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Archives for : December2017

Karnataka – No fingers or iris for #Aadhaar, Bengaluru woman loses pension #WTFnews

By Suraksha P  |

Sajida Begum, a leprosy patient, has been living at the Leprosy Hospital on Magadi Road for the past 10 years | Vinod Kumar T

BENGALURU: Sajida Begum, 65, has been living at the Leprosy Hospital on Magadi Road for the past 10 years. Her family left her at the hospital years ago and does not come to visit. This leprosy patient’s only sustenance is the Rs 1,000 pension that she gets every month. Three months ago, this was stopped for the lack of an Aadhaar card.

Sajida has lost her fingers and also her sight to the debilitating disease. In August this year, she got a letter from the deputy tahsildar’s office in Rajajinagar that her pension would stop in seven days if she failed to link it with her Aadhaar card. Sajida has no card. Fingerprint and iris scan are mandatory for Aadhaar verification, but Sajida doesn’t have those biometrics.

Dr Ayub Ali Zai, administrative medical officer, Leprosy Hospital, said, “She buys clothes and meets her meagre needs with that money. But since August she hasn’t received pension. She is totally blind in both the eyes, has no fingers or toes. I don’t know how her biometric identification can be done.”  Zai wrote a letter to UIDAI officials requesting them to exempt her from biometric verification considering her problem. “We don’t know if this is just an administrative delay in sending pension or if they have stopped it,” he added.

Sajida sobs inconsolably when asked about her family. “I don’t know where my daughter and son-in-law are. Nobody comes to see me. Please give me my money,” she cried.The 100-bed hospital currently has 57 inmates, and Zai says at least 10 of them have no Aadhaar card.  Zai said, “There is another patient called Rajanna who doesn’t have an Aadhaar card and has received the same letter from the tahsildar’s office.”

‘Leprosy patients can get Aadhaar rejection letter’

Of 57 inmates at the Leprosy Hospital on Magadi Road, at least 10 of them have no Aadhaar card, said Dr Ayub Ali Zai, administrative medical officer of the hospital. Zai said, “There is another patient called Rajanna who doesn’t have an Aadhaar card and has received the same letter from the tahsildar’s office. He has sight so I think even without his fingers, they can do biometric identification. How can these patients wait for camps to get enrolled? They should get the cards as soon as possible.”

Boraiah, another patient, has been making futile visits to the enrolment centre. He has been trying to get a card for his wife Puttalingamma who is also a patient. “People at the Bangalore One centre sent me back saying they cannot enrol her. I took her voter ID and told them she doesn’t have fingers,” he said.

There is lack of clarity on how people like Sajida or Puttalingamma can avail their Aadhaar cards. Officials at a Bangalore One centre said if the patient came with a medical certificate affixing a photo showing their hands, something could be done.

But when Express contacted UIDAI asking if exemptions could be made in biometrics for people with total disability, a top official requesting anonymity said, “Let them get enrolled first. Even if the woman doesn’t have sight, there may be biometrics that the machine can read. Only when the machine is unable to read and they get a rejection letter, it can be considered at the back end. There are cases where leprosy patients have got Aadhaar with whatever is left of their biometrics.”

Source- India Express

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Punjab – Six booked for assaulting Dalit groom, his family

 Gurdaspur (Pb)

Six persons were booked for allegedly assaulting a Dalit groom and his family members, who they were on their way to the marriage ceremony, in Khuthi village here, police said today.

The groom, a BSF jawan, and his family were allegedly beaten up and abused by some persons belonging to the same village on November 29, they said.

The incident took place when the family along with guests was about to leave for for the jawan’s marriage, police said.

The assault took place after a group of people raised objections over the blocking of a village road by the family and guests of the groom, Gurdaspur DSP Baldev Singh said.

The accused even allegedly used objectionable words against them, as per the complaint filed by the jawan’s father.

“A case was registered against six persons: Amritpal Singh, Pritam, Pritpal Singh, Amarinder Singh, Amandeep Singh, while one is yet to be identified,” DSP Singh said.

