|Thursday, May 11, 2000,
Indian to be born today
accepts Sena help in MC poll
|Judges posts to be filled in
NEW DELHI, May 10 Law Minister Ram Jethmalani yesterday assured the Rajya Sabha that all vacancies of judges in various high courts would be filled with in three months.
for statehood grow
to check infiltration in J&K
girls hostel attacked
by-elections: 31 file papers
Bill may be introduced
crore spent on 6 ex-PMs housing
comes to sisters rescue
worth Rs 3.5 cr seized, 3 held
on state Cong poll panel
Billionth Indian to be born today
NEW DELHI, May 10 (UNI) The countrys galloping population is poised to touch the billion mark tomorrow even as demographers and policymakers have sounded a red alert.
The billionth baby will be born at 12.56 p.m. The government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will jointly handpick a baby in the citys Safdarjang Hospital as a symbolic gesture to mark the billionth milestone.
Development experts are calling for a re-orientation of the reproductive and child health (RCH) programme, with its new approach to family planning. There is also mixed feeling about the newly announced national population policy with experts candidly criticising its effectiveness in accelerating population control measures.
Like most government documents the language of the national population policy is impeccably correct with due attention given to issues such as increased male participation and informed choices, says Dr A.K. Shiva Kumar, development economist and team member of the UNDPs human development reports.
By being so inclusive and expansive, the policy has no clearly defined roles and responsibilities, he observes adding that there are also high deficiencies in implementation. Meanwhile, the plan of action attached to the policy is dismissed by the economist as wishful thinking which does not address the reasons why access to healthcare is so poor and unequal.
The UNFPAs representative in India Michael Vlassoff expresses reservations about the section on incentives in the national population policy. In India, the experience with incentives has not been a good one and I dont think thats the way to go, he says.
Dr Vlassoff has a word of praise for the governments new RCH programme with its thrust on client-based approach, saying it is much in line with the goals set out at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development. However, much needs to be done in the way of providing services and good information, he stresses.
Ms Anjali Nayyar, project director of the Population Council, notes that the family planning programme moved away from the original goals to the numbers game. In the First Five-Year Plan, family planning was envisaged as a step toward improvement of health, particularly that of mothers and children.
This was considered the immediate benefit of the programme and its effect on the rate of population growth was expected to be manifest only over a period of time. However, the implementation of the programme took a different turn in the 1960s and quantitative targets took precedence.
But people are not the problem, she says dismissing the argument that the root cause of the countrys ills is the uncontrolled population growth. It is how you look at the people. Just by limiting the numbers everything will not fall into place, she observes. We have to look at the social and economic realities and address all issues related to population, be it illiteracy, unemployment or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
With a large youth population of 240 million in the 10 to 24 age group, the population of India will continue to grow for at least another two decades. Ms Nayyar says research shows that the message of having fewer children is universal and no woman wants more than two children. The focus then should be providing access to high-quality family planning services, reducing infant and child mortality, raising the level of female literacy and eliminating son preference.
It is also felt that the role of poverty is over-emphasised in the population debate. Dr Shiva cites Bangladeshs success story in bringing down fertility levels from 7 to just 3.3 in the last 20 years despite showing other continuing low development indicators. This, he says, clearly demonstrates that reduction in fertility rate is not the solution to poverty.
In this context, Dr Shiva feels that Chinas success in controlling its population lies not so much in its one-child policy as overall improvement in basic health services, education, social security and more employment opportunities for women.
Disincentives such as those sought by the Delhi Government with its two-child proposal are not the answer to the problem, he feels. Such measures will only penalise women further and lead to greater foeticide and infanticide of the girl child.
The population issue also rocked Parliament last week when Mr Kapil Sibal of the Congress initiated a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the working of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry. He pointed out that while 380 million people in the country live below the poverty line, 80 per cent of the budgetary allocation goes toward payment of staff salaries.
