HD Kumaraswamy And Siddaramaiah

Sonia, Rahul Lead Protest On Karnataka

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Thursday led a protest of Congress lawmakers against the political crisis in Karnataka and Goa. Party members protested in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament complex holding ‘Save Democracy’ banners.

“We are protesting against Karnataka and Goa issue,” Rahul Gandhi told ANI.

Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, Shashi Tharoor, Gaurav Gogoi, and many others joined the demonstrating lawmakers who raised slogans while carrying black and white banners.

Commenting on the political crisis in Karnataka and Goa, Thiruvananthapuram lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, “This is absolutely a murder of democracy and assault on the Constitution.”

“If BJP’s idea is to try to induce people to join BJP one way or the other, are they trying to turn the country it into a one-party state?” Tharoor questioned.

But that is not the Constitution’s vision is, its vision is that in a democracy somebody will lose, he added.

As per sources in the party, Congress had called a parliamentary party meeting under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi where all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs were present.

Congress is talking to other opposition parties to come and support them over the recent political crisis in Karnataka and Goa, sources added.

Congress party which is grappling for survival in Karnataka suffered yet another blow after 10 of its MLAs in Goa joined the BJP on Wednesday.


Namami Gange Project

Ganga Gets A Breath Of Life In Kanpur

With the launch of the Namami Gange Programme that aims to clean and rejuvenate Ganga, 13 out of 16 major drains in Kanpur have been completely tapped and the sewage and industrial effluent has been diverted to Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs).

Located on the west bank of river Ganga, Kanpur is a densely populated city famous for its leather industries. The city produces an estimated 450 million litres of municipal sewage and industrial effluent daily, a majority of which was flowing directly into the holy river until recently.

In November 2018, a century-old Sisamau drain, which produces over 140 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, was completely stopped from discharging sewage into the Ganga. This was the biggest drain-tapping initiative undertaken at a cost of over Rs. 60 crore.

The sewage has been diverted via pipelines to two sewage treatments plants (STPs) on the outskirts of the city – 80 million litres a day to Bhingawan STP and 60 MLD to Jajmau STP.

The tapping of major drains in Kanpur is a big achievement to keep the holy river and its tributaries clean.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General of National Mission for Clean Ganga, said, “In Kanpur, there are two rivers – Ganga and Pandu. Six drains go to Pandu River and 16 rivers come to Ganga. On both sides, drains have been tapped. Now, we are left with three drains flowing into Ganga and three into Pandu.”

“We have sanctioned new STP as part of one city, one operator concept. Whichever drains have not been tapped are part of that project. There is integrated planning so that drains flowing into either Pandu or Ganga rivers are all tapped. Major drains have already been tapped,” he added.

Under the AMRUT Scheme, sewer infrastructure will be developed for houses located on the banks of Ganga by 2020 so that the household waste does not flow directly into the river.

“The level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in Ganga has improved. Several drains have also been closed. After the implementation of a Rs.370 crore project to connect houses located on the banks of Ganga through sewage, there will be a lot of improvement. We are also controlling tannery waste,” said Ghanshyam Dwivedi, Project Manager – Ganga Pollution Control Unit at Jal Nigam in Kanpur.

Hailed as the “leather city of the world”, Kanpur has 400 small, medium and big tanneries, many of which are over a century old.

With the launch of Namami Gange programme, stringent action against these tanneries has been taken so that no effluents flow into the river.

Select big tanneries have set-up personal effluent treatment plants that filter out some of the solid waste such as remnants of animal skin, sludge and excreta. From here, the partially processed waste is sent for further treatment to a large common effluent treatment plant (CETP).

Mohammad Moin Lari, Partner, Northern Tannery at Jajmau in Kanpur, said wastewater from tanneries is going through the CETP’s conveyor system. “In our factory, we treat our wastewater and then send it to CETP for further treatment. Almost every tannery follows this process,” he added.

