Delhi News

Monsoon arrives, Delhi flounders | Cities News,The Indian Express

Heavy rainfall marked the onset of the southwest monsoon in Delhi on Thursday. The maximum temperature plummeted to 29.4 degrees Celsius at Safdarjung, seven degrees below normal for this time of the year, and 11.5 degrees below the maximum temperature recorded on Wednesday. This is the lowest maximum temperature recorded in June in at least 11 years.

The Safdarjung weather observatory, which serves as a marker for the city, recorded 116.6 mm of rainfall between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm, the highest in the city. Much of this rainfall was recorded before 2.30 pm, with the intensity reducing in the afternoon and evening. The weather observatory on Lodhi Road recorded around 107.6 mm till 5.30 pm, while the one at Ridge in North Delhi recorded 65.2 mm. The weather station at Palam recorded 31.8 mm, the lowest amount in the city on Thursday.

aiims roundabout

Till June 30, the city had a deficit of around 67% in rainfall for the month. However, the rainfall on Thursday is likely to have covered that deficit.

People wade through a waterlogged street in Tughlakabad on Thursday morning. The rain left several arterial roads waterlogged and led to traffic snarls. Photos: Abhinav Saha

The monsoon has hit the city after a scorching summer that was Northwest India’s hottest in 122 years in March and April. Both months recorded massive deficits in rainfall – March saw no rainfall at all, while there was a deficit of 98% in April in Delhi.

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Cloudy skies and moderate rainfall or thundershowers are on the forecast for Delhi on Friday. The IMD issued an ‘orange’ alert for the city on Friday, which is a warning to be prepared. The impact expected includes traffic disruption and water accumulation. The alert has been lowered to a ‘yellow’ on Saturday and Sunday when light rainfall is likely. A ‘yellow’ alert means ‘be aware’.

Light rainfall remains on the forecast till July 6, and the maximum temperature is also likely to remain below 40 degrees till July 6. On Friday, the maximum temperature is likely to be around 32 degrees Celsius.

The southwest monsoon also covered all of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. It advanced into parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan as well.

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IAF releases details on Agnipath recruitment scheme: Key points | India News

NEW DELHI: As protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme entered its fifth day on Sunday, the Union defence minister and held a meeting with the tri-service chiefs, while the Indian Air Force released details on the recruitment model.
Here’s a look at the top developments of the day
IAF releases details on Agnipath scheme
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday released the details of the Agnipath recruitment scheme amid the ongoing agitation and widespread protests against the scheme across several states.
The process for the recruitment will begin from June 24. The IAF document lists the eligibility, educational qualification, medical standards, assessment, leave, remuneration, life insurance cover, etc., among many other factors. As the recruitment process is also open to those below 18 years, the enrolment form will need to be signed by the parents for those aspirants who are below 18 years of age, the IAF notification said.

“Post the period of four years, each Agniveer will go back to the society, based on organisational requirements and policies promulgated by the IAF,” the document said, explaining the benefits which the government will provide to the 75 per cent who will not be retained.
Priyanka, other party leaders take part in protest
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other party leaders on Sunday took part in a protest against the Agnipath scheme.
Rajnath Singh holds meet
As protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme continue in several parts of the country, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday held a meeting at his residence.
The tri-service chiefs were expected to attend the meeting and discuss the rollout of the scheme and ways to pacify agitators. This is the second such meeting called by Singh in two days.
Additional Secretary Lt General Puri to address presser
Department of Military Affairs Additional Secretary Lt General Anil Puri will address a press conference in South Block on Sunday on the new model of recruitment scheme, at around 2pm, the government said.

‘Is this MGNREGA-like step for educated youth or hidden agenda of RSS?’
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said there were many doubts about the scheme in the minds of the youth and demanded that it be withdrawn.
He asked whether this was a MGNREGA-like initiative for the educated youth or there was a “hidden agenda” of the RSS in it. Yadav also appealed to the youth to protest peacefully against the scheme.
Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi silent on the whole issue, he asked. He said the government talked about ‘one rank, one pension’, but has come up with a scheme of “no rank, no pension”.
The former deputy chief minister of Bihar posed 20 questions to the government, asserting that there were many doubts in the minds of the people which should be cleared by the government.
“Protests are taking place in many parts of the country and there is anger among those who want to become soldiers,” he said. Yadav demanded that the scheme be withdrawn.
Rahul asks party workers not to celebrate his birthday
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who turned 53 on Sunday, has asked his supporters to refrain from celebrating his birthday as youth are sad. The appeal comes in backdrop of wide protest against the Agnipath scheme.
In an appeal, he said, “I appeal to all Congress workers and my well wishers across the country not to hold any kind of celebrations on the occasion of my birthday.”
The Congress on Sunday will hold a ‘Satyagrah’ against the Agnipath scheme at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
(With inputs from agencies)