They have been booked under relevant sections including 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC and the SC/ST Act, the DSP informed.

All the accused are absconding and raids are being conducted to nab them, he added.

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From Canada to Mangaluru – all for his mom’s #Aadhaar card #WTFnews

DH News Service, Ronald Anil Fernandes, Mangaluru

File photograph of 101-year-old Gladys D'Souza with her 68-year-old son Trevor D'Souza, taken on her 100th birthday on March 30, 2017.File photograph of 101-year-old Gladys D’Souza with her 68-year-old son Trevor D’Souza, taken on her 100th birthday on March 30, 2017.

Sixty eight year old Trevor D’Souza, a marine engineer by profession, came down all the way from Toronto in Canada to Mangaluru just to get Aadhaar card for his 101-year-old mother Gladys D’Souza, who stays in an old age home in City.

“As I could not transfer money from my mom’s account in SBI to the senior citizen’s home account, which is also in the same branch of SBI (reportedly due to non-submission of KYC details), I came all the way from Canada to set right the anomalies,” he told DH.

Soon afterwords, he tried his level best to get Aadhaar card for his 101 year old mother, who can not move from senior citizen’s home at Pandeshwar in City.

To his dismay, he was told in the DC office that he will have to get his ailing mother to the DC office. Meanwhile, his efforts to appeal senior citizen’s helpline (1090) as well as Department of Women & Child at Urwa too was of no help, said another senior citizen I J S Shet, who accompanied Trevor to these offices.

In fact, Trevor was amused to see a list of senior citizens displayed in DC office who are in queue for the same problem.

When contacted, Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumar told DH that the government has recently withdrawn the facility wherein the equipment could be taken out to a particular place, specially for those who are unable to move or go to Aadhaar enrolement office.

“As of now, besides DC office and taluk office, the facility is available at 17 Naada Kacheris and Mangalore One centres,” he said and added that a special Aadhaar Adalat is planned between December 4 and December 8 at Town Hall in City for those who can not go Aadhaar centres without easy access (for example staircase).

Centenarian Gladys has been living in Mangaluru since 2008, as she was not comfortable and happy in Canada and the US as the cold conditions there did not suit her life style. In fact, Trevor is worried that if he can not get Aadhaar card by this month end, he will not be able to transfer money to his mom’s caretakers.

Quite interestingly, Gladys is a cancer survivor. As recently as 2015, she was diagnosed with cancer of the breast and treated at Fr Muller’s hospital with the support of city’s leading oncologists. Though at one stage it seemed a lost battle, the fighter of big battles that Great Grand Mother Gladys has survived and hopes to survive the Aadhaar conundrum as well, with the help of the DK district administration, before the authorities concerned delink the accounts on December 31, 2017.

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A list of the sexual misconduct accusations made against Donald Trump #Vaw

Agrowing list of powerful men have faced serious consequences for sexual misconduct allegations but the most powerful one of all has faced none. Instead Donald Trump’s official position, as his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders recently clarified in a White House press briefing, is that the 20 women accusing him of assault and harassment are lying. Trump has also suggested some were not attractive enough for him to want to sexually assault. As the conversation around sexual conduct continues to evolve, and new abusers are revealed, here are the cases against the president.

“He was like an octopus … His hands were everywhere.”Jessica Leeds

Leeds alleges Trump groped grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. Source: The New York Times

“I referred to this as a ‘rape’, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”Ivana Trump

In a divorce deposition, Trump’s first wife used “rape” to describe an incident that transpired between them. After a settlement was reached, and the rape allegation became public in a 1993 book, Ivana softened the claim. As part of her nondisclosure agreement, she is not allowed to discuss her marriage to Trump without his permission. Source: Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J Trump

“He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again.”Jill Harth

A former business partner, Harth alleges Trump forcibly kissed her on the lips and groped her breasts and grabbed her genitals, in what she referred to in a 1997 lawsuit as “attempted rape”. On a previous occasion, she alleges, he groped her under the table during dinner with colleagues at the Plaza Hotel. Source: The Guardian

