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Vaghela threatens to sever political ties with son who joins BJP

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Hours after his son joined the BJP on Saturday, former Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela warned him that he should quit the saffron party within a week, else he would sever all political ties with him.
 
"I am not happy with the way Mahendrasinh joined the BJP. He should have consulted his supporters. I give him a deadline of one week to do that and quit the saffron party if the consensus is against his decision. Otherwise I will sever all my political ties with him," said the former Chief Minister.
 
Vaghela said he was aware about the move two-three days ago. "Mahendra had told me that BJP chief Amit Shah had been nudging him to join the BJP. I told him that he should first think of his supporters," said Shankersinh. He said he was surprised that Mahendrasinh switched over without informing anyone in the party.
 
Mahendrasinh, a former Congress legislator from Bayad in central Gujarat, had won the 2012 Assembly polls. But he quit the party before the Rajya Sabha elections in 2017 along with his father and 13 other legislators. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the party nominee for the seat, had barely scraped through due to cross-voting by the rebel MLAs.
 
Vaghela Jr. was expected to join the BJP before the 2017 Assembly elections, but he stayed away from contesting as his father led a little-known outfit, Jan Vikalp Morcha. Despite the Morcha contesting over 105 seats, none of its candidates made it to the 182-member Assembly. Most of them even lost their deposits. The Jan Vikalp Morcha is a non-entity now.
 
Talking about his next moves, Shankarsinh said he would call his party workers and decide. "I am in touch with non-BJP parties. Politically, I am active as general elections draw closer," he said. On whether he was approached by any party, he said: "I have not received any offers. But I don't take offers, I give offers."
 
Both BJP and Congress have been poaching on each other in the recent months. 
 
The announcement of Mahendrasinh joining saffron brigade was made by BJP state president Jitu Vaghani on Saturday morning, at the inauguration of a two-day Youth Parliament held at Karnavati University, situated on the outskirts of Gandhinagar. The youth Parliament was attended by BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and several other senior leaders.
 
IANS
 
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Gujarat BJP vice president quits after rape charge by Surat girl

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Gujarat BJP vice-president and former legislator from Kutch Jayanti Bhanushali on Friday stepped down from his post after a 21-year-old girl from Surat filed a police complaint of rape and blackmail against him.
 
The complaint says that the girl came in contact with Bhanushali for her admission in a fashion designing college. She said Bhanushali had called her to Gandhinagar, where she alleged he raped her in a moving car, threatening her with a sharp weapon.
 
She claimed Bhanushali's men got a video made of her and later pressured her for sexual favours. According to the girl's complaint, Bhanushali's driver and others were also involved in the crime.
 
The same complainant had made similar allegations sometime back against the nephew of a former legislator, Sunil Bhanushali. However, Sunil Bhanushali alleged that the girl and her husband were demanding  a Rs 10-crore ransom.
 
The State BJP vice president has rubbished the allegations and claimed that this was a part of a conspiracy against him. In his resignation letter to state BJP president Jitu Vaghani, he said he would not resume his post until his innocence was proved in the case.
 
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Heavy rains claim 19 lives in one week in Gujarat

 
Heavy rains lead to flood-like situation in Gujarat's Valsad
 
 
As many as 19 people died in Gujarat following torrential rains during the past one week, even as the state government relocated more than 1,000 persons to safer places.
 
"Heavy rains have caused a total of 19 deaths in the state since last week. We also have reports of 84 cattle perishing in the rains. Around 978 persons from across the state, primarily South Gujarat, have been evacuated to safety," Manoj Kothari, Relief Commissioner, Gujarat, told reporters on Thursday.
 
"Many villages also do not have electricity but we are trying to restore power supply at the earliest," he said.
 
Navsari district in South Gujarat, which has been witnessing heavy rains this season, is the most affected in the state. The authorities have put around 10 villages in Navsari on alert, with a dozen others in danger of being marooned.
 
The state has deployed a total of fifteen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in the state, out of which four teams are in South Gujarat, four teams in Vadodara, three teams in Gandhinagar and one team each in Amreli, Jamnagar, Palanpur and Mahisagar districts.
 
During the past 24 hours, 118 of the total 251 talukas (tehsils/blocks) in the state have received heavy rainfall, with more than two inches of rains lashing over 30 talukas. Heavy rains continued in the South Gujarat region on the second consecutive day. Waghai in Dangs district received over 121 mm of rains, followed by Surat city with 107 mm and Bharuch and Dolvan in Tapi district with around 95 mm.
 
With heavy inflow of waters from the catchment area, Ambika river in Navsari district and Poorna river in Dangs district were in spate and 206 roads, including one national highway and four state highways were shut down for vehicular traffic.
 
A police station in the Sachin GIDC estate region of Surat had to be evacuated after it got flooded, forcing policemen to move out. The authorities asked the schools and other educational establishments to remain shut for the day.
 
The Saurashtra region of the state also had good downpour with Kodinar in Gir Somnath district receiving heavy rains of 115 mm and Talaja in Bhavnagar district about 100 mm of rain till 6 p.m. on Thursday, according to figures provided by state emergency operation centre.
 
The meteorological department issued warnings of heavy to very heavy rains in many parts of the state for next 48 hours. "South Gujarat, East-Central districts of the state and coastal Saurashtra districts would receive heavy to very heavy rains and at some isolated places even extreme heavy rains are expected in Surat, Navsari and Valsad."
 
"Heavy rains are also expected to lash some isolated regions of Panchmahals, Dahod, Mahisagar and Kheda districts. Other part of the state could witness moderate to heavy rains in coming four days," Jayanta Sarkar, Director, Met Department, said.
 
IANS
 
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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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Three Gujarat BJP MLAs protest against government

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Three senior ruling BJP legislators from Vadodara district came out in the open late on Wednesday evening expressing their resentment against the State government and claimed more than a dozen others were with them, hours after Chief Minister Vijay Rupani flew out the country on a six-day tour.
 
