QBullet: Opposition Calls Note Ban a Sham; 5 Dead in Mumbai Rains

The Quint’s roundup of headlines from national dailies.

7 min read
The opposition alleged that demonetisation was a political move aimed at winning the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

1. Opposition Slams Govt, Says RBI Data Proves Note Ban Was a Sham

After the release of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Annual Report on Wednesday, several Opposition parties said the report was evidence of what they had said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced demonetisation on 8 November – that “note ban” was a sham – a political move with the objective of winning the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, a move that led to deaths of 104 people and destroyed millions of livelihoods.

The Congress demanded a public apology from the PM. “Isn’t the RBI’s revelation this evening on demonetisation pointing to a big scam?” asked the Trinamool Congress. Party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said demonetisation was “totally a flop show”. Communist Party of India (Marxist) Chief Sitaram Yechury said lives were lost and the economy got a shock. “India can never forgive the Modi government” for the “anti-national act” of “note ban”.

Source: Business Standard

2. Mumbai Rains: Five Killed, Many Missing as Shiv Sena and BJP Spar Over Relief Work

At least five persons were killed in different rain-related incidents during Tuesday’s deluge when Mumbai was virtually paralysed while the political parties kept blaming each other for the mess and leaving no opportunity to take the credit for relief work.

According to the BMC Disaster Control, a two-year-old girl, Kalyani Gopal Jangam, was crushed under a wall which crashed during heavy rains in Jankalyan Nagar in Vikhroli East. In another incident in Vikhroli’s Suryanagar, two persons were killed when a portion of a house collapsed following the torrential rains.

An 18-month-old infant, Nikhil Satyendra, and a 40-year-old man, Suresh A. Maurya, succumbed during treatment at Rajawadi Hospital in adjoining Ghatkopar suburb. 

In Ghatkopar’s Ambedkar Nagar, Rameshwar Tiwari, 45, was killed while his wife Manju and their minor children Krishna and Ronak were injured when a wall of their home crashed on them.

A dozen people, mainly senior citizens, are reportedly missing in different parts of Mumbai though many are suspected as ‘lost’ or temporarily not able to communicate.

3. In India's First Army Overhaul, 57,000 Soldiers to Be Redeployed in Combat Roles

India on Wednesday announced an extensive restructuring of its army, an exercise that will see 57,000 soldiers being redeployed in combat roles to sharpen the force’s fighting edge.

Announcing the government’s decision to usher in the much-needed reforms, defence minister Arun Jaitley told media after a cabinet meeting the “far-reaching” revamp was aimed at improving army’s tooth-to-tail ratio – the number of personnel (tail) required to support a combat soldier (tooth).

Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively. Representational image of indian Army personnel. 
Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively. Representational image of indian Army personnel. 
(Photo: AP)
Implementation has begun with the decision of the cabinet committee on security to close 39 military farms in a time bound manner.
Defence Ministry Spokesperson

The restructuring would be completed by December 2019. The army has around 40,525 officers and 1.15 million other ranks. The defence ministry dubbed the overhaul the first such exercise in Independent India’s military history.

4. Railways Sacks 13 Employees for Utkal Express Derailment

Thirteen railway employees, including a junior engineer (JE) were removed from service by railways for "very serious lapse" in duty leading to the derailment of Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh and deaths of 23 people.

Along with the JE and a hammerman, the 11 track men who were sacked from the service were doing maintenance and repair work at the spot without seeking due permission. 

TOI reported that the accident was caused by "unofficial" maintenance work on the stretch.

An official said: "...This is the first instance when such a large number of employees were removed from the service in one go."

The sacking was done under section 14 (II) of the railways servants (decoupling & appeal) rules 1968 as the transporter has authority to take action against employees in case of serious lapse in duty even when inquiry is pending.

The fired employees have 45 days to appeal against the action.

5. Now, Medical Seats in Karnataka at a Discount

The year’s biggest clearance sale is underway. No, it’s not electronic items on Amazon or Flipkart, but medical seats under the NRI and management quota in Karnataka private colleges.

