LIVE: Mamata urges EC to conduct remaining West Bengal phases in one go

Voting for the first of the four-phase Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections, seen as a semi-final to the 2022 Assembly election, will be held today in 18 districts with ballot papers.

More than 333,000 candidates in the fray in over 221,000 seats in the first phase for the posts of zila panchayat (district council) members, kshetra (block) panchayat members, village panchayat heads and wards.

Polling will take place from 7 am to 6 pm.

The districts that will go to polls are Ayodhya, Agra, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Allahabad, Bareilly, Bhadohi, Mahoba, Rampur, Raebareli, Shravasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Saharanpur, Hardoi and Hathras.

Apart from parties like the BJP, BSP, Samajwadi Party and the Congress, among those in the race are the AIMIM, Aam Aadmi Party and Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad's Azad Samaj Party, which are making their debut in the state.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day.


Pak's high court asks govt to clear India's 'misunderstandings' about court's jurisdiction in Jadhav case

Pakistan's Islamabad High Court on Thursday asked the Foreign Office to clear India's "misunderstanding" about the court's jurisdiction to hear the Kulbhushan Jadhav case to implement the verdict of the International Court of Justice.
Jadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
India approached the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence.
The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
The ICJ, in its 2019 verdict, had asked Pakistan to provide a proper forum for appeal against the sentence given to Jadhav by a military court.
The Pakistani government issued a special ordinance last year and filed the case in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which has repeatedly asked India to appoint a lawyer to represent Jadhav.
A larger IHC bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb is hearing the case.
The Express Tribune reported that the Indian High Commission, through a lawyer, had challenged the IHC jurisdiction to appoint a defence counsel in the case and the court tried to clarify the objection.
During the proceedings, Justice Minallah asked Barrister Shahnawaz Noon, the lawyer representing the Indian High Commission, whether or not he had informed New Delhi about the Jadhav case.
The lawyer replied that the Indian government was of the view that the case did not fall in the IHC jurisdiction.
“It seems that the Indian government has a misunderstanding about this court's proceedings,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah observed.
“This matter involves the jurisdiction of not only this court, but that of the implementation of the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” he said and directed the Foreign Office to contact the Indian government to clear the air.
Justice Minallah also said that the matter was not about jurisdiction but this court had taken up the Jadhav case for the implementation of the ICJ verdict.

71 per cent votes cast in UP panchayat polls

Over 70 per cent votes were cast in the first of the four-phased Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections on Thursday, the State Election Commission said.
Four people suffered minor injuries in a clash between two groups at a polling booth in Agra, but there were no reports of any violence from elsewhere in the state, officials said.
"Till 6 pm, 11 per cent votes were cast. While the maximum 80 per cent votes were cast in Jhansi, Shravasti witnessed 64 per cent polling," the poll panel said.
More than 3.33 lakh candidates are in the fray in over 2.21 lakh seats in the first phase of the polls for the zila panchayat (district council) members, kshetra (block) panchayat members, village panchayat heads and wards.

The districts where the polls were held include Ayodhya, Agra, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Allahabad, Bareilly, Bhadohi, Mahoba, Rampur, Raebareli, Shravasti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Saharanpur, Hardoi and Hathras.

US expels Russian diplomats, imposes sanctions for hacking

The Biden administration announced Thursday the US is expelling 10 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against dozens of companies and people, holding the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year's presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.
The sweeping measures are meant to punish Russia for actions that US officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including by targeting its ability to borrow money.
The sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russia, which promised a response, even as some experts said the measures appeared tailored to avoid an out-of-control escalation of retaliatory acts between the two countries.
Sanctions against six Russian companies that support the country's cyber efforts represent the first retaliatory measures against the Kremlin for the hack familiarly known as the SolarWinds breach, with the US explicitly linking the intrusion to the SVR, a Russian intelligence agency.

Latest News: Mahindra & Mahindra plants in Maharashtra operating at lower manning levels

Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra on Thursday said its different factories in Maharashtra are operating with lower levels of manning while adhering to specified protocols in the wake of restrictions imposed by the state government.
The company also said all of its offices in Maharashtra are also closed following the 15-day curfew that began on Wednesday, as the state government, which stopped short of announcing a full-scale lockdown, enforced stricter curbs on public activities, to curb spread of coronavirus.
"The well-being and safety of our associates is our biggest priority. In accordance with the 'Break the Chain' guidelines shared by the Maharashtra government, our plants are operational with lower levels of manning and following strict adherence to social distancing, hygiene protocols and safety, including compulsory testing for Covid at the plant and maintaining high standards of safety for our associates," Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Chief Human Resources Officer, Automotive and Farm Sectors, Rajeshwar Tripathi said in an emailed response.

