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BUDGET 2007-08: HIGHLIGHTS
GROSS BUDGETARY SUPPORT FOR PLAN TO BE INCREASED TO RS. 205,100 CRORE FROM RS. 172,728 CRORE
NON-PLAN EXPENDITURE TO GO UP BY 6.5% TO RS. 435,421 CRORE
ALLOCATION FOR BHARAT NIRMAN INCREASED BY 31.6% TO RS. 24,603 CRORE
ALLOCATION FOR EDUCATION INCREASED BY 34.2% AND FOR HEALTH & FAMILY WELFARE BY 21.9%
MID-DAY MEAL SCHEME TO COVER CHILDREN OF UPPER PRIMARY CLASSES IN 3,427 EDUCATIONALLY BACKWARD BLOCKS
NATIONAL MEANS-CUM-MERIT SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME INTRODUCED FOR STUDENTS FROM CLASS IX TO XII; 100,000 SCHOLARSHIPS TO BE AWARDED EVERY YEAR
NATIONAL RURAL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEE SCHEME TO BE EXPANDED FROM THE CURRENT 200 TO 330 DISTRICTS
ALLOCATION FOR SCs AND STs SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASED PROVISION OF RS. 108 CRORE FOR MULTI-SECTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME IN DISTRICTS WITH CONCENTRATION OF MINORITIES
INTEREST SUBVENTION SCHEME FOR SHORT-TERM CROP LOANS TO CONTINUE
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE SCHEME TO CONTINUE IN PRESENT FORM
DEATH AND DISABILITY INSURANCE COVER THROUGH LIC TO BE EXTENDED TO RURAL LANDLESS HOUSEHOLDS
UNDER AAM ADMI BIMA YOJANA
LIMIT OF LOANS UNDER DIFFERENTIAL RATE OF INTEREST SCHEME FOR WEAKER SECTIONS RAISED NATIONAL HOUSING BANK TO INTRODUCE REVERSE MORTGAGE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS



No further sealing of Delhi businesses – Supreme Court decides to give final verdict in April

In the wake of Government of India’s submission of its ‘Master Plan for Delhi –2021’ to the Supreme Court, the matter of sealing in Delhi has been temporarily postponed. The Master Plan itself seems to be hotch potch of so many strands of vested interests. How far the plan is going to follow the rules of town planning in the 21st century is yet to be seen. Jaipal Reddy, the minister responsible is confident that the Master Plan 2021 will stand legal scrutiny.



Bentley for Bachchan Junior –Ominous signs for so-called socialist party government in Uttar Pradesh
The farce about the gift of Bentley car to his son by Amitabh Bchchan, the Bollywood icon, gets more hilarious with the entry of Mr. Amar Singh, the general secretary of the Samajwadi party (Socialist) which rules India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. The hefty duty on the car amounting to Rs8.5 million was paid by Mr. Amar Singh, in whose name the car has been registered.Mr. Haroon Yusuf, the Transport Minister in Delhi revealed that the car arrived by air from London on Jan31 and was registered at the Mall Road Transport Authority office in north Delhi on Feb.1. Amar Singh paid the customs duty on the car stating its value as Rs17.6 million.
Amar Singh, a staunch socialist, is not immune to the vagaries of capitalism. So, it seems.


Shilpa Shetty gets work permit to work in the United Kingdom
Winner of the popular reality show ‘Big Brother’ Shilpa has been granted a work permit by the British government with the efforts of Keith Vaz MP from Leicester East. “I am delighted to support her application to stay longer in the UK,” said Keith Vaz.
Meanwhile, Shilpa has sent legal notice to Jasveer ‘Jazz’ Barton and Bobby Khan who claimed to be her ‘agent’ and ‘manager’. She also plans to sue Jazz and Bobby Khan on the charge of defamation and for allegedly misguiding the industry and public regarding Shilpa Shetty. Shilpa ’s spokesperson Dale Bhagwagar asserted in a statement that there was never any contract or agreement signed up with Shilpa by either Jazz Barton or Bobby Khan.


Cauvery Water Dispute -Is it Over?
After 17 years – The Wait is Over.
The tribunal on Cauvery Water Dispute gave its verdict. Tamil Nadu gets 419 tmc ft of water annually. Karnatakqa gets 270 tmc ft. Kerala gets 30 tmc ft and Puducherry gets 7tmcfdt.
The three-member tribunal headed by retired Justice N.P Singh gave their verdict which is being challenged by the two major States involved, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


Mumbai Municipal Elections:
Shiv Sena-BJP alliance wins in Mumbai, Nagpur, and Nashik. The N. C.P of Sharad Pawar beats Congress in Pune.
The victory of Shiv-Sena-BJP alliance will be futile if it is unable to take control of Mumbai from the Congress-NCP combine in the state elections.
Already Shiv Sena’s leader Bal Thackeray has muddled the enthusiasm of the Alliance by criticising President Abdul Kalam on the delay in rejecting the mercy appeal of the terrorist who was given death sentence by the Supreme Court. He should have concentrated more on bringing the lost allies back in the fold of Shiv Sena, especially Raj Thackeray and Narayan Rane, who were his faithful till the other day.


