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Hazare ends fast after Government notification

Besides the terms of reference, the notification listed names of those on the 10-member to be headed by Senior Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Other members include Law Minister Veerappa Moily, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Home Minister P.Chidambaram and Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid. Besides Hazare himself, those representing the civil society in the joint committee will be eminent lawyers Shanti Bhushan, Prasant Bhushan, retired Supreme Court Judge Santosh Hegde and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal. Shanti Bhushan will be the co-Chairman.

Ending his fast after offering water to people sitting with him on the hunger strike Anna Hazare told people gathered at Jantar Mantar that the fight against the corruption will continue and this is only a beginning. He termed it a victory for the entire nation.

Welcoming the development the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that the joining of hands of civil society and the government on the Lokpal Bill issue is a step that augurs well for democracy. In a statement in New Delhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh said the government intends to introduce the historic legislation in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Describing corruption a scourge that confronts the nation, the Prime Minister said, the interaction between the government and the representatives of Anna Hazare was productive. He hoped that process to prepare this legislation will move forward in a constructive mode so that after consulting wide spectrum of stake holders, the bill is placed before the Cabinet for introduction during the Monsoon Session.

Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee has expressed confidence that a satisfactory and amicable solution on Lok Pal issue is possible.

Pranab Mukerjee said the UPA government had acted expeditiously whenever concrete evidence was found in scams and listed the actions initiated in the 2G, CWG and Adarsh scams. BJP leader Ravishankar Prasad called it a victory of civil society.

Meanwhile, a large number of people gathered at the Historical India Gate this evening in the to celebrate the victory of civil society on Lokpal Bill issue. Shouting slogans hailing Anna Hazare, people converged and held candle light vigil .Chanting Vande Mataram’ and waving tricolor, they took out a procession near the landmark.

SC for CBI probe into Prajapati encounter

An apex court bench rejected the plea of the Gujarat government that no CBI probe can be ordered as the state police has already filed a charge sheet in the case. The court direction was given on an appeal filed by Narmada Bai, mother of Tulsiram Prajapati, alleging that he was killed in a fake enounter by the Gujarat police as he was a key eyewitness in the November 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kausar Bi. The apex court said the petitioner had made out a strong case for transfer of investigation to the CBI as there was strong suspicion about the involvement of police personnel from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The bench, however, clarified that whatever observation made in this judgement shall not have any influence on the trial judge dealing with the case. The apex court also criticised the tardy investigations conducted by the Gujarat police in the killings, in which, besides politicians, top police officials are also involved. The bench regretted that the State police took more than three-and-a-half years to file the charge sheet after the killings. The Gujarat government had strongly opposed a CBI probe on the ground that Prajapati’s killing was a separate encounter and in no way connected to the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

The Gujarat Government had opposed the CBI’s taking over the case on the ground that the Centre was trying to implicate the former State Home Minister and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, in the encounter deaths. Investigation by the CBI had stirred a political controversy after Shah was arrested and charged with killing Sohrabuddin and his wife.

HAZARE ENDS HUNGER STRIKE

Earlier an announcement to this effect was made by Mr. Anna Hazare tonight. Hazare has been spearheading the campaign to press for Lok Pal Bill to effectively deal with corruption..

He said he will break his fast on Saturday at 10.30. Briefing reporters the Union Minister Mr. Kapil Sibal said that a joint drafting committee is being constituted to draft the proposed bill which will be tabled in the Monsoon session of the Parliament. He said a government order to this effect is being issued. The Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee will head the Committee and noted Lawyer Shanti Bhushan will be its Vice Chairman.

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped up efforts to resolve the issue since this morning. Dr. Singh, first held discussions with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmad Patel, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Later, he had second round of deliberations with senior ministers this afternoon as Anna Hazare declared ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation from April 13. Prime Minister also briefed the President Pratibha Patil about the efforts being made to resolve the issue.

 

Aurangabad to be Maha Tourism Capital

If it happens, Aurangabad would be the unique distinction of having four world heritage sites. This city was in news recently for the sale of 161 Mercedes in a single day and as the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce and Industries chairman, Mr M S Powar, told visiting journalists from Delhi recently, the idea was to attract attention of world’s industrialists towards this historic city and protection of its heritage monuments.

