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Delhi

India's exports grow by 17.57% to $ 27.70 billion in June, 2017

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India's merchandise exports grew by 17.57 percent to $ 27.70 billion in June, 2017 from $ 23.56 billion in the same month of the previous year.
 
In rupee terms, the exports grew by 23.68% to Rs. 187800.20 crore in June, 2018 as compared to Rs. 151844.56 crore during June, 2017, an official press release said here today.
 
During June 2018, major commodity groups of export which showed high growth over the corresponding month of the previous year were engineering goods (14.9%), petroleum products (52.53%), gems & jewellery (2.72%), organic & inorganic chemicals (30.26%) and drugs & pharmaceuticals (14.71%).
 
The release said the cumulative value of exports for the period April-June, 2018-19 was $ 82.47 billion (Rs 552781.61crore) as against $ 72.21 billion (Rs 465472.04 crore), registering a growth of 14.21% in dollar terms and 18.76% in rupee terms over the same period last year.
 
Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports during June, 2018 were valued at $ 20.13 billion as compared to $ 17.48 billion during June, 2017 exhibiting a positive growth of 15.13%. Non-petroleum and non- gems and jewellery exports during April-June, 2018-19 were valued at $ 59.86 billion as compared to $ 52.71 billion for the corresponding period in 2017-18, an increase of 13.56%.
 
Imports during June, 2018 were valued at $ 44.30 billion (Rs. 300351.83 crore) which was 21.31% higher in dollar terms and 27.61% higher in rupee terms over the level of imports valued at $ 36.52 billion (Rs. 235361.85 crore) in June, 2017. The cumulative value of imports for the period April-June, 2018-19 was $ 127.41 billion (Rs. 854096.98            crore) as against $ 112.26 billion (Rs. 723631.11 crore), registering a growth of 13.49% in dollar terms and 18.03% in rupee terms over the same period last year.
 
Major commodity groups of import which showed high growth in June, 2018 over the corresponding month of last year were petroleum, crude and products (56.61%), electronic goods (14.28%), machinery, electrical & non-electrical (32.83%), coal, coke & briquettes, etc. (26.98%) and organic & inorganic chemicals (24.28%).
 
The release said oil imports during June, 2018 were valued at $ 12.73 billion (Rs. 86270.79 crore) which was 56.61% higher in dollar terms and 64.75 percent higher in rupee terms compared to $ 8.13 billion (Rs. 52363.24 crore) in June, 2017. Oil imports during April-June, 2018-19 were valued at $ 34.64 billion (Rs. 232269.14 crore) which was 49.44%  higher in dollar terms and 55.47% higher in rupee terms compared to $ 23.18 billion (Rs. 149395.90 crore) in the corresponding period last year.
 
It pointed out that the global Brent price ($/bbl) had increased by 60.47% in June, 2018 vis-à-vis June, 2017 as per data available from US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
 
Non-oil imports during June, 2018 were estimated at $ 31.58 billion (Rs. 214081.04 crore) which was 11.20% higher in dollar terms and 16.99%  higher in rupee terms compared to $ 28.40 billion (Rs. 182998.61 crore) in June, 2017. Non-oil imports during April-June, 2018-19 were valued at $ 92.77 billion (Rs. 621827.84 crore), which was 4.14% higher in dollar terms and 8.29% higher in rupee terms compared to $ 89.09 billion (Rs. 574235.21 crore) in April-June, 2017-18.
 
Non-oil and non-gold imports in June, 2018 valued at $ 29.19 billion has recorded a growth of 12.53% as compared to non-oil and non-gold import in June 2017. Non-oil and non-gold imports in April-June, 2018 valued at $ 84.33 billion has recorded a positive growth of 8.37% as compared to non-oil and non-gold import in April-June, 2017.
 
As far as trade in services was concerned, exports during May, 2018, the latest month for which data was available from the Reserve Bank of India, declined by 7.91% to $ $ 16.17 billion (Rs. 109231.47 crore) as compared to growth of 4.33%  during April, 2018.
 
Imports during May, 2018 were valued at $ 10.21 billion (Rs. 68944.22 crore) registering a negative growth of 6.48% in dollar terms as compared to positive growth of 6.18% during April, 2018.
 
The trade deficit for June, 2018 was estimated at $ 16.60 billion as against the deficit of $ 12.96 billion during June, 2017.
 
The trade balance in services for May, 2018 was estimated at $ 5.97 billion.
 
Taking merchandise and services together, the overall trade deficit for April-June, 2018-19 is estimated at $ 32.32 billion as compared to $ 28.55 billion during April-June, 2017-18, the release added.
 
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Heavy rains in Delhi, to continue

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Heavy rains in Delhi and its neighbourhood brought much needed respite to people on Friday, with experts predicting more showers for another few days.
 
The maximum temperature fell by over three degrees, to 34.2 degree Celsius on Friday. This was two notches below the season's average, against 37.8 degrees, two notches above the season's average on Thursday.
 
With over 100 mm of rainfall in some areas, Friday also saw the highest rainfall of this monsoon season, causing water-logging and traffic snarls in many areas in the national capital.
 
Rainfall will continue for two to three days, officials told IANS. 
 
