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Goa

Parrikar quits as Defence Minister, to be sworn in as Goa CM on Tuesday

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar on Monday resigned as the Defence Minister and will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Goa on Tuesday at the head of a BJP-led coalition government that will be formed by the party with the support of regional outfits and independent legislators.

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar today resigned as the Defence Minister and will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Goa tomorrow at the head of a BJP-led coalition government that will be formed by the party with the support of regional outfits and independent legislators.
 
"The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Shri Manohar Parrikar, from the Council of Ministers, with immediate effect, under clause (2) of Article 75 of the Constitution," a press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said.
 
Further, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee has also assigned the charge of the Ministry of Defence to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in addition to his existing portfolios, the communique added.
 
Mr. Jaitley held the Defence portfolio as an additional charge in the initial months after the Narendra Modi government assumed office at the Centre in May 2014. He relinquished the charge in November 2014 when Mr. Parrikar, who was Chief Minister of Goa, was shifted to the Centre as the Defence Minister.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Goa Legislative Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4 and votes counted on March 11, with 17 seats in the 40-member house. 
 
The ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and many of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats. However, the BJP has managed to get support from two regional outfits -- the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party -- which won three seats each as well as two of the three independents. 
 
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The 13 BJP MLAs and the other eight legislators met Governor Mridula Sinha yesterday evening and she later invited Mr. Parrikar to form the new government.  
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, 61, this will be his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.

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Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Punjab, Goa go to the polls to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa went to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.

 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
Punjab and Goa went to the polls today to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers were steadily increasing as the day progressed. 
 
Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, will end at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states have single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females. There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader is also contesting the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala, where his opponent is former Army chief Gen J J Singh, a candidate of the SAD.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, is contesting from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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IRCTC suspends two officials after 26 passengers complain of food poisoning on Tejas Express

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has placed two of its officials under suspension after 26 passengers suffered from symptoms of food poisoning after consuming food served to them on the 22120 Karmali-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) Tejas Express yesterday.
 
"Area officer of IRCTC at Madgaon and On Board Manager are placed under suspension pending fact finding report and food test report," IRCTC, which overseas catering operations on Indian Railways, said on micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday.
 
IRCTC also said that a show cause notice had been served on the catering contractor and strict action would be taken against him if found guilty.
 
The Konkan Railway Corporation said all 26 passengers had been treated at the Life Care Hospital at Chhplun where all of them were stated to be out of danger. Konkan Railway is providing all necessary assistance to them and also arranged for their onward transport to Mumbai by train, it said.
 
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A press release from IRCTC yesterday said the train had departed at 0900 hours yesterday from Karmali in Goa to Mumbai and 230 passengers were served breakfast on board.
 
A group of seven passengers complained of nausea and were attended to by the on-board supervisor. Meanwhile, two other groups of passengers, numbering 15 in all, also complained of nausea. A doctor travelling on the train attended to the passengers.
 
Meanwhile, the train was given an out of course halt at Chiplun, where a railway doctor attended to them. Ambulances were requisitioned and passengers complaining of nausea were taken to a local hospital.
 
"Enquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause. The kitchen where food was prepared was inspected by area officer, Madgaon after the incident and samples lifted for testing, including soup sachets. Group General Manager IRCTC has proceeded to Chiplun for coordination at the hospital for all arrangements for ensuring their comfort and onward movement," the release added.
 
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Regional Conference on Good Governance, Best Practices to begin in Goa on Thursday

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A two-day Regional Conference on Good Governance and Replication of Best Practices will be held in Panaji on September 14-15, in collaboration with Goa State Government.
 
Mr. C. Viswanath, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), will inaugurate the conference, which has been organised by DARPG.
 
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Jitendra Singh will address the participants in the valedictory session.
 
An official press release said the conference was an effort to create a common platform to share experiences in the formulation and implementation of citizen-centric governance, improved public service delivery through e-Governance, transparent, accountable and citizen-friendly effective administration. 
 
Delegates from 25 States and Union Territories will be participating in the conference, the release said.
 
As per the programme schedule, six sessions will be held during the conference. In the first session tomorrow, a brief presentation on Priority Exemplary Initiatives in the State of Goa will be made. In the second session, a brief presentation on Priority programmes [Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Din Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, Promoting Digital Payments and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban and Rural)] chosen for PM Awards, 2018 will be made.
 
Two presentations on Good Governance Index will be made in third and fourth session tomorrow. On the concluding day, in the fifth and sixth sessions, a presentation on Replication of PM Awarded Initiatives will be made.
 
The DARPG has so far organised 26 such regional conferences to share experiences in the formulation and successful implementation of good governance practices and to facilitate speedy and efficient delivery of public services. The event brings together national and state level organisations along with other stakeholders including intelligentsia and media on the same platform, an official release said.
 
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NHAI issues appeal for removal of encroachment and illegal access on national highways

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has issued an appeal to various establishments that have come up illegally along national highways to close the illegal access activities at their level and apply for legal access to their establishments under the relevant policy.
 
An official press release pointed out that many such establishments like dhabas, buildings, factories, restaurants, hoardings and advertisements had come up along the national highways illegally.
 
These establishments are safety hazards for traffic plying on national highways as they allow illegal access and parking of vehicles on the highways. Further, unauthorized hoardings and advertisements are safety hazards as these distract drivers, the release said.
 