In Jajmau, 36 MLD common effluent treatment plant exists, out of which 9 MLD is dedicated to treating the effluent coming from tanneries.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga has approved another 20 MLD CETP at an estimated cost of Rs. 554 crore for the treatment of tannery wastewater. It is estimated to be functional by the end of 2020.

“For medium term and long term improvement, a new plant is under construction. For that, we are insisting that the Jajmau Tannery Association takes an active part in the construction. Ultimately, it is their thing. In fact, they are supposed to invest maximum money for construction for which 75 per cent of the money is given by NMCG. So, we are giving them financial help to get it constructed. Naturally, we would expect very strict compliance of all the things for which we are giving them help. The least we expect from the industry is to have self-control and cooperate with the enforcement machinery,” said Mishra.

Asok Kumar, Executive Director (Projects) at National Mission for Clean Ganga said, “We have started a new STP to treat the effluents keeping in mind the population of 2035. Kanpur, which has a heavy load of industrial effluents, is also being tackled to get clean water to the Ganga”.

The government’s efforts by restricting the flow of urban sewage and industrial effluents from cities like Kanpur will help keep the holy river clean.



Union Budget – ‘Tax-Payers Overburdened’


Income tax payer community feels shortchanged by the Union Budget 2019-20 as they feel that instead of bringing more people into the tax net to increase earnings, successive governments have only taxed the organized sector professionals.


Govt Bans 'Pak-Backed' Sikhs For Justice

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday declared “Sikhs for Justice (SFJ)” as an unlawful association under provision 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967, sources in Ministry of Home Affairs said.

Sources said that Centre took the decision to call SFJ an unlawful association in consultation with state governments, including Punjab. Major Sikh bodies also raised alarm over secessionist activities of SFJ and so the government decided to curb the potential threat.

SFJ and its secessionist campaign referendum 2O20 is supported by Pakistan, sources added.

MHA sources told ANI that official website of SFJ biz ‘www.sikhforjustice.org’ and referendum 2020 biz ‘www.2020referendum.org’ were sharing and sourcing content from a Karachi based websites of a number of SFJ activists including Guruswamy Singh Punnu.

12 cases have been filed against the SFJ, while 39 people associated with the organization have been arrested by various security agencies. Many social media handles of the organisation have also been blocked.

SFJ wanted to use Kartarpur Corridor for propagating their secessionist ideology, sources said while adding that there is no concrete evidence that Pakistan has curbed or banned the group.

India is likely to raise the issue regarding security and safety of pilgrims during Kartarpur talks on July 14.

Punjab Police and National Investigative Agency (NIA) busted several modules of SFJ indulging in various subversive activities in Punjab. The probe revealed that activists were radicalised and funded by foreign-based SFJ handlers Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Harmeet Singh, Paramjit Singh Pamma.

Paramjit Singh Pamma was seen during India-England World Cup match. He is also associated with Sikhs for Justice, said MHA sources.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh welcomed the Union Government’s decision to ban SFJ and dubbing it as an unlawful organisation.

In a statement, Punjab CMO said, “CM Captain Amarinder Singh has hailed the Govt of India’s decision to ban Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) as an unlawful association, describing it as the first step towards protecting the nation from the anti-India/secessionist designs of ISI-backed organisation.”


India Win CWC19 ODI Against Pakistan

India Crash Out Of Cricket World Cup

All-round New Zealand ended India’s campaign at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup as they beat the Virat Kohli-led Men in Blue by 18 runs in the first semi-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Chasing a moderate target of 240 runs, India got off to a horrendous start as New Zealand rattled the top-order. Matt Henry got Rohit Sharma (1) caught behind while Virat Kohli (1) got leg-before off Trent Boult’s delivery. Henry returned and engulfed KL Rahul (1), who was also caught behind.

Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik tried to settle in and played cautiously. However, New Zealand piled on the misery as Jimmy Neesham caught a brilliant catch in the gully to see off Karthik (6) off Henry. Pant found support in Hardik Pandya and the duo added 47 runs for the fifth wicket.

Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson brought in Mitchell Santner and the latter did not disappoint as the spinner dismissed Pant (32). Santner returned and sent Pandya (32) back to the pavilion, reducing India to 92/6 after 30.3 overs.

MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja rebuild India’s innings as the duo added 116 runs. Dhoni assumed the role of second fiddle to Jadeja, who played aggressive shots from ball one and along the way completed his fifty. Boult tilted the table and again put India under pressure as dismissed Jadeja (77), who played a skier and gave a comfortable catch to Williamson at long off.

As the onus shifted on Dhoni, Martin Guptill pulled off a brilliant run out and dismissed Dhoni (50). When India needed 24 runs off nine balls, Lockie Ferguson bowled Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a duck and Neesham completed the formalities as he got Yuzvendra Chahal (5) caught behind. India wrapped up on 221 after 49.3 overs.

Earlier, Ross Taylor and Williamson dragged New Zealand to post 239 runs for the loss of eight wickets in a rain-hit innings after electing to bat first.

On the reserve day, Taylor and Tom Latham, who were stranded on 67 and 3 after 46.1 overs on Tuesday due to rain interruption, tried to carry forward the innings at 211/5. However, India had another plan as Jadeja run out Taylor (74) off Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery.

The tail-enders added 28 runs to the scoreboard to finally finish their 50-over quota. Along the way, New Zealand two more wickets as Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid of Latham (10) and Matt Henry (1). Boult and Santner remained unbeaten on 3 and 9, respectively.


HD Kumaraswamy And Siddaramaiah

8 Resignations Invalid: Karnataka Speaker

The political crisis in Karnataka showed no signs of resolution with Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar appearing to be in no hurry to take a decision on the resignation of 13 Congress and JD(S) MLAs saying eight of the resignations were not in order.

Talking to the media, he said he has called five MLAs whose resignations were in order for personal hearing before him. Three of them have been called on July 12 and the other two on July 15 because of the intervening holidays on Saturday and Sunday.

Kumar made it clear that he would be transparent and follow the constitution strictly.

He said 13 MLAs had given their resignations to his office when he was not there. They had not sought an appointment and came to his office after he had left for some personal work, last Saturday.

“Of the 13 resignations, eight are not in prescribed format under Rule 202 of the Karnataka Assembly Rules of Procedure. The remaining five, I have called them to satisfy myself (that their resignations were voluntary),” he said.

The three called on July 12 include Anand Singh and Narayana Gowda and on July 15th, it will be Ramalinga Reddy and K Gopaliah. They have been called in the order of their resignations, he said.

“Constitution is my leader. I am a follower of nobody, not a leader of anybody,” he said in reply to the questions and refused to reveal the course of action he would follow on the resignations.

He said that he has received a petition form the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Siddaramiah and state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao, seeking disqualification of the dissident MLAs. The process of inquiry is on in this regard, he said.

“I have given them an opportunity on July 11 to place whatever material they have. I can even give them other opportunity before taking any action,” he said.

Kumar said that he got a communication from the Governor Vajubhai Vala telling him that he had received the resignatiion of the dissident MLAs and that action must be taken at the Speaker’s end on them.

He also received another communication from the Governor that two more Independent MLAs who are ministers have resigned from the government. “There is no room for me to act on this because it was for the Chief Minister to accept it. I don’t know why the Governor sent me the letter,” he said.

Kumar said he had also no role to play on an Independent MLA declaring in a letter withdrawing support from the government and extending it to the BJP.

The 13-month old Congress-JDS government slumped into crisis following the resignation of 11 MLAs from the membership of the state Assembly on Saturday.



Union Budget – ‘Govt Is On Right Track’


Even as the middle class found nothing enthusiastic in the Union Budget, presented by Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, finance professionals believe the vision document is in continuation with the Modi government’s declared policies.


Is Congress Really Rudderless?

