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LIVE! Face off! Cong asks EC to get PM's posters removed ahead of polls

18:36  Face off! Cong asks EC to get PM’s posters removed ahead of polls :  The Congress today moved the Election Commission demanding removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from government posters at public places, including petrol pumps, ahead of assembly polls in five states. AICC Secretary and head of Legal and Human Rights department, K C Mittal, raised strong objection to presence of Modi’s photograph in posters of oil companies put up to popularise cooking gas distribution initiative.

He said the EC should order removal of such posters as they are not permissible during the operation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in wake of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

“The hoardings, posters, banners of the central government with the photographs of the Prime Minister at any place within the election-bound states cannot continue, since it is in violation of the MCC and will interfere with free and fair elections.

“It is requested that the Commission may please order removal of all such hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the petrol pumps and any other place in these states along with other posters, banners of the central government or central bodies in the form of any advertisement by them,” the Congress complaint to EC said. In his complaint to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and other ECs, Mittal said the Commission has got removed such posters carrying the photograph of Chief Ministers of the states going to polls. The same should be done in the case of Prime Minister’s photo, he said.

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18:28  Ah Kashmir!:  Our favourite tweeple lures us with this gorgeous picture of Gulmarg. ‏@abdullah_omar  “This is what our ski slopes in #Gulmarg look like now. I’ve to be in Jammu for the assembly session. What’s your excuse for not being here?” With an honorary ‘tourism minister’ like Omar Abdullah, the former J&K CM has us packing our bags. 

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18:04  Priyanka’s fangirl moment with Meryl Streep:  Priyanka Chopra took to Twitter to share a picture of hers with Meryl Streep. The two are happily posing backstage at Golden Globes. Streep was honored at the Golden Globes with a Lifetime award and she took the opportunity to attack US President-elect Donald Trump, without actually naming him. In a nearly 6-minute address while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the actress denounced Trump’s campaign rhetoric and criticized him for mocking a disabled reporter.

Priyanka Chopra who was at the Globes to present an award to Billy Bob Thornton, shared her fan girl moment on Twitter, posting, “Quoting my favourite #MerylStreep, as I call an end to this night…when u have a broken heart..make art. You are astounding.#fangirl”

Also see: Golden Globe 2017: Priyanka sizzles in gold!

17:59  CBSE class X and class XII exams to now begin from March 9 in view of the state assembly elections in five states.

17:53  Prabhu suspends two RPF officials in Odisha:  Two Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel were suspended in connection with the alleged thrashing of a differently-abled man at Balasore station in Odisha after Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered a probe into the incident.

The information about the suspension came into light through a twitter post by Prabhu, who had yesterday directed the Director General of RPF to investigate the matter after a video clip of the incident went viral on local news channels.

“I had taken immediate cognisance of the case, had ordered enquiry.  Subsequently two RPF personnel responsible have been put under suspension,” Prabhu tweeted.

The suspended personnel were on train escort duty at the time of the incident, Railways officials said. Action was taken after three personnel from Balasore RPF who were on platform duty on that day were summoned by the Railways authorities at Kharagpur and interrogated, they said.

The video clip, taken from a mobile phone by an onlooker, showed unidentified armed personnel kicking the differently-abled man, evoking sharp criticism from different sections of the society.

While locals alleged that the man was assaulted by RPF personnel on January 3 on a platform, local officials of the RPF said they had no information about the incident and had not received any complaints regarding it. Both RPF and GRP of Balasore said they had no knowledge about such an incident. It was alleged that the differently-abled man (who has lost one leg), was thrashed for allegedly stealing a mobile phone of a passenger in a Guwahati-bound train.

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17:45  Tax sops on purchase of PoS machines in Madhya Pradesh:  The Madhya Pradesh government on Monday announced major tax exemptions on purchase of point-of-sale (PoS) machines to promote cashless and digital transactions.”There would be exemption of 14 per cent in VAT and two per cent in entry tax on the purchase of PoS machines. State cabinet has approved the proposal in this regard,” MP finance minister Jayant Malaiya told journalists after the cabinet meeting.

