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N A T I O N

Charge Against Tytler
Bring witness from US: Sikh body
New Delhi, November 30
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), contesting the CBI move to give a clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in an anti-Sikh riot case, today said that it would press for the agency to produce crucial witness Jassbir Singh from the USA to ensure that justice is done to the victims.

Method of fixing MSP outdated, House panel tells govt
New Delhi, November 30
The parliamentary panel related to the Agriculture Ministry has said that the current method of fixing the MSP had become outdated, reiterating that the minimum support price for agricultural commodities should be 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production.

GRRC is the best military station
Dehra Dun, November 30
Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre (GRRC), Lansdowne has bagged the distinction of the best military station in the Central Command comprising Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.


EARLIER STORIES




‘Aaja Nachle’ banned in Uttar Pradesh
Director to delete objectionable line

Lucknow/New Delhi, November 30
The Mayawati government tonight banned Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit's comeback movie “Aaja Nachle” in Uttar Pradesh and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to impose a countrywide clamp-down on the movie alleging its title song “humiliated” Dalits.

HP Cong MLA’s election set aside
New Delhi, November 30
The Supreme Court today set aside the 2003 election of Congress MLA Bodh Raj from the Gangath reserved constituency in Himachal Pradesh and disqualified him from contesting as an SC candidate in the coming elections.

CPM Leader’s Murder
SC again rejects bail to Pappu Yadav
New Delhi, November 30
The Supreme Court today once again rejected the bail petition of RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, lodged in Tihar Jail here in a CPM leader’s murder case.

India to chair UNWTO council
New Delhi, November 30
India has been unanimously elected chairman of the executive council of the general assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

BJP calls Sachar panel report ‘divisive’
New Delhi, November 30
Calling the Sachar Committee report on Muslims “divisive”, BJP deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra today disassociated himself from it when CPM MP Mohammed Salim sought its implementation.

Karan Thapar ‘best presenter’
New Delhi, November 30
Television personality Karan Thapar has been given the prestigious Asian Television Award for “Best Current Affairs Presenter”.

15 lakh scholarships for minorities
New Delhi, November 30
Ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme of post-matric scholarship for students belonging to the minority communities during the 11th plan period.

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Charge Against Tytler
Bring witness from US: Sikh body
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 30
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), contesting the CBI move to give a clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in an anti-Sikh riot case, today said that it would press for the agency to produce crucial witness Jassbir Singh from the USA to ensure that justice is done to the victims.

“We will provide the CBI Jasbir Singh’s address in US to ensure that the agency takes adequate steps to produce him in the court,” senior advocate H.S. Phooka, pursuing the matter on behalf of the Sikh body, said.

Jasbir Singh is reportedly the crucial eye-witness, who had filed an affidavit before various probe panels against Tytler, alleging that he had seen him “inciting” the mob to attack Sikhs.

Since it took long years for the agency to take up the investigation, Jasbir Singh, who had suffered due to the riots, had shifted to the USA.

Phoolka had yesterday told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Sanjeev Jain that Jasbir Singh was ready to depose before the court to tell the truth.

The CBI had filed a petition before the ACMM for the closure of the case against Tytler, virtually giving him “clean chit” on the grounds that no evidence had come against him and, therefore, sought the closure of it. 

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Method of fixing MSP outdated, House panel tells govt
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The parliamentary panel related to the Agriculture Ministry has said that the current method of fixing the MSP had become outdated, reiterating that the minimum support price for agricultural commodities should be 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production.

The committee, in its report tabled in Parliament today, said it was not satisfied with the government’s reply on its recommendation that MSP should be more than 50 per cent of the cost.

It maintained that just depending upon the recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) without assessing the actual plight of farmers was not the solution as the prices so fixed do not deliver desired benefits to them.

The Standing Committee on Agriculture, headed by Prof Ram Gopal Verma, had also recommended that farmer should be considered as a highly skilled labour while calculating the costs and paid accordingly. “This, because a farmer gains valuable experience over the years in the process of production that he becomes as good as a highly skilled labour in the field”.

The report said to help raise the agricultural growth rate from 2.3 per cent to 4 per cent, the MSP should be announced well before the sowing season, which would help farmers to decide which crop they should grow. “In other words, the government can play a major role in increasing or decreasing the net sown area of any crop. This will also help in determining the market.”

To balance the interest of farmers as well as consumers, the committee recommended that procurement price of the government is kept at a higher level than the MSP so that the market remains stable and farmers get a good price for their produce. The bonus, it had stated, should form the part of the MSP and not be announced separately for government procurement purposes.

“Procurement pricing policy, including post-harvest adjustments, should be devised carefully and higher procurement price announced at the harvesting time. This so that farmers get remunerative price for their produce and the government is also not short of foodgrains in the buffer stock, which result in importing them at higher price as later stage.”

The Agriculture Ministry, in response to the issues raised, had told the panel that an expert committee under the chairmanship of Prof Y.K. Alagh had examined methodology issues for computation of MSP and the report was under consideration of the government.

The ministry said the CACP recommended MSPs for major agricultural commodities as per the terms of reference assigned to it. While recommending the MSP, the commission takes into account a number of relevant factors, including cost of production, trends in input prices, market prices, demand-supply situation and inter-crop price parity. It said estimates of cost of production are considered vital in recommending MSP. The cost of production includes imputed value of wages of family labour.

“n a vast country like India with different agro-climatic regions and cropping patterns, sowing season is not uniform across. Effort are, therefore, made to bridge the gap between the sowing season and announcement of the MSPs so as to give necessary price signal to farmers which helps them in the choice of crops. Since MSPs are announced earlier and procurement season starts much later, after harvest of crops, decision on bonus is taken just before the start of procurement season depending on prevailing market situation and assessment of market prices, the ministry had informed the parliamentary panel.

Meanwhile, the panel has asked to be apprised of recommendations of the Alagh committee and follow-up action taken by the government.

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GRRC is the best military station
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, November 30
Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre (GRRC), Lansdowne has bagged the distinction of the best military station in the Central Command comprising Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The GOC-in-C, Central Command Lt Gen O.P. Nandrajog, AVSM, VSM and ADC presented the award to Brig Ajai Prakash, station commander and President Cantonment Board (PCB) in presence of all senior officers of HQ Central Command in Lucknow on Thursday.

This is the second noteworthy achievement of the century-old military station in Garhwal hills this year. This June, it was awarded Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Purskar, the nation's highest award in the field of environmental protection in the institutional category.

The competition is the brainchild of GOC-in-C Central Command, who decided to hold a best military station competition in the seven states under him for healthy development of all cantonments and military stations, which included human and social development, development of recreational facilities for jawans, environmental and ecological concern. Major R.D. Sarma of GRRC spelt out the need for a cordial civil-military relations and relations between PCB's and CEO's for smooth and positive development which could generate adequate revenue.

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‘Aaja Nachle’ banned in Uttar Pradesh
Director to delete objectionable line

Lucknow/New Delhi, November 30
The Mayawati government tonight banned Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit's comeback movie “Aaja Nachle” in Uttar Pradesh and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to impose a countrywide clamp-down on the movie alleging its title song “humiliated” Dalits.

Concerned by the action, director of the film Anil Mehta announced that the “objectionable” line from the song would be deleted forthwith.

Mayawati's principal secretary Shailesh Krishna said the film was banned because there was an “objectionable” reference to a caste in its title song.

“The reference to the caste is not only objectionable and humiliating but also unconstitutional and therefore the screening of the film has been banned in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Krishna said Mayawati had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and demanded that the film be banned all over the country.

The screening of “Aaja Nachle” was stopped in UP immediately after the ban went into force.

UP principal secretary (Home) J.N. Chamber said the state government had banned the movie because it did not want to risk law and order problem over the issue. Activists of the Indian Justice Party, a Dalit outfit, demonstrated in front of a cinema hall in Delhi's Connaught Place where the movie was being screened. — PTI

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HP Cong MLA’s election set aside
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 30
The Supreme Court today set aside the 2003 election of Congress MLA Bodh Raj from the Gangath reserved constituency in Himachal Pradesh and disqualified him from contesting as an SC candidate in the coming elections.

