|Saturday, March 25, 2000,
security to Sikhs: Cong
$ 10 m US aid for Net development
Cabinet reshuffle likely on March
INSAT-3B: orbit-raising successful
HC directions to absconding judge
Give security to Sikhs: Cong
NEW DELHI, March 24 The Congress today demanded that the Centre provide adequate security to the villages inhabited by Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the massacre of 35 persons in Chatti Singhpura earlier this week.
A Congress delegation, led by its President Mrs Sonia Gandhi, called on the Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and submitted a memorandum on the issue.
Mr Vajpayee assured the delegation that the government would take appropriate steps in this regard, the Congress spokesman said.
The party deplored the attitude of the Centre and the state government, stating that the "attention it (the incident) has received from the central and state government to offer succour to the survivors has been far from adequate."
"It seems that there is no state government", Congress Leader Balram Jakhar said at a media briefing after the delegation met the Prime Minister. He blamed mercenaries backed by Pakistan to be behind the massacre.
The Congress President had sent a five-member delegation to the village yesterday to get a first-hand account of the incident. It included Mr Jakhar, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mrs Ambika Soni, Mr Ahmed Patel and Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Mrs Soni said the people of the village were angry and upset that neither the Union Home Minister nor any of the two state ministers went to Chatti Singhpura after the incident.
She said it was surprising that the Home Minister was away in Shimla for two days. "We wanted to call on Mr Advani after our return from the village but were informed he is away ..." Mrs Soni said.
The party also said after earlier incidents in the valley and in the Jammu region, where members of a particular community were killed, the Congress had sought adequate security to the affected areas and affected communities. "Unfortunately, neither the state government nor the central government paid any heed to our pleas and this indifferent attitude on their parts resulted in the untold misery, suffering and mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits".
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has decided to attend the Bhog ceremony on March 31 at Chatti Singhpura.
The PPCC General
Secretary, Mr Rana Gurmit Sodhi, said here the PPCC
President, Mr Amarinder Singh, had already visited Chatti
Singhpura to share the grief with the families of the
victims of the massacre.
$ 10 m US aid for Net development
MUMBAI, March 24 (PTI) US President Bill Clinton today said his five-day visit had helped to firm up business agreements worth $ 4 billion besides opening up the possibility of a $ 1 billion loan from US Exim Bank for investments in India.
He also announced a $ 10 million US aid package for the development of Internet in rural areas and combating AIDS and TB in Hyderabad where, he said, India was fast becoming one of the worlds software super powers.
"This week American companies signed agreements worth $ 4 billion in India and tied-up a possible $ 1 billion worth of loans from Exim Bank for medium and small industries," Mr Clinton said in Mumbai at the conclusion of his visit.
Addressing a FICCI-sponsored meeting at the Mumbai stock exchange, Mr Clinton said India could be a model for all developing countries for the empowerment of people at the grass roots level as it had shown the world how people of different castes and creed could live in harmony.
"If we (India and the USA) have the right kind of partnership and the best of India I have seen in the past few days becomes a guiding force for the whole of India, then (Mahatma) Gandhis cherished hopes will become an accepted reality for your children and the USAs children in this century," Mr Clinton said summing up what he called his "magnificent" visit to India.
Mr Clinton leaves Mumbai tomorrow for a brief stop over in Islamabad where he would hold talks with Gen Pervez Musharraf on issues that include Indo-Pak relations, non-proliferation and the need for Pakistan to return to democracy.
Complimenting Indias success in "virtual, complete" eradication of polio, he said, "we must do so for AIDS, malaria and TB what you have done for polio."
At the grand congregation of captains of Indian industry in Mumbai, Mr Clinton said he foresaw millions of jobs up for grabs if India together with the USA successfully pursued research in alternative and clean energy.
He said what the information revolution did in the past five year could be repeated in the next five years by developing new and clean "farm fuel" to replace fossil fuel.
"A strong information age gives us the chance to eliminate poverty more quickly for more people than ever before in all of human history", Mr Clinton said.
He said the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the USA could utilise their technology and wherewithal to remove poverty in India besides helping in facilitating access to clean drinking water.
Cabinet reshuffle likely on March 31
NEW DELHI, March 24 (UNI) A minor reshuffle of the Union Council of ministers is expected on March 31.
BJP sources said today that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was expected to undertake this exercise after the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha were over on March 29. The party expects 16 entrants to the Upper House.
There are three vacancies at present- those created by Steel and Mines Minister Navin Patnaik, Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar and Minister of State for Tourism Uma Bharati.
Tarars remarks absurd
NEW DELHI, March 24 (PTI) India today termed as "very curious and absurd" Pakistan President Rafiq Tarars remarks that Kashmir was crucial to his countrys survival.
"It is very curious and absurd. How can a part of another country be central to their survival"? a Foreign Office spokesman asked when reporters sought his comments on Tarars address yesterday at the Pakistan National Day parade.
Mr Tarar said "it (Kashmir) is an issue of survival for Pakistan" and went on to add, "Our armed forces are fully prepared to give a crushing blow to any aggressor."