Named after Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, the city is a hub of tourists for its world famous Ajanta and Elora caves, especially from Asian countries like Japan, China and Sri Lanka. In Ajanta, there are 30 caves which depict Buddhism and attract lots of tourists. A replica of Ajanta caves is being made in Fardapur with Japanese bank assistance. In Elora, there are 34 caves in all, 12 Buddhists, 17 Hindus and 5 from Jainism.

The district also has one of the 12 Shiva Jyotirlingas, the Ghrineshwar.  It is also famous for traditional Paithani Sarees. In fact, these Sarees are made 56 km away from the city in a village called Paithan. This art is 2000 year old. Then there is famous Bibi ka Maqbara, the tomb of Aurangzeb’s wife which is even called as Tajmahal of Aurangabad.

Little wonder than that both the state government and the chamber is making all out efforts to see that this city is developed as state’s tourist capital at the earliest.  In the past 6-7 years, over Rs. 400 crore have been spent on basic infrastructure here, something which is visible too when one visits these historical monuments.  And soon, helicopter service between Aurangabad and holy shrine of Shirdi is expected. And in the annual budget presented in the state assembly last month, the Maharashtra government has enhanced the publicity budget on tourism from a meager rs 5 crore to rs 25 crore.

However, the tourism industry here  want abolition of service  tax which they feel is hampering the growth of the industry in the state  besides  tourism-friendly policies  as are there in the states of Kerala and Rajasthan.

Aware of the growing tourism potential in the state, the Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, told journalists that plans were  afoot to promote a forts circuit while there already are luxury trains connecting all beaches.

Congress offers Dy CM post to AIUDF, alleges BJP

the BJP national general secretary Vijay Goel alleged that  AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal held a meeting with Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Saifuddin Soz in New Delhi where the AIUDF was promised the post of Deputy Chief Minister and home portfolio in a Congress-led Government in Assam. The allegation has not been denied by the Congress.
“The same Tarun Gogoi, who once asked ‘Who is Badruddin?’, is now begging for support from the AIUDF. This is an admission of defeat by the Congress after the first-phase State Assembly elections,” said Goel.

He said that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi would accept help from the AIUDF for government formation despite being mocked at by Ajmal in the past.  Goel charged the Congress and AIUDF with being “communal” and entering into an alliance to grab power. He warned that the Congress and AIUDF would seek to form a “Government of Bangladeshis” in the next ten years.

According to the BJP “chargesheet” against the State Government, Assam, now ranked as one of the least developed States, has gone from bad to worse over the last ten years of Congress rule. Assam, which has mostly been ruled by the Congress over the last 50 years, has earned the dubious distinction of being the “most corrupt State in the country on the basis of corruption in 11 vital services”, according to a study jointly conducted by the Transparency International and Centre for Media Study.

Daily labourers not to get less than Rs 115

Union Labour and employment minister Mallikarjun Kharge has written to all Chief Ministers requesting them to revise their wage rates. Talking to All India Radio, Labour and employment Adviser Dr. Vineeta Kumar said that this advisory has been issued in order to have a uniform wage structure and to reduce the disparity in minimum wages across the country. The minimum wage for daily workers was previously revised to 100 rupees from 80 from 1 November 2009.

The enhanced national floor level minimum wage can potentially benefit 20 million workers in sectors such as construction, agriculture and stone breaking. The hike makes the general wage rate consistent with wages paid under the government’s flagship rural jobs scheme, which were revised in January. Wages paid under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme were linked in January to the consumer price index for agricultural labourers for each state. The rural development ministry, which oversees the scheme, estimated this would increase wages by 17-30%.

Hazare continues his fast as talks prolonged

Hazare said, he would continue his fast till all his demands are met. A large number of people joined Hazare at Jantar Mantar Thursday to pledge their support for the agitation launched by him.

Talks remained inconclusive on draft of  an anti-corruption Lok Pal Bill due to differences on some issues. Speaking to reporters after the second round of talks Thursday, government’s representative and Union Minister Kapil Sibal said, differences persist on their demand that the joint drafting committee be headed by Anna Hazare and on the issuing a government notification about the constitution of the committee.

Appealing Anna Hazare to break his fast-unto-death, he said that he will hold another round of talks with these representatives tomorrow.

Mr. Arvind Kejrewal and Swami Agnivesh, who represented civil society leaders in the talks, said that they want a formal notification by the government about the constitution of the committee.

Anna Hazare on the other hand denied that he wants to head the committee and suggested that a retired Supreme Court Judge should head such a panel.