With Thursday being the last day to complete admissions in accordance with the deadline set by the Medical Council of India, these coveted seats, for which candidates would shell out anywhere between Rs 22 lakh to Rs 41.98 lakh per year, are now being sold at a hefty 40 percent discount.

Last year, they were sold for a maximum of Rs 1.3 crore for the entire duration of the course (4.5 years). At the start of the 2017-18 admission season, they were priced at a maximum of Rs 1.88 crore.

However, there were few takers, with as many as 676 of the total 773 seats in this category remaining vacant even after the mop-up round.

Officials believe this is a result of demonetisation. 

What’s more, this is the first time that management and NRI seats were allotted through a common counselling process by the Karnataka Examinations Authority, based on the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) scores.

Source: The Hindu

6. Doctors Fight in Operation Theatre in Jodhpur Hospital, Woman Loses Newborn

The Rajasthan high court took cognisance on Wednesday of a video purportedly shot in a Jodhpur government hospital that shows two senior doctors quarrelling and using filthy language inside the operating theatre during a caesarean section.

The spat triggered allegations that their patient, identified as Anita, lost her newborn because of medical negligence. The court too sought to know if that was the case.

The secretary of the Rajasthan Legal Services Authority told the court that a woman named Naseem Bano was on the operating table when the video was shot. She delivered a healthy girl.

Anita was also in the operating theatre for a C-section and her newborn, also a girl, died after birth. The official said a detailed inquiry would reveal if the two doctors’ row had a role in the infant’s death.

They were apparently bickering over the newborn girl’s falling pulse rate.

7. Government to Tag Creamy Layer Posts in PSUs

The government has approved a proposal to identify posts in PSUs and financial institutions for the "creamy layer" category to exclude them from 27 percent OBC reservations.

In what would end a 24-year-long process hanging fire since Mandal reservations came into existence in 1993, the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the criteria for marking out Group A and Group B positions in PSUs, banks and financial institutions.

Those holding Group A and Group B jobs in government services are deemed to belong to the creamy layer and accordingly their children are barred from availing jobs and admissions in educational institutions under the OBC quota.

The prohibition will now be extended to wards of holders of the posts in PSUs, banks and financial institutions. The "creamy layer" also lays down annual salary criteria to decide eligibility for quota.

8. Soon People Will Ask Govt to Take Care of Their Kids: Yogi Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Wednesday that people were unwilling to shoulder their responsibilities, to the extent that they may soon hand over their children to the government too.

“Mujhe to yeh bhi kabhi-kabhi lagta hai ki ek samay ke baad aisa na ho ki log apne bachche jaise hi ek saal, do saal ke honge, to sarkar ke bharose chhor denge, ki sarkar hi ab in bachchon ka palan kare (I sometimes feel that after some time, as soon as their children become one or two years old, people will leave them for the government, so that the government takes care of them),” he said.

Yogi Adityanath, the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
Yogi Adityanath, the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
(Photo: The Quint)

“People keep cows at home, sell the milk, but leave the cows on the streets, for the government to take care of,” he said. “Garbage is lying around… we don’t have any civic sense… We don’t wish to clean it. We believe it is the government’s responsibility,” he said.

As if we are free of all our responsiblities. We have forced all our responsibilities on the government.

9. CBI Takes Over Probe Into Bikaner Land Allotments Including 4 Cases Linked to Vadra

The CBI has taken over the probe into 18 First Information Reports (FIRs) in connection with purchase and sale of land in Bikaner of Rajasthan, which included four such cases involving businessman Robert Vadra-promoted Skylight Hospitality.

The Rajasthan Police last year cleared Vadra of any wrongdoing, saying he was a bona fide purchaser who was “cheated” and “certainly a victim of fraud”.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered 18 cases under sections 420 (cheating), 461 (dishonestly breaking open receptacle containing property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Indian Penal Code on the request of Rajasthan Government and (following a) further notification from (the) government of India and taken over the investigation.

The agency statement added that the cases were related to alleged fraudulent and fictitious claims/allotments in lieu of land acquired for Mahajan Field Firing Range, Bikaner used by the Indian Army.

The cases involve around 1,400 bighas of land allotted in lieu of the land acquired for the firing range. A probe found land was allotted to people who had not been displaced.

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