Terming as faulty the
policy implementation, Mr Sibal called for empowerment of
women who comprise half the population to bring about
equality in the true sense. Other MPs attacked lop-sided
centralised policy, insufficient budgetary allocation for
health, poor access to services and the need for
NEW DELHI, May 10 The government is examining a proposal to ban the Peoples War Group (PWG) outfit, Minister of State for Home Affairs Vidyasagar Rao told the Rajya Sabha today. In a written reply, he said a co-ordinated action group had recently been formed under the Director-General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, for co-ordinating anti-Naxalite operations among the affected states.
LTTE: The Centre was aware of the activities of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu and was constantly in touch with the state government and share intelligence inputs for appropriate precautionary and remedial action, Mr Advani said.
Defence deals: The government informed the Rajya Sabha today that the CBI has not expressed its inability in investigating defence procurement cases.
Defence Minister George Fernandes informed Mr Prabhakar Reddy during question hour that the Defence Ministry has requested the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to get all defence procurement cases since the time of presence of agents in such cases was banned by the government, investigated through the CBI or any other agency considered appropriate.
Drought-prone areas: The Central Government has so far spent Rs 3,200 crore on converting drought-prone areas and deserts into cultivable land, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.
Minister of State for Rural Development A. Raja told the Upper House during question hour that 57.14 lakh hectares have been developed under the drought-prone area programme (DPAP) and 5.15 lakh hectares under the desert development programme (DDP) of the Central Government.
women: The Lok Sabha was abruptly adjourned today by
Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi for an hour as the Samajwadi
Party members created a furore saying the atrocities on
women in Uttar Pradesh were increasing every day.
Flaunting a national newspaper during zero hour, Ms Reena
Choudhary and Ms Sushila Saroj even went up to Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and showed him the report
of atrocities on women.
Cong accepts Sena help in MC
NEW DELHI, May 10 The Congress, which turned down the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committees suggestion of a Mahajot (grand alliance) there for fear of being seen in the company of the BJP, has now got a post in New Mumbai Municipal Corporation with the help of the Shiv Sena.
In the elections to the Municipal Corporation which ended yesterday, the Congress candidate, Mr Anil Kaushik, was elected Deputy Mayor. He defeated the NCP candidate, Mr Bhola Nath Patil, with support of the Sena corporators according to reports here.
The NCP won the Mayors post with its candidate, Mr Sanjiv Naik, defeating Mr Namdeo Bhagat of the Congress. The NCP and the Congress are running a coalition government in Maharashtra under the banner of the Democratic Front. In the Corporation, the NCP has a strength of 27, the Congress 15 and the Shiv Sena 11 with nine Independents and one each from the RPI and the PWP in a House of 64.
The Congress today defended the decision to contest against its coalition partner, the NCP on the grounds that the parties were rivals having contested against each other in the Lok Sabha elections last year.
A senior party leader from Maharashtra justified the result stating that the Congress had put up its candidate and if some members of other parties like the Shiv Sena voted in favour of the Congress, what could be done.
The leader did not liken the situation with that in West Bengal where a major section of the PCC wanted the party to respond to the Trinamool Congress call for an alliance against the Left Front and test the arrangement at municipal elections this month.
In another development,
the WBPCC Working President, Mr Priyaranjan Dasmunshi,
has written a letter to the Pradesh Congress Chief, Mr A
B A Ghani Khan Choudhary, explaining that he did not
impose the Congress nominee, Mr Subankar Sarkar, for the
Panskura Lok Sabha by election as was being suggested.
NEW DELHI, May 10 (PTI) Concerned over the acute shortage of drinking water in the Capital, the Supreme Court today directed the Haryana and Punjab governments to allow an additional 125 cusecs of water from the Bhakra-Beas Management Board to reach Delhi through its canals.
A division bench comprising Mr Justice B.N. Kirpal and Mr Justice Ruma Pal directed the state governments to allow the quantity of water to be arranged by the Delhi Government from the board to flow through their canal system till August 31.
Additional Solicitor-General Kirit Raval submitted that though the Delhi Government had contacted the board for 125 cusecs of water for its Nangloi treatment plant, no water could reach as the Haryana Government had refused to carry the same through its canal system.
The Bench, however, made it clear that the 125 cusecs of water would not be out of the shares of Haryana or Rajasthan, which they were entitled from the board.