Also read: The foot soldiers of Modi’s cashless India

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17:35  BJP to announce first list of candidates on Wednesday:  The Central Election Committee of BJP is set to meet on Wednesday to finalise first list of party candidates for the assembly elections in five states starting February 4.

The committee, whose members include Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, is likely to announce the names of candidates for Punjab and Goa, two states going to poll on February 4.

The Goa unit of BJP has already declared names of party candidates for most of the 40 seats in the state and the CEC is likely to approve them in its meeting. The notification for Goa and Punjab polls will be issued on January 11 with the last date of filing nominations on January 18, according to the schedule announced by the Election Commission. After Punjab and Goa, Uttarakhand goes to polls on February 15 and the schedule for two-phase Manipur elections is March 4 and 8.

The crucial seven-phase Uttar Pradesh assembly polls are scheduled for February 11, 15, 19, 23, March 4 and 8.

17:13  Just in: Congress seeks the removal of the PM’s posters form petrol pumps before the five-state polls and writes to the poll panel.

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17:12  Streep one of the most over-rated actresses: Trump hits back:  US president-elect Donald Trump slammed Meryl Streep as ‘one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood’ after she used her Golden Globes acceptance speech to publicly slam him. @realDonaldTrump  tweeted saying, “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a….. “

Streep who was honoured with the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Globes today, did not name Trump, but used her entire speech to say his actions legitimised bullying.

The president-elect, who is due to be inaugurated in less than two weeks, had dismissed the actress as “a Hillary lover” in a telephone interview with the New York Times.

17:00  Crowd continues to swell at Deepas house:  A month after former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death, groups of AIADMK loyalists continue to throng the house of her niece Deepa Jayakumar, urging her to float a political party. Read more
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16:56  Mamata urges Prez to save people from note ban hardship:   West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today urged President Pranab Mukherjee to “save” the people of the country from the hardship caused by demonetisation and the resultant cash crisis, while claiming that the CBI was being used to victimise her party.

“I urge the President, who is the constitutional head of the country, that if some government through its arbitrary decisions takes the country to the brink of disaster, as the protector of the Constitution give protection to the people and save the people,” the Trinamool Congress chief said.

“Famine has started. Indications of the beginning of the famine are coming. So save the people. If people don’t survive then nothing will happen,” she said while inaugurating the ‘Mati Utsav’ (Soil Festival) here. Asking the common people to rise in protest, Banerjee said, “there will be some hardship, but someone has to bell the cat. Trinamool Congress will do that”.

“We will take care of all the hardship that may befall us owing to our protests,” she said.

File pic.

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16:19  BJP will win 275 seats in UP: Modi:  Rajeev Sharma informs us: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to have told BJP leaders at the closed door session of the January 6-7 BJP national executive meeting in New Delhi that the BJP will win at least 275 seats in the Uttar Pradesh assembly election.

The UP assembly has 403 seats.

Modi told the meeting of former BJP presidents, party chief ministers and around 350 party members that the people of UP had wholeheartedly welcomed and supported his demonetisation scheme, which will be translated into votes in the state election.

Knowledgeable sources said the prime minister made it clear that he would brook no intervention from any quarters in the BJP’s ongoing elections campaign as he is personally leading the campaign and knew what was the best for the party.

BJP insiders are flummoxed by Modi’s assertion of the party winning at least 275 of the 403 seats.

16:17  Narendra Modi’s crackdown on civil society in India. Read more
16:12  The Rajya Sabha Chair Dr Hameed Ansari has received a letter from Mulayam Singh Yadav asking for the expulsion of SP RS MP Ramgopal Yadav from the Upper House. The request will be examined.

Ramgopal Yadav is an Akhilesh Yadav loyalist.

