Daily Bulletin: Gujarat implements 10% quota for general category 'poor'; petrol touches Rs 70 mark in Delhi; day's top stories

10 percent quota to come into force in Gujarat today

The Gujarat government on Sunday said it will implement 10 percent reservation in government jobs and higher educational institutes for people from the economically weaker sections in the general category from Monday. President Ram Nath Kovind had approved the constitutional amendment to provide the 10 percent quota on Saturday.

"The economically weaker sections from the general category will get 10 percent reservation in admissions to higher educational institutes and government jobs starting Uttarayan on 14 January," the state government said in a press release, adding that the new quota will also be implemented in admissions and jobs that were advertised before 14 January, but for which the actual process has not started.

Petrol touches Rs 70-mark in Delhi for first time in 2019

Fuel prices on Monday continued to witness an upward trend, with petrol and diesel being sold at Rs 70.13 and Rs 64.18 per litre respectively in the national capital.

On Sunday, petrol retailed at Rs 69.75 a litre in Delhi, Rs 75.39 in Mumbai, Rs 72.40 in Kolkata and Rs 71.97 in Chennai. Diesel was sold at Rs 63.69 in Delhi, Rs 66.66 in Mumbai, Rs 65.46 in Chennai and Rs 67.26 in Kolkata.

File image of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. PTI

File image of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. PTI

Rates vary from state to state depending on the rate of local sales tax, or VAT. Fuel prices peaked on 4 October when Brent crude prices touched $86 per barrel.

The rupee-dollar exchange rate is a major factor that influences the price of petrol in India. Between 16 August and 4 October, the price of petrol was hiked by Rs 6.86 and diesel by Rs 6.73 per litre. On that day, the government decided to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre each and asked state-owned fuel retailers to subsidise the price by another Re 1 a litre by reducing their margins.

CBI row: Congress seeks immediate removal of chief vigilance commissioner

Amid a row over the ouster of CBI director Alok Verma, the Congress on Sunday sought "immediate removal" of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) KV Chowdary, alleging that the government had made him "act like a puppet" to "escape a probe" into the Rafale deal.

There was no immediate reaction from the Central Vigilance Commission or the government on the charge.

"We seek the removal, the departure, the exit of the collaborator for violating the Constitution — the CVC. He must go. It is irrelevant whether he resigns or is sacked, but he must go," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said at a press conference at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi.

Verma was on Thursday removed unceremoniously as the CBI director after a high-powered panel led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi found that he had not been functioning with the integrity expected of him.

Modi takes dig at Opposition over 'grand alliance'

The prime minister on Sunday derided the Opposition's efforts to cobble up a grand alliance against the BJP and pitched for his party's re-election in the upcoming parliamentary election, saying these "opportunistic alliances" and "dynastic" parties "want to build their own empire while we want to empower people".

During an interaction with booth-level BJP workers from five parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu via video-conference, Modi said, "Unlike other parties, we are not in politics for divide and rule or building vote banks. We are here to serve the country in every possible way."

"On one hand we have our development agenda and on the other, there are opportunistic alliances and dynastic parties. This election is an opportunity for us to take the agenda of development to new heights," he said.

Uddhav promises merger of BEST, BMC budgets

While the bus strike of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) workers in Mumbai entered the sixth day on Sunday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said his party will fulfil its promise to merge the budget of the transport undertaking with that of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The Sena controls the BMC, apart from being a partner in the BJP-led Maharashtra government.

One of the demands of the BEST workers, who have been on strike since 8 January, is the merger of the budgets of the BMC and the loss-making BEST. The Shiv Sena had promised to merge the budgets during the civic poll campaign in 2017.

"The financial condition of the BEST has deteriorated. I had given the promise of merger of the budgets and that will be fulfilled. A solution can be found only through talks. Even though the BEST strike issue is in court, I am ready to be part of the discussion if necessary," Thackeray said.

Farmers attack sugar factories in Maha over payment delay

Angry over delayed payment for their crop, farmers have attacked and set on fire several offices of sugar factories in parts of western Maharashtra since Friday.

According to farmers' organisations, sugar mills in Maharashtra owe Rs 4,500 crore to sugarcane cultivators in pending dues. A group of protesters torched the office of Krishna Sugar Factory at Karad in Satara district on Friday. Some important documents, computers and furniture were destroyed in the blaze.

Offences were registered against unidentified persons by the Karad Rural Police.

The office of another sugar factory in neighbouring Sangli was set on fire on Saturday morning. Protesters also vandalised and tried to torch the office of Kranti Sugar Factory at Walwa in Sangli district on Saturday and later fled the spot.

BJP will effectively wipe off BSP-SP, says Adityanath

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday claimed the recently-forged alliance between the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party will have no impact on the politics of the state, and that the BJP will "effectively wipe them off".

Speaking at an event in Lucknow, Adityanath noted that the BSP-SP alliance denoted "casteist mentality" and "anarchic elements".

"The (SP-BSP) alliance means giving power to people who are corrupt, anarchic elements and have casteist mentality. This alliance will have no impact on the politics of the state. It is good that both these parties have come together. It will help us to effectively wipe them off," he asserted.

Once arch-rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had on Saturday announced their tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each and keeping the Congress out of the alliance.

No light at the end of the tunnel for Meghalaya miners

Sunday marked exactly a month since 15 miners got trapped in an illegal rat hole coal mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district. The chances of their rescue continue to remain bleak as dewatering the mine has been a futile effort, so far.

Scientists and top notch agencies, known for their work in underground mines of the country, arrived in the East Jaintia Hills on Sunday to step up efforts to rescue the miners in what is perhaps the country's longest rescue mission.

Till date, the dewatering of the 370-foot-deep mine where the miners are trapped has proved futile as over one crore litres of water has been pumped out of the main shaft in the past one month, but there has been no visible change in the water level.

Another 2 crore plus litres of water was pumped out from the nearby abandoned mines suspected to be connected to the mine where the miners are trapped, but the rescuers are clueless 'how' and 'where' the water is coming from.

Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie warring over Cleopatra role

Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie are in a battle to land a chance to play Cleopatra in a mega-budget film reboot. Oscar-winning Angelina, 43, has been in on-off talks for months with studio bosses at Sony over playing the part, which was essayed by Elizabeth Taylor in a 1963 film version.

But Gaga, 32, is now also in the running, following the success of A Star Is Born, her big screen debut as a leading lady. A senior production source at Sony told The Daily Star it could be so close between Jolie and Gaga that "both of them will have to audition — a pretty rare ask of an A-list star".

India take on Bahrain in must-win match

After securing an emphatic victory in their first AFC Asian Cup group-stage fixture against Thailand, India were beaten by hosts UAE on Thursday. India's defeat leaves the level on points, with third-placed Thailand, but ahead on goal difference. The Blue Tigers are set to face Bahrain in the third and final Group A match on Monday, which they need to win to ensure their qualification for the knockout rounds.

Call of Duty publisher under investigation for securities fraud

Activision, the developer behind the popular Call of Duty game franchise, is under investigation for securities fraud. The investigation was launched soon after Bungie (Destiny, Halo) split from Activision, taking with it the full publishing rights for Destiny 1 and 2. The investigation will examine whether certain executives of the Activision team were involved in securities fraud or other unlawful activities.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2019 08:11:01 IST

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