EC gives clean chit to PM on alleged model code violation
The Election Commission on Tuesday ruled that Prime Minister
NarendraModi’s speech at Wardha in Maharashtra on April 1 did not violate
the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the Representation of the People Act
The decision came after Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two
Election Commissioners thoroughly examined a detailed report received from
the State Chief Electoral Officer on the impugned comments.
“The matter has been examined in detail in accordance with the extant
guidelines/provisions of the Model Code of Conduct, the Representation of
the People Act, 1951, and the report of the Chief Electoral Officer,
Maharashtra. Accordingly, Commission is of the considered view that in this
matter no such violation has been noticed,” said a senior EC official.
The Congress had earlier lodged a complaint with the EC alleging that
the “hateful, vile and divisive” comments were directed at party president
Rahul Gandhi. A delegation of Congress leaders including Ahmed Patel, Jairam
Ramesh, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and RandeepSurjewala had submitted the
memorandum, seeking the Commission’s intervention.
Mr.Modi had said “it is evident from the fact that one has to contest a
seat where the minority is majority” alluding to the decision of Mr. Gandhi
(who was not named) to contest from Wayanad in Kerala, apart from Amethi.
Taking cognisance, the EC sought a report from the State CEO.
According to poll panel officials, an authenticated transcript of the
entire speech was submitted to the Commission on April 14 and the impugned
comments were examined.
NCMC meets to review preparedness as FANI intensifies to severe cyclonic
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the chairmanship
of Sh. P. K. Sinha, Cabinet Secretary,met here today for the second time in
as many days and reviewed the preparedness with the States and concerned
Departments of Government of India, to deal with the situation arising out
of the Cyclonic Storm ‘Fani’.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed that the Severe
Cyclonic Storm ‘FANI’ lay centredthis afternoon at about 800 kmsSouth of
Puri.As per IMD, it is very likely to intensify further into an Extremely
Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours and move northwestwards till 01st
May evening and thereafter recurve north-northeastwards and reach Odisha
Coast by afternoon of 3rd May.
Reviewing the preparedness of the States and Central Agencies, Cabinet
Secretary directed that all necessary measures be taken to prevent any loss
of life and to keep in readiness essential supplies including food, drinking
water and medicines etc.
He also advised all concerned to make adequate preparations to ensure
maintenance of essential services such as power, telecommunications in the
event of damages caused to them.During the meeting, officers of all
concerned State Governments confirmed their preparedness to deal with any
emerging situation arising out of the cyclonic storm.
Indian Coast Guard and the Navy have deployed ships and helicopters for
relief and rescue operations. Army and Air Force units in the three states
have also been put on standby. States have issued advisories and are
ensuring that fishermen do not venture into the sea. IMD has been issuing
three hourly bulletins with latest forecast to all the concerned States. MHA
is also in continuous touch with the State Governments and the Central
High growth witnessed in core sectors in March
Growth in the core sectors of the economy surged in March to a
five-month high of 4.7%, driven by a broad-based recovery in sectors such as
cement, refinery products, steel, and coal.
The March edition of the Index of Eight Core Industries also provides a
full year (April-March) performance review, which shows that the core
industries maintained their growth rate of 4.3% in 2018-19, the same as in
the previous year.
The cement sector saw the strongest rebound in March 2019, growing 15.7%
compared with 8% in February 2019. The steel sector saw growth accelerating
to 6.7% from 4.9% over the same period. The cement sector grew 13.3% over
the full year 2018-19, up from the 6.3% growth it recorded in the previous
The steel sector, on the other hand, saw growth for the full year come
in at a slower 4.7% in 2018-19 compared with 5.6% in 2017-18.
Growth in the coal sector also accelerated in March, to 9.1% from 7.4%
in February. Over the full year, the sector grew 7.3% in 2018-19 compared to
2.6% in the previous year. The crude oil sector continued its contraction in
March, contracting 6.2% compared with a contraction of 6.1% in the previous
month. Over 2018-19, the sector contracted 4.1% compared with a contraction
of 0.9% in the previous year.
Refinery products, however, saw growth picking up in March to 4.3%
compared with a contraction of 0.8% in February. The sector’s full-year
growth nevertheless came in lower, at 3.1%, than the previous year’s 4.6%.
The natural gas sector saw growth slowing in March to 1.4% from 3.8% in
February. The sector saw growth for the full year slipping to 0.8% in
2018-19 from 2.9% in 2017-18.
