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Just a day after her twelfth birthday, a girl in Andhra Pradesh’s Prakasam district went missing while walking from her school to hostel on October 11 last year.

Her father is confident that a body found hundreds of miles away in Gujarat’s Surat is that of his daughter.

But investigators are not so sure as they continue efforts to confirm the identity of the girl who was allegedly raped and murdered and dumped in an industrial neighbourhood of Surat on April 6.

The Surat Police have not found a large mole on the dead girl’s right hand, a distinct mark the Andhra Pradesh man insists was present on his daughter’s limb. So, on Wednesday, efforts to identify the murdered girl continued even as the police awaited results of a DNA test.

The body of the girl, estimated to be aged between nine and 11 years, was found dumped next to a cricket field along the Jiva-Budhiya Road in Surat’s Pandesara neighbourhood.

The autopsy report pointed to 86 injuries on her body, including in her private parts. The injuries suggested she had been tortured and sexually assaulted in captivity for at least eight days before she was strangulated and dumped.

As the police put up posters of the girl and shared her photos on social media, a woman claiming to be the girl’s mother contacted NJ Panchal, a Pandesara police sub-inspector whose mobile phone number was shared in the posters on Saturday.

“She was wailing and speaking in Telugu. She sounded as if she was convinced the girl was her daughter. I asked her to give the phone to someone who spoke Hindi or English,” said Panchal.

Around the same time, another police team was searching the database of thousands of missing children in India. They were focusing on states like Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh as their probe suggested the child could be belonging to one of those states.

“We shortlisted a total of 37 missing children whose age, gender and facial features matched the dead girl’s. We were calling their parents or the local police to confirm. One such call was made to the Andhra couple,” said RR Sarvaiya, assistant commissioner of police, Surat Crime Branch.

When images were exchanged on WhatsApp with the Andhra couple, they were convinced the girl was their missing child. They contacted the local police and tried to book a train ticket, but weren’t able to find a seat. So, two Andhra policemen drove the father down to Surat. The man had brought along his daughter’s Aadhaar card.

“When we took the man to the mortuary and showed him the girl, he immediately broke down. He did not want to believe the dead girl was his daughter, but insisted it was his girl. But when he checked the girl’s arm for the mole, he couldn’t find it. He brought it to our notice,” said an investigator.

Though both the girls sported short hair, there was considerable difference in their physical height. “The dead girl is taller despite shrinking. Her face too has shrunk since her death and the cheekbones of the two children are different. It is possible that the man is emotionally swayed and believed it was his daughter. But we aren’t distrusting him and are awaiting the DNA test results before confirming,” said the investigator. The DNA results could take at least four days, the officer said.

The man was the seventh parent called to Surat for identification so far. Three of them had returned home without even checking the girl’s body while the three others – two from Rajasthan and one from Andhra Pradesh – had denied after taking a look at the dead child.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, set to face re-election next year amid talk of opposition unity, credited his government with doing a better job of governing the country than its predecessors but acknowledged there were unmet aspirations, primarily because people expected more from his government. “Yes, people have more expectations from us because they know that we can deliver. People know that when they say something, the government will listen and do it,” he said.

PM Modi, who completes four years in power next month, also outlined how he would like people to evaluate his government’s performance. Compare the four years of this government with the five years of the last government, he said.

“If you will see where we stand in comparison to previous government, I can affirm that we left no stone unturned in doing good for the country on any parameter,” he added, asserting that there was a huge difference between the situation “then, and now”.

The criticism that is hurled at the NDA is actually a reflection of the higher expectations from the government because “when the policy is clear, intention is clear, and the intentions are noble, then you can achieve the desired result”, PM Modi told his audience comprising Britain’s Indian community at a glitzy event ‘Bharat ki Baat, Sabke Saath‘ in the city’s historic Central Hall Westminster.

 But they weren’t the only ones PM Modi appeared to be talking to.

Much of PM Modi’s messaging was seen to be directed at the electorate back home too. The 130-minute interaction moderated by adman-lyricist and chief of the government’s censor board Prasoon Joshi, saw PM Modi talking about his efforts to deliver on his mandate, how abuses had been heaped on him by rivals and his success as an administrator to build roads, train tracks and toilets at a pace three times faster than previous governments.

PM Modi led his party to a stunning victory in the 2014 general elections when the BJP secured a majority on its own and hopes to deliver a similar performance next year. Over the next four years, his party has expanded its footprint across the country but faces renewed efforts from the opposition camp to join hands to stop the BJP’s march in 2019.

