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CBI Takes Over Caste Census Fraud Case Amid Political Row – dot newz

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The centre has said the caste census data was “unusable”

New Delhi:

Amid the growing demand for caste census from several opposition parties and the centre stonewalling it, the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI has opened a criminal investigation to probe alleged cheating and falsification of census data collected through a private firm as part of Socio Economic Caste Census, also known as SECC, in 2011.

The CBI has filed a cheating case against Lalit Rai, director of Thane-based Netwing Technologies Pvt Ltd, which was part of SECC-2011.

The centre through the Rural Development Ministry conducted the SECC across the country in 2011. This was also India’s first paperless census across 640 districts.

While the data on socio economic features of households were released in July 2015, the caste data has not been released till date after the centre cited “errors” in the data.

Indian Telephone Industries or ITI, a government company, was roped in by the Rural Development Ministry for the SECC-2011 project and the Thane-based Netwing Technologies had signed a contract with ITI in October 2011 for conducting the SECC.

Lalit Rai’s company was awarded the work for conducting SECC in five districts of Delhi, including New Delhi, central Delhi, east Delhi, northeast Delhi and northwest Delhi.

ITI alleges that Mr Rai’s company gave false and duplicate data to the government, resulting in financial loss to the centre.

“Netwing technologies Private Limited committed cheating and misappropriation of government funds to the tune of Rs 4.56 crore by the way of furnishing falsified and duplicate data to NIC (National Informatics Centre),” ITI said in its complaint, seen by NDTV.

ITI had filed the complaint with Kerala Police as the agreement was signed at Palakad division of ITI. Since the matter is about alleged misappropriation of government funds and cheating in a central project, the CBI took over the investigation based on recommendation by the centre and the Kerala governments.

The annual report of ITI for 2013-14 says, “During the year a fraud has been reported by the company involving an amount of Rs 2,453 lakh by M/s Netwing Technologies Pvt Ltd, a service provider of the company in the implementation of SECC project in Palakkad unit.”

The CBI investigation comes at a time when the Maharashtra government has approached the Supreme Court seeking raw data of Other Backward Classes or OBCs collected in the state through SECC-2011.

Opposing the Maharashtra government’s request, the centre told the Supreme Court in September this year that “caste enumeration in SECC-2011 is fraught with mistakes”.

Defending its argument that the data is “unusable”, the centre had told the Supreme Court that an analysis of the SECC-2011 data showed there were more than 46 lakh different castes across the country, while the first census in 1931 showed only 4,147 castes.



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India Is No.1 Food Supplier To Arab Nations After 15 Years – dot newz

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The Arab world is among Brazil’s most important trade partners.

Sao Paulo:

India surpassed Brazil in food exports to the League of Arab States for the first time in 15 years as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted trade flows in 2020, according to data provided by the Arab-Brazil Chamber of Commerce to Reuters on Tuesday.

The Arab world is among Brazil’s most important trade partners, but its distance from those markets took its toll as the pandemic rattled global logistics.

Brazil accounted for 8.15% of the total agribusiness products imported by the 22 League members last year, whereas India captured 8.25% of that trade, ending Brazil’s 15-year advantage, the data showed.

Despite remaining competitive “from the farm gate in,” Brazil lost ground to India and other exporters such as Turkey, the United States, France and Argentina amid a disruption of traditional shipping routes.

Brazilian shipments to Saudi Arabia that once took 30 days could now take up to 60 days, according to the Chamber, whereas India’s geographic advantages allow it to ship fruits, vegetables, sugar, grains and meat in as little as week.

Brazil’s agricultural exports to the Arab League rose just 1.4% by value to $8.17 billion last year. Between January and October this year, sales totaled $6.78 billion, up 5.5%, as logistics problems subsided, Chamber data showed.

China’s push to boost its own food inventories during the pandemic also diverted some of Brazil’s trade with the Arabs, leading countries such as Saudi Arabia to step up promotion of domestic food production, while seeking alternative suppliers.

“It’s a turning point. The Saudis are still big buyers, but they are also net re-exporters of food,” the Chamber said in a statement.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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“BJP Development? Coconut Breaks A Road Open!” Akhilesh Yadav Sneers – dot newz

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Lucknow:

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, ally Jayant Choudhary at his side, berated Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the BJP on multiple issues today — including development, which the ruling party placed front and centre of the coming election. “What infrastructure has the BJP created,” he questioned, citing a recent headline from Bijnore that has raised many a chuckle in the state.

“The older tradition was — hit the coconut on the road and the coconut breaks. The new tradition they have started is hit the coconut on ground and the ground must break,” he told NDTV, speaking on the sidelines of a rally in Mathura attended by thousands.

Suchi Mausam Chaudhary, the BJP MLA from Bijnor Sadar, was left furious earlier this month at the traditional inauguration when bits of a 7-km road, renovated at a cost of Rs 1.16 crore, came off when struck by a coconut.

Challengers to the BJP government which came to power in the state with a sweeping mandate, the two leaders made a prediction. “Looking at anger among the people, BJP can even lose 400 seats. They will be wiped out in the western UP,” Akhilesh Yadav said.

Their sharpest barbs were reserved for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In his address, Mr Yadav had spoken of the BJP “misrule” in terms of jobs, education development and farmers’ issues. Asked about his remark that the “Baba (Yogi Adityanath) just sits in Gorakhpur and rings a bell (while all this is happennig),” and how it would be received by the state’s Hindu voters, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary spoke up.

“Adityanath is not a symbol of Hindu unity, he can be questioned,” Mr Chaudhary said. “This is not an issue about Hindu pride but issues like unemployment. Adityanath said he will give 70 lakh jobs. Today, their own posters say they have given only four lakh jobs,” he added.

Akhilesh Yadav had other questions. “The Chief Minister should answer whether the man sitting in the jeep that mowed down farmers (in Lakhimpur Kheri) was the Union Home Minister’s son or not… Yogi must answer how many cases were against him that he removed himself after becoming the Chief Minister,” he added.



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Women’s Commission Seeks Report On BJP Leader’s Remark About Mumbai Mayor – dot newz

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Kishori Pednekar is the current Mayor of Mumbai. (File)

The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has asked the Mumbai police commissioner to submit a factual report about an alleged objectionable remark passed by BJP leader Ashish Shelar about mayor Kishori Pednekar in connection with the recent cylinder blast in Worli.

Taking to Twitter, the Commission’s chairperson Rupali Chakankar said “insulting” comments made about women by responsible public representatives “will not be tolerated”.

The Commission has, therefore, taken a “serious” note of the comment and asked the Mumbai police chief to submit a factual report in this connection, Ms Chakankar tweeted on Monday night.

In her letter to the police commissioner, Ms Chakankar claimed, “Shelar’s comment ”the Mumbai Mayor visited (those injured in the blast) after 72 hours of the incident, where were you (the mayor) sleeping for these many hours?” is being broadcast in the news media”.

“So, a factual report should be submitted in this connection as per section 12(2) and 12(3) of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women Act, 1993,” she said.

Three members of a family died after a gas cylinder exploded in their home in a chawl in Worli area of central Mumbai.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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