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Importing talent, fuelling change: Centre for lateral hiring in babu cadre

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The central government is planning to recruit outside experts at the level of Deputy Secretary and Director to bring efficiency and expertise in the administration. This is in line with the government’s policy to make lateral hiring at Joint Secretary positions, The Indian Express reported.

The Department of Personnel and Training has been asked to draft a formal proposal for recruiting around 400 subject experts from outside to occupy Director/DS posts in the Central Staffing scheme.

This indicates that more than 60 per cent of 650 posts meant for civil servants from the all-india services and 37 participating services would be taken over by people from outside the system.

This is separate from 650 posts reserved for promotees from the Central Secretariat Service. They, however, come under the ambit of Central Secretariat Service Rules, 2009 and thus, can’t be touched upon as that would require an amendment.

NITI Aayog is also planning to fill 54 of 516 posts laterally. These posts are recognised as “flexi-pool posts” for which the government think tank used to hire consultants.

In a major shift, it will now hire individuals who will have the same rank, status, responsibilities and accountability as regular civil servants.

Last year, Union Public Service Commission hired nine officials at Joint Secretary level. More than 6,000 applications were received for 10 posts.

One significant aspect of administrative reforms has been inducting subject experts at senior levels to inject strategic thinking into the bureaucracy.

Presently, the joint secretaries — who form the strength of the administration — are sourced mainly from Indian Administrative Service cadre officers.

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PM to meet secretaries of all ministries today, likely to outline govt priorities

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of all secretaries on Monday, where he is likely to outline priorities of his government, sources said.

Besides about 100 top bureaucrats, a few key ministers are expected to attend the meeting which the sources said will be a freewheeling discussion.

The Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, the Additional Principal Secretary to PM and the Cabinet Secretary will be in attendance alongside the secretaries of all ministries. The meeting is scheduled to be held at 6:30 pm at the Prime Minister’s residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.

During the meeting, Modi is expected to outline the agenda of his government while at the same time he will also take feedback from the top officials, sources said. A similar meeting was held in 2014 after Modi assumed charge as prime minister in his first term. He has been meeting secretaries of various ministries at regular intervals.

In Modi’s previous tenure, the PMO had formed eight group of secretaries on various subjects to suggest reforms in governance. He has also been interacting with various state chief secretaries on a monthly basis.

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Wife of journalist moves SC, challenges his arrest for post on Yogi Adityanath

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The wife of Delhi-based freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia has moved the Supreme Court for his release. The Supreme Court, however, has decided to hear the matter on Tuesday.

Kanojia was arrested on Friday evening for allegedly maligning the image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The petition claims that necessary legal guidelines were not followed during the arrest and therefore it is illegal.

Her lawyer told the court that Kanojia was “unceremoniously arrested by the UP police and it is illegal. Please take up the case today itself.”

Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police in Delhi on Saturday for a tweet that had “objectionable comment” on Adityanath.

Kanojia was arrested after a complaint was filed alleging that he tried to “malign” the Chief Minister’s image. He had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook of a woman speaking to reporters outside Adityanath’s office, claiming that she had sent him a marriage proposal.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Lucknow, Kalanidhi Naithani, said the initial probe provided evidence against Kanojia under Section 505 of IPC for making, publishing or circulating false statements, report or rumour and under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act for transmitting obscene material in electronic form.

A man was arrested in Gorakhpur for allegedly ‘defaming’ Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media on Sunday. This was the fourth arrest in the last three days.

On Saturday, a freelance journalist, an editor of TV channel and its owner were arrested over the contents that were considered objectionable against the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.

The arrests sparked a huge debate on social media on freedom of expression and top editor’s body in the country calling it an “effort to intimidate” the media.

The police on Sunday evening tweeted about the fourth arrest after a complaint against the man was received on Twitter. He was held for posting “objectionable content” on the CM. The mobile phone was also seized at the time of the arrest.

On Sunday, the police added fresh charges against Prashant Kanojia. The police also sealed the premises of the private TV news channel in Noida for allegedly running without a license, a day after arresting the head and its editor.

Officials said that documents showed the channel had a licence for ‘Network 10’ and not ‘Nation Live’, making it illegal. A separate case was registered under various sections of the IPC.

Apart from Kanojia, Ishika Singh, who heads private news channel Nation Live and Anuj Shukla, its editor were arrested, in Noida on Saturday. On June 6, during a debate on the channel, the woman, whose video Kanojia shared, had allegedly made defamatory remarks against the state CM.

The Editor’s Guild of India has condemned the action against the media-persons and called it “an effort to intimidate the press, and stifle freedom of expression”.