"Setting up of these illegal establishments is a punishable offense under Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002 (Chapter 3 & 4)," it said.
 
Apart from closing the illegal access activities, the etablishments have also been asked to remove all the hoardings and advertisements distracting the attention of drivers for safety of the road users. 
 
"Failing this, Field Officers have been directed to start a special drive to terminate these illegal access, remove hoardings/ advertisements from the ROW of National Highways and take action against illegal parking of vehicles on National Highways with the help of local police and district administration, including lodging of police complaint against such defaulters," the release added.
 
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Two students of MICA, Ahmedabad, drown at Candolim beach in Goa

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Two students of the Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad, drowned at the Condolim beach in Goa, about nine km from here, in the early hours of Thursday.
 
The two students -- Anuja Susan Paul, who belongs to a Malayali family based in Chennai, and Gurram Chenchu Sai Jnaneswar --were studying in MICA's one-year Crafting Creative Communication (CCC) programme and were part of a field trip to Goa by the entire batch.
 
"It is with great sorrow that we share with you the news of the sad demise of two of MICA’s one year CCC (Crafting Creative Communication) Program students – Ms. Anuja Susan Paul & Mr. Gurram Chenchu Sai Jnaneswar. They were part of the CCC Field Study Trip in Goa along with the entire CCC batch," a statement on MICA's Facebook page said.
 
"In the morning, a group of six students decided to go to Candolim beach. Unfortunately, two of them drowned and lost their lives. MICA’s Leadership Team is in touch with their families and our thoughts and prayers are with them and the two departed souls. Rest in Peace," the statement added.
 
The 47-member team from MICA on the field trip included students and faculty members.
 
The six students reportedly went to the Candolim beach around 3 am yesterday for a swim. The two victims are said to have lost their balance after being hit by a huge wave and were swept out to sea, police sources here said.
 
Anuja, 23, was washed ashore soon after and was rushed to the primary health centre at Candolim, where she was declared "brought dead". The body of Gurram, 25, was fished out of the sea at around 9 am, the soruces said.
 
The families of the two victims were informed of the tragedy and Anuja's body was handed over to her parents, who arrived here later in the day, the sources added.
 
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Indian Naval War College rolls out second international course on Maritime Security

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The second international programme for naval officers from friendly foreign countries launched by the Indian Navy’s War College at Goa was inaugurated yesterday by Prof. Varun Sahni, Vice Chancellor, Goa University. 
 
Stressing the importance of maritime security in nation-building during his inaugural address, Prof. Sahni said that, in a dynamically changing geopolitical scenario, there is a need for navies in the Indian Ocean Region to forge stronger ties and collaborate in developing an effective security architecture in the maritime domain.
 
The Naval War College at Goa is the Indian Navy’s premier institution for the conduct of higher military education and is one of the three War Colleges of the Indian Armed Forces. NM Commandant Rear Admiral Monty Khanna welcomed the participants comprising officers from Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
 
Aimed at strengthening bridges of friendship and building consensus among regional maritime nations, the course curriculum covers a wide canvas. During the course, participants are exposed to International Relations Theory, Geopolitics, concepts of maritime security and strategy, International Maritime Law and management of ocean resources, among other topics.
 
During the eight-week programme, the participants are exposed to subject matter experts and eminent speakers and familiarisation visits to Operational and Training Commands of the Indian Navy. In addition, they are put through simulation exercises on regional security scenarios including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), an official press release said.
 
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Shantaram Naik apointed Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president

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Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik was today appointed as the new president of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC).
 
A press release issued by Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said Congress President Sonia Gandhi had accepted the suggestion to appoint Mr. Naik to the position.
 
He will succeed Mr. Luizinho Faleiro, who had resigned from the position some time ago.
 
Mr. Naik has served as the PCC president earlier, too, the release added.
 
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Cabinet approves MoU between India, Iran on cooperation in securities markets

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The Union Cabinet yesterday approved a bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Securities and Exchange Organization (SEO), Iran in relation to mutual cooperation on matters pertaining to securities markets.
 
The MoU is likely to promote further development of economic links and cooperation between the two regulators and aims at creating conditions for an effective development of securities markets in the two countries, an official press release said.
 
It would also contribute towards strengthening the information sharing framework between the two countries. It is expected to add value to overseas mutual cooperation and regulation activities of SEBI and SEO, Iran.
 
The MoU is expected to contribute towards strengthening the information sharing framework between SEBI and SEO, Iran, the release added.
 
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Railways to introduce first Tejas Express between Mumbai, Karmali from Monday

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Indian Railways will introduce the semi-high speed air-conditioned Tejas Express (Train No 22119/ 22120) between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in  Mumbai and Karmali in Goa for the first time. 
 
Tejas Express is a state-of-the-art train capable of running at s speed of 200 kmph with ultra modern amenities.
 
An official press release said the train would run between Mumbai and Karmali five days a week during non-monsoon period and three days a week during the monsoon period.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off the inaugural service of the train 22119 Mumbai CST-Karmali Tejas Superfast as inaugural special 02119 from Mumbai CST at 1525 hours tomorrow via video conferencing from Swami Narayan Sabhagruh, Dadar. The train will reach Karmali at 0035 hours on the next day.
 
The regular service of 22120 from Karmali will start on May 23 and that of 22119 from Mumbai CST will start from May 24.
 
The train will have halts at Dadar, Thane, Panvel, Ratnagiri and Kudal. It will have a total of 15 LHB coaches, including one Executive Chair Car, 12 Chair Cars and two Generator-Cum-SLR coaches.
 
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Sesa Football Academy in Goa reaches out to budding talent across India

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Sesa Football Academy boys with former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia and top executives of Vedanta, including Mr. Sukhvinder Singh, CEO of the Vedanta Football Project; Mr. Sauvick Mazumdar – COO-Vedanta- Sesa Goa Iron Ore; Mr. Annanya Agarwal – President Sesa Football Academy, Mr. Kishore Kumar – CEO Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron ore, Ms. Leena Verenkar – Head Corporate Affairs and Community Relations in Goa on May 10, 2017.
Sesa Football Academy boys with former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia and top executives of Vedanta, including Mr. Sukhvinder Singh, CEO of the Vedanta Football Project; Mr. Sauvick Mazumdar – COO-Vedanta- Sesa Goa Iron Ore; Mr. Annanya Agarwal – President Sesa Football Academy, Mr. Kishore Kumar – CEO Vedanta Sesa Goa Iron ore, Ms. Leena Verenkar – Head Corporate Affairs and Community Relations in Goa on May 10, 2017.
In an effort to reach out to budding talent aross India, multi-national natural resources conglomerate Vedanta's Sesa Football Academy (SFA) in Goa has selected 22 boys in the age group of 14-17 years from all over the country for training to become professional and national-level players.
 
The selected players are from the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, Manipur, Sikkim, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana as well as Zambia, where the group has its operations.
 
A press release from Vedanta said the selection panel consisted of experts such as Bramhanand Sankhwalkar, former India captain and Arjuna Awardee), Bruno Coutinho, former national player and Arjuna Awardee, Francis D’souza, former national player and well-known coach, Armando Colaco, five-time National Football League winning coach and former India coach, and Denzil Franco, a product of the academy and national team member.
 
The academy is implementing a strategic roadmap to actively foster skill development in sports across the country. The release said SFA had contributed immensely to the development of football players in Goa. 
 
"FA has created the conditions for discovering, creating and building talent for football and has been an alma mater in a class of its own. The group now aims to build on the legacy of the academy and develop budding players in football from across the nation," the release said.
 
The academy runs on a residential basis and imparts systematic and scientific training and lays emphasis to develop the potential and grooms the youngsters to become full-fledged professional players. It takes care of the formal education of the trainees during the four-year training period. 
 
SFA presently has an intake capacity of 36 boys being trained at its Sankhali premises.
 
The group now plans to beef up the infrastructure facilities at its Sirsaim Academy and match it to global standards. The skill development model that the company has adopted is to scout for young talent and hone them in the sport and equip them with certain sports related skills that could help carve professionalism. 
 
The advisory panel of SFA includes celebrity football player and former India captain Baichung Bhutia, apart from the management team of Vedanta.
 
Mr. Annanya Agarwal, President, Sesa Football Academy said, “Sports is the medium that can inspire and engage youth in an indescribable way. It is a language that can help skill latent talent which has not been realized and that is what we aim to do through this initiative. Sesa Community Development Foundation (SCDF) has immensely contributed through various CSR initiatives to the local communities.
 
"One of our key objectives therefore has been around nurturing football talent through the SFA and give to the nation our heroes in sport. I believe we have displayed this commitment by bringing on the best management team in the country, including Sukhvinder Singh and Bhaichung Bhutia. 
 
"Women’s football is a large part of this initiative as there is not enough infrastructure for women in football and SFA will strive to bridge this gap.”
 
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Mr. Sukhvinder Singh, newly appointed CEO of the Vedanta Football Project said, “Sesa Football Academy has made immense contribution to football in Goa and now we at Vedanta are taking the efforts to another level. The aim is to further develop the academy set-up and intensify our efforts on youth development specifically for Goa at Sankhali and the nation at the Sirsaim academy. We shall create community outreach through the Vedanta Football Schools that shall take the technical capabilities to the players and coaches of our communities around us.”
 
Bhutia said “It is lovely to be back in Goa. It brings back many memories of my childhood. The SFA has been doing a lot of good work in football by grooming players. It is good to see the revival with good coaches the academy has. I am sure the academy will produce good football talent. The time is apt as the nation now sees a great amount of interest generated around this sport.”
 
Vedanta-Sesa Goa Iron Ore CEO Kishore Kumar said “I see a bright future not only for Goa but for the game with many enthusiasts now taking to football. We are excited to be part of this journey. The SFA helps children coming from all over including Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns providing the opportunity and access to world class infrastructure, facilities and training. We have a strong connect through the medium of sports wherever we operate and we are humbled that we can serve the communities by motivating and encouraging a passion to help them live a dream and a dream become a reality.”
 
The new logo of the academy was also unveiled on the occasion along with the launch of a new jersey.
 
Also present on the occasion were Mr. Sauvick Mazumdar – COO-Vedanta- Sesa Goa Iron Ore, Ms. Leena Verenkar – Head Corporate Affairs and Community Relations, Mrs. Sangeetha Chakravarthy-Head Corporate Communications and staff of the company.
 
