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Jharkhand

Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra convicted, given 5 years in jail in fodder scam case

A Special CBI in Ranchi on Wednesday convicted and sentenced former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra to five years in prison in a fodder scam case.

File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
A Special CBI Court convicted and sentenced former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra to five years in prison in a fodder scam case here today.
 
Special CBI Judge Swarn Shankar Prasad also imposed a fine of Rs. 10 lakh on both of them in the case pertaining to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury, then a part of undivided Bihar and now in Jharkhand, in 1992-93.
 
Mr. Yadav and Mr. Mishra were convicted on two separate counts and sentenced to five years in prison on each, but the sentences will run concurrently and the period of jail term already served would be set off.
 
In all, as many as 50 people were convicted in the case, while six were acquitted. The 50 people convicted today included six politicians, three former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and four woemn. They were given three years of imprisonment and fined Rs. 50,000 each.
 
There were a total of 76 accused persons in the case, of whom 14 died during the trial, three turned CBI approvers, two admitted to their crime and one is absconding.
 
This is the third fodder scam case in which Mr. Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, has been convicted, while it is the second for Mr. Mishra.
 
Mr. Yadav had, on September 30, 2013, been sentenced to five years of five years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25 lakhs for his role in another case in the multi-crore fodder scam, which broke out 17 years ago when he was Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
He and 44 others were convicted by the CBI Court in Ranchi in one of the several cases related to the Rs 950 crore scandal, in which Rs 37.70 crore had been fraudulently withdrawn from the treasury at Chaibasa. Mr. Mishra was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years with a fine of Rs 2 lakhs in that case.
 
On December 13 that year, the Supreme Court granted bail to Mr. Yadav. He had moved the apex court after the Jharkhand High Court had dismissed his application for bail until his appeal against his conviction by the Special CBI Court in Ranchi was decided by the High Court.
 
The bail was granted by a bench headed by then Chief Justice P Sathasivam after it noted that many other similarly placed convicts had been been granted bail in the case.
 
 
Lalu Prasad given three years in third fodder scam case
On January 6, Mr. Yadav was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a CBI Special Court for his role in a second fodder scam case, relating to the fraudulent withdrawal of funds from the Deoghar Treasury. Fifteen others were convicted in that case, while Mr. Mishra and five others were acquitted.
 
The former Union Minister is an accused in two other cases related to the alleged scam, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. 
 
Despite the charges he is facing, Mr. Yadav remains popular with large sections of the people in Bihar and had led a grand alliance that included the Janata Dal (United) and the Congress to a handsome victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2015 Assembly elections. The alliance later came apart when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked out of it and later joined hands with the BJP to return as Chief Minister.
 
Mr. Yadav's conviction is likely to be a setback for the efforts to put together a similar alliance against the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Mr. Yadav's son Tejaswi Yadav, former deputy chief minister of Bihar, told journalists today that they would file appeals against the verdicts in the High Court. He said the people of the state consider Mr. Yadav as a hero and believed he was innocent. He also said that the people could see that Mr. Yadav was being framed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who is heading a JD (U)-BJP coalition government in Bihar.
 
Mr. Yadav, who is lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail here following his conviction in the Deoghar Treasury case, was brought to the CBI Court to hear the verdict in today's case.
 
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Modi says that if India has to develop, no part of country can remain underdeveloped

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that, if India has to emerge as a developed nation, no part of the country could remain weak and underdeveloped.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that, if India has to emerge as a developed nation, no part of the country could remain weak and underdeveloped.
 
Pointing out that eastern India had remained underdeveloped, he said growth should be balanced across north, south, east and west so that common people all over the country could enjoy the fruits of development in equal measure.
 
Mr Modi was addressing a gathering after launching the National Digital Literacy Mission in Ranchi.
 
He also dedicated to the nation Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) oil terminal at Jasidih and the 765 kV Ranchi-Dharamjaygarh-Sipat transmission line.
 
Mr Modi announced that work would commence shortly on the Jagdishpur-Phoolpur-Haldia gas pipeline, which would become a major source of energy for eastern India. 
 
He also initiated work at the North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Plant which, he said, would dispel darkness from Jharkhand. He also laid the foundation stone for two IT-related projects.
 
Mr Modi said Jharkhand had huge potential for development and promised to repay the love and affection shown to him by the people of the state through development.
 
Stating that India could develop only if its states developed, he referred to yesterday's decision by the Union Cabinet to increase royalty rates on minerals which would benefit Jharkhand enormously.
 
Jharkhand Governor Sayed Ahmed, Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
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Congress wins Jharkhand assembly bye-election

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The Congress on Sunday won the Kolebira assembly bye-election in Jharkhand, said an Election Commission official.
 
Congress candidate Naman Bixal Kongari defeated the BJP candidate by over 9,000 votes, the official said. Kongari polled 40,343 votes while the BJP candidate Basant Soreng managed to get 30,685 votes.
 
