Times of India | 2 months ago | 28-01-2023 | 04:37 am
Margao: PWD minister Nilesh Cabral said that the Indian Constitution has maintained the ethos of secularism and equality in society even as he urged the people to contribute towards the development of the nation.Speaking after unfurling the national flag on the occasion of the Republic Day at the South Goa collectorate, Margao, Cabral said, “If we want to build and strengthen the nation, all have to contribute towards the process, may it be by following traffic rules, abiding civic duties, cleanliness and so on.”The Curchorem MLA lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his efforts to strengthen democracy. He said that under Modi’s leadership, India has achieved higher goals in various fields.Cabral in his address also appreciated the “tireless efforts and very good initiatives” of the Pramod Sawant-led government “for strengthening and shaping the development of the state”. He added that Sawant was making strenuous efforts to safeguard the interests of the state.On the occasion various members of the Child Welfare Committee for North and South Goa were felicitated for their extraordinary contribution in child welfare. Also security guards of South Goa Collectorate were felicitated for delivering honest service to people.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been unseated from Parliament after his conviction and two-year sentence for defamation triggered Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, argued before the magistrate’s court in Surat that he had caused no personal damage to the petitioner, BJP MLA Purnesh Modi — and there was, in fact, no specific community called “Modi” in the country.At an election rally in Kolar, Karnataka, on April 13, 2019, Rahul referred to fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and asked, “Why do all thieves have the surname Modi?”The next day, Purnesh Modi filed a private complaint before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat, accusing Rahul of having defamed everyone with the name Modi.“Any person with the surname Modi across India belongs to the Modi Samaj-Modhvanik community and is found in the whole of Gujarat as a whole, and this community is also present in other states apart from in Gujarat… The accused by insulting the Modi surname of current Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has insulted the 13 crore Modi surnamed people by calling them ‘chor’ for political selfishness,” Purnesh Modi said.Rahul Gandhi’s lawyer Kirit Panwala argued in court that there is no “identifiable and determinate” community called ‘Modi’. “It is Purnesh Modi who terms the Modhvanik community as the ‘Modi’ community; there is [actually] no evidence of it (the ‘Modi’ community). If the ‘Modi’ community comprises 13 crore people, it is not an identifiable and determinate community,” he told The Indian Express.“Only one sentence should not be taken as defamatory. He (Rahul) has not insulted any community. The Modi surname [does not belong to] only the Modhvanik community but also to [people from] other castes. If proper identity is established, [only] then this case is maintainable…here, identity is not established,” Panwala said.Although many people use the surname Modi, it does not denote any specific community or caste. In Gujarat, the Modi surname is used by Hindus, Muslims, and Parsis. There are people with the Modi surname among Vaishnavas (Baniyas), Kharwas (fishermen from Porbandar), and Lohanas (who are a community of traders).Purnesh Modi, the complainant in the Rahul Gandhi case, belongs to the Modhvanik community of Surat, as does Hasmukh Lalwala, who was Purnesh Modi’s lawyer earlier, and Kirit Panwala, counsel for Rahul.Members of the Modhvanik clan worship Modheshwari Mata, whose temple is near the Modhera Sun Temple in Mehsana district. Prime Minister Modi visited the Modheshwari temple in October last year, ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat.According to Lalwala, there are around 10 lakh Modhvaniks in Gujarat. They live everywhere in the state, though mainly in North and South Gujarat.No, they don’t. In fact, there is no community or caste by the name “Modi” in the central list of OBCs for reservation in jobs and education.Entry no 23 in the central list of 104 communities of OBCs from Gujarat reads: “Ghanchi (Muslim), Teli, Modh Ghanchi, Teli-Sahu, Teli-Rathod, Teli-Rathore.” All these communities have traditionally engaged in activities related to the extraction and trade of edible oils.Members of these communities who live in Eastern Uttar Pradesh usually use the surname Gupta and often, Modi as well.In the 136 communities from Bihar listed in the central list of OBCs, there is no “Modi”, even though there is a “Teli” (entry no 53 in Bihar’s central list of OBCs). The most prominent BJP leader in Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, has filed a separate case of defamation against Rahul.In the list of 68 communities of Rajasthan in the central OBC list, there is “Teli” as the 51st entry, but there is no community listed as “Modi”.Some were in the central list of OBCs from the beginning — when the first central list of OBCs was notified in 1993 after the implementation of the ‘Mandal’ reservations.On October 27, 1999, the Muslim Ghanchi community was added to the central list of OBCs, along with some other similar communities from other states. Subsequently, by a notification dated April 4, 2000, other communities from Gujarat such as “Teli”, “Modh Ganchi”, “Teli Sahu”, “Teli Rathod”, and “Teli Rathore” were added to the central list of OBCs.Thus, the caste to which Prime Minister Modi belongs — Ghanchi — was included in the central list of OBCs almost 18 months before Modi first became Chief Minister of Gujarat (on October 7, 2001).As mentioned above, there are Modis in UP and Bihar.This surname is also widely used by Marwaris, who are from the stock of Agrawals, who are said to belong to Agroha in Hisar, Haryana, and subsequently spread to districts like Mahendragarh of Haryana and Jhunjhunu and Sikar of Rajasthan.The grandfather of former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, Rai Bahadur Gujar Mal Modi, moved from Mahendragarh to settle near Meerut, and the town was later renamed as Modinagar.The fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi hails from Gujarat’s Jamnagar, from a community that has been traditionally engaged in the diamond trade.The former chairman of Tata Steel Russi Mody, and the stage and film personality Sohrab Modi, were Parsis from Bombay (Mumbai).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the 99th edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, his monthly radio programme, at 11 am on Thursday. He opened the program by shedding light on organ donation, and spoke with people who had personal experience with the process of donating organs of their late family members.“In 2013 less than 5,000 cases of organ donations were there in the country, but in 2022 it increased to more than 15,000 cases,” the PM highlighted.The PM also praised women in various fields, and stressed that “women’s power is playing a significant role in emerging Indian power.” He added, “In Nagaland, for the first time in 75 years, two women legislators have reached the Vidhan Sabha through their victory. India has also deployed a women-only platoon in peacekeeping under a UN mission. Women are showing power in all fields. Today, the potential of India is emerging from a new perspective, and our woman’s power has a very big role in it.”Highlighting the achievements of women, he said, “Group Captain Shalija Dhami has become first woman Air Force officer to get a Command Appointment in a Combat Unit. She has a flying experience of about 3,000 hours. Similarly, Captain Shiva Chauhan of the Indian Army has become the first woman officer to be posted in Siachen. Asia’s first woman loco pilot Surekha Yadav set another record. She has also become the first woman loco pilot of Vande Bharat.”The PM also spoke about the global focus on renewable energy and said, “In Pune, Maharashtra, one such excellent effort has caught my attention. Diu has become the first district in India, which is using 100% clean energy for all daytime needs.”The last ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program aired on February 26. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Education (MoE) proposed to disseminate information about the 100th episode of the ‘Mann Ki Baat’, which is set to air on April 30, across universities and colleges and higher education institutes by displaying Mann Ki Baat banners in the campuses.In his previous ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched upon a lot of topics while also declaring the winners of ‘Unity Day’ special three competitions. Before announcing the name of the winners, Prime Minister Modi said, “Friends, you might remember that on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary i.e. ‘Unity Day’, we talked of three competitions in ‘Mann Ki Baat’. These competitions — ‘Geet’ – Patriotic Songs, ‘Lullabies’ and ‘Rangoli’ — were held on this day. I am glad to inform you, that more than 5 lakh people from more than 700 districts across the country participated at these events enthusiastically.”The PM also remembered the late melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar, and invoked Ustad Bismillah Khan while talking about how the popularity of some classical music instruments has decreased with time.
