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MP government objects to NCERT chapter on 2002 Godhra riots, PM Modi

The letter dated June 1, 2002, reveals Vajpayee’s concern for the fragile communal situation in Gujarat and reflects his doubts over whether the interests of the riot -hit were being properly looked after . Vajpayee advised  Modi that as chief minister he must adhere to the ” Raj Dharma and not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or religion.”BJP government in Madhya Pradesh wants the controversial content on 2002 Godhra Riots deleted from NCERT books.

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Bhopal, July 5 : Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has strongly objected to the “Godhra riots” chapter in the political science book of NCERT which is being taught to the students of Class 12 and sought correction that specifically mentions that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee advised Narendra Modi to “follow the Raj Dharma” .

Shivraj Singh government has written a letter to the union human resource development (HRD) ministry, and asked that ‘correction’ must be made in a chapter titled ‘Politics of Independent India’ of political science book of NCERT which is being taught to students in the Class 12.

The chapter describes “the BJP as a party which promotes the agenda of Hindutva. The chapter entioned 2002 Godhra riots including the violence after the Godhra train burning incident that left 1,100 people dead, and the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous advice to the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government “follow the Raj Dharma”.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training terms BJP a party with ‘Hindutva agenda’.A section in the revised textbook for class XII, Politics in Independent India claims that Bharatiya Janata Party began propagating the Hindutva agenda in 1980 after the Jan Sangh disintegrated and was repackaged as the BJP.

The opposition Congress said the BJP should “accept the truth”.

“BJP should accept the truth regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi as mentioned in the chapter… Vajpayee had asked then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to follow Raj Dharma,” state Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said.

“The BJP may get the chapter dropped, but it cannot erase people’s perception of it being communal,” he said.

The letter dated June 1, 2002, reveals Vajpayee’s concern for the fragile communal situation in Gujarat and reflects his doubts over whether the interests of the riot -hit were being properly looked after . The letter was sent three months after the Godhra incident and the post-Godhra riots . Vajpayee advised  Modi that as chief minister he must adhere to the ” Raj Dharma and not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed or religion.”

“We sent a letter to the HRD ministry and NCERT on Wednesday, asking them to correct the controversial chapter,” state school education minister Dipak Joshi said.

Joshi argued that the way the chapter describes the Godhra incident and its aftermath is totally wrong. Narendra Modi won a state election soon after the Godhra carnage.The chapter mentions that violence after the Godhra train burning incident left 1,100 people dead, and Vajpayee asked the Gujarat government to follow “Raj Dharma”.

“Many controversial things were incorporated in NCERT books during the previous UPA regime,” state BJP chief spokesman Dipak Vijaywargiya said.

“When we noticed them, we had informed the authorities concerned, seeking their deletion. Some controversial content was scrapped. Now some more such thing have come to our notice,” he said.

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Home loan borrowers can expect fall in rates

Earlier this month, the RBI cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 6.25 per cent. But PSU and private banks are yet to pass on the resultant benefits to customers.

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Taking note that benefits of lower interest rates were not reaching consumers, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das will meet the public and the private sector banks on February 21 to persuade them to pass on the benefits.

“I will meet the private and public sector banks Chief Executive Officers and managing directors on February 21 over this because transmission of monetary policy decisions is important. We will see what needs to be done,” he said after a customary post-budget meeting of the RBI Board with the Finance Minister.

Earlier this month, the RBI cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 6.25 per cent. But PSU and private banks are yet to pass on the resultant benefits to customers.

The RBI is mandated to see whether banks are cutting lending rates in line with repo rates. For this, the RBI will start linking interest rates to external benchmarks replacing MCLR.

The home loan borrowers have often complained about the opacity of interest rate fixing mechanism, which allows banks to not pass on the rate cut benefits to customers.

As and when the external benchmark rate changes, it will reflect in the change in interest rate of the loan as well.

The RBI had earlier proposed that from April 1, 2019, banks would have to use external benchmarks instead of the present system of internal benchmarks — Prime Lending Rate (PLR), base rate based on PLR, and Marginal Cost of Lending Rate (MCLR) to ascertain the lending rates.

He said the RBI has received several comments on external benchmarks and is examining them.

On the government’s expectation to receive Rs 28,000 crore interim dividend from the RBI, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “the RBI decides independently on the quantum of interim dividend to be paid to the Centre and a central bank committee is examining the issue.”