“He did touch my vagina through my underwear.”Kristen Anderson

Anderson alleges Trump put his hand up her skirt and touched her genitals through her underwear. Source: The Washington Post

“[Trump] stuck his head right underneath their skirts.”Lisa Boyne

Boyne alleges Trump insisted the female models walk across the table and that he looked up their skirts, commenting on whether they were wearing underwear and their genitalia. Source: The Huffington Post

“He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips.”Cathy Heller

Heller alleges Trump forcibly kissed her on the lips in public. Source: The Guardian

“He kissed me directly on the lips.”Temple Taggart

The former Miss Utah alleges Trump forcibly kissed her on the mouth on two occassions, including the first time she met him. Source: The New York Times

“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a man in here.'”Mariah Billado

The former Miss Vermont Teen USA and other unnamed accusers allege Trump walked into the dressing room unannounced while teen beauty queens aged 15 to 19 were naked. Source: BuzzFeed

“Then his hand touched the right side of my breast. I was in shock.”Karena Virginia

Virginia alleges Trump grabbed her arm and touched her breast. Source: Gloria Allred press event

“The time that he walked through the dressing rooms was really shocking. We were all naked.”Bridget Sullivan

The former Miss New Hampshire alleges Trump walked in to the dressing room unannounced while contestants were naked. Source: BuzzFeed

“Our first introduction to him was when we were at the dress rehearsal and half-naked changing into our bikinis.”Tasha Dixon

The former Miss Arizona alleges Trump entered dressing rooms while her fellow contestants were “half-naked”. Source: CBS News

“All of a sudden I felt a grab, a little nudge.”Melinda McGillivray

McGillivray alleges Trump grabbed her buttock in a pavilion behind the main house in the middle of a group of people. Source: Palm Beach Post

“I was thinking ‘Oh, he’s going to hug me’, but when he pulled my face in and gave me a smooch. I was like ‘Oh – kay.’”Jennifer Murphy

The former contestant on The Apprentice alleges Trump forcibly kissed her after a job interview.

“[Trump] kissed me directly on the mouth.”Rachel Crooks

Crooks alleges Trump kissed her forcibly on the lips. Source: New York Times

“I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”Natasha Stoynoff

Stoynoff alleges Trump forcibly kissed her. Source: People

“Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt.”Ninni Laaksonen

The former Miss Finland alleges Trump grabbed her buttocks during a photoshoot before an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Source: Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat

“When we entered the room he grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each of us on the lips without asking for permission.”Jessica Drake

Drake alleges Trump forcibly kissed her and two female friends on the lips and when rebuffed, pursued her, asking: “How much?” Source: Gloria Allred press event

“He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people.”Samantha Holvey

The former Miss North Carolina alleges Trump would barge into the pageant dressing room and inspected women like “meat”. Source: CNN

“He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast.”Summer Zervos

The former contestant on The Apprentice has accused Trump of groping and kissing her on two occasions. She has filed a defamation claim against the now-president. Source: Gloria Allred press event

“He probably doesn’t want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room.”Cassandra Searles

The former Miss Washington 2013 alleges in a comment on Facebook that Trump repeatedly grabbed her buttocks and invited her to his hotel room. Source: Facebook, via Yahoo News

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India – Its time to end #Edpartheid #SeperateNotEqual #WordlDisabilityDay

Should the disabled go to separate schools or should all schools have education about disabilities?

Two court observations on education show how society could either include or isolate the disabled.

Over the last month, courts in India have made major observations related to disability and education. One, by the Supreme Court, has disappointed persons with disabilities in its understanding that this group should be further isolated from mainstream society. But another observation by the Madras High Court gave the disabled sector reason to celebrate by noting that mainstream society should be more perceptive and responsive to persons with disabilities.

The Supreme Court’s observation in a public interest litigation filed through Advocate Prashant Shukla claiming lack of sufficient special education teachers in Uttar Pradesh could have far reaching consequences. The court said, “We are of the prima facie view that the children with special needs have to be imparted education not only by special teachers but there have to be special schools for them.” It added, “It is impossible to think that the children who are disabled or suffer from any kind of disability or who are mentally challenged can be included in the mainstream schools for getting an education.”

