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Supreme Court returns 20+ names for Patna HC judgeships

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NEW DELHI:

The Supreme Court

collegium recently returned all 15 names of advocates recommended by the Patna high court collegium last year for elevation as judges of the HC.

These are in addition to half a dozen recommendations from among district judges which, too, have not been accepted, sources said. It has rarely happened that the SC collegium has disagreed with all the names recommended by an HC. According to sources, the SC collegium has not recorded reasons for the decision.

The Patna HC has 30 posts of judges vacant against a sanctioned strength of 53. After these recommendations are sent to the Centre and the SC by an HC collegium, the law ministry runs an independent background verification through

the Intelligence Bureau

.

It writes to the state government and the governor for their opinion and carries out detailed checks for eligibility criteria. There have been allegations of caste playing a role in the recommendations and that backward communities were ignored. A

writ petition

was also filed in Patna HC alleging favouring of certain castes.

Though the HC rejected the petition, the Supreme Court, the

PMO

and law ministry received complaints against the candidates recommended. In 2018, a controversy had erupted in the recommendations made by Patna HC collegium which led to delay in finalising names. Government sources had confirmed that the six names recommended warranted closer scrutiny following complaints of nepotism.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Next Bihar polls to be fought on basis of work done by Modi-Nitish, says Rudy

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NEW DELHI: BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Wednesday said the Rs 1.70-lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Bihar has been implemented successfully and the JD(U)-BJP dispensation will return to power in the state after the upcoming assembly elections on the basis of its performance. Speaking in Lok Sabha during Zero Hour, Rudy said so many bridges have been built over the Ganga in Bihar and several speciality hospitals have been coming up, while the foundation stone has been laid for the Patna Metro project.

He said steps have been taken for expansion of the Patna airport while pipe gas will be provided to the residents of the state capital soon.

The 1.70-lakh crore project announced by the Prime Minister has been implemented successfully, he said.

Rudy said Bihar has seen tremendous development being carried out by a government led by an “innocent and simple” CM Nitish Kumar.

“The next election will be fought on the basis of work and performance of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister and our government will return to power after the polls,” he said.

Rudy also complimented Speaker Om Birla for the smooth functioning of the proceedings of Lok Sabha and said the Speaker’s name will be written in India’s parliamentary history for the successful conduct of the House amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

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INDIA

Farmers’ protests: Cops use water cannons to break up march towards Delhi

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Protest against the farm bills passed by parliament echoed on the streets on Wednesday as well. Farmers hit the streets in Panipat and Ambala, however their planned march towards Delhi was stopped by police. A farmers’ delegation also met the UP chief minister with their concerns. Here is a round-up of the day’s developments.

Cops use water cannons on anti-farm bill protesters in Haryana

The Haryana police on Wednesday used water cannons in Panipat and Ambala on agitators to stop them from proceeding to Delhi to protest against the Centre’s farm reform bills.

In Panipat, the police used water cannons at a Haryana Youth Congress-led tractor rally while in Ambala, it used them on a Punjab’s Lok Insaf Party-led motorcycle rally, trying to enter the state on their way to Delhi.

Owing to the continued sit-in at the Ambala-Ludhiana stretch of the national highway leading to Delhi, the traffic on it has been disrupted, said police.

The Panipat rally, in which, youth Congress leaders claimed, many farmers were also participating, was to proceed from Panipat to Delhi, where they were to gherao the Parliament, to register their protest against the farm bills, which they dubbed as anti-farmer.

Navjot Sidhu stages protest against farm bills

Punjab MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday staged a protest against the farm bills which, he said, will “ruin” the farming community.

Sidhu, who was accompanied by his supporters, sat on a tractor in Amritsar and held placards that read, “We are united in fight for farmers”, in English and Punjabi. He told reporters that the new bills would dismantle the minimum support price and the marketing system.

“We all are united to fight these black laws. Our fight is for farmers and it will be taken to a logical conclusion. We will not sit quiet till these bills are revoked,” he said.

“I am not alone on this issue. All MLAs irrespective of political parties to which they belong are speaking for the farming community,” he said.