“We express our collective outrage at the manner in which Prashant Kanojia, Ishita Singh and Anuj Shuklahave been arrested by UP Police,” Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, South Asian Women in the Media Press Association said in a joint statement.

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Kathua case verdict likely today, security stepped up near court

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With the verdict of the Kathua rape and murder case to be delivered on Monday, security has been put in place near the district and sessions court in Pathankot.

The Kathua rape and murder case, wherein an 8-year-old girl from the Bakarwal community in Kathua was raped and killed on January 10, 2018. The incident witnessed widespread protests across the country.

“The court has reserved its judgment, which will be pronounced on June 10 at 10 am,’’ Harminder Singh, the chief prosecuting officer of Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch said.

SSP Pathankot Vivek Sheel Soni said a three-tier security force was deployed in the city, especially around the court where the case was being heard.

The in-camera trial in the case was completed on June 3 after the defence concluded its arguments.

The chargesheet filed by J&K police crime branch on April 9 last year had claimed that the girl was kept in a temple, where after four days of being drugged and repeatedly raped, her body was dumped in a nearby forest.

Eight persons, included those who helped the accused in trying to omit proof, were held and booked under Sections 302, 376, 201 and 120 B of the IPC.

Charges of rape and murder were framed against seven of the eight accused in the case, with one of them pleading that he is a juvenile. The accused, if convicted, would face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum of death penalty.

 

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Trump trolled after he claims moon part of Mars

US President Donald Trump has left people astonished with his knowledge of space and the universe and has become a laughing stock yet again after he claimed that the moon is a part of Mars.

In a tweet on Friday, he said: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defence and Science.”

Trump’s remarks came a day after NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told USA Today that US astronauts would not be able to make a lunar landing by 2024 unless Trump administration’s $1.6 billion budget increase request is not approved by the US Congress.

As soon as Trump tweeted, people from around the world started trolling him with witty one-liners, jokes and memes.

“Sigh! His dad must have paid his way through astronomy class too!” wrote American long-distance runner Ryan Hill.

“Trump’s knowledge on this matter is one small step for man, one giant leap backwards for mankind,” said Emmy-nominated filmmaker Jeremy Newberger.

“Based on the President’s track record here on Earth, I don’t think NASA needs his input on how to handle space,” tweeted Sam Vinograd, national security analyst at CNN.

Earlier in May, Trump, who is infamous for making controversial statements, war threats and spelling errors on his Twitter handle, confessed that he uses Twitter as a “typewriter”.

Later, Twitter Co-founder, Ev Williams called Trump “master” of the platform, arguing the potential negative effects of the President’s tweets on the country’s political discourse are “trivial compared to the effect of the broader media”.

Mars has two moons – Phobos and Deimos – however, the Moon which orbits the Earth is not a part of the Red Planet.

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Unable to digest Modi’s victory in LS polls: BJP leader Dattatreya attacks Rahul

Senior BJP leader Bandaru Dattatreya on Saturday slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi and said that he is still unable to digest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election.

“Rahul Gandhi is still unable to digest Modi’s victory in this country because of Modi’s policies and his affection towards all… But Rahul Gandhi is unable to digest the truth and he says that Modi has created hatred. Hatred is created by Congress party in its 50 years. There is no hatred in this country,” Dattatreya told ANI here.

“During Ramzan, peaceful atmosphere was there. Hatred is nowhere. (It is) only in the minds of Nehru family and Rahul Gandhi’s family, there is hatred towards the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added.

His statement comes after Rahul Gandhi, while addressing people in Nilambur, said, “The current government and Mr Narendra Modi spread hatred in the country and the Congress party knows and understands that the only way to combat hatred is through love and affection.”

Meanwhile, when asked about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s letter to Prime Minister Modi seeking dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries, Dattatreya said, “From the very beginning, we have been telling them (Pakistan) to stop terrorist activities. After they will stop them, then talks can take place… There are large numbers of terrorist groups in Pakistan. First, Pakistan should take action against them.”

‘Kerala is as much mine as is Varanasi,’ says PM Modi in Guruvayur

Addressing BJP workers in Kerala’s Guruvayur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Be it Udupi, Guruvayur or Dwarkadhish, for us – the people of Gujarat, there is an emotional connect. Coming from Gujarat, the land of Dwarkadhish, to Guruvayur gives one a special feeling.”

PM Modi said that elections have their own place but after polls there is an important responsibility which is towards 130 crore citizens.

“Those who made us win our ours, those who did not make us win are also ours. Kerala is as much mine as is Varanasi,” he added.

He said political parties and pundits failed to gauge the public mood ahead of the Lok Sabha election and thanked the electorate for reposing confidence in the saffron party.

Terming the just concluded Lok Sabha election to 542 seats as a “festival of democracy,” Modi lauded and thanked the electorate of Kerala for their contribution to it.