"Delhi will not be dry for at least next seven days. Rains will continue even after two to three days but it won't be heavy and occur at a few pockets rather than the entire region," India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist Kuldeep Srivastava told IANS. 
 
At 118.4 mm by 5.30 pm, Ridge area received highest rainfall in the entire region. Aya Nagar received 71.4 mm, Safadrjung 52.4 mm and Lodhi Road 44.2 mm. 
 
"Rainfall above 37mm is considered heavy," said Mahesh Palawat, director of the private weather forecasting organisation Skymet. 
 
According to IMD, the temperature will remain below 35 degrees for the next seven days.
 
IANS
 
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Fortis bid won by Malaysia's IHH Berhad, to invest Rs 4,000 cr

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Fortis Healthcare on Friday said its board has unanimously accepted a binding offer from IHH Healthcare Berhad of Malaysia to invest Rs 4,000 crore in it by way of preferential allotment at Rs 170 per share.
 
Last week, Fortis said that its board has received binding bids from IHH and TPG-Manipal consortium under the new transaction process. 
 
"The Board of Directors of Fortis Healthcare unanimously decided to recommend the binding investment proposal from IHH Healthcare Berhad to invest Rs 4,000 crore by way of preferential allotment at a price per share of Rs 170," a company statement said here.
 
"The proposal provides for refinance of debt to the extent of Rs 2,500 crore." 
 
The funds infused would be used towards completing the acquisition of assets of the Singapore-listed RHT Health Trust, SRL private equity minority shareholders and short term liquidity needs, the statement added.
 
IHH will make "a mandatory open offer to the public shareholders of Fortis as per the SAST regulations at price which is higher than Rs 170 per share or price determined under SAST regulations for 26 per cent of the outstanding shares post issuance".
 
According to Fortis, in approving the IHH offer, its board considered the merits of both the binding bids and took into account the recommendation of its financial advisors, Standard Chartered Bank and Arpwood Capital and legal advice.
 
Providing the rationale for the decision, the company said the offer from IHH was chosen after considering all key parameters.
 
The offer is at 20 per cent premium to the current market price.
 
"(IHH) offers significant deal certainty given a simpler transaction structure and requirement for fewer approvals and a shorter time-frame and exit opportunity for shareholders given the open offer, in case they desire," Fortis said. 
 
It also "offers potential to achieve scale driven synergies on operational and financing front and integrates Fortis into a large global healthcare platform with potential synergies".
 
Fortis Healthcare Chairman Ravi Rajagopal said: "The IHH proposal offers a more strategically and financially compelling proposition along with simplicity and certainty.
 
"The process was relaunched on May 29 and has been conducted in a fair, time-bound and transparent manner."
 
Following the launch of the new transaction process, Fortis had received bids of four suitors -- Hero Enterprise Investment Office and Burman Family Office, IHH Healthcare Berhand, Radiant Life Care and TPG Asia and Manipal Health Enterprises.
 
However, the Hero Enterprise-Burman Family combine, which had earlier become the preferred bidder, and Radiant Life Care withdrew their bid offers. 
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Former Andhra Pradesh CM N. Kiran Kumar Reddy rejoins Congress

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Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy rejoined the Congress here today, more than four years after he had left the party to protest against the bifurcation of the state in 2014 to carve out the new state of Telangana.
 
Mr. Reddy, 57, met Congress President Rahul Gandhi here this morning and expressed his desire to return to the party, which the latter agreed to.
 
Later, Mr. Reddy formally returned to the party at its headquarters here in the presence of Congress General Secretary and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, the party's in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, its spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, former Union Minister M M Pallam Raju and other leaders.
 
Mr. Reddy was the last Chief Minister of the united Andhra Pradesh before the formation of the Telangana state on June 2, 2014. He had succeeded Mr. K. Rosaiah as Chief Minister in 2011.
 
On February 19, 2014, he had announced his resignation as Chief Minister in protest against the decision of the then Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre to go ahead with its decision to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh as the 29th state of the Union.
 
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He had handed in his papers to Governor E S L Narasimhan a day after, amid noisy schenes, the Lok Sabha had passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, which sought to bifurcate the state to create the new state of Telangana.
 
Mr. Reddy told journalists today that he and his family had been part of the Congress and he could not be separated from the party.
 
Mr. Reddy, who has been elected four times to the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and has also served as its Speaker, said he owed his identity to the Congress. He said he believed it was important to strengthen the hands of Mr. Gandhi and the party at this juncture.
 
According to him, only a Congress government at the Centre could ensure justice for the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and implement the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act in full letter and spirit. He said the present Governments at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh had failed to implement the promises made to the people at the time of the bifurcation of the state.
 
Mr. Chandy said Mr. Reddy's return would strengthen the party and noted that, during his term as Chief Minister, he had done a lot for the development of the state and the welfare of the people, especially the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
 
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ASI permits photography at Centrally protected monuments and sites

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The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has, under an order issued on Thursday, allowed photography within the premises of all Centrally protected monuments and sites in the country, except three.
 
The three monuments and sites in which photography would not be permitted are Ajanta Caves and Leh Palace, which have paintings, and the Mausoleum of Taj Mahal, Agra.
 