He said it was the prerogative of the central bank to decide the quantum of RBI’s interim dividend to be paid to the government.

Das said a decision on the issue was yet to be taken and a committee was going into the issue. “Once the matter is decided, it will be communicated. I cannot pre-judge it,” he said.

The RBI’s audit board recently took up the matter. The RBI that follows the July-June fiscal year has transferred Rs 40,000 crore in the current fiscal as interim dividend. The Finance Ministry wants a formal commitment on Rs 28,000 crore interim dividend. If the RBI agrees to pay Rs 28,000 crore as interim dividend, the total surplus transfer to the government in the current fiscal would total Rs 68,000 crore.

Das declined to comment on the RBI scrutiny of two private lenders — Yes Bank and Kotak Bank. He said the Kotak Bank case is sub judice with the Bombay High Court and the issue of Yes Bank is between it and the regulator. It’s RBI’s endeavour to constructively engage with all the regulated enitites for compliance of rules and regulations, he added.

On loans to small businesses, he said the RBI has come out with the restructuring package for SMEs. Now it was up to banks to restructure loans of the eligible MSMEs as per the guidelines, he added.

The Governor said there is some credit growth visible and the aggregate flow of credit to the commercial sector has shown improvement. However, it was not broad based and was not flowing into various sectors the way it should, he added.

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India seeks annulment of Jadhav’s conviction, proceedings adjourned for the day

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Kulbhushan Jadhav

Hague, Feb 18: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague on Monday began the four-day public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing India and Kulbhushan Jadhav before the top court sought annulment of Jadhav’s conviction and a direction that he be released forthwith.

“India submits that military courts of Pakistan can’t command the confidence of this court and shouldn’t be sanctify by a direction to them to review and re-consider the case. India seeks annulment of Jadhav’s conviction, and directions that he be released forthwith”.

Arguing before the court, presided over by ICJ President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, India’s counsel stated continued custody of Jadhav without consular access should be declared unlawful .

“It is an egregious violation of the Vienna Convention”, he told the international court.

“Jadhav’s continued custody without consular access should be declared unlawful.”

Salve further said “There is no manner of doubt that Pakistan was using this as a propaganda tool. Pakistan was bound to grant consular access without delay”.

“On 30th March 2016, India reminded Pakistan of its request of consular access (for Jadhav) & received no reply. 13 reminders were sent by India on various dates”.

After hours of proceeding, the International Court of Justice adjourned for the day and will resume at 02:30 pm IST on February 19 for Pakistan’s oral round.

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Opposition demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation over Bihar shelter home rape case

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Patna, Feb 18: The Opposition on Monday created a ruckus in the Bihar Assembly demanding Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s resignation, two days after a special POCSO court in Muzaffarpur directed the CBI to investigate the involvement of Kumar and two IAS officers in the infamous shelter home rape case.

Legislators of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and the Left parties disrupted proceedings in both houses of the Assembly shouting slogans and demanding Nitish Kumar’s resignation.

While RJD spokesperson Bhai Virendra demanded a narco test of Nitish Kumar to confirm his involvement in the case, senior RJD leader and former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, said, “After the court directed the CBI to probe chief minister’s role in suppressing facts, Nitish Kumar should resign.”

Special POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Court Judge Manoj Kumar had on Friday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the role of the Chief Minister as well as Muzaffarpur District Magistrate Dharmendra Singh and Principal Secretary (Social Welfare) Atul Prasad in the case.

The order came on a petition filed by accused Ashwani, a self-claimed medical practitioner, demanding an investigation into the role of the three.

According to a charge sheet filed in the case, Ashwani used to visit the shelter home to allegedly administer sedative-laced injections to the inmates before they were subjected to sexual abuse.

The Muzaffarpur horror came to light in May 2018 when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

Following the FIR, police arrested Brajesh Thakur, a journalist-turned-social activist who headed the NGO that ran the shelter home, and other accused including his close aides and some government officials. The matter was handed over to the CBI in July last year.

State Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma was also forced to resign following protests over reports that her husband and former Janata Dal-United legislator Chandreshwar Verma allegedly had close links with Thakur.

Thakur has been shifted to a high-security jail in Patiala following a Supreme Court order, while the other accused are lodged in jails in Patna and Muzaffarpur.

This month, the trial of the case was shifted to Delhi.

Recently, the apex court also directed the CBI to probe allegations of sexual abuse at all such shelter homes across the state.

IANS

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