12 January 2014

1400 HRS.
12th January, 2014

  • Prime Minister urges people to be respectful to all religions and dedicate themselves to the country's development.
  • Coal Ministry seeks suggestions from stakeholders on draft bid documents relating to auctioning of coal mines in order to ensure transparency.
  • Indian flyers will not be required to fill immigration forms while returning from abroad from March 1st.
  • In Meghalaya, four armed militants killed in an encounter with the police in West Garo Hills district.
  • Sri Lanka says, the decision on release of Indian fishermen to be based on the outcome of the delegation level talks with New Delhi.
  • Srinagar-Jammu national high way opens for traffic today.
  • Indian cricket team leaves for New Zealand for 5 one day and two test series.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has urged people to be tolerant, respectful of all religions and dedicate themselves to the development of
the country. Addressing the closing ceremony of the commemoration of Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary in New Delhi today, Dr. Singh said human society would have been far more advanced than it is now had it not been for horrible demons of sectarianism and fanaticism.
His truly great message for us which is of great relevance to our country and our sub-continent, was that true religion and true religiosity cannot be the bases of hatred and division, but of mutual respect and tolerance for the faiths and beliefs of all.
Quoting Swamiji's one of the most important messages, the Prime Minister said India’s true liberation would come only when every citizen feels liberated from the scourge of poverty, ignorance and disease.
Speaking on the occasion, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said all must rise above politics and pay heed to Swami Vivekananda's teachings of wisdom and tolerance. Stating that religious fanaticism threatens peace in the region, Mrs. Gandhi said the youth must imbibe the teachings of Swamiji to shape their future in the 21st century.
The India of the 21st century is a known society with a young population. A population with high expectation and aspiration. They want to be educated better, they want to be governed better . They want to find employment that meets their aspirations. We should not and cannot fail them.
Recalling the preaching of Vivekananda in relentlessly championing the cause of gender equality and communal harmony, Mrs Gandhi said he has become more relevant with the passage of time.
The Coal Ministry has sought suggestions from the stakeholders on the draft bid document pertaining to coal mines to be auctioned in order to ensure greater transparency. The development comes in the backdrop of the government drawing flak from various quarters for irregularities in mines allocation. A Coal Ministry document said the government proposes to allocate area containing coal blocks through auction by competitive bidding.
The Ministry further said comments and suggestions are invited from stakeholders on the draft Request for Proposal to be sent by January 20, 2014. The government watchdog CAG had in 2012 estimated a 1.86 lakh crore rupees presumptive loss to the exchequer on account of allotment of 57 coal blocks without competitive bidding.
New customs rules under which Indian flyers will no longer be required to fill immigration forms when they return from abroad. It is applicable from March 1 at international airports in the country. A notification issued by Finance Ministry has said under the new Customs Baggage Declaration Regulations, 2013, an Indian citizen would need to fill up the immigration form only when he or she goes out of the country. These regulations were to come into force from January 1 but now the date to implement them has been set ahead by two months.
Centre says government departments should not insist on seeking address of an RTI applicant if a post box number is being provided to them for communication. The Ministry of Personnel has written to all central government ministries or departments, who act as public authorities mandated with providing information on RTI applications made to them, citing a judgement by Calcutta High Court in this regard. The DOPT said in case the authority would find any difficulty with the post box number, they may insist upon personal details. The order had come following a writ petition by an individual who sought court's direction that authority should not insist upon the detailed address of the applicant as and when any application is made under the RTI Act.
The President Mr Pranab Mukherjee today inaugurated Andaman and Nicobar Tribal research and Training Institute at Port Blair. Speaking on the occasion, he stressed the need for setting up a museum to preserve the unique culture of the most precious tribes of the islands. More from our Correspondent:
Inaugurating the Tribal Research Institute ANTRI at Port Blair this morning, the President called upon the anthropologists of the institute to formulate a new policy for the tribal integration with the developed society, but in their own way and own environment without disturbing their distinct identity and unique culture. Expressing concern over the dwindling population of the vulnerable tribal groups, particularly Jarawas, Sentenalese, Onges and Shompens, the President asked the institute to conduct a detailed study to ensure their welfare and protection effectively. He also emphasized the need for a tribal museum by the tribes themselves to preserve their unique culture, tradition and rare artefacts for the future generations. The President will visit Havelock Island this afternoon. A DHANASEKARAN/ AIR NEWS/PORT BLAIR.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has asked his partymen to toil hard to bring the party at the centre stage in next Lok Sabha elections. He is holding a meet of the party workers today in Lucknow. Our Lucknow correspondent reports that Mulayam Singh has already expressed his desire to fight for the the post of prime minister-ship in next Lok Sabha polls. On the matter of extending support to form a coalition, the SP supremo said the party would weigh issues related to poor, farmers and youths with like-minded parties.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas was today shown black flags by a group of people, who were protesting against for his alleged anti religious poems, while he was heading to address a rally in Rahul Gandhi's Amethi parliamentary constituency. Stones and eggs were also thrown at two buses ferrying party supporters to the rally venue, in Gandhi Chowk area of the city. When asked about the protests, Vishwas said these were sponsored. He is to address Jan Vishwas rally at Ramlila ground in Amethi this afternoon. Meanwhile, Congress Party has criticised Kumar Vishwas, saying that he is yet to be nominated by his party for any Loksabha seat but still trying to create unwanted commotion in the state.