The order came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi observed in his speech at the inauguration of ASI's new headquarters building here that it was ironical to restrict tourists from taking photographs at heritage monuments and sites in an age when space technology enables photography of even minute objects from long distances.
 
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Sub-group of CMs on coordination between MGNREGA, Agriculture sector meets

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Five critical areas in which the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) could positively help agriculture were discussed at the first meeting of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on coordination between MGNREGA and Agriculture held at NITI Aayog here on Thursday.
 
The areas included those related to reducing the cost of cultivation, enhancing the production through efficient use of water or other inputs, providing remunerative price to farmers by incentivising aggregation and market infrastructure, rehabilitation of agricultural land and assets after natural hazards or re-plantation using MGNREGA fund and bringing diversification in agriculture to help occupational diversification and maximising profit.
 
Besides, incentivising farm fencing to protect the farmers' fields from wild animals was also suggested, an official press release said.
 
The meeting unanimously decided that all these issues require larger deliberations and wide ranging discussions with all the stakeholders.
 
Accordingly, five regional meetings or workshops would be organized in Patna, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Guwahati and New Delhi for discussions with experts, farmers and other stakeholders along with State Governments.
 
The convener of the Sub-Group, Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath participated in the meeting in person. 
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani joined the deliberations through video conferencing.  
 
Mr N Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal sent their suggestions in writing to the convener of the sub-group.  
 
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Member (Agriculture), NITI Aayog, Prof. Ramesh Chand; Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog; Secretary, Rural Development; Chief Executive Officer, NRAA; and senior officers of NITI Aayog, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh attended the deliberations.
 
At the outset, all the Chief Ministers welcomed the decision taken by the Prime Minister to constitute the Sub-Group for suggesting ways and means about the use of employment under MGNREGS for improving agriculture and reducing costs. They appreciated the role of NITI Aayog in convening the meeting at an early date. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh suggested the use of MGNREGA funds in supplementing labour costs in agriculture and fencing of farmland to protect it from wild animals.
 
The Sub-Group reiterated that while working for coordination, they must ensure the rights of the labourers and maintain the “asset creation’’ spirit of MGNREGA.  
 
NITI Aayog, in consultation with the Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments, will finalise the regional meetings. These regional meetings will be completed before August 15, 2018. The next meeting of the Sub-Group will be held on August 31, the release said.
 
In the 4th Meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister on June 17 at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, a major decision was taken for policy coordination between the agriculture sector and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) particularly in pre-sowing and post-harvest activities at the farmers’ fields.
 
 The Prime Minister constituted Sub Group consisting of Chief Ministers of seven States -- Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Sikkim and Member, NITI Aayog with the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh as the convener of the Sub-Group.
 
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Partly cloudy Friday morning in Delhi

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It was a partly cloudy morning in the national capital on Friday with the minimum temperature recorded at 27.8 degrees Celsius, one notch above the season's average, the weather office said.
 
The Palam observatory recorded 1.3 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours as the Met predicted some rains in the day ahead.
 
"It will be generally cloudy sky with chances of moderate rains likely to occur later in the day," an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.
 
The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 74 per cent. The maximum temperature is likely to hover around 34 degrees Celsius.
 
Thursday's maximum settled at 37.8 degrees Celsius, two notches above the season's average while the minimum was recorded at 28.6 degrees Celsius, one notch above the season's average.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Govt. says use of Aadhaar for Ayushman Bharat benefits 'preferable' but not 'must'

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has said that the use of Aadhaar cards to avail benefits under the Ayushman Bharat -- National Health Protection Mission was "preferable" but not "must".
 
The clarification came in response to reports in a section of the media on Thursday which said the use of Aadhaar card would be a "must" to get benefits of the scheme.
 
An official press release said the notification of the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission being issued by MoHFW under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, merely enables the implementation agencies to ask for the beneficiary's Aadhaar card to authenticate their identity.
 
In order to authenticate the identity of beneficiaries accurately, the use of Aadhaar card is preferable, but it is not a “must”. There shall be no denial of benefit for want of Aadhaar number, it said.
 
“We will provide services to all eligible beneficiaries with or without Aadhaar cards,” Health &  Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda said.
 
The draft notification also provides for exception handling mechanism on the production of alternate identification such as Ration Card, Voter ID Card, MGNREGA Card etc. (as mentioned in the notification) in case the beneficiary does not have an Aadhaar number, the release said.
 
Furthermore, it also makes the implementation agencies accountable for setting up of Aadhaar enrolment centres for the beneficiaries who are not yet enrolled for Aadhaar, at convenient locations.
 
"ABNHPM guidelines on beneficiary identification very clearly state that beneficiaries can bring Aadhar or any other valid government ID(s) decided by the State if they do not have an Aadhaar," the release added.
 
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Indian Army, SBI sign MoU on Defence salary package

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A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence salary package was signed between the Indian Army and the State Bank of India (SBI) here on  Thursday.
 
The signing ceremony was chaired by the Adjutant General Lt Gen Ashwani Kumar and attended by top officials of SBI headed by SBI Managing Director (Retail and Development Banking) PK Gupta.
 