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supreme court: Supreme Court to hear petition against UP demolitions on June 16 | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday a plea by the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind seeking directions to Uttar Pradesh authorities to ensure that no further demolition of houses are carried out without following due process.
Protests have been erupting in many cities to condemn UP authorities for demolishing homes and businesses of people who allegedly took part in violent protests on June 10 in connection with the controversial remarks made by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal about Prophet Muhammad.

On Sunday, authorities had razed the home of Javed Ahmad, who the police said is the main accused in protests that turned violent last Friday. A day earlier, a multi-storey building allegedly owned by a close aide of Nizam Qureshi, the alleged mastermind of the June 3 violence in Kanpur, was demolished .
Critics have panned the “bulldozer justice”, and have claimed that it is aimed at punishing activists from the minority group.
The Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind had moved the apex court seeking to issue directions to UP that no precipitative action be taken in Kanpur against the residential or commercial property of any accused in any criminal proceedings as an extra-legal punitive measure.
Former judges of the Supreme Court and high courts and some senior advocates had also written a letter to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana requesting the top court to take suo motu cognizance of the detention of protestors and demolition of their houses by UP authorities.

“We urge the Supreme Court to take immediate suo motu action to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation in UP, specifically involving the high-handedness of the police and state authorities, and the brutal clampdown on the fundamental rights of citizens,” the letter signed by 12 former judges and senior advocates stated.
Post Jahangirpuri violence
In April, the Supreme Court had stopped an anti-encroachment drive by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in violence-hit Jahangirpuri and agreed to take up a plea against razing of houses of the accused.
Taking a cue from UP, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where the administration used bulldozers to raze the properties of people accused of rioting during the Ram Navami processions, the municipality had decided to act against the “encroachments” in Jahangirpuri where riots broke out during a procession commemorating Hanuman Janmotsav.
(With inputs from agencies)

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agnipath: Govt announces ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme for armed forces | India News

NEW DELHI: The government on Tuesday unveiled the “Agnipath” scheme which aims to transform the armed forces.
Unveiling the scheme, defence minister Rajnath Singh said that it’s a transformative initiative that will provide a youthful profile to the armed forces.
“Under Agnipath scheme, Indian youngsters will be provided an opportunity to serve in armed forces as Agniveer,” Rajnath Singh said.
The Agnipath scheme has been brought to strengthen India’s security, he added.
The ‘Agniveers’ will be given a good pay package and an exit retirement package after a service of 4 years, the defence minister said.
This move comes in a bid to slash the ballooning salary and pension bills, amid major concerns the move will adversely impact the professionalism, military ethos and fighting spirit of the over 14-lakh strong armed forces.
Lieutenant General Anil Puri said that Agniveer would be a part of this future-ready soldier.
“Agniveer would be India’s young protector. After being with us for 4 years, an Agniveer’s resume and biodata will be very unique. He will stand out in the crowd with his attitude, skills and time he would have spent with us,” Puri added.
Army chief General Manoj Pande said that Agnipath scheme aims to bring paradigm shift in recruitment in armed forces.
The scheme will help ensure optimum balance between youth and experience in Army, he added.
What is Agnipath scheme?
Agnipath is a pan India merit-based recruitment scheme for enrolling soldiers, airmen and sailors. The scheme provides an opportunity for youth to serve in the regular cadre of the armed forces.
All those recruited under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be called ‘Agniveers’.
Agniveers will be enrolled for a service duration of 4 years including training period.
After four years, only 25% of the Agniveers will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness and medical fitness.
They will then serve for a full term of another 15 years.
The first four years, served under a contract, are not likely to be taken into consideration for the fixation of the final pensionary benefits.
The other 75% Agniveers will be demobilized, with an exit or “Seva Nidhi” package of Rs 11-12 lakh, partly funded by their monthly contributions, as well as skill certificates and bank loans for help in their second careers.
Age limit
Agniveers will be recruited in the age limit of 17.5 to 21 year age gap at the promised salary of Rs 45,000.
  • Candidates will be enrolled under the respective service act for a service duration of 4 years.
  • Centralised transparent screening assessment based on merit and demonstrated performance during service.
  • 100% candidates can apply on volunteer basis to enrol in regular cadre.
  • Meanwhile, 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year.