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Mukherjee stresses need for capacity building among youth

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Stressing the need for capacity building for skilled work among the 600 million youth in the age group of 25 years and below, President Pranab Mukherjee has called for inculcating in them an aptitude to think ahead in which the universities could play a major role.
 
Delivering the convocation address at Goa University here yesterday, Mr Mukherjee said that, to prepare graduates for a competitive global economy, educational institutions would have to adopt global best practices for world-class academic management.
 
“Our institutions have to work relentlessly towards excellence. They have to provide the best of amenities to their academic community. Models of teaching have to be adaptive to the latest trends and also the changing learner profile,” he said.
 
“There has to be an alliance between the IT-enabled platforms like MOOCs and knowledge networks, and pedagogy. As concepts and understanding evolve, our faculty has to be better prepared with updated knowledge.
 
“A strong research eco-system has to be built on the plank of institutional collaborations, research parks, and talented researchers. There also have to be a close link between Indian universities and industries,” he added.
 
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Recognising that no institution can excel in isolation, he said they have to provide students and faculty international exposure, introduce industry relevant matter in course work, and share academic resources.
 
“A mechanism is needed in our higher education system that promotes competitiveness. National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a valuable initiative. I am sure that with greater and more involved participation, this indicator will provide impetus to our institutions to do better in the coming years,” Mr Mukherjee said.
 
“Our centres of higher learning are social institutions too. They have to carry out their responsibilities as a social entity. A strong connection with the society will provide the edifice for value-oriented learning in them. This will instil in the students a sensitivity that will inspire them to search for solutions to vexed socio-economic problems in the environment in which they are living.
 
"The onus is on our institutions to produce men and women of substance and character, not merely competent professionals, he added.
 
On the occasion, the President was conferred with an honorary D. Litt. degree.
 
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Parrikar wins 22-16 in vote of confidence in Goa Assembly

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had resigned as Defence Minister earlier this week to return to state politics, won a vote of confidence by 22 votes to 16  in the 40-member State Legislative Assembly here today.
 
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday, while disposing of a petition filed by the Congress against the appointment of Mr. Parrikar as the new Chief Minister by Governor Mridula Sinha, directed that a floor test be held in the Assembly today. The Governor had earlier given Mr. Parrikar two weeks to prove his majority in the House.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4. Votes were counted on March 11. The Congress won 17 seats, while the ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with then Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and several of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats.
 
However, the BJP managed to get support from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward, two regional outfits, which won three seats each, as well as two of the three independents, making for a total of 21. The two regional parties had laid down a condition that Mr. Parrikar, who was the Defence Minister in the Union Cabinet, should be the Chief Minister. Mr. Parrikar later said that his party enjoyed the support of 22 MLAs.
 
During the floor test today at a specially convened session, Congress legislator Vishwajit Rane abstained from voting and walked out.
 
"We have proved before the people of India, we had support...and we proved it on the floor of house. Everyone voluntarily came and voted, none of them was kept in a hotel room or secluded common place as was the case of Opposition," Mr. Parrikar told journalists later. 
 
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Mr. Parrikar, 61, was sworn in as Chief Minister on March 14 after he had resigned as the Defence Minister the previous day. Along with him, nine other Ministers were also administered the oaths of office and secrecy by the Governor on that day.
 
The Ministers are Sudin Dhavalikar, Manohar (Maharashtrawdi Gomantak Party), Vijai Sardesai, Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaonkar (Goa Forward), Francis D'Souza, Pandurang Madkaikar (BJP), Govind Gawde and Rohan Khaunte (independents).
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, this is his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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SC refuses to stay Parrikar's swearing-in as Goa CM, orders floor test on Thursday

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the swearing-in of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar as the new Chief Minister of Goa, slated for later in the day, but ordered that a floor test be held in the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

Manohar Parrikar
Manohar Parrikar
The Supreme Court today refused to stay the swearing-in of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar as the new Chief Minister of Goa, slated for later in the day, but ordered that a floor test be held in the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
 
The order came on a petition filed by the Congress challenging the decision of Goa Governor Mridula Sinha appointing Mr. Parrikar as the Chief Minister and giving him two weeks to prove his majority in the Assembly.
 
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the elections to the Goa Legislative Assembly, polling for which was held on February 4 and votes counted on March 11, with 17 seats in the 40-member house. 
 
The ruling BJP ended up with 13 seats, with Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and many of his Cabinet colleagues losing their seats. However, the BJP has managed to get support from two regional outfits -- the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party -- which won three seats each as well as two of the three independents. 
 
While extending support to the BJP, the two regional parties had set a condition that Mr. Parrikar, who was the Defence Minister in the Union Government, should be the new Chief Minister.
 
The 13 BJP MLAs and the other eight legislators met Governor Mridula Sinha on Sunday evening and she later invited Mr. Parrikar to form the new government.  
 
In the Supreme Court today, counsel for the Congress said the Governor had not even consulted it, as the single largest party, before taking a decision on inviting the BJP to form the government. According to the party, this posed grave implications for the future of democracy in the country.
 
The Congress had claimed in its petition that the Governor should have invited it first to form the government in keeping with Constitutional norms and conventions.
 
In its order disposing of the petition filed by Goa Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar, the three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and consisting of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R. K. Agrawal, said that the petitioner had not specifically disputed the numbers claimed by the BJP.
 
