Facing the uphill task of reviving a moribund party, Rahul Gandhi today took over as the Congress president, and immediately hit out at the BJP, accusing it of spreading hatred and violence in the country. “They break, we unite. They ignite fire, we douse it. They get angry, we love. This is the difference between them and us,” he told party workers. Gandhi, who was heralded by the 132-year-old party’s top brass, family members and boisterous rank-and-file, alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking India back to the medieval times. In his first speech to party workers after his formal takeover, he set the tone of its future course and how the party would take on its arch-rival BJP, saying the Congress was for inclusive politics and that it respects all Indians that extends even to the ruling party.
Council clears e-way bill mechanism; to be rolled out by June 1
The GST provision requiring transporters to carry an electronic waybill or e-way bill when moving goods from one place to another, will be implemented by June 1. The all-powerful GST Council today decided to implement the e-way bill mechanism throughout the country by June 1 after reviewing the IT network readiness, an official statement said here. In the pre-GST era, supply of goods happened only after obtaining these ‘waybills’ from VAT authorities. A waybill is a physical document that allows movement of goods. Compliance of waybills was an issue.
Under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, the waybill is replaced by an e-way bill which aims at mitigating the problems caused by waybill compliance.
PM unveils key road, power projects to boost development in NE
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated crucial connectivity and power projects in Mizoram and Meghalaya to accelerate development in the northeastern states, a focus area of his government’s Act East Policy.
Modi was in the two states during his day-long visit to the northeast today. In Mizoram, he dedicated the 60-MW Tuirial hydropower power project, which makes it the third power-surplus state in the northeast, after Sikkim and Tripura. The project is expected to produce “251 million units” of electricity annually. Announced in 1998 by then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, it was the first major central government project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram. Modi said the dam for the project could also be used for improving connectivity in remote villages, fisheries, eco- tourism and as a source of potable water in the region.
Re-polling at six booths in Gujarat tomorrow
The Election Commission today said re-polling will be conducted at six booths in four assembly constituencies in Gujarat tomorrow. Fresh voting will be held at two booths each in Viramgam and Savli constituencies and one each in Vadgam and Daskroi constituencies. The poll body, however, did not specify the reason for fresh polling.
Chhaniyana-1 and 2 polling booths in Vadgam, Viramgam-27 booth in Viramgam, Nava Naroda in Daskroi and Nhara and Sankrada booths in Savli will have re-polling, the EC said. Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani contested from the Vadgam constituency. The EC also ordered that Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips should be counted at 10 booths in seven constituencies, as the presiding officers of these booths had failed to wipe out the votes cast during the mock poll from control units.
In Modi government’s new normal, elections are fought on indiscreet remarks that are distorted rather than performance; says P Chidambaram
Come to the world of the new normal. The new normal is that elections will be fought not on the performance of the ruling party (of 22 years, in the case of Gujarat) but on an indiscreet remark that will be distorted and blown out of proportion to the weight it deserved. The new normal is that outrageous allegations can and will be levelled against a former vice-president of India, a former Prime Minister of India, a former chief of army staff, former high commissioners to Pakistan and several former civil servants and, when called out, an apology will be demanded from the former Prime Minister! The new normal is that the government’s position will become the ‘national’ position and every one will be forbidden to hold a view contrary to the ‘national’ position! (So, believe that demonetisation was good, the design and implementation of the GST were perfectly fine, the ‘first-ever surgical strike’ pulverised Pakistan and the Doklam standoff ended in a decisive victory for India over China). The new normal is that every rule will be bent to influence the election — ride on a borrowed seaplane from the Sabarmati waterfront to the Dharoi dam on the last day of campaign or launch a new submarine on polling day.
Global warming to weaken wind power, a study predicts
The talk about renewable energy is centred around its impact on global warming. Clean energy sources such as wind farms are key to tackling climate change. But recent research suggests something else. Global warming will significantly cut the power of the wind across northern mid-latitudes, including the US, the UK and the Mediterranean region. However, some places, including eastern Australia, will see winds pick up. It’s a first of its kind global study, which talks about the impact of temperature rise on wind energy. The research has found that there will be big changes by the end of the century in many of the places hosting large numbers of turbines. According to a new research published recently in the journal Nature Geoscience, climate change in the future might cause wind resources to decline across the Northern Hemisphere. These losses could be tempered by increases in wind power potential south of the equator under severe climate change scenarios. Wind farms have grown more than fivefold in the last decade and plunging costs have made them a key way of reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning.