Daily News (In Short)-7-September-2015

07 Sep 2015

#* OROP: Parrikar says 'small issues' will be sorted, Naidu slams Cong
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has said the "small issues" in the implementation of the one rank one pension (OROP) scheme will be addressed in due course.

"OROP as a principle has been accepted, full financial requirements have been fulfilled. There might be a few small issues which over a period of time will get automatically addressed," he told reporters in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Though the Centre has announced that the OROP scheme will be implemented from July 1, 2014 – with arrears amounting to anywhere between Rs 10,000 crore and Rs 12,000 crore – confusion persisted on certain key issues. 
While announcing the scheme on Saturday, Parrikar had said pensions will be re-calculated every five years but military personnel who took “voluntary retirement” will not be entitled to OROP.

Read | OROP: Veterans to continue stir, warn of resuming hunger strike

The veterans, who have been holding protests across the country for more than two months, want the pension to be reviewed every two years and the benefits of the scheme extended even to those who retire voluntarily or prematurely from the armed forces.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured that soldiers who retired prematurely from serivces will get benefits under OROP, clearing the air on the issue. Veterans protesting at Jantar Mantar called of their indefinite hunger strike after the PM's message, but said protests would go on till all the contentious issues were resolved.

Another bone of contention is the government's decision to set up a single-member judicial committee to look into different aspects of OROP, including inter-services matters. The government said the panel will submit its report in six months but veterans want a deadline of 30 days. They also demanded that the panel have five members, including three veterans.

"According to me, the (OROP) issue is more or less resolved, have you ever seen that 100% things are fulfilled to everyone's satisfaction?" Parrikar said.

Meanwhile, Union law and parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress had no moral right to criticise the Centre on the OROP issue, echoing PM Modi's veiled dig at the opposition party at a rally in Faridabad.
"The people who have not done anything for the last 10 years have no moral right to criticise the government," he said, reacting to the allegation by Congress leader and former defence minister AK Antony that the Centre had "substantially diluted" the UPA's OROP scheme.

#* In Tweets, Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore Clarifies on 'Covert Ops' to Catch Dawood Ibrahim
NEW DELHI:  Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, quoted in an interview on "covert operations" to catch most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, today clarified in tweets.

"Incorrect vers of my stmnts allegedly on Dawood attributed to me (sic)," Mr Rathore tweeted this morning. He also attacked a link to his interview and said he had spoken about "dossier diplomacy."

On the weekend, Mr Rathore was quoted as saying in an interview to the India Today that the government would explore every possible means, including a covert or a special operation, to neutralize Dawood Ibrahim as well as 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

He said: "India's enemies, like Dawood Ibrahim and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, should not believe that India is not thinking about them. We always remain ready to neutralise our enemy."

Asked whether there could be a covert operation, the minister, a former army officer, said, "We may do it but there will be no publicity before that. After the operation, there may be or there may not be. It depends on whether the government says it should be 'covert operation' or a 'special operation'. A covert operation may never be known but information about a special operation may be given after it is done. A special operation is made public after it is done. It depends on the government as to when to do it.... Who knows it may be happening now or not happening now but it will be made public only after it is done."

Responding to the interviewer's comment that in 15 months, the Modi government had done little more on fugitives given shelter by Pakistan besides prepare a dossier, the minister said: "Saam, daam, dand, beid (all means will be used). Besides dossier, and other means also will be used. Whenever it happens, you will get the news."

#* Wealthy Gulf nations face questions over Syria refugees
AMMAN: As hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees languish in camps or risk their lives to reach Europe, questions are being asked about why wealthy Gulf states have accepted so few.

By the end of August, more than four million Syrians had fled their country but very few if any refugees have been officially accepted by the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have donated billions to help refugees, but are facing increasing scrutiny for their apparent unwillingness to accept migrants.

Why, ask many, as one of the greatest migration crises of modern times unfolds, are fellow Arab countries, with similar cultural and religious values and a relative proximity compared to Europe, doing little to help resettle people?