Why does the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from Parliament last week have the reek of dirty politics? Why does a Prime Minister with the highest approval ratings of any world leader seem afraid of a man his spokesmen routinely dismiss as a goof? Why does the most powerful political party in the world seem suddenly unsure of its stature? If you think I have the answers to these questions, you are wrong, but they are questions that are being asked and should be asked.Rahul Gandhi may not be the most skillful politician, but it is hard to see him as a criminal who deserves to have his entire political career ended because he made a silly speech. The court in Surat that sentenced him to two years in prison for ‘criminally defaming’ everyone whose name is Modi had barely announced its judgement when the administrative machinery of Parliament swung into action. The court gave him thirty days to appeal against the sentence but before any appeal could be filed Rahul found himself disqualified as the Member of Parliament from Wayanad.It is not the legality of what has happened that should be a cause of concern but the politics that seems to envelope what happened. Ever since Rahul said ‘on foreign soil’ that democracy in India has been weakened since Narendra Modi became prime minister, he has been a BJP target. For the first time ever, Parliament was prevented from functioning not because of the opposition but because of the treasury benches. Senior ministers lined up to demand stridently in the house and outside that Rahul Gandhi apologize to Parliament for saying that he was prevented from speaking in it.After the ‘A’ team had finished their attack, the BJP’s ‘B’ team that consists of its spokesmen was ordered to attack and they did. Brutally. One spokesman, who has been the TV face of the party, went to the extent of declaring that Rahul was the Mir Jaffar of our times. For those who do not remember this historical figure, a short reminder. He was the traitor who helped the British win the Battle of Plassey. What did Rahul say in London or Cambridge University that makes him a traitor? Nothing.He wanted to come to Parliament to answer the charges being flung at him by the BJP but was not allowed to speak. After this, came the disqualification without giving him time to appeal the sentence. So, what is really going on? Could it be that the most popular leader in the world is seriously worried about a man who has led the Congress Party to two defeats in general elections? The more important question is why Narendra Modi appears to be going out of his way to prove Rahul Gandhi’s charge that he has crippled our democratic institutions by exerting upon them his immense power?Surely, he does not believe that Rahul is so big a criminal that he has no place in Parliament. He cannot possibly support Rahul’s disqualification since according to the Association of Democratic Reforms, 39% (116) of the BJP’s winning candidates in 2019 had criminal cases against them. The Congress Party scored higher at 57% or 29 MPs with criminal records. Many have charges far more serious on their records than criminal defamation. All Rahul did was ask rhetorically why it seemed that all crooks were called Modi. This comment offended a BJP man whose name was Modi, so he filed criminal defamation charges on behalf of the entire Modi community.What worries me as someone who has covered Indian politics for a very long time is how very thin-skinned our politicians seem to have become. Clearly, they have not heard what the American President, Harry Truman, said about the pressures of public life. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” It is worth remembering Truman’s words because the defining trait of nearly all our public figures in recent times is that they are offended so easily that even the once mighty Indian media has learned the art of kowtowing. This is unfortunate because we already have high officials and Bollywood stars kowtowing and opposition leaders living in mortal dread of the midnight knock that could bring either the Enforcement Directorate or the Central Bureau of Investigation to their doors.Meanwhile, the Budget got passed last week without debate because Parliament has not functioned in the hope that Rahul Gandhi will apologise for saying that Indian democracy is under threat. Now, he has no need to because the doors of Parliament house are closed to him for the immediate future. The question really is whether all this will help the BJP win a third term and the answer is that by the time the next general election comes around, who knows how many more opposition leaders will find themselves reluctant to stay in the kitchen because the heat has got too intense.For the moment, they seem to all be standing on the side of Rahul Gandhi and that is good news. So far, they have been suspicious of the Congress Party’s projection of their leader as a future prime minister, and many have said more than once that who becomes prime minister can only be decided after the election results come. Now we have Arvind Kejriwal saying that this is not Rahul Gandhi’s fight alone but theirs as well.