In Meghalaya, four armed militants were shot dead in an encounter with the police in West Garo Hills district. West Garo Hills Superintendent of Police Mukesh Singh told a news agency that the incident took place late last night on the road to Kerapara on the outskirts of Tura town, the district headquarters. He said the militants fired randomly at the police team and four militants were shot dead in retaliatory fire which lasted for nearly an hour. A huge cache of weapons were recovered from them.
Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne has said that the decision on release of Indian fishermen from custody will be taken on the basis of the outcome of the delegation level talks between the two countries in New Delhi. Our correspondent reports that Mr Senaratne will be leading a high powered delegation to New Delhi later this week to discuss the fishermen’s issue with an Indian team headed by Agriculture Minister Sharard Pawar.
Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne says he would focus on the sanctity of the International Maritime Boundary between the two countries when he gets down to discuss with New Delhi the issue of fishermen’s plight on both sides of the Palk Straits. Mr Senaratne referred to close historical ties between the two countries and hoped that a lasting solution would be found soon to this irritant in the relationship.ABHISHEK DAYAL/ AIR NEWS/COLOMBO.
Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah El Sisi has said that he would run for Presidency if the people demand it and the military supports him. In his address to officials in Cairo, Gen El Sisi urged the public to assume their national responsibility of participating in the referendum. More from our West Asia Correspondent:
Two days ahead of the nationwide referendum on the new constitution, remarks by the Egyptian strongman, General Sissi have fueled speculations that he might eventually run for the top job in the country. At a meeting with the Egyptian officials in Cairo, he said that his nomination must be based on a popular demand and have the mandate from the army. Military officers have already indicated their support if he contests the election scheduled to take place this year. Gen El Sisi has been the most popular leader in Egypt since the ouster of Islamist regime led by Mohammed Morsi in July. Atul K Tiwary/ AIR NEWS/Dubai.
India 360 an eight-minute programme on AIR FM Gold and additional frequencies, will be launched from January 26th by the News Services Division (NSD) with inputs from the External Publicity (XP) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). It will profile a country each week and its relations with India. It aims to give listeners an audio picture of the country in focus with information on the people, culture, cuisine, trade, sports and other aspects of the region. Indian ambassadors to these countries will talk about important aspects of bilateral relations like trade, people to people contact and the Indian diaspora there. There is a quiz question at the end of the programme for generating listeners’ interest in countries and cultures and their ties with India. The programme will also be publicised through the Social media platforms of All India Radio like its Facebook, Twitter page and Website. The programme will be launched with focus on Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is Chief Guest at this year's Republic Day Parade.
Four toll plaza booths were vandalised in Maharashtra's Kolhapur on Sunday after a dispute over collection of toll tariff. The hooligans in large number vandalised the booths and burnt down the toll plaza property. The agitators claim that since roads are poorly constructed, there is no question of paying the toll.
The Odisha government has proposed to set up a Women’s University during the 12th Plan period under the Rastriya Ucchattara Sikhya Abhiyan. The process has already been started to short list the government and government-aided women’s colleges in the state for recommending to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development for clearance of the proposal. More from our correspondent:
If Odisha is selected as one of the states to have a Women's University, the state government will receive funds from the Rastriya Ucchattara Sikhya Abhiyan to boost the research and innovation in the proposed Women's University. The Rama Devi Women’s College at Bhubaneswar has the infrastructure to get the status of a university exclusively for the women. As funds would be available under the Rastriya Ucchattara Sikhya Abhiyan for setting up Women’s University, the State government is also considering providing land and other infrastructure at a suitable place for a new one without upgrading any existing one. The State government will also provide funds to help establish the proposed university. Prakash Dash/AIR NEWS/Odisha.
The Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which connects Kashmir Valley to the rest of the country, was today opened for traffic after remaining cut off for two days due to snowfall. Traffic on the 294-km arterial road was stopped on Friday following snowfall in the areas around Jawahar Tunnel.
Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of minus 3.0 degree Celsius last night. A MET Department statement said the mercury in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, decreased over four degrees to settle at a low of minus 7.6 degree Celsius.
In Punjab and Haryana, a thick blanket of fog disrupted normal life at many places as there was no let up in the cold wave conditions in both the states for last several days.
The National Capital, Delhi, will have a clear sky today though it was foggy in the morning. The minimum temperature recorded was 6.3 degrees Celsius, one degree below average and the maximum is expected to hover around 19 degrees Celsius.
The Indian cricket team today left for the tour to New Zealand. The Indian team led by MS Dhoni are scheduled to play 5 one day international matches from the 19th of this month, followed by a 2-match Test series. The ODI squad left from Mumbai today, while Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav, who figure in the Test squad, will leave later. The first ODI will take place at the McLean Park at Napier. This is India's ninth visit to New Zealand for a bilateral contest, and their first since 2008-09 that they won 1-0.
In its endeavour to make road safety a social movement, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways today organized a Road Safety Walk in New Delhi. The walk was organized as part of the ongoing 25th Road Safety Week which began yesterday. The theme of the week this year is 'When on road, always say Pehle Aap'.

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