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NITI Aayog Member extols Nehru’s views on science



Mumbai, May 8 NITI Aayog Member and defence scientist Vijay Kumar Saraswat on Wednesday extolled the virtues of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who believed that only science and technology could remove hunger and poverty from the country.

Inaugurating a mega science expo, the first “Vigyan Samagam” at the Nehru Science Centre before a distinguished audience, Saraswat said it would go a long way in attracting the best brains to science which have been migrating to fields like Information Technology.

“Former PM Nehru had said it is only science and technology which can remove hunger and poverty from the country. From then onwards, India had made great strides in basic research. Science is used not only to create energy but also for cancer research,” Saraswat said.

Besides, atomic energy, India has made great contributions in the field of space science, as evident in Mangalyan and Chandrayan missions, he pointed out.

However, India still faces serious problems like high infant mortality rate and penury for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Indian science to step out of laboratories and solve problems confronting the society, Saraswat said in his inaugural address.

“Commercialisation of research has to happen for economic development. Better understanding of the universe and planet will help solve problems that we have created by adverse use of science and technology without regard for the environment,” he urged.

Other prominent dignitaries speaking on the occasion included Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India (Prof) K. Vijay Raghavan, Department of Atomic Energy Secretary and Chairman Atomic Energy Commission K. N. Vyas and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Ashutosh Sharma, among others.

Other important speakers included CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology Frederick Bordry, Swiss Ambassador to India Andreas Baum, Atomic Energy Commission Secretary Arun Srivastav and National Council of Science Museums Director-General A.D. Choudhary.

Sponsored by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Science & Technology (DST), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the 11-month-long science exhibition inaugurated in Mumbai will travel to New Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru.

From Mumbai, the exhibition will go to Bengaluru on July 29-September 28, Kolkata November 4-December 31 and finally to New Delhi on January 21, 2020-March 20, after which it will be converted into a permanent exhibition at the NCSM in the national capital.

The expo takes the viewers from the world of micro to macro, unveil the efforts of the global community in understanding the working of the vast universe, its origins and evolution.

It will showcase the work of DAE on nuclear technology, fundamental science and research, discovery of the Higgs Particle to gravitational waves, merger of neutron stars and Black Holes, and India’s contribution to global science in innovations, research, space and nuclear technology.

Well-known scientists and experts in different fields like Shivprasad Khened, Director of Nehru Science Centre, DST’s Head of Scientific Division Praveer Asthana, former AEC Chairman P. Chidambaram, former Principal Scientific Advisor Anil Kakodkar, S. Banerjee, R.K. Sinha and S. Basu also graced the event.


“Savage Taliban-Style Justice”: Kapil Sibal On Telangana Encounter



Kapil Sibal PC On Economy

New Delhi, Dec 7: Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Saturday hit out at those who have come out in support of the encounter of the four accused by Telangana police in rape and murder of a veterinarian , saying the “savage Taliban-style justice” will make courts irrelevant.

“To the cheerleaders of: Telangana Encounter. Blood lust vs due process. The savage Taliban-style justice vs the civilised…will make courts irrelevant,” Sibal tweeted raising the relevance of courts in a civilized society.

All four accused in the rape-and-murder case of a 25-year-old Hyderabad woman veterinarian last month were killed in an exchange of fire with police near Hyderabad on Friday morning, police claimed.

The gang rape-and-murder triggered a nationwide outrage with the public and lawmakers demanding speedy punishment to the perpetrators.

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KCR disputes Centre’s claim of no slowdown impact




Telangana's KCR , Mamata

Hyderabad, Dec 7 Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Saturday disputed the Centre’s claim that there is no impact of the economic slowdown in the country.

He said the Centre is making tall claims on a daily basis, both in the Parliament and outside, that there is no effect of economic slowdown in the country, but the facts are quite different.

Stating that there is a decline in the funds received from the Centre towards the state’s share in taxes, he said there is no match between what the Central ministers are proclaiming in the Parliament and the ground realities.

He warned that if this situation continues, the state’s financial position may turn grave.

KCR, as the Chief Minister’s is popularly known, said that the economic situation is in a state of uncertainty and asked the Principal Secretary (finance) to decrease funds for all the departments in tune with the decrease in funds from the Centre. He also instructed all the departments to reduce expenditure.