The court directed the Central Water Commission (CWC) to monitor the flow of the additional water for Delhi through the canal system and regulate its flow if there was any danger of breaching as expressed by the Haryana Government.
Meanwhile, the Bench severely criticised the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for not implementing the courts orders for harvesting rain water to supplement water supply to its colonies facing water shortage perennially.
Justice Raval pointed out that the Delhi Government, as per the 1996 orders of the court, had constructed the Nangloi treatment plant in 1998, but the plant remained unused till date as Haryana was not releasing any additional water.
PATNA, May 10 (PTI) The CBI has submitted yet another charge sheet against 21 accused, including senior state Animal Husbandry Department officials in a regular case of the multi-crore fodder scam.
The agency submitted the charge sheet in the court of Designated Judge S.K. Lal, who issued process, including arrest warrant/production of the accused before him after he took cognisance of the charge sheet yesterday.
The case relates to fraudulent withdrawals of more than Rs 15 crore from the Jamshedpur treasury by officials of the state Animal Husbandry Department through forged and fake bills.
Among the prominent accused are: Vinay Kumar, District Animal Husbandry Department Officer, Jamshedpur, Kodai Ram, accountant, Anant Pandey, assistant, Parsidh Narain Yadav, head clerk, Jenul Bhenraj, Regional Director, South Chotanagpur, AHD, Ranchi and Ranjit Singh, treasury officer.
Of the 47 cases of the
scam, the agency has already submitted charge sheet in 33
while it has filed charge sheet in only one of the seven
disproportionate assets cases. The agency had last month
filed the charge sheet in the DA case no. RC 5/9 against
Chief Minister Rabri Devi and RJD Supremo Laloo Prasad
Judges posts to be filled in 3 months
NEW DELHI, May 10 (PTI) Law Minister Ram Jethmalani yesterday assured the Rajya Sabha that all vacancies of judges in various high courts would be filled with in three months.
Replying to a supplementary by Deputy Leader of the Opposition Pranab Mukherjee, Mr Jethmalani said procedures for appointment of judges were being simplified and all vacancies would be filled within three months.
The minister said the existing procedures were too cumbersome and involved reports from Governor, Chief Minister and Chief Justice of the high court, besides that of the Intelligence Bureau.
Citing a case of West Bengal, he said appointment could not be done easily since the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice expressed different views. More-over, IB takes more than 45 days to file its report.
Efforts were being made to simplify these procedures and make appointments of judges quickly to clear the huge backlog of cases pending before various high courts, he said.
Total number of cases
pending before high courts is about 31 lakh as per the
latest information available. The number of pending cases
before district courts as on December 1998 were over two
crore, he said.
Demands for statehood grow
CALCUTTA, May 10 (UNI) The ratification of Bihar state reorganisation Bill, awaiting Parliaments approval, for the creation of a separate state in south Bihar has given a shot in the arm to forces demanding separate states in the eastern region.
There are already forces in Darjeeling hills and parts of north Bengal spearheading movements for separate states in the hills in the names of Gorkhaland and Kamtapur.
Of late the Orissa Government headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik renewed an old demand of restoring Saraikela and Kharaswan, now an integral part of Singbhum district of Bihar, with Orissa.
The Orissa Cabinet in a meeting on May 5 decided to take up with the Centre the hand-over of these two erstwhile princely states of Saraikela and Kharaswan dominated by a sizeable number of Oriya speaking people.
A report from Bhubaneswar said for this the Orissa Government has decided to call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue and chalk out future course of action for the merger of the two areas with the state. The government was forced to call such a meeting as the opposition political parties, the Viswa Oriya Samilani and other leading socio-cultural organisations have recently the revived the old demand following the passage of the Bihar state reorganisation Bill by the Bihar legislature to pave the way for a separate state in tribal south Bihar.
Mr Patnaik in a letter to Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani said Saraikela and Kharswan were merged with Bihar in 1948 ignoring the historical, cultural and linguistic ties of the people of the area.
West Bengal was facing threats for the past two decades for separate statehood and it turned violent in late 80s in the queen of hills-Darjeeling. Besides, there was another threat from Kamtapuri parties demanding separate Kampatur state in north Bengal.