LABOUR EURO MP MEETS KASHMIRI VICTIMS OF TERRORISM

British Hindus deliver a petition at No.10 Downing Street in favour of the Draft Nicholson Report on Kashmir
London – 26 February 2006 – The Indo European Kashmir Forum (IEKF) supported by the Hindu Council UK (HCUK), delivered a petition to the Prime Minister’s office on Friday 16th February to show the UK Hindu community’s support for Baroness Nicholson’s report on Kashmir, as being a truthful, objective and fair report.

The petition was delivered after a silent demonstration opposite No.10 Downing Street against any proposed changes to the report sought by the Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson in the European Parliament, Mr Richard Howitt, MEP.
Earlier following an invitation from Mr Howitt to HCUK , a delegation from HCUK and IEKF met with Mr Howitt to discuss his proposed changes. Mr Howitt tried to persuade the delegation to ratify his changes by exerting undue influence by falsely claiming that the Indian Embassy at Brussels had already given their agreement to him. Later the High Commission of India in London confirmed to the HCUK’s General Secretary that their Brussels Embassy had no record of speaking to Mr Howitt.

The above meeting was attended by
Mrs Krishna Bhan – President of IEKF
Mr Suraj Sehgal – HCUK Director for Defence and Security
Dr Jagdish Sharma – Chairman and Director for Human Rights
The report actually addresses the human tragedy of the recent Earthquake and the displaced 3 million people, violation of human rights, the plight the displaced Hindus from their home land under the ethnic cleansing programme of the Islamists and then the utter folly of an undemocratic regime demanding a plebiscite (referendum) in Kashmir.
After the partition of India in 1947, the Hindu Maharajah of Kashmir acceded the territorial rights to India which were legally ratified by the Viceroy Mountbatten. Pakistan, however, invaded Kashmir and occupied 1/3rd of the territory illegally. Pandit Nehru did not want to fight and in exchange for a ceasefire the UN issued a resolution for a plebiscite among the people of the valley. However in order to ensure a favourable result in a referendum Pakistan waged a proxy war to ethnically cleanse the valley of all Hindus. There are 300,000 Kashmiri Hindu families living in refugee camps in India, with their lands and livelihoods stolen by the Islamists.
Nicholson’s report, therefore, quite rightly points out the invalidity of such a request, not least by virtue of the fact that Pakistan has consistently been ruled through undemocratic means herself. Besides an antiquated resolution can hardly be considered enforceable on an entirely different generation, different political climate.
The carnage on the original inhabitants of this beautiful valley is unprecedented. Their homes, their properties are ravaged, their temples destroyed. Kashmir was known as the fountain head of all spirituality. This was the place where they have recently discovered a lake c.40,000 years ago which is mentioned in the ancient Vedas, where Buddha stayed – Ladhakh province – 700bc, where the original Islamic Sufi saints roamed from the BC’s, Jews have been there since 500bc and according to Kashmiri Hindu records, Jesus Christ spent his missing years there.
We are now in the age of information where truth cannot be suppressed. Baroness Nicholson’s report does verily that. The report will help the current peace process between Pakistan and India since real peace will only last if it’s founded on the principles of truth and humanity. To that end the IEKF and HCUK have offered to look into any genuine amendments sought to this report before the European Parliamentary debate.
The Labour Euro MP responsible for negotiating in the European Parliament about the current draft report drafted on Kashmir, has himself undertaken a nine-day mission to both sides of the Line of Control, to consult all interests in both Indian and Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
Returning yesterday to Brussels, Labour Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Richard Howitt MEP briefed fellow Euro MPs on his visit, and encouraged the Parliament to give more positive support to the current peace process between India and Pakistan, and to support European efforts where these could best be appreciated, including in continuing humanitarian assistance to the victims of the 2005 earthquake.
Richard Howitt MEP spent four days in India, including a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir in which he visited both Srinigar and Jammu, received briefings from the Government, the army and local community organisations, as well as those responsible for earthquake reconstruction efforts.



SHOOTING OF FOREIGN FILMS IN INDIA SIMPLIFIED

Government of India has simplified the procedure for shooting of films by foreigners in India. Processing of the application for granting permission, in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, will normally not take more than three weeks.
If the film requires shooting in sensitive areas of Jammu & Kashmir, North-Eastern India or border areas of the country, etc., the application will be considered for specific approval in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs. In such cases clearing of applications would require more time to process.
Further, if the issue(s) dealt in the feature film relate to communal subjects, human rights, tribal, nuclear and defence related issues or any other issue dealt in the script considered provocative or sensitive from economic/social/political angle, permission would require prior consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs. Government of Pakistan has not lifted ban on Indian films.
This information was given by Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri P. R. Dasmunsi in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

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