I do feel that this observation got the spirit of the PIL completely wrong. The solution to a lack of special education teachers is more training and colleges to train special education teachers.

As someone with a disability who went to a normal school, I was really saddened to learn that the Supreme Court intended to close doors to a normal life for persons with disabilities. The Supreme Court’s observation is wrong on three levels – legally, for the disabled and for society.

The recently enacted Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 says, “The appropriate government and the local authorities shall endeavour that all educational institutions funded or recognised by them provide inclusive education to children with disabilities”.

In addition, India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Article 24 of the convention is dedicated to inclusive education. “States parties recognise the right of persons with disabilities to education,” it says. “With a view to realising this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, states parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning.”

Besides this, India’s Right to Education Act states that 25% of seats in private schools should be reserved for poor and disadvantaged groups. Needless to say, persons with disabilities are among the disadvantageous groups.

Persons with disabilities need to be included in the mainstream. After all, they need to go to college, earn degrees, learn skills and eventually acquire jobs. They cannot be protected forever, so why not let them flourish as part of the mainstream?

Teaching everyone about disability

Interestingly, the other recent judicial observation on disability and education by the Madras High Court has given the disability sector much reason for cheer. The court observed that the “state needs to have disability education so that mainstream society becomes more sensitive towards people with disabilities.” It also said that “Educating others on people with disabilities leads to tolerance, empathy, and respect.”

Let us also recognise that interactions with persons with disabilities have led to major technological breakthroughs that are being used by all able bodied people today. Text messaging was originally created for the deaf and voice overs on mobile phones were originally created to help the blind. Input from people with disabilities clearly encourages innovation and is yet another reason not to put this group in a silo separate from the mainstream.

The observations of the two courts represent two world views about persons with disabilities between which we need to choose. One is a belief in homogenisation that does not respect uniqueness of individuals as well as in the segregation of persons with disabilities. The other is an inclusive approach beneficial to disabled persons and others.

A Supreme Court observation, when it is translated into a judgement, becomes case law and sets the precedent. I do hope that the court reverses this observation on the special education needs of the disabled while passing the final judgement. After all, society is not homogenous and people with disabilities in classrooms will enrich school life for children.

The writer, born with arthrogryposis, went to a regular school. He is an alumnus of St Stephen’s College, Delhi School of Economics and the Indian School of Business.

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Bihar- 10-year-old Boy beaten to death after cow strays #WTFnews

Angry family members of the victim later caught the accused and thrashed him badly

Patna: A 10-year-old boy was beaten to death after the cow he was grazing strayed into the field of a local influential villager — the third such incident in Bihar in recent months and indicating the gravity of the situation.

As per reports, Mohammad Ali, a resident of Sisia village in eastern Bihar’s Katihar district, was grazing his cow in the field on Friday when the animal suddenly strayed into the farmland of Prithvi Chand Singh, leading to a verbal altercation.

In a fit of rage, the man gave a severe thrashing to the boy, leaving him critically injured. He was immediately rushed to a local hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Angry family members of the victim later caught the accused and also thrashed him badly. He too has been admitted to a local hospital for treatment.

“The whole incident took place merely after the animal strayed into the field of a villager. We have registered a complaint and are investigating the case,” police official Anoj Kumar, who is in charge of the investigation, told the local media on Saturday.

A similar incident had taken place in May last year when a middle-aged villager was killed after his goat strayed into the agricultural field of the landlord. The incident took place at Karma village in southern Bihar’s Nawada district.

Another such incident was reported from central Bihar’s Rohtas district in October 2014 when a 15-year-old Dalit boy was burnt to death after his goat strayed into the paddy field of an upper caste villager and grazed on the standing crops


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33 Years of #BhopalGasTragedy : Modi Has Made India Further Unsafe By Changing Nuclear Laws

Kumar Sundaram

Through undermining the liability act and opening up nuclear sector to private players with no experience, Modi government has pushed the country closer to nuclear Bhopals.