Also readformer SC Justice Markandey Katju’s column: Why I think there’s no way the BJP can win the UP assembly elections.

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15:46  Can a Bombay Strongman Explain Trump?:  As I watched Donald J. Trump campaigning, I thought, I’ve seen this show before. It was in the 1990s in Bombay (now called Mumbai). And the man playing the Trump part was Bal Keshav Thackeray, the leader of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, who rode to power on a wave of outrageous stories, bluster, lies, bigotry and showmanship. He died in 2012 after ruling — and ruining — the city I grew up in. The road to understanding Mr. Trump might just lie through understanding Mr. Thackeray, and what became of Bombay, writes Suketu Mehta for the New York Times.  Do read

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15:37  Modi’s degree details, wanted by AAP, may be released soon:  Details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Delhi University degree, sought aggressively by Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party, may be released soon, reports NDTV.

The Delhi University’s objections to providing these details to a Right To Information (RTI) campaigner have been overruled by the Central Information Commission.

RTI petitioner Neeraj Sharma, said to be an AAP supporter, had asked for the records of all those students who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978, the year PM Modi secured his degree, according to the university.

But he was told that the information is “private” and has nothing to do with “public activity or interest”.

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15:28  Boris Johnson arrives in New York for talks with Trump team:  Boris Johnson has arrived in New York for talks with senior members of Donald Trump’s transition team, the Foreign Office said.News of the Foreign Secretary’s surprise trip emerged just hours after Theresa May labelled the US President-elect’s controversial comments about groping women “unacceptable”. Johnson was expected to meet Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the president-elect’s strategist Steve Bannon in New York.  Read more

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15:25  Kim Kardashian West robbery: 16 people arrested in France:  French police have arrested 16 suspects in connection with the robbery of the US reality TV star Kim Kardashian West in Paris in October, reports the Guardian.

The suspects, a number of them reportedly well known to detectives for armed robbery, were picked up in coordinated early morning raids, most of them in theParis region but also in Normandy and the French Riviera.Police had identified two of the suspects from fingerprints left at the luxury apartment where Kardashian West had Euro 9 million in jewels and valuables snatched during Paris fashion week, and immediately put them and their associates under surveillance. The oldest is said to be in his 60s.

Detectives can hold them for questioning for up to 96 hours.

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15:20  Amma’s death: Apollo ready to submit reports in sealed cover to court:   Days after the Madras High Court expressed doubt over the circumstances leading to the death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the Apollo Hospital in their argument stated that it will file a response petition in a sealed cover to the court.

The hospital in their argument said that it is ready to submit all medical reports and discharge summary in a ‘sealed cover’ to the Madras High Court.

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15:06  Tamil Nadu CM writes to PM Modi seeking ordinance on Jallikattu:  Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday urging the latter to consider promulgating an ordinance to resume the sport Jallikattu on Pongal this year.

The bull-fighting sport had been banned by the Supreme Court in May 2014 owing to animal welfare issues.

“Given that Pongal festival, which holds great importance to the people of Tamil Nadu, is less than a week away and Jallikattu is an integral part of the Pongal festivities, considering the urgency of the issue, Government of India should consider promulgating an ordinance removing the legal impediments, enabling the conduct of Jallikattu during Pongal, 2017,” he said in the letter.

Panneerselvam also added that even Jayalalithaa had put forth a demand to Modi that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests “should clearly denotify bulls as performing animals from a 2011 notification by the Ministry.

The other demand was to “suitably amend Section 11(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 by introducing a new clause ‘f’ in sub-section (3) of Section 11 specifically exempting Jallikattu in addition to other exemptions already provided in the Act,” reports PTI.

The chief minister said that there has been “no action yet from government of India’ on the aforesaid suggestions.