Three legislators, Madhu Srivastava from Waghodia constituency, Yogesh Patel from Manjalpur and Ketan Inamdar from Savli, asserted that several state ministers and the bureaucracy were not listening to them and showing a callous attitude to public representatives.
 
Incidentally, national BJP President Amit Shah was in his home state on Wednesday but the MLAs chose to vent their grievances before the media, also claiming that many more legislators were angry with the working of the government.
 
Madhu Srivastava, who is a legislator for six terms, asserted that several other frustrated MLAs were with them and they would also come out in future. "Today we are three but tomorrow there may be 13 or 23. Today we three, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, have got together. Now let anything happen," Srivastava said.
 
"Ever since the present government took charge six months ago, the bureaucrats in the state are working at their whims and fancies. And when we go to meet the ministers on the designated Tuesdays for us, we are unable to see them," Srivastava told reporters, as Patel and Inamdar nodded in agreement.
 
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Concurring with Srivastava, Yogesh Patel said that their only demand was that when they seek resolution to the issues of their electorate, it must be sorted out but this was not happening.
 
Asked if they had made a representation to the Chief Minister about this, Srivastava said, "We are not going to stand in queue (to meet him) if the officials did not allow them."
 
Ketan Inamdar said their anger was not against the party or the government but with the attitude of officials. "The government which is trying to do best for the people, should sure have control over the bureaucracy but it appears the officials have got thick-skinned," he said.
 
The BJP swiftly swung in to action, asking senior Cabinet minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama to intervene. "Whatever be the issue, I, Nitin bhai (Deputy Chief Minister) and Jitubhai Vaghani (state BJP President) will speak to them in person and sort out their issues," Chudasama said.
 
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said, "The three have been summoned by state party chief for a meeting in person. We have touched base with them and asked them to put forth their grievances on the right forum."
 
IANS
 
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Seychelles President Danny Faure arrives in Ahmedabad at start of six-day visit to India

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Seychelles President Danny Faure arrived in Ahmedabad on Friday evening at the start of a six-day state visit to India.
 
He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising two Cabinet Ministers, four Secretaries of State and other senior officials of the Government of Seychelles. A business delegation will also be accompanying him on the visit. 
 
In Ahmedabad, Mr. Faure will visit the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram and the Gujarat Forensic Sciences University before meeting the Governor of the state today.
 
Later in the day, he will reach Goa, where he will have a meeting with the Governor tomorrow before emplaning for Delhi.
 
In Delhi, Mr. Faure will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday morning. This will be followed by a visit to Rajghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. 
 
His official engagements include meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind, delegation level talks with the Prime Minister, calls by the Vice-President and the External Affairs Minister, and an address to the India-Seychelles Business Forum.  President Kovind will host a State Banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary. 
 
On Tuesday, Mr. Faure will travel to Dehradun, Uttarakhand, where he will meet the Governor on that day and visit the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy on the next day before returning to Delhi and  then flying back home.
 
"The State Visit of President Faure is part of regular high level exchanges between India and Seychelles, and will accord an opportunity to review our wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including in the fields of defence and security and development partnership," the release added.
 
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Nothing unusal, says ADCB; 1.6 lakh deposited Rs 746-cr banned notes, says NABARD

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The National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) on Friday attributed the country's highest deposits of Rs 745.59 crore in banned currencies at the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) to the latter's massive size and performance.
 
After a political storm over the IANS report on RTI revelations about ADCB, in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah is a director, the NABARD came out in strong defence of the Ahmedabad-based bank.
 
"NABARD conducted 100 per cent verification in ADCB which revealed that the bank had complied with all the KYC guidelines of the RBI while accepting the demonetised notes," it said in a statement here.
 
"During the period when the banks were permitted to accept deposits, 1.6 lakh customers of the bank deposited/exchanged the demonetised notes aggregating to Rs 746 crore, which was only about 15 percent of the total deposits of the bank," NABARD said.
 
Confirming the figure of deposits of the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes worth Rs 745.59 crore, NABARD said the ADCB has 16 lakh accounts spread across 194 branches, making it Gujarat's biggest DCCB.
 
It said of the 16 lakhs accounts, barely 1.6 lakh customers or 9.37 percent exchanged or deposited the old notes.
 
Of these less than Rs 2.5 lakhs were deposited in 98.66 percent of the accounts in which deposits/ exchanges were made.
 
NABARD also said of the total number of accounts with ADCB, only 0.09 percent comprised accounts with deposits of more than Rs 2.5 lakh.
 
"The average deposit amount in ADCB was Rs 46,795, which was lower than average per depositor in 18 DCCBs of Gujarat," it added.
 
In contrast, the NABARD said that the DCCBs in Maharashtra and Kerala had deposits that were higher than the DCCBs in Gujarat.
 
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Our Gujarat Correspondent, Darshan Desai adds: ADC Bank chairman Ajay Patel says there was "nothing unusual" about the bank receiving as much as Rs 746 crore deposits in the first five days of demonetisation announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 2016.
 
Asked how could the bank staff managed to handle so much money in just five days when making deposits after demonetisation required a detailed procedure, Patel told IANS, "We have 194 branches across Gujarat, not just one."
 
"So it is no big deal. And for any other clarification about the deposits in our bank, the NABARD has issued a detailed press release. You can refer that," he added, speaking in Gujarati.
 
The NABARD statatement lauded the ADCB, saying the bank had total business levels of over Rs 9,000-crore, is one of the top 10 DCCBs in the country, and was recently awarded for best performance by the Federatoin of Cooperative Banks, and its deposit base of Rs 5,330-crore is the highest among all the Gujarat banks.
 
Moreover, calling it a "farmer friendly bank", it said the bank has adopted technology to the core to enhance ease of doing banking to farmers, is among the first few DCCBs in India to offer modern mobile banking and limited Internet banking facilities to its customers.
 
IANS on Thursday highlighted how the ADCB became the most sought-after bank for deposits of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currencies which were abruptly demonetised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016.
 
The issue created a controversy with several opposition parties, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the CPI-M targeting the BJP on the issue.
 
