Sunday, April 30, 2017

PM ON THE MANN KI BAAT PROGRAMME,

PM about the Mann Ki Baat programme, Mr Modi said, Government makes detailed analysis of the inputs received for the programme. He said, maximum number of people who have sent suggestions for the programme have done something in their life. He also thanked the people for giving suggestions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, is not only limited to the confines of India but also it applies to the global context too. In his 31st edition of Mann Ki Baat programme in All India Radio, Mr Modi said neighbouring countries be with India in its journey and they may develop equally.
The Prime minister said, on coming Friday, India will launch the South Asia Satellite which will go a long way in addressing South Asia’s economic and developmental priorities, Natural resources mapping, tele medicine, in the field of education, deeper IT connectivity and fostering people to people contact. He said, this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region. It is an important step by India to enhance co-operation with the entire South Asia as it is an invaluable gift.
Speaking on getting rid of VIP hegemony, Mr Modi said, the exit of the red beacon through a government decision is part of a system and efforts should be to cleanse it out of the minds. He said, if people collectively strive to do it with eternal vigilance, it surely can be flushed out.
The Prime Minister said, the concept of New India precisely is that in place of Very Important Person, VIP, more priority should be accorded to EPI that is Every Person is important. He said, every person has his or her own importance and every person possesses a sagacious aura, in a unique manner.
Prime minister stressed to warmly accept the importance of a hundred and twenty five crore countrymen.
Appealing to the youth, Mr Modi asked them do something out of the box. He said, they must try new places, new experiences and new skills. The Prime Minister urged them to try to experience and satiate the curiosity on any subject during the summer vacation.
He said, dreams of big achievements in life is a good thing and it is good to have some purpose in life. He said, the youth must achieve their goals but they also self-evaluate whether the human element within themselves is getting frustrated, and they are we not moving away from the human qualities.

TRUMP: FRESH ATTACK ON MEDIA

US President Donald Trump has launched a scathing attack on the media during a rally marking 100 days in office. He told supporters in Pennsylvania that he was keeping one promise after another, dismissing criticism as fake news by out of touch journalists.
On climate change, the US President said, a big decision will be taken within the next two weeks. He earlier described climate change as a hoax, vowing to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement. Ahead of the speech, tens of thousands took part in protests across the US against the Trump administration’s stance on climate change.
Mr Trump decided to skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. He is the first US leader to miss the annual event since Ronald Reagan in 1981.

US & SOUTH KOREA FOAL EAGLE

South Korea and the US wrapped up their annual large-scale military drills today, but continued a separate joint naval exercise that has triggered dire threats from North Korea.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been running sky high for weeks, with signs that the North might be preparing a long-range missile launch or a sixth nuclear test and with Washington refusing to rule out a military strike in response.
The massive “Foal Eagle” drill, ended as scheduled and it involved around 20,000 South Korean and 10,000 US troops.
Another annual joint exercise known as Key Resolve ended last month. Both play out scenarios for a conflict with North Korea, but Seoul and Washington insist they are purely defensive in nature, despite Pyongyang’s claims that they are provocative rehearsals for invasion.US aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, kicked off a joint drill with the South Korean navy yesterday. The exercise began amidst tensions over North Korea’s latest test-fire of a ballistic missile.
A defence Ministry spokesman said the drill came hours after the North launched a ballistic missile in apparent defiance of a concerted US push for tougher international sanctions to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
He said the drill is aimed at verifyig the allies’ capability to track and intercept enemy ballistic missiles. He declined to clarify how long the drill would last, but Yonhap news agency said it is expected to continue until sometime next week.
The drill will also include a live-fire exercise and anti-submarine manoeuvres.
It would mark the USS Carl Vinson’s second operation in South Korean waters in less than two months amid heightened military tensions in Korea. In March, the aircraft carrier carried out annual joint drills.
Earlier this week, the US carrier had joint drills with Japan’s naval forces. North Korea’s state media has said the North’s military is capable of sinking the aircraft carrier with a single strike.
US aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, kicked off a joint drill with the South Korean navy yesterday. The exercise began amidst tensions over North Korea’s latest test-fire of a ballistic missile.
A defence Ministry spokesman said the drill came hours after the North launched a ballistic missile in apparent defiance of a concerted US push for tougher international sanctions to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
He said the drill is aimed at verifyig the allies’ capability to track and intercept enemy ballistic missiles. He declined to clarify how long the drill would last, but Yonhap news agency said it is expected to continue until sometime next week.
The drill will also include a live-fire exercise and anti-submarine manoeuvres.
It would mark the USS Carl Vinson’s second operation in South Korean waters in less than two months amid heightened military tensions in Korea. In March, the aircraft carrier carried out annual joint drills.
Earlier this week, the US carrier had joint drills with Japan’s naval forces. North Korea’s state media has said the North’s military is capable of sinking the aircraft carrier with a single strike.