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14:38  No rift between me and my son, says Mulayam Singh:   In Delhi as Akhilesh Yadav loyalists Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal arrive at the Election Commission office to stake claim to the party symbol — cycle, Mulayam Singh addressing the press clarified that there was no problem between him and his son (Akhilesh Yadav). He said only one person was causing the rift in the party. “Akhilesh is my son. There are a few differences within the party which we will solve soon. The Election Commission will decide on our symbol,” Mulayam Singh said.

Earlier today, Mulayam accompanied by brother Shivpal Yadav and close aide Amar Singh, met the Election Commission in Delhi to stake claim to the cycle.

On Saturday, Akhilesh’s uncle and chief aide Ram Gopal Yadav carried to the Election Commission six boxes of documents to prove that the UP chief minister now heads the state’s ruling party, having been named party president in place of his father at a meeting attended by most Samajwadi Party MLAs, other leaders and about 5,000 workers on January 1.

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14:23  Petrol pumps will continue to accept card payments: Govt:   There will be no extra charge for card transactions at petrol pumps, the government decided today after petrol pump owners threatened to stop accepting cards. Petrol pumps will also continue to accept card payments.

“Consumers will not pay extra for digital transactions,” Minister of State for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan said after a meeting.  There would be no burden on retail fuel outlets as well, he said.

According to the minister, banks and oil firms are in discussion on who will bear the extra cost charged by banks on card payments.After the government stepped in, petrol pumps deferred their move to stop credit and debit card transactions till January 13.

To promote cash-less transactions, the government had waived the Merchant Discount Rate on fuel purchase post demonetisation for consumers. But after the 50-day window, the banks decided to resume the charge on petrol pump owners.

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14:11  Fadnavis flags of Mumbai WiFi project :  Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis dedicated phase I of the ambitious Mumbai WiFi project. The WiFi city project envisages 1,200 hot spots, under an ambitious smart city mega-project by May 1, 2017.

Fadnavis says that 500 WiFi Hotspots will go live across various locations in Mumbai . Mumbai Wifi is Indias largest Public WiFi service and one of the largest globally too. “As committed, 1200 WiFi hotspots will be active by 1st May 2017. We will also monitor the progress on connectivity and speed. We are committed to give good experience to Mumbaikars and will resolve issues on priority. During the trial period from 2nd to 8th Jan about 23,000 users across the city signed up & and downloaded more than 2 TB of data.  It is an important step by our Government in the continual commitment of Aaple Sarkar for digital empowerment of Maharashtra!”

13:56  Pakistan behind Akhnoor terror attack: Govt :  India has said Pakistan is behind the Akhnoor attack which killed three people. Minister of State, PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, said the terrorism perpetrated in India is from Pakistan.

At least three civilians employed as labourers with the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) were killed in a pre-dawn attack in Jammu districts Akhnoor sector on Monday, defence sources said.

The GREF is the parent cadre force of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that builds and maintains border roads in the country.

Sources said two to three attackers launched an assault on the camp in in Battal village around 1am in Jourian area, 55km from Jammu, near the border with Pakistan.

Troops cordoned off the camp and launched an operation against the gunmen after this years first attack in the Jammu region.

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13:53  Salman Arms Act case: Verdict on Jan 18:   Just in: Salman Khan will be handed out the verdict under the Arms Act case in the black buck poaching case of 1998 on January 18. Salman has been charged for poaching with a gun whose licence had expired.

In 2006, Salman had been convicted by the trial court and handed sentences of one and five years respectively for allegedly poaching three Chinkaras in two separate instances.

In February 2006, Salman Khan was convicted under the Wildlife Act for poaching a Chinkara at Bhawad near Jodhpur during the shooting of film Hum Saath Saath Hain in September 1998. Salman Khan was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and was slapped a fine of Rs 5,000.

Salman was accused of hunting two Chinkaras at Bhawad in Mathania near Jodhpur on September 26, 1998, and another Chinkara at Ghoda farms two days later on September 28th, while he was in Jodhpur.