Agniveers will be given Rs 30,000 per month. Rs 4.76 lakh is the package that it starts with. After 4 years, Agniveer can volunteer. For all Agniveers who achieve martyrdom, full payment of unserved service years will be given.
The scheme will lead to improved battle preparedness through selection of the best with rigorous and transparent selection process.
Seva Nidhi

  • Upto 25% Agniveers to be selected as regular cadre based on central, transparent system after four years.
  • 100% candidates can apply on volunteer basis to enroll in regular cadre.
  • They will be entitled to awards, medals and insurance cover like the regular cadre of soldiers, airmen and sailors.
  • Corpus of Rs 10.04 lakhs plus accrued interest exempted from Income Tax, after four years.

Financial package:
Death Compensation

  • Non-contributory life insurance cover of Rs 48 lakhs.
  • Additional Ex Gratia of Rs 44 lakhs for death attributable to service.
  • Pay for unserved portion upto four years including ‘Seva Nidhi’ component.

Disability Compensation

  • Compensation based on the percenatge disability laid down by medical authorities.
  • One time ex-gratia of Rs 44/25/15 lakhs for 100%/75%/50% disability respectively.

Watch Agnipath scheme to strengthen India’s security: Rajnath Singh

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Explained: Eight years of Modi Govt

The Modi Govt completes 8 years today. Since returning to power in 2019, it has checked several key boxes on its agenda. India appears to have put the worst of the pandemic behind, but multiple challenges loom at home and abroad for the remainder of the Govt’s second term.

ECONOMY: Hope and challenge

India is seen to be the world’s fastest-growing big economy in FY23, with a realistic chance of holding on to that badge for a while as a botched zero-Covid policy threatens to derail the Chinese economy. But some of the structural issues that constrained the Indian growth story before the pandemic continue to weigh heavy amid a worsening inflationary spiral and an uncertain external environment.

Over the past 24 months, India has pivoted away from its otherwise insular trade stance, with pacts signed with UAE and Australia, and negotiations initiated with EU and UK. A reboot in efforts to leverage the digital infrastructure founded on the innovative UPI platform is underway, as well as further fostering of a start-up scene that has thrown up over 100 unicorns.

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The big work in progress is the Centre’s attempt at replacing 29 sets of labour laws by four broad labour codes, but implementation is behind schedule. The insolvency resolution process under IBC is seeing delays. The GST structure remains an issue; much of the buoyancy in collections is on account of compliance efforts. A manufacturing-led push relies primarily on production linked incentives, but beyond telecom hardware, the output is underwhelming. The 5G telecom push likely later this year could be key to the next wave of digitisation. Commercial mining in coal has been cleared, but output is constrained.

The absence of a data protection framework is a hurdle in leveraging the numerous digital projects underway. Private investment continues to underperform, and attempts at forced formalisation have hit MSMEs. Land and agri reforms remain pending. The consumption story, despite the post-Covid recovery, continues to totter. Cleavages in spending by the rich and poor could be worsened by prolonged high inflation. Air India and LIC have given disinvestment a boost, but the big-ticket privatisation of BPCL has fallen through.

EDUCATION: National Policy, new entrance

After a sluggish first two years in the government’s second term, much been happening on the education front in recent months.

After the announcement of the new National Education Policy in July 2020, its implementation got off to a sluggish start, mainly due to the pandemic. Now, there’s a common entrance test for admission to central universities. Students can study a four-year multidisciplinary undergraduate programme with multiple exit options, or even two degree programmes simultaneously. The UGC now permits students to pursue up to 40% of a programme online. But some announcements have been more cosmetic: for example, the midday meal scheme has been repackaged and renamed PM POSHAN without any additional allocation.

A committee has been set up for drafting the National Curriculum Framework with guidelines for changes in the school curriculum. The NCF is expected to be ready by next year. For a single regulator for higher education, a Bill to set up the Higher Education Commission of India is almost ready.

Appointment of teachers remains tardy; the National Research Foundation announced in 2019 hasn’t been set up yet; and public spending on education is nowhere near the 6% of GDP promised in 2014 and has in fact been decreasing. Apart from IIMs, none of the other centrally-run institutions have been granted total autonomy; and not even 20 of the 50 Institutions of Eminence promised by the BJP have been set up.