His election was set aside by a Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran, raising doubts over his SC status.

His election was challenged by defeated BJP candidate Desh Raj on the ground that he had presented wrong facts about his caste status and was thus disqualified to contest from a reserved constituency.

Desh Raj had moved the apex court in an appeal after his election petition was dismissed by the state high court in 2005.

Interestingly, the Congress had again given the ticket to Bodh Raj for the coming elections from Gangath and his disqualification would automatically result in the rejection of his nomination papers by the returning officer.

Desh Raj had alleged that Bodh Raj was not an SC as his caste in the records at various places was mentioned as “Tarkhan (carpenter)” which was not a Scheduled Caste in the Kangra region, from where he belongs. He had claimed himself as to be a “Lohar (blacksmith)”, which is a Scheduled Caste.

The records placed before the court showed Bodh Raj mentioned as “Tarkhan” as well as “Lohar”, which created “doubt” about his caste status, and hence the court allowed the appeal of Desh Raj and set aside his election.

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CPM Leader’s Murder
SC again rejects bail to Pappu Yadav
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 30
The Supreme Court today once again rejected the bail petition of RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, lodged in Tihar Jail here in a CPM leader’s murder case.

The apex court had rejected his bail petition earlier also and ordered his shifting to Tihar Jail in the Capital about two years ago when he was found to be holding “durbar” of his supporters in Patna’s Beur Jail and living with all luxuries in the hospital attached to it.

On analysing the report of the CBI and that of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) about the treatment facilities for him, a Bench of Justices S.B. Sinha and H.S. Bedi found no merit in his petition and accordingly rejected it.

The court, however, directed to provide him video conferencing facility for recording his evidence by the trial court and conference for one hour with his lawyer before recording his evidence each day till they continue, including arguments on cross-examination, and provide him treatment facilities as directed earlier.

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India to chair UNWTO council
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
India has been unanimously elected chairman of the executive council of the general assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

This was decided yesterday at Cartegena de Indias, Colombia, when the 82nd meeting of the council elected India as its chairman for one year.

Union tourism minister Ambika Sonia attended the meeting, according to an official release.

The general assembly of the UNWTO consists of more than 150 countries.

The membership of the executive council is given by process of an election where 30 members are elected on a regional rotational basis for a period of four years.

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BJP calls Sachar panel report ‘divisive’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
Calling the Sachar Committee report on Muslims “divisive”, BJP deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra today disassociated himself from it when CPM MP Mohammed Salim sought its implementation.

Raising the issue in the zero hour in the Lok Sabha, Salim reminded the UPA government that though the report was tabled in the House this day a year ago, it was unfortunate that it had still not been implemented. When RJD member Devendra Prasad Yadav observed that it was essential to bring a 15 per cent strong minority into the mainstream to strengthen the unity of the nation, Malhotra stood up saying the party opposed it on the ground that it would divide the nation. He then announced the BJP’s disassociation from the report.

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Karan Thapar ‘best presenter’

New Delhi, November 30
Television personality Karan Thapar has been given the prestigious Asian Television Award for “Best Current Affairs Presenter”.

Thapar was presented the award at a ceremony in Singapore last night.

He won the award as presenter of CNN-IBN’s interview programme ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and the winning episode was an interview with Ram Jethmalani broadcast in November 2006.

This is the fourth time in nine years that Thapar has won the award.

He was a winner in this category in 1999, 2003 and 2005.

The award received a total of 1,374 entries. Seven were shortlisted as the final round nominees, including CNN, Al Jazeera and NDTV. — PTI

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15 lakh scholarships for minorities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
Ahead of the crucial assembly polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme of post-matric scholarship for students belonging to the minority communities during the 11th plan period.

The scheme is to be launched during the financial year 2007-08, targeting 15 lakh scholarships during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012) and would entail a recurring expenditure of Rs 1,530 crore. The scholarships will be awarded to students from the minority communities, fulfilling the merit-cum-means criteria, studying in India in government or private higher secondary schools/colleges/universities.

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