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Is centre planning another disruption by proposing changes in UPSC rules: Chidambaram

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chidambaram

New Delhi, May 23 : Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today termed as unconstitutional the proposed changes in the cadre allocation of civil services and wondered whether the Centre was planning another “disruption” by bringing about such changes in the UPSC rules.

He said the government’s proposal to take into account the marks secured in the foundation course for allocation of service and cadre would lead to subjectivity and termed it as “undesirable”.

“Is the central government planning another disruption? And if yes, why?,” he asked in a blog post.

“Firstly, the proposed change appears to be unconstitutional, as it is violative of Article 320. The selection for ‘appointment’ to the service, now done solely by the UPSC, will be affected by the FC marks given by the executive government. I doubt if the proposed change can be implemented without amending Article 320,” he said.

“Secondly, anonymity and objectivity will be greatly affected. Preference’ of the executive government and subjectivity’ will play a role in the allotment of service and cadre. Neither factor is desirable. There is a clear and present danger,” he claimed.

The former home minister said the All India Services (IAS, IFS, IPS and IFoS) had their strengths and weaknesses and the examination, interview, selection, allotment of service and allotment of cadre were done on the recommendation of the UPSC which was “believed to be totally objective”.

He said there was anonymity in the written exam and objectivity as the examination and the interview were conducted by the UPSC, with the Executive having absolutely no role to play.

This, he said, was consistent with Article 320 of the Constitution which mandate that “it shall be the duty of the Union and State Public Service Commissions to conduct examinations for appointments to the services of the Union and the services of the state respectively”.

Chidambaram said there were no serious complaints about examinations or selection or allotment of service and cadre and a few and rare mistakes had been corrected by the courts.

He said the candidates’ marks in the foundation course (FC) might affect their inter-se ranking allotted to a particular service or cadre.

He said under the change proposed by the PMO, FC marks would be taken into account for allocation of service and cadre and the 300 marks had potential to alter the allocation, currently based on the 2025 marks.

“Who conducts the FC? Who sets the question paper(s) for the examination at the end of the FC? Who marks the examination paper(s) of the candidates in the FC? It is officers appointed by the Executive government and answerable to the Executive government. The UPSC has absolutely no role to play,” he said.

There has been a row over the proposed changes. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had urged students to “rise”, alleging that their future was at risk as the prime minister wanted to appoint officers chosen by the RSS by “manipulating” the merit list in civil service examinations.

Gandhi took to Twitter over the proposal seeking to bring in major changes in the allocation of services to candidates who clear the all-India examination.

India

‘Strongly condemn aggression towards deputy chairman’: Rajnath Singh

Parliament witnessed chaos during the voice vote to pass The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

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Rajnath Singh

The government on Sunday said it strongly condemned the “aggressive and violent behaviour” by opposition members towards the Rajya Sabha vice-chairman during the debate to pass the two farm bills in the House.

Addressing a press conference along with several of his colleagues, defence minister Rajnath Singh said: “Whatever happened was against parliamentary dignity. It has delivered a big blow. Rule books were torn, other important papers were torn. Mikes were snatched. Opposition members were in the well and attempts were made to climb onto the vice-chairman’s chair.”

He was joined by his colleagues Prakash Javadekar, Prahlad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Mukhtar Abbas Naqwi.

Parliament witnessed chaos during the voice vote to pass The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

Opposition members, claiming that their demand for a division vote was being ignored, attempted to stall the proceedings and raised slogans in the well of the house, leading to an adjournment for 10 minutes.

“Such an incident has never happened in the history of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. It is all the more unfortunate that this happened in Rajya Sabha, which is known as the house of elders,” Singh said.

At a press conference in the evening, Singh said the opposition was trying to mislead farmers. “Neither minimum support prices (MSPs) nor agriculture produce market committee are going to be ended. Our government has increased MSPs and they will never be ended under any circumstances,” Singh said.

On the issue of no confidence motion against deputy chairman Harvansh, Singh said: “Notice has gone. Chairman will decide. It is his prerogative.”

On the resignation of Shiromani Akali Dal minister in the Modi Cabinet, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Singh said there were political reasons behind it and he would not like to comment on it.

“There was full discussion from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm. Even if one were to assume that the opposition was being ignored, are they right to get violent and attack the deputy chairman?” Singh asked.

On the question of opposition MPs seeking a division vote and being ignored, minister of minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the deputy chairman kept urging opposition MPs to go to their seats and demand a division vote.

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Politics

IPL2020: Delhi Capitals beat Kings XI Punjab in Super Over

Stoinis was the star of the day for DC as he picked two wickets off the last two balls of the match before which he smashed 53 off 21 balls to take an otherwise struggling DC past the 150-run mark.

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Delhi Capitals

Dubai, Sep 20 : A brilliant all-round effort from Marcus Stoinis along with sharp bowling from Kagiso Rabada in the Super Over helped Delhi Capitals beat Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

Both sides ended their respective 20 overs on 157/8 after which KXIP managed to score just two runs batting first in the Super Over.

DC took three balls to go past that total and get off to a winning start in the season.

Stoinis was the star of the day for DC as he picked two wickets off the last two balls of the match before which he smashed 53 off 21 balls to take an otherwise struggling DC past the 150-run mark.

KXIP were tottering at 55/5 at the start of the 11th over of the match after which opener Mayank Agarwal turned things around for them. Mayank scored a masterful 89 off 60 balls and his innings turned the tables to the extent that KXIP needed one run to win off the last three balls. But, he holed out at sweeper cover off the penultimate ball before Chris Jordan hit it straight to square leg.

Earlier, DC were on 127/7 at the end of the penultimate over of the innings at the Dubai International Stadium after which Stoinis smashed 26 runs off Chris Jordan in the final over. Additionally, the over included a wide and a dramatic final ball in which Stoinis was run out after taking a run but Jordan had overstepped. Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada ran two runs off the free-hit to make 30 runs off the over.

Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 157/8 (Marcus Stoinis 53, Shreyas Iyer 39; Mohammed Shami 3/15) beat Kings XI Punjab 157/8 (Mayank Agarwal 89, KL Rahul 21; R Ashwin 2/2, Rabada 2/28) in Super Over

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Naidu goes into huddle after unprecedented Rajya Sabha ruckus

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Rajya Sabha VP Naidu

New Delhi, Sep 20 : Soon after an unprecedented ruckus broke out in the Rajya Sabha with some House members squatting in the premises that forced the Lok Sabha to be delayed, a high-level meeting was convened at the residence of Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.

The meeting at the Rajya Sabha Chairman’s house was believed to be over the ruckus created by MPs of certain opposition parties in the upper house earlier on Sunday where some members like TMC’s Derek O’Brien went aggressive and tore up documents. The intimidation of the Chair was not taken lightly by the Chairman, say sources.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narain Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Meanwhile, further complicating the matter, the Congress party moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narain Singh for not entertaining opposition’s demand of a division of votes on the passage of the two agri Bills.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel while speaking to the media said, “Our demands for division were not met and the conduct of the Deputy Chairman was not according to democratic norms.” However, it is uncertain whether it came up during the high-level meet.

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