He also faces a Congress that is seen to be a lot more aggressive than the past in flinging barbs at him.

PM Modi, who has relied on his own charisma to win elections, underlined his modest background on more than one occasion, described him as someone who was impatient to reach development to the last man, and insisted that he wasn’t in the race for personal glory.

Asked how he would like to be remembered by history, PM Modi shot back with a question to the audience, asking if anyone knew who had authored the Vedas. “You don’t, so who is Modi, he is a small thing… Modi has not been born to be inscribed in history,” he said, describing himself as just another Indian who was just doing his job.

“It is not my aim to be remembered in history”, PM Modi said, pointing that like everyone else, he also made mistakes and would like people to tell him, when they think he has made one. PM Modi promised to make corrections.

“If I make mistakes, keep on telling me…. continuously so that I can do more for the 125 crore people,” he said, wrapping up the session.

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बाबा साहेब भीमराव अंबेडकर की आज 127वीं जयंती है. इस मौके पर देश भर में तमाम कार्यक्रम आयोजित हो रहे हैं. बीजेपी, कांग्रेस, सपा, बसपा सभी राजनीतिक दल इस मौके पर विशेष आयोजन करा रहे हैं. अंबेडकर जयंती पर सियासी दल दलितों को रिझाने की कोशिश में लगे हैं. वहीं गृह मंत्रालय इस मौके पर किसी भी तरह की जातीय व सियासी बवाल ना हो, इसके लिए अलर्ट जारी कर चुका है.

अंबेडकर जयंती पर कई शहरों में हाई अलर्ट

अंबेडकर जयंती पर पंजाब के भी कई शहरों में अलर्ट जारी करने के साथ अमृतसर, जालंधर और फरीदकोट में सुरक्षा बढ़ाई गई है. वहीं यूपी के हापुड़ में अंबेडकर जयंती से पहले चाक-चौबंद सुरक्षा की गई और सुरक्षाबलों ने फ्लैग मार्च भी किया.

वहीं अंबेडकर जयंती के अवसर पर गुजरात में दलित नेता जिग्नेश मेवाणी ने बीजेपी को चुनौती दी है कि वे बीजेपी नेताओं को अंबेडकर की प्रतिमा को हाथ भी नहीं लगाने देंगे.

गृह मंत्रालय ने राज्यों को जारी की एडवाइजरी

गृह मंत्रालय राज्य सरकारों को पहले ही अंबेडकर जयंती पर किसी भी तरह की अप्रिय घटना से निपटने के लिए एहतियाती उपाय करने का निर्देश दे चुका है. मंत्रालय ने सभी संवेदनशील इलाकों की सुरक्षा निश्चित करने के साथ पुलिस-प्रशासन को कानून व्यवस्था बनाए रखने के लिए जरूरी कदम उठाने को कहा है.

संविधान निर्माता भीमराव अंबेडकर की जयंती पर जातीय हिंसा की आशंका से गृह मंत्रालय ने सभी राज्यों को सतर्क किया है. राज्य सरकारों को एडवाइजरी जारी करते हुए गृह मंत्रालय ने अंबेडकर की मूर्तियों की भी सुरक्षा सुनिश्चित करने को कहा है.

पीएम मोदी ने दी शुभकामनाएं

प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने 14 अप्रैल की सुबह-सुबह देशवासियों को अंबेडकर जयंती की शुभकामनाएं देते हुए कहा कि बाबा साहेब ने समाज के गरीब और कमजोर तबके को आगे बढ़ने की उम्मीद दी. हमारा संविधान बनाने वाले बाबा साहेब के प्रति हम हमेशा आभारी रहेंगे.

बता दें कि हाल ही में सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने अनुसूचित जाति/अनुसूचित जनजाति के उत्पीड़न से जुड़े कानून में संशोधन का फैसला दिया था, जिसे लेकर देश भर में प्रदर्शन किए गए. 2 अप्रैल को दलितों के भारत बंद प्रदर्शन के दौरान हिंसा भी छिड़ गई, जिसमें 11 लोगों की मौत हुई और सार्वजनिक संपत्ति को काफी नुकसान पहुंचाया गया.

इस मामले में विपक्ष ने केंद्र सरकार पर आरोप लगाया कि वो दलितों के हित में काम नहीं कर रही. सुप्रीम कोर्ट के फैसले पर दलित विरोध के बीच केंद्र ने कोर्ट में पुनर्विचार याचिका दायर की, जिसे विपक्ष ने दबाव में उठाया कदम बताया.

