Will PM resign after the 50 day period is over. Manipur is burning, nobody cares for them.

— PM has destroyed India. Govt has become weak.

— In Rajiv Gandhi’s time telecommunications, computers entered India. What is the new thing about digital India that the PM is talking about?

— Nobody has food to eat. Tribals are starving.

— We can’t say anything, if you do, people say, don’t or else ‘Gabbar’ will come. What is this? Government must lead the people. If the people are so scared of the government, who will vote for a government which behaves like Gabbar Singh.

— They do whatever they feel like, federal structure totally destroyed. It is not emergency, it is super emergency.

— Modi-ji ne kaha tha acche din aaenge, kya ye ache din ka namuna hai?

— All opposition parties will make a common minimum agenda programme.

— How has black become white? What is this soap you have used?

— PM has destroyed India’s banking system. Cashless ke naam pe Modi government baseless hogaya, total faceless hogaya.

Rashtriya Janata Dal: 130 people died, parliament did not function who is responsible?

— They (the government) have forgiven the rich and wiped out the poor

— Lalu-ji has announced a “maha dharna” in Bihar.

15:27  Gunshots heard in Anantnag:  Just in: Gunshots heard near Jablipora village in Bijbehara of Anantnag district. Details awaited.

15:06  Sheila toes party line, targets PM in Sahara-Birla pay-off papers :  Toeing the party line, Sheila Dikshit today targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi wondering why he was shying away from an independent probe into the ‘Sahara-Birla’ papers relating to alleged pay-offs, days after her comments questioning authenticity of the documents put Congress on the backfoot.

The Congress’ CM candidate in Uttar Pradesh also debunked speculation that she was distancing herself from the campaigning in the poll-bound state in the wake of the controversy. “Why is @PMOIndia shying from an independent and a thorough probe into the #BirlaSaharaPapers?,” Dikshit tweeted.

Dikshit, whose name allegedly figured in the ‘Sahara diaries’ along with many other politicians, had trashed it, putting party Vice President Rahul Gandhi in a tight spot as he had charged Modi with taking money from corporate houses based on the document.

“I have said what I had to. The ball is in the court of the @PMOIndia & others now. Will he respond and come out clean? #SaharaBirlaDiaries (sic),” Dikshit said in another tweet. With BJP targeting it following Dikshit’s comments, Congress maintained that it wanted an independent and thorough probe into the “Sahara diaries” corruption issue.

There was speculation that Dikshit may not remain Congress’ chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh following the controversy. Rejecting the speculations, Dikshit also junked reports that she has suspended her scheduled programmes in Aligarh.

“I am amused to see ‘Sheila distances herself from UP’ speculation in media. Aligarh was not on my schedule. I will be in Barabanki tomorrow,” she said. The former Delhi Chief Minister’s name purportedly figured in the list that Congress had put out in a tweet two days back as proof of its allegations against Modi which upset her. On Sunday reacting strongly to the allegations, Dikshit had vehemently denied any wrongdoings calling the charges “all hearsay”.

He had said the Supreme Court had already made observations on the diaries, comments that appeared similar to BJP’s argument in defending Modi.


14:36  Who blinked first?:  Fist pictures of the Indigo and SpiceJet planes that came face to face with each other at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport this morning. The incident occurred when the Indigo flight was moving towards taxiway after landing and the SpiceJet plane was ready for takeoff.

14:23  Gujarat’s Samit Gohel (359 no) hits World Record score in FC cricket by an opener carrying his bat through. 