Irrespective of who takes over as the new Congress president, the biggest hurdle the new incumbent will face is that of acceptability within the party

There appears to be a large sink hole developing in Congress as Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that he is firm on stepping down as president, The party is gradually coming to terms with the fact it will no longer be headed by a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

The party is like a family of nursery age children left at home for days without parents. But it does not appear they will be orphaned. They will soon be fostered to a caretaker handpicked ‘headmaster’ and Mummy and Daddy will be at hand nearby.

It is not easy for the Congress to grasp this new reality as it has, over the years, become heavily dependent on the First Family. The party relies on the family to win them elections and also to keep it united. It appears to be headless at the moment, at least in the public eye.

There is no doubt that the Congress will soon have a new president. The process of consultations to find a consensus candidate has been kickstarted and the party’s highest decision-making body- the Congress Working Committee – will be scheduled within a week or ten days to appoint the next party president.

Several names are doing the rounds. Mallikarjun Kharge, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Ashok Gehlot, and Anand Sharma are said to be in contention but there is no final decision has been taken.

While there is no room for any ambiguity that the Congress will now be headed by someone who does not belong the party’s first family, there is no clarity on the role of the Gandhis in the new set-up. More importantly, questions are being asked if the Gandhis are ready to relinquish their control over the party.

In the four-page letter he penned announcing his resignation, Rahul Gandhi said  several leaders had suggested that he name his successor but  he did not wish to get involved in the process and wanted the party to take this decision. Congress insiders insist the Gandhis have made it known that they intended to stay away from managing party affairs and that it is now for the others to shoulder this responsibility.

However, this does not mean that the Gandhis will turn their backs on the party. They have told their colleagues that they will be always to there for the party. In his four-page resignation letter, Rahul Gandhi also clarified that though he would no longer be heading the party, he would continue to fight for the ideals of the Congress. He also said he will be available to the party whenever it requires his services or advice. The Nehru-Gandhi scion is planning to embark on a padyatra across the country to create awareness about the Congress philosophy and position himself as an ideologue.

While Rahul Gandhi will be very much on the job, Sonia Gandhi will also contribute her bit.  As chairperson of the Congress Parliamentary Party she has been mandated to appoint leaders in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and also to coordinate with other opposition parties on specific issues. She is also authorized to call regular meetings with MPs to decide on the party’s Parliamentary strategy. Then again, the family’s latest entrant into politics – Priyanka Gandhi Vadra – also has a seat on the high table. As party general secretary, she is a member of the Congress Working Committee.

What this essentially means is that the Gandhis are very much around and are unlikely to fade away or allow the party to slip out of their control. The family has too much at stake and cannot afford to walk away without a backward look.

In fact, it is an accepted fact that the new party president will be picked by the Gandhis as they would like to  keep one foot in the door in case the Congress experiment with a non-Gandhi  fizzles out.  Senior Congress leaders privately admit that it is entirely possible that Rahul Gandhi could return as party president after a couple of years but not before that. However, they also acknowledge that the Congress needs the Gandhis as the party would collapse without them.

This has raised apprehensions in the party that the new president will not be able to take independent decisions and function autonomously. In fact, many leaders are wary of taking on this responsibility in view of the experience of previous non-Gandhi Congress chiefs like P.V.Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesari who were booted out unceremoniously.

Irrespective of who takes over as the new Congress president, the new incumbent has a daunting task ahead. The biggest hurdle he faces is that of acceptability within the party and ensuring that he is able to discharge his responsibilities effectively. The “to do” list is endless. To begin with, the morale of the Congress cadre needs an urgent boost, the party organization has to be overhauled and strengthened, the internal wrangling in the state units dealt with forthwith and greater ideological clarity provided to the rank and file.

It is not an easy job given the constraints facing the new President. Unlike the Gandhis, who were insulated from internal criticism as these attacks were generally targeted at their team members, the next Congress chief will not enjoy this luxury. He will be constantly under the scanner and will be in the direct line of fire from in house rebels and critics.

Years ago, a senior Congress leader had once told a disgruntled office bearer to understand that “the Congress is a Nehru-Gandhi party.” The new party chief will soon find out if the Congress has outgrown the First Family or the cadre continues to look up to it for patronage and political survival.