Mumbai Youth Congress President Ganesh Yadav has announced a protest on Saturday to demand a CBI probe against Shah on all the charges against him, suspension of the Rajkot DCCB Chairman Jayesh V. Radadiya who is a cabinet minister in Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's government, and stringent action against both the banks and its officials.
 
Earlier in the day, the AICC issued a hard hitting statement detailing the other DCCBs in Gujarat which are controlled by the ruling BJP.
 
IANS
 
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Indian scientists discover sub-Saturn-like planet around Sun-like star

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A team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has discovered a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star. 
 
The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b, an official press release said here today.
 
The research work has appeared online in Astronomical Journal of the American Astronomical Society and published by IOP publishing (the DOI of the article is 10.3847/1538-3881 /aac436).
 
The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed “PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search” (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with 1.2m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India. 
 
Only 23 such planetary systems (including this discovery) are known to this date with masses between 10 and 70 Earth mass and size of 4 to 8 Earth radii with such precise measurement of mass, the release said.
 
"This discovery is very important for understanding the formation mechanism of such super-Neptune or sub-Saturn kind of planets, that are too close to the host star and as well as planet formations around Sun-like stars," it said.
 
With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can do such precise measurements, the release added.
 
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Bank with Amit Shah as director collected highest amount of banned notes among DCCBs: RTI reply

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A district cooperative bank, which has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah as a director, netted the highest deposits among such banks of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were abruptly demonetised on November 8, 2016, according to RTI replies received by a Mumbai activist.
 
The Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the spiked notes -- in just five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement. All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the banned currency notes from the public after November 14, 2016, -- five days after demonetisation -- on fears that black money would be laundered through this route.
 
According to the bank's website, Shah continues to be a director with the bank and has been in that position for several years. He was also the bank's chairman in 2000. ADCB's total deposits on March 31, 2017, were Rs 5,050 crore and its net profit for 2016-17 was Rs 14.31 crore.
 
Right behind ADCB, is the Rajkot District Cooperative Bank, whose chairman Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya is a cabinet minister in Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's government. It got deposits of old currencies worth Rs 693.19 crore.
 
Interestingly, Rajkot is the hub of Gujarat BJP politics -- Prime Minister Modi was first elected from there as a legislator in 2001.
 
Incidentally, the figures of Ahmedabad-Rajkot DCCBs are much higher than the apex Gujarat State Cooperative Bank Ltd, which got deposits of a mere Rs 1.11 crore.
 
"The amount of deposits made in the State Cooperative Banks (SCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) -- revealed under RTI for first time since demonetisation -- are astounding," Manoranjan S. Roy, the RTI activist who made the effort to get the information, told IANS.
 
The RTI information was given by the Chief General Manager and Appellate Authority, S. Saravanavel, of the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD).
 
It has also come to light, through the RTI queries, that only seven public sector banks (PSBs), 32 SCBs, 370 DCCBs, and a little over three-dozen post offices across India collected Rs 7.91 lakh crore -- more than half (52 per cent) of the total amount of old currencies of Rs 15.28 lakh crore deposited with the RBI.
 
The break-up of Rs 7.91 lakh crore mentioned in the RTI replies shows that the value of spiked notes deposited with the RBI by the seven PSBs was Rs 7.57 lakh crore, the 32 SCBs gave in Rs 6,407 crore and the 370 DCCBs brought in Rs 22,271 crore. Old notes deposited by 39 post offices were worth Rs 4,408 crore.
 
Information from all the SCBs and DCCBs across India were received through the replies. The seven PSBs account for around 29,000 branches -- out of the over 92,500 branches of the 21 PSBs in India -- according to data published by the RBI. The 14 other PSBs declined to gave information on one ground or the other. There are around 155,000 post offices in the country.
 
Fifteen months after demonetisation, the government had announced that Rs 15.28 lakh crore -- or 99 per cent of the cancelled notes worth Rs 15.44 lakh crore -- were returned to the RBI treasury.
 
Roy said it was a serious matter if only a few banks and their branches and a handful post offices, apart from SCBs and DCCBs, accounted for over half the old currency notes.
 
"At this rate, serious questions arise about the actual collection of spiked notes through the remaining 14 mega-PSBs, besides rural-urban banks, private banks (like ICICI, HDFC and others), local cooperatives, Jankalyan Banks and credit cooperatives and other entities with banking licenses, the figures of which are not made available under RTI," he said.
 
The SCBs were allowed to exchange or take deposits of banned notes till December 30, 2016 -- for a little over seven weeks, in contrast to district cooperative banks which were allowed only five days of transactions.
 
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The prime minister during his demonetisation speech had said that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could be deposited in bank or post office accounts from November 10 till close of banking hours on December 30, 2016, without any limit. "Thus you will have 50 days to deposit your notes and there is no need for panic," he had said.
 
After an uproar, mostly from BJP allies, the government also opened a small window in mid-2017, during the presidential elections, allowing the 32 SCBs and 370 DCCBs -- largely owned, managed or controlled by politicians of various parties -- to deposit their stocks of the spiked notes with the RBI. The move was strongly criticised by the Congress and other major Opposition parties.
 
Among the SCBs, the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank topped the list of depositors with Rs 1,128 crore from 55 branches and the smallest share of Rs 5.94 crore came from just five branches of Jharkhand State Cooperative Bank, according to the replies.
 
Surprisingly, the Andaman & Nicobar State Cooperative Bank's share (from 29 branches) was Rs 85.76 crore.
 
While Maharashtra has a population of 12 crore, Jharkhand's population is 3.6 crore. Andaman & Nicobar Islands have less than four lakh residents.
 
The poorest of all the cooperative banks in the country is Banki Central Cooperative Bank Ltd in Odisha, which admitted to receiving zero deposits of the spiked currency.
 
Of the total 21 PSBs, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Dena Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab & Sindh Bank, Vijaya Bank, Andhra Bank, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank, United Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, and IDBI Bank (14 banks) -- with over 63,500 branches amongst them -- did not give any information on deposits.
 