14:18  Wasn’t voted to light lamps, cut ribbons: PM in Uttarakhand:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a Parivartan rally in Dehradun. Here are the highlights:

— Uttarakhand won’t wait for Vikas now.
— This is the land of the gods and deities, this is the land of the brave.
— You have overwhelmed me; I can see so many people and I am happy that women have joined this rally in large numbers.
— The inauguration of Char Dham project is a tribute to those who lost their lives during Uttarakhand flash floods.
— People of Uttarakhand do not wish wait any longer for development.
— Our country has seen government that have failed to give basic facilities to 125 crore people.
— Politicians from other parties should know by now that the people know everything, they know everything.
— I assure you that whenever you will come for Kedarnath, Badrinath yatra, you will remember this government.
— Hasty conception of schemes may be able to give short term political gains but the gains for people will be limited.
— Tourism is the biggest asset of Uttarakhand. If facilities are provided, then which family in the country would not want to come here?
— Char Dham project offers employment opportunities for the people of Uttarakhand.
— Even after years 70 of independence, 18,000 villages have not seen electricity.
— Wasn’t voted to light lamps, cut ribbons.
— My Government took the initiative and we decided to electrify villages within 1000 days.
— Over 12,000 villages have already been electrified.
— In all these years (60 years) not a single electricity pole had reached these villages. Now see what has happened. This is a government which is dedicated to the poor.
— My Army jawans were demanding OROP for the last 40 years, the party that ruled the country then never thought of their demands.
— Black money hoarders evading the law being caught every day.
— I salute my Army jawans. Rs. 6,600 crore have already been disbursed under OROP.
— In reality, the budget for OROP is over Rs. 10,000 crore. Why did they (Congress) betray the Jawans by allocating 500 crore for this.
— We were clear that from Day 1 that our Jawans must get their due.
— We said OROP will be a reality.
— You have made me a watchman and now people are not comfortable that I am doing my job.
— Black money has destroyed the country.
— People have a problem with me freeing the country of corruption.
–We had said the corrupt will be punished, and this is happening. This is a ‘Safai Abhiyaan’ and people of India have helped me


13:22  BJP ordered online abuse of opponents, claims former troll :  Social media trolling against Indian public figures including journalists and actors has been directly co-ordinated from inside the country’s ruling party, a new book has claimed.

The Guardian reports that an Indian former troll has alleged the 2014 prime ministerial campaign of Narendra Modi used social media volunteers to push critical messages about public figures perceived to be opposed to the Bharatiya Janata party.

Whether intended by the BJP or not, the social media campaigns would often spill over into religious and sexual trolling of the target, especially if it was a woman, said Sadhavi Khosla, the 37-year-old former party volunteer. 
Read more


12:35  Have record of every single rupee, says Maya after ED crackdown:   After ED crackdown, BSP chief Mayawati addresses the media in Lucknow. Mayawati says centre misusing power to malign party after Rs 104 crores is reportedly found in bank account belonging to BSP. The Enforcement Directorate on Monday detected cash deposits totaling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to the BSP and Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to party Mayawati’s brother Anand in a branch of United Bank of India in New Delhi, sources in the Enforcement Directorate said.

Highlights of her speech.

—  BJP is frustrated and they are now misusing government functionary to malign BSP’s image.

— Mayawati defends her brother, says Anand has also deposited money in the bank account as per the I-T rules,nothing illegal about it. The inquiry against him is also part of a conspiracy.

— BJP is misusing the state machinery to malign the name of BSP party

— We have deposited the money collected as party funds honestly in the bank account, no wrongdoings.

— Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi not scrutinising his own party, she questioned.

— Why are there no leaks of deposits from BJP, she asked.

— BJP out to malign BSP’s image. They can’t tolerate a Dalit daughter’s good work. Other parties including BJP deposited funds. Have record of every single rupee. PM should disclose how much BJP deposited before November 8. All BSP funds are duly deposited in bank accounts. All deposits according to norms.

— Money came from worker donations.

12:22  A year in the world of the living :  It’s ending, the year. The year and the day are going about things in their usual, deceptive, banal way. By the time these words appear in print the year will be nearer its close. The day I’ve been waiting for will be imminent – and I’ll let the year go.

Read  Amit Chaudhuri’s piece for the Telegraph.

