In a relief for the AamAadmi Party, President Ram NathKovind
has rejected a petition demanding disqualification of 11 party MLAs for
allegedly holding office of profit.
The issue was referred to the EC which gave an opinion in August
that holding the office of co-chairperson of a district disaster management
authority does not attract disqualification as MLA as there is no remuneration
by way of salary, allowances, sitting fee.
Nor is there any other facility such as staff car, office space,
supporting staff, telephone or residence provided.As per law, the President
accepts the opinion of the Election Commission in cases of office of profit.
The Commission held that "item 14 of the Schedule to Delhi
Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification Act), 1997 provides
for exemption for the office of chairman, director or member of a statutory or
non-statutory body or committee constituted by Government of NCT, provided that
the said chairman, director or member are not entitled to any remuneration.
The term of the 70-member Delhi Assembly ends on February 22,
2020 and the polls can be announced in the next few weeks.
The government has decided to relax quality norms to
facilitate immediate import of onions for curbing rising onion prices. In an
inter-ministerial committee meeting, consumer affairs secretary Avinash K
Srivastava directed to relax phytosanitary and fumigation norms to speed up
onion imports from other producing countries like Egypt, Turkey and Iran.
The prices of onions, which had touched Rs 80 per kg in August
and September, have again shot up to Rs 100 a kg in some places due to a
shortage, triggered by unseasonal rainfall leading to crop damage in the main
onion growing zones in Maharashtra.
Traders have been demanding to liberalise these norms for a
faster import of onions to India. Onion Exporters’ Association president Ajit
Shah said that onion can be imported from Dubai in 10 days provided government
relaxes phytosanitary norms.
"If government insists on importing from original source of the
commodity, here Egypt, it will take many weeks to receive shipments. However,
importing Egypt origin onion from Dubai is possible in just 10 days," he said.
In the meeting, it was also decided to send two inter
ministerial teams to Karnataka and Rajasthan to take stock of their Onion
supplies and encourage the supplies to consuming regions including Delhi-NCR.
The committee also directed NAFED to supply the maximum possible quantities to
Delhi Government for retailing.
In an effort to productively use India’s wastelands, the
ministry of rural development has come out with the fifth edition of
Wasteland Atlas -2019, eight years after the last edition was published in
2011. This is significant as it takes into account 12.08 MHa of unmapped
area of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for the first time.
As per the Atlas, during this period 1.45 Mha of wastelands are
converted into non wastelands categories. “A reduction in wasteland area was
observed in the categories of land with dense scrub, waterlogged and marshy
land, sandy areas, degraded pastures / grazing land and gullied and / or
ravinous land,” it said.
The department of land resources in collaboration with National
Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Department of Space has published Wastelands
Atlases of India - 2000, 2005, 2010 &2011 editions. The new wastelands mapping
exercise, carried out by NRSC using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is
the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas – 2019.
India with 2.4 per cent of total land area of the world is
supporting 18 per cent of the world’s population. The per capita availability of
agriculture land in India is 0.12 ha whereas world per capita agriculture land
is 0.29 ha.
According to the ministry, unprecedented pressure on the land
beyond its carrying capacity is resulting into degradation of lands in the
country. “Therefore, robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes
significance and effectively helpful in rolling back the wastelands for
productive use through various land development programmes/schemes,” it said.
Mounds of stinking garbage line the streets of Yemen's
historic city of Taez, once renowned as one of the most beautiful places in
the country, but now torn apart by war.
The city in the highlands of southwestern Yemen has become a
breeding ground for mosquitos as well as deadly outbreaks of diseases like
cholera, as decaying refuse leaches into waterways.
Yemen, long the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula, has
been mired in conflict since the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels swept into the
capital Sanaa in a 2014 offensive, sparking a military intervention by a
While Taez is controlled by pro-government forces, it is under
siege from the Huthis who control the mountains that surround the city, from
where they have launched repeated bombardments.
While all of Yemen has suffered from the war, Taez is
particularly hard-hit. Barely any schools are able to function, fresh water is
scarce, and it is difficult to bring in supplies including essentials like food.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi will set up
a Space Technology Cell in collaboration with the Indian Space Research
Organization (ISRO), the space agency of country at the IIT campus.
With the move, IIT Delhi have joined the league of other premier
institutions where the Space Technology Cells (STCs) have been set up, such as
Indian Institute of Science Bangalore (IISc) Bangalore, IIT Kharagpur, IIT
Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, IIT Guwahati and IIT Roorkee.
The Space Technology Cells (STCs) here play a major role in
taking up space technology research and applications to the newer heights.
The Space Technology Cell will work for carrying out focused
research projects in space technology domain with specific deliverables.
ISRO also proposed that IIT Delhi as an Institute becomes ISRO’s
academic partner in research areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), nano-technology,
functional textiles, smart manufacturing or any other area of joint interest.