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13:16  PM may be summoned to explain demonetisation drive:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be asked to explain his abrupt demonetization drive to a parliamentary committee, its chief, Congress leader VK Thomas, said today, reports PTI.

The Public Accounts Committee has ordered Urjit Patel, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, to meet it on the 20th of this month to explain both how the decision to demonetize was taken as also the impact on the country’s economy.

Patel has also been sent a detailed list of questions on the process that abolished 500 and 1,000-rupee notes at just a few hours’ notice on November 8.

The cash shortage that resulted has eased up a little in recent days, but there’s still nowhere near enough of the new notes in supply and economists predict a slowdown in growth.

“The committee has all right to call anybody involved in the matter. But that will depend on the outcome of the January 20th meeting. We can call PM on demonetisation issue if members unanimously decide,” said Thomas. 

He also said that when he met with the PM after the reform was introduced, “He said that the situation will be normal after 50 days by December-end. But it does not looks like (it).”RBI Governor Patel has been heavily faulted, including by opposition leaders, over the shortage of replacement currency and the continuing restrictions on the cash that people can withdraw from banks. 

12:50  SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav reaches the Election Commission office. 

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12:46  Direct, indirect tax collections go up after note ban, announces Jaitley :  Finance minister Arun Jaitley is addressing a press conference over a host of issues surrounding the note ban and the criticism of it. Direct and Indirect taxes moved up post note ban and collections are up in December as compared to November.

In a statement, the finance minister said that in December, customs collections dipped 6.1 per cent as gold imports came down; excise, which is linked to manufacturing increased 31.6 per cent; service tax up 12.4 per cent. Indirect tax collection in December 2016 up 14.2 per cent, excise collection up 43 per cent, service tax 23.9 per cent, customs duty increases 4.1 per cent, indirect tax collection in April-December 2015 up 25 per cent. April-December 2016 direct tax collection up 12.01 per cent. 

12:36  Former PM Manmohan Singh releases the Punjab Congress Manifesto for the upcoming polls.

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12:22  Clinton will never run for office again: aide:  Hillary Clinton will not run for any elected office again after losing to Donald Trump in the US Presidential polls, her Indian-American aide Neera Tanden has said amid reports that the former secretary of state could run for the post of New York Mayor.

“I think she’s going to figure out ways to help kids and families. That’s been what she’s been focused on her whole life, and a lot of issues that are affecting them, over the next couple of years,” Tanden told CNN. “But I don’t expect her to ever run for any elected office again,” she said.

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11:54  End one-China policy and Beijing will take revenge: Chinese state tabloid warns Trump:  

State-run Chinese tabloid Global Times warned US President-elect Donald Trump that China would take “take revenge” if he reneged on the one-China policy, only hours after Taiwan’s president made a controversial stopover in Houston.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met senior US Republican lawmakers during her stopover in Houston on Sunday en route to Central America, where she will visit Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Beijing had asked Washington not to allow Tsai to enter the United States and that she not have any formal government meetings under the one China policy.

11:35  Ashley Tellis could be Trumps pick to replace Rich Verma as US envoy to India:  

Mumbai-born strategic expert Ashley J Tellis, who served at the United States embassy in New Delhi and the White House, could be US President-elect Donald Trump transition teams pick for ambassador to India, a media report said on Monday.

Trump is close to selecting Tellis to be the next envoy to India, transition sources were quoted as saying by The Washington Post.

The report described the move as part of behind the scenes efforts by the Trump transition team for its own pivot to Asia. The pivot towards Asia was a concept framed by the Obama administration.

Tellis, currently a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specialising in international security and Asian strategic issues, was closely involved in negotiating the landmark civil nuclear agreement between the US and India.

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11:24  Mulayam confident of winning ‘cycle’ at Election Commission today:  

Samajwadi Party feud is likely to end on Monday as the Election Commission is expected to give a decision on the party symbol and title in favour of Akhilesh Yadav or Mulayam Singh Yadav.