Tthe Chief Minister also dashed a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, urging her to release funds to the state as stipulated in the Budget or else declare the facts.

KCR is also planning to visit Delhi in the next five-six days to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sitharaman to apprise them of the difficulties faced by the state with funds not being released from the Centre.

According to an official statement, the review meeting conducted by the Chief Minister with top officials on Saturday felt that faulty polices of the Centre led to the present difficult situation.

It was noted that the Centre announced in the 2019-20 Budget that it will give Rs 19,719 crore to Telangana towards the state’s share in taxes. This is 6.2 per cent more than Rs 18,560 crore allocated in the 2018-19 Budget.

“However, till date the Centre gave Rs 224 crore less. This would mean that as against 6.2 per cent hike as proposed in the current financial year Budget, there is in fact a decline of 2.13 per cent,” the statement said.

Principal Secretary (finance) Ramakrishna Rao recently visited Delhi and brought to the notice of the Central government officials that Telangana got 8.3 per cent less on the tax share account. He said due to the decrease in the funds allocation, several schemes in the state would face difficulties.

Responding to him, the Central government officials said the situation is grim and cautioned that the decrease may well go up from 8.3 per cent to 15 per cent.

The meeting observed that the Centre also failed to give Rs 2,812 crore IGST funds as part of GST for 2017-18.

Also, the state is yet to receive Rs 1,719 crore GST compensation dues from the Centre.

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Hyderabad Encounter: NHRC probe team examines bodies



Hyderabad Encounter

Hyderabad, Dec 7 A fact-finding team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Saturday completed first day of its probe into the killing of all the four accused in the woman veterinarian’s gangrape and murder case by the police in an alleged “encounter” early Friday.

The team visited four different places, including the scene of the encounter at Chatanpally near Shadnagar town.

The team, comprising seven NHRC officials, began the visit from Mahabubnagar town, where they examined the bodies of the slain accused preserved in the government-run hospital.

The team examined the bullet injuries on the bodies and also spoke to forensic experts who conducted the autopsies. The hospital authorities also showed to the team the videos of the autopsies conducted late on Friday.

The investigating officials of the human rights body also gathered other details from the administration.

They later recoded the statements of the families of the four deceased.

The team then left for Chatanpally near Shadnagar town where the police gunned down the accused in the alleged exchange of fire. The team members examined the scene of the encounter and gathered details from the officials of Cyberabad Police.

The panel also went to the nearby bridge under which the accused had set afire the victim’s body.

The team then drove to Tondupally toll plaza on Outer Ring Road (ORR) where the accused had kidnapped the victim and committed the gang-rape.

The team members spoke to Deputy Commissioner of Police Prakash Reddy and other officials and gathered details of the incident.

The investigation is likely to continue on Sunday.

The NHRC on Friday took cognizance of the incident and ordered an inquiry. The human rights body said the encounter was a matter of concern and needed to be probed carefully.

The human rights body also felt that the police personnel were not properly alert and prepared for any untoward activity by the accused on the spot, which resulted in death of all the four persons.

“The deceased had been arrested by the police during investigation and a judgment in the matter by the competent court was yet to be pronounced. If the arrested persons were actually guilty, they were to be punished as per the law pursuant to the directions of the competent court,” the NHRC said.

Meanwhile, a case in connection with Friday’s exchange of fire was registered at Shadnagar police station.

The police booked the case on a complaint by Assistant Commissioner of Police Surender Rao, who was the investigating officer in the gangrape and murder case.

The police with the help of bomb disposal squad gathered more clues from the scene. With metal detectors, the police personnel scanned the field to trace the bullets which may be lying there.

The police claimed that the accused attacked the police personnel and two of them even snatched weapons and opened fire, forcing the police to retaliate. Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar said that all the four died in retaliatory fire. Two policemen were also injured, but these were not bullet injuries.

The incident occurred early Friday when the police team had taken the accused to recover the victim’s mobile phone and a watch which they had hidden near the place where they set afire the woman’s body on the intervening night of September 27 and 28.

The accused had gangraped and killed the veterinarian near the outer Ring Road at Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad and dumped the body and set it afire near Shadnagar.

On September 29, the police arrested two truck drivers and two cleaners in connection with the case. The next day they were sent to judicial custody while the police took custody of the accused on December 3 for interrogation.

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