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Jumlas won’t work in 2019 elections: Thackeray warns BJP 

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Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai, :  Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said BJP has been claiming that Narendra Modi is Lord Vishnu’s 11th ‘avatar’ but Prime Minister is unable to control inflation . Further  said that “the winds of 2014 elections have changed now” and the people of India have not forgotten all the ‘jumlas’ of the Modi government.

Thackeray recalled how when he questioned Union Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad on the ‘monstrous’ hikes in petrol-diesel-cooking gas rates, the Minister shrugged his shoulders and said “It’s not in our hands.”

“What do you mean? You have Lord Vishnu’s 11th ‘avatar’ with you but you cannot stop inflation and galloping fuel prices and zooming US dollar rates? If you can’t do this, then why are you sticking to power? It appears the NDA’s DNA is defective,” Thackeray said.

“The people of the country seek replies to all the big promises you made in 2014, but the BJP gave us only jumlas like ‘Achhe Din’ or depositing Rs 15 lakh in every Indian’s bank account,” Thackeray roared in his speech.

Addressing the party’s customary Dassehra Rally, Thackeray said Prime Minster Narendra Modi, his cabinet ministers, BJP Chief Ministers and all others were camping in the five states where elections shall be held next month.

“This itself is a big defeat for you. Instead of concentrating on developmental works and fulfilling the promises of 2014, the government is washing its hands off (the promises),” he said.

He reiterated how “the petrol pumps and gas cylinders now appear to be Ravana” to the people burdened by steep prices, but the government had not taken any measures to control them despite a nationwide outcry.

Referring to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s statement that since the BJP never expected to win the 2014 elections, it made all kinds of promises but now they were stuck.

“You should have thought carefully before speaking. But having made the promises, you should have sacrificed your lives to keep your word. That is Maharashtra’s culture. But they are shameless and have simply lied, lied and lied to the country. Remember, the country is sitting on the tip of a volcano which can erupt anytime with disastrous consequences,” Thackeray declared.

Attempting to score a point on the Ram Temple issue, Thackeray said he will visit the Ayodhya site on November 25 and question Modi on what happened to the promise of constructing a grand Ram temple though more than four years have passed.

He pointed out how in Ramadan there was a ceasefire with Pakistan but on Ganeshotsav and Navratri loudspeakers were banned.

Training guns on Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Thackeray said though monsoon had barely ended, the dragon of drought had raised its ugly head in Maharashtra.

“Karnataka has already declared a drought and started relief measures. But in Maharashtra, the CM is still studying the issue. We ask Fadnavis to immediately declare a drought here.”

He said when the Shiv Sena speaks about the problems faced by the masses, “we are labelled ‘anti-government’ and ‘anti-national'”.

India

Opposition requests President to return farm Bills for reconsideration

After the meeting senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “the govt did not have the numbers and our request for division was ignored and even the resolution against the Bill was not allowed”

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Ram Nath Kovind

Opposition leaders met President Kovind on Wednesday and apprised him of the circumstances amid which the Farm Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday. They requested him to return the Bills for reconsideration to the House.

After the meeting Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “the government did not have the numbers and our request for division was ignored and even the resolution against the Bill was not allowed.”

The opposition said that the government ignored the demand for sending the Bills to a select committee.

Ahead of this meeting, the Congress and other opposition parties continued to protest in the Parliament complex here on Wednesday.

The protesting lawmakers marched from Gandhi’s statue in the complex to BR Ambedkar’s statue within the premises to register their protest while carrying placards.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “All MPs of the Congress and like-minded parties are marching from the Gandhi statue to the Ambedkar statue in Parliament to protest against anti-farmers and anti-workers Bills rubber stamped in Parliament in the most undemocratic manner by the Modi government.”

Earlier, the opposition leaders met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and decided to continue their protest over the Farm Bills.

The opposition and the government are at loggerheads ever since the two farm Bills were passed amid a ruckus in the Upper House on Sunday. The third contentious Bill on essential commodities was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

On Sunday, pandemonium broke out in the Upper House as the opposition protested over the two Farm Bills. Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien even approached the Chair and tried to snatch a mike while citing the rule book.