According to sources, Mulayam is confident that he will emerge as a winner in the battle of symbol. 

He is slated to visit Election Commission later today.

The Samajwadi Party founder and patriarch has not wavered from his plans to fight elections on all 403 seats, with or without Akhilesh, and to fill the void he may just introduce a new face for chief ministerial candidate — Azam Khan. 

11:21  Dena Bank to issue equity shares to raise capital:  State-run Dena Bank today said its board has approved raising of share capital by up to Rs 360 crore through issue of equity shares.

“The Board of Directors…has approved raising of share capital (including premium) of the bank up to amount of Rs 360 crore by issue of equity shares via FPO/rights issue/QIP/preferential/Employee Stock Purchase Scheme etc. at appropriate time,” Dena Bank said in a BSE filing.

Shares of Dena Bank were trading 0.15 per cent lower at Rs 34.25 apiece on BSE.

10:58  Face problem abroad? Tweet and tag me, Sushma Swaraj tells Indians:  

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Indians abroad facing problems can tweet to the respective embassy and tag her in the tweet, adding that she will personally monitor the missions responses.

The minister, who has been known for reaching out to citizens through Twitter, said a new pattern is being adopted.

We are adopting a new pattern here. Pl (please) tweet your problem to the concerned Indian Embassy/authority and endorse the same to @sushmaswaraj.

The external affairs ministry had recently launched a Twitter Seva to enable timely, transparent and large-scale response to citizens tweets in real time.

The Twitter Seva service will be supported by 198 Twitter accounts of Indian missions abroad and 29 regional passport offices.

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10:44  Centre is desperate, not coordinating with banks: Robert Vadra:  

The Centre is now “desperate”, leading it to compound the note-ban “blunder” with more and egregious blunders, said Robert Vadra, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, in a Facebook post wrote. 

Referring to another note ban-related latest crisis, this time with petrol pump owners, Vadra suggested the government is acting unilaterally without consulting or coordinating with agencies and organisations that are stakeholders.

“The govt seems to have reached its levels of desperation to overcome the initial blunder it created, through the unplanned and unthought (sic) process of demonetisation,” said Sonia’s daughter Priyanka’s husband.

With regard to the Centre’s stated aims of getting India to adopt a cashless economy, Vadra said that when the common man didn’t immediately jump on the digital bandwagon, the government “offered sops to push people to use debit/credit cards.”

After sops and a degree of coercion forced people to attempt more digital transactions, the government again failed, as is exemplified in the latest fracas with petrol pumps,” Vadra said. “…when people started using more of cashless means, now lack of coordination with banks and their policies is forcing petrol pump owners to adopt these drastic steps,” Vadra said.

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10:05  Wary of China, India offers Akash surface-to-air missile systems to Vietnam:  

India is now actively discussing the possible sale of the indigenously developed Akash surface-to-air missile systems to Vietnam, even as the two countries steadily crank up their bilateral military ties with a watchful eye on a confrontational China in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sources say the discussions under way with Vietnam on the Akash area defence missiles, which have an interception range of 25-km against hostile aircraft, helicopters and drones, come after India earlier offered BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes to the country.

India, of course, will also begin training Vietnamese fighter pilots on its Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets from this year, much like it has been tutoring sailors from that country on the intricate art of operating Kilo-class submarines for the last three years.

10:00  Modi flying blind into budget as Indias GDP a guessing game:  

Prime Minister Narendra Modis administration will probably have to prepare Indias $300 billion budget in the dark.

With less than a month to go before the annual presentation, his Statistics Office has refused to estimate the impact of Modis unprecedented cash clampdown on gross domestic product. All it said was that growth will slow to a three-year-low before the effects of the ban start to show.

Read full story HERE
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09:41  Navjot Sidhu likely to join Congress today:  

Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu is likely to officially join the Congress Party today.

