India needs $4.5 trillion till 2040 for infrastructure development, Niti Aayog CEO

India will need $4.5 trillion of investment for development of Infrastructure sector till 2040, in order to improve overall economic growth and community well-being, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on October 31 during an event organized by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).

CEO Kant said that the Indian economy is witnessing a growth of 7.5% per annum and there is a need to focus on building quality infrastructure to boost economic growth.

“Therefore, the country needs to focus on building quality infrastructure,” he stressed.

Noting the delays in the completion of infrastructure projects, Kant added that there is an urgent need to restructure entire existing public-private partnership framework.

He also pointed out that the government has been focusing on the infrastructure sector.

He further added that creating infrastructure initially through government spending is better, “but then as soon as it completes projects, the government must get out of the infrastructure projects because it is extremely poor at operation and maintaining infrastructure projects”.

Sabarimala temple row: Apex court refuses early hearing of review petitions

The Supreme Court on October 31 refused to give an early hearing of review petitions against its verdict allowing the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in Sabarimala Temple in Kerala.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that the temple will be open for 24 hours on November 5 and 6, adding that the court has already fixed the matter for hearing on November 13.

Women of menstruating age have traditionally not been allowed to enter into the temple, but an apex court order on September 28 put an end to the restriction.

Earlier, the top court had noted that there were 19 review petitions pending in the matter, filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association and others seeking a review of court’s order allowing women of all ages into the temple.

The petitioners have also argued that besides “patent legal errors” in the verdict, the assumption that the temple practice is based on notions of menstrual impurity is “factually erroneous”.

Following this, the Sabarimala Temple and surrounding areas witnessed massive protests with close to 4,000 people being arrested. A dozen women were also forced to retreat when they tried to enter the holy shrine.

Only green crackers to be sold in Delhi-NCR this Diwali, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on October 31 reiterated that only green crackers will be sold in New Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) during Diwali. The top court also imposed a ban on the sale of already manufactured pollution-causing firecrackers and said that they can be sold in other parts of the country.

A division bench of the top court, headed by Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, said that its direction on community bursting of firecrackers will apply pan India for two hours.

The bench further said that the directions on the ban on the sale of firecrackers through e-commerce websites will also apply pan India.

The direction from the top court came after manufacturers of fireworks appealed for strict regulation, instead of an absolute ban. The manufacturers while arguing said that the fireworks weren’t to blame for the rise in air pollution and there were other factors, like wind and temperature, which also contributed to it.

On October 23, the SC granted permission to use and sell “greener” firecrackers which have low emissions and generate less noise. It has allowed fireworks with permissible sound limits to be sold in the market.

25 killed in Afghan Army helicopter crash

Representational Image

In a catastrophic incident, all 25 people on board were killed after an Afghan army helicopter crashed in the western Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said.

The head of the Farah provincial council and the deputy army cops commander of the Afghan Army were said to be among the officials on board.

According to Farah provincial governor spokesman Nasir Mehri, the aircraft crashed due to “bad weather” in Anar Dara district.

However, the Taliban claimed that the militants shot it down.

Both pilots and 23 passengers were killed in the crash.

Sources said, the helicopter hit a mountain peak in poor weather en route to neighbouring Herat province.

According to the reports, senior officials frequently travel by helicopter in regions where the Taliban has a large presence.

More details are awaited.

Actor Anupam Kher resigns as FTII Chairman

Actor Anupam Kher on Wednesday resigned as the chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) citing commitments to an international TV show for which he has to be stationed in the US.

“It has been an honour, a privilege & a great learning experience to be the Chairman of the prestigious @FTIIOfficial. But because of my international assignments I won’t have much time to devote at the institute. Hence decided to send my resignation. Thank you. @Ra_THORe,” Anupam Kher tweeted.

The 63-year-old actor also posted a copy of the resignation letter on his twitter account that he had addressed to the Information & Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore. 

In his resignation letter, he said that due to his commitment to the show he will be stationed in the US for “nearly nine months between 2018 and 2019 and then for a similar period for a minimum of three years more”. 