"During the course of hearing, we were satisfied, that the instant sensitive and contentious issue raised on behalf of the petitioner, can be resolved by a simple direction, requiring the holding of a floor test at the earliest. The holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process, the required credibility.
 
"We therefore hereby direct, that all pre-requisite formalities for holding a floor test, including the formalities required to be completed by the Election Commission, be completed by 15.03.2017. We request the Governor of the State of Goa to ensure, that a floor test is held on 16.03.2017, and the only agenda for the day would be, the holding of a floor test to determine whether the Chief Minister administered the oath of office, has support of the majority. The floor test shall be held on 16.03.2017, as early as possible, but surely during the course of the same day.
 
"With the above directions and observations, the instant petition is disposed of. As a sequel to the above, pending interlocutory application(s) also stand(s) disposed of," the court said.
 
Even as Mr. Parrikar's swearing-in is scheduled for this evening, the Congress is expected to meet the Governor today and demand that it be given an opportunity to form the government.
 
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Mr. Parrikar had resigned from the Union Cabinet yesterday and President Pranab Mukherjee, while accepting his resignation, had assigned the portfolio as an additional charge to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
Mr. Jaitley had held the Defence portfolio as an additional charge in the initial months after the Narendra Modi government assumed office at the Centre in May 2014. He relinquished the charge in November 2014 when Mr. Parrikar, who was then Chief Minister of Goa, was shifted to the Centre as the Defence Minister.
 
Mr. Parrikar will have to be elected to the State Assembly within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirements. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, from Uttar Pradesh.
 
For Mr. Parrikar, 61, this will be his third time as Chief Minister of Goa, having first served in that position from October 2000 to February 2005 and then from March 9, 2012 till Novemer 9, 2014. He had also served as Leader of the Opposition in the Goa Legislative Assembly from June 1999 to November 1999 and from June 2005 to March 2012. In all, he was elected six times to the Goa Assembly since 1994. 
 
He has a B.Tech. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and was the first IIT alumnus to serve as the Chief Minister of a state.
 
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BJP rides to stunning wins in UP, Uttarakhand; Congress wrests Punjab, close call in Goa, Manipur

The BJP rode to stunning victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in what is being seen as a resounding endorsement of the Narendra Modi government's policies and performance at the Centre as votes in the crucial elections to legislative assemblies in five states were counted on Saturday

 
Modi party wins India's biggest state
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rode to stunning victories in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, and Uttarakhand in what is being seen as a resounding endorsement of the Narendra Modi government's policies and performance at the Centre as votes in the crucial elections to legislative assemblies in five states were counted today,
 
The Congress, whose alliance with the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh came a cropper and which was handed a crushing defeat in Uttarakhand, however, wrested Punjab from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine which had been ruling the state for the past ten years.
 
With nearly all the results available by late this evening, the Congress emerged as the single largest party in Goa, winning 17 seats in the 40-member assembly. The ruling BJP got only 13 and saw its Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and several Ministers falling by the wayside. Both parties were now looking at getting support from the ten others, including three independents. The Mahararashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party won three seats each, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had got one.
 
Similarly, in Manipur, the ruling Congress ended up as the single largest party with 27 seats in the 60-member house, while the BJP put up a creditable performance to get 21, while the others have won 10.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP garnered an overwhelming 311 seats on its own in the 403-member Assembly, while its allies have got another 14, as the party stormed back to power in the state after a gap of 15 years.
 
The SP-Congress alliance could together manage only 55 seats – 48 for the SP and just seven for the Congress. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) headed by former Chief Minister Mayawati got just 19 seats as all the other parties were crushed by the BJP juggernaut.
 
Nine seats went to Apna Dal (Soneylal), one to the Nihal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal, four to Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and three to independent candidates.
 
In Uttarakhand, the ruling Congress bit the dust as it could manage just 11 seats in the 70-member house, while the BJP secured 57 and independents took the rest. Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost from both the seats he contested from.
 
In Punjab, the Congress won 77 seats in the 117-member Assembly, while the SAD-BJP alliance could manage only 18. 
 
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is ruling the National Capital Territory of Delhi, emerged as the second largest party with 20 seats, but it failed to make an impact in Goa.
 
The elections in the five States came mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes. As such, the results of these elections are expected to have a major bearing on national politics in the next two years.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
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The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
BJP workers began celebrating their victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand by mid-morning as early counting trends left no room for doubt about the ultimate numbers. The party attributed the wins to Mr. Modi's leadership and campaign and to its president Amit Shah's stewardship.
 
Mr. Shah said Mr. Modi had emerged as the country's "tallest leader" since independence. "The only factor for our win is the performance of the Modi government. The results have shown the faith the poor have reposed in Modi. Even his political rivals will have to admit that he has emerged as the tallest leader in the country since independence," he told a press conference.
 
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi congratulated Mr. Modi and the BJP on their victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, but said his party's fight would continue and would not end till it won the hearts and minds of the people.
 
"Our fight continues and will not end till we win the hearts & minds of people," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
Mr. Modi responded within minutes. “Thank you… Long live democracy," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi thanked the people of Punjab for their immense faith and support. "This is a mandate for a brighter future for Punjab and its youth," he said. "My heartiest congratulations to Capt Amarinder Singhji & all our party workers who worked tirelessly," he said.
 
