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CAG puts Nitin Gadkari’s Purti Group firm under scanner for financial irregularities

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Controller and Audit General (CAG) presented a report in Lok Sabha yesterday, charging Purti Sakhar Karkhana Limited (PSKL) of non-compliance of interest subsidy conditions.

The interest subsidy was granted to it by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the report named Union Minister Nitin Gadkari as one of the “promoters and/or directors” of the firm.

The report on ‘Financing of Renewable Energy Projects by Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA)’ stated that the ministry had sanctioned Rs 1.92 crore as interest subsidy to the company and released Rs 1.37 crore to IREDA in June 2004, on the basis of net present value of PSKL.

The firm, according to the report, failed to meet the conditions of the interest subsidy extended to it. The project employed 100% coal based operations as against the upper limit of 25% allowed under subsidy schemes. The company also failed to meet the condition stipulating that the project should continue for at least ten years after completion. 

Moreover, CAG found that although the load had become a non performing asset in March 2007 the actual benefit from the subsidy amounting to Rs 1.66 crore was passed on till December 2009.

However the CAG report said that IRDEA management stated in April 2014 that PSKL had settled its account and paid the dues. IRDEA also claimed that it is not necessary if an account becomes a non performing asset, then interest subsidy is not to be passed.

“The reply of the management may be seen in the context that avoiding default on repayment by the borrower and limited deviation from renewable energy sources (up to 25 per cent) were important components of the scheme, and as such, IREDA cannot change/interpret specific conditions for grant of subsidy of GOI schemes. Further, the OTS proposal was sanctioned on the ground that the project was no longer an RE (renewable energy) project,” the CAG report stated.  

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Congress To Use Tribal Card to Regain Power in the Country

Congress to use tribal card to improve countrywide position

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Congress Chhattisgarh
Congress will be using the tribal card to regain dominance and their plan of action will begin from Chhattisgarh. Wikimedia Commons

BY SANDEEP PAURANIK

In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.

Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.

Rahul Gandhi Congress
Former President of Congress Rahul Gandhi gave an important message while innaugrating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.

The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.

BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.

The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.

Congress
The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country. Wikimedia Commons

Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.

“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)

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Women Representation in Lok Sabha as Low as 12 Percent

None of the political parties could implement the promise and the number of women MPs was not even able to reach one-fourth members in the House.

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democracy
Since the beginning in 1952, there had been no female Speaker in the House until the 15th Lok Sabha. Pixabay

Slogans of various political parties about empowering Indian women in politics seem to have remained just lip service, if one goes by the statistics.

The case in point is that in the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha, there were only 66 women members out of the total House strength of 543, which makes it just 12 per cent.

This is the situation 67 years after the first general elections.

Had the long-pending legislative proposal to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha been passed, it could have ensured at least 179 female members in the Lower House of Parliament.

In the first Lok Sabha formed in 1952, there were 24 women. The number did not change in the second Lok Sabha formed in 1957.

The number increased when the third Lok Sabha (1962-67) was formed with 37 women, according to data available on the Lok Sabha website.

There was a decrease in the numbers in the fourth, fifth and sixth Lok Sabha where 33, 28 and 21 women were elected respectively.

The number again increased to 32 women in the seventh Lok Sabha (1980-84) and in the eighth (1984-89) with 45 women members being elected.

When the Lok Saha was elected in 1989 for the ninth time, the number of women dropped to 28.

Since then, there has been a minor but constant increase in the number of females.

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The number again increased to 32 women in the seventh Lok Sabha (1980-84) and in the eighth (1984-89) with 45 women members being elected. 
Pixabay

The 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96) had 42 female members and the 11th was one less.

The 12th had 44 female MPs, while the 13th and 14th saw equal numbers at 52 females of the total 543 members.

The 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14) saw a major increase: it touched 64 females — about 12 per cent of the total House strength.

The 16th – the outgoing – Lok Sabha had 66 female MPs, two more than the previous term.

Since the beginning in 1952, there had been no female Speaker in the House until the 15th Lok Sabha.

Congress’ Meira Kumar was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009 and served till 2014. Then, Sumitra Mahajan of BJP became the second female to preside over the 16th Lok Sabha.

Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
The Congress made the pledge in its manifestos in 2019, 2014 and 2009. – wikimedia commons

The political parties have been promising 33 per cent reservation to females in legislatures a number of times.

Also Read: U.N. Agencies Running Out of Money for Essential Relief Activities, Yemen’s Children Continue To Suffer

The Congress made the pledge in its manifestos in 2019, 2014 and 2009. The BJP too made the promise in 2014 and now. The Communist Party of India-Marxist also promised the reservation in its manifestos in 1999, 2009 and 2019.

But none of the political parties could implement the promise and the number of women MPs was not even able to reach one-fourth members in the House. (IANS)

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Google Doodle Focuses on Lok Sabha Polls in India

You can press NOTA, None of the Above, if you don't like any candidate; it's the last button on the EVM

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Google, Main One, russia
A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google  on Thursday marked the beginning of the general elections in India with a doodle that featured an inked finger, which when clicked led users to a page explaining the voting procedure.

This doodle’s reach was only for India where the world’s largest democratic exercise kicked off earlier in the day.

The interactive doodle page contained information to help the first-time voters in the country.

People with their names in the voter list (also known as Electoral Roll) could only cast their vote, it said. Voters could also find information on polling booths, contesting candidates, election dates and timings, identity cards and Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).

Voting for the 543 Lok Sabha seats would be held in seven phases: April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting would take place on May 23.

Ninety-one Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states and two Union Territories were voting in the first-phase on Thursday.

Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Telangana will vote in a single phase.

Voting will also be held in parts of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

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FILE – The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

The doodle explained the voting process at a polling booth and also gave several details:

*First polling official will check your name on the voter list and check your ID proof

*Second polling official will ink your finger, give you a slip and take your signature on a register (Form 17A)

*You will have to deposit the slip at the third polling official and show your inked finger and then proceed to the polling booth.

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*Record your vote by pressing the ballot button opposite the symbol of the candidate of your choice on the EVM; You will hear a beep sound

*Check the slip that appears in the transparent window of the VVPAT machine. The slip with the Candidate serial No., Name and Symbol shall be visible for 7 seconds before it drops in the sealed VVPAT box

*You can press NOTA, None of the Above, if you don’t like any candidate; it’s the last button on the EVM. (IANS)

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