And, crucially, that criticism is being voiced not just in the West, but within the region itself.

In recent days, social media users in the Gulf have employed various hashtags including “#Welcoming_Syria’s_refugees_is_a_Gulf_duty” to voice their disgust with the perceived inaction of GCC states.

“The Gulf countries have to be ashamed when they see Europe’s doors open to Syrian refugees, while they close before us,” Abu Mohammed, a 30-year-old Syrian refugee now living in Jordan, told AFP.

An influx of Syrian refugees has swamped Europe this summer, with Germany alone expecting 800,000 new asylum applications this year and efforts under way to organise the relocations of tens of thousands more.

But in the oil-rich Gulf, GCC states have been absent from talk of helping with the refugee crisis.

“Tragically, the cash-rich Gulf countries have not yet issued a statement on the crisis — much less come up with a strategy to help the migrants, who are overwhelmingly Muslim,” Qatar’s Gulf Times newspaper wrote in a recent editorial.

Sultan Al Qassemi, a prominent Emirati blogger, wrote that the time had come for Gulf countries to take the “moral, ethical and responsible step” of changing their policy towards accepting refugees.

Even the distraught father of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed ashore in Turkey, said at the funeral of his wife and two children: “I want Arab governments not European countries to see what happened to my children and, because of them, help people.”

Still, analysts say the outpouring of criticism is unlikely to bring about any quick changes in GCC countries, none of which has signed the UN Convention on Refugees setting standards for the treatment and rights of those fleeing to a new country.

“I don’t see anybody doing a David Cameron, who U-turned in 36 hours,” Michael Stephens, a Middle East research fellow at RUSI, told AFP, referring to reports the British premier is set to admit 15,000 refugees from Syria.

“The vast majority of Gulf citizens believe what their governments have done in Syria is the right thing.”

The Gulf nations have hardly stood on the sidelines during Syria’s conflict, providing significant financial assistance to refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

At the same time they have been among the most ardent opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, backing the mainly Sunni rebels who have risen up against his regime, which is supported by their Shia regional rival Iran.

GCC states have also provided funds and weapons for rebel groups fighting Assad — leading to some accusations that they are backing shadowy extremists.

But when it comes to allowing in refugees, domestic concerns seem preeminent, even though many of the refugees are Sunni Muslims like the majority of people in the Gulf.

Smaller Gulf countries like the UAE and Qatar, where millions of foreign workers already vastly outnumber local citizens, fear being overwhelmed by refugees.

Security concerns are also paramount for countries like Saudi Arabia that have been targeted in attacks by the Islamic State group operating in Syria and Iraq.

And an influx of large numbers of refugees could upset stability in countries with little grassroots political activity.

“The countries of the Gulf are involved in the politics of Syria and they would probably worry who would come into their countries and what they would be involved in once they are,” said Sultan Barakat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Doha Center.

He said one move that could help those fleeing and appease critics alike would be to offer entry to family members of Syrians already in the Gulf.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians live among the millions of foreigners lured by work opportunities to the Gulf states — prompting some to argue that they are already helping those fleeing the conflict.

As one anonymous Syrian wrote recently on Facebook: “Saudi has no refugees but it hosts a million Syrians on visitor visas, in addition to the Syrian residents, (and) they get their health care and schools, and in some cases their rents from charities.”

For some in the Gulf, the criticism should be directed instead at Western governments, saying it is their failure to fully back and arm those fighting Assad that is behind the refugee crisis.

“European and American officials facing their short-sighted policies must welcome more Syrian refugees,” a former Qatari diplomat, Nasser Al-Khalifa, wrote on Twitter.

#* Kashmir unfinished agenda of Partition: Pak Army chief
In a response to his Indian counterpart’s remarks about terrorist violence triggering short wars, Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif has described Kashmir as the “unfinished agenda of the Partition” and said his troops are ready to thwart “external aggression”.