The BJP was not working for mere electoral politics and was keen on building the country and ensuring India gets its place of pride in the international arena, Modi added.

On the Nipah virus issue, he said the Centre was working “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the Kerala government to provide all required assistance.

This rally came days after BJP-led NDA government won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with a thumping victory.

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the famed Lord Krishna temple. He also performed the thulabharam ritual for which the temple authorities had reportedly arranged over 100 kg of lotus flowers.

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PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at Guruvayur temple in Kerala ahead of first foreign trip

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Thrissur in Kerala on Saturday morning. He is visiting Kerala to offer prayers at the Guruvayur temple after winning the Lok Sabha elections with a thumping majority.

PM Modi offered lotuses for his prayers, which is the BJP symbol, at the Krishna temple of Guruvayur. PM Modi was weighed on weighing scales with lotuses. The flowers were later offered for prayers at the temple.

Dressed in traditional attire of white dhoti and a white cloth on his shoulders, PM Modi was accompanied by Union ministers and officials while the temple has been shut down for visitors.

Security has been heightened at the Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayur of Thrissur district where PM Modi will reach soon.

This is PM Modi’s first temple visit after sweeping the Lok Sabha elections with a massive mandate. Guruvayur is one of the most prominent temples in Kerala that is over 5000-year-old.

After an hour-long ‘darshan’ at the temple, the prime minister will address a party meeting Abhinandan Sabha being organised by the BJP Kerala State committee.

This will be Modi’s first public meeting after assuming the chair of the prime minister for a second consecutive term.

The Prime Minister reached Kerala late on Friday night and stayed at a government guest house.

Modi will return to Kochi around 12.40 pm from where he will head to Andhra Pradesh to offer prayers at Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala.

Despite a massive Modi wave across the country in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP has failed to make a dent in both Kerala and Andhra Pradesh when Congress and YSR Congress Party dominated the scenes.

In Kerala, even though the BJP worked overtime to gain grounds with the Sabarimala temple entry row, it failed to make a mark. Congress won 15 of the 16 seats it contested in Kerala while UDF won 19 of the 20 seats.

Even the ruling LDF coalition was crushed by the UDF alliance while BJP failed to open its account.

In Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP swept both the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections. YSRCP won all 25 Lok Sabha seats while BJP drew a blank.

After the prayers at Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, PM Modi will be headed to Maldives in his first foreign trip in the second term at the Centre.

Monsoon May Take 2-3 Days Longer To Reach Delhi, Says Weather Department

Delhi will have to wait for another two to three days before welcoming the monsoon. The city is expected to receive normal rainfall, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday. However, Skymet Weather, a private forecaster, said the monsoon may take at least a week longer to reach the city.

On Wednesday, the weather office said the monsoon was likely to get delayed further and hit the Kerala coast only on June 8.

“Normally, the monsoon reaches Delhi by June 29. Since there’s a delay in its onset in the southern peninsula, the wind system is likely to take two-three days longer to reach northwest India,” weather department’s regional weather forecasting chief Kuldeep Srivastava told news agency PTI.

“The good news is the factors that aid the progress of the monsoon, including the southwesterly winds and the Somali jet stream, are gradually becoming active,” he added.

Northwest India is likely to see normal rainfall during the monsoon season, Mr Srivastava said.

Mahesh Palawat, senior vice president and meteorologist at Skymet Weather, said, “It’s difficult to say when will it reach Delhi, but it’s expected to get delayed by at least one week.”

“The progress of the monsoon will be sluggish due to formation of low-pressure area in the Arabian Sea,” he added.

After the onset of the monsoon, a low-pressure area is expected to develop over the Arabian Sea and it may intensify into a depression gradually. Whenever any such intense weather system develops over the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea, the moisture-laden winds start converging around it, affecting the progress of the monsoon.

“The rainfall is expected to remain on the lower side of normal over Delhi. Since, it’s a small area, one or two good spells of rains may make up for the deficit. But any surplus rain is ruled out,” Mr Palawat said.

The three-month pre-monsoon season – March, April and May – ended with a rainfall deficiency of 25 per cent.

Pre-monsoon rainfall is vital to many parts of the country. In states like Odisha, ploughing of fields is done in the pre-monsoon season and in parts of northeast India and the Western Ghats, it is critical for plantation of crops.

Monsoons are desperately awaited in the country as an intense heat wave is rapidly drying up reservoirs and sending temperatures soaring across the country. Last week, Rajasthan’s Churu recorded scathing temperatures of 50.8 degree Celsius which was nine degrees above normal.

Monsoon rains are expected to be normal this year, the weather office had said last week, which should support agricultural production and economic growth.

 

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