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LG directs Chief Secretary to Recover 97 Crores from AAP which it allegedly Splurged on Advertisements

LG also ordered an inquiry into the spendings on advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party and asked the chief secretary to fix responsibility

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AAP
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.

New Delhi, March 29, 2017: A stumbling block to the Kejriwal’s benevolence, Lt Governor Anil Baijal directed the Chief secretary to retrieve 97 crores which AAP government allegedly splurged on the advertisements violating the protocols mandated by the Supreme Court of India. Going a step further, LG adjured to set up an inquiry on the expenditure over advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party.

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The AAP has been given a month of the deadline to indemnify the fund. The move comes months after a Centre-appointed three-member committee arraign the AAP government for spending public money inappropriately on the advertisements.

Sources told PTI that out of Rs 97 crore incurred on advertisements, government has so far paid Rs 42 crore to ad agencies and the LG has directed Chief Secretary M M Kutty to get the amount reimbursed from the AAP.

According to PTI, the government up till now has settled 42 crores to ad agencies out of the 97 crores claimed to be expended on the advertisements.

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The rest of Rs 55 crore, which is yet to be paid by the Kejriwal government, would be given by Aam Aadmi Party to the ad agencies, according to the LG’s directions.

On the directives of Supreme court, the I&B ministry constituted a three-member committee last year, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon to probe into the matters associated with the regulation of content in government advertising.

“The Lt Governor has now directed the Chief Secretary to get the amount of Rs 97 crore from Aam Aadmi Party,” a source said.

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The recent findings in a report by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) suggest that the Aam Aadmi party government has spent 29 crores of money into advertisement releasing outside Delhi which is beyond its governing perimeter.

In addition, the CAG report indicts AAP for releasing advertisements worth 24 crores in violation of financial propriety and Supreme Court regulations.

The report by CAG was produced before Delhi Assembly on March 10.

The AAP Government had rejected the report. Last year, the committee had received a complaint from Congress leader Ajay Maken accusing the AAP government in Delhi of splurging public money on advertisements.

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In its order in September last year, the panel had said, “It came to the conclusion that the Government of NCT of Delhi has violated guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in six of the nine areas listed by the complainant”.
The violations include “outstation advertisements, false/misleading advertisements, advertisements for self- glorification and to target political opponents, advertisements against media, advertisements mentioning the party in power by name and also advertisements issued on incidents occurring in other states.”

The ordeal by the committee which came out in September 2016 states, “It came to the conclusion that the Government of NCT of Delhi has violated guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in six of the nine areas listed by the complainant”.
The violations include “outstation advertisements, false/misleading advertisements, advertisements for self- glorification and to target political opponents, advertisements against media, advertisements mentioning the party in power by name and also advertisements issued on incidents occurring in other states.”

In its order, the panel which also comprised Advertising titan Piyush Pandey and revered journalist Rajat Sharma had said that AAP should be made to reimburse the expenditure since the violation of the Supreme Court order of May 13, 2015, has taken place.

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Stating further that the evaluation of the expenditure over advertisements should be concluded by the Delhi government, the panel directed Delhi government to assess expenditure incurred by it in issuing advertisements outside the territory of Delhi on the occasion of various anniversaries (except those tender or appointment advertisements which are outside the purview of the Supreme Court laid guidelines in a judgment delivered in May 2015).

It had directed that the Delhi government assess expenditure on those advertisements or advertorials in which the name of Aam Admi Party is mentioned, which publicized the views of the Chief Minister on incidents that took place in other states, and advertisements which targeted the opposition.

“The committee further directs the Government of NCT of Delhi to get the entire expenditure so incurred on the above-mentioned category of advertisements reimbursed to the State exchequer from the Aam Admi Party,” the order of the Committee on Content Regulation of government advertisements had held.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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