Asked how New Delhi
viewed Pakistani military ruler Gen Pervez
Musharrafs announcement that local elections would
be held soon followed by general elections, the spokesman
said the only publicly stated benchmark in this regard
was the Commonwealth Heads of Government Durban
declaration which calls for restoration of democracy
immediately in Pakistan.
Agriculture to get new approach
NEW DELHI, March 24 A new and innovative approach in the management of agriculture by the public system in the country is proposed to be operationalised with effect from April 1 this year.
Under the new approach, states will focus on primary initiatives while the Centre will supplement these efforts.
Development strategy in agriculture will be expressed by regionally differentiated central interventions which are area, crop, component, target group specific and formulated by the Centre in consultation with the states to be implemented on memorandum of understanding basis.
These details of macro-management of agriculture were discussed here today during a national conference on agriculture for the kharif campaign-2000.
The proposed scheme would weed out duplication, enhance the productivity of the support programmes and accord greater flexibility to the state governments..
The release of Central assistance to states during 2000-01 would be based on their work plans. The work plans of states would comprise of all activities for the development of agriculture, including horticulture crops, land development, soil conservation and marketing. The work plans will be given a shape keeping in view the likely allocation of the Central assistance for the work plans and corresponding state share of expenditure.
The centrally sponsored schemes of the Technology Mission for the North-Eastern states, pulses, oil seeds, maize and cotton would be outside the purview of the work plans. Provision of back-ended subsidy linked to credit system will be included in the work plan for items like promotion of sprinklers, drip irrigation, farm equipment etc. National priorities in the agriculture sector are to be kept in mind by the state governments while formulating the work plans.
The states are also
expected to undertake, in conformity with macro
management principles, a review of the ongoing state plan
schemes for agriculture development to achieve
convergence and rationalisation of schemes and enhance
the productivity of support programmes.
USA includes India in IED initiative
HYDERABAD, March 24 (PTI) The USA today included India in its Internet for Economic Development initiative when President Bill Clinton announced here an aid package of $ 5 million to promote Internet access in rural areas.
The five-year assistance programme would help promote a policy and regulatory environment to accelerate growth of Indias information and communications technologies, an official note said.
Lawyers to invite contempt notice
NEW DELHI, March 24 (PTI) Members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) have resolved to invite contempt notices from the apex court against themselves in a show of solidarity with office-bearers to whom such notices were issued for allegedly violating court orders against the strike.
A resolution passed by the general body of the SCBA last week said the members who supported the associations stand on the strike "would file independent applications inviting the Supreme Court to implead them as party respondents in the contempt petitions and would invite notices of contempt to be issued against themselves".
The Supreme Court on March 13 had issued notices to the office-bearers of the SCBA when an application citing the 1995 judgement of the court had sought the initiation of contempt proceedings against the lawyers body.
The court in a 1995 judgement had observed "the advocates should not resort to strike or boycott the court or abstain from court except in serious, rarest of rare cases. Instead, they should resort to a peaceful demonstration to avoid hardships to the litigant public".
However, Chief Justice A.S. Anand, heading a three-judge Bench, had appealed to the striking lawyers to end their agitation as it had caused untold miseries to the litigants and brought the administration of justice to a halt.
Maulvi to embrace Hinduism
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, March 24 (UNI) Muslim writer Palakkode K. Hassan, who completed the course "Darz" to be eligible to become a maulvi, is planning to embrace Hinduism on March 30 along with six others from the community.
Thirty-year-old Hassan, a regular contributor to religious periodicals in Kerala, has already adopted a new name "Kamal Hassan," evoking memories of another high profile conversion in the recent time that of the celebrated writer Kamala Das.
He said the ceremony could not be held at his home village due to a "threat to his life."
Shiv Sena state
president Bhuvanachandran said here that several Hindu
priests would be present at the ceremony on March 30 in
which Hassan along with six other Muslims and two
Christians would embrace Hinduism.
BJP denies PMK pullout threat
CHENNAI, March 24 (PTI) The BJP today denied any threat to the Vajpayee government of a pullout by its ally, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), following reports that the Prime Minister was planning to clip the powers of one of its nominees in his ministry.
BJP General Secretary M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here that these reports were "speculative".
The reports had said
that Mr Vajpayee was planning to have a full-fledged
Cabinet Minister in the Union Health Ministry, now headed
by Mr N.T. Shanmugham of the PMK, during the next Cabinet
expansion, due to his "inefficient
INSAT-3B: orbit-raising successful
BANGALORE, March 24 (PTI) The second orbit raising operation by firing the 440 Newton thrust liquid apogee motor (LAM) on board Insat-3b, Indias new generation satellite, was successfully carried out today from Insat Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan, 180 km from here.
HC directions to absconding judge
MUMBAI, March 24 (PTI) The Mumbai High Court today directed absconding suspended judge Jaysing Wadhu Singh to appear in person on March 29 before it hears his petition urging for personal liberty and challenging the police action to book him under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
Singhs petition, challenging the illegality of the
Act, came up before Mr Justice P.S. Patankar and Mr
Justice Rajan Kochar who directed him to appear before
them to establish his bona fides.
CM presents populist Budget
Cop, ultra die
among water leaders
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