Delhi govt bureaucrats go on mass leave, protesting against suspension order

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Delhi assembly kejriwal govtNew Delhi : Delhi government bureaucrats today went on mass leave to protest against the suspension of two DANICS-cadre officers. The protest got a negated response from the Union government as Home Ministry declared the suspension as null and void. The issue gained momentum, as, a day after two senior civil service officers of the Home Department were suspended by the AAP government for refusing to sign on a Cabinet decision file, around 200 DANICS officers went on mass leave while 70 IAS officers took off to half-day leave, showing solidarity with the suspended officers. The case in point — action was taken against Yashpal Garg, special secretary (Prosecution), and Subhash Chandra, after they refused to sign a file pertaining to the Cabinet decision to increase salary of public prosecutors.

As per the rule book of civil services, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) are selected through civil service exams conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The power of their suspension or taking up of any such action rests solely with the Lt Governor. Only the Delhi Lt Governor can suspend DANICS-cadre officers with permission from the Union Home Ministry.

Reacting to the protest, Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said DANICS and IAS officers do not have the right to go on strike as it is against their service rule. Not taking cognizance of the state of affairs of these officers, and their ultimate step of protest via absenteeism today, in the likes of IAS and DANICS officers associations’ decision to skip work today, Jain said, ‘People will be happy if they go on strike. All system pertaining to governance is based online today and government will not suffer.’

The Delhi Home Minister further said that Delhi government was ready to grant all officers even one month or 15-day leave if they apply for the same. He spoke, ‘The two officers were suspended for not implementing Cabinet decision on December 28. If they had any problem with my order, they should have approached Chief Minister not LG. Lt Governor has already asked officers to defy government decision. I know that by the evening, LG will declare the suspension of two officers by Delhi Government as null and void.

Sharif hails Modi’s gesture, says the two countries cannot live as enemies

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Nawaz SharifIslamabad : Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has described his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s last week’s visit to Lahore as a good will gesture and called for the two countries to set aside their hostilities.’The Indian Prime Minister came to Lahore and spent a few hours with us. It was high time that two countries put aside their hostilities,’ he said during an event in Pakistan. Sharif reciprocated the courtesy extended by his Indian counterpart and invited India to hold dialogue with Pakistan on all issues, saying the two countries cannot live as enemies. In his exact words — Pakistan and India will have to resolve all issues amicably and in a comprehensive way.

Sharif added that National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua had held meetings with Indian officials to discuss issues and conflicts between the two countries. Also, he clarified, during Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad it had been decided that the two countries would restart dialogue on all issues. ‘Pakistan and India will have to create a friendly environment to resolve their issues,’ he said, and added that dialogue and talks had always worked towards resolving all disputes and conflicts anywhere in the world, and so would it do, even for these two neighboring countries.

Sharif was speaking at his address during a foundation stone-laying ceremony for the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in Zhob on Wednesday. Zhob is a small town and district capital of Zhob District in Balochistan province of Pakistan. Zhob is located on the banks of Zhob River. The project of CPEC route would cover Zhob-Mughal Kot (N-50) and Qila Saifullah-Wagum (N-70).

Pakistan has put many ambitious infrastructure link plans on its working table, out of which, the CPEC forms a special mention. Pakistan is also working to build a railway track to connect itself with Europe via Afghanistan and Central Asia so that goods trains from Pakistan could go to that continent. Sharif said he, along with the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan and the vice president of India, had laid the foundation stone of the Tapi gas project — a project, by which, the pipeline would help meet the natural gas requirement of the countries involved. The project would be completed in four years and help end gas load shedding in the country, he added.

Sharif spoke on Balochistan, with particular reference to its natural resources, and said it was rich in natural wealth, and its people had the first right on these. He said he wanted promotion of education, provision of health facilities and development of agricultural and industrial sectors in the province. He offered the peasants of Balochistan federal government’s loans for installing solar-powered tube wells to irrigate their fields. He said the CPEC would bring prosperity to Balochistan and open doors of development and job opportunities. He said — CPEC will end backwardness and poverty in Pakistan by bringing progress and prosperity to our people.