It has been 33 years since the horrendous man-made tragedy in Bhopal. The victims/survivors continue to struggle for justice and reparation, for basic decontamination and cleaning, and expanding medical care beyond the arbitrarily-identified ‘victims’. The genetic impact of the Union Carbide gas leak has been revealed in many scientific studies, but these haven’t led to any serious efforts by the Central or state governments. It’s high time India stopped and thought – are we ready to deal with a serious nuclear accident?

Among the first things the Narendra Modi government did after coming to power was to scrap the National Disaster Management Authority. However, it is yet to come up with a better way to respond to calamities and their human consequences.

Preventing and responding to a nuclear accident goes far beyond setting up a new bureaucratic behemoth. Contrary to reassurances given by nuclear engineers and industry insiders, nuclear safety is about much more than just design safety.

Irreversible and wide-ranging consequences

When planning for the consequences of a nuclear accident, it must be remembered that the fallout is long-term, irreversible, genetic, and essentially, unrestrained in time and space.

Nuclear enthusiasts like to compare accident scenarios to car accidents or industrial accidents. But they forget that even though the immediate physical damage and number of casualties might be greater, reconstruction and relief can start immediately.


But that’s not true of a nuclear accident scenario. Even after three decades, the 30-kilometre zone around Chernobyl hosts ghost cities like Pripyat, which would remain uninhabitable for the coming centuries. Similarly, in the Fukushima zone, once-bustling cities like Namie and Futaba are now frozen in time. Radiation levels remain dangerously hight. Even in a technologically-advanced country like Japan, the accident has remained insurmountable.

The corporation operating the reactor – the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCo) – has been found making every effort to underplay the accident, minimising responsibility by under-counting the victims, and virtually blackmailing the authorities to let it off the hook by threatening to disrupt electricity in Tokyo. TEPCo is too big to fail, and the political system in Japan has rushed to save it at the tax-payers’ expense.

More than 200,000 people continue to be displaced in Japan, leading to societal and psychological break-downs.

Safety checklist

So just what all does a country need to ensure nuclear safety? Here’s a checklist:

  • Design safety of the power plant
  • Credible safety culture
  • Independent regulator
  • Responsive and reliable civic administration
  • People-centric liability mechanism to provide an adequate response

India is found wanting on all these counts, making a potential nuclear accident a clear and present nightmare.

Regulatory nightmare

The Indian nuclear industry is completely non-transparent and unaccountable. Operating directly under the Prime Minister’s Office, it enjoys complete insulation from public and democratic scrutiny.

Serious RTI queries are routinely rejected by deploying the vintage 1962 Atomic Energy Act, evoking a ‘national security’ clause. This is despite the fact that the civilian sector was separated after the watershed moment, the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

In the course of the movement against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) refused to part with basic documents like the Site Selection Report and the Safety Assessment Report, which are put in public domain all over the world. The Chief Information Commissioner wrote a letter to the PM but even that didn’t work.

Nuclear safety regulation is another Achilles heel. The nuclear regulator, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, is supposed to monitor and supervise the Atomic Energy Commission. But it depends on the Commission for funds and human resources. Imagine how toothless and dependent that makes the regulator.

The last time the AERB chairman, Dr AK Gopalakrishnan, ordered a thorough safety audit of the entire sector, the report was shelved, with the Central government putting a ‘top secret’ stamp on it. Gopalakrishan has been a vocal advocate of a strong and independent regulator since then, and has proposed a moratorium on imported nuclear power plants till then.

Consider this: the government chose to set aside the post-Fukushima recommendtions of even this weak regulator in trying to get a green signal for Kudankulam in the Supreme Court. The AERB was forced to file an affidavit and call its own stipulations ‘advisory’ and not ‘mandatory’.

Design and evacuation

Still not convinced that we’re sitting on an apocalypse? Here’s another tidbit for your consideration: India is setting up six European Pressurised Reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra, with the help of the French. But the French regulator itself has raised serious objections on the design.

The government’s reassurances of adequate evacuation and post-accident plans ring hollow because all Indian nuclear facilities are surrounded by dense populations, that have only grown and will continue to grow in time.