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अरुणाचल प्रदेश के असफिला क्षेत्र में चीनी दावे के बाद पैदा हुए तनाव के बीच चीन की घुसपैठ वाली चालबाजियों पर बड़ा खुलासा हुआ है. खुफिया रिपोर्ट से खुलासा हुआ है कि चीनी सैनिक लद्दाख में पैंगोंग झील के पास भारतीय सीमा में 6 किलोमीटर अंदर तक घुस आए. भारतीय तिब्बत सीमा पुलिस (ITBP) ने गृह मंत्रालय को सौंपी अपनी एक रिपोर्ट में चीनी घुसपैठ की पूरी जानकारी दी है.

ITBP द्वारा गृह मंत्रालय को दी गई रिपोर्ट से खुलासा

चीन ने लद्दाख सेक्टर में इस साल मार्च महीने में सबसे ज्यादा घुसपैठ की कोशिशें की हैं. चीन ने पिछले एक महीने में 20 बार भारत-चीन सरहद पर घुसपैठ किया. ITBP ने गृह मंत्रालय को जो अपनी रिपोर्ट दी है. उस रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक चीन ने उत्तरी पैंगोंग झील के पास गाड़ियों के जरिए 28 फरवरी, 7 मार्च और 12 मार्च 2018 को घुसपैठ की. ITBP ने चीन के इस घुसपैठ पर विरोध भी दर्ज कराया. पैंगोंग झील के पास 3 जगहों पर चीनी सेना ने घुसपैठ की, इस दौरान चीनी सैनिक 6 किलोमीटर तक अंदर घुस आए थे.

ITBP के विरोध के बाद वापस लौटे चीनी सैनिक

पैंगोंग का ये वही इलाका है, जहां पर पिछले साल अगस्त के महीने में चीनी सैनिकों ने भारतीय सुरक्षा बलों पर पत्थरबाजी की थी. सूत्रों के मुताबिक इस साल भी चीनी सैनिकों ने पैंगोंग झील के पास उत्तरी पैंगोंग में ITBP के साथ बहस करने की कोशिश की थी, जिसको ITBP ने नाकाम कर दिया.

अरुणाचल के असफिला क्षेत्र में भारतीय सेना की पेट्रोलिंग पर चीन की आपत्ति

8 अप्रैल को ही खबर आई थी कि अरुणाचल प्रदेश के असफिला क्षेत्र में भारतीय सेना की पेट्रोलिंग को लेकर चीन ने कड़ी आपत्ति जताई है. साथ ही चीन ने इस क्षेत्र में एक बार फिर से अपना दावा ठोका है. उसने इस क्षेत्र में भारतीय सेना की पेट्रोलिंग को अतिक्रमण करार दिया है. चीन का दावा है कि असफिला क्षेत्र उसका हिस्सा है. हालांकि भारतीय सेना ने चीनी सेना के इन आरोपों और आपत्तियों को सिरे से खारिज कर दिया.

भारत ने खारिज किया चीन का दावा

सूत्रों के मुताबिक चीन ने इस मुद्दे को 15 मार्च को बॉर्डर पर्सनेल मीटिंग के दौरान उठाया, जिसे भारतीय सेना ने फौरन सिरे से खारिज कर दिया. यह बैठक किबिथू इलाके में चीन की तरफ दईमाई चौकी पर हुई. भारतीय सेना ने असफिला क्षेत्र में चीन के दावों को भी खारिज किया है. भारत ने कहा कि असफिला अरुणाचल प्रदेश के सुबनसिरी क्षेत्र का हिस्सा है और भारतीय सेना इस इलाके में लगातार पेट्रोलिंग करती आ रही है.

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Three days after a note by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha directing senior political leaders and government functionaries not to participate in Tibet-related activities became public, the Tibetan government-in-exile has shifted a high-profile event planned to commemorate Dalai Lama’s 60th year in exile. The event will now happen in Dharamshala, not Delhi.

While Tibetan leaders have officially said they ‘understand’ India’s ‘compulsions’, the government has picked sentiments of ‘outrage, hurt and anger’ following the cabinet secretary’s note.

On Friday, the Indian Express reported that Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale first wrote to the cabinet secretary pointing to the sensitivity of relations with China.