The sitting legislator Enos Ekka's wife Menon Ekka managed to get only 16,445 votes. The polling took place on December 20.
 
The seat fell vacant following conviction of former Minister Enos Ekka in the murder of a school teacher. There were five candidates in the fray. 
 
The Congress candidate was ahead of his BJP rival from the first round, sources said.
 
"It's a victory of secular forces in the country. People of the country have started rejecting the BJP," said Alok Dubey, Congress general secretary.
 
IANS
 

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Shatrughan Sinha, Congress, JMM leaders meet ailing Lalu

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Senior BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leaders met jailed and ailing RJD chief Lalu Prasad in a hospital in Ranchi on Saturday.
 
Sinha met Lalu along with former Central minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay in the paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi. 
 
Lalu is suffering from multiple diseases and is admitted to RIMS for treatment.
 
After meeting Lalu, Sinha said: "I enquired about his health. We have family relations, and our conversations were related to family. No political matters were discussed." 
 
Replying to a query about his younger son Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu said, "Tejashwi is a good and promising youth. He is the face of Bihar."
 
Besides Sinha and Sahay, senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad also met Lalu. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president Hemant Soren, too, arrived in the hospital to meet Lalu on Saturday.
 
Soren said, "There is a wave against the BJP in the country. We discussed ways to form a strong platform to defeat the BJP in Jharkhand and the country."
 
Lalu was convicted in three cases in the fodder scam by a CBI court in December last year. He is serving a jail term of 14 years.
 
IANS
 

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Jharkhand Literary Meet 2018 to be held in Ranchi on December 8-9

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Eminent writers and personalities such as Ruskin Bond, Uday Prakash, Mahadev Toppo, Alok Rai and Rekha Bhardwaj will be among the doyens of Hindi and English literature who will congregate for the second edition of the Jharkhand Literary Meet (JLM) here on December 8-9.
 
The event promises to be a literary high point encompassing writing, short films and evening performances, the organisers, Tata Steel, said.
 
Bond, the author practically every English-speaking child in India has grown up reading, will be present for two sessions -- one of which will be on the Bollywood adaptations of his stories.
 
Chanakya Chaudhary, vice president, corporate services, Tata Steel, told a press conference here on Thursday that the event would build on the "resounding success" of the first edition of the JLM last year.
 
“We initiated the first Jharkhand Literary Meet with the belief that a culturally rich region such as Jharkhand must have its very own festival celebrating literature and allied cultural pursuits, like dance, music, recitation, cinema and theatrical performances. The focus has been to engage premier authors, speakers and performance artists from the region and across India.
 
“It was our privilege and pleasure to have hosted, in the very first year itself, eminent writers and personalities such as Ashok Vajpeyi, Mark Tully and Sharmila Tagore, among others. We hope to make the Jharkhand Literary Meet an integral part of Ranchi cultural canvas as well as the region’s premier literary event,” Chaudhary said.
 
Festival director Malavika Banerjee said, “We are privileged to have iconic author Ruskin Bond to inaugurate and be a part of JLM 2018, especially as this his first-ever visit to Ranchi. Uday Prakash, one of the stalwarts of modern Hindi literature, is another author we are privileged to bring to JLM 2018.”
 
Banerjee also spoke of the presence of authors from the region who are making a mark on the country’s literary scene, such as Mahadev Toppo, Mohua Maji and Anuj Lugun. “This is part of our continued, strong focus on making the meet a balance between writing from the region and elsewhere,” she added.
 
The formal inauguration of the event will take place on December 8 morning, with Bond and Prakash doing the honours. The venue for this year’s meet is Audrey House, a gracious colonial-era bungalow near Raj Bhavan.
 
A curtain-raiser has also been planned at Jamshedpur on December 7, featuring Bond, to flag off the Tata Steel Literary Meet Season, which includes ‘Kalam’, the Kolkata Literary Meet, and BLM, the ‘Bhubaneswar Literary Meet’.
 
Rekha Bhardwaj’s performance will be another major highlight of the festival. 
 
"The National Award winning singer would surely be a perfect fit for the Jharkhand Literary Meet, not only because of her reputation as a powerhouse performer but because of her known interest in Hindi / Urdu literature," a press release from the organisers said.
 
A session on late film music composer S D Burman’s music, as explored in an award-winning book, would be an added draw for music lovers. For the millennials, a session on the advent and mass popularity of web-streamed content aided by platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will be discussed with the cast of ‘Mirzapur’ (an Amazon Prime original).
 
A stand-up comedy performance by renowned comic and writer Sorabh Pant and a musical tribute to Begum Akhtar will round up the offerings at JLM 2018.
 
Ashutosh Chaturvedi, chief editor, representing event media partner ‘Prabhat Khabar’ and Shailesh Verma, chief resident executive, Tata Steel, based at Ranchi were also present on the occasion.
 