SOCIAL SECTOR: Rise of the Labharthi

Leveraging the Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile (JAM) platform to expand coverage of the flagship PM-Kisan scheme from 1 crore beneficiaries in February 2019 to over 10 crore in January 2022, new initiatives like PM-GKAY to provide free foodgrain to nearly 80 crore people, and retreating with a bloody nose from the battle to reform the agriculture sector — these have been the social sector headlines of Modi 2.0 so far.

10 instalments of PM-Kisan have been released so far — Rs 1.80 lakh crore has been transferred directly into farmers’ accounts. The 11th installment is due for release on May 31. PM-Ujjwala beneficiaries have gone from 8 crore in September 2019 to 9 crore in April 2022. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, launched in response to the pandemic in February 2020 to provide 5 kg free foodgrains to 81.35 crore people every month, has been extended till September 2022. The Centre has also been able to roll out the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) project to enable NFSA beneficiaries to avail of their entitlement anywhere in India.

The flagship Jal Jeevan Mission, launched in the government’s second term, aims to provide tap water connections to all rural households by 2024. The Jal Shakti Ministry said on Saturday that 50% rural households had already been covered. If implemented fully and successfully, Jal Jeevan will be a scheme of gamechanging impact.

The withdrawal, in November 2021, and eventual repeal by Parliament of the three farm laws announced in June 2020 are both a setback and an unfinished agenda point for the government. Experts have argued that reform is critical to the advancement of Indian agriculture.

DIPLOMACY & STRATEGY: Tightrope and partnerships

New Delhi’s diplomatic outreach succeeded in blunting international criticism of the constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir early on, and significant strategic achievements have followed. But the neighbourhood remains in turmoil, and China presents a huge challenge.

With an experienced diplomat at the helm, Modi 2.0 began by explaining to the world its decision to abrogate Art 370 that revoked the special status for Jammu and Kashmir. The transition from the Trump administration to the one led by President Joe Biden was smooth, and the strengthening of the Quad was a significant achievement. The framing of an Indo-Pacific strategy by European partners including France, Germany, UK, and EU is a positive for India’s interests, as China is seen as a violator of the global rules-based order. India’s Covid diplomacy largely worked, albeit with some challenges of supply.

The amendment to the citizenship law set the cat among the pigeons, and New Delhi had to reach out to Dhaka to assuage concerns. The strategic establishment has been occupied with diplomacy with Beijing, as the two-year border stand-off poses the most serious threat of recent times. The war in Ukraine has made it difficult for New Delhi to continue deep engagement with defence partner Russia. The balancing act has been successful so far, but remains a delicate work in progress, as do engagements with China and the neighbourhood.

Taliban-ruled Afghanistan presents a huge strategic challenge. New governments are in power in Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, and the latter two nations are in economic and political crises. New Delhi has to navigate its ties with its neighbours and help maintain a peaceful and stable South Asia. Its leadership in the subcontinent will be tested in the near future.

POLITICS: BJP growing, concerns remain

In its second term, the BJP has made strides towards achieving its ideological agenda and consolidated its position as the major pole of national politics. But it remains challenged by regional parties, a struggling economy, and a communally charged atmosphere.

In the last years, the BJP has made itself and its ideology the major pole of Indian politics. With the key missions in its ideological agenda – the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya and abrogation of Article 370 — already achieved, the ban on triple talaq is being seen as progress halfway towards a Uniform Civil Code. The party is slowly and cautiously embarking on a new mission on Kashi and Mathura temples, but it is a legislative agenda.

Although the BJP has become a dominant political force at the national level, regional parties still call the shots in a number of southern and eastern states. The party is working on a blueprint to alter the “political and ideological character” of these states.

There has been very little progress in restoring the electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir, and the reopening of the Kashi and Mathura disputes has put paid to hopes of impending closure in these cases following the resolution of the Ram Janmabhoomi matter in favour of the Hindu side. The ‘bulldozer politics’ in several states has enhanced insecurities among the minorities and opened the government up to allegations of partisan behaviour. Satisfactorily addressing all of these dissonances remains a task before the government and party in line with the Prime Minister’s promise of “sabka vishwas”. Unemployment too remains a concern.

HEALTH: Vaccines for all, but work to do

Most of government’s time and resources in the last two years have been consumed in responding to the pandemic, which has in turn exposed India’s fragile healthcare infrastructure.

Just before the pandemic, the government had unveiled its plan to create an elaborate network of health and wellness centres (HWCs) for delivery of primary healthcare. About 1.5 lakh HWCs are proposed to be set up. An initiative to provide a unique health ID to every citizen and create a registry of healthcare professionals and health facilities has also been launched. In providing Covid-19 vaccines to everyone, India has done better than most other countries.

