|Thursday, January 27, 2000,
Laloo terms NDA a divided house
Notice to Sonia on citizenship
BJP, BJD ask Mahajan to mediate
India expects countries to join CTBT without any pre-condition
NEW DELHI, Jan 26 (PTI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has made it clear that India expects all other countries whose accession was essential for the coming into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to do so without any pre-condition.
"We have said that India will not not stand in the way of the entry into force of the CTBT. We also expect that all other countries whose accession is essential for the coming into force of CTBT will do so without condition," Mr Vajpayee said in an interview to leading Russian newspaper Izvestia.
The Prime Minister said "However, we need to build a national consensus on this important issue."
He said rejection of the treaty by the US Senate "has also had an impact on domestic opinion in India."
Reiterating India's position on the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), he said New Delhi considers it to be a "discriminatory and flawed treaty" and believe that the NPT regime has failed to address India's genuine security concerns.
"In any event, we cannot join the NPT regime as a non-nuclear weapon power when the fact is that we are a nuclear weapon power," he said.
Mr Vajpayee disagreed that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has lost its influence. "NAM was born as a vehicle of the newly-emerging independent countries from colonial subjugation for self expression, self-reliance and autonomy of action."
"NAM continues to provide a platform for articulating common positions on political, economic and social issues and on major international developments," he said.
"As far as territorial disputes are concerned, NAM was not designed to function as a mechanism for their solution, but to bring together countries on the basis of their common values and perceptions," the Prime Minister said.
On the economic front, Mr Vajpayee said his government had tried to give a human face to reforms by linking social equity to economic growth.
"We have guarded against currency volatility and created conditions for strengthening investor confidence," he said.
He said the complementarities of economic reforms in both countries offered new and challenging avenues for enhancing bilateral trade and economic ties.
The Prime Minister said his government had focused attention on higher growth, greater development activity and sustained fiscal correction.
RANCHI, Jan 26 (PTI) RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav has termed the National Democratic Alliance as a 'divided house' as its constituents were yet to bring about a consensus among themselves about the seats to be contested by each of them in the coming Bihar Assembly polls.
The BJP and its allies would stand nowhere near the RJD and its partners in the Assembly poll, Mr Yadav told reporters here yesterday.
Charging the Centre with failure in discharging its duties to the nation, he said: "How can a government which frees dreaded terrorists in exchange of hostages claim to protect the security interests of the country ?"
Asked if he expected to get back into power, the former Chief Minister who installed his wife in his chair after his resignation following corruption allegations, said : "I was never out of it."
On the Jharkhand issue, Mr Yadav said he was not opposed to the creation of a separate state. "But I am in favour of a greater Jharkhand, comprising 26 predominantly tribal districts of Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa," he said.
An 18-district Vananchal, advocated by the BJP, would never be able to serve tribal interests as they were in a minority in these districts of south Bihar, he claimed.
Alleging that the BJP was not interested in giving the tribals their dues, Mr Yadav highlighted the role played by his government in creating the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council claiming it was "a significant step towards the fulfilment of tribal aspiration for autonomy."
LUCKNOW, Jan 26 (PTI) The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court today issued notice to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on petitions against her election to the Lok Sabha from the Amethi constituency and asked her to reply by February 22.
Justice Bhanwar Singh issued the notice admitting three petitions on the legal point of her citizenship.
NEW DELHI, Jan 26 (PTI) The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has estimated a revenue loss of Rs 3,000 crore during the current financial year due to implementation of cost-based tariff for telecom services announced by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in may last year.
DoT has retained old tariff for low users but implemented new tariffs only for the high-end users. However, the concept of raising local charges and reducing long distance call charges did not result in increase in usage, sources said.
Though the trend of declining revenues was observed across the country, some of the circles witness very sharp decline resulting in a loss of more than Rs 2,900 crore in 1999-2000.
This was likely to affect the growth of the telecom sector in a significant manner, the sources said adding that revenue loss of this amount in just one year could upset some of targets in the coming year.
The department, with an annual turnover of more than Rs 20,000 crore, was ploughing back its resources into the sector to achieve higher growth which was clear from the spread of the Indian telecom services throughout the country.
Asked whether the department would approach the new TRAI, to be reconstituted soon, for reviewing the old tariff order, sources said some communication had already gone to the old regulator.
The government has set some ambitious targets including provision of telephone connection in every village by march 2002, and the targeted teledensity of five by 2005 could be adversely affected if loss in revenue continued.
NEW DELHI, Jan 26 (PTI) Unable to conclude a seat-sharing pact for Orissa Assembly election, the BJP and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today sought Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan's intervention even as some BJP leaders were understood to have strongly favoured to go it alone.
Leaders of both BJP and BJD held separate parleys with Mahajan at his residence and put forth their views, though no talks were possible between the two parties during the day.
"Mahajanji heard our views and suggestions. Efforts to work out a mutually acceptable seat adjustment formula are still on. Things are yet to take a final shape," BJP's Orissa unit president Manmohan Samal told PTI.
He said talks between the two allies would be resumed soon and hoped a consensus would finally emerge.
BJD president and Mines Minister Naveen Patnaik also met Mr Mahajan and presented his party's stand, BJD sources said, adding that something concrete was likely to emerge soon.
However, frustrated with BJD's refusal to concede a "reasonable" number of seats, some senior BJP leaders from the state strongly favoured that the party should fight the elections independently without any electoral understanding.
Some leaders suggested
that if necessary, both the parties could enter into a
post-poll pact for the government formation instead of
fighting over the number of seats to be shared. "If
they are rigid about contesting 100 seats, why not
another 47. Let us fight independently", one of them
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