IANS
 
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Governor an important link in the federal structure, says Kovind

 
Kovind, Naidu, Modi attend Governors' Conference
 
 
President Ram Nath Kovind today said as per the Constitution, the Governor occupies an exalted place in the scheme of governance as a mentor and guide to the state government and an important link in the federal structure.
 
Delivering the inaugural address at the two-day Conference of Governors and Lt. Governors at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mr Kovind said, “The people of the state view the office of the Governor and the Raj Bhavan as a fount of ideas and values.
 
He said in the previous conference, various issues related to infrastructure, public services, higher education in the States and skill development were discussed and extremely useful and valuable suggestions were received.
 
A Committee of Governors constituted at that meeting had submitted its report in January. The report envisages the role of Governors as “Change Agents” in society, he added.
 
Mr Kovind said that, while drafting the agenda for the Conference, the central focus has been to sensitise the participants to the programmes being implemented for the benefit of those citizens who have been left behind in the development journey.
 
“As many as 115 Aspirational Districts, across various states, have committed themselves to speedy development. There will be a presentation and discussion on the schemes being implemented in these districts. Understanding this background will help you guide a spectrum of stakeholders in their efforts to work for the welfare of the poor, women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, farmers and young people.
 
“There are approximately 100 million people in our country who belong to the Scheduled Tribes. A majority of this population lives in regions that are covered under the Fifth and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India. As Governors, you can help in the shaping of a roadmap for the betterment of lives of our fellow citizens, who have not benefited as much as expected from our development journey,” Mr Kovind said.
 
Referring to the youth, he pointed out that 69% of all universities were under the purview of state governments. About 94% of students enrolled for higher education study in these universities. Governors are the Chancellors of most of these universities.
 
In their capacity as Chancellors of state universities, it is for them to provide the necessary impetus and inspiration to these institutions and to enhance the level of scholarship. With the instruments of their office and with their rich experience in public life, Governors are ideally equipped for this responsibility, he said.
 
The President said the Governors can help ensure that admissions of students and appointments of teachers in state universities are completed well in time and in a transparent manner. They can also help ensure that examinations, declaration of results and convocations take place as scheduled. It is for them to inspire state universities to maintain this discipline and integrity.
 
The Conference will discuss important thematic issues in various sessions which include briefings and presentations on flagship programmes of the Government and on internal security; higher education in state universities and skill development for employability; steps taken on the report of Committee of Governors, constituted during the 48th Conference of Governors; and commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
A special session on Union Territories will also be held on June 5 at which Lt. Governors/Administrators of Union Territories will discuss the status of implementation of various flagship programmes.
 
Apart from the Governors and Lt. Governors of all States and Union Territories, the Vice-President, Prime Minister, Union Ministers of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Human Resource Development, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Minister of State for Culture and the Vice-Chairman and CEO of NITI Aayog and other senior officials from various Ministries are participating in the Conference.
 
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18 dead as truck overturns near Ahmedabad in Gujarat

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At least 18 labourers died when a cement-laden truck in which they were travelling overturned at Bavalyali village, about 100 km from here, on the Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad highway in the early hours today.
 
Ahmedabad Rural Police officials told NetIndian over the telephone that the truck was on its way from Pipavav port to Ahmedabad when the mishap occurred around 2.30 am today.
 
About five or six others who suffered injuries were rushed to nearby hospitals, they said.
 
The 18 deceased had died on the spot and their bodies were being sent for post-mortem examination, they said.
 
Senior administration and police officials, along with other emergency personnel, have reached the scene to oversee the relief efforts, they added.
 
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Fire breaks out at ISRO's R&D centre in Ahmedabad

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A major fire broke out in the simulator of the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday.
 
Around 25 fire tenders fought the blaze. The complex is a major research and development centre of the ISRO.
 
A security officer was rushed to a hospital for asphyxiation.
 
"The fire was reported around 1.30 p.m by a CISF officer," Ahmedabad District Collector Vikrant Pandey told IANS. "The exact cause of the fire is not yet known."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Settle matters with The Wire outside court, SC again tells Jay Shah

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The Supreme Court on Monday again asked BJP President Amit Shah's son Jay Shah to settle his defamation suit with The Wire even as the news portal said a firm no to an apology but agreed to carry a clarification.
 
"This is a matter which can be solved" instead of coming to the court, said a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud as the court took up for hearing the plea against a civil suit filed by Jay Shah against the news portal.
 
Making it clear that the court will not suffocate the freedom of press, Chief Justice Misra said: "I believe in freedom of press. I don't restrain the media. The court cannot be seen as gagging the press."
 
As senior counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Jay Shah, complained about an alleged slant given by the news portal to a story regarding Jay Shah's company's revenue, Chief Justice Misra questioned him: "Are you responding to my learned brother's (Justice Chandrachud) statement on settling the matter?"
 
"You are in public life. There are pros and cons... they will put a little bit of slant and masala...," Justice Chandrachud said. 
 
Drawing court attention towards photographs and alleged innuendos that the "moment a particular person comes to power, becomes the Prime Minister, his fortunes soar", Kaul said that Amit Shah's son was not in public life. 
 
The news portal's counsel Nitya Ramakrishnan ruled out an apology but said the clarifications they want are already there. However, she left the courtroom for considering further clarifications.
 
At this, Justice Chandrachud observed: "They are willing to carry any clarification you want. That is as fair as it can be."
 
The Foundation for Independent Journalism, which owns the news portal, has moved the top court against Jay Shah who has filed a civil suit to seek damages of Rs 100 crore.
 
Earlier, the Gujarat High Court declined to quash the case.
 
On April 18, while hearing the news portal's plea against criminal defamation, the apex court had asked both parties to settle the matter amicably.
 
On Monday, the court said that both the cases involving criminal defamation and civil defamation would be taken up on July 9.
 
During a hearing on March 15, the top court put on hold the proceedings before a magisterial court. The stay was extended on April 12 with a further extension on April 18 till July 9.
 
The defamation case is rooted in an article by journalist Rohini Singh on Jay Shah's company, which claimed that the firm's turnover grew exponentially after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014.
 
