Modi tells political parties not to support terrorism

Newsroom24x7 Network

PM underscores need for all the countries of the world, all governments, all religions, to unite against terrorism.

Gandhinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday 31 October said that 130 crore Indians are working for a strong Aatma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and the country is fully ready to protect its sovereignty and integrity

The Prime Minister was participating in the Ekta Diwas Celebrations at Kevadia in Gujarat. On the occasion, he administered the Ekta Pledge and attended the Ekta Diwas Parade

Modi called on the international community to unite against the growing threat of terrorism and urged political parties not to support Terrorism in the interest of the security of the country and for the morale of India’s security forces.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the various projects inaugurated for the Integrated development of Kevadia will help in increasing the tourism of the region. He said tourists will now have the option to visit the Statue of Unity to get the darshan of Sardar Saheb through a sea-plane service as well.

Cultural Unity by Maharishi Valmiki

The Prime Minister remarked that a few centuries ago, Adikavi Maharishi Valmiki made efforts to make India more vibrant, energetic and culturally united than the India we experience today. Shri Modi expressed happiness that Valmiki Jayanti coincides with Ekta Diwas. He expressed happiness the way the country has proved its collective strength, its collective will in the face of this epidemic, is unprecedented.

New dimensions of Unity

The Prime Minister said now Kashmir has moved on a new path of development, leaving behind the obstacles that were coming in the development of Kashmir. He added today the country is establishing new dimensions of unity. He listed the steps taken for the restoration of peace in the Northeast and the initiatives taken for its development.

He said the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya following the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s verdict is an attempt to restore the cultural glory of India envisioned by Sardar Patel.

Aatma Nirbhar Bharat

The Prime Minister remarked that today, 130 crore countrymen together are building a nation that is both strong and capable, in which there should be equality and there are also opportunities. He said only a self-sufficient country can be confident of its progress as well as its security. He added therefore that the country is moving towards becoming self-sufficient in the various fields including defense as well.

Development of Border Areas and Protection of India’s Sovereignty & Integrity

The Prime Minister said India’s perspective and attitudes towards borders have also changed. Criticizing the neighbouring countries, he said today those eyeing the land of India are getting a befitting reply. He pointed out that India is building hundreds of kilometers of roads, dozens of bridges and many tunnels on the borders. He affirmed that today’s India is fully ready to protect its sovereignty and integrity.

Unite against Terrorism

The Prime Minister said amidst these efforts, there are many challenges which India and the whole world are facing today. He said the way some people have come out in support of terrorism is a matter of global concern today. He urged upon the need for all the countries of the world, all governments, all religions, to unite against terrorism. He said a sense of peace, brotherhood and mutual respect is the true identity of humanity. He pointed out no one can ever get welfare from terrorism-violence. He said our diversity is our existence and we are so extraordinary. He reminded that this unity of India is the power which keeps others on their toes. They want to make this diversity our only weakness. He stressed the need to recognize such forces and remain cautious.

Pulwama attack

The Prime Minister said he was reminded of Pulwama attack while watching the parade of paramilitary forces today. He said the country can never forget the incident and the whole nation was saddened by the departure of its brave sons. He said the country will never forget the kind of statements made on the incident. Without naming Pakistan, he said the recent statements made in the Parliament of the neighbouring country brings out the truth.

He lamented the play of ugly politics in the country which displayed utter selfishness and arrogance. Politics done after Pulwama attack is a great example of to what extent can these people go, for their political interest. He urged such political parties to work in the interest of the security of the country and for the morale of our security forces.

The Prime Minister said knowingly or unknowingly by playing into the hands of anti-national forces for your selfishness, you will not be able to work for the interest of the country nor for your party. He stressed that the highest interest for all of us should be the country’s interest. He added when we think of everyone’s interests, only then will we progress.

Earlier the Prime Minister witnessed a colorful parade of police forces of Gujarat State, the Central Reserve Armed Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Forces and National Security Guards. The parade also included a Rifle drill by the female officers of CRPF. The Jaguars of the Indian Air Force also performed a fly-past to mark the occasion. The Prime Minister also witnessed a cultural event showcasing the tribal heritage of India on the occasion of Rashtriya Ekta diwas.

World’s best distance runners for Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on 29 November

Harpal Singh Bedi 

New Delhi: Some of the World’s best long distance runners will  be seen in action in the $233,270 prize money Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) to be held in the national capital on 29th November. 

 ADHM  which is the World Athletics Gold Label Road Race, will follow the highest level of safety-standards, with bio-secure zones to ensure a COVID free race for the elite runners. 