In most cases, the Department of Atomic Energy doesn’t even reveal the emergency preparation arrangement. And when it does, it comes up with ridiculous plans like relocating 50,000 people to a school premises. The mandatory emergency drills before commissioning reactors have turned out to be cruel jokes, with absurd instances like local officials ‘evacuating’ a few hundred people in buses by taking them to nearby villages.

Liability and compensation

On the issue of liability and compensation, the government has shown scant regard to potential victims. Safeguarding the foreign suppliers from any liability has been a paramount concern.

Nothing could be more absurd and ironic than the fact that since the inception of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, the government has been busy finding a way to address the concerns of the foreign suppliers, who want complete indemnification.

The clause 17(b), holding suppliers liable, albeit with severe limitations, was introduced under parliamentary and civil society pressure by a reluctant Manmohan Singh. But the Modi governmentt has dumped the earlier BJP position on nuclear liability, and tried to create an insurance pool to channel the liability back to the exchequer, thus undermining the law.

As with Bhopal, in the case of a nuclear accident, the government would be unable to provide any relief for victims, especially as the main victims would be adivasis and villagers far away from the public gaze.

And now, a nuclear ‘make in India’: recipe for disaster

In its zeal to expand nuclear power rapidly, the Modi government amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1962, allowing private players a bigger role in contracting nuclear-construction for the first time. This year, Reliance Infrastructure bagged contracts for construction of the next two units of reactors in Koodankulam. Similarly in Jaitapur, the new twist in the declaration is the “maximum localization” of the project and “technology transfer” for the same. Although the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have proudly included these new terms and added a “Make in India” tag on the Jaitapur project, it actually means that the French industry would be transferring the burden of its most controversial reactor design at a time of its worst crisis.

The safety vulnerabilities of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) – the huge iron core where radioactive fission takes place – came under serious questions, raised by France’s own nuclear safety regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) in April 2015. Later in 2015, Areva, the French reactor builder, had to ask the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend certification review for EPR design. The United States has been postponing certification for EPR since 2007. The Finnish regulator has taken Areva to court on this issue, and Finland has canceled the order for its second EPR. Just two days after the publication of ASN’s report, Modi reaffirmed the EPR deal from France during his visit to Paris in April 2015. It is exactly this controversial component – the RPV – that an Indian private company L&T will now be building, with no experience in the nuclear sector at all.

Labeling nuclear projects ‘make in India’ is nothing but a dangerously pervert way of rehabilitating the foreign nuclear corporations who are moving away from nuclear business and increasingly want Indian companies to share the burden as well as blame for the designs developed by them which have come under strong criticism for being unsafe.

Most recently, India’s former nuclear regulator has warned against expansion of nuclear power projects in the current situation and has demanded an immediate moratorium on building new nuclear reactors.

In the light of India’s vulnerability, the  anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy should be a moment to recognise that, in general, our administrative and political system can only be relied on to be totally inefficient and unaccountable.


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World’s first IT campus for persons with disabilities to come up in Hyderabad #WordlDisabilityDay

Image used for representational purpose only

HYDERABAD:  World’s first Information Technology (IT) campus for persons with disabilities will come up in Telangana. On the eve of World Disability Day, the state government on Saturday  entered into an agreement with Vindhya E-Infomedia Private Limited to set up the IT campus which will focus on creating employment opportunity for persons with disabilities (PWDs).This campus spread over 10 acres will come up near  Hyderabad International Airport in the IT Park developed by the state government. It will have all the amenities like training, residential facility and delivery centers that will cater to various clients both domestic and international.   The campus will create jobs for 2,000 people in the next five years.

Vindhya E-Infomedia Private Limited, which is a pioneer in creating inclusive work space employs PWDs as its major workforce and currently has more than 1,600 employees working out of Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Majority of their workforce comprises physically challenged, hearing impaired and visually impaired. The company has been providing back office operations (BPO) support to various telecom and e-commerce companies since 2006. The state government and Vindhya are looking at various corporates  to participate in this one of its kind initiative and make the world more inclusive, according to a release on Saturday.