BOLLYWOOD STARS BACK AGAIN FOR THE BIGGEST RAMLEELA OF THE YEAR!

_DSC0747.JPG Ramleela Bollyywood star
   Finally the preparation of Delhi’s biggest Luv Kush Ramleela for this year has given a head start, with the graceful presence of b’town stars Manoj Tiwari, Anup Jalota and Shankar Sahni.
In a Press Conference held in Delhi, President of Luv Kush Ramleela, Ashok Agrarwal revealed that this year the Ramleela play will be bigger than ever as most of the prominent personalities from the Bollywood industry will turn up on the stage in different characters, he said, “finally the preparation of Ramleela is started for this year. And I am sure it will take place in a big manner. We are going to release the entire information of LuvKush Ramleela on our official website. And in comparison with last year, Ramleela is going to be showcased with more enthusiasm. Well, I am heartily thankful to the entire team of LuvKush Ramleela for making it possible on such a huge way.”
As per the characters revealed, Manoj Tiwari will portray the role of Angad, Anup Jalota will be Kevat, Shankar Sahni Raja Dashrath. Manoj Tiwari felt energetic for Ramleela, he said, “firstly, a abig thanks to Ashok Aggarwal, the Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota ji, my brother Shankar Sahni and the entire team of LuvKush Ramleela committee. Through this Ramleela we will take Lord Ram in each and every house. As per actor and politician, I will make sure Ramleela will be highlighted in a huge platform not only in Delhi but everywhere. As i feel deep connection with Ramleela, I am blessed that I get such a precious role.
On the other hand Anup Jalota mesmerised everyone by singing bit lines from Ramleela and shared his joyful thoughts for being the part of Ramleela this year, he said, “I feel blessed that LuvKush Ramleela Committee gave me chance to play as Kevat. I am expecting God and people’s love and support, through which I can give good performance for the same.”
The 40 year old Luv Kush Ramleela will be showcased from 21st September till 1st October, 2017.

SHIV KAPUR TRIUMPHS AT YEANGDER HERITAGE

Shiv Kapur triumphs at Yeangder Heritage, ends 11-year title drought in Asia
Shiv_Kapur
Kapur produces a sensational final round 64 to clinch victory


Miaoli, Chinese Taipei, April 30, 2017: Shiv Kapur’s excruciatingly long wait for a second Asian Tour title finally ended at the inaugural Yeangder Heritage on Sunday.

Kapur (71-70-67-64), who had won his previous and only Asian Tour event in his rookie season back in 2005, came home the winner by two shots at the National Golf Country Club in Miaoli, Chinese Taipei, with a sensational bogey-free final round of eight-under-64 that saw him end up with a total of 16-under-272.

Malaysian Gavin Green and Korean Yikeun Chang finished joint runners-up at 14-under-274 at the US$300,000 event.

The 35-year-old Kapur, who began the day in tied third, two off the lead, put together eight birdies in round four, including five on the last seven holes, to register the tournament’s lowest single round score of 64 en route his victory.

Interestingly, Shiv birdied the par-five 13th hole for four consecutive days. The 2002 Asian Games gold medallist also closed out the match in style, holing a tricky seven feet downhill birdie putt on the 18th.

Kapur, who had won two European Challenge Tour events in 2013, now has four international titles to his credit. His winner’s cheque of US$54,000 from the Yeangder Heritage has pushed him up from 21st to 13th place in the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Shiv said, “This win means a lot to me. Honestly it hasn’t sunk in yet because I’m still in a bit of a daze. It has been a frustrating last couple of years so it is nice to be back where I belong. There are so many good talents on the Asian Tour and it is getting harder and harder to win each year.

“There is a certain calmness on the golf course. It think that helped me and it also helped because I was not playing in the last group. That gave me an opportunity to just go and make birdies. I looked at the leaderboard on the 17th hole and I was already 15-under and two ahead.

