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Sonia, Rahul Gandhi pay tributes to former PM Narasimha Rao



P.V. Narasimha Rao

Hyderabad, July 24 : Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi on Friday paid tributes to late former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in what is seen as a rare move by Gandhis.

The top leaders of the party, which often faced criticism for dumping the political legacy of the late leader, recalled his services on the occasion of his birth centenary celebrations organised by the Telangana unit of the party.

This is perhaps for the first time since Rao’s death in 2004 that the top party leadership paid tributes to him.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s move to launch the year-long birth centenary celebrations on June 28 appears to have forced the Telangana unit of Congress party to conduct a similar event.

Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi sent their messages on the occasion and the same were read out by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief Uttam Kumar Reddy.

Sonia Gandhi described PV, as the late former Prime Minister was popularly known, a scholarly and erudite personality.

She also went on to call him a very respected national and international figure and said that the Congress party takes pride in his many accomplishments and contributions.

“The birth centenary of Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao is an occasion for us to recall and pay tribute to a most scholarly and erudite personality. After a long career in state and national politics, he became Prime Minister of India at a time of grave economic crisis. Through his bold leadership, our country was able to overcome many challenges successfully,” reads her message.

“The Union Budget of July 24, 1991 paved the way for the economic transformation of our country. Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao’s tenure was also marked by a number of political, social and foreign policy achievements that have endured. Above all he was a dedicated Congressman who served the party devotedly in various capacities.”

Rahul Gandhi congratulated the TPCC for organising the birth centenary celebrations.

“On this occasion, we celebrate the legacy of a man whose contribution continues to shape modern India. From joining the Congress party in his teenage years to becoming the Prime Minister of the largest democracy, his remarkable political journey reflected his grit and determination.”

He noted that July 24 marks the 29th anniversary of the 1991 budget. “On this day, India embarked on a bold new path of economic transformation. Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh played a pivotal role in ushering in the era of liberalization,” he said

He hoped this event would revive interest among the youth to learn about India’s growth story and the remarkable individuals who made this possible.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, in his video message on the occasion, said Narasimha Rao made unique contributions to build up the nation. He said the late leader led the Congress party in a very difficult time.

He recalled that PV became Prime Minister at a very crucial time.

“He provided stability to the country and also encouraged those who belonged to the lower categories of the society and encouraged youngsters in national politics,” Pranab Mukherjee said.

“He was known for his ability to do something which sometimes appeared impossible to do. As Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, introducing massive land reforms in a state dominated by feudal interests was an act of courage and conviction.”

Manmohan Singh, who inaugurated the celebration, delivered his address through video conference. He described PV as the great son of the soil who had the vision and courage to push the economic reforms.

“I consider it a great privilege to inaugurate these celebrations today. I am particularly happy that this programme has been organised on a day when I had privilege as the finance minister of India for presenting the first budget of Sri PV Narasimha Rao Ji’s government in 1991,” he said.

Singh said the budget changed India in many ways and it ushered in economic reforms and liberalisation.

“It was a hard choice and bold decision and it was possible because Prime Minister Narasimha Rao Ji gave me the freedom to rollout things after he fully understood what was ailing India’s economy at that time.”

The former Prime Minister said PV was a friend, philosopher and guide to him in many ways.

Singh said PV left behind an unmatched legacy of being a linguist and a scholar.

“He was among the first converts to new technology by becoming adept with a computer and proficient with programming as he was always willing to learn new things,” he added.


BS-IV vehicles needed for public utility services & purchased up to March 31 be registered: SC

The issue of pollution from vehicles had cropped up before the apex court which is hearing a matter related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).




Toyota car sales Down

New Delhi, Sep 18 : The Supreme Court Friday said BS-IV vehicles, which were purchased on or before March 31 this year and are necessary for municipal corporation in Delhi to carry out essential public utility services, should be registered.

The apex court had in October 2018 said that no BS-IV compliant vehicle would be sold or registered in India from April 1, 2020.