The Elite runners will be at the start line at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on the 29th November, amateurs from across the globe will join them via the exclusive Airtel Delhi Half Marathon Mobile App. 

Participation this year will be from a convenient location, wherever you are. Registrations for   three Race categories opened on  30th October .  

Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju, expressed his happiness at the hosting of the event saying “Sport has always been a symbol of optimism, and we look forward to the ADHM on Nov. 29. We extend our full support to this event that is India’s pride and welcome the world’s best athletes to our capital city.

Race Director Hugh Jones opined , “With sport slowly but surely resuming world-over, being able to host the ADHM is good news for runners.  The event has always attracted some of the world’s best athletes and we are humbled to open our gates to them once again this year. The teams have been in detailed discussions with all stakeholders to workout the best possible option for our elites. Their safety and well-being are our top priority”. According to Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwala, said ” Beginning the competitive circuit in India with the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will be a fantastic opportunity for the Indian athletes and I am sure that they will make the most of it, “

The ADHM  has maintained gold standards in executional excellence and has made its mark on the international distance running calendar. It is representative of a healthier and fitter nation and reinforces the vision of the Fit India movement.” he added

Commenting on the stature of the field, Jos Hermens, Director,Global Sports Communication (GSC), the event’s elite athlete coordinator stated, “India, and especially the ADHM  has a special place in our hearts.Its pleasant weather and the course is one of the best in the world and athletes love to compete on this fast course. 

“We are committed to putting up a strong, competitive field and give India and the world the best of what distance running has to offer. We are so happy that Delhi is on as in these hard times our sport and athletes need opportunities.”

Registrations for all race categories Half Marathon, 10Km, Great Delhi Run (5km) will commence on 30th Oct. at 07.00 pm and stay open until 27th November on the event website, airteldelhihalfmarathon.procam.in.

HSB

MP Assembly bye-elections: Kamal Nath guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct; Loses status as leader of political party

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has held Kamal Nath, ex-Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, guilty of repeated violation of Model Code of Conduct, complete disregard of the advisory issued to him and revoked his status as leader of political party (Star Campaigner) with immediate effect for the current Bye-elections of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh.

The Commission received complaints from the Madhya Pradesh unit of Bharatiya Janata Party and also from the Chairperson National Commission for Women that Kamal Nath, who is Leader of the Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly, had used the word “Item” for a woman candidate.

The Commission had issued a Notice giving opportunity to Kemal Nath, to explain his stand in making the “Item” statement. He submitted a reply in the matter but it was not found to be satisfactory and hence the Commission issued an Advisory to him for violation of the provisions contained in Pam (2) of Part 1 of ‘General Conduct of Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates’ and disregard of the advisory issued by the Commission during the ongoing Bye-elections to the Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh. The Commission has taken the considered view that Kamal Nath used the work “Item” for a lady and that this constitutes violation of advisory issued by the Commission. Therefore the Commission had advised the ex-Chief Minister Madhya Pradesh that while making public utterances he should not use any such word or statement during the period of Model Code of Conduct”.

Subsequently, one more complaint was brought to the notice of the Commission from Bharatiya Janata Party that Kamal Nath had on 13 October2020 that “शिवराज नौटंकी के कलाकार, मुंबई जाकर एक्टिंग करें “. In this connection, the Commission sought a report from Chief Electoral Officer, Madhya Pradesh, who sent a report along with transcript of the speech of Kamal Nath in which he stated: “आपके भगवन तो वो माफिया हैं जिससे आपने मध्यप्रदेश की पहचान बनाई आपके भगवन तो मिलावट खोर हैं .

The report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Madhya Pradesh also confirms the violation of Model Code of Conduct.

A list of leaders of political party (Star Campaigners) was received from Indian National Congress. The name of Kamal Nath was placed at serial No. 3, under section 77(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for the Bye-election of Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh.

The Commission has “carefully considered” the matter and has observed with displeasure that Kamal Nath despite being a leader of a political party was repeatedly violating the provisions of Model Code of Conduct and breaching the ethical and dignified behaviour.

Hence, for repeated violation of Model Code of Conduct and for completely disregarding the advisory issued to him, the Commission has revoked his status of leader of political party (Star Campaigner).

The EC order of Friday 30 October says: “if any campaign is done by Kamal Nath from now onwards, the entire expenditure related to travel, stay, visit, etc.. shall be completely borne by the candidate in whose constituency the campaign is done by Kamal Nath.

Air Pollution Ordinance 2020: Raises more questions than providing solutions

While legal experts have questioned its national capital centric approach, environmental experts are not sure if the bureaucratic body that will be formed will be able to take stringent measures against the menace of air pollution

Nivedita Khandekar

Representative Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“The Air Quality will get even worse, I have seen the ordinance and it will not take care of anything this year.”