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World Bank to provide $ 310 million loan for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project

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The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank signed here today a $310 million loan agreement for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project to provide reliable, quality, and affordable 24x7 electricity to the people of the state.
 
The project will help build new power transmission infrastructure, as well as put in place systems to improve the technical efficiency and commercial performance of the state power sector utilities, an official press release said.
 
The project will help bring in modern technology solutions such as automated sub-stations, and network analysis and planning tools to provide reliable power supply and enhance customer satisfaction, it said.
 
While a significant portion of the proposed investments are aimed at improving power transmission infrastructure, the project will also focus on developing institutional capacities of State-owned power transmission and distribution companies and improving their operational performance.
 
The project is part of the Government of India’s Power for All program launched in 2014. The plan envisages addition of over 4.5 GW generation capacities by 2022 (including a significant share of 1.5 GW from solar energy), through a mix of private and public sector investments.
 
The agreement for the Project was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Ms. Vandana Dadel, Secretary, Energy Department, on behalf of the Government of Jharkhand; and Mr. Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
Mr. Khare said that Jharkhand was one of the first States to join the Power for All plan and is making efforts to improve access to power through reforms in transmission and electricity distribution. He said that with the demand for reliable power expected to almost double in the coming years, the project will help meet the energy needs of the State for its economic growth.
 
Mr. Ahmad said that the Government of Jharkhand is committed to providing quality power supply to its people for the State’s economic development. The project will help the State increase supply of reliable electricity to households, industries, businesses and various other productive sectors, and contribute to poverty alleviation, and inclusive growth, he said.
 
The release said the Government of Jharkhand has achieved significant results towards electrification. As per data from the Jharkhand Distribution Company, more than 80 percent of all citizens in the State have access to electricity. However, the State will have to continue to work towards providing reliable 24x7 power for all its consumers. The per capita consumption of electricity in Jharkhand at 552 kWh at the end of FY16 is roughly half of the national average. Improved availability of power in the region from plants owned by the Central Government and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has helped the State achieve lower demand supply deficits in recent years.
 
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Some of the major components of the project include construction of new sub-stations and transmission lines, primarily at 132kV voltage level. It will provide support to the Jharkhand Urja Sancharan Nigam Limited (JUSNL) in setting-up systems for strengthening the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) operations including financing software solutions for improving scheduling and dispatch functions. This will help integrate renewable energy in the State grid, the release said.
 
The project will also support smart meters, with two-way communication and backend IT infrastructure, deployed in select urban towns. These meters will not only reduce technical and commercial losses, but also improve peak load management. The meters are expected to provide consumers with better access to data which will encourage them to reduce their electricity consumption. To begin with, the project will finance smart metering for around 350,000 consumers in the capital city of Ranchi.  
 
“Implementing such a large program and improving the financial health of the sector, requires deeper institutional development of its power transmission & distribution utilities. Hence, one of the key elements of the current project will be to support institutional strengthening of the State-owned utilities in the areas of procurement, contract implementation, financial management, and commercial operations among others,” said Mr. Amol Gupta, Energy Specialist and Ms. Kavita Saraswat, Senior Power Engineer and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for this project.
 
The $310 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 25 years, the release added.
 
 IANS

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Jharkhand declares drought in 18 districts

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The Jharkhand government on Monday declared 129 blocks in 18 districts drought-affected and released Rs 49 crore for immediate relief, an official said.
 
A communication in this regard has been sent to the central government asking for assistance, the Disaster Management official told IANS following a survey conducted by the Raghubar Das government. 
 
"Rs 49 crore have been sent to the affected districts to be used for drinking purposes, fodder for animals and help to farmers," he added.
 
The survey came after Chief Secretary Sudhir Tripathy conducted a meeting in October. 
 
As per the data, Jharkhand received 72 per cent average rainfall in 2018. However, at some places it was less than 50 per cent. The worst affected are Pakur and Koderma. 
 
Ranchi, Khunti, Gumla, Garhwa, Latehar, Dumka, Jamtara, Deoghar and others received more than 50 per cent but less than 75 per cent rainfall.
 
The drastic lack of rainfall affected paddy sowing, which was less than 16 per cent of the average.
 
According to the official, paddy sowing is done on 18 lakh hectares of land in the state. However, this year sowing took place only in 15.27 lakh hectares. 
 
The average rainfall in the state is 1,027.7 mm, but in 2018 it received only 741.9 mm. 
 
In August and September, the normal rainfall in Jharkhand is 276.2 mm and 235.5 mm, respectively, but it received only 213.2 mm and 133.6 mm. The shortfall in the September rainfall damaged the crops, the official added.
 
IANS

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Jharkhand journalist beaten to death

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A journalist of a Ranchi-based Hindi daily who had been facing threats was beaten to death in Jharkhand's Chatra district, authorities said on Tuesday.
 