“I came close on 17 and hit a great drive and second shot on the 18th hole. I had a downhill seven feet birdie putt on the last and made that. I can look back and say I did this right but you need some luck to win.”

In September last year, Kapur went for a liver surgery and returned in mid-December after resting for three months. Before the surgery, he lost his European Tour card.

Kapur added, “I really struggled last year. I came back from a liver surgery in September and was lying on a hospital bed. It was frustrating because you couldn’t play. Now I’ve come back after six months and to win the way I did is satisfying. When you are away from the game, it gives you doubts about yourself especially when things are not going your way. This win comes at the right time.”

Kapur, who was named the Asian Tour Rookie of the Year in 2005, soon after winning his first Asian Tour title in December that year, said, “It has been a long time since I won on the Asian Tour. It has been such a long wait but you tend to appreciate it more. You will have questions and doubts from yourself and other people but I answered those questions more to myself than anybody else with this win.

“After you haven’t won for so long, you might think that the best is behind you. When I first won, I was in my early 20s as well and the older guys were chasing me down. Now I’m the old guy! I played with Gavin Green in the third round and I can’t talk enough about what a great player he is. Today I played with two young Thai players so there is a lot of talent on the Asian Tour.

“It is becoming harder and harder to win. The young kids come into tournaments to win. They come through the ADT system and that’s such a great platform for them to learn how to win. When they come out on the Asian Tour, it is not a big surprise to them anymore.”

Congratulating Shiv on his well-deserved victory, Mr. Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI, said, “We at the PGTI congratulate Shiv for his win at the Yeangder Heritage. The victory is a result of his dedication and perseverance. We look forward to seeing him win many more titles in the years to come.”

Sujjan Singh (67) and Himmat Rai (71) were the next best Indians as they claimed tied 22nd at five-under-283.

Among the other Indians in the field, Chikkarangappa (68) finished tied 27th at four-under-284, Khalin Joshi (70) bagged tied 39th at two-under-286, Rahil Gangjee (70) was tied 52nd at two-over-290 and Chiragh Kumar (77) ended tied 60th at five-over-293.

VEIBY GRABS LEAD AS GILL SUFFERS DAMPER ISSUES

Whangarei (New Zealand), April 29: India’s Gaurav Gill of Team MRF Tyres, struggling with an errant damper, saw his slender advantage vanish as team-mate Ole Christian Veiby from Norway literally splashed his way to a 33.2-second lead in the International Rally of Whangarei which is also the first round of the 2017 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, here on Saturday that marked by heavy rains in the afternoon.
Gill (co-driver Stephane Prevot), the reigning APRC champion and Veiby (Stig Rune Skjærmoen) were locked in a thrilling and close battle through the morning. Delhi-based Gill, winner here last year, led Veiby by just 1.7 seconds on completion of four of the day’s eight Special Stages, one of which was cancelled in the afternoon following an accident that blocked the route.
On the second loop of the same Stages in the afternoon, Gill encountered problems with the front dampers that led to lack of grip, while in contrast, Veiby had a flawless run that helped him not only move to the front, but also finish the day with a sizeable lead.
With another 108 Kms spread over six Special Stages to be run on Sunday and more rains forecast, Veiby and Gill, both piloting the Skoda Fabia R5, are way ahead of the field. Third-placed Jari Ketomaa (Ville Mannisenmaki), in a Mitsubishi Mirage, trails Gill by one minute, 42.5 seconds as Team MRF Tyres eye a possible 1-2 finish.
Reflecting on his day’s performance, Veiby who started with a 2.5-second deficit following Friday night’s Super Special Stage, said: “We started at a comfortable pace initially, but stepped up the speed in the second loop. I particularly enjoyed the long Stages which were amazing and I could make time on Gill, but he was quicker on the shorter tight and twisty Stages.
“Overall, I am happy as we didn’t have any issues with the car. The last Stage was very difficult as it was raining very heavily and we could barely see. The MRF tyres worked extremely well today in difficult conditions and I have become more comfortable with them.”
On his part, Gill felt that there was still a big battle ahead on Sunday despite the deficit he faced. “I had a good run in the morning though I started first and had to sweep the gravel off the track.
“In the afternoon when it rained heavily, I had problems with the dampers due to which there was no front-end grip. I lost confidence thereafter and couldn’t really push. Also, there was plenty of water on the route and every time I went through at speed, I lost pace while the going was much clear for those behind me. Tomorrow is another day and I am up for the challenge.”
Provisional classification (after Leg-1):
APRC: 1. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjærmoen (Team MRF Tyres, Skoda Fabia R5) (01hr, 31mins, 33.8secs); 2. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF Tyres, Skoda Fabia R5) (01:32:07.0); 3. Jari Ketomaa / Ville Mannisenmaki (Mpart Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage) (01:33:49.5).