Sharif’s remarks, made during a ceremony held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Sunday to commemorate the 1965 war with India, came days after Indian Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh warned that Pakistan-sponsored violence in Jammu and Kashmir and other areas could trigger short and swift wars.

Sharif’s speech touched on various issues, including terrorism, the peace process in Afghanistan and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, but the focus appeared to be the tense relations with India. Ties touched a new low after the recent collapse of planned talks between the national security advisers amidst diplomatic acrimony.

“Armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable to deal (with) all types of internal and external threats, be it conventional or sub-conventional; whether it is cold start or hot start. We are ready!” he said, according to a statement issued by the Pakistan Army’s media arm.

Though Sharif did not name India, his reference to “cold start” – a doctrine reportedly developed by the Indian Army for short swift attacks into enemy territory – made it clear who he was referring to.

“Let me reiterate that our armed forces stand fully capable to defeat all sorts of external aggression. If the enemy resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale, it will have to pay an unbearable cost,” he said.

Sharif reiterated his description of the Kashmir issue as the “unfinished agenda of the Partition in the subcontinent”. The Kashmiri people are allegedly being subjected to “injustice and atrocities” and the Kashmir issue can “no longer be put on the backburner”, he said.

“It should be clearly understood that enduring peace in the region will not be possible without a just resolution of Kashmir,” Sharif added. “The time has come that Kashmir issue should be resolved in line with the aspirations of its people in accordance with UN resolutions.”

Last week, Indian Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh told a seminar marking 50 years of the 1965 war that the country must be prepared for short wars if Pakistan-backed violence in Jammu and Kashmir intensified and spread to other areas.

“The border remains alive and active due to the frequency of ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by our western neighbour. Recent incidents of terrorist violence are clear pointers to the attempt to extend the arc of violence to other areas,” Singh said.

“In that context we have to be prepared for the short and swift nature of future wars that are likely to offer limited warning time," he added. “This calls for maintaining high levels of operational preparedness at all times, something that has now become inherent in our operational strategy.”

#* Indian Railways- ISRO join hands for better technology
New Delhi :-
Indian Railways will join hands with ISRO to get online satellite images for improving safety and enhancing efficiency.
“We will undertake a massive exercise of GIS mapping of the entire rail route and assets including buildings, land, workshops and other facilities in the network using geospatial technology,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with GIS mapping project.
Geospatial technology involves GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing).
The official said geospatial services will be available from satellite-assisted navigational support through the GPS aided geo augmented navigation (GAGAN) system of ISRO.
“We will sign an MoU with ISRO shortly to avail the online satellite images to create a GIS platform,” said the official.
The MoU will facilitate getting images and communications through the satellite system. While the images will help in mapping the area, communications will enable the introduction of wi-fi service in trains in a larger way.
The technology will come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of trains and the topography.
Besides, it will also help railways in developing solutions for safety at unmanned level crossings with remote sensing facility.
Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways and the public transporter is exploring various ways to address the issue.
Remote sensing system can be used to warn road users by activating the hooters before the arrival of trains at unmanned level crossings, he said.
The satellite images will also be used for geo-fencing of stations for paperless ticketing system.
Geo-fencing is a virtual barrier which uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries.
Railways have started the paperless tickets in unreserved segment for suburban services in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
As per the plan, railways have decided to go paperless with regard to monthly season tickets and platform tickets.
Geo-fencing of stations is a must for going paperless and the tie-up with ISRO will enable railways in getting the required back-up from satellite, he said.
The technology is also expected to be used for tracking trains for disseminating information about their movement on real time basis which will be a great help to passengers.  Currently train movements are tracked manually.