Chandan Tiwary, who worked for the "Aaj", was abducted on Monday night from Pathhalgada, police said. 
 
According to police officials, Tiwary was found in the Balthar forest on Tuesday in a badly wounded condition. He succumbed to his injuries in a hospital.
 
"Our correspondent has been brutally killed," the newspaper's Resident Editor Amit Kumar Agarwal told IANS. 
 
"Tiwary had filed a complaint in April regarding threats to his life. But he was not provided any security," Agarwal said.
 
He said the police had set up a special team to probe the killing. 
 
"But our reporters have handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Chatra seeking a CBI probe. It is the duty of the government to provide security to journalists. We also demand compensation to the family," Agarwal added.
 
Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Kumar Singh said efforts were on to nab the killers.
 
In 2016, another journalist of a Hindi daily was shot dead in Chatra.
 
IANS
 

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Jharkhand HC orders CBI probe into encounter of 12 alleged Maoists

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The Jharkhand High Court on Monday ordered a CBI inquiry into an alleged fake encounter in 2015 in Palamu, in which security forces killed 12 people after branding them as Maoists.
 
Justice R. A. Mukhkhopadhaya ordered the probe on a petition seeking an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the incident. The court observed that the investigation was not going in the right direction, petitioner lawyer Jawahar Yadav said.
 
People's faith in the judicial system has been dented due to the police and CID investigation. To restore the faith of the people in the judicial system, a CBI probe is ordered, Yadav said, citing the court order.
 
The case was being probed by the state Criminal Investigation Department, which gave a clean chit to the police officials involved just before the High Court was to hear the case on Monday.
 
Police had claimed that 12 Maoists were killed in a gunbattle at Bakoria in Palamu district on June 8, 2015. 
 
Those killed included a temporary teacher and a 10-year-old boy. The family members of the victims had termed the encounter as fake. They alleged that innocent people were branded as Maoists.
 
Jawahar Yadav had filed a case in the Jharkhand High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter. 
 
The role of at least three IPS officers, besides their subordinates, had come under scrutiny.
 
IANS
 

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Maoists blow up railway tracks in Jharkhand

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Maoists blew up railway tracks in Jharkhand's Giridih district affecting train services on the busy Grand Chord in Dhanbad division for seven hours, an official said on Tuesday.
 
On Monday at around 10.45 p.m., the insurgents detonated a bomb on the tracks of the Chauribandh station situated between Parasnath and Hazaribagh Road, Chief Public Relation Officer of North Eastern Railway Rajesh Kumar told IANS over telephone.
 
The insurgents had called for a shutdown in five districts to protest the death penalty given to two Maoists accused of killing Pakur Superintendent of Police Amarjeet Balihar.
 
Around two feet of the railway track was damaged and the signalling system stopped functioning. 
 
Six trains at different stations had to be halted. The railway services resumed at 4.30 a.m., Rajesh Kumar said.
 
The blast could have led to a major accident, but it was averted due to the alertness of railway staff Mubarak Hussain and Chandra Kumar, Railways Director (Media) Rajesh Dutt Bajpai in New Delhi told IANS.
 
"Both were on night patrol. The moment they heard the blast they immediately alerted the Assistant Station Manager (ASM) who prevented an approaching goods train from progressing on the damaged tracks," Bajpai said.
 
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has decided to award Hussain and Kumar on Wednesday at a ceremony in the national capital.
 
IANS
 

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Tribal girl tortured in Delhi dies in Ranchi

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A tribal minor girl, who was tortured brutally by her employer in Delhi, died in a hospital here on Wednesday.
 
The girl, who worked as a domestic help, was one of the 16 girls rescued from New Delhi and brought to Ranchi on September 25. 
 
The deceased, who hailed from Jharkhand's Godda district, had a pin inserted in her tongue so that she could not relate the brutality inflicted on her. 
 
"The girl, admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science, died on Wednesday. She had multiple injuries," said Arti Kujur, Chairperson of Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
 
According to doctors, she was also suffering from tuberculosis. 
 
Prabha Minj Muni, who was allegedly running a human trafficking racket, was arrested by Delhi Police last month and handed over to Jharkhand Police. The 16 girls rescued narrated horror stories of rape and physical violence.
 
During investigation, it was revealed that Prabha ran an NGO that lured girls with promises of employment but "sold" them off. 
 
IANS
 

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India launches world's largest state-run healthcare programme

 
Modi launches Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme
 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched the 'Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)' here, hailing it as the "worlds biggest state-run healthcare scheme".
 
Launching the scheme, Modi said the intended beneficiaries outnumber the total population of the European Union or that of the USA, Canada and Mexico put together. 
 
Modi said that the scheme, which targets more than 50 crore people, will be a subject for research for medical and social scientists and a model for the world to follow. He had announced AB-PMJAY in his Independence Day speech.
 
Without taking names, Modi used the occasion to target the Congress for "using schemes for the sake of vote-bank politics".
 