GSTN signs MoU with IT department allowing access to information to each
The Income Tax Department and the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN)
are all set to sign anMoU that will allow the two to match their data
regarding company financials so as to pin down any anomalies
The department order provides for the Principal Director General or
Director General of Income Tax (Systems) to sign anMoU with the GSTN
allowing them to send information on assessees to the nodal officer in the
The order, dated April 30, states that the GSTN can ask for and be
provided data relating to an assessee’s status of filing income tax returns,
turnover, gross total income, financial ratios, and any other data with the
I-T Department to be decided at a later date. The order also provides for
the automatic exchange of such data, and not just based on requests, the
modalities of which will be decided.
“While furnishing the information, the specified Income Tax authority
shall form an opinion that sharing of such information is necessary for the
purposes of enabling the specified authority in GSTN to perform its
functions under the Goods and Services Tax,” the order said.
The MoU will also include the rules pertaining to the modalities of the
exchange, the confidentiality of the data, and the “weeding out after
“Facilitation of exchange of data between authorities under income-tax
and GST is indicative of the government’s intention not to spare taxpayers
from escaping tax payable under any of the laws,” RakeshNangia, managing
partner, Nangia Advisors, said.
Stating that defence and offensive space technologies are being
developed with various aims of spying, gaining control, deactivating service
and destroying, French Envoy in India Alexandre Ziegler has supported
India’s Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test as a response to these growing
He also observed that outer space has become an “arena of rivalry
between major powers.”
At the same time, he said there was common concern on space debris.
Satellites today have to avoid almost 6,00,000 debris of over 1cm travelling
at speed faster than a bullet, he stated.
On March 27, India shot down a live satellite in the Low Earth Orbit
(LEO) of 300 km using a modified interceptor of the Ballistic Missile
Defence (BMD) system. Officials had stated that the LEO was particularly
chosen to minimise space debris.
India and France, which have been cooperating in the area of space for
several decades, had announced the setting up of a constellation of
satellites for maritime surveillance of the Indian Ocean. Mr. Ziegler said
as part of this, the two countries are co-developing a constellation 10-15
satellites that could help “monitor the maritime traffic in the Indian
As space gets increasingly crowded, Mr. Ziegler also called for the need
to regulate space traffic on the lines of air traffic or railways. He said
France shares India’s view on the use of outer space for peaceful purposes
and said, “We therefore refuse any destabilising arms race, which would be
detrimental to all of us.”
Japan’s new emperor sworn in
Emperor Akihito of Japan formally stepped down on Tuesday, the first
abdication for 200 years in the world's oldest monarchy, as his son Naruhito
prepared to take the Chrysanthemum Throne and usher in a new imperial era.
In the “Room of Pine” in Tokyo's Imperial Palace, the popular
85-year-old performed the abdication ritual in the presence of the imperial
regalia an ancient sword and the sacred jewel.
Dressed in a Western-style morning coat, Mr. Akihito stood on a small
stage before an invited audience and members of the royal family and offered
his “deepest heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan”.
He said he would “pray for the peace and happiness of all the people in
Japan and around the world”. Empress Michiko stood by his side in a white
and silver gown and the outgoing emperor paused briefly after exiting the
stage, to help his wife, 60, down the steps.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the royal couple had offered “courage and
hope” to the Japanese people in times of suffering.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
UN releases recommendations on physical activity for under five children
The United Nations on Wednesday released its first-ever recommendations
on physical activity for children under five, with disputed advice on
subjects ranging from screen time to “tummy time”.
The guidelines from the World Health Organization may read to some
parents like common-sense practices, including not exposing babies under
one-year-old to screens.
Despite acknowledging that its “strong recommendations” were based on
“very low quality evidence,” the UN health agency said its advice could
apply to all young children, regardless of gender, cultural background or
With obesity posing a rising public health threat and 80 percent of
adolescents “not sufficiently physically active,” WHO said it was time to
outline best practices for children under five a crucial period for
WHO’s “glossary says that it excludes ‘active screen-based games where
physical activity or movement is required’, but that’s not very clear in my
It said the screen time guidelines do not pertain to “an interactive
tablet based game or a TV programme where children are encouraged to move,
to copy movements to dance to interact with the media.
Raheem Sterling is FWA’s footballer of the year
Raheem Sterling has been named the 2019 footballer of the year by
the Football Writers' Association (FWA). The Manchester City and England
forward topped the poll of the 400-strong FWA membership as a clear winner,
with 62 percent of the votes.
It was more than 100 votes ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil Van
Dijk. Hours earlier, Sterling lost out to Van Dijk in the race for the
Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) award, but was announced PFA
young player of the year.