Meanwhile, the UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi has appealed to Anna Hazare to give up his fast saying that she was sure that his views will receive the government’s full attention in fight against corruption.

She said that Anna Hazare has raised issues of grave public concern and there can be no two views on the urgent necessity of combating corruption in public life. She said that the laws in these matters must be effective and deliver the desired results.

While, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ms Ambika Soni said that the decision on the drafting Anti Corruption bill can not be taken in haste and it needs a larger debate at the national level involving all sections of the society. She said this while talking to reporters on the sideline of a function in New Delhi.

In a related development, BJP described the draft of the Lok Pal Bill brought by the government as toothless and supported Anna Hazare’s demand of stringent anti-corruption legislation.

Calling for a national campaign to fight corruption, the CPI Thursday said that it extends its support to the fast undertaken by social activist Anna Hazare demanding that the Government enact a tough anti corruption law.

Speaking to reporters in Chennai, Mr.Bardhan said that the Government’s draft Lok Pal Bill has been found wanting in several aspects and has no teeth to tackle the menace.

Stating that corruption is eating into the vitals of the system,he said the centre should come forward and form a joint committee to take a look at the draft prepared by civil activists.

Mr. Baradhan who is on a three day visit to the state campaigning for the AIADMK led front welcomed the initiatives taken by the Election commission to curb the use of money power in the election.

On the prospects of the Left Front in West Bengal he said it would be a close and tough fight in the state.

Pranab calls for inclusive growth

Mukherjee conceded that there have been failures at the governance level besides corruption creeping into the system affecting the poor adversely.
Strongly pleading for the goods and services tax, Mr. Mukherjee said that India’s economy is growing at a faster pace despite the global melt down. He gave details of the initiatives taken by the government to achieve inclusive growth with a focus on provision of identity to poor and marginalised.

The minister said that the challenge is to create and sustain more and better opportunities for a young and aspiring India. He said that the budget for the current fiscal is a step in that direction. Mr. Mukherjee urged the business community to join hands with the government to address the structural concerns which include accelerating capacity in key infrastructure and core industries and upgrading vocational skills of the work force.

The two day annual session and conference that began with the inauguration of the Finance Minister will be addressed by policy makers, economists and captains of industry to prepare a framework for inclusive growth.

Talks with ULFA fruitful: PM

The Prime Minister said his recent talks with the ULFA leaders was fruitful and hoped that the peace will prevail in the state.

Dr. Singh appealed to other militant groups of the state to come forward to talk with the Government within the parameter of the Constitution. Congratulating the people of Assam for their support to Government for containing militancy, the Prime Minister said that if Congress is voted to power the development of the State will be further stepped up.

On the other hand, the senior BJP leader and Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi alleged that the Tarun Gogoi-led Government in Assam is wholly responsible for infiltration of Bangladeshi nationals in the State. While addressing an election meeting at Hajo in Kamrup district Thursday, appealed to the voters to uproot the Congress-led Government to ensure a bright prospect and all round development of the State. BJP leader Varun Gandhi also addressed election meetings at Raha, Hojai and Nagaon Assembly segments in the State Thursday.

Political parties have mustered their full strength to woo the voters. Stars campaigners of different political parties including Asom Gana Parishad, NCP, Left parties and All India United Democratic Front besides independents addressed a series of meetings in support of their candidates in the State. The second and the concluding phase of elections in the state will be held in 64 constituencies comprising 14 districts on April 11.

Muslims back Hazare

AIMMM president Syed Shahabuddin said that  Hazare’s Initiative has created a new thrust to eliminate corruption from society.
It appealed the Government to enter into dialogue with Anna and his colleagues who have authored the Jan Lokpal Bill to work out an acceptable solution to save the precious life of Anna Hazare

“The Mushawarat support his call to the Central Government to scrap its Lokpal Bill and either adopt the Jan Lok Sahba Bill prepared by eminent members of the Civil Society or to establish a Committee with 50 % representation of the Civil Society to draft and adequate Bill” he said in a statement.

The Mushawarat, however, pointed out that corruption has seeped into every fibre of our social life and, in the face of injustice and delay, the common man approaches the powerful to seek sifararish to the authorities at every stage and pays for the favour received. The Mushawarat is therefore of the view that the society needs a new moral climate based on the Rule of Law and expeditious action to address all grievances, big or small.

Aligarh Muslim University Students Union has also backed Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption and asked the government to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill as soon as possible.