Most of the health initiatives, including the creation of HWCs and digital mission are works in progress. So are programmes like the Jan Arogya Yojana for insurance to the poor. Barely 5% of India’s population has health insurance right now, which makes the Jan Arogya Yojana a very important initiative.

The government still has a long way to go in providing universal and affordable access to healthcare facilities. The partnership of state governments is vital. Upgrading of infrastructure, reforms in medical education, expansion of nursing and para-medical education, and regulation of costs of healthcare are some of the big projects the government has to attend to.

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SECURITY & DEFENCE: LWE in decline, reforms pending

On the security front, the performance of the government has been a mixed bag in the last eight years..

According to Ministry of Home Affairs, Left Wing Extremism-related violence has declined by 77% between 2009 and 2021, and resultant deaths by 85% between 2010 and 2021. The geographical influence of Maoists has been reduced to just 41 districts from 96 in 2010. Gains have also been made in the Northeast

The creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff was a key reform, but work appears to have stalled. After CDS General Bipin Rawat was killed in a helicopter crash in December, the position is still vacant. Also, theaterisation in the armed forces isn’t working at the desired pace.

Terror emanating from Pakistan remains a cause for concern. Despite the government’s claims of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation of its special status on August 5, 2019, a rise in civilian killings has posed questions. Also, as many as 25 modules of Khalistan militancy were identified and neutralised by security forces in 2021, compared to 15 in 2020 and just seven in 2019.

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‘Guardian’ lieutenant governor hits the road after swearing-in | India News

NEW DELHI: Within hours of being sworn in as lieutenant governor of Delhi and telling reporters that he would be seen more on the streets of the capital than in Raj Niwas, Vinai Kumar Saxena, 64, hit the ground running. With virtually the heads of all the civic and planning agencies of the city in tow, he travelled between the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place, and IGI Airport, stopping at 15 locations along the way. At each stop, he gave instructions to the officials, asking them to “aesthetically rejuvenate and overhaul the areas” and ensure “symmetry in city infrastructure”, stressing on cleanliness and greenery.

Just a few hours back, he had been administered the oath of office and secrecy by acting chief justice of Delhi high court Vipin Sanghi at Raj Niwas in the presence of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, his cabinet colleagues, a couple of central government ministers, MPs, MLAs, judges of the high court and bureaucrats. His appointment came in the wake of Anil Baijal resigning from the post last week citing “personal reasons”.

You’ll see me more on roads than in Raj Nivas: Newly-appointed Delhi LG Vinai Saxena

Soon after the event, he had told reporters that he would be a “local guardian” to the people of the city and would be out on the streets. He observed that Delhi had some problems which he intended to solve during his tenure. “Delhi has some inherent problems and pollution is at the top — be it water, air or noise. We will work together with the Centre, state and local bodies to address these issues,” he said. The chief secretary of Delhi and heads of DDA, NDMC, MCD and other departments were soon following him around the city.
After the swearing-in ceremony, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that his government would provide “full support” to the new LG. “I assure that the Delhi government will provide full support to the new LG. We have done several developmental works together with his predecessor, Anil Baijal, and hope to continue the same with Saxenaji. We are looking forward to it,” he said.

Delhi’s first non-bureaucrat LG voiced his concern about communal tension in the city in the past couple of years and said he would want all communities — Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians — to work together. In a clear to reference to the recent riots in north Delhi’s Jahangirpuri and the 2020 northeast Delhi riots, Saxena recited a short poem on communal harmony and asked people to join hands and work together to make Delhi a beautiful place to live in.
“There have been a few riots in Delhi… we should work together as brothers… I will try to work together with everyone to make Delhi a beautiful city — a city of joy, a city of flowers,” the LG said. “Sabka saath, sabka vikas aur sabka vishwas should be our motive, and with this mantra, we will work for the development of Delhi,” he added.

The LG said that improving the living conditions of the underprivileged and upskilling the labour class were also among his top priorities. He said he will work on the unorganised sector and provide training to unskilled labourers. “A major part of Delhi’s working sector is unorganised with labourers coming from very poor financial backgrounds. They are involved in construction, plumbing, carpentry etc. To help and empower these workers, we will provide them with training, equipment and tools,” he said.