12:15  Russia’s defense ministry says it has found a flight recorder from the plane that crashed into the Black Sea on Sunday: Associated Press


12:14  Air fares up 65% on holiday season demand:  Last-minute domestic flight ticket prices are up 65% on a year-on-year basis on the back of strong travel demand in the Christmas-New Year week, according to online travel portals. The spike in last-minute airfares is in contrast to 2015, when fares registered a decline. Last-minute airfares in December 2015 were 35-40% lower than the same month in 2014.

In fact, average fares throughout 2015 were the cheapest in three years owing to a combination of low crude oil price and capacity addition.According to Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C) at, on an average, there is a 15-20% increase in last-minute fares in December. On certain routes, the increase is as high as 65%.

“These fares are as a result of increased passenger loads in the peak holiday season. Demonetisation impacted the sales initially but since then, things are back to normal. We’ve seen a growth in last-minute bookings, which is driving up fares,’ said Dhall.

A one-way Mumbai-Delhi ticket booked on Monday for immediate travel was available of Rs 6,621 ‘” a rise of 66.4% over the previous year. Last-minute fares on other metro routes booked on Monday were 13-23% higher on a y-o-y basis than 2015, according to data provided by

Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard.

12:09  Indigo-SpiceJet face off at Delhi airport!:  And another close shave, this time at Delhi airport.

Two aircraft — Indigo and SpiceJet — came face to face with each other at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport this morning. The incident occurred when the Indigo flight was moving towards taxiway after landing and the SpiceJet plane was ready for takeoff.

Meanwhile, the incident has been reported to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which has assured a probe. This came hours after a Mumbai-bound Jet Airways skid at Dabolim airport in Goa due to a technical glitch. As many as 15 passengers were injured in the incident.


12:05  Goa:Jet Airways flight veers off runway; 15 passengers injured:  A Jet Airways flight with 161 people on board veered off the runway at Dabolim Airport in Goa while aligning for take off to Mumbai early today, with 15 passengers suffering injuries during evacuation. Navy said its prompt response in rescuing passengers on board the flight averted the incident from turning into a “catastrophe”. The incident took place at around 5 am when flight 9W 2374, which had arrived from Dubai and bound for Mumbai, was about to take off.

File pic.

12:03  Sensex up 117 points:  Some good news for investors, a day after the share market tanked. The benchmark BSE Sensex firmed up further by 117 points in late morning trade on sustained buying in consumer durables, healthcare, IT, and energy stocks.

11:51  Indrani Mukerjea out of jail for a day to perform father’s last rites :  Sheena Bora murder accused Indrani Mukerjea performed the last rite rituals for her father in Mumbai on Tuesday, after she was allowed out of jail for a day by the Special Central Bureau of Investigation court. Mukerjea is the prime accused in the case.

Mukerjea had filed a bail application on December 19, after she was told about her father’s death, seeking permission to go to Guwahati to perform the rituals. The CBI had opposed this saying her son Mikhail had said he did not want her to visit Guwahati.

File pic.


11:38  Election Commission to finalise poll plan on Wednesday:  

Rajeev Sharma tells us: The Election Commission will hold an internal meeting on Wednesday, December 28, to decide the dates for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. 

This meeting is mainly to firm up dates of polling. The notification is likely to be issued after January 2, according to knowledgeable sources. 

One issue likely to come up for discussion at Wednesday’s meeting is whether to separate UP from the other four states. 

The term of the UP assembly is due to expire in May 2017 while the term of the other four states expires by March 2017. 

Besides, only UP will have a multi-phase polling. The other four states are likely to have a single phase poll. 

UP is likely to have polling in at least five phases. 

Besides, the Election Commission has to factor in schools and colleges examinations due around the same time. 


11:32  Constitutional assault on me: Former TN chief secretary on I-T raids:   After being discharged from hospital, former Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao while addressing reporters said that the raids on his home during which Rs 30 lakh in new currency was found was a constituational assault on him. 