That was Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for a class XII student and a law student, who are the petitioners in the current case in the Supreme Case that has prompted the Centre to come up with an ordinance. This comment just about sums up the confidence that the ordinance to set up a ‘Commission for Air Quality Management for the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas 2020’ (The adjoining areas comprise states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) has evoked.

As per the ordinance, notified late Wednesday night and out in public domain on Thursday morning, polluters may now face a 5-year jail term and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore. The Commission will have 18 bureaucrats and scores of co-opted members drawn from various ministries. It will have powers to issue directions for control of pollution, it can take suo moto cognizance of complaints and act against polluting industry, including stopping power supply.

This Commission, the Ordinance states, will replace all other committees to streamline public participation and inter-state cooperation for managing air pollution in the Delhi-NCR area.

But as pointed out by the petitioners, the Ordinance will fail to curb pollution this winter season. A number of experts have been pointing out for years together how there was a need of a unified body that has powers to act against polluters and also for an air-shed approach, which means, considering a wider geographical area and also the meteorology, especially wind flow directions.

The Ordinance, even when it states that it comes into effect “at once”, will take a lot of time to implement since the Rules are to be formed and notified.

A careful reading of the text of the Ordinance shows that the Centre has actually confessed to the lack of a dedicated agency, permanent in nature, unlike the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (popularly known as EPCA) set up in 1998, and absence of coordinated efforts among the States involved. “Air pollution is not a localized phenomenon and effects are felt even far away from the source, thus creating the need for regional level initiatives through inter-State and intercity coordination,” it reads.

There already was a Graded Action Plan (GAP) for the Delhi NCR and there was a National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) launched in January 2019. Under the NCAP, it is expected National Air Quality Standards will be met in all (102) non-attainment cities identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). With the Commission overriding EPCA, possibly GAP will be ineffective, but the programme for 102 non-attainment cities would continue.

Why just Delhi-NCR?

Even when air pollution in Delhi-NCR becomes a topic of prime debate every winter owing to the burning of crop residue by the farmers in Haryana and Punjab, there are scores of places across India that witness much more pollution, that too round the year.

Several areas of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh that have a plethora of mines and power plants among other industries or cities such as Chandrapur in Maharashtra face much severe air pollution almost round the year. All these could have been addressed by bringing in a template of a Commission that can be replicated in each of the problem areas. These problem areas, what the ordinance addresses, is a relatively newer concept for India – the air-shed. It is a geographical area within which multiple factors affect the given area’s air pollution. But with national capital centric approach, experts feel, it is a lost opportunity.

Even when the new Commission could bring “focused and sustained attention to air quality and help solve inter-departmental coordination problems,” Dr Navroz Dubash, Professor, Centre for Policy Research & Lead Coordinating Author, Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pointed out adding “Air pollution is more than an NCR problem. (Formation of) the Commission is a lost opportunity to explicitly set the ground rules for an air-shed based approach – one that could have been deployed in polluted areas across the country.”

The ordinance again emphasises that the lives of people in other parts of the country are not valued as much as it is done for citizens in Delhi-NCR, we have hazardous air pollution situation throughout most of the country and the ordinance fails to address that issue – Sunil Dahiya, Analyst, Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA)

The most vocal opposing voice was that of Ritwick Dutta, an environmental lawyer and Founder, Legal Initiative for Forests and Environment(LIFE). “Having correctly identified the regional nature of the problem and the need to go beyond the local, it goes on to state that there is a need ‘for a permanent solution and establish a self-regulated, democratically monitored mechanism to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Area’.”

This proves that the main purpose of this Ordinance is to improve the air quality only in the National Capital Region, Dutta said, adding, “Unless the Central Government sets up similar committees in other polluted regions of the Country, it violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution and discriminates against those who are not in the NCR. Clearly, there are equally if not more polluted regions which are beyond the NCR.”

More issues with the Ordinance

But these are just the important, obvious issues. The Ordinance has drawn flak from various experts owing to its composition or the fine amount restricted to mere Rs 1 crore (when the NGT has in various cases imposed Rs 100-150 crore as fine). 

As one of the experts said, “One can hope that there will be serious debate in Parliament when the Government presents this ordinance on the reopening of Parliament.” Rightly so as the current Ordinance continues to see “air pollution as a scientific and technical issue overlooking the social aspects of the problem.”


Nivedita Khandekar is an independent journalist based in Delhi. She writes on environmental and developmental issues. She can be reached at nivedita_him@rediffmail.com. Follow her on twitter at @nivedita_Him