13TH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ELECTORAL AND POLITICAL REFORMS: DAY 1

The 13th ADR Annual National Conference commenced today at Panjab University, Chandigarh with the inaugural speech of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr. Nasim Zaidi.
Address by Dr. Nasim Zaidi
Dr. Zaidi, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) congratulated ADR and Punjab Election Watch on the organizing of the 13th Annual National Conference at Panjab University, Chandigarh.
He appreciated the ongoing efforts of ADR and National Election Watch (NEW) in carrying forward the civil society movement for electoral and political reforms. While addressing the audience, he stated that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has completed a study on data needs of the Commission and an analytics roadmap has been prepared based on best practices adopted by several leading electoral management bodies. This roadmap is likely to be implemented in one year time frame and this will integrate all kinds of databases in the Commission. He laid strong emphasis on data presentation and visual analytics in the friendliest manner possible.
The CEC said that the use of money in the poll process has increased significantly. The ECI seized over Rs. 350 crores during the recently concluded five state assembly elections which was three times higher than what was seized in the 2012 assembly elections. He expressed grave concern on this issue and mentioned that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
The CEC stated that a multi-dimensional approach needs to be taken to curb the misuse of money power in elections. He said that we should formulate a strong anti-bribery law or legal framework, there should be strict enforcement on the ground and lastly, ethical voting practices need to be inculcated by voters.
Dr. Zaidi spoke about some of the initiatives taken by the ECI to curb bribing in elections. He said that the ECI has made recommendations to the Law Ministry to amend the RP Act and to insert a new section 58B, which would empower the Commission to countermand elections based on credible evidence relating to widespread bribery. Although the Law Ministry has disagreed thrice with this proposal in the last one year, the Commission is constantly pushing the need to be empowered on the lines of Section 58 of RP Act which deals with countermanding of elections due to booth capturing. The CEC has also proposed that bribing of voters should also be made a cognizable offence.
The CEC observed that there has been steep rise in the assets of the candidates seeking re-election and that the electors have every right to know the causes behind this sharp increase in assets. An important development which has taken place is that the ECI has recommended the amendment of Form 26, where they would be required to add a column for declaring the details of sources of income of candidates and their spouses.
Dr. Zaidi also mentioned that they have been formulating policy to make sure that there is transparency in declaration by candidates on any disqualifications at the time of their nominations. The Commission has earlier seen instances where the candidates did not declare their disqualifications at the time of nomination. The ECI has amended the rules to include declaration of disqualifications in nomination forms as mandatory. This includes holding of office of profit, insolvency, allegiance to a foreign country and any disqualifications incurred under Section 8A of RP Act. This also includes grounds of corruption and most importantly any substantive contracts with the government which the candidate might not have disclosed at the time of filing their nomination papers.
Dr. Zaidi said that the political parties under the current legal framework are loosely governed, be it registration, funding, expenditure etc. Regarding election financing, he said that it should rest on four pillars. 1) Laying down the expenditure limit of candidates and also of political parties, 2) Disclosure requirements for more transparency, 3) Compliance of disclosure requirements and 4) Penalties for non-adherence.
The CEC also expressed concern, the way few recent electoral reforms have been introduced in the past few months by the government. He said that by not reducing the limit of anonymity from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 2000, the transparency has not been brought about. He also stated that if the contribution has been made in the form of electoral bonds, it would not be a part of the contributions report of the political parties. This is a retrograde step which will enhance opacity in political party funding.
Increasing Opacity in Political Financing

