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States not bothered about welfare of widows and women: SC

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New Delhi:The Supreme Court slapped fines on eight state governments and pulled them up for “not bothering” about the welfare of widows and destitute women by not heeding to the Centre’s proposal for setting up expert committee to deal with the problem.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also suggested that the Centre should consider framing “one proper and first class” composite scheme by merging a plethora of existing ones, which was accepted by the government.

“If they (states) do not want to do it, they will not do this. If they are not bothered about women of their own state, then what should we do. There are issues raised about gender justice, but they are not bothered. They do not want to do anything,” a seemingly anguished bench said.

 

The top court imposed cost of Rs 50,000 each on Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Odisha and directed them to deposit it within four weeks with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for utilisation in issues related to juvenile justice.

It also slapped cost of Rs 25,000 each on Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttarakhand for giving “incomplete information” to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

During the hearing, the court asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, representing the ministry, about the issue of convergence of several schemes for destitute women and widows.

“Instead of having so many schemes, why don’t you have one proper and first class scheme? Why are there so many schemes,” the bench asked the ASG.

Nadkarni agreed with the issue raised by the bench and said there should be a single composite scheme.

“In our view and the ASG agrees that it may be appropriate if one composite scheme is framed taking the best from all the schemes that are available,” the bench noted in its order and asked the ministry to take initiative in this regard.

The counsel appearing for National Commission for Women (NCW) told the bench that they would extend full support to the ministry on convergence of the schemes.

The bench also dealt with the issue related to temples across the country giving flowers offered by devotees to shelter homes for widows and destitute women for making of perfume, coloured powder r incense sticks to enable them earn a livelihood.

The apex court was informed that only few states have responded on the issue and the ministry and NCW would take up the matter with other states.

The counsel for Uttar Pradesh apprised the court that steps have been initiated by the state for carrying out plastering and other repairs in widow homes there.

The court posted the matter for hearing on July 31.

On February 7, the apex court had observed that state authorities did not appear to be interested in the welfare of widows and stressed on the need for a combined effort to improve their condition.

The top court had earlier taken note of the “pathetic” condition of widows after a plea was filed in 2007 highlighting how they lived in welfare homes in Vrindavan.

It had referred to various reports filed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), District Legal Services Authority and NCW on the condition of shelter homes for widows in Vrindavan.

One of the reports had said there was lack of proper toilets and bathrooms in the shelter homes, besides poor water and electricity facilities.


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National

‘Mahagathbandhan’ club of ‘nawabs of negativity’: Jaitley

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Mumbai: The opposition “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) is a club of “nawabs of negativity” and the only glue of this diverse grouping is its opposition to one man (Narendra Modi), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

People of an aspirational society which is politically conscious will not buy into this “suicidal” alternative, the senior BJP leader said.

“The nawabs of negativity may come together but that is not something that will carry credibility as far as people are concerned,” Jaitley said, speaking via video link at the CNBC-TV18 India Business Leadership Awards event. During the video call, Jaitley also spoke about the Union Budget.

 

This was the first time Jaitley, now in the US for medical treatment, addressed a gathering since leaving the country on Tuesday.

The setback the ruling BJP suffered in Assembly elections in three heartland states recently (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan) has enthused some opposition leaders about the likely electoral success of such an alternative.

The “mahagathbandhan” has neither the ideological cohesiveness nor a common programme aimed at building the country or an individual leader, Jaitley said.

As against the BJP’s strengths of leadership, decisiveness, performance and potential, the point being put forward by the opposition is of arithmetic, Jaitley highlighted.

In politics, it is not the arithmetic but chemistry which succeeds, he added.

“The premise is that we have politics which is negative in character and the negative politics is we want one man (Narendra Modi) out. On that negativity of wanting one man out, they (Opposition) have come together,” Jaitley said.

Arun Jaitley also said there is a need to elevate the political debate in the run up to the elections and stressed that we cannot afford a “sloganised political debate” where emotional cries take over sound policy.

Without mentioning the promise of farm loan waivers, which the opposition Congress is pitching for, the minister said “sloganised policies” never help the larger interest of the economy and it is the country’s aspirations which will receive a setback in the process.

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Govt compromising national security, why 36 Rafale jets instead of 126: Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday accused the government of compromising national security and asked why it bought only 36 Rafale fighter jets instead of 126 required by the Air Force.

His comments come in the wake of fresh revelations on the Rafale deal in a media report which claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to but 36 aircraft instead of the 126 asked for by the Air Force pushed the price of each jet up by 41.42 per cent.

“In the light of new facts and revelations in THE HINDU, the question gains greater urgency: why did the government buy only 36 Rafale aircraft instead of 126 aircraft required by the Air Force?,” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.

 

“The Government has compromised national security by denying to the Air Force the 7 squadrons (126 aircraft) that it desperately needs,” he said.

Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also took to Twitter to demand answers from Modi on the increased cost of aircraft. “The PM’s unilateral decision to buy 36 Rafales resulted in a price escalation of 41.42 per cent per jet. When will the prime minister answer? he asked.

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No war, but soldiers are dying on borders: Bhagwat

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Nagpur: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said requisite steps need to combat killings on the border, as soldiers are being martyred sans a war-like situation in the country.

“In our country, there is no war at the moment, still people (soldiers) are getting martyred…Because we are not doing our jobs properly. We need to make efforts in this regard. If we want our country to reach the top, then we all should learn to sacrifice,” he said at a gathering here on Thursday.

Furthermore, Bhagwat said the responsibility of safeguarding the country should not be solely shouldered by the Forces.

 

“Everybody has to make efforts in this regard. This is not something for which we can give a contract to somebody. We keep thinking that the government will do it or the army will do it, the police will do it, but it’s not like that, the entire society has to make efforts,” he opined.

Citing the example of Israel, Bhagwat noted: “If one looks closely, after 70 long years, those countries in comparison with India have done better in terms of growth and development. Israel is a classic example. The natives were weed out before the 19 c. But citizens there gradually came back to their country and started their businesses, trade etc. Finally, in 1948 they got independence.”

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