IANS
 
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Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits Maya Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi

Six years after a trial court sentenced her to 28 years in jail calling her the key instigator in Gujarat's worst communal massacre that left 97 Muslims dead in 2002 in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya, the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani saying there was no evidence to nail her.

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Six years after a trial court sentenced her to 28 years in jail calling her the key instigator in Gujarat's worst communal massacre that left 97 Muslims dead in 2002 in Ahmedabad's Naroda Patiya, the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani saying there was no evidence to nail her.
 
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A.S. Supehia acquitted her, stating there was absence of sufficient proof of her presence at the crime scene where huge armed crowds went about on a killing spree for hours.
 
A SIT Court had in 2012 found it "beyond reasonable doubt" that Kodnani, a doctor by profession, was present at the spot of the crime, instigated mobs to attack Muslims and abetted the crime.
 
"In the record of this case, the witnesses have stated that all the disturbances were started and in fact reached its peak after the arrival of Kodnani. It stands proved beyond all reasonable doubt that she was present and participated in the crime on that day," the court had ruled in August 2012, sentencing Kodnani to 28 years in imprisonment.
 
Friday's acquittal of Kodnani, who was made a Minister after the riots, came in the backdrop of witnesses turning hostile, six judges recusing themselves from the hearing and the SIT deciding not to seek enhancement of her sentence stating that it did not have the Gujarat government's sanction for it.
 
BJP President Amit Shah's testimony in the case in September 2017 was the last one and could have proved to be the much needed alibi for Kodnani. He stated that he saw Kodnani in the Gujarat Assembly on 28 February, 2002 (the day of the massacre), first at 8.30 a.m. and then again at 11 a.m. 
 
The Gujarat Assembly is located in Gandhinagar and so the former minister could not have been at Naroda Patiya on the day of the riots.
 
However, the SIT Court had refused to consider this as evidence stating that Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad were like twin cities and that Kodnani could have easily travelled to Naroda Patiya from the state Assembly after 8.30 a.m.
 
However, the High Court acquitted her with several witnesses turning hostile and there was insufficient evidence to establish her presence at the place of the crime.
 
The court meanwhile upheld the conviction of Babu Bajrangi, an activist of the Bajrang Dal. The judgment was pronounced on the appeals filed by the former BJP Minister and others against their conviction by the SIT court. He was the key conspirator in the massacre.
 
The Naroda Patiya riots was one of the worst incidents during the communal conflagration that engulfed Gujarat following the train burning incident on February 27, 2002 at Godhra in which 59 Hindus were killed.
 
The High Court in August 2017 had reserved its order.
 
The special court had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani and Bajrangi. Seven others were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years' imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt).
 
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The remaining accused were given simple life imprisonment of 14 years. The trial court's acquittal of 29 other accused in the case, for want of evidence, was challenged by the SIT, even as those convicted challenged the lower court's order in the High Court for respite.
 
Government counsel Prashant Desai said: "It is clear from the Gujarat High Court's judgment that the court has gone on no witness theory.
 
"Twelve accused have been convicted. Besides Babu Bajrangi, Prakash Rathod and Suresh Chara alias Suresh Langda have been convicted under the IPC 120 (B) as key conspirators.
 
"The sting operation by the Tehelka was not taken into account by the court. The 12 have been convicted with 21 years imprisonment without remission.
 
"Whatever Babu Bajrangi did was no different from what the others did, so his conviction was on parity. Court believed police witnesses.
 
"On Kodnani, there were contradictions in the witnesses' testimony against her presence at the crime scene. None of the police witnesses have said that they saw Kodnani at the scene.
 
"The SIT will have to appeal within 90 days to the Supreme Court if they want to challenge the Gujarat High Court verdict," added the counsel.
 
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said: "Our Minister Kodnani was wrongfully implicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. But today she has been found innocent.
 
"We are happy with the verdict and welcome the decision. She has worked hard for the party and definitely she will be given an active role in the party if she wishes to continue."
 
Meanwhile, the state BJP President Jitu Vaghani has blamed the Congress for arraigning Kodnani in the case. "The Congress wrongfully involved our former minister."
 
IANS
 
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Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi

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A Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani, saying there was absence of sufficient proof of her presence at the crime scene in the Naroda Patiya massacre case of 2002.
 
The court also upheld the conviction of Bajrangi Dal activist Babu Bajrangi, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life by the trial court. 
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party Minister was one of the key accused in the riot case and was convicted by a special SIT court in August 2012. She was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
 
The judgment was pronounced on the appeals filed by the former BJP Minister and others against their conviction by the SIT court.
 
The Division Bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice A.S. Supehia upheld the conviction by the special court of Babubhai Patel alias Bajrangi, a prominent leader of the Bajrang Dal Hindu outfit.
 
He was a key conspirator in the massacre in Naroda Patiya area, where 97 Muslim persons were killed in the Godhra aftermath. 
 
The Naroda Patiya riots was one of the worst incidents during communal conflagration that engulfed Gujarat, following the train burning incident on February 27, 2002, at Godhra in which 59 Kar Sevaks were killed. 
 
The High Court in August 2017 had reserved its order after the hearing concluded against the judgment of the special court. 
 
The special court had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani and Bajrangi. Seven others were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years' imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt). 
 
The remaining accused were given simple life imprisonment of 14 years.
 
The trial court's acquittal of 29 other accused in the case, for want of evidence was challenged by the SIT, even as those convicted had challenged the lower court's order in the High Court for respite.
 
Government counsel Prashant Desai said: "It is clear from the Gujarat High Court's judgment that the court has gone on no witness theory." 
 
"Twelve accused have been convicted. Besides Babu Bajrangi, Prakash Rathod and Suresh Chara alias Suresh Langda have been convicted under the IPC 120 (B) as key conspirators. 
 
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"The sting operation by the Tehelka was not taken into account by the court. The 12 have been convicted with 21 years imprisonment without remission. 
 
"Whatever Babu Bajrangi did was no different from what the others did, so his conviction was on parity. Court believed police witnesses." 
 
