NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls.
An order was passed in response to a contempt plea, which has raised the issue of criminalisation of politics and claimed that the directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict relating to disclosure of criminal antecedents of political candidates were not being followed.
A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman also directed that political parties will publish these details on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.
The court directed political parties to submit a compliance report in this regard to the Election Commission within 72 hours of selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them. In case of failure, the EC shall bring it to the notice of the apex court, the SC added.
“If parties fail to comply with its directions on candidates with pending criminal cases, Election Commission (EC) shall bring it to notice of apex court,” the top court said while adding that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in last four general elections.
“The reason to select candidates should be based on merit and not winnability. Winnability can’t be the only justification,” the apex court added.
The apex court further said that parties will have to submit a report of compliance to EC within 74 hours of selecting a candidate with pending criminal cases.
It also directed that the EC shall bring it to the notice of the apex court in case of failure of political parties to comply with its directions.
The Election Commission had earlier told the apex court that 24 per cent of MPs had a criminal record in 2004 which had gone up to 34 per cent in 2014.
A study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-government organisation working on electoral reforms, had shown that nearly 43% of the members of the Lok Sabha face criminal charges.
The study showed that a total of 462 more candidates contesting in Lok Sabha elections 2019 had declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, as compared to 2009.
“Out of the 7,928 candidates analysed in Lok Sabha 2019, 1,500 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves,” the report had stated.
In September 2018, a five-judge constitution bench had asked the central government to immediately enact laws to ban those involved in serious crimes from contesting elections and becoming party officials.
BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay had filed a contempt petition against the central government and the Election Commission, alleging that no serious efforts were made to stop the criminalization of politics despite the court order.
The Election Commission had said during arguments that the court order to publish criminal details of the candidates was not having any impact and political parties must be directed not to give tickets to people with criminal cases.
The court had earlier even ordered that candidates publish their criminal details in the newspaper thrice after filing their nomination. The petitioner had alleged that the Election Commission had not attempted to implement this order effectively.
It is hard to tell whether today’s order on “merit over winnability” can be realistically enforced, say political leaders, referring to years of attempts to clean up politics.
PM SVANIDHI: MoHUA And Swiggy To Take Street Food Vendors Online
Programme is launched with a pilot in five cities – Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi.
NEW DELHI: As a part of Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has entered into an MoU with Swiggy, the leading food ordering and delivery platform in India, to onboard street food vendors on its e-commerce platform, giving them online access to thousands of consumers and help these vendors grow their businesses.
The MoU was exchanged by, Joint Secretary Sanjay Kumar and Chief Financial Officer, Swiggy Rahul Bothra, through webinar in the presence of officials of Swiggy and Ministry. Municipal Commissioners of Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi also participated in the ceremony through video conferencing facility.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic where physical distancing is the key to check it’s spread, this novel initiative aims to radically transform the business of Street Vendors across cities, by facilitating them to receive orders and serve customers using online mode of business.
In a first of its kind initiative, MoHUA has coordinated with the key stakeholders including Municipal Corporations, FSSAI, Swiggy and GST officials to ensure that necessary prerequisites are completed for this initiative.
To begin with, MoHUA and Swiggy will run a pilot program by on-boarding 250 vendors across five cities namely – Ahmadabad, Chennai, Delhi, Indore, and Varanasi.
The street vendors will be helped with PAN and FSSAI registration, training on technology/ partner app usage, menu digitization and pricing, hygiene and packaging best practices.
Upon the successful completion of the pilot, MoHUA and Swiggy plan to expand this initiative across the country in phases.
This partnership is seen as yet another move by MoHUA to empower street vendors with digital technology and facilitate greater income-earning opportunities by being present on a popular e-commerce platform like Swiggy.
During the ceremony, Secretary, HUA also launched the updated and modified version of PM SVANidhi Dashboard, which facilitates users not only with a better granular view of the Scheme’s performance but also with additional tools for comparisons.
The Ministry is implementing PM SVANidhi Scheme since June 01, 2020, for providing affordable working capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown.
This scheme targets to benefit over 50 lakh Street Vendors who had been vending on or before March 24, 2020, in urban areas including those from surrounding peri-urban/ rural areas.
Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.
On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on a quarterly basis. There will be no penalty on early repayment of the loan.
The scheme promotes digital transactions through cash-back incentives up to an amount of Rs. 1,200 per annum.
The vendors can fulfil their aspiration of climbing up the economic ladder by availing the facility of the enhanced credit limit on timely/ early repayment of the loan.
As on October 4, 2020, over 20 lakh loan applications have been received under the PM SVANidhi Scheme. Out of these over 7.5 lakh loans have been sanctioned and over 2.4 lakh loans disbursed.
Over 99% Indian Cities Now Open Defecation Free
12 Crore Citizens Participated in Swachh Survekshan 2020.
NEW DELHI: The government today said that more than 99 per cent of the cities across the country have become Open Defecation Free, ODF. Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry today celebrated six glorious years of Swachh Bharat Mission – urban and organised a webinar on ‘Swachhata ke 6 saal, Bemisaal‘.
From zero ODF states and cities in 2014, more than 97 per cent of Indian cities have now become ODF.
Similarly, from a meagre 18 per cent of solid waste processing in 2014, now up to 67 per cent of solid waste is being processed, and more than 77 per cent wards are practising source segregation.