Sharif described his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s last week’s visit to Lahore as a good will gesture and called for the two countries to set aside their hostilities. He added that goodwill gesture could provide solution to many problems. This was Sharif’s first public reaction to the sudden visit made by PM Modi on Christmas Day, which coincided with Birthday of three political figures, namely — Jinnah, Nawaz Sharif and Former PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee. PM Modi also graced the occasion of Sharif’s grand daughter’s wedding and gave his blessings to the bride. PM Modi also met Sharif’s immediate and extended family and took blessings from Sharif’s mother, by touching her feet, Indian style.

Govt scales up budget for grid-connected rooftop solar projects to 5000 cr

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solar energy parkNew Delhi : In a major boost to the national solar mission, the Union Cabinet today accorded approval for scaling up budget for grid-connected rooftop solar projects by a multiple of above eight times. This move has made the budget scale up from the existing 600 crore Rupees to 5,000 crore.The budget, which is planned for disbursement over next five years up to 2019-20, will support capacity addition of 4,200 MW.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by  Prime  Minister  Narendra Modi  has  approved  the massive scaling up of budget from  Rs, 600 crore to Rs. 5,000 crore for implementation of Grid Connected Rooftops systems over a period of five years upto 2019-20 under National Solar Mission (NSM). This budget build up would assist towards infrastructure strengthening in the likes of installation of solar rooftop systems, strengthening of industrial and commercial sector of Solar energy, and helping an easing of subsidy burden both ways. The move would support Installation of 4200 MW Solar Rooftop systems in the country in next five years, said official sources.The capital subsidy of 30 per cent would be provided for general category States/UTs and 70 per cent for special category States i.e., North-Eastern States including Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the statement said. It also elaborated that there would be no subsidy for commercial and industrial establishments in the private sector since they are already laden with other benefit eligibility such as accelerated depreciation, custom duty concessions, excise duty exemptions and tax holiday.

This capacity of 4200 MWp is scheduled to be built up through the residential, Government, Social and institutional sector such as — hospitals and educational institutions. Industrial and commercial sector would be encouraged for installations without subsidy. The aim is to create a healthy market, build the confidence of the consumers and work towards enabling balance capacity through market mode. All this would be done with an objective of achieving the target of 40,000 MWp by 2022, the statement added.

Government has revised the target of National Solar Mission (NSM) from 20,000 MWp to 1,00,000 MWp, to be achieved by 2022.

Government Committed To Building Ram Temple At Ayodhya, says Union Minister

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Union minister Mahesh sharmaBulandshahr : Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said that the ruling NDA government in centre was totally committed to building the Ram Temple at Ayodhya but would wait for the Supreme Court verdict or arrive at a ‘mutual understanding’ on constructing the temple. Calling it as the ‘dream’ of the people of the country, a dream which is woven around the expectations that Ram Mandir be built as early as possible, Sharma said — Our party and government have already given their mandate on this issue. We want to build Ram Mandir but we will either follow the Supreme Court’s order or would come at a common conclusion about constructing the Mandir. This is why it is taking time.

The Minister, while speaking at a function, added — BJP is committed to build Ram Temple and even the people of the country want that the Ram Temple should be established. But the issue is pending in court. Till an order is issued or mutual understanding arrived at, BJP should follow the situation and even I am not authorized to speak on this topic. Our senior party leader or government will take decision.

The Minister further added that a grand museum would soon take shape in the land of Ayodhya. He said — A grand museum is being constructed in Ayodhya. The Centre has given its nod to a Rs. 170 crore Ram Van Gaman Path project which will depict Lord Rama’s ideals.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had earlier stressed that the Ram Mandir issue was in court, and politics had no role to play on this matter. He had said, ‘The Ram Mandir issue is in court. Steps will be taken on the direction of the court and this is a non-political issue.’