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State not drowning due to not holding caste census: Bihar minister

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Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav is actively demanding a caste based census in Bihar, but the BJP, the biggest constituent in the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government, has a major difference of opinion.

Agriculture Minister and BJP leader Amrendra Pratap Singh said that there is no urgent need of caste-based census in Bihar.

“Caste-based census is not an issue on which Bihar is drowning or the earth is shaking here. The Bihar government cannot run on the direction of the Leader of Opposition. He has a right to raise the issue of caste-based census but there is no requirement of it in Bihar,” he said.

Singh asked why the RJD did not raise this issue when Manmohan Singh-led Congress government was ruling the country.

“Why is this issue being raised today? Centre has already clarified its stand on this issue. It is not possible for the Centre to conduct a caste-based census in the state. CM Nitish Kumar understands the ploy of the RJD. The state government will not run on the direction of Tejashwi Yadav. It will be run in the direction of the common people of Bihar,” he said.

Meanwhile, the details of the closed-door meeting between Tejashwi Yadav and the Chief Minister on Wednesday have not come in public domain but the former has revealed a letter which he had written on May 11 (Wednesday) pressing for his demand.

Maharashtra

Mumbai Assembly bypoll: Congress, NCP support Shiv Sena candidate

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 In a boost for Shiv Sena (Uddhav group), the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have declared support to its candidate in the upcoming Andheri East Assembly by-elections, party leaders said here on Wednesday.

The bypoll is necessitated owing to the demise of the sitting Sena legislator, Ramesh Latke, who died in Dubai last May.

The Sena has fielded his widow, Rutuja Ramesh Latke for the November 3 byelections, hoping to garner the sympathy votes.

She will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s former BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporator Murji Patel, who is considered a popular leader in the area.

This is the first crucial electoral test for the Sena President and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in June.

The election has triggered a keen tussle between Thackeray and the rival faction led by the BJP-supported Chief Minister Eknath Shinde who toppled the MVA.

Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole said today that the party will not field its own candidate but will support the MVA nominee who is contesting on a Sena ticket.

NCP National Spokesperson also said that the party will support the Sena nominee for the bypolls.

“The MVA was formed after the 2019 Assembly elections to keep the communal BJP out of power for the benefit of the state. During our tenure of two-and-half years, we took many welfare decisions and did good work during the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis,” said Patole.

However, the BJP at the Centre misused the central agencies like the ED and CBI to bring down the MVA regime by taking away the Sena MLAs, he said.

Patole pointed out how, when all BJP efforts to break the MVA alliance failed, they created a rift in the Sena to oust the state government in June.

The three parties will now go all-out to ensure the victory of Rutuja R. Latke over the BJP nominee Murji Patel, they added.

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Business

Government of India approve an 26000 crores for installation of 5G network tower in 500 days

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The government has approved Rs 26,000 crore to install 25,000 mobile towers over the next 500 days, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at the Digital India Conference of State IT Ministers at the India Mobile Congress. Through this, the government aims to provide last-mile internet connectivity to the far flung areas.

The project will be implemented by state-owned Bharat Broadband Network Ltd, which was recently merged into the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. The cost of the project will be born out of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which has a balance of Rs 59,736 crore as of August end. USOF is a fund set up by the government to provide internet connectivity to rural and far flung areas.

The state-run telecom operator is expected to launch its 4G services in November now and then target to cover pan-India with 4G in next 18 months. Simultaneously, the company is also targeting to launch 5G services by August 2023, as recently announced by telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Recently, the government also approved a Rs 1.64 trillion revival package from BSNL. The revival package will help BSNL to fasten rollout of its 4G network, de-stress its balance sheet, and improve network services, among other things.

“The current approval to install 25,000 towers is in addition to the BSNL revival package and the expenses will be covered through USOF,” the official said.

The telecom operators, however, may not be in favour of the government giving BSNL additional incentives above the revival package.

“If this 25,000 is over and above the BSNL bailout package announced recently then it is more harming as it is against the level playing field,” an executive from a telecom company said, adding that BSNL has been given USOF related rollout without going for the tendering process.

“Denying the telecom service providers to bid is against the spirit of USOF as bidding would have resulted in best price to government and lower the government’s cost overall,” the telecom company executive said.

Currently, telecom operators pay 8% of their adjusted gross revenue as license fee. Of this 5% goes into the universal service obligation fund (USOF) and balance 3% to the exchequer.

As of August 31, about 47% of USOF is unutilised, and telecom operators want the government to either reduce or remove this levy till the funds are fully utilised.

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Crime

FIR filed against Vijay Mallya in cheque bounce case

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A fresh FIR has been filed against fugitive economic offender Vijay Mallya by Delhi Police for not appearing before a special court in connection with a cheque bounce case.

The hearing was going on in Rouse Avenue Court. The court noted that the accused was skipping the trial and was not willing to appear before it. The court then directed the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against the accused.

A senior police official said that they lodged a case under section 174 A of the Indian Penal Code against Mallya following the court direction. The FIR was filed at Connaught Place Police Station of New Delhi District.

Delhi International Airport had accused Mallya in cheque bounce. This case was being heard before the court.

The Delhi Police has now filed an FIR which has become one new case against him.

IPC section 174 A says non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant may attract jail term of six months if held guilty.

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