“Given this assignment it would not be fair to me, the students and management team, for me to hold a position of such responsibility and accountability, without being actively involved in the operations,” he added.

Anupam Kher was announced as the new Chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India in October 2017. He succeeded Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment had triggered widespread student protests. 

Anupam Kher, currently shooing in the American television show ‘New Amsterdam’.

J&K Police recover corpses of 2 JeM terrorists, arms and ammunition in Tral

Corpses of two terrorists have been recovered in Pulwama’s Tral town in South Kashmir following an exchange of gunfire between terrorists and security personnel, Jammu and Kashmir Police said on October 31.

Police informed that two bodies were recovered after a day-long encounter that broke in Chankitar village of Tral in Pulwama District.

The forces recovered the large quantity of arms and ammunition, including M4 and AK 47 rifles and other incriminating materials from the site of the encounter.

The dead terrorists have been identified as Showkat Ahmad, a resident of Tral, and Abu Usman from Pakistan.

The State police statement said, “The terrorists were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and the same group was involved in a series of attacks and firing on the security forces camp from a distance, in recent times. They were also involved in many other civilian atrocities in the area. The police investigation has started.”

While cautioning citizens not to venture near the encounter zone as stray explosive materials can prove to be dangerous, the police said, “People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosives materials if any.”

Suicide bomb attack kills 7 near Kabul’s Pul-e-Charki prison

At least seven people killed and nearly 14 others were injured in a suicide bomb attack at Pul-e-Charki prison in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on October 31.

A suicide bomber blew himself up near the gate of Afghanistan’s prison officials said, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attacker walked toward the vehicle of the employees that was parked near the gate of the prison and detonated his explosive.

According to reports women security officials were sitting in the vehicle at the time of the suicide attack.

The Pul-e-Charkhi prison houses hundreds of inmates, including Taliban insurgents.

More details are awaited.

Gujarat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Statue of Unity

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Statue of Unity, built as a tribute to freedom movement icon Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary on Wednesday. 

“In order to build the #StatueOfUnity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of the soil and thus, a mass movement developed,” Prime Minister said.

“This is a project that we had thought about during the time I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat,” Prime Minister added.

Modi said that today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day. “We are all delighted to be here, on the banks of the Narmada. Today we mark Ekta Diwas. Several people across India are taking part in the ‘Run for Unity.” He added.

The imposing monument, touted as the world’s tallest statue, is twice the height of Statue of Liberty and is on an islet located on the river island called Sadhu Bet facing the Narmada Dam.

Built at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore. At 182-metre, the statue is touted as the world’s tallest – it is 177 feet higher than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, currently the world’s tallest statue.

It was designed by Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar and built by construction firm Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd.

It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers to construct the statue in a record time of 33 months.

Earlier today, Home Minister Rajnath Singh flag off “Run for Unity” in Delhi on 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 

Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul pay tribute to former PM Indira Gandhi

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday paid floral tributes to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary at the slain leader’s memorial at Shakti Sthal in New Delhi.

“Remembering Dadi today with a deep sense of happiness. She taught me so much and gave me unending love. She gave so much of herself to her people. I am very proud of her,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

“Today we honour the first female Prime Minister of India and one of the strongest leaders our country has seen. Through her premiership, our nation saw great victory, incredible development and most importantly upliftment of all sections of society,” Congress Party said.

On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi was gunned down by her two bodyguards Satwant Singh and Beant Singh in New Delhi.

Statue of Unity: Home Minister Rajnath Singh flags off ‘Run for Unity’ in Delhi

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Wednesday flag off “Run for Unity” in Delhi on 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar among other sportsperson were also present at the event.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his respect to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Home Minister Rajnath Singh pay floral tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary in Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday will inaugurate the world’s tallest statue dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary in Gujarat.

The statue that is called “statue of unity” keeping in mind the contribution of Sardar Patel in the merger of all princely states with the Dominion of India. 

The statue of Patel, fondly remembered as the Iron Man of India, is at a staggering height of 182-metre. It will be the world’s tallest, located at a river islet. 

Meanwhile, ‘Run for unity’ events are organised on Wednesday across the nation to honour the Iron Man of India.