"On Maya Kodnani, there were contradictions in the witnesses' testimony against her presence at the crime scene. None of the police witnesses have said that they saw Kodnani at the scene. 
 
"The SIT will have to appeal within 90 days to the Supreme Court if they want to challenge the Gujarat High Court verdict," added the counsel.
 
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said: "Our minister Kodnani was wrongfully implicted in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. But today after the Gujarat High Court acquittal, she has been found innocent."
 
"We are happy with the verdict and welcome the decision. She has worked hard for the party and definitely she will be given an active role in the party if she wishes to continue." 
 
Meanwhile, state BJP president Jitu Vaghani has blamed the Congress party for arraigning Kodnani in the case. "The Congress wrongfully involved our former minister."
 
IANS
 
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Naroda Patiya massacre: Gujarat HC acquits Kodnani, convicts Babu Bajrangi

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A division bench of the Gujarat High Court on Friday acquitted former Bharatiya Janata Party Minister Maya Kodnani while upholding the conviction of Bajrang Dal activist Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya massacre case of 2002.
 
Kodnani was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court for inciting a mob post the Godhra train carnage in 2002. 
 
The court found Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi guilty and upheld his conviction. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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CBI arrests 3 company directors in Rs 2,654 crore bank fraud case

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The CBI has arrested three promoter-directors of a Vadodara-based company in connection with its ongoing investigation into an alleged case of Rs 2,654.40 crore fraud committed on a consortium of banks, officials said on Wednesday.
 
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official told IANS: "The agency has arrested the promoter-directors of the Diamond Power Infrastructure Ltd (DIPL) Suresh Narain Bhatnagar, his two sons Amit Suresh Bhatnagar and Sumit Suresh Bhatnagar."
 
The CBI located the accused in Udaipur in Rajasthan on Tuesday evening with the assistance of Gujarat Police and arrested them on Wednesday morning.
 
The official said they would be produced before the Special Judge of CBI Cases in Ahmedabad.
 
On March 26, the CBI filed a case against DPIL and its directors for defrauding the consortium of 11 banks of Rs 2,654.40 crore. The loan availed by them was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in 2016-17.
 
Since the filing of case, the agency has carried out searches at the corporate office, two factory premises and the residences of the directors of the firm. 
 
According to the CBI FIR, the DPIL, which is engaged in the production of cables and other electrical equipment, fraudulently availed credit facilities since 2008, leaving behind a total outstanding debit of Rs 2,654.40 crore as of June 29, 2016.
 
The agency said that the company managed to get term loans and credit facilities thought it figured in the Reserve Bank of India's list of defaulters and the caution list of Export Credit Guarantee Corp of India (ECGCI) at the time of initial sanction of credit limits by the consortium.
 
At the time of consortium's formation in 2008, Axis Bank was the lead bank for the term loan and the Bank of India was the lead bank for cash credit (CC) limits.
 
The Bank of India, which tops the list with Rs 670.51 crore of loans, is followed by Bank of Baroda (Rs 348.99 crore), ICICI Bank (Rs 279.46 crore), State Bank of India (Rs 266.37 crore), Axis Bank (Rs 255.32 crore), Allahabad Bank (Rs 227.96), Dena Bank (Rs 177.19 crore), Corporation Bank (109.12 crore), Exim Bank of India (Rs 81.92 crore), IOB (Rs 71.59) and the IFCI Bank (58.53 crore). 
 
The company, allegedly with the support of officials from various banks, managed to obtain enhancement in credit facilities. 
 
The FIR said the DPIL, through its founder and directors associated in the criminal conspiracy with the unidentified bank officials of various banks, cheated those banks by way of misappropriating public funds through falsification of accounts, creation of false documents, forgery of records and knowingly using such records as genuine.
 
IANS
 
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IIMA ties up with NTPC to create world class research institute

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Public sector power producer NTPC and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the country's top business school, today announced a joint initiative to create a world class research institute at NTPC School of Business for policy prescription and churn out management graduates with focus on energy sector.
 
"We are proud to have entered an agreement, under which India's marquee business school -- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - will hand hold NTPC School of Business to replicate its management degree courses beginning this year with special focus on energy verticals not only for NTPC but for the entire power sector," Mr Saptarshi Roy, Human Resource Director, NTPC, said.
 
"This is the first time we are tying up with a leading academic institution for degree and other specialised courses on the lines of IIM-A. We were blessed with handholding from IIM-A for five years and we are proud of it. We will be doing the same with NTPC School of Business (NSB) and hand hold it for five years, create a top class faculty like our own and offer a host of specialised electives for various aspects related to energy and power sectors," IIM-A's HRM Area Chair and Strategic Management Professor Sunil Kumar Maheshwari said.
 
"We wish to create a strong research and policy centre. To create manpower for this centre, NSB shall be ideal institute to take lead and this will become Centre of excellence for policy research and policy documentation," Mr Maheshwari said.
 
Under the scheme of arrangement, NSB, guided and shepherded by IIM-A specialists, will seek applications from aspirants for MBA degree from April this year for a two-year degree course with specialisation in energy sector.
 
IIM, apart from bringing professionals from the parent organisation, will gradually create NSB's own faculty by the end of the fifth year.
 
Mr Roy, who also holds additional charge as Director Finance, said that NTPC is focused on creating robust leadership for the future of the organisation that accounts for 16 per cent of the country's total power generation capacity. He added that NTPC's budget for learning and development has significantly gone up this year.
 
"The NSB tie-up is the latest in the series of learning and development initiatives at NTPC. We also have tied up with Harvard Business School and other Ivy League institutions under which a total of 180 senior executives are being given global exposure for the first hand learning of leadership modules and best business practices as part of efforts to create future leadership for the organisation that is supplementing the national economic growth by way of meeting electricity requirement," he said.
 
“We have the entire infrastructure at our NSB’s Noida campus ready to start the courses from the academic year including residential facility for the students.  We intend to enrol 120 students in the first year,” said Mr. A.K. Bhatnagar, Executive Director, Head of Power Management Institute & NSB, Noida.
 