The first MoU between SBI and the Indian Army was signed in 2011 and was renewed on February 23, 2015. The revised MoU is tailor-made to suit the requirements of serving soldiers, pensioners and families, an official press release said.
 
A number of additional facilities have been incorporated in the revised MoU which include free personal accident death cover, free permanent total disablement cover and other accidental benefits to the deceased soldier and family.
 
This MoU will benefit a large number of serving and retired Army personnel who are having their accounts with SBI. It will be valid till January 2019 and continuation thereafter will be subject to review/renewal, the release added.
 
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India feared turning into illiberal democracy: Ansari

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Former Vice President M. Hamid Ansari has said that India is feared to be turning into an illiberal, majoritarian democracy where religious minorities would not be equal citizens but "on sufferance" and underlined that democratic institutions have been "eroded very seriously" in the country.
 
"The basic concept that I have used is what is a liberal democracy and what is an illiberal or ethnic democracy. An illiberal democracy is one which prescribes the limits within which you can be a full national," Ansari said in an interview with NDTV on Thursday, ahead of the release of his latest book "Dare I Ask". 
 
"What is Indian nationalism? Our nationalism is defined by the Indian Constitution. It is inclusive. It includes the entire citizen body. Now an effort is being made to circumscribe that, to say that if you do this you are less of a nationalist. That is when the problem comes in," he added.
 
Asked if he feels that India is feared to be turning into a majoritarian, illiberal democracy, Ansari said: "Yes, yes. There is a good deal of writing on this subject."
 
On Ministers garlanding lynching convicts, he said: "They are sending a message to their core following and to the rest of the citizen body in the country. And that is what is worrying." 
 
Asked if there is indeed a growing unease among the Muslims in India, the former Vice President said: "I think the media is full of reports of incidents which cannot but cause unease. Whatever the reasons might be, wherever the incidents may have happened, but if you take them in their totality, there is a sense of unease."
 
Without naming anyone, he said that if there is violation of law and of constitutional rights of a section of citizens, no person whether "up the ladder or down the ladder" entrusted with the enforcement of law can escape the blame.
 
"The rule of law means what? That before the law everybody is equal and the principles of law would be implemented. That's all. The division of responsibility is well spelt out in our Constitution and administrative system. But you cannot say that 'X' is responsible, 'Y' is not responsible," he said.
 
Commenting on India's foreign policy, Ansari - a career diplomat - observed that series of writings by competent practitioners and observers of Indian diplomacy have expressed concern over the direction of its neighbourhood policy.
 
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"Our general policy by and large is fine. But it's bad in the context of neighbourhood. Ultimately, everybody looks how you are managing your own periphery, your own neighbourhood. Your standing in the world is affected by how you are dealing with your neighbours and I think somewhere we have reached a point of impasse with our neighbours which has to be corrected," he said.
 
Defending Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's remark that if BJP gets another shot at power at the Centre, India would be turned into a "Hindu Pakistan", Ansari said that Tharoor was entitled to draw his conclusions based on the saffron party's well-established texts. 
 
"Mr. Tharoor is an erudite, well-informed man. I think he was commenting on some basic text of a political party. Now if you go to that text and he draws certain conclusions, you can't find fault with him. 
 
"If somebody has said in black and white that if tomorrow I become the ruler of India I will scrap this or scrap that, then people are entitled to draw their conclusions about the implications of scrapping this or that," he said. 
 
Asked how he feels on being trolled on the social media by the hate brigade, Ansari said that he stays away from social media and thus does not get to read the hate messages. 
 
"Ignorance is bliss. I am glad I am not on Twitter. I am quite happy with my level of technology which is end of 20th century but not 21st century," he said.
 
IANS
 
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PM inaugurates new ASI headquarters in New Delhi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Dharohar Bhawan, the new headquarters building of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Tilak Marg here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Modi said ASI has performed significant work over the course of the last 150 years or so.
 
He emphasized the importance of taking pride in the country's history and in its rich archaeological heritage. People should take a lead in knowing about local history and archaeology of their towns, cities and regions.
 
Lessons in local archaeology could form part of the school syllabus. In this context, he also mentioned the importance of well-trained local tourist guides, who are familiar with the history and heritage of their area.
 
Mr. Modi said each archaeological discovery, painstakingly made by archaeologists over long periods of time, has its own story to tell. In this context, he recalled how he and the then French President had travelled to Chandigarh a few years ago, for a first-hand view of archaeological discoveries made by a joint Indo-French team.
 
The Prime Minister said India should showcase its great heritage with pride and confidence to the world.
 
The new headquarters building of ASI has been equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including energy-efficient lighting and rainwater harvesting. It includes a Central Archaeological Library with a collection of about 1.5 lakh books and journals.
 
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Addressing the gathering, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma applauded the efforts of ASI which is now taking care of about 3686 monuments across the country and has also been delivering conservation services in other countries in the world like Afghanistan, Myanmar and Cambodia. Since 2014, the Ministry of Culture has been successful in getting UNESCO recognition for several heritage properties, both tangible and intangible. The Minister added that 40 antiquities have been retrieved from other countries and efforts to bring back 8 to 9 more antiquities are in place.
 