According to sources, Sidhu wanted to join the Congress in presence of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi but since he is out of country, he decided the date accordingly.

The Central Election Committee of Congress for Punjab is scheduled on January 10 and the remaining 40 party candidates will be declared.

The Punjab Congress is waiting for Rahul to return from his New Year trip abroad to get the party’s campaign rolling.

Both Sidhu and his wife had quit the BJP last year over differences with the top leadership.

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09:27  Bengaluru cops say man, sister-in-law hatched ‘molestation plot’ to get married:  

A man tried to use the spate of molestation allegations in Bengaluru as a decoy to carry on his extra-marital affair with his sister-in-law, police said on Sunday.

Footage from a CCTV camera showed a man stalking a burqa-clad woman walking towards a bus-stop on a deserted road on Friday morning. Another video, later in the day, showed wounds on her lips, tongue, hand and toes as she tried to resist the alleged molester.

Deputy commissioner of police (east division) Ajay Hilori said investigators found that it was a set-up. The alleged stalker is the womans brother-in-law and he plotted the incident meticulously because her parents were trying to marry her off.

The duo is in a relationship and decided to stage the molestation because she wouldnt be able to find a match then. The accused thought he could then convince his wife to let him marry her sister, the officer said.

The idea came after watching television channels that aired footage from a surveillance camera of a woman being molested by two men riding a two-wheeler in the Kammanahalli area of the city on New Years Eve.

Hilori said the accused surveyed the area for cameras and staged the incident.

The man was so confident about his plot that he took the victim to the police station and helped officers to detect the specific video.

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08:38  Sakshi Maharaj a very bad person, he’s a vagabond: Lalu Prasad:  

After Sakshi Maharaj sparked a controversy by indirectly blaming Muslims for the population boom in the country, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad said the BJP leader should be booked under Goondas Act and sent to jail.

He said Sakshi Maharaj is always involved in communalising society and he should be arrested.

Sakshi Maharaj is a very bad person. He is not a saint. He is a vagabond person. He should be arrested under Goondas Act and sent to jail… He always tries to communalise society, the RJD leader said.

Sakshi Maharaj was booked on Saturday for allegedly hurting religious feelings after he indirectly blamed Muslims for the population growth, days after Supreme Court outlawed seeking votes in the name of religion or caste.

Those with four wives and 40 children are responsible for the population increase in the country. Hindus are not responsible for the increase in population, the MP from Unnao in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh had said.

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08:20  Petrol pumps defer decision to not accept card payments till Jan 13:  

Petrol pump owners in the country on Sunday night deferred till January 13 their decision to not accept credit and debit card payments for fuel sales after banks put off the move to levy the transaction charge.

To promote cash-less transactions, the government had waived the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on fuel purchase post demonetisation for consumers. But after the expiry of the 50-day window, the banks have decided to levy MDR on petrol pump owners.

This meant petrol pumps having to bear 1 percent on all credit card transactions and between 0.25 percent and 1 percent on all debit card transactions from January 9. In protest of the move, petrol pump operators had decided not to accept card payments from Monday.

“We have received official communication from oil marketing companies that the transaction fee charges have been deferred till January 13, 2017. AIPDA also has decided to defer the agitation till January 13,” said Ajay Bansal, President, All India Petroleum Dealers Association.

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07:48  Terror attack on GREF camp in J-K’s Akhnoor, 3 personnel killed:  

Three General Reserve Engineer Force personnel lost their lives on Monday morning in an attack on the BRO GREF camp in army district of Akhnoor, reports said. 

The gunshots were heard around 7 am on Monday.

According to reports the area has been cordoned off. More details are awaited.

The GREF camp in Akhnoor is in the military area and it is not accessible to civilians.

General Reserve Engineer Force or GREF, along with Border Roads Engineering Service, form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.

BRO is the organisation responsible for development and maintenance of road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighbouring countries.

Source: Rediff