Ludhiana farmers, Congress workers carry out ‘tractor protest’

Several farmers and Congress workers held a ‘tractor protest’ at Mullanpur Dakha in Ludhiana on Wednesday against the passage of the agriculture Bills in the Parliament.

Similar protests have also broken out in Odisha.

Farmers’ delegation meets UP CM

A delegation of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), on Wednesday, met UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow to discuss the problems of farmers.

Yogi Adityanath assured the delegation that his government would ensure that agricultural produce is not sold at a price lower than the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government.

After the meeting, BKU leader Rakesh Tikait told reporters that the delegation also discussed the agrarian reform Bills recently passed by Parliament and other problems of farmers with the chief minister.

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Dassault Aviation, MBDA yet to fulfil offset obligations under Rafale deal: CAG

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NEW DELHI: French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and European missile maker MBDA are yet to fulfil their offset obligations of offering high technology to India as part of the deal relating to procurement of 36 Rafale jets, the Comptroller and Auditor General said in a report released on Wednesday.

The Dassault Aviation is the manufacturer of the Rafale jets while the MBDA supplied the missile systems for the aircraft.

In its report tabled in Parliament, the CAG also painted a grim picture of efficacy of India’s offset policy saying it did not find a single case of foreign vendors transferring high technology to the Indian industry, adding defence sector ranked 62nd out of 63 sectors receiving FDI.

“In the offset contract relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), the vendors M/s Dassault Aviation and M/s MBDA initially proposed to discharge 30 per cent of their offset obligation by offering high technology to DRDO,” the CAG said.

“DRDO wanted to obtain technical assistance for the indigenous development of engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft. Till date the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology,” according to a press release issued by CAG.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

Under India’s offset policy, foreign defence entities are mandated to spend at least 30 per cent of the total contract value in India through procurement of components or setting up of research and development facilities.

The offset norms are applicable to all capital purchases above Rs 300 crore made through imports. The offset obligations can be made through Foreign Direct Investment, free transfer of technology to Indian firms and purchase of products manufactured by Indian firms.

The auditor said though the vendors failed to keep up their offset commitments, there was no effective means of penalise them.

“Non fulfillment of offset obligations by the vendor especially when the contract period of the main procurement is over, is a direct benefit to the vendor,” it said.

The CAG said as the offset policy has not yielded the desired result, the defence ministry needs to review the policy and its implementation.

It needs to identify the constraints faced by the foreign suppliers as well as the Indian industry in leveraging the offsets, and find solutions to overcome these constraints,” it said.

The CAG said 48 offset contracts were signed with foreign vendors from 2005 to March 2018 with a total value of Rs 66,427 crore, and Rs 19,223 crore worth of offsets should have been discharged by the vendors by December 2018.

But the amount discharged by them was only Rs 11,396 crore, which was only 59 per cent of the commitment.

“Further, only 48 per cent (Rs 5,457 crore) of these offset claims submitted by the vendors were accepted by the ministry. The rest were largely rejected as they were not compliant to the contractual conditions and the Defence Procurement Procedure.”

It said the remaining offset commitments of about Rs 55,000 crore would be due to be completed by 2024.

“The rate at which the foreign vendors have been fulfilling their offset commitments was about Rs 1,300 crore per year. Given this situation, fulfilling the commitment of Rs 55,000 crore by the vendors in the next six years remains a major challenge,” the CAG said.

The auditor found that of the total value of offsets, only 3.5 per cent was contracted to be discharged through FDI with Indian Offsets Partners or IOPs, adding it did not find a single case where the foreign vendor had transferred high technology to the Indian industry.

“The defence sector is ranked 62nd out of the 63 sectors in India in terms of FDI. Similarly, there was hardly any equipment supplied ‘in kind’ to the Indian industry by the foreign vendor. Thus, the objectives of the offset policy remain largely unachieved,” the report said.

The CAG said it undertook the performance audit of the offset policy after a decade of its roll out to assess the extent to which its objectives were met.

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