IT principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan said  the state government was happy to participate in this unique initiative and urged the persons with disabilities to make most of the opportunity.  Chairman and managing director of Vindhya Pavithra YS, said the TS government had created history through this initiative  to set up an IT campus exclusively for persons with disabilities which does not exist anywhere in the world.

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Gujarat polls phase 1: Criminal cases, including murder, rape, against 137 nominees

A party-wise analysis found that 10 out of 89 BJP candidates were facing serious criminal charges.
Of these 137 candidates, 78 candidates were facing serious criminal cases such as murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and rape. (Photo: PTI/Representational)

 Of these 137 candidates, 78 candidates were facing serious criminal cases such as murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and rape. (Photo: PTI/Representational)

Ahmedabad: An analysis of the affidavits of 923 candidates, out of the total 977 in fray for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls, showed that 137 candidates, accounting for around 15 per cent, were facing criminal cases, including serious charges such as murder, kidnapping and rape, according to two NGOs.

The analysis has been carried out by the NGOs – Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch.

It also showed that 78 of the 137 nominees are facing serious criminal cases.

A party-wise analysis found that 10 out of 89 BJP candidates were facing serious criminal charges, while the Congress gave tickets to as many as 20 such candidates for the first phase of the polls, the report of the NGOs said Friday.

These main political rivals were followed by eight candidates from the BSP, three from the NCP and one from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), it said.

“Though 977 candidates are in the fray for the 89 Assembly seats going to polls in the first phase on December 9, affidavits of 54 candidates could not be analysed as they were either badly scanned or incomplete,” Pankti Jog of Gujarat Election Watch told reporters in Ahmedabad.

The analysis said that 137 candidates, out of 923 (15 per cent), have declared criminal cases against them. Of these 137 candidates, 78 candidates (eight per cent) were facing serious criminal cases such as murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and rape.

It also said that eight candidates were facing attempt to murder charge while three had been accused of kidnapping. One was facing rape charge, Jagdeep Chhokar of the ADR said.

Mahesh Vasava, son of former JD(U) MLA, Chhotu Vasava, has topped the chart with 24 cases against him, including two of murder and one of attempt to murder, the report said, adding that he was also facing charges related to dacoity, robbery, rioting, assault, theft and kidnapping, the report said.

Vasava is fighting from Dediapada (ST) seat of Narmada district under the banner of the Bharatiya Tribal Party, floated by his father after a split within the JD(U) recently.

He is followed by BJP candidate for Wankaner seat in Morbi district, Jitendra Somani, who is facing 13 criminal cases, including one related to attempt to murder.

Congress candidate from Talala seat in Gir Somnath district, Bhagwan Barad, is facing four criminal cases, including that of dacoity, theft and assault, it said.

The analysis also carved out 21 ‘Red Alert Constituencies’, where three or more candidates with criminal cases are contesting the polls.

The first phase of the two-stage Assembly polls will be held on December 9 and the second phase on December 14. The counting of votes is scheduled on December 18.

198 ‘crorepati’ candidates in fray for 1st phase of Guj polls

The richest candidate contesting in the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections comes from the Congress, with assets of Rs 141 crore, followed by two from the BJP, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said in a report on Friday.

With movable assets worth over Rs 20 crore and immovable assets of above Rs 121 crore, Rajguru Indranilbhai Sanjaybhai, contending from the Rajkot West seat, was reported as the richest candidate in the fray by the not-for-profit election data body.

Saurabh Yashvantbhai Dalal Patel, contesting from Botad, and Dhanjibhai Patel from Wadhwan — both from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — stood second and third wealthwise with assets worth Rs 123 crore and Rs 113 crore, respectively.

Of the 923 candidates in the fray in phase one, 198 or 21 per cent candidates declared themselves millionaires.

The BJP has fielded the most millionaires (85 per cent) at 76 out of the 89 candidates, while the number stands at 60 out of 86 (70 per cent) for the Congress.