He specifically mentioned a ‘Thank You India’ Event being organised in Delhi’s Thyagaraja Stadium on April 1 by the Tibetan government in exile. “The Dalai Lama set-up also intends to invite a number of Indian dignitaries…Participation by senior leaders, or government not desirable and should be discouraged.”

China sees Tibet as an integral part of itself and does not recognize the Tibetan government in exile.

Ngodup Dhongchung, representative of the Dalai Lama in Delhi, confirmed that the event has been rescheduled.

“We will now have the event in Dharamshala instead of Delhi. We will also have it on March 31 instead of April 1.” For the Delhi event, the Tibetan government in exile is understood to have invited former PM Dr Manmohan Singh and BJP’s senior leader L K Advani.

While Dr Singh’s office said that he had declined the invitation, sources close to Advani said he had received a letter but had not expressed his consent. Tibetan officials familiar with the development say that the rescheduled event will be a ‘low-key affair’.

Asked if there was disappointment in the community, Dhongchung said, “Some people may be disappointed. But we are guests of India. Indian people have been very generous to us. We understand the compulsions.” But privately, three senior Tibetan figures said that there is a sense of hurt in the community.

The government has picked this sentiment. Tibetan activists have conveyed to authorities that this was a sign of ‘personal humiliation’ for the Dalai Lama. Officials familiar with the issue believe that the message could have been privately conveyed to the Dalai Lama’s office and the government in exile.

“If we did it as a signal to China, it symbolises weakness. It also sends out a message to Tibetans we are abandoning them. The Dalai Lama represents the moderate strand within the movement. If Tibetans begin feeling his approach is futile, it will lead to radicalisation,” said a person familiar with the development.

The government, this view holds, has in any case been very restrained in its engagement with the Dalai Lama. PM Narendra Modi is reported to have had only one meeting with Tibetan leader, on the eve of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit in 2014, which did not go well. From the government, the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar are understood to have had a few meetings each with the Dalai Lama in close to four years. At the political level, only junior ministers, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) Mahesh Sharma, have metthe Dalai Lama.

There is, however, another view – that India has actually supported the cause of Tibet. Proponents of the second theory point to the Dalai Lama being allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh, parts of which China considers part of its territory, in 2017. The head of the Tibetan government in exile, Lobsang Sangay, was also present at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014.

Alka Acharya, Professor of Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, said, “We saw an active use of the so called ‘Tibet card’ over the past few years. What is actually happening now is a course-correction of sorts, or reverting to the older position that Tibetan political activities will not be encouraged and the government will distance itself from any such activity.” Acharya attributed it to the new FS Gokhale’s orientation. “As Joint Secretary handling the relationship in 2009, he had not allowed the 50th anniversary celebrations to escalate either.” Acharya held that India-China relation had been undergoing ‘tremendous stress’ and the government is seeking to ‘reset ties’ as Gokhale announced during a recent visit to Beijing.

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In a major political realignment a year before General Elections, the Mayawati-led BSP has decided to back the Samajwadi Party in bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the Lok Sabha seats vacated by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, respectively.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will make an official announcement soon, but party sources said the decision was taken after a marathon meeting at Mayawati’s residence on Thursday.

The move marks a fresh attempt to form an anti-BJP alliance in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

It also marks a break from tradition for the BSP, which has never contested bypolls when in opposition. However, its absence in the recent Madhya Pradesh Assembly bypolls seems to have benefitted the BJP, with the Congress’ victory margin going down. Mayawati’s announcement of support to the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP may prevent a division of its vote bank.

However, the Congress, which allied with the SP for Assembly elections last year, has announced its own candidates on the two seats.

In Gorakhpur — a seat represented by Yogi Adityanath for five consecutive terms — the Samajwadi Party has fielded Praveen Kumar Nishad, the son of Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad, as its candidate. Nishad will take on the BJP’s Upendra Shukla and Congress leader Surhita Chatterjee Karim.

In Phulphur, the Samajwadi Party has fielded Nagendra Singh Patel, an OBC leader. Patel will contest against BJP candidate and fellow OBC leader Kaushlendra Singh Patel, who has also been Varanasi mayor. The Congress has fielded Manish Mishra for this seat.

Voting for both bypolls will be held on March 11, while counting of votes will be held on March 14.

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PNB is witnessing probably one of the biggest scams in banking history, opening a can of worms worth over Rs 11,300 crore (USD 1,771.69 million) for the banking sector.