"Since long, we have been hearing the slogan of ‘garibi hatao' (abolish poverty) but they only indulged in politics of poverty, politics of vote bank. They were only giving out freebies to the poor instead of empowering them.
 
"Previous governments' schemes were guided by vote bank, with the beneficiaries selected on the basis of potential vote bank for them. But we strive for the empowerment of the poor. We believe in inclusive growth. The scheme is not aimed at benefiting a particular region or community or caste. It is for all, for the poorest of poor. The poor don't want freebies, they have self-respect and seek empowerment. We work for their empowerment," he added. 
 
Modi also laid the foundation stone of medical colleges at Chaibasa and Koderma in Ranchi, and distributed e-card, a unique helath identity card, to the beneficiaries of PMJAY.
 
Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Union Ministers J. P. Nadda and Jayant Sinha were present on the occasion. 
 
The scheme will provide a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers (EHCP).
 
The EHCP network will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiaries at both public and private hospitals. 
 
The services will include 1,350 procedures covering pre- and post-hospitalisation, diagnostics and medicines.
 
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Ayushman Bharat has two components -- creation of 150,000 health and wellness centres which will provide Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) and the PMJAY which provides health protection cover to poor and vulnerable families for secondary and tertiary care.
 
The first Health and Wellness Centre was launched by Modi at Jangla, Chhattisgarh on April 14.
 
PMJAY primarily targets the poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers' families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data for both rural and urban areas as well as the active families under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).
 
The objectives of the scheme are to reduce out of pocket hospitalisation expenses, fulfil unmet needs and improve access of identified families to quality inpatient care and surgeries.
 
The scheme allows states enough flexibility in terms of packages, procedures, scheme design, entitlements as well as other guidelines while ensuring that key benefits of portability and fraud detection are ensured at a national level.
 
States have the option to use an existing trust/society or set up a new trust/society to implement the scheme as State Health Agency and will be free to choose the modalities for implementation.
 
It can implement the Scheme through an insurance company or directly through the trust/society/implementation support agency or a mixed approach.
 
Pilot launch of the scheme has already been done in around 22 states and Union Territories. About 30 states and union territories have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and started working on implementating the mission. 
 
IANS
 

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Lalu Prasad surrenders in Ranchi CBI court

File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
Former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday surrendered in a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court here to serve his sentence in a fodder scam case.
 
Lalu Prasad surrendered before Justice S.S. Prasad, who sent him to the Birsa Munda Central Jail. 
 
From jail he could later be shifted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) for treatment, the judge said.
 
The Jharkhand High Court on August 24 had directed him to surrender by August 30. He was out on provisional bail since May 11.
 
The RJD chief arrived here in Jharkhand late on Wednesday to surrender in the court. 
 
State leaders including former Union Minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay and former Jharkhand Chief Ministers -- Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Hemant Soren and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantarik chief Babulal Marandi -- met him at a guest house where he was staying.
 
Before surrendering, Lalu Prasad told reporters: "I have faith in the judiciary."
 
He was in Ranchi's Birsa Munda Central Jail after being convicted in December 2017 in a fodder scam case.
 
He was convicted in two more cases in January and March and awarded 14 years imprisonment.
 
In 2013, Lalu Prasad was convicted in the first fodder scam case and sentenced to jail for five years.
 
The multi-million fodder scam had surfaced in the 1990s when he was the Bihar Chief Minister. At the directive of the Patna High Court, the probe was handed over to the CBI.
 
IANS
 

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Justice Bose is new Jharkhand Chief Justice

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Justice Anirudh Bose on Saturday took oath as the 12th Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court. The post was lying vacant for more than a year.
 
Jharkhand Governor Draupdi Mumru administered the oath ceremony, which was attended by Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Leader of Opposition Hemant Soren.
 
Bose was born in Kolkata on April 1959. In January 19, 2004 he was appointed a Judge of the Kolkata High Court.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Cabinet approves transfer of Central Hospital at Karma, Jharkhand for new medical college

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The Union Cabinet today approved the transfer of the Central Hospital at Karma under the Ministry of Labour & Employment along with its land and building to the Jharkhand Government free of cost to establish a new Medical College.
 
The college is being set up under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Establishment of Medical Colleges attached with Existing District and Referral Hospitals and cater to the health needs of the people in the region.
 
The Central Hospital along with its land and building will be transferred to the Jharkhand Government within three months. The MoU will be signed between the Ministry of Labour & Employment and the State Government outlining the modalities including transfer and absorption of staff.
 
The proposal will lead to the enhancement of the number of doctors being trained per year in the country. It will help in the improvement of the healthcare infrastructure in the region resulting in better health care services available to the common people, an official press release said.
 
The Ministry provides healthcare facilities to certain categories of workers and their dependents in the unorganized sector through its hospitals and dispensaries. A 150-bedded hospital (including a 50-bedded TB Hospital in same premises) was established at Karma to cater to the needs of mica mine and beedi workers.
 