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Kovind says students must help those deprived of opportunities for education

 
Universities must prepare students for self-employment: Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind today said students must think of how they must pay back, especially to society, and urged them to think of those who had been deprived of opportunities for education and try and help their process of development.
 
Addressing the 66th convocation of Gujarat University here, Mr. Kovind reminded the students that whatever they have received in life is not only due to their own efforts but also due to contributions from their family, well-wishers, teachers, society and the government.
 
He said good education should not only make students skilled but also sensitive. He said that it was natural to expect that students from Gujarat, the state of Narsinh Mehta and Mahatma Gandhi, would contribute to compassion, morality and human well-being.
 
Mr. Kovind noted that Gujarat University is supporting many entrepreneurs through its “Start-up and Entrepreneurship Council”. The creation of the “Council of Skill Development” is also a welcome step towards empowering students. He stated that today’s universities should give top priority to preparing their students for employability, and for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
 
The President said that there are many good institutions in Ahmedabad that promote a start-up culture. Recently, the Prime Ministers of India and Israel inaugurated the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology – or iCreate – in Ahmedabad. This will provide world-class facilities to young Indian entrepreneurs, he said.
 
The President urged students of Gujarat University to take advantage of these facilities.
 
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Kovind to pay two-day visit to Gujarat on January 21-22

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a two-day visit to Gujarat from tomorrow, when he will attend the 66th annual convocation of Gujarat University in Ahmedabad.
 
On January 22, the President will address the 66th annual convocation of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.  
 
On the same day, the President will grace the 150th anniversary celebrations of Akshar Deri at Gondal, before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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IndiGo announces new flights on Ahmedabad-Kochi sector

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would launch new flights on the Ahmedabad-Kochi sector with effect from March 12.
 
A press release from the airline said it would also introduce additional flights on the Kochi-Hyderabad and Hyderabad-Ahmedabad sectors from that date, underscoring the tourism potential of Tier-II markets.
 
"Commencing on March 12, 2018, these new services will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India, with over 1000 daily flights connecting 48 destinations," it said.
 
IndiGo had recently announced its ATR operations and inaugural flights from Tirupati and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.
 
In March 2018, the carrier will also commence Vijayawada operations to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the airline said.
 
Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are delighted to introduce new connections between Kochi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. IndiGo has established itself as the fastest growing carrier with its extensive domestic network and we are hopeful that the introduction of the new service will further cement our place in the Indian skies.”
 
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Modi hosts Netanyahu in home state Gujarat; the two PMs dedicate iCreate to nation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday told young Indians that Israel wanted to form partnerships with them in technology, water, agriculture, cyber space, drones, health, life scienes and many other fields.

 
Netanyahu visits Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today told young Indians that Israel wanted to form partnerships with them in technology, water, agriculture, cyber space, drones, health, life scienes and many other fields.
 
"I want young Israelis to come to India not just with a backpack but with a laptop," he said at a function at which he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the iCreate facilitated on the outskirts of the city to the nation.
 
"This is a century of boundless potential and that's why I've come here – to encourage young innovators from our two countries to work together," he said.
 
iCreate is an independent centre set up with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship through a blend of creativity, innovation, engineering, product design and leveraging emerging technologies to deal with major issues such as food security, water, connectivity, cybersecurity, IT and electronics, energy, bio-medical equipment and devices etc. iCreate aims to develop an ecosystem in India to generate quality entrepreneurs.
 
The two leaders visited various stalls that highlighted technologies and innovations across diverse fields.
 
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Modi said that innovation has a key role to play in bringing the people of India and Israel closer to each other. He said the entire world had taken note of the technological prowess and creativity of Israel.
 
He said the youth of India had energy and enthusiasm. What they needed is a bit of encouragement and institutional support, he added.
 
The Prime Minister said that the Government is working to make the entire system innovation-friendly, so that intent can generate ideas; ideas lead to innovation; and innovation helps create a New India.
 
He said that the first pre-requisite of success is courage. He congratulated the courageous youth who are engaged in innovative activities at iCreate.
 
He urged the youth of India to innovate to overcome the challenges facing the nation today, and to improve the quality of life of the common man at lowest possible cost.
 
The Prime Minister spoke of cooperation between India and Israel for innovation in areas such as food, water, health and energy. He said this cooperation between the two countries would write a new chapter in the history of mankind in the 21st century. 
 
Also at iCreate are 36 startups, 18 from each country, that were chosen to find joint responses to global water, agriculture and health challenges. The plan is pursuant to an Israeli government decision that was made approximately two weeks before Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit in July last year to Israel.
 
Mr. Netanyahu issued certificates to the 18 Indian startups and Mr. Modi to the 18 Israeli startups.
 
Mr. Netanyahu also presented Mr. Modi with a Galmobile water purification vehicle via videoconference from the Rann of Kutch.
 
The Israeli Prime Minister said Mr. Modi was changing India "by the force and vision of his leadership. He is revolutionizing India, he is catapulting it into the future as one of the world's great powers. And he is doing it through the power of innovation."
 
"As you all know, I'm sure you know this – Prime Minister Modi and I are both very young and very optimistic. We're young in our thinking and we're optimistic about the future," he said.
 
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"Today, the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel, a historic visit, and my visit to India mark a new era of Israel-India cooperation. One of the areas we're most excited about is cooperation in technology and innovation. Prime Minister Modi is right when he says technology is central to development. He also rightly stresses – inclusive development. Inclusive development because all of us rise and fall together. 
 
"Half a year ago we launched the Israel-India innovation dream. The idea was simple: unite brilliant young Indians and brilliant young Israelis to help solve pressing global problems. Many entrepreneurs immediately recognized the potential of this idea. Over 600 companies applied to be part of the incubator. Several dozen were chosen but this is just a small sample of the scope of our cooperation," he said.
 
Earlier in the morning, Mr. Netanyahu and Mrs. Sara Netanyahu were received at the airport here by Mr. Modi. Hundreds of people, including music bands and dance troupes, lined the streets on the route from the airport to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram, where the visitors spent some time. Among other things, Mr. Netanyahu tried his hand on the charkha, the spinning wheel.
 