Fraudulent transactions likely to have been going on for last seven years were unearthed by PNB — the second largest public sector bank and fourth largest lender by assets – at one of its Mumbai branches.

Foreign branches of at least two Indian banks including Axis Bank and Allahabad Bank are likely to have been caught in the fraud with an alleged credit offering given based on letters of undertaking (LOUs) issued by PNB  allegedly towards group companies of Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems.

These banks are said to have recalled the loans given based on the LoUs/FLCs (foreign letters of credit) issued on behalf companies of Gitanjali Gems — Gitanjali Gems, Gili India, Nakshatra — and to Nirav Modi Group firms which include Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds & Diamonds DU.
Nirav Modi has foreign centres in Hong Kong, Dubai, and New York and has been availing buyers’ credit based on such LOUs from as early as 2010.

How does this work?

Typically, an LOU is a letter of comfort issued by one bank to branches of other banks, based on which foreign branches offer loans or credit to buyers. In this case, it is said the foreign branches of the above mentioned banks, which had relationships with the outlets of the jewellery companies, had given credit against the fraudulent LOU/FLC.

A senior PNB official said, “LOUs are basically just fallback arrangements. They are not direct instruments. The LOUs were given through SWIFT technology and none of the transactions were routed through its core banking solutions (CBS) to avoid detection.”

According to the official, “SWIFT is like a fax which is not integrated with the CBS. The concerned firm manipulated and used this technology to send the LOU with the help of some of our officials who gave access to the LOU fraudulently. The credit was then routed by those foreign branches to PNB through its Nostro account. The foreign bank receiving the message (through SWIFT) while discounting should do the due diligence because it does not show an entry in our system when it gets credited. We do not know the ultimate legal stance. Although there is some misutilisation of some of the facilities from our bank.”

One of the officials of a bank giving the credit said, “Our credit goes to PNB and not to the company. Based on the LOU, we have remitted the amount to the Nostro account of the bank. We have already reported the matter to the regulators.”

A letter dated February 12 by PNB to 30 banks, according to CNBC TV18 channel, said the fraud was detected on the retirement of the PNB branch official and there is a clear criminal connivance of group companies of Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems with PNB branch officials and also by officials of overseas branches of Indian banks.

The letter also pointed out that the RBI stipulated timeline of validity of LOUs for only 90 days from date of shipment was overlooked by overseas branches of Indian banks. The buyers credit against LOUs were used to retire import bills or replenish maturing credit.


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may register case in the coming week and after that enforcement directorate will also take this matter up for further investigation.

Sources in the department told Moneycontrol, “In most of such cases, company use round tripping of the amount. In this case also, company may use round tripping facility which increases the amount value but actual amount involved is less as compare to total amount.”

Another source said, “It is hard to believe that junior level officers were authorised to sanction such high limit letter of undertaking. Investigation agency may open up old sanctioned files and authorised officers may also be under the scanner.” One former senior executive of PNB waiting to become the CEO of another bank is also under the scanner of the investigation agency.

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In 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) slogan ‘paanch saal Kejriwal’ found such resonance in Delhi that the party ended up rewriting electoral history by winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

As the party completes three years in power on Wednesday, the new slogan is ‘everything is possible’.

But, the AAP government, which had an eventful run in the Delhi Secretariat, has now learnt that everything may not be possible.

By sticking to measures such as cheap power and free water (up to 20 kilolitres a month) and implement the odd-even car rationing plan, the AAP has shown that it does not necessarily lack political will but often gets more busy in politics than implementation. The government has shown a lack of planning and application in checking pollution and strengthening the public transport system. It struggled to add a single bus to the DTC fleet and drew flak for knee-jerk proposals such as cloud seeding and water dispersal through helicopters. Other ideas, such as setting up its own power plant and giving people the choice of their power supplier, were junked since they were not doable.

Having crossed the halfway mark, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said governance in Delhi is now on the “fourth gear”. “Our main projects have been streamlined and approvals have been taken. Now, the stage is set for implementation. People will see results in next two years,” Sisodia said in an interview to Hindustan Times on January 23.

With its Mohalla Clinic health scheme and focus and investment in education, the AAP government did well on two fronts. But now, as it plans to implement its plans doorstep delivery of various services, installing CCTVs, and meeting the target of buying 10,000 buses for DTC as its next big targets, there are questions on whether it can walk the talk on these diverse targets in areas where it does not have a good track record.