The new building includes a Central Archaeological Library with a collection of about 1.5 lakh books and journals. The library is a unique and valuable treasure trove in India and the world for those who are keen to undertake research work in the field of Archaeology, Religious and Cultural perspective of India, India’s ancient past and allied subjects.
 
The Library is special as it houses authentic records related to archaeology, such as ASI reports and the diaries of Alexander Cunningham (founder of ASI) and John Marshall, which are a great source for researchers throughout the world. It has an original collection of religious books and books on the cultural heritage of India, such as the sacred books on the Hindus, Manusmriti, Kautilya’s Artha Sastra, etc. which are in great demand by the researchers. Original, specific and holistic collection on places of India, such as Kalhan’s Rajtarangini, on Kashmir, History of Gujarat, etc. are also available as are original and rare books on inscriptions, such as Kharosti and Brahmi and a huge collection of rare Tibetan manuscripts.
 
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Final autopsy confirms Delhi family members died of hanging

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The final autopsy report in the mysterious deaths of 11 family members in the capital, released on Thursday, confirmed they all died of hanging and it was a case of mass suicide in a ritual practice by a family suffering from a shared psychological disorder, police said.
 
No occultist or godman has been found involved, a senior police official said.
 
"The board of doctors in the report declared all the family members including septuagenarian Narayani Devi had died of antemortem hanging. The final post-mortem report and eight register entries found from their residence have supported it as a case of suicide pact," said Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, Alok Kumar. 
 
"During investigation, it was also found that all the members hung themselves as per the registers entries' directions. Nine of them were found hanging to iron grills, one at a window in a prayer room and Narayani Devi in a bedroom.
 
"Still the investigation is underway as there is a lot left to investigate in the case. We will soon send viscera samples to FSL and conduct the psychological autopsy to clear the sequence of crime. We are in touch with best psychological experts," he said.
 
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Kumar said no occultist or a godman has been found involved in the chilling deaths that shocked the city. 
 
He said investigators have concluded that one of deceased - Lalit, 45, who ran the plywood store, was the mastermind, and used to dictate how the rituals were to be undertaken and Priyanka, 33, would note it down in a register. 
 
Lalit and other family members believed that Lalit was taking instructions from his father Bopaldas, who died 10 years ago.
 
"As per the register entries, Lalit was possessed by the spirit of his deceased father. It is a case of shared psychological disorder which turned a ritual practice into a mass suicide," the police officer said. 
 
"They believed they won't die and Bopaldas would come to meet them and bestow them with salvation." 
 
The 11 bodies -- seven females and four males -- were recovered from a two-storey house in Burari area of north Delhi on July 1. Ten of them were hanging with their hands tied, mouths gagged and eyes covered with cloth pieces in Sant Nagar.
 
IANS
 
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T C A Raghavan named as Director General of Indian Council of World Affairs

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Former career diplomat T C A Raghavan  has been appointed as the new Director General and ex-officio Member-Secretary of the Indian Council of World Affairs.
 
The appointment was made by Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is the President of ICWA on the basis of a decision taken at the meetings of the Governing Body and the Governing Council of the ICWA here today, an official press release said.
 
The post is equivalent to the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. The appointment will be with effect from July 24, the release said.
 
Dr. Raghavan, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1982 batch, has served as India's High Commissioner to Islamabad and Singapore. He has also served in Indian missions in London, Thimphu and Kuwait.
 
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Modi says Self Help Groups play important role in economic, social advancement of poor

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that Self Help Groups play a very important role in the economic and social advancement of the poor, especially women in the rural areas.

 
Modi hails contribution of Self Help Groups
 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Self Help Groups (SHGs) play a very important role in the economic and social advancement of the poor, especially women in the rural areas.
 
Interacting with members of SHGs across the country and beneficiaries of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY) through a video bridge, he said the number of SHGs had quadrupled over the last four years compared to the 2011-2014 period, generating employment and creating entrepreneurs in rural areas.
 
In three years between 2011 and 2014, only five lakh Self Help Groups were formed covering 52 lakh families whereas an additional 20 lakh Self Help Groups covering 2.25 core families were formed since 2014, he said.
 
The interaction covered more than one crore women representing various SHGs.  This is the ninth interaction in the series by the Prime Minister through video conference with the beneficiaries of various Government schemes.
 
Commending the work undertaken by SHGs, Mr Modi said each member was an inspiring example of resolution, collective efforts and entrepreneurship. 
 
“The women are enterprising, have an enormous inner strength for self-reliance during trying circumstances and they need only opportunities to perform. It is impossible to imagine many sectors especially agriculture and dairy, without the contribution of women. This is the true spirit of women empowerment all over the country,” he added.
 
He noted that the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana- National Rural Livelihood Mission has been started in all states. The aim of the scheme is to reach crores of poor households in 2.5 lakh gram panchayats and provide them sustainable livelihood opportunities.
 
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Mr. Modi said the Government was providing training, financial assistance and opportunities to promote SHGs throughout the country. Through Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojna, training has been given to over 33 lakh women farmers. At present, there is 45 lakh Self Help Groups with the active participation of around five crore women all over rural India.
 