He said:

— I was under house arrest. It is an unconstitutional assault on the office of Chief Secy; I’m still the Chief Secy of TN

— CRPF entered my house; they showed me the search warrant, my name was not there

— They have found nothing. No incriminating documents were found

— They did not have any search warrant against me. The search warrant had name of my son

— Where is the state government? What role or business does government of India or CRPF have to enter the chief secretary’s chamber? 

— If madam had been alive, would this happen to Tamil Nadu?

— I am being targeted; I have fear, my life is in danger


10:56  Never asked Raheel Sharif to help me leave Pakistan: Pervez Musharraf:  

Days after he made headlines by saying that Pakistan’s ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif had helped him exit the country, former dictator Pervez Musharraf claimed that he had not sought any assistance from him and that his statement was distorted by the media.

“No one approached me, nor did I approach anyone… Raheel Sharif did not discuss anything with me, nor did I send him any request,” Musharraf said in an interview to a TV channel.

He said his last week’s statement to Dunya News was “distorted” by the media.

Musharraf in a talk show on Dunya News last week had said: “Well he (Raheel Sharif) did help me and I am absolutely clear and grateful. I have been his boss and I have been the army chief before him…He helped out, because the cases are politicised, they put me on the ECL, they turned it into a political issue.”

When asked about the military’s influence on domestic politics, he today said: “All institutions in Pakistan work together with each other… I’ve served in the army for over 40 years.”


10:36  Indian envoy to meet Norwegian authorities over custody of 5-yr-old: Swaraj:  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Tuesday said the Indian Ambassador in Norway will be meeting Norwegian authorities regarding the custody of a five-and-a-half-year-old who was separated from his NRI parents. 

“I refuse to accept foster parents can take better care of a child than natural parents; want restoration of Aryan to his natural parents,’ she said. This is our firm stand and Indian Ambassador will convey this to the Norwegian authorities, Swaraj added.

Norways Child Welfare Department on December 13 picked up Aryan from his kindergarten school and took him into custody. Norwegian authorities alleged that Aryan was beaten up by his parents. This was the third instance in Norway when a child was separated from their Indian parents. 

10:17  Hanuman painting part of Mood Indigo removed as Shiv Sena objects:  

A painting bearing resemblance to the Hindu deity Hanuman had to be erased from a wall at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, following objections from Shiv Sena.

The painting, a part of the institutes ongoing annual cultural fest, Mood Indigo, was deemed inappropriate by the Sena, which sought an apology from the event organisers. On Monday, the painting was erased after local Sena workers marched into the campus and demanded its removal.

Among several wall-paintings at the institutes student activity centre, was one of a man carrying a mountain in one hand and holding a pen instead of a mace in the other.

The painting was in bad taste. It hurt the religious sentiments of many people. This is not the way to the portray a Hindu deity like Hanuman. Students should not have portrayed the deity like that, said Sena leader Datta Dalvi.

09:55  JUST IN: Mishap averted at Delhi airport as Indigo and SpiceJetaircraft come face-to-face. 


09:37  Congress to hold countrywide protests against note ban from Jan 5:  

Congress has announced that it will hold countrywide protests on January 5 at all district headquarters and on January 8 at the block level to highlight the common man’s woes due to demonetisation and the “personal corruption” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

At a meeting of all top Congress leaders chaired by party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi it was decided to involve the commoner in the fight against demonetisation. 

Sources said Congress will also hold pressers across the country at the central and the state level on December 29 and 30 and later on January 2 at the district level, where the “personal corruption” by the PM and sufferings of common people will be highlighted. 


09:21  Woman finds Rs 100 crore in Jan-Dhan account, approaches PMO:  

Shocked to find nearly Rs 100 crore in her Jan-Dhan account in a Meerut branch of a state-run bank, a woman sought the PMO’s intervention after the bank officials did not attend to her complaint and kept asking her to come some other time. 

In the complaint to the PMO, sent by her husband Ziledar Singh, Sheetal Yadav said she maintained a Jan-Dhan account in Sharda road branch of the State Bank of India. On December 18, she went to draw money from the ATM of ICICI bank near their house and was shocked to see that her account stood at Rs 99,99,99,394. 