Jharkhand had submitted a proposal to transfer the Central Hospital at Karma along with its land and buildings free of cost for setting up a new Medical College in the area, it added.
 
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Finance Commission to visit Jharkhand, social sector challenges to top agenda

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The 15th Finance Commission, led by its Chairman N. K. Singh, will visit Jharkhand from tomorrow.
 
An official press release said the Commission, which includes Members Shaktikanta Das, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri, Ramesh Chand and Secretary Arvind Mehta, along with other officials, will have meetings with the Chief Minister, Ministers and other officials of the state in Ranchi.
 
Detailed presentations will be made on the finances of the State Government. The Commission will also meet leaders of various political parties. Ahead of the visit, Commission understood in New Delhi various aspects of its finances and issues related to socio-economic spheres from Accountant General of Jharkhand.
 
There will also be an interactive session with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to understand the status of the devolution (funds, functions and functionary) to the third tier and outstanding issues related to the State Finance Commission.
 
Meeting with representatives of trade and industry will take place in Jamshedpur on August 3. Commission will also interact with faculty and students of XLRI, Jamshedpur.
 
The State has been able to generate revenue surplus continuously since 2011-12 except in 2014-15. Commission will try to understand the reasons for revenue deficit in 2014-15 and also fiscal deficit breaching 3% limit, an official press release said.
 
There has also been a substantial rise in outstanding debt to GSDP ratio from 19.94% in 2014-15 to 26.36% in 2016-17. Capital expenditure needs vigorous push to ameliorate the socio-economic conditions, create more jobs and increase the per capita income. Enhanced spending is required to continue the momentum generated in the field of drinking water and sanitation, irrigation and roads.
 
Jharkhand has the second highest poverty rate (37%), next only to Chhattisgarh, in the country. Poverty is higher in the state’s southern and eastern districts. Nineteen districts, including Ranchi (capital city), out of 24 districts of Jharkhand are recognized as aspirational districts out of 117 such districts identified by NITI Aayog. 
 
Poverty reduction, Job growth and female labour force participation in Jharkhand are a few important concerns.
 
State needs to adopt prudent policies for improvement in various social sector parameters, especially in health and education.
 
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There have been some steps taken in the power sector but these are less than satisfactory. All four companies created as a result of unbundling of Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) are incurring losses. Commission will try to understand the model of implementation of UDAY Bonds by Jharkhand including interest rate payable on such bonds, the release said.
 
PRI and ULB accounts maintenance in Jharkhand and related expenditure have some issues which need to be looked into. Issues related to the constitution of State Finance Commission and timely submission of its report will also be important part of the agenda of the Commission. Commission will also try to understand the functioning of District Mineral Foundation and the issues related to State Disaster Response Fund. 
 
The State government has also submitted a detailed memorandum to the Commission for consideration.
 
The 15th Finance Commission till now has made significant progress in understanding the needs of Union government and various state governments through numerous meetings and state visits. Jharkhand will be the seventh state to be visited by the Commission.
 
NNN
 
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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Seven of family found dead in Ranchi

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Seven members of a family here in Jharkhand were found dead inside their house on Monday, police said.
 
The bodies of Deepak Kumar Jha, who worked in a multinational company, and those of his parents, brother, wife and two children were found by the police, said an officer who did not wish to be named.
 
The police found the brothers' bodies hanging from ceiling fans while the rest of the bodies were on a bed.
 
The police have not yet found any suicide note. The reason behind the deaths was not clear.
 
This is the second such incident in Jharkhand in the last 10 days. 
 
IANS
 
 

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Gadkari reviews Namami Gange Projects in Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal

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Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari reviewed the projects under Namami Gange programme in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal here on Wednesday.
 
Even as significant progress is being made in Namami Gange projects in the three States, the Minister instructed contractors to speed up the work and complete projects by December 2018, an official press release said.
 
He also urged the officials of the Central and State governments to resolve all issues that are obstructing the work in any way.
 
The Minister said he himself, along with Minister of State Satya Pal Singh, will inspect the sites during the coming months and monitor the progress of the projects.
 
Against a projected sewage generation of 606 MLD for the year 2035, Bihar has 124 MLD of existing sewage treatment capacity. There are 19 ongoing STP projects in the state for 216 MLD. Projects of 201 MLD capacity are under tendering while projects for about 112 MLD capacity will soon be tendered.
 
Out of the 19 ongoing STP projects, 11 are in Patna (Beur, Saidpur, Karmalichak, Sadipur, Pahari, Digha, Kankarbagh sewerage zones), and the others are in Buxar, Mokama, Sultanganj, Barh, Hajipur, Begusarai Munger and Bhagalpur. Digha and Kankarbagh projects in Patna and the project in Bhagalpur are under Hybrid Annuity mode.
 