In the 50th year of ‘Project Tiger’ in India, the Centre is considering translocating a few big cats to Cambodia, where the species have become extinct in the last decade.The last tiger spotted on camera trap in Cambodia was in 2007. India, following the success of first-of-its-kind transcontinental translocation of the African Cheetahs last September, signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambodia in November to assist it with “all technical details and knowledge’’ regarding the reintroduction of tiger in the country.‘Project Tiger’, which began in 1973 at the Corbett national park, completes 50 years on April 1 this year. Tigers have gone locally extinct in Vietnam and Laos as well but officials in the Union environment ministry said the other countries have shown no interest in similar translocations. Tigers disappeared from the Cambodian landscape due to excessive poaching and loss of habitat, said officials. In late 2017, the Cambodian Prime Minister had announced the country’s plan to reintroduce the big cat.“The translocation of our tigers to Cambodia is under consideration. This has never been done in India before, although we have been translocating tigers within the country as and when it has been required. For instance, we will be translocating tigers from Corbett (Uttarakhand), which has the largest tiger population in India, to Rajaji National Park in the same state. If we finally decide on translocating tigers to Cambodia, it will be done based on IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) protocol,’’ said member secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), S P Yadav.An Indian delegation has already made a preliminary visit to Cambodia and a team from Cambodia has visited India for negotiations.“We will have to look at many factors before taking a decision. To begin with, we have to verify whether the reasons for tiger disappearance in Cambodia have been addressed, whether they have the requisite facilities and infrastructure to support the tiger,’’said Yadav.The ministry also announced on Friday a three-day international summit to commemorate 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 9 at Mysuru in Karnataka. The ‘mega-event’, from April 9-11, will be attended by all state environment ministers and officials as well as representatives of international wildlife conservation and protection organisations and non-profits.At the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the much awaited tiger estimation (census) data for 2022 — the fifth cycle assessment of Tiger population in the country. At the time of its launch in 1973, ‘Project Tiger’ included nine tiger reserves spread over 18,278 sq km. Today, there are 53 tiger reserves covering more than 75,000 sq km (approximately 2.4% of the country’s geographical area) across India. With the current population of about 3,000 tigers, India harbours more than 70% of global wild tiger population, which is increasing at an annual rate of 6%.“The success of India in conserving and doubling its wild tiger population in a span of about 12 years, much before the targeted year of 2022, as per St. Petersburg Declaration, is commendable, especially when the tiger is a highly threatened animal globally due to the high, illegal demand of its body parts. The significant gains made under ‘Project Tiger’ have made it one of the most successful conservation projects for the carnivore in the world,’’said Yadav. More tiger reserves are in the process of being declared or added to the existing list, said the official.Yadav added that India has the largest number of CAT-accredited tiger reserves in the world at 17.Compensation for voluntary village relocation has also been enhanced from Rs 10 lakh per family to Rs 15 lakh in order to aid tiger conservation.Apart from the latest tiger estimation numbers, the ministry will also release “Management Effective Evaluation (2022) of Tiger Reserves, Amrit Kal ka Vision for Tiger conservation and the release of a Rs 50 commemorative coin on ‘Project Tiger’.
The Narendra Modi government will get a “clean chit” from the expert committee of the Supreme Court, appointed in the wake of the Hindenburg Research report on the Adani Group, as the committee’s focus will be “Adani-centric”, the Congress alleged Wednesday.The party maintained that only a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe can bring out the truth.Former Union minister and Congress general secretary in-charge of communications, Jairam Ramesh, said the court-appointed committee will not ask questions of the government, as its focus will primarily remain on the business group.Addressing the media, Ramesh said: “The SC committee is Adani-centred. The questions we raise are aimed at PM Modi and the government. The SC committee will not raise these questions. Only the JPC can deliberate on these questions. The BJP will have a majority in the JPC and also have its MP as the chairperson, but the Opposition will get the opportunity to raise these questions, obtain responses from the government, and everything will go on record.”Ramesh also alleged that the “Adani scam” was not limited to the stock market but is closely connected to the “PM’s intention and policies”. The fundamental difference between the SC panel and the JPC, in the event of its formation, will be in the nature of the questions that are raised and examined, he said. “The SC panel will not ask questions of the government but rather give it a clean chit. This committee is nothing but an effort to remove the taint from the government and the PM. This is a ‘clean chit for the government committee’,” Ramesh said.