#* LIVE: Sensex trades flat, Nifty below 7,650; Metal stocks down
11.56 am: Sensex was down 60.90 points at 25,141. Market breadth was negative as advances to declines ratio for Nifty was at 15:35.
11.28 am: ONGC was trading 0.16 per cent higher at Rs 225.95 on BSE. The company on September 4 informed stock exchanges that its overseas investment arm — ONGC Videsh (OVL) — has acquired a 15 per cent stake in Vankor oil field in East Siberia, Russia’s second-largest oil field from Rosneft for about $1.35 billion. The 15 per cent stake will give OVL about 3.5 million tonnes of oil a year.
11.05 am: Metal shares fell after China revised down 2014 GDP growth to 7.3 per cent from the previously released figure of 7.4 per cent, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. The BSE Metal index was down 0.86 per cent at 7,055. Sensex was down 0.10 per cent at 25,177.
Coal India, NMDC and Hindalco were down between 1 per cent and 2.50 per cent.
10.50 am: Sensex was down 36.27 points at 25,165.
10.34 am: Sensex was up 18.34 points at 25,220 while Nifty was down 13.30 points at 7,641.75. The BSE Healthcare index was down over 1 per cent at 16,918.
9.57 am: The BSE Midcap index and the BSE Smallcap index were down 1.35 per cent and 1 per cent at 10,220 and 10,499, respectively. Benchmark index Sensex was down 137 points at 25,064.
9.52 am: Sensex and Nifty were down 35 points and 11 points at 25,166 and 7,643.
9.21 am: In the 30-share index, Tata Motors and HDFC were trading 2.40 per cent and 1.55 per cent higher at Rs 330.60 and 1159.75, respectively.
Domestic equity markets opened on a positive note on Monday. The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty opened 101.08 points and 30.08 points higher at 25,302.98 and 7,685.85, respectively.
Brokers said value-buying in recently beaten down select blue-chip stocks along with covering-up of short positions by speculators influenced trading sentiments.
Furthermore, a moderate recovery in Chinese shares on the first day of trade after an extended holiday weekend, influenced trading sentiments, they said.
Shares of realty, power and oil & gas were trading in red in the early trade.
The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty lost 562.88 points and 167.95 points at 25,201.90 and 7655.05, respectively, on Friday.
Global Markets
New York: US stock indexes dropped more than 1 per cent on Friday after a mixed August jobs report did little to quell investor uncertainty about whether the Federal
London: Britain’s top share index fell sharply on Friday, following the release of US jobs data that suggested to some that a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in September is still a possibility.
Tokyo: Japanese stocks bounced from seven-month lows on Monday in choppy trade, helped by gains in the Chinese market after regulators sought to calm sentiment.
Hong Kong: The Hang Seng Index was down 0.12 per cent.

#* Jammu and Kashmir: A year after floods, victims still wait for rehabilitation
A year after floods devastated parts of Kashmir, the victims of the natural calamity feel that governments at the Centre and in the state have done "precious little" for rehabilitating them.

"We are talking one year down the line and all we have got peanuts in the name of relief and rehabilitation," 75-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Bhat said.

Bhat's three-storey house in Jawahar Nagar area of the city collapsed in the flood that struck Kashmir and some parts of Jammu in the first week of September last year. He and his family were lucky to leave their home minutes before the tragedy struck."We saw our house collapse in front of our eyes as we took refuge in the third storey of neighbour's house.

Everything was gone and we managed to just escape with our lives only," Bhat's wife, Nabla Begum, said.

The elderly couple are still putting up with their relatives in uptown Rawalpora locality as the Rs 78,800 given to them by the government as compensation was not even enough to get the debris of their collapsed house cleared.

"We were expecting large hearted approach from the Centre for rehabilitating the flood victims but even after one year, they have not taken a decision on the relief package for the state," Bhat said.

Some of the victims have also alleged malpractices by the lower ranking staff of the Revenue Department, who prepared the loss assessment report following the floods last year.
They alleged that bribes and close connections with politicians ensure that some people got the first instalment of relief more than once.

"There is one case in our locality where a man had got Rs 50,000 compensation four times in four different bank accounts using different variations of his name," Ali Mohammad, a resident of Natipora, said.