Capt. Amarinder Singh, a former Chief Minister of the state, was the chief ministerial candidate of the party in the elections and is expected to be formally elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party tomorrow.
 
"I thank the people of Goa & Manipur for their love &support to the Congress Party. Congratulations to our workers & leaders in both states. 
 
"To all Congress workers across India: We stand resolute & committed to our values & our belief in an India united in strength & purpose," Mr. Gandhi said.
 
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Assembly elections: BJP surges ahead in UP, Uttarakhand, Congress leads in Punjab

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power at the Centre, on Saturday surged ahead in spectacular fashion in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as initial trends became available in the counting of votes in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies in five States.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre, today surged ahead in spectacular fashion in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as initial trends became available in the counting of votes in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies in five States.
 
All the results in the five States, which include Punjab, Manipur and Goa, are expected to be in by this evening.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP was leading in 246 seats, while the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and its ally Congress were ahead in 72 seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP )headed by former Chief Minister Mayawati was leading in 26 seats.
 
In Uttarakhand, the BJP was leading in 56 seats, while the ruling Congress was ahead in six.
 
However, the Congress was doing well in Punjab, where it surged ahead in 56 constituencies and appeared set to dislodge the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been ruling the state for 10 years. The SAD-BJP alliance was leading in 27 constituencies and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is in power in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, was ahead in 24.
 
In Goa, the ruling BJP and the Congress were engaged in a close contest, with both parties establishing leads in seven seats each. In Manipur, the Congress was leading in 10 seats and the BJP in eight.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes. As such, the results of these elections are expected to have a major bearing on national politics in the next two years.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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The Election Commission is giving out counting trends and results of the elections through its website eciresults.nic.in.
 
Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Counting of votes begins in crucial Assembly elections in five States

Counting of votes began on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.

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Counting of votes began this morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
Initial counting trends are expected to be available by mid-morning and all the results are expected by this evening.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission is giving out counting trends and results of the elections through its website eciresults.nic.in.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Assembly elections: ECI issues directions for fool-proof security arrangements for counting of votes

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The Election Commission of India (EC) has issued directions to the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Manipur to ensure fool-proof security arrangements for counting of votes, slated for March 11, in the Assembly elections in the five States.
 
The Commission had earlier issued detailed instructions to the CEOs regarding storage and safety arrangements for the electronic voting machines (EVMs), appointment of counting staff/counting agents and counting procedures.
 
An official press release said the Commission had held several rounds of video conferences with the CEOs and Returning Officers of all five states to take first hand inputs on their preparedness for counting of votes.
 
The ECI has set up 157 counting centres in the five states -- 53 in Punjab, two in Goa, 75 in Uttar Pradesh, 15 in Uttarakhand and 12 in Manipur.
 
"The ECI has taken feedback from all political parties and candidates, based on which these additional instructions have been issued with a view to further bolster security arrangements to tackle both general as well as situation specific exigencies and ensure a smooth counting process in a transparent manner," the release said.
 
According to the release, the instructions are:
 
1.      All the existing instructions of ECI on counting arrangement to be strictly followed by the DEOs and ROs in letter and spirit.
 
2.      Proper barricading arrangements to be ensured inside each of the counting hall with weld wires mesh to segregate the counting agents from the counting personnel and EVMs etc. as per the Commission’s instructions.
 
3.      In each of the counting hall proper arrangement for videography should be made to record the general happenings in the counting hall for effective monitoring of the counting process as per the Commission’s instructions.
 
4.      Effective barricading from the strong room door up to the counting hall door shall made in such a way that EVMs of each constituency should go to its respective counting hall only and shall not criss-cross each other.
 
5.      For ease of identification, coloured badges may be given to the staff engaged for transporting the EVMs to a particular counting hall each of constituency.
 
6.      As per the Commission’s instructions, all counting arrangements must be completed by the night of 7th March, 2017. The Observers shall visit the counting halls on the 8th March, 2017 and shall send a report to the Commission on counting arrangements.
 
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7.      It should be ensured that security protocol of strong rooms, as given in the Commission’s letter no. 51/8/VVPAT/2015-EMS dated 5th May 2015, in no way shall be breached while making the barricading arrangements and other preparatory work for the counting hall. If anywhere, counting hall is in the proximity of the strong room or the passage to the counting hall is near the strong room, then proper strong barricading should be erected to ensure that the access to the inner perimeter of the strong room is completely blocked. In all such matters, the DEO shall personally oversee and approve all such arrangements and ensure that security of EVMs in no way breached. Further, in all such places CCTV cameras may be placed, before under taking the counting arrangements, from where all the happenings of the movement are recorded and shown on a separate TV placed next to the TV fixed already for round the clock viewing of strong room doors by the candidates.
 
8.      On the date of counting, additional CCTV camera may be installed at such locations from where carrying of EVMs from the strong room to the counting hall can be recorded for effective monitoring.
 
9.      The CEO shall personally monitor and ensure that all the counting arrangements are done as per the instructions of the Commission.
 
10.  The entire plan would  be shared with contesting candidates by each DEO. The actual work of preparing for the counting shall be started thereafter for which all the contesting candidates/representatives may be invited to be present, if they wish so.
 