In Patna, while work is under progress to create 200 MLD STP capacity, projects to create an additional 150 MLD capacity are under tendering. The capital city generates 286 MLD of sewerage and has an existing treatment capacity of 109 MLD. All 33 drains in the city are also being tapped. Besides, work to create a sewer network of 707.5 km is under progress while projects to lay sewer line for another 438 km are under tendering.
 
In Bihar, projects in 15 towns on tributaries of Ganga are also being taken up. The tributaries are Koshi, Burhi Gandak, Gandak, Kiul, Sone, Baghmati, Mahananda. One project in Nauguchia on a tributary of Ganga was also reviewed in the meeting.
 
The Minister also reviewed the progress of 20 projects under Patna Riverfront Development (RFD) which is nearing completion. So far, 16 ghats, 4.8 km promenade and one building for audiovisual programmes have already been constructed under Patna RFD, the release said. 
 
The Minister also instructed officials to complete the remaining ghat/ crematoria work in Munger, Jamalpur, Sonepur, Hajipur and Buxar by August.
 
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The projected sewerage generation for Jharkhand for the year 2035 is 16MLD. The state has no STP capacity at present.  There are two ongoing projects in the state – Sahibganj and Rajmahal - to create 15.5 MLD STP capacity. These were reviewed by the Minister. The likely date of completion of Sahibganj project is December 2018. 
 
While the Minister asked the contractors to strictly adhere to the timelines, he directed the officials to resolve all issues impeding the progress while expressing his dissatisfaction over the delay in the Rajmahal project in Jharkhand. It was informed during the meeting that works on 4 ghats and 1 crematorium in Jharkhand has been completed out of total 9 projects.
 
The Union Minister appreciated the proposal of West Bengal officials to build crematoria for animals to prevent the disposal of their dead bodies of animals into the River Ganga and other water bodies. In West Bengal, the ongoing projects to create STP capacity of 80 MLD and under tendering projects for 204 MLD STP capacity were reviewed by the Minister. The work on 15 ghats and 4 crematoria are under progress and officials were instructed to complete it by December 2018.
 
During the meeting, minute details like issues of land acquisition, No Objection Certificates, Tree Cutting etc. were discussed at length with officials and contractors.
 
The Minister exhorted the officials to take up the issue of sewer house connections on priority. He suggested the officials speed up this work in coordination with local municipality officials and state governments simultaneously with the ongoing work of STPs and laying of sewer lines.
 
NNN
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
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Social activist Swami Agnivesh beaten up in Jharkhand

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Social activist Swami Agnivesh was taken to hospital with injuries on Tuesday after suspected Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) activists thrashed him at Pakur in Jharkhand while shouting "Jai Shri Ram" slogans.
 
Police said the 78-year-old saffron-robed activist was pounced upon as he stepped out of his hotel to get into a car to take part in the 195th Damin Mahotsav at Littpara. Pakur is located around 360 km from Ranchi.
 
"Go back Agnivesh, go back Agnivesh! You have to recite Vande Matram if you have to stay in India," were the other slogans shouted by the the BJYM workers.
 
The BJYM workers alleged that Agnivesh had come to instigate the tribal people at the behest of Christian missionaries.
 
"I am against any sort of violence. I am known as a peace-loving person. I don't know why I was attacked," a visibly shaken Agnivesh told NDTV.
 
Agnivesh was flanked by tribals who were holding bows and arrows when the mob attacked him.
 
Even as he kept asking what they wanted, the attackers thrashed him. Agnivesh fell on the ground but the beating continued. His aides did their best to save him.
 
"They punched, kicked and dragged me on the ground. They also used cuss words," he said later. "They abused my mother, my sister."
 
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Jharkhand Police spokesman R.K. Malik said an FIR had been lodged and raids were being conducted to nab the attackers.
 
Police earlier detained 20 people but no one was arrested.
 
The Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) condemned the attack.
 
"This is most unfortunate. We demand the immediate arrest of the culprits," Congress spokesperson Alok Dubey told IANS.
 
Agnivesh said there were no policemen around. Local reporters had told him that the BJP youth wing's workers were outside his hotel to protest against his visit but he was completely taken aback by the violence, he said.
 
"I offered to hold a dialogue with them. But nobody came to speak to me. I was going to a sammelan (seminar) with my tribal friends when they launched an attack... Without any warning, they pounced on me," Agnivesh said.
 
The activist likened the attack to mob lynchings that have been reported in several states in the past one year.
 
An injured Agnivesh, who was in pain, was later taken to a hospital.
 
IANS
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'No record of 280 births at Missionaries of Charity's Ranchi facility'

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The Missionaries of Charity, which is facing charges of selling newborns to childless couples, has not been able to provide records of births by 280 women at its various homes here, police said on Saturday.
 
According to police sources, 450 pregnant women were admitted in various homes, run by the order founded by St Teresa, here between 2015 and 2018, but there are records of only 170 childbirths and no information about the remaining 280. 
 