It was a mammoth task but a determined political leadership and a Jan Andolan literally transformed the landscape. I feel immensely proud, as well as humbled, to see how every citizen of urban India has come together to make that dream a tangible reality. pic.twitter.com/mK4dgBYb4g
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) October 2, 2020
Speaking on the occasion, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, it is time to reaffirm pledge for Swachhatam Bharat, Swasthatam Bharat – Cleaner and healthier India.
He said that this spirit of Jan Andolan and Jan Bhagidari is exemplified by the Swachh Survekshan 2020 in which over 12 crores of citizens have participated in the survey. The Minister said, when Swachh Bharat Mission- urban was launched in 2014, it was with the vision of achieving Clean India by 2nd October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of MK Gandhi.
The event also saw select states and cities such as Uttarakhand, Kerala, Imphal, Dungarpur, Khargone etc their experiences of the past six years and chalking out the next steps towards a Swachhatam Bharat.
Participants also got the opportunity to listen to the experiences of SBM-U’s development partners that include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), GIZ, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). A series of key publications were also launched by the Ministry.
While the document ‘Frontline Stories of Resilience: India’s Sanitation Champions’ compiled by the National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (NFSSM) Alliance presents inspirational stories of sanitation workers from across the country, the ‘COVID Diaries: Responses of Indian Cities to COVID-19’ by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) documents a range of actions and initiatives taken by Indian cities during the first four months of lockdown period of Covid-19 and provides a Resilient Urban Sanitation Response (RUSR) Framework, which can be applied by cities in responding to the pandemic situation.
Along with this, the Minister also released the ‘Almanac of Waste Management Practices’, a compendium of best practices and innovative case studies in SWM. Capacity building of officials and staff of ULBs has been an integral part of the Mission.
As part of this endeavour, the Ministry, with the help of National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) has conducted over 150 workshops across India witnessing the participation of over 6000 officials representing over 3200 ULBs since 2016.
The interactive SBM-U portal developed by NIUA documents the learnings from these workshops. Safety of sanitation workers, the frontline Swachhata Warriors of the Mission has always been a key focus under the Mission.
In an effort to sensitize ULBs for taking immediate interventions to reduce vulnerabilities of sanitation workers and safeguard their rights., the Ministry also released a Ready Reckoner for Ensuring Safety of Sanitation Workers prepared by the Urban Management Centre (UMC).
The Sanitation Mapping Tool developed by UMC to help ULBs to make their public and community toilets (PT/ CT) ODF+ was also launched by the Ministry.
J&K Approves Re-Allocation Of Nearly 2,000 Posts For Kashmiri Hindus (‘Pandits’)
The recruitment will be conducted only on the basis of written or skill tests for suitable candidates.
NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council on Wednesday approved re-allocation of nearly 2,000 posts for Kashmiri Pandits who want to settle in the Valley, PTI reported. This was done under the prime minister’s package for the community.
“The administrative council, which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today, approved the re-allocation of 1,997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the prime minister’s package,” a government spokesperson said.
This re-allocation is part of the 3,000 posts announced in 2015. So far, only 806 applicants have been selected and 1,997 positions remain vacant.
The Administrative Council (AC) which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, today approved the re-allocation of 1997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the Prime Minister’s Package.
Recruitment toPM package posts accelerated
AC which met under the chairmanship ofLG @manojsinha_ approves re-allocation of1997unfilled supernumerary posts to 6 simple categories;both registered Kashmiri migrants &non migrant Kashmiri Pandits,willing to settle down in Kmr eligible pic.twitter.com/ETWxLAdMx4
— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) September 23, 2020
Admn.council which met under the chairmanship of LG @manojsinha_ approves conduct of elections to vacant Sarpanch/Panch constituencies;13,257 positions vacant.1,089 Sarpanch &12,168 Panch positions to be filled; non functional panchayats to be made functional.
— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) September 23, 2020
The Administrative Council also approved conducting the recruitment only on the basis of written test/skill test, without viva-voce, for the selection of suitable candidates through the J&K Services Selection Board within six months of the referral of posts by the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, and Rehabilitation & Reconstruction.
The re-allocated posts include posts of Sub Inspector Commercial Taxes and Assistant Compiler in Finance Department (997), Field Assistant, Field Supervisor (Mushroom) and Assistant Store Keeper in Agriculture, Production & Farmers Welfare Department (150), and Depot Assistant in Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department (300), and Class IV in Revenue Department (550).
In order to fast track the recruitments, the posts have been allocated with simpler recruitment rules based on Graduation based; Higher Secondary based and Matric based qualification criteria.
The decision of re-allocation of the unfilled posts is aimed at accelerating the recruitment under the PM’s package and the benefits of employment to Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits.
Kashmir Valley’s largest group of the community, the Kashmir Pandit Sangharsh Samiti on Tuesday claimed that it was being harassed and their concerns were not being addressed by the local administration.
In a statement released, the group said, “Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR&R) Department is punishing left out (Non-Migrant) Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus for staying back in Kashmir Valley. Since abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A we the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley are facing harassment and isolation at the hands of Relief Department. Despite multiple directions from Hon’ble High Court and recommendations from the Central Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Relief Department is playing with the life and security of the Non-Migrant Kashmiri Pandits – Kashmiri Hindus living in Kashmir Valley.”
The group’s chief Sanjay Tickoo announced that he would begin a fast-unto-death until their demands were met.
The association’s main demands included 500 government jobs, which it said were promised to the community during a High Court ruling in 2016.
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