 The EC officer further said that these arrangements would ensure prevention of access to any anti-social element ,and that frisking will be done so that  no one enter the area with arms & ammunitions. Further, no one would be able to enter the counting arena without getting frisked.
 
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Sailboat Tarini to be inducted into Indian Navy on Saturday

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The Indian Navy’s second ocean going sailboat Tarini will be inducted at a ceremony scheduled to be held at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool in Goa tomorrow evening.
 
Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff, will be present on the occasion, an official press release said.
 
INSV Tarini is a sloop built by Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd at Divar, Goa. It is slated to be the platform for the first Indian all-women expedition of the Indian Navy for circumnavigation of the globe.
 
An official press release said the boat had been built to a stock design by Van de Stadt, Netherlands called Tonga 56. The hull is made of wooden core fiberglass sandwich construction for a better performance than aluminum and steel.  
 
INSV Tarini carries a suite of six sails including a Main sail, Head sails (Genoa and stay sails), Downwind sails and Storm sail. Her mast is 25 meters tall and has been custom built by Southern Spars, Cape Town, for sailing in extreme conditions. She boasts a Raymarine navigation suite and an array of latest satellite communication systems through which she can be contacted anywhere in the world.
 
The release said the trials of the newly built INSV Tarini were successfully completed on January 30 and all the learning experience from  her illustrious predecessor INSV Mhadei has been incorporated in this vessel right from the start. The keel of the vessel was laid by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on March 27, 2016 at the Aquarius Shipyard.
 
The construction was overseen by the Warship Overseeing Team, Goa and the vessel is being delivered before the scheduled date of delivery by the boat builder. The successful construction of both the Mhadei and Tarini in Goa are a tribute to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.
 
INSV Tarini is almost identical to the iconic Mhadei which has sailed over 115,000 nautical miles in the past eight years. This includes path breaking voyages like the first Indian solo circumnavigation undertaken by Capt Dilip Donde (Retd) in 2009 and first solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation by Cdr Abhilash Tomy in 2013.
 
The boat draws her origin from the famous Tara-Tarini temple of Orissa’s Ganjam district. The word Tarini means a boat and is also a Sanskrit word for saviour. Tara-Tarini is a patron deity for sailors and merchants and is worshipped for safety and success at sea. Tara-Tarini of Orissa is known to have historical linkages with the river Goddess Mhadei- the exclusive boat deity of the Mhadei river of Goa. Both the deities Tarini and Mhadei have sculptural similarities.
 
The release said the Navy had conceptualized the idea of the first Indian all-women circumnavigation of the globe in order to promote ocean sailing activities and to encourage women empowerment.
 
A team of six women officers led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi was selected for the project. The officers have done basic sail training courses at INWTC Mumbai followed by Navigation, Seamanship, Communication and Meterology courses at various naval training schools at Kochi. After completion of theoretical courses, the officers sailed INSV Mhadei to Vizag for the International Fleet Review 2016 and thereafter to Mauritius and back. Following that, they sailed the boat on a gruelling voyage to Cape Town in December 2016.
 
The boat is skippered by Lieutenant Commander Joshi and crew members include Lieutenant Commander Pratibha Jamwal, Lieutenant Aishwarya Boddapati, Lieutenant Patarapalli Swathi, Lieutenant Vijaya Devi and Lieutenant Payal Gupta.
 
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70% polling in Punjab Assembly elections, record 83% turnout in Goa

About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercised their franchise in elections to choose new state legislative assemblies amidst tight security on Saturday.

 
Voters queue to cast their votes amidst tight security
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercised their franchise in elections to choose new state legislative assemblies amidst tight security today.
 
The turnout in Goa was better than the 81.8 percent recorded in the last assembly elections in 2012, while Punjab had recorded 78 percent voting in the last elections.
 
The final numbers may be slightly higher since reports from many polling booths were still coming in, Election Commission officials said this evening.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful in both states and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
Punjab and Goa were the first two of five states holding crucial elections midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Cente and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country.
 
Voters began queueing outside polling stations in both states from early morning and their numbers steadily increased as the day progressed. Voting, which began at 7 am in Goa and at 8 am in Punjab, ended at 5 pm in both states.
 
Polling also took place today for the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after the resignation of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states had single-phase polling today.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission had made elaborate security and other arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
In Punjab, a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females, were eligible to exercise their franchise. There were 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender. The Election Commission had set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, as many as  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women, were eligible to vote in today's elections.  A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, were in the fray.  The Commission had set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
 
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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made a determined effort for another term in office in Goa, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in the state. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
Similarly in Punjab, the Congress has tried to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, went all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states, turning the elections into a triangular contest.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, sought  re-election for the sixth time. He faced Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency. The Congress leader also contested the elections from his traditional seat of Patiala.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh faced AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Former Indian Test cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress weeks ahead of the polls, contested from Amritsar East, a part of the Amrtisar Lok Sabha constituency that he represented in Parliament as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for two terms.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa included Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Punjab, Goa to vote on Saturday to elect new legislative assemblies

Punjab and Goa will go to the polls on Saturday to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first of five states that will hold crucial elections in the coming weeks, midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.

Punjab and Goa will go to the polls tomorrow to elect new state legislative assemblies -- the first two of five states that will hold crucial elections in the coming weeks, midway through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes.
 