Here is a look at the successes and failures of the AAP government in the past three years:

Environment and public transport

Risking public anger, the government went ahead with the odd-even scheme. Experts, however, described it as short-term measure with little impact. Other ideas to tackle pollution, such as cloud-seeding and sprinkling water from choppers were described as unnecessary.

According to environmentalist and EPCA member Sunita Narain, the actions taken by the government to combat air pollution were only temporary.

“Whatever actions that were taken were on the directions of the EPCA and these were short-term measures. Little has been done to improve public transport which is the key long-term solution to control air pollution,” she said.

The government has promised to bring 3,000 buses by the end of this year, which includes 2,000 non-AC standard floor buses and 1,000 electric buses. But, this would still not fulfil the target of at least 10,000 buses by December — a measure on which it has fallen woefully short.


The Mohalla Clinic scheme has been appreciated by the likes of Kofi Annan, former secretary general of United Nations and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former director-general of World Health Organisation, as a move towards achieving better health coverage.

The government had planned to set up 1,000 clinics in Delhi – one in every 5km radius – but the expansion plans are crawling for the want of land from various agencies. Only 160 clinics are operational now.

“Urban primary healthcare is often a neglected subject, leading to people going to hospitals for minor ailments. This results in time loss for the patient and improper utilisation of hospital resources. Such neighbourhood clinics will also help in early detection and management of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. It will reduce the need for quacks among low-income communities,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, the president of Public Health Foundation of India.

The government is also providing free surgeries and radio-diagnosis tests at empanelled private centres, if the service is unavailable or the waiting period is long at Delhi government hospitals.

Road and infrastructure

Narain and other experts say the AAP government has failed to redesign 10 roads and create infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. “It is high time that the government approaches Delhi’s mobility system differently,” she said.

The government, however, qassured that a progress report will be ready by next month. “We have five projects lined up for completion within the next one year. This includes second phase of Barapullah, Janakpuri flyover and ITO Skywalk,” a government spokesperson said.

Praveen Rai, a political analyst at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), said, “Roads need immediate attention. They are bumpy, uneven and full of potholes,” he said.


Even though e-district services have started, applicants are still required to visit the office for verification of documents. Moreover, despite services being available online, majority of people still visit the SDM’s office due to lack of awareness. But the government hopes that its doorstep delivery of 40 services will improve the situation.

“A high priority agenda needs to be radical transparency in civic works and budgets at a street, mohalla and ward level, powered by GIS technology and mobile apps. This will build trust with citizens, make budgetary allocations fairer between neighbourhoods in the city and eventually ensure all citizens have a voice in budgets and get access to basic minimum quality of life,” said Srikanth Vishwanathan, CEO of the Janaagraha, an NGO.


Last year, education minister Sisodia had said that they had looked at infrastructure in the first year, and teacher training in their second, and in their third year, their focus would be on creative learning methods. In its 2017-18 budget, the government allocated ₹11,300 crore, almost a quarter of its budget, to the education sector alone, to build 10,000 new classrooms and 400 new libraries among other things.

Educationists praised the newfound emphasis given to education, especially public education. But they expressed concerns over a few government programmes. Poonam Batra, a professor of education at the Delhi University and a member of last year’s teacher recruitment committee, appreciated the mentor teacher system, and the additional clerical support offered by retired personnel at government schools.

“It would require some systematic research to determine the kind of work they have done in these years… While a lot of it is good, certain policies and pedagogical changes are not OK. The streamlining of students into different groups (based on their academic progress) is a regressive step,” she said.

Atishi Marlena, the advisor to Sisodia, said, “We have focused on quality this year. The learning gaps were too huge, and we are developing better material to address this. We have also taken note of the importance of mental and emotional health of the students, which is why we introduced the happiness curriculum,” she said.


Jyoti Sharma, water conservationist and president of NGO, Force, said the government’s efforts could be seen in the slums. “The free water scheme, despite its negatives, takes care of the availability issue. Rainwater harvesting and reviving water bodies were good initiatives but were not sustained,” Sharma said.

A government spokesperson said the CM was personally monitoring projects like providing water and sewer lines in unauthorised colonies and setting up mini-decentralised sewage treatment plants in all such colonies.


The ‘Maili Se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project’ has been marred by inordinate delays. Manoj Mishra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, said, “Despite a clear roadmap set by NGT, the state has failed abysmally to implement any if its directions be it on reigning in pollution or safeguarding Yamuna’s floodplains.”


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