Showing the documents of Revenue Department, Ali Mohammad pointed out that one Mohammad Amin Bhat's name also figured as 'Mohd Amin', 'M A Bhat' and 'Mohammad Amin' in the list of beneficiaries in Natipora.

"We don't have so many Mohammad Amins in our locality. Someone needs to look into it," he said.

In Old Barzulla locality, which was unaffected by the floods, the Revenue authorities on the basis of recommendations made by political workers have allegedly dished out relief cheques to hundreds of house owners.

"Many people have returned the cheques but most have encashed the instruments. How does that happen when genuine victims are running from pillar to post for some help to reconstruct their homes," Mohammad Irfan a local resident said.

There are some victims who are running from pillar to post for lack of proper documentation.

"My house was destroyed in the deluge but I was denied even the Rs 75,000 compensation as the property was still in the name of my father. Being the only son, I thought it not necessary to transfer the property in my name and now I am paying for it," A M Bhat, a resident of Wazir Bagh said.

Bhat said he made several representations to authorities including Deputy Commissioner Srinagar for considering his case for compensation.

"First I was told to get an affidavit from the court in support of my claim for compensation. After that I was told to get a recommendation letter from Masjid Committee or Mohalla Welfare Committee ... I got it from both. After that Patwari concerned came for on-ground verification but no decision has been taken yet," he added.

The traders' bodies of the Valley maintain that they were not able to comprehend the policy pursued by the governments with regard to rehabilitation of flood victims, which includes the business community.

"We left no stone unturned to represent the case of victims but now we are disheartened. (Union) Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during a meeting in Delhi assured us that a package will be announced in a short span of time. Is one year not enough time?" president of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Sheikh Ashiq said.

Ashiq said there is a need to infuse a new life in the economy of Jammu and Kashmir by giving a comprehensive reconstruction and development package.

"We are apprehensive that the state economy might collapse in the couple of years to come. Business community may not be able to repay loans and general public, most of whom are flood victims, do not have the spending capacity now," he said.

Ashiq said while development package as promised by the Centre was welcome, a Bihar-like package will not work in Jammu and Kashmir.

"When people do not have roof over heads and businesses have no capital to resume their activities, what are railway lines, roads and other infrastructure going to do for the economy?" he asked.

Ashiq said relief and rehabilitation should be a major component of any development package that the Centre might be planning for the state. "We hope there is one".

Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had said yesterday that a big financial package will soon be sanctioned to the state for the rehabilitation of the affected people.

"Centre had given some money which we distributed. A big package will be announced soon. You know the government has to go into the details as to where the money will be spent (but) it will come soon," Singh said.

He said the financial package would be bigger than the Rs 44,000 crore package proposed by the previous government.

As the state government is planning to mark September 7 as the revival day, traders, separatists and opposition National Conference have called for a strike tomorrow to protest against the alleged failure of the government to rehabilitate victims.

#* Kalburgi murder: Megha Pansare for court-monitored investigation
The family members of murdered writer M.M. Kalburgi and slain rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansari have decided to wait for another week to see if the Criminal Investigation Department of the State to make a breakthrough in the case before taking a delegation to meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Megha Pansare, daughter-in-law of slain rationalist Govind Pansare, was in Dharwad on Sunday along with a few others from the Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti to meet the family members of Kalburgi. Megha Pansare spoke to Kalburgi’s wife Umadevi, son Srivijay and others and sought details from them on the incident and the progress of the investigation so far.

Speaking to presspersons subsequently, Ms. Pansare said that she was not happy with the progress of the investigation. She said that the CID was not having a focussed approach. Instead, it was looking at different angles and not focusing on solving the case. “They seem to be simply dragging on,” she alleged.

Ms. Pansare said that it was high time that a court-monitored investigation was initiated into the three killings of rationalists, both in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

She said that it appeared that the Karnataka Police were following the footsteps of the Maharashtra Police who, till date, had not achieved any breakthrough in the killings of Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare. “We will wait for another week. If there is no result, then the members of all the three families will go and meet the Chief Minister after September 13,” she said.