Two independent candidates — Unadkat Prakashbhai Vallabhdas and Chauhan Rafik Husen — have declared “zero assets” in their affidavits.

Out of the 923 candidates analysed (across parties), 137 (15 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.

Twenty candidates contending from the Congress have “serious criminal cases” – murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, etc. – against them, while the BJP has 10 such.

The assembly elections will be held in two phases, with the first phase on December 9 and the second on December 14


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Justice Loya Murder- Several former bureaucrats and diplomat appeal to the CJI and the Chief Justice of Bombay HC to institute a “high level judicial enquiry”

New Delhi: Several former bureaucrats and diplomats on Saturday appealed to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court to institute a “high level judicial enquiry” into the circumstances surrounding the death of CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya.

Loya had heard the SohrabuddinSheikh fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was eventually acquitted, a month after the judge’s death in November 2014 apparently after cardiac arrest.

Amongst the 32 signatories listed in the appeal are at least 10 officers who retired either as Secretaries to the Government of India or from posts in that rank, 4 former Ambassadors from the Indian Foreign Service, a former Chief Information Commissioner of a State Government, 2 former Chief Secretaries of State Governments, at least 4 officers of the rank of Additional Chief Secretaries and several others who retired at the rank of Secretary to State Governments or above. Almost all these officers were also signatories to an open letter written on June 10 this year in which they asserted that they had no political affiliations as a group but were bound only to the credo of impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.
We will be grateful if you cover our appeal in print, digital/ social media or visual media.
December 2, 2017
The Honourable Chief Justice of India
The Honourable Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court
Honourable Chief Justices,
Please find attached a report about the request made by Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas to yourselves that a high level judicial enquiry be initiated into the controversial circumstances of the death of Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya. Justice (Retd.) B.H.Marlapalle, former judge of the Bombay High Court, and Justice (Retd.) A.P.Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, have also expressed the opinion that a probe or enquiry is needed.
We, the undersigned retired civil servants, would like to place on record our support for the request made by Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas to institute a “high level judicial inquiry” into this matter and urge you to take appropriate action for all the reasons mentioned in his representation.
Yours faithfully,
1. S.P. Ambrose, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping and Transport, GoI.
2. Ishrat Aziz, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Brazil
3. G.Balagopal, IAS (Retd.), former Resident Representative, UNICEF, North Korea
4. Sundar Burra, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
5. Kalyani Chaudhuri, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
6. Vibha Puri Das, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs,GoI
7. Keshav Desiraju, IAS (Retd.), former Health Secretary, GoI
8. M.G.Devasahayam, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary to Govt. of Haryana
9. Sushil Dubey, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Sweden
10. K.P.Fabian, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Italy
11. Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI
12. Deepa Hari, IRS (Resigned)
13. Dr. Sajjad Hassan, IAS (Retd.), former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
14. K. John Koshy, IAS (Retd.), former State Chief Information Commissioner, West Bengal
15. Ajai Kumar, Indian Forest Service (Resigned), former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
16. Arun Kumar, IAS (Retd.), former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority
17. Harsh Mander, IAS (Retd.), Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
18. Aditi Mehta, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
19. Sunil Mitra, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
20. Deb Mukharji, IFS (Retd.), former Ambassador to Nepal
21. Anup Mukerji, IAS (Retd.), former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Bihar
22. Alok Perti, IAS (Retd.) former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
23. N.K. Raghupathy, IAS (Retd.), former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
24. Aruna Roy, IAS (Resigned)
25. Manab Roy, IAS (Retd.), former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
26. Umrao Salodia, IAS (Retd.), former Chairman, Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Govt. of Rajasthan
27. Deepak Sanan, IAS (Retd.), former Principal Adviser (AR) to the Chief Minister of the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
28. E.A.S. Sarma, IAS, (Retd.), former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI
29. Dr.N.C.Saxena, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
30. Ardhendu Sen, IAS (Retd.), former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
31. Dr. Raju Sharma, IAS (Retd.), former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
32. Jawhar Sircar, IAS (Retd.), former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, and CEO, Prasar Bharati

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