Unable to believe it, she said she asked the person standing next to her in the queue to check it and he confirmed the same amount.

She continued to visit her bank for two days but the staff did not attend to her complaint and asked her to come after a day when the branch manager would assist her to rectify the matter. When she again went to the bank, she was sent back under another pretext. 

Frustrated over the local bank staff’s attitude, Singh said he asked an educated person to help them to send a mail to the PMO. 


09:01  ‘Force Snapdeal to dump Aamir Khan: BJP IT chief told social media cell’:  

The BJP social media cell was instructed, among others by the partys IT cell head, to build pressure via social media on e-commerce platform Snapdeal to drop actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador following his comments in November 2015 that were perceived to be critical of the government, a former volunteer of this social media team has claimed in an upcoming book.

Sadhavi Khosla, who quit the BJP social media cell as a volunteer at the end of 2015, has shared purported WhatsApp messages sent to her with journalist Swati Chaturvedi whose book I am a Troll is being published by Juggernaut.

Read full story HERE

08:45  Obama says he could have beaten Trump — Trump says ‘NO WAY!’:  

US President Obama said in an interview released Monday that he could have beaten Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump if I had run again.

If you think you’re winning, then you have a tendency, just like in sports, maybe to play it safer, Obama said in the interview with former adviser and longtime friend David Axelrod, a CNN analyst, for his The Axe Files podcast. The US president said Hillary Clinton understandably . . . looked and said, well, given my opponent and the things he’s saying and what he’s doing, we should focus on that.

Trump took exception to this critique, tweeting out later in the day that President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY!  jobs leaving, Islamic State, OCare, etc.


08:12  Sheila Dikshit withdraws from being Cong’s UP chief ministerial candidate?:  

Senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit has denied reports of withdrawing her name as Congress chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Earlier, it was reported that the former Delhi chief minister may withdraw her candidature after her name appeared on the Sahara list.

The report said that Dikshit is unhappy with her name being surfaced in the recent Sahara diary leaks, and Twitter fiasco following the same.

With the Congress vice-president targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over ‘Sahara diaries’ bribery issue, a controversy erupted after the grand old party put out a list linked to it on Twitter in which a reference to Dikshit also allegedly figured.

Dikshit, who is the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh, strongly denied the charges and trashed the documents, saying the Supreme Court has already made its observations on them.


07:54  Jet Airways Goa to Mumbai flight skids off runway:  A Jet Airways flight from Goa to Mumbai skidded off the runway while aligning to take off. 

All guests and crew on flight number 9W 2374 have been safely evacuated. The airlines said that a few guests sustained injuries during the evacuation process and medical assistance has been provided to them. 

The Goa airport announced it will remain closed til 12.30 pm. 


01:05  US woman gangrape: Police arrest four accused:  

Four persons have been arrested in connection with the alleged gangrape of a US national in a five-star hotel in New Delhi earlier this year.

A senior police officer said they arrested a tour guide, a driver, a cleaner and a hotel staff. He, however, refused to reveal the names of the four as police will first conduct a test identification parade.

The arrest came on a day when the Delhi Commission for Women issued a notice to Delhi Police asking them why the Rape Crisis Cell of the women’s panel was not informed when the victim’s statement was recorded.

In her complaint, the US national had alleged that she was raped by five persons in a five-star hotel in April. Police are on a lookout for the fifth accused as the woman has not shared details about him, said the officer. 

The remaining four accused, aged between 25-40, had joined the probe. On Monday, they were called for questioning at Connaught Place police station and after a five-hour interrogation, they were arrested, he said. 

They were being questioned extensively following the registration of an FIR on December 3. They will be produced in court on Tuesday where their police custody will be sought for custodial interrogation to gain more evidence, he added.


01:00  Dikshit toes party line over allegations against Modi:  

In the eye of the storm after her comments on “Sahara Diaries” appeared weakening Congress’ attack on Narendra Modi over graft, Sheila Dikshit is toeing the party line saying the onus is on the Prime Minister to come out clean on the charges.