The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats and the Goa Assembly 40 seats and both states will have single-phase polling tomorrow.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state, will have polling in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa and Punjab assemblies are due to expire on March 18.
 
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth, free and fair elections in both the states.
 
Punjab has a total of 19879069 voters, including 10503108 males and  9375546 females.
 
There are 1145 candidates in the fray, including 81 women and one of the third gender.
The Election Commission has set up 22,615 polling stations across the state.
 
In Goa, there are a total of  1110884 electors, including 546742 men and 564142 women. A total of 251 candidates, including 19 women, are in the fray.  The Commission has set up 1642 polling stations across the state.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making a determined effort for another term in office in the state, while the Congress is hoping to come back to power in Goa. The three-party alliance forged by Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Goa Suraksha Manch and Shiv Sena is the other major player in the state.
 
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Similarly in Punjab, the Congress is trying to wrest power back from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP combine, which has been in office for a decade.
 
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, has gone all out to emerge as the alternative to the established players in both the states.
 
In Punjab, SAD leader and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, is seeking re-election for the sixth time. He will face Capt. Amarinder Singh, the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, in the Lambi constituency.
 
The Chief Minister's son Sukhbir Singh will face AAP's Bhagwant Mann, MP, who is his party's likely chief ministerial candidate, in Jalalabad.
 
Prominent candidates in Goa include Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar (BJP) and five former Chief Ministers -- Ravi Naik, Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane and Luizinho Faleiro (Congress) and Churchill Alemao (NCP). There have been indications that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar might return to Goa as Chief Minister if the BJP retains power.
 
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Exercise Konkan 16 between Indian Navy, Royal Navy begins

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Konkan 16, the 2016 edition of the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy, is being held from today till December 16 in Mumbai and Goa as part of efforts to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and the United Kingdom.
 
The exercise will also enhance the capability of the two navies to work together to contribute towards maritime security in the global commons, an official press release said.
 
The exercise, named Konkan after the Western coastal region of India, was institutionalised in 2004. Since then, it has been hosted in rotation by both the navies and has grown in complexity, scale and intensity.
 
The release said the exercise would be conducted in two phases in Mumbai and Goa. The first phase from December 5-9 would be a Command Planning exercise involving the two navies in Mumbai, where planners from both sides will undertake planning for combined maritime operations. 
 
The second phase is a live exercise to be held from December 12-16 in Goa, which involves interaction between the IN Marine Commandos (MARCOs) and the Royal Marines.
 
Both phases will involve sharing of best practices and lessons learnt from recent operations, especially in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO).
 
"Konkan 16 will be an important chapter in the maritime interactions under the aegis of Konkan series as it will familiarise both forces with each other’s planning processes and further enhance synergy and inter-operability. In addition, participation of IN MARCOs and Royal Marines would add another dimension to this exercise and provide valuable opportunity for both navies to interact and cooperate in the field of Maritime Security Operations," the release said.
 
"Successive editions of Konkan have built on past experiences and have enhanced operational inter-operability between the two navies. This cooperation between the two navies is a positive and tangible symbol of commitment in ensuring a positive climate for maritime security and economic development," it added.
 
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‘Allama’ nominated as Indian entry for ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal

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‘Allama’, a film by the national award winning director T.S. Nagabharana about the journey of a 12th century metaphysician, will compete for the International Council for Film, Television and Audio-visual Communication (ICFT) UNESCO Gandhi Medal at the ongoing At 47th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
 
ICFT Paris in collaboration with UNESCO will award the film that best reflects the Gandhi ideals of peace, tolerance and non-violence, a prestigious Gandhi Medal and Certificate. This competition section shall have eight films including ‘Allama’ that will vie for the prestigious ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal.
 
Other films that will compete in this section are ‘A Real Vermeer’, ‘Beluga’, ‘Cold of Kalandar’, ‘Exiled’, ‘Harmonia’, ‘The Apology’ and ‘The Family: Dementia’.
 
‘Allama’ is a film about a 12th century metaphysician, son of a temple dancer who embarks on a quest for knowledge and answers to his four core sentiments, yearning, and obsession to play the maddale (a type of drum), failures and self-realisation.
 
When he evolves and becomes “Prabhu”, a master of monotheistic and non-dualistic philosopher, he begins to question many core values in his ideal world where he can foresee violence and advices people to find solace and departs on his final journey to become one with nature and a true spirit.
 
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Workshop on 'Restoration of Satyajit Ray Preservation project’ held at IFFI

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A workshop on Restoration of Satyajit Ray Preservation Project was held by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) at Kala Academy as part of the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2016 here yesterday.
 
The workshop, presented by Ms Tessa Idlewine, Short Film Preservationist at AMPAS, highlighted the challenges involved in the task of restoring films. 
 
Ms Idlewine mentioned they have been able to restore and preserve 21 of Satyajit Ray's films in the time span of 20 years.
 
Ms. Idlewine, an inventory film archivist at AMPAS, spoke in detail about the commendable efforts undertaken by the institution to restore, conserve and preserve Ray’s films. 
 
Ms. Idlewine has specialized in film handling, film identification, cataloguing, film archiving, preservation and conservation. The session was moderated by Shivendra Dungarpur, an Indian filmmaker, producer, film archivist and restorer himself.
 
AMPAS is a professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the art and sciences of motion pictures.
 
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