The demand for a separate Gorkhaland state was recently revived in Darjeeling hills by the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF). In a massive show of strength in the first week of April, GNLF renewed its demand while observing the historical Gorkhaland revival day.
Mr C K Pradhan (Kalimgpong), Deepak Gurung (Darjeeling) and I. N. Pradhan (Kurseong) supported the fresh demand for a sovereign country movement if a statehood was not granted.
Local political analysts say that the Bihar state reorganisation Bill has boosted the hardcore hill leaders to put pressure on launching a separate state movement.
Lately Kamtapuri activists were seeking a separate state for them in north Bengal and have taken to the path of violence for attaining the goal. The recent gunning down of CPM leader Pranesh Paul in Kumargram has sent shock waves in writers buildings, the State Secretariat here. Mr Paul was killed apparently for his opposition to the Kampauri activity.
Move to check infiltration in
NEW DELHI, May 10 The government has decided to install an obstacle system on the international border in Jammu sector to check infiltration and smuggling of weapons and explosives.
The project is estimated to be completed in about one and a half years, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, told the Rajya Sabha today. Replying to a question, Mr Rao confirmed that the barbed wire fencing on the Jammu international border was suspended in July, 1995 due to unprovoked and persistent firing from Pakistan. On the governments proposed move to conduct a census in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr I.D. Swamy, told the Rajya Sabha that the census was being conducted in Jammu and Kashmir and the reference date would be the first day of October, 2000. The minister said a census was not conducted in Jammu and Kashmir in 1991 in view of the prevailing law and order situation in the state. He said according to the information given by the state government, steps were being taken to provide adequate security to the staff deployed for census work.
On the issue of giving compensation to persons whose houses were torched by militants in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Rao said relief/compensation totalling Rs 28.60 crore had been sanctioned in 4,691 cases. As many as 917 cases where payment of relief/compensation was pending were under process. He said the competent authority had ordered reassessment of damage in 302 cases.
Replying to a question on the availability of surplus funds with the Punjab Wakf Board, the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Ms Maneka Gandhi, said in the Lok Sabha the surplus funds generated by streamlining the management and curtailing expenditure had been kept as deposits in commercial banks and financial institutions. Ms Gandhi said a number of development projects were in the pipeline. She said the Punjab Wakf Board had initiated a number of steps as surprise checking of field staff and vigorous monitoring of departmental inquiries initiated against officials of the board.
To another question, Ms
Gandhi clarified the exchange of Wakf land with Punjab
Agricultural University did not violate the Wakf Act,
1995. She said the exchange was done after due
notification in the Gazette of India dated September 29,
1999 as per rule 5 of the Punjab Wakf Board rules 1964.
Christian girls hostel attacked
NASIK, May 10 (PTI) A group of youths, alleged to be Bajrang Dal supporters, forcibly entered the premises of a girls hostel of a Christian organisation at Abhona village in the district last night and beat people watching a film on the life of Jesus Christ, the police said.
The youths ransacked the entire premises, damaged a cinema projector, tore down the screen, beat spectators and set afire three motorcycles, parked outside, the police said here today.
Bihar by-elections: 31 file papers
PATNA, May 10 (UNI) Altogether 31 candidates have filed their nomination papers for three by-elections to the Bihar Assembly slated to be held on May 26.
Nineteen candidates are in the fray for the Jamui seat followed by seven in Nirsa and five in the Raghopur assembly constituencies.
Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate Rabri Devi is seeking her first entry in the assembly from the Raghopur constituency, which has been vacated by RJD Chief Laloo Prasad Yadav who had won the seat simultaneously with Danapur during the Februarys assembly election. She is contesting against JD(U) candidate Vira Devi.
In the Jamui seat, vacated by JD(U) member Narendra Singh, the ruling RJD has nominated Mr Vijay Prakash Yadav, younger brother of former minister Jai Prakash Narayan yadav, accused in the B.Ed scam case, against JD(U) candidate Mr Sushil Kumar Singh.