In 2016, the Centre had also announced that India would skip the BS-V norms and adopt BS-VI by 2020.

BS emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde which dealt with applications related to registration of three types of vehicles — CNG , BS-IV and BS-VI compliant — for being used for essential public utility services.

“Insofar as CNG vehicles are concerned, there cannot be any valid rejection to the vehicles, as the emission from these vehicles is within the limits. Therefore, we direct that these vehicles may be registered,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

It noted that BS-VI norms came into force on April 1, 2020 and vehicles purchased up to March 31 this year were BS-IV compliant.

“Admittedly the emission from BS-VI compliant vehicles is within the norms and hence the vehicles purchased on or after April 1, 2020 and which are BS-VI compliant, should also liable to be registered,” it said.

The top court noted in its order that BS-IV compliant vehicles purchased up to March 31 this year must have been registered with the E-Vahan portal of the government before the cut-off date to establish the date of purchase.

“If the purchase had been made on or before March 31, 2020 and these vehicles are BS-IV compliant, such vehicles necessary for the municipal corporation to carry essential public utility services should also be registered. But such cases shall be scrutinized by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA),” the bench said.

The bench said to avoid repeated applications being filed before the court just for the purpose of getting registration, “we direct that the EPCA shall scrutiny the pending cases and submit a report to this court so that a common order could be passed without the necessity for several interlocutory applications.”

The issue of pollution from vehicles had cropped up before the apex court which is hearing a matter related to air pollution in the Delhi-national capital region (NCR).

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Coronavirus: Karnataka’s Covid tally crosses 5 lakh




Coronavirus in India

Bengaluru, Sep 19 : With 8,626 fresh cases across the state on Friday, Karnataka’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 5 lakh mark, while 10,949 people were discharged after treatment in the last 24 hours.

“The number of positive cases across the state is 5,02,982, including 1,01,129 active cases, while 3,94,026 cases were discharged since March 8,” said the health bulletin.

With 179 patients succumbing to the infection during the day, the state’s toll has gone up to 7,808.

Bengaluru, which is the epicentre of the disease in the state, registered 3,623 cases during the day, taking its tally to 1,87,705, including 41,914 active cases, while 1,43,198 patients were discharged till date, with 2,725 in the last 24 hours.

With 37 deaths during the day, the city’s toll has increased to 2,592.

“The number of patients in the intensive care units (ICU) across the state is 814, including 271 in Bengaluru Urban district, Dharwad 74, Ballari 67 and Hassan 62,” the bulletin said.

Mysuru saw 600 new cases, Udupi 493, Dakshina Kannada 456, Ballari 296, Shivamogga 257 and Belagavi 221.

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Anil Dhasmana is new chief of NTRO, spy agency that keeps an eye from the sky

Anil Dhasmana is the former chief of India’s external spy agency, R&AW




Anil Dhasmana with Amit Shah

Former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief Anil Dhasmana has been appointed as National Technical Research Organisation, India’s technical body that is responsible for geospatial intelligence and satellite imagery.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the appointment and the decision was formally conveyed to the retired Indian Police Service officer on Friday.

Dhasmana succeeds former Intelligence Bureau officer Satish Jha who demitted office on Thursday.

Dhasmana, a 1981 batch Indian Police Service officer, is a Pakistan expert and was the lead planner of the Balakot air strikes in February 2019 after Pakistan-backed terrorists killed 40 CRPF soldiers in the Pulwama car bombing.

Dhasmana had stepped down a few months later when his extended term due to the general elections ended in June 2019.

The top police officer returns to the center of action 14 months later at a time the NTRO is playing a crucial role, tracking movements of the China’s People’s Liberation Army near the many friction points along the Line of Actual Control that have seen heavy deployment of soldiers and support elements from both sides. The two countries have been speaking to each other at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the stand-off but there are some indications that the stand-off would continue for some time.

Dhasmana had joined R&AW, India’s external spy agency in 1993 from his parent cadre Madhya Pradesh and had worked extensively with the agency’s Pakistan desk.

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