Later, the two Prime Ministers visited the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Vadrad in Sabarkantha district of the state.
 
They were briefed on various achievements of the Centre. They also inaugurated, through a video link, the Centre of Excellence for date palms at Kukama in Kutch district. They interacted with farmers from Kutch district.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that Israel has shown the way on how to transform a nation with the agriculture sector at the core. He said it is important to use technology in the agriculture sector. He outlined how India is working towards doubling farmers' incomes by 2022. He said it is important to devote attention to irrigation and innovative methods of farming.
 
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Pravin Togadia found unconscious in Ahmedabad park: VHP

 
VHP leader Pravin Togadia found unconscious in park in Ahmedabad
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said tonight that its international president Pravin Togadia was found in an unconscious state in a park here after he had been reported missing from the city since this morning when a team from the Rajasthan Police came to arrest him in connection with an old case.
 
A statement from the VHP said that Dr. Togadia was found lying unconscious in the park in the Shahibaug area of the city, because of hypoglycemia, and was rushed to the Chandramani Hospital in the city, where he was under treatment.
 
Dr. Roop Kumar Agrawal, who is treating him, told television channels that Dr. Togadia had been brought to the hospital around 9.15 pm in an unconscious state. He said his condition was better now, though he continued be in a "confused" state.
 
Dr. Agrawal said Dr. Togadia was suffering from hypoglycemia and had been given sugar to help stabilise his condition. "He is in a confused state, he cannot talk properly, cannot recognise," he said. He said Dr. Togadia was brought to the hospital in an 108 ambulance. His personal doctor and son were with him at the hospital now, he added.
 
Earlier, in the day, the Ahmedabad Police had launched a massive search to locate Dr. Togadia, who was last seen leaving in an autorickshaw from outside the VHP office at Paldi here in the company of an unidentified person. He had told his security personnel that they need not accompany him and that he would return in about half an hour.
 
Meanwhile, there were reports that he had been placed under arrest by either the Rajasthan Police or the Gujarat Police but this was denied by them.
 
Police officials said that a team from Rajasthan Police did reach the Sola Police Station here with a warrant for Dr. Togadia's arrest but they did not find him at his residence in the Thaltej locality.
 
VHP workers, who thought their leader had been arrested, staged protests in the city.
 
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Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrives on six-day state visit to India

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Delhi on Sunday on a six-day state visit to India during which he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold discussions on shaping bilateral relations between the two countries for the next 25 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Delhi airport on January 14, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Delhi airport on January 14, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived here today on a six-day state visit to India during which he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold discussions on shaping bilateral relations between the two countries for the next 25 years.
 
In a special gesture, Mr. Modi drove to the Delhi Airport to receive Mr. Netanyahu, who is accompanied by his wife Sara Netanyahu.
 
The two Prime Ministers greeted each other with a warm hug and a shakehand.
 
Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Modi drove from the airport to Teen Murti Chowk to attend a ceremony at which it was renamed as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in memory of the supreme sacrifice by Indian soldiers to liberate Haifa in Israel in 1918. The two Prime Ministers laid wreaths at the memorial.
 
The three bronze statues at Teen Murti represent the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers who were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade that carried out the victorious assault on the city of Haifa on September 23, 1918 during World War I. 
 
Later, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the Israeli Prime Minister, when they discussed various aspects of the bilateral ties and ways of strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries.
 
During his stay in India, Mr. Netanyahu will also travel to Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal, Gujarat and Mumbai before flying back home.
 
This is Mr. Netanyahu's first visit to India. The two countries had, on the  occasion of commemoration of 25 years of establishing diplomatic relations, it was decided to exchange the visits of both the Prime Ministers. Accordingly, Mr. Modi had visited Israel in July 2017, and during that visit, India's relations with Israel were upgraded to a strategic partnership with special focus on agriculture and water. 
 
Both the sides are expected to conclude memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and agreements in the aeas of cyber security, space, film production and energy, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs added.
 
In Delhi, apart from holding bilateral talks with Mr. Modi tomorrow, Mr. Netanyahu will call on President Ram Nath Kovind. The two Prime Ministers will attend the 2nd India-Israel CEOs Forum. The first CEOs Forum was held during Mr. Modi's visit to Israel.
 
 
Modi, Netanyahu visit Teen Murti Chowk
Mr. Netanyahu will also inaugurate the Raisina Dialogue, organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
 
Both the sides are expected to conclude MoUs/Agreements in the area of cyber, space, film production and energy.
 
In Gujarat, the two Prime Ministers will visit the Center of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Center of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conference. They will also visit the iCreate innovation campus and center.
 
In Mumbai, Mr. Netanyahu will meet with Jewish community leaders and select members of the Indian business community. He will also reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive “Shalom Bollywood” event.
 
Ahead of the visit, the Israeli Ambassador to India, Mr. Daniel Carmon said, “The Prime Minister’s visit to India is the grand finale to the celebrations of 25 years of growing partnership between India and Israel. The visit will focus on the progress made between India and Israel since Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel last summer, and on shaping the next 25 years of relations between our countries and our peoples.”
 
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Four of family die in fire in grocery store in Ahmedabad

 
Four die in fire at grocery store in Ahmedabad
Four members of a family died of asphyxiation after a fire broke out in a grocery store located on the ground floor of a residential tower in the Shastrinagar of the city early this morning.
 
The family, which hailed from Rajasthan, was living in the tiny store, which they owned, and did not have a chance to escape as the flames and smoke quickly engulfed the premises.
 
A seven-year-old daughter of the family escaped the fire because she had left for school before it broke out.
 
Fire brigade personnel who rushed to the scene had to break open the shutters of the store to get inside and control the flames.
 
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained and will be investigated, sources said.
 
Fire brigade officials said the store had only a single entry and exit and did not have any ventilation.
 
The victims were identified as Sunil Chaudhary, 40, Mohan Chaudhary, 32, Leela Chaudhary, 27, and 3-year-old Arjun Chaudhary.
 
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