"We are investigating all angles... of the sale of children to childless couples. We have gone through records of the pregnant women and newborn babies. There are discrepancies in the records," a police official investigating the case told IANS.
 
The scam came to light when the couple, who had taken a newborn from the charity home in May, complained that they had paid Rs 1.20 lakh for medical care and delivery of the child, but the baby was taken back by the charity home with assurances of returning it back after court procedures.
 
The couple complained to the Child Welfare Society after they failed to get the child.
 
According to police, the incident is a case of human trafficking and they are trying to reach its roots.
 
A mentally challenged women, staying in a Missionaries of Charity facility on Jail Road here, delivered a baby on Friday but sisters at the home insisted that the newborn should be left there only, the woman's mother alleged.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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Maoists kill six security personnel in Jharkhand

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Maoist guerrillas exploded a landmine in Jharkhand's Latehar district, killing six security personnel, officials said on Wednesday.
 
The attack took place at Budha Pahad area when the six were engaged in security operations late on Tuesday.
 
Due to bad weather, the injured security personnel were not airlifted by helicopter for treatment.
 
On Wednesday, amid rains, security forces and Maoist guerrillas exchanged gunfire in the same area.
 
According to police, a gun battle had taken place between the security forces and Maoists on Sunday also. 
 
The police had launched a search operation for the Maoists based on intelligence inputs. The rebels ambushed them on Tuesday by tracking their movement. 
 
After the landmine blast, the Maoists fired at the security personnel.
 
Jharkhand Director General of Police D.K. Pandey said the operation will continue at Budha Pahad till the Maoists were eliminated. Additional forces have been deployed in the area and both the police and the Central Reserve Police Force have intensified their operation.
 
Maoist guerrillas are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. More than 700 security personnel have been killed by Maoists since the creation of the state in November 2000.
 
IANS
 
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CRPF trooper, policeman killed in Jharkhand shootout

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A CRPF trooper and a Jharkhand policeman were killed during a shootout with Maoists in Khuti district on Thursday, officials said.
 
The incident occurred near Jamro village around 6.50 a.m. when a joint team of the Central Reserve Police Force's 209 CoBRA Battalion and Jharkhand Police was on a search and area dominance operation.
 
CRPF trooper Uttpal Rabha, 27, died on the spot in the firing by Maoists while the policeman, whose name is yet to be announced, succumbed to his injuries later, a CRPF official said. 
 
A police officer said the gun battle lasted three hours and that some Maoist guerrillas also sustained bullet injuries.
 
The bodies have reached Ranchi, the CRPF said. Security forces were continuing to look for the Maoists. 
 
The CRPF said that Rabha, from North Garo Hills in Meghalaya, joined it in 2011. 
 
IANS
 
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CRPF trooper killed in Jharkhand shootout

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A CRPF trooper was killed during a shootout here with Maoists on Thursday, police said.
 
The incident occurred in the city's Dalbhaga area at around 6.50 a.m., when a joint team of Central Reserve Police Force's 209 CoBRA Battalion and Jharkhand Police was on a search and area dominance operation.
 
A police personnel has sustained injuries.
 
A CRPF officer said heavy firing was still going on.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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JMM wins both seats in Jharkhand Assembly bypolls

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The main opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Thursday won the bypolls to both the Gomia and Silli Assembly constituencies, a poll official said.
 
In Silli, JMM candidate Seema Mahto defeated ruling ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) President Sudesh Mahto by 13,508 votes. 
 
She received 77,121 votes while Mahto secured 63,613 votes.
 
In Gomia, which the ruling alliance partners BJP and AJSU contested separately, JMM candidate Babita Devi won by 1,800 votes, defeating AJSU candidate Lambodar Mahto, while BJP's Madavlal Singh came third.
 
The polling for the two seats took place on May 28. 
 
Silli and Gomia had witnessed 75 and 62 per cent polling, respectively.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Modi to visit West Bengal, Jharkhand on Thursday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a day's visit to West Bengal and Jharkhand tomorrow.
 
An official press release said Mr. Modi would attend the convocation of Visva Bharati University at Santi Niketan in West Bengal. He will also inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan – a symbol of the cultural ties between India and Bangladesh – at Santi Niketan. 
 
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina, will be present at both these events.
 
In Jharkhand, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of various projects of the Government of India and Government of Jharkhand, at an event in Sindri. These include the revival of Sindri Fertilizer Project of Hindustan Urvarak and Rasayan Ltd.; Ranchi City Gas Distribution Project by GAIL; All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Deoghar;  Development of Deoghar Airport; and Patratu Super Thermal Power Project (3x800 MW).
 
He will also witness the exchange of MoUs for Jan Aushadhi Kendras and address the gathering, the release added.
 
Later, the Prime Minister will interact with the District Collectors of Aspirational Districts of Jharkhand, in Ranchi.
 
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