Mr Modi said special attention is being given to skill development of rural youth through Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana. Training is given for employment as well as self-employment to meet the aspirations of youth for a better life. 
 
About 28 lakh youth have been trained in skill development through 600 Rural Self-Employment Training Institute and around 19 lakh have been employed. 
 
During the interaction, the Prime Minister talked about the importance of value addition and value chain approach. He urged the Self Help Groups to register in the Government e-Market Place (GeM) to sell their produce.
 
Interacting with Mr Modi, the members shared their experiences and success stories associated with Self Help Groups. He expressed appreciation for the poor women, who with their self-confidence and strength, fought against all adversities.
 
The women beneficiaries also explained how SHGs have ushered in a positive change in their lives. The Prime Minister asked the beneficiaries to send their success stories with photos along with their ideas through Narendra Modi App.
 
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SC slams 'Superman' Lt Gov for doing nothing on Delhi garbage issue

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The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed displeasure on the failure of Delhi Lt Governor, whom it termed "Superman", for not taking effective steps to tackle garbage problem in the city, after his office admitted that garbage management comes within its jurisdiction.
 
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta slammed Lt. Governor Anil Baijal for not taking appropriate action on the issue of solid waste management in Delhi and took into note that he did not attend crucial meetings on the issue and had not passed any directions too.
 
On Tuesday, the bench had asked who is responsible for clearing the "mountain loads of garbage" - those answerable to the Delhi Lt Governor or the Chief Minister and in response, both the Delhi government and the Lt Governor on Thursday told the court that the Lt Governot has the power to issue directions to authorities concerned under the provisions of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act on disposal of solid waste.
 
The bench said the meetings held by the Delhi Health Minister would not be not accepted by the Lt Governor because he would say it was chaired by someone without authority. "Who is the Health Minister according to LG?" asked the court.
 
"Nobody from LG's office bothered to attend meetings and he says I have the power. I am Superman... It's passing buck, he says 'I am responsible, I will not do anything, but you will be blamed'," the bench said.
 
"Your (LG) affidavit says it's (solid waste management) your responsibility. So don't bring Chief Minister into the picture," it added.
 
The court, which was upset as there was no concrete plan for solid waste management in the city and said "mountains of garbage" (three landfill sites) - Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhardwaj - indicate that Delhi is facing a grave situation and directed the Lt Governor's office to file an affidavit by July 16 on the time frame about the steps to be taken to deal with the situation.
 
The top court, hearing a matter related to implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, had earlier directed the Central government to file a chart indicating whether the states and union territories have constituted state-level advisory boards in accordance with the provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.
 
IANS
 
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Don't allow pro-Khalistani meet in London, India tells Britain

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India said on Thursday it had asked Britain not to allow a meeting of pro-Khalistanis scheduled in London next month.
 
Stating that India had issued a demarche to Britain, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "We have seen reports and I would like to confirm that we have taken this matter up with the UK government.
 
"We expect that the UK government will not allow any such group, whose intention is to spread hatred and impact our bilateral relations, to use its country."
 
Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a human rights advocacy group with radical leaning, has announced that it will hold what it calls a "London Declaration" on an independence referendum for the Indian state of Punjab in London on August 12.
 
Kumar said the majority of the Sikh community, whether they be in Britain or living in other countries, have very good relations with India. 
 
"They also have good relations with the countries in which they are living," he said. 
 
"As far as such small groups are concerned, I believe these are fringe elements and their job is to spread hatred and communal disharmony."
 
IANS
 
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Swaraj to visit Bahrain on July 14-15 for High Joint Commission Meeting

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will pay an official visit to Bahrain on July 14-15 during which she will co-chair the 2nd High Joint Commission (HJC) Meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa.
 
The discussions at the meeting will cover a range of issues including, inter alia, political, economic, security and cultural ties, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
 
The first meeting of HJC was held in New Delhi in February, 2015.
 
The release said that, during the visit, Ms. Swaraj will also meet the  Bahraini leadership to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and inaugurate the new Chancery-cum-Residential complex in Manama.
 
"Bilaterally, India enjoys close and multifaceted ties with Bahrain, underpinned by regular exchange of high-level visits and extensive people-to-people contacts. Bahrain is an important partner for India in the Gulf region. Further 3,50,000 Indian nationals, the largest expatriate community in Bahrain, and more than 3000 Indian-owned/joint ventures have been contributing to the development of Bahrain.
 
"This visit will provide an opportunity to further cement our mutually beneficial bilateral ties with Bahrain," the release added.
 
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India’s retail inflation rate rises to five-month high of 5% in June, 2018

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India’s retail inflation rose moderately to a five-month high of 5.00 percent in June, 2018 from 4.87 percent in the previous month and 1.46 in the same month of the previous year, thanks to an increase in the prices of most components, except food and beverages, official data released here today said.
 
According to the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for rural areas stood at 5.00% and urban areas at 4.85%, making for a combined rate of 5.00%.
 
The Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) stood at 3.74% in rural areas and 1.56% in urban areas, adding up to a combined rate of 2.91%, as compared to 3.10% in the previous month and -2.12% in the same month of the previous year.
 
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India's industrial output growth rate moderates to 7-month low of 3.2%

 
India's industrial output growth moderated to 3.2 percent in May, 2018, as compared to the same month in the previous year, due mainly to a slowing down in the manufacturing sector, official data released here today said. 
 
Industrial production had grown by 4.9% in the previous month.
 
The Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) with base 2011-12 for May 2018, released here today, said the General Index for the month stood at 128.8.
 
The cumulative growth for the period April-May 2018 over the corresponding period of the previous year stood at 4.0%.
 
An official press release said the Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for May 2018 stood at 107.5, 129.1 and 164.7, respectively, with corresponding growth rates of 5.7%, 2.8% and 4.2% as compared to May 2017.
 
The cumulative growth in these three sectors during April-May 2018 over the corresponding period of 2017-18 was 4.9%, 4.0% and 3.1%, respectively.
 
The release said 13 of the 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed growth during May, 2018 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. The industry group ‘Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products’ showed the highest growth of 27.0%, followed by 21.1% in ‘Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers’ and 13.2% in ‘Manufacture of furniture’. 
 
On the other hand, the industry group ‘Other manufacturing’ showed the highest negative growth of (-) 31.9%, followed by (-) 15.6% in ‘Manufacture of tobacco products’ and (-) 12.8% in ‘Manufacture of wearing apparel’.
 
The release said consumer durables and consumer non-durables had recorded growth of 4.3% and (-) 2.6%, respectively.
 
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Home Minister institutes five Police Medals

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has instituted five Police Medals to promote professionalism and excellence in service and give recognition to those security personnel doing good work in a stressful environment and in difficult areas.
 
These are Union Home Minister's Special Operation Medal that will be presented along with a scroll signed by the Minister to police or security personnel of the Central/State forces for participation in the successful conduct of operations of a significant nature or scale, having direct bearing or impact on the security of the State/UT, region or country, or for participation in major rescue operations.
 
The Police Antarik Suraksha Seva Padak medal will be awarded to each police or security personnel of the Central or State forces for every two years of duty in Jammu & Kashmir, North-East and Left-Wing Extremism affected districts of the country, to recognize the importance of Internal Security duties in such areas. Currently, the medal is awarded only once irrespective of the number of tenures served in these areas.
 
Asadharan Aasuchana Kushalata Padak will have a scroll signed by the Union Home Minister along with medal to be awarded to members of Central or State intelligence organizations, branches or units engaged in intelligence gathering for combating terrorism, militancy, insurgency and for acts of exceptional courage and skill in intelligence gathering.
 
The Utkrisht and Ati Utkrisht Seva Medals will be awarded to police, security personnel and support staff such as Home Guards working in State Police Forces, Central Armed Police Forces, Central Police Organisations, Assam Rifles, National Security Guards, National Disaster Response Force, Home Guards and intelligence organizations.
 
The awards will recognize the unblemished service, with professional excellence, in the past 15 years (Utkrisht Medal) and 25 years (Ati Utkrisht Medal). The number of Utkrisht and Ati Utkrisht Seva Medals in any year should not exceed 1% and 0.5% respectively of the sanctioned strength of the police force or security agency.
 
The Union Home Minister's Medal for Excellence in Investigation will be awarded to officers in Central investigation agencies, State/UT police force investigating agencies in recognition of their outstanding service in the investigation. A scroll signed by the Union Home Minister will be awarded to each awardee along with the medal.
 
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All the medals will be minted and supplied by the Union Home Ministry and will be awarded each year by the Central or State police force/organizations on the days fixed by them. A selection committee in every State/Central police force/organization will identify the awardees every year.
 
In case of the Special Operation Medal, Asadharan Aasuchana Medal and Investigation Medal, the names will be finalized by the Ministry of Home Affairs based on recommendations made by States/UTs and Central police organizations.
 
About 30 lakh police and security personnel are deployed by the State Governments, UT Administrations and the Central Government throughout the country, in wide-ranging duties, which include maintaining peace and public order, investigating crime, regulating traffic, securing vital installations and serving in disturbed areas and at remote locations at the border. They often serve in difficult and challenging conditions.
 
Centre and State Governments have been taking various steps to improve the efficiency and service delivery of police and security personnel through modernization, training, capacity building, better service conditions such as housing and welfare measures. The awards scheme by the Government is aimed at recognising the good work, boosting morale and inspiring the Security personnel.
 
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India, UK to take forward the exchange of legal practitioners

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India and the United Kingdom (UK) have decided to take forward the exchange of legal practitioners on the basis of reciprocity in accordance with the prevailing legal provisions in their respective countries.
 
The decision was taken during the visit of Union Law & Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to the UK from July 6-10 at the invitation of David Gauke, Secretary of State for Justice, UK. 
 
They later signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for enhancing bilateral cooperation in legal affairs which, inter alia, provides a framework for promoting greater co-operation between the judicial and legal professionals in both countries through the exchange of expertise and training; exchanging information regarding current issues of international significance, an official press release said.
 
The MoU also provides for the establishment of a Joint Consultative Committee to facilitate such exchange.
 
Mr Prasad informed his counterpart about the progress made in India in the field of ensuring access to justice for all, particularly using the power of technology through initiatives like Tele-Law, e-Court services and digitization of Courts.
 
