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AAP’s media spend is four times that of previous government: RTI reply

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Ajay-Maken-Arvind-Kejriwal

By Nikhil M. Babu

New Delhi: The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 per cent compared to the Congress government.

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 per cent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 per cent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 per cent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS.

IANS

Cities

District admin should be held responsible for Delhi riots: JUH chief

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Maujpur anti CAA Violence

New Delhi : Demanding justice for the people who have allegedly been framed by the police for the riots in north-east Delhi in February this year, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH) president Maulana Syed Arshad Madani said on Friday that the district administration should be held accountable for the riots.

“It is not possible to control riots in the country without making the district administration accountable,” Madani said.

He further said that for the last 70 years, JUH has been demanding a strict law against violence, atrocities and riots based on religion in which the district administration should be held accountable.

The JUH is also fighting cases for people accused in Delhi riots which occurred in February this year. It is fighting the cases of hundreds of Muslims accused in Delhi riots, and legal efforts are being made for releasing the accused on bail.

Madani said, “We want justice for those who have been forcibly imprisoned in Delhi riots, and they should be released with dignity.”

He said that all the facts about the Delhi riots have come to light in some of the leading English newspapers, how the conspiracy was hatched, who were involved and how the riots were planned to target and destroy the members of a particular community.

Unfortunately, Delhi Police, in the name of investigation, prosecuted those who were the real victims of the riots, he claimed.

“In the last two days, the Karkarduma Sessions Court has granted conditional bail to accused Shadab Ahmed, Rashid Saifi, Shah Alam, Mohammad Abid, Arshad Qayyum and Shah Alam. So far, 16 bail petitions have been accepted by the Delhi High Court and the Sessions Court which were moved by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind,” said a statement issued by JUH.

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Telangana employees donate one day’s salary for flood relief

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Tungabhadra river floods

Hyderabad: Telangana government employees have decided to donate their one day’s salary to support the relief measures launched by the state government for the victims of recent heavy rains and floods.

Leaders of employees’ unions on Friday submitted a consent letter to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in this regard on Friday. The employees, through their one day salary, will be donating Rs 33 crore.

Telangana’s gazetted officers, non-gazetted officers, class IV employees and drivers will be donating one day salary.

The Asian Institute of Gastroenterology has also donated Rs 50 lakh for flood relief measures. Hospital MD, Dr Nageshwar Reddy said that the financial assistance is extended to support measures taken by the government for the relief and rehabilitation of the people in affected areas.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister directed the officials concerned to complete the relief and rehabilitation measures in flood-hit areas of Hyderabad on a war footing. He reviewed the relief and rehabilitation measures taking place in the city.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said that due to the heavy rains and floods, water entered into the houses and damaged everything including the essential commodities.

“People were not in a position to even cook their meal. Hence we have decided to extend Rs 10,000 each family as an immediate financial assistance to them. This programme should be done actively. If the poor get this assistance before the festival it will be good for them. Ensure that every day one lakh people get this assistance,” he told the officials

Southern Power Distribution Company Ltd (SPDCL) CMD Raghuma Reddy informed the Chief Minister that due to heavy rains and floods, 33/11 KV Sub Stations were damaged at 15 places but all of them have been repaired and restored.

“At 1,080 places, 11 KV feeders were damaged and we have also restored them. 1,215 transformers were damaged in Greater Hyderabad. We have repaired and restored 1,207. The remaining eight transformers could not be repaired as they were submerged in water,” he said.

The officials said due to floods in Musi River, 1,145 transformers of the farm sector in the rural areas were damaged and 386 of them were repaired. Of this, 586 transformers were submerged in Musi water in Nalgonda, Bhongir, and Suryapet.

The heavy rains and floods also damaged 1,299 electric poles in Greater Hyderabad and all of them were repaired. Due to Musi floods, 5,335 poles were damaged in the rural areas and of this, 3,249 poles were repaired.

Since it is dangerous to restore power supply to the areas submerged in water, the Chief Minister instructed the officials to restore power to the places after draining out the water.

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Principal Secretary (MAUD) Arvind Kumar, GHMC Commissioner Lokesh Kumar, MAUD Commissioner Satyanarayana Reddy, Water Works ED Satyanarayana and other officials participated in the meeting.

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Govt plans to commission study on modernisation of madarsas

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Muslim education in India

New Delhi: The Union Minority Affairs Ministry has invited expressions of interest from consulting agencies for conducting a study on strengthening and modernising of madarsas, an official statement said.

The tender, floated on October 15, says the ministry invites “conducting study and preparation of detailed concept note on strengthening/modernisation of madarsas” and the last date of submitting the tender is November 2.

The Ministry statement said that education is an area of concern for the Muslim community, and it is understood that a large number of children from the community in India may be attending madarsas for education, but that it has been observed, over a period of time, that the education being imparted there does not follow the formal curriculum and does not have sufficient infrastructure and qualified teachers.

Noting that the National Education Policy 2020 recognises that minorities are relatively under-represented in school education as well as higher education, it said that policy acknowledges the importance of interventions to promote education of children belonging to all minority communities, and particularly those communities that are educationally under-represented.

It envisages that separate strategies will be formulated for focused attention on reducing the social category gaps in school education which, inter alia, include the alternative forms of schools to be encouraged to preserve their traditions or alternative pedagogical styles, the Ministry said.

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