Referring to the killing of rationalists in Maharashtra, she said that it had not deterred the people of Maharashtra from speaking out the truth and against communal forces. “Several youths have joined the movement and we will continue to fight,” she said.

President of Karnataka Woman Writers Sangha Vasundhara Bhupati expressed dismay over not many writers coming out in the open to condemn the killing of Kalburgi and pressuring the government for expediting investigation of the murder.

#* Permission denied, Hardik Patel puts off ‘reverse’ Dandi march 
The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti has put off its “reverse” Dandi march for a week after the Navsari collector imposed prohibitory orders, citing objections from 33 villages on route of the yatra that was scheduled to start on Sunday in a bid to press for the OBC quota demand. Following the denial of permission for the yatra from Dandi (Navsari) to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, convener of the Samiti Hardik Patel in Surat said his group would take out the march on September 13. Imposing prohibitory orders on Saturday, Navsari collector Ramya Mohan said, “Sarpanchs and leaders of 33 villages along the route have objected to the yatra.” Mohan said the Koli community has threatened to take out a “counter-yatra” and this could lead to “clashes between the two communities”. “So, to maintain peace in the district, the yatra cannot be permitted,” the collector said. In view of the collector’s order, the Samiti put off its yatra plan. Hardik informed mediapersons about the Samiti’s decision under a flyover on a road after his press conference at C K farms at Adajan in Surat was cancelled after its owner’s objections. “We do not want conflict with other castes. So, we will hold the rally after a week. If anything happens that day (September 13), the government will be responsible,” he said.

#* Saudi-led coalition forces kill 20 at a wake in Yemen
Saudi-led coalition's jets killed at least 20 people at a wake in northern Yemen on Sunday, as warplanes pounded Houthis and other forces behind a missile strike that had killed dozens of Gulf Arab soldiers.

The air strikes targeted troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, an ally of the Houthis, across the country and hit a Houthi base in what had been the al-Imam University, a religious school in northern Sanaa, locals said.

But residents said the deadliest strike was in al-Jouf province north of Sanaa, where warplanes hit a wake for a local who had been killed by Houthi gunfire, in what was apparently an accidental strike by the coalition.

A spokesman for the coalition could not immediately be reached for a comment.

In Sanaa, residents said buildings had been levelled as explosions rang through the night and morning before stopping around noon. There were unconfirmed reports of two deaths.

The al-Sabeen maternity and children's hospital said it had been damaged, with patients trapped inside, and appealed to international organisations to help evacuate them.

The Saudi-led coalition says it does not target civilian facilities. But on Saturday, at least 27 members of two families were killed in Sanaa by air strikes targeting Houthi positions in the city, according to hospital officials.

Deadly attack

On Friday, the Iranian-allied Houthis had attacked a weapons storage facility in Marib, where supporters of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had been massing troops and equipment in preparation for an assault on Sanaa.

The attack killed 45 soldiers from the United Arab Emirates, 10 Saudis, five Bahrainis, and four Yemenis.

It was the heaviest toll suffered by the Saudi-led alliance since it began its air war in March to try to restore Hadi to power.

Hadi was installed in 2012 under a Gulf Arab-sponsored deal that saw Saleh, Yemen's leader of three decades, step down after months of street protests.

But after the Houthis seized the Yemeni capital last year, Hadi fled to the southern city of Aden, his main power base, and then into exile in Saudi Arabia.

UAE forces were important in helping Hadi's forces drive the Houthis and their allies back out of Aden in July, a big win for the Arab coalition.

But security has yet to be restored in the port city, where a spate of attacks and killings, as well as a demonstration by armed men waving al Qaeda flags, have prompted fears that Islamist militants could now take control.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) denied in a Twitter message that it was behind recent assassinations in the city, and laid the blame on pro-Saleh agents provocateurs, the SITE monitoring service reported.


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