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Delhi hardlook: The bulldozer gathers pace

Two bulldozers were engaged in demolishing a house spread on around two acres in South Delhi’s Kalyanpuri last week. Watching from a distance, Shyam Pihal, who lives in a jhuggi cluster adjoining the road, made a phone call to his friend: “MCD wale aaye hain, sab log idhar aa jao, kahi ye jhuggi na todne ka sochein (People from the MCD are here, all of you come, they might just think of breaking the jhuggis).”

While the drive was carried out by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on court orders, the much publicised anti-encroachment drives carried out across the city by civic bodies have sparked fear in people’s minds. The year-round activity has also turned into a flashpoint between the BJP, which has been ruling the MCD for three terms, and the opposition Aam Aadmi Party.

The first big drive

The erstwhile North Delhi Municipal Corporation carried out an anti-encroachment demolition drive in Jahangirpuri on April 20, days after the area witnessed communal violence following a Hanuman Jayanti procession. It was stopped mid-way by the Supreme Court.

While Opposition parties hit out at the BJP for bringing in “bulldozer politics” of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to Delhi, those in the party as well as a section of people hailed state unit chief Adesh Gupta for “teaching the rioters a lesson”.

Gupta had written to the North MCD Mayor demanding identification and demolition of “illegal encroachment” and construction by those arrested in the Jahangirpuri violence. He also ordered the three corporations to undertake more such drives to remove “illegal encroachments by Bangladeshis and Rohingya”.

While the AAP was not directly critical of the drive at that point, its MLA Atishi accused the BJP of helping settle Bangladeshis and Rohingya in different parts so that goondagardi (hooliganism) can be perpetrated. In the days since, a series of anti-encroachment exercises have been carried out across the capital, and the AAP has become more direct in its opposition to the drives.

Since Jahangirpuri

The MCD has carried out more than 25 drives, with an average of around one per day, in the past one month. These have been in areas such as Jahangirpuri, Dilshad Garden, Dallupura, Geeta Colony, Kanti Nagar, Mangolpuri, Najaf-garh, Hari Nagar, Chaukhandi, Vasant Kunj, Raghubar Nagar, Janakpuri and Dwarka. “These drives are conducted based on feedback and the nature of complaints. Most of them are to clear the right of way; there is no pick and choose,” said a deputy commissioner in the North MCD.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, meanwhile, has asked his party MLAs to hit the ground against these drives and show their support for people.

On May 9, South MCD officials tried to carry out an anti-encroachment drive in Shaheen Bagh but were stopped by residents and representatives of the Congress and AAP, who protested in front of the bulldozer. Three days later at Madanpur Khadar, the civic body barricaded the street and started tearing down the walls of four under construction buildings that were allegedly being constructed illegally.

Clashes broke out between locals and police and AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was arrested. During DDA’s drive in Kalyanpuri, AAP MLA Kuldeep Kumar was detained by police.

According to data from the Special Task Force constituted by the MoHUA in April 2018 to clear encroachments and unauthorised constructions in the capital, the corporations along with other government agencies have removed 4,132 encroachments till April 15. As many as 4,319 properties have been demolished while there is a pendency of 7,522 cases.

A deputy commissioner with the South MCD admitted that the drives have intensified in the past one month, but attributed it to several complaints that had piled up over the past two years due to the pandemic and inability of the civic body to act on the same.

Earlier, he said, councillors too used to resist such drives as it went against popular sentiments: “Now they themselves are taking the lead, making our work easier.”

Some discontent

Not all within the BJP are enthusiastic about this. Two MPs that The Indian Express spoke to said the drive had started to backfire and the party should not associate itself with it as it is carried out by bureaucrats on a routine basis.

“This is not the Uttar Pradesh model. Yogi ji carries out these drives on criminals; here it is being done locality wise. While the Jahangirpuri drive was to send a message to rioters, what are we gaining by associating with the drives in Dwarka, Matiala, New Friends Colony?” said an MP.

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Another senior BJP leader said, “In the past, we have confronted the MCD during the sealing drives… our MP even broke the seal of a shop. Now, it feels like we are getting carried away by the media hype… Now that the special officer (of the unified MCD) has taken charge, he should undertake a course correction and stop such drives. Or the party should make it clear that it does not back them.”

Former Puducherry chief secretary Ashwani Kumar has been appointed as the Special Officer of the unified MCD, and took charge Sunday.
A senior BJP leader, who is also office bearer in the state team, said, “We should have disassociated ourselves after Jahangirpuri… or Shaheen Bagh.”

The BJP has now started to slowly distance itself from the drives. Gupta said, “We back only those drives where the mafia has encroached common land. The rest are routine exercises by the MCD and the BJP has nothing to do with it.”