Mr Arup Chatterjee, son of slain Marxist coordination committee (MCC) MLA Gurudas Chatterjee, is the MCC candidate from the Nirsa seat. Mr Hemant Soreen, son for Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soreen, is also contesting from the seat along with BJPs candidate Ashok Mandal.
Information Bill may be
NEW DELHI, May 10 The Right to Information Bill could be introduced in this session of Parliament, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Mr Ram Jethmalani, said here today.
Sincere efforts would be made to introduce the Bill before the end of this session of Parliament, Mr Jethmalani told mediapersons.
Stating that the Bill was ready, he said the Bill had been examined by experts and their suggestions had been incorporated.
The Bill would be a distinct improvement from the US legislation, Mr Jethmalani asserted.
1.26 crore spent on 6 ex-PMs housing
NEW DELHI, May 10 (UNI) More than Rs 1.26 crore has been spent on providing housing facilities to six former Prime Ministers, Parliament was informed yesterday.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, the Minister of State for Urban Development, Mr Bandaru Dattatreya, said the former Prime Ministers provided housing facilities were Mr V.P. Singh, Mr Chandra Shekhar, Mr Narasimha Rao, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee (from 1996-98 at 7, Safdarjung Road), Mr H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr I.K. Gujral.
including on civil works, furniture and furnishing,
electrical and horticultural works were about Rs 32 lakh
for Mr V.P. Singh, Rs 37 lakh for Mr Chandra Shekhar, Rs
24 lakh for Mr Narasimha Rao, Rs 7 lakh for Mr Vajpayee,
Rs 12 lakh for Mr Deve Gowda and Rs 14 lakh for Mr
Scindia comes to sisters rescue
NEW DELHI, May 10 (PTI) Blood is thicker than water. This was witnessed in the Lok Sabha today during question hour when the Deputy Leader of the Congress in the House, Mr Madhavrao Scindia, came to the rescue of his sister Vasundhare Raje, though both are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.
As Ms Raje, Minister of
State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, took
long while replying to a question on appointments in the
public sector undertakings (PSUs), Speaker G.M.C.
Balayogi remarked that ministers seem to be taking more
time than the members while answering. Mr Madhavrao
Scindia intervened to say, she is a good minister.
Let her take her time to answer.
Smack worth Rs 3.5 cr seized, 3 held
NEW DELHI, May 10 (UNI) The crime branch has seized 3.5 kg of fine quality smack, valued at Rs 3.5 crore in the international market, and arrested three persons in this connection.
The three drug peddlers
arrested by a special team of the crime branch have been
identified as Sanjay Kapoor, alias Bhola, his brother
Raman Kumar and Rajesh Kumar. A sum of Rs 6,52,000 has
also been seized from their possession, DCP (Crime)
Pradeep Srivastava said in a press note. On
interrogation, it was revealed that Sanjays family
was involved in drug peddling. His elder brother Sunil is
in jail in a case under the NDPS Act. Rajesh Kumar acted
as the carrier. A case under the NDPS Act has been
Sultanpuri on state Cong poll panel
NEW DELHI, May 10 Former Shimla MP K.D. Sultanpuri has been nominated to the State Congress Election Committee, party sources said here today.
Mr Sultanpuri will succeed Mr Brij Behari Butail, who had stepped down on health grounds, the sources said.
Former Andhra Pradesh Congress Chief V. Hanumantha Rao and former Jammu MP Mangat Ram Sharma are the other members of the panel. The election committee will be responsible for the conduct of organisational poll due to be held later this year.
Donor heart available
NEW DELHI, May 10
A donor heart is available for transplantation at the
cardiothoracic centre of the All-India Institute of
Medical Sciences. Any patient of blood group B or AB
awaiting heart transplant may contact the CT centre of
the institute or call up 6854388, 6594844, 6593368 and
Thackeray: lift ban on LTTE
MUMBAI, May 10 (UNI) Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today reiterated his partys support to the cause of the LTTE and called for lifting the ban on the organisation in India.
Mr Thackeray, who met MDMK leader Vaiko at his residence, Matoshri, here late last night, endorsed the stand of the NDA government of refusing military intervention in the strife-torn Sri Lanka.
mortuary service introduced
centres set up
6 IAS officers
Seven killed in
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