The two ministers reiterated their commitment to deepening bilateral cooperation in legal matters, including Arbitration, Legal training and exchange of best practices, taking advantage of the shared common law heritage of the two countries.
 
Mr Prasad also met Jermy Wright, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports. He pointed out the tremendous opportunities which have opened up due to the rapid growth of the digital profile and digital penetration of India due to the inclusive adaptation of digital technology. He urged Mr Wright to encourage UK IT firms to take advantage of such openings by investing in India.
 
Earlier, the Minister chaired a round table of leading Indian and UK IT firms jointly organised by NASSCOM with its counterpart TechUK. Representatives from Indian IT companies such as Wipro, Infosys and TCS as well as UK companies such as WNS, First Source, BBC and NTT attended the event.
 
The Minister expressed appreciation for the tremendous interest shown by UK companies in India’s digital story and listed out some of the possible areas of growth such as skill enhancement, fintech and emerging technologies such as AI and Cyber Security.
 
IT firms could leverage the growth potential and size of India’s growing digital economy, which is expected to reach the size of $ 1 trillion in the next few years, for their own growth, he said.
 
Mr Prasad also addressed a gathering of leading Indian and UK professionals at the Asia House, highlighting the digital opportunities that exist in India. 
 
The Minister also delivered a talk to a gathering of top legal experts and representatives from leading UK Law firms at an event organized by the Law Society of UK and Wales where he spoke about the investment opportunities that had emerged in India in a range of sectors due to the far-reaching and bold reforms undertaken by the present Government.
 
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Cloudy Thursday morning in Delhi

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It was a cloudy morning in the national capital on Thursday with the minimum temperature recorded at 28.6 degrees Celsius, one notch above the season's average, the weather office said.
 
"It will be generally cloudy sky with chances of moderate rains expected later in the day," an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.
 
The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 74 per cent. The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 37 degrees Celsius.
 
Wednesday's maximum settled at 36.7 degrees Celsius, one notch above the season's average while the minimum was recorded at 30 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season's average.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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New envoys of six nations present credentials to President Kovind

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The new envoys of six nations presented their credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Wednesday.
 
An official press release said the envoys who presented their credentials were: Mr Ivan Lancaricm, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic; Mr Ariel Andrade Galindo, Ambassador of El Salvador; Mr Hector Cueva Jacome, Ambassador of Ecuador; Mr Alvaro A. Malmierca, Ambassador of Uruguay; Mr Yogesh Punja, High Commissioner of Fiji; and Mr Willy Kipkorir Bett, High Commissioner of Kenya.
 
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Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kalsaria joins Congress

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Former Gujarat BJP MLA Kanu Kalsaria, who had successfully spearheaded a huge public agitation against a Nirma cement plant in the state's Mahuva area, on Wednesday evening joined the Congress party after a meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
 
Kalsaria, who is a social activist and a surgeon, drifted away from the BJP while running the agitation against the cement factory because of the "pro-capitalist" regime of Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister.
 
"I have been fighting social causes but needed the right political strength to do it more effectively. I feel I can do it through the Congress party," he told mediapersons after meeting Gandhi.
 
Kalsaria, who had joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and became its chief in Gujarat, said: "Somehow, AAP could not emerge strongly in the State and I also tried as an independent candidate but could not make a dent."
 
"Farmers are unhappy, they want their rights. There is unemployment, health and education are serious issues in Gujarat. I decided I should join the Congress where I can work effectively," said the three-time BJP lawmaker (1997-2012).
 
State Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi told IANS: "Kanubhai is a sincere man with a clean image dedicated to public welfare for years. It is a good news for the Congress party that he has joined us and that too without any conditions whatsoever." 
 
IANS
 
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Rahul meets Muslim intellectuals, discusses public policy

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met Muslim intellectuals as part of his party's outreach to various sections ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha election. 
 
Those who met Gandhi to give their feedback on various issues and discuss "public policy" included M.S Farooqui, Amir Mohammad, Irfan Habib, Syeda Hameed, Ilyas Malik, Rakhshanda Jalil, Junaid Rehman, Farah Naqvi and others.
 
Congress Minority Department Chairman Nadeem Javed was also present at the meeting.
 
"A number of lawyers, historians and university intellectuals met Rahul Gandhi and discussed public policy with him," party leader Salman Khurshid told reporters.
 
"They gave their feedback to the leader on different areas they are involved in. Hope more such interactions will take place in future," he added.
 
On Gandhi meeting selective intellectuals, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is selective when he chooses to meet his corporate friends but refuses to meet the farmers who protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi."
 
"This is a wrong comparison but I would only want to say that the Congress believes in development for all, inclusion of all, and equality for all.
 
"Our doors are open for everybody. The intellectuals who would want to wish to meet him, he (Gandhi) would be happy to meet them, he meets ambassadors of all the countries, diplomats from across the world," she said. 
 
"He meets corporate friends from across the country, he meets women, people from MSMEs, fishermen, farmers of this country. His meetings are for everyone. His meetings are regular. He also meets ‘Anganwadi' workers. I think there is no one, he does not meet," she added.
 
IANS
 
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