The AAP, meanwhile, blamed the BJP for targeting the common man. While Kejriwal said that the BJP and MCD had put the lives and livelihoods of 63 lakh people, who live in unauthorised areas, in danger, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj said at a recent press conference, “The BJP is targeting the poor and middle class… It has planned encroachment drives in Saket P block, Qutub Institutional Area, Chirag Delhi — do Rohingya live here? I stay in Chirag Delhi, where Jats and Brahmins live.”

For and against

It has largely been traders, jhuggi clusters and roadside vendors who are bearing the brunt of such drives. Lakshmi, who lives in a jhuggi in Trilokpuri, said she has been living in the area for the past 10 years along with her family of six. Though the MCD has not reached the locality, the fear remains. “Yaha todenge to hum kahan jayenge (where will we go if they break our home?). My husband drives an e-rickshaw and my son lost his job during the pandemic; he worked in an office in Noida… We do not earn enough that we can pay rent.”

About one-third of Delhi lives in substandard housing, which includes 695 slums and JJ clusters, 1,797 unauthorised colonies, and 362 villages. Among them, those living in slums and JJ clusters lack access to basic facilities like toilets and sewer connections.

Residents, meanwhile, said the corporation should focus on more pressing issues like sanitation. B S Vohra, who heads the East Delhi RWA Joint Front, said the corporation should widen roads rather than focusing on cosmetic actions: “Areas like Krishna Nagar see bad traffic snarls, causing pollution.”

At Shaheen Bagh, Shahazad Ali, who owns a furniture shop, said the garbage in the area is rarely cleared and the corporation should focus on this. Another resident of the area, Itteshan Azmi, said these encroachments would be back in a few days: “The bigger question is how these encroachments came up in the first place.”

Mayor Mukesh Suryan, however, said, “Ask people if they are relieved that encroachments have been cleared…”
A deputy commissioner in the South MCD added, “Encroachment is done by poor people, but the rich will not be spared — if their houses are on government land, they too will be demolished.”

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19-year-old steps in to resolve fight between neighbours, stabbed to death

A 19-year-old student was stabbed to death after he intervened in a fight in North Delhi’s Sarai Rohilla Tuesday. The accused and his mother have been arrested in connection with the murder.

The victim, Md Sameer, a resident of Inderlok, was a class XII student at a local school. As he saw his neighbours fighting, he stepped in to resolve it, and the accused stabbed him for trying to stop them, police said.

The accused have been identified as Arzu (22) and his mother Rihana (40).

According to police, Rihana and a woman named Parveen got into a heated argument, and their families joined the fight. At one point, Arzu allegedly attacked Parveen with a knife, police said.

Police said Sameer was walking with his friends when he witnessed the fight and intervened. Sameer scolded Arzu, who allegedly retaliated by stabbing him.

Sagar Singh Kalsi, DCP (North), said, “Both Parveen and Sameer were taken to a hospital where Sameer died during the treatment. A case under IPC sections of murder was registered and Arzu and Rihana have been arrested. Raids are being conducted to locate their family members and ascertain their role.”

During the investigation, police found that Parveen’s and Rihana’s husbands work as labourers near the house, and the fight broke out because Parveen’s husband did not call the latter for work.

Police said the victim worked as a helper at a nearby shop.

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He lived with his parents and had known the accused for years.

“He was trying to stop a fight but Arzu hurled abuses at him. The victim pushed him and the two got into a fight. Arzu stabbed him with a knife,” said a local.

Farukh, the victim’s friend, said, “I was talking on the phone when I saw them fighting. I went to talk to Arzu, but he was hurling abuses and threatening us with a knife. Sameer was trying to stop him when he stabbed him twice. He then came to stab me, but I ran. I came back to save Sameer. He was lying on the floor. It wasn’t his fault.”