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Navy’s capabilities hit by PSUs’ lack of expertise, delays: CAG

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MiG 29K Indian Airforce

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Indian Navy does not have adequate auxiliary vessels, landing platform docks, fleet tankers and cadet training ships, government’s financial watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said on Wednesday.

It also said that the navy is facing problems due to inordinate delays in the acquisition process and lack of expertise of defence public sector undertakings (PSUs).

The CAG’s audit report on Defence Services, Navy and Coast Guard was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

In its performance audit on efficacy of auxiliary vessels — vessels designed to operate in support of combatant ships and other naval operations — in the Indian Navy, the government auditor stated that their strength was not increasing commensurately with the increase in the combat fleet.

“In fact, it was declining,” it said.

The planned targets for acquisition of auxiliary vessels could not be achieved due to inordinate delays in acquisition process, specifically, non-adherence to the prescribed timelines in conclusion of contracts, it said, pointing out that this was principally on account of lack of expertise of defence PSUs and non-assessment of capability of shipyards.

On assessment of landing platform dock (LPD), CAG stated that the existing capability of the LPD, which is used to transport troops, defence equipment, helicopters and vessels into a war zone, was found to be inadequate to meet requirements of amphibious and expeditionary operations.

The Indian Navy had decided to acquire this vital warfare ship in October 2010 at a cost of Rs 16,000 crore.

However, even after nine years, the contract has not been concluded.

“This was due to failure to fix a specified time frame for obtaining a Corporate Debt Restructuring exit certificate by one of the participating firms,” the report stated.

On fleet tankers, the CAG stated that due to the inadequate availability of fleet tankers, the Indian Navy was thus forced to hire ships from trade and these vessels are used for providing fuel, water, ammunition and stores to the fleet at sea.

The approval for acquisition of fleet tankers to a force level at a cost of Rs 9,045 crore was accorded in 2014. However, the contract was yet to be concluded till August 2019.

The CAG also stated that Indian Navy did not possess enough cadet training ships, and “therefore, converted normal fleet ships to training ships” but the “converted vessels, however, experienced severe limitations in operations”.

The contracts concluded (June 2011 and November 2012) for acquisition of three cadet training ships did not fructify and bank guarantees worth Rs 324.73 crore were yet to be encashed.

The audit also observed that there was loss due to irregular stepping-up of pay of sailors.

System-driven mass stepping-up of pay of 21,089 sailors was carried out by the Naval Pay Office between 2009 and 2011 by misinterpreting the rules and side-lining the relevant pre-audit checks.

“The wrong stepping-up of pay which was reverted in 2017 led to overpayment of at least Rs 22.70 crore. Incorrect fixation of pay and pension is not yet completely rectified,” it said.

It also stated that simulator and training aids were procured at a cost of Rs 120.66 crore in July 2015, and certain defects were noticed in the training aids but these were not rectified.

The training aids, therefore, could not be commissioned. Training was, therefore, imparted to pilots directly on Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers in live sortie flying mode, it said.

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CAG picks holes in Railway’s elaborate plans for Kumbh Mela

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Prayagraj, Kumbh 2019

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India on Wednesday pointed out various shortcomings in Railways’ elaborate plans to control rail traffic during the Kumbh Mela in 2019.

In the report tabled in both Parliament, the government auditor slammed the railways for failing to address issues such as running of special trains, works related to passenger amenities and safety, medical facilities to passengers, and waste management at station premises during the massive religious gathering.

It said that this led to inconvenience to passengers, who were not adequately addressed by the railways.

“Temporary fencing at vulnerable locations (track and station entry point) were not completed. This led to cases of free movement of cattle on tracks and passengers trespassing. Audit noted that the Railway estimated (September 2018) an evacuation of 33 lakh passengers, which was subsequently revised (December 2018) to 45.48 lakh. Railways initiated a figure of 73.66 lakh evacuation of passengers during Mela period,” it said.

It also noted that the Railways planned 821 special trains, but ran only 565.

“A significantly higher number of passengers, with fewer special trains resulted in large overcrowding of trains and caused much inconvenience to passengers,” it said.

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