“I have said what I had to. The ball is in the court of the @PMOIndia & others now. Will he respond and come out clean? #SaharaBirlaDiaries (sic),” Dikshit tweeted tonight. 

Her clarification came amid increasing unease in the Congress after she questioned the veracity of the “Sahara Diaries” based on which Rahul Gandhi had accused Modi of

taking money from corporate houses when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

The former Delhi Chief Minister’s name purportedly figures in the list that the Congress put out in a tweet two days back as proof of its allegations against PM Modi.

On Sunday, Dikshit vehemently denied any wrongdoings as she said “It is all hearsay. There is not an iota of truth in the allegations. I totally reject these allegations.”

Dikshit, who is the Congress party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Uttar Pradesh elections, also said the Supreme Court had already made observations on the diaries, comments which appeared at variance with the party line in targeting Modi. The BJP had also said the Supreme Court found no merit in the allegations. 

00:58  Central team to arrive in TN today:  

A nine member inter-Ministerial team deputed by the Centre to assess the damage caused in Tamil Nadu by Vardah cyclone is arriving today in the state, which has sought an immediate assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for relief works.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Praveen Vashista will be leading the team, which consists of members from Departments of Finance, Agriculture, Health and Family Welfare, Rural Development and Road Transport, an official release said.

It will also have members from the Drinking Water and Sanitation Department and Central Electricity Authority.

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had on December 19 met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and submitted a memorandum, pegging the estimated funds requirement for reconstruction and restoration works at Rs 22,573.26 crore in the aftermath of the cyclone that hit the state on December 12. He also sought an immediate assitance of Rs 1,000 crore.

The team was scheduled to hold consultations with Panneerselvam, before undertaking visits of the affected parts in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallore from December 28-30. Its members will assess the damage caused by the cyclone to agriculture, industries, infrastructure and other sectors, and submit its report to the Centre.


00:57  Bengaluru: I-T detects Rs 169 cr black income after raids on mall owners, realty players:  

The Income Tax department has detected un-disclosed income amounting to Rs 169 crore after it conducted searches on two groups of realty developers and mall owners in Bengaluru. 

Officials said the raids on the two groups, that began on December 23, ended on Monday.

“In the first case, it was found that the group has indulged in providing and receiving accommodation entries to reduce the taxable income. They were also found to be in receipt of money in respect of the property transactions. The disclosure in this cases stands at Rs 143 crore,” a senior official said.

In the second group, the official added, “the assessees were found to have not disclosed income to the extent of Rs 26 crore.

“It was detected during searches that the assessees had not accounted for the sales component received in cash and had disguised the personal expenses as business expenses among others. It was also found that they had made unaccounted investments in gold and jewellery,” the official said. 

The total disclosures in the two cases stand at Rs 169 crore, the official said adding investigations are still on and hence the groups could not be identified. 

The department has been conducting search and survey operations to check black money generation and hoarding post the currency scarp on November 8. 


00:56  Never asked Raheel to help me leave Pak: Musharraf:  

Days after he made headlines by saying that ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif had helped him exit Pakistan, former dictator Pervez Musharraf has claimed he had not sought any assistance from him and that his statement was distorted by the media. 

“No one approached me, nor did I approach anyone… Raheel Sharif did not discuss anything with me, nor did I send him any request,” Musharraf said in an interview to a TV channel.

He said his last week’s statement to Dunya News was “distorted” by the media.

Musharraf in a talk show on Dunya News last week had said: “Well he (Raheel Sharif) did help me and I am absolutely clear and grateful. I have been his boss and I have been the army chief before him…He helped out, because the cases are politicised, they put me on the ECL, they turned it into a political issue.”

When asked about the military’s influence on domestic politics, he today said: “All institutions in Pakistan work together with each other… I’ve served in the army for over 40 years.”

Source: Rediff