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shaheen bagh: ‘Can’t entertain plea at behest of political party’: SC asks CPM to go to high court against Shaheen Bagh demolition | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea by CPM against demolition drive in Shaheen Bagh and said it cannot intervene in the matter at the behest of a political party.
Asking the petitioners to approach high court, a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai said: “Why is CPM filing a petition? What is the fundamental right that is being violated? Not at the behest of political parties. This is not the platform. You go to the high court.”
When senior advocate P Surendranath, appearing for the CPM, referred to the apex court’s recent orders on Jahangirpuri where the demolition drive was stayed, the bench said let the affected parties come.
“We have not given license to anybody to come here to say my house cannot be demolished even if it is unauthorized. You cannot take shelter of that order. We cannot interfere … that too at the instance of political parties,” the bench said.
Bulldozers return amid protests at Shaheen Bagh
Earlier today, there was high drama at Shaheen Bagh, the venue of anti-CAA protests, as South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC)officials alongwith bulldozers, trucks and police force reached there to remove illegal encroachments.
In December 2019, Shaheen Bagh was the centre of protests and sit-ins against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The sit-in was called off in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic had struck the city.
Protests erupted in the area opposing the SDMC’s anti-encroachment drive. Hundreds of people, including women, raised slogans against the BJP-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) as well as the central government and demanded that the action should be stopped. Some women protestors also stood in front of bulldozers to prevent the exercise.
Later, the SDMC officials returned with bulldozers without conducting the exercise in the area.
Congress, AAP leaders stage dharna
Leaders from the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress reached Shaheen Bagh and staged dharna against the SDMC action.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan alleged that the civic body was carrying out the drive to “disturb the atmosphere”.
Khan claimed that the people of the area had already removed the encroachments at his request.
“Wazu Khana’ and toilets outside a mosque here were removed in presence of police, earlier. When there are no encroachments, why have they come here? Just to do politics?” the AAP MLA said.
Delhi Congress leaders, including party’s media cell vice-chairman Parvez Alam, were among those detained by the police.
‘Don’t link encroachment to religion’
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said the Congress and AAP’s opposition to anti-encroachment drive in Shaheen Bagh proves that they are supporters of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis.
“The way Congress and AAP tried to stop the anti-encroachment drive shows their support for Rohingyas and Bangladeshis. Those who were lying in front of bulldozers will be given a befitting reply by the people,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate that AAP and Congress are opposing removal of encroachment in Shaheen Bagh. I urge them not to link encroachment with religion,” Gupta added.
Anti-encroachment drive to continue in national capital
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had earlier written to the mayors of South and East corporations on April 20 seeking “the removal of encroachments by Rohingyas, Bangladeshis and anti-social elements” in their areas.
Last month, an anti-encroachment drive conducted by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Jahangirpuri area, which witnessed violence between two communities on April 16, drew widespread criticism. The Supreme Court had to intervene to stop the action there.
Adrive was planned in Okhla and Jasola last month but it could not be executed due to unavailability of police force, said SDMC’s Central Zone chairman Rajpal Singh.
On May 10, the anti-encroachment drive will be conducted near Gurudwara Road near New Friends Colony while on May 11, it will be conducted in Meharchand Market, Lodhi Colony near Sai Baba Mandir and near JLN Metro station, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)

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lic: LIC 3.0 to boost shareholder value after listing, says chief | India News

MUMBAI: Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) will take measures upon listing to enhance shareholder value. While the Act has already been amended to double the share of surplus that is distributed to shareholders, there are other measures planned that are likely to be announced after the listing of the corporation.
Speaking at the launch of the corporation’s initial public offer, LIC chairman M R Kumar said, “We will take all measures required in terms of shareholder value-creation. There are many things we are doing which I cannot share today. Post-listing, maybe after Q1, there are many things that I will be able to share with you.”. He added that already the act was amended to be in line with the rest of the industry to increase the share of the surplus from 5% to 10%.
Earlier in his address to the media, Kumar said that the corporation’s resilience came from its ability to adapt. He said that the first phase of LIC, or LIC 1.0, was immediately after nationalisation when it put in all efforts to spread the concept of life insurance across the country. In the second phase after liberalisation, LIC 2.0 managed to grow and retain its market share despite competition from the private competition. He said that the post-listing LIC 3.0 will deliver value to shareholders.
Kumar said that the valuation of LIC was based on the circumstances. “At the time of listing, the value of new business (VNB) of private players was at the same level as LIC. We will not take as long to grow the value of new business,” said Kumar. In future, the VNB would depend on how the market responds to LIC’s offering of non-par products which have a higher margin for the corporation.
Par and non-par products are terms used to differentiate between participating plans where the insured gets a bonus in line with returns generated by the life fund. “We were always strong on non-par, but the customer preference shifted to savings. I cannot tell you what the mix will be like, but we are growing our non-par products,” said Kumar.
Speaking on LIC’s investment strategy in future, Kumar said that there could be some fine tuning but directionally nothing much will change. “At the heart of the entire assets under management is a set of policyholders for whom long-term investment is more important. As we grow the non-par book, possibly we have to make some shift,” said Kumar.

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