[Panelists: Prof. Sanjay Kumar (Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies), Shri Manish Tewari (Former MP and Union Minister of State), Shri Sukhpal Singh Khaira (MLA – Punjab Legislative Assembly 2017), Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar (retd.):  (Founder Member and Trustee of ADR)
Chairperson – Dr. Ajit Ranade (Founder member and Trustee of ADR)]
Dr. Sanjay Kumar (Director CSDS) stated that accountability and transparency are two main issues regarding electoral reforms. He insisted that instead of focusing on big reforms we should concentrate on making small changes as these changes are easy to make and would ultimately lead to bigger changes.
Shri Manish Tewari, former MP and Union Minister, said that although the political parties want the status quo regarding the funding of political parties, the people want reforms. He suggested that all donations, regardless of the amount, should be linked to aadhar card.
Shri Sukhpal Kaira, MLA Punjab Assembly 2017, expressed that initially the political society was clean and now, over the years, the political system has deteriorated due to the increasing money power. He said that the step taken by the government to reduce the cash limit for donations to political parties from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 2000 was an eyewash and there is urgent need for revolutionary and drastic reforms. He said that there is a law but imlementaion is where it matters and where it lacks.
Prof. Chhokar of ADR stated that the increase in the opacity of political party funding is not new and every government has been doing it since the past 20 or more years.  

State/Public Funding of Political Parties

[Panelists: Prof. Arun Kumar: (Former Sukhamoy Chakravarty Chair Professor at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University). Prof. Trilochan Sastry (Founder member and trustee ADR), Dr. M R Madhavan (President and Co-founder of PRS), Dr. Eshwar Anand (Professor, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication)
Chairperson – Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar]
Commenting on the nature of State/Public funding, Prof. Arun Kumar (Ex JNU prof.) said that black economy has grown manifold during last 70 years due to illegal nexus among politicians, businessmen, mafia etc. and also due to direct entry of criminals into politics post 1980s. He also said that there is a need for sustained movements against corruption and demand for accountability to defeat the abovementioned illegal nexus. Therefore, he felt that pubic funding will not help unless corruption is removed.
Dr. Madhavan, president PRS, said that the government has the funds to provide state funding for the candidates contesting elections. He said that the funding can be in kind or in cash.
Dr. Eswar Anand of Symbiosis expressed his disappointment and said that even after so many recommendations over the years, the only thing lacking to implement them is the political will. He said that state funding should be given in kind and not in cash.
Professor Trilochan Sastry of ADR highlighted the main issues with public funding and said that the common voter has to take responsibility for it’s own welfare and not vote for candidates who are buying votes.
Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar of ADR emphasized that the only pre-requisite before even talking about public funding is internal democracy among political parties.
Innovative ideas towards greater voter awareness at the grass-root level

[Panelists: Shri Sudhir Pal (State Coordinator, Jharkhand Election Watch), Shri Sanjay Singh (State Coordinator, Uttar Pradesh Election Watch), Shri Ranjan Mohanty (State Coordinator, Odisha Election Watch)
Chairperson: Dr. Vipul Mudgal (Trustee of ADR and the Director of Common Cause)]
Dr. Vipul Mudgal (of ADR) while speaking on the issue stated that, over the years, there has been decentralization of corruption along with the decentralization of governance.
Shri Sanjay Singh of UP Election Watch said that political parties are not willing to change and the ECI has it’s own limitations. Stressing on this issue, he believed that the target audience must be the youth to spread voter awareness. He discussed the methods he used in UP such as formation of district election committee, celebrity videos, local songs etc. He insisted that the key to success in this area is persistence.
Shri Sudhir Pal, state coordinator, Jharkhand Election Watch, discussed the work that they have been doing in collaboration with the state CEO. He expressed how the election machinery can work throughout the year and not just during elections. He requested all the state partners of National Election Watch to formulate a 5 year state document for voter awareness in their respective states.
Shri Ranjan Mohanty of Odisha Election Watch said that in the recent elections in Odisha, there were two main issues. Usage of muscle and money power and low voter turnout. He discussed the activities they have undertaken to address these issues and look for solutions.
Shri Sharad Kumar of AGNI, Mumbai said he primarily focused on the recent BMC elections. One of the prominent campaigns undertaken by them was the School Campaign. They focused on school children to motivate them to persuade their parents to vote in the BMC elections.
​Regards,
Media and Journalist Helpline
+91 80103 94248
Maj. Gen. Anil Verma (Retd.)
Head
National Election Watch,
Association for Democratic Reforms
011 4165 4200,
+91 88264 79910
adr@adrIndia.org,
Prof Jagdeep Chhokar
IIM Ahmedabad (Retd.)
Founder Member,
National Election Watch, Association for Democratic
Reforms
+91 99996 20944
jchhokar@gmail.com
Prof Trilochan Sastry
IIM Bangalore
Founder Member,
National Election Watch,
Association for Democratic Reforms
+91 94483 53285
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