Latest News: Arvind Subramanian to join Brown University's Watson Institute as senior fellow

Eminent economist Arvind Subramanian, who had resigned as professor at Ashoka University last month, on Thursday said he will join Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs as a senior fellow.
The former chief economic advisor had joined Ashoka University as a professor in the Department of Economics in July 2020. He put in his papers on March 18 after political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta resigned as a professor at the liberal arts university in Sonipat.
"With sadness & sense of opportunity unrealised, I leave @AshokaU. Look forward to new roles @WatsonInstitute @BrownUniversity Faculty as Senior Fellow & @CGDev as Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow. Hope to continue teaching, researching & engaging on economic development & India," Subramanian tweeted. (PTI)

West Bengal elections: Mamata asks EC to conduct remaining phases in one go

LIVE: Process for re-issuing OCI cards to be simplified, says MHA

Process for re-issuing Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards to be simplified. Presently, OCI card is required to be re-issued each time a new passport is issued up to 20 yrs of age and after completing 50 years of age. This requirement has been renounced, according to Ministry of Home Affairs

LIVE: EC sets 24-hour campaign ban on West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh

Latest News: Citi to exit retail banking operations in India, 12 other countries

Citigroup Inc trounced analysts' first-quarter profit estimates on Thursday as its outlook for an economic recovery driven by vaccinations and government stimulus allowed it to release reserves set aside for loan losses from the pandemic.
Like JPMorgan Chase & Co, which reported earnings on Wednesday, Citi benefited from a boom in capital markets activity, but its consumer bank felt the impact of low interest rates that hurt earnings.
Revenue fell 7% on low interest rates and a 10% decline in loans, largely due to lower consumer credit card loan balances. Read here

LIVE: Haryana CM appeals to farmers to withdraw their stir against Centre's farm laws

Amid surge in coronavirus cases, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar appeals to farmers to withdraw their stir against Centre's farm laws on 'humanitarian grounds'

LIVE: Delhi court grants bail to JNU former student leader Umar Khalid

LIVE: Delhi court grants bail to JNU former student leader Umar Khalid in case connected to North East Delhi violence. Court noted that he can't be made to incarcerate in jail for infinity merely on account that others who were part of the mob have to be identified and arrested in the matter

LIVE: Biden announces new sanctions on Russia, expulsion of 10 diplomats

Latest LIVE: Biden announces new sanctions on Russia, expulsion of 10 diplomats, in retaliation for hacking and election interference. Biden says Russia's efforts to undermine free elections in US, elsewhere and its malicious cyber activity pose unsual and extraordinary threat to US Security

Latest News: Labour Bureau to release first report of quarterly employment survey in July

Undeterred by the raging Covid-19 wave in the country, the Labour Bureau has set a deadline of July this year to release the first report of the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).
The Labour Bureau, which is a wing of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, is also looking to release the Migrant Workers Survey in November 2021.
"The first report of the Quarterly Employment (QES) is expected in July 2021 and the report of Migrant Survey is expected in November 2021," Director General (DG) Labour Bureau D P S Negi said in a statement.
The All-India Survey of Migrant Workers is a survey of the households having internal migrants, with a special focus on migrant workers.
In this survey, data will be collected on demographic, socio economic and other important aspects of migrant workers with particular reference to the COVID-19 pandemic to understand its impact on migrant workers. (PTI)

Latest News: Some allegations against judges are 'shockingly false', says SC

The Supreme Court Thursday said some of the allegations made against judges are so shockingly false that if there had been no security of tenure, they could have been easily knocked out.
The top court favoured fixed tenure of two or more years for ad-hoc judges if they are appointed in high courts to reduce the backlog of pending cases.
A special bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, Position of judge has to be made secure. I tell you, we have seen allegations against judges which are shockingly false. Yes, some of them are shockingly false. You can easily knock out a judge if there is no security. There has to be security of tenure for ad-hoc judges. (PTI)

Latest News: RBI to set up Regulations Review Authority from May 1 for one year

India will augment its hydrogen supply chain infrastructure as it looks to accelerate plans to generate the carbon-free fuel, which may have an edge over other non-fossil fuel sources, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said Thursday.
"Hydrogen has great potential to emerge as a future source of energy," he said. "The enthusiasm about hydrogen has a simple reason -- whether it's used in a fuel cell or burned to create heat, wherever hydrogen replaces fossil fuels, it slows global warming."
Carbon-free hydrogen can be produced from fossils fuels, such as natural gas or coal, by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using a current of electricity. Hydrogen thus generated can be used as a transport fuel. Read here

Latest News: Wipro Q4 profit jumps 28% YoY to Rs 2,972 crore

Wipro on Thursday reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 2,972.3 crore for March quarter of financial year 2020-21 (Q4FY21), up 27.78 per cent year-on-year (YoY), as against Rs 2,326.1 crore posted in the same period last year. The company announced Q4FY21 numbers post market hours.
On a quarter-on quarter (QoQ) basis, the profit increased marginally by 0.14 per cent, compared to Rs 2,968 crore reported in the December quarter of FY21.
Its consolidated revenue from operations, meanwhile, climbed 3.4 per cent YoY to Rs 16,245.4 crore in the recently concluded quarter. This stood at Rs 15,711 crore in the previous corresponding period. Sequentially, the figure rose 3.67 per cent - from Rs 15,670 crore in the December quarter. Read here

No such plan of clubbing phases: EC on speculations of reducing phases

CEO of Bengal asks political parties to adhere to Covid protocols

Latest News: IDBI Bank appoints Jyothi Biju Nair as new company secretary

IDBI Bank on Thursday said it has appointed the company's deputy general manager Jyothi Biju Nair as the new company secretary with effect from April 16.
"The board of directors of the bank has, at its meeting held on April 15, 2021, approved the appointment of Jyothi Biju Nair, deputy general manager as company secretary and key managerial personnel of IDBI Bank with effect from April 16, 2021, in place of Pawan Agrawal, CS," IDBI Bank said in a regulatory filing.
Agrawal would be joining Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) as company secretary with effectfrom April 16, 2021, it said. (PTI)

Latest News: Amazon announces $250 million fund to help MSMEs go digital in India

E-commerce giant Amazon on Thursday announced a $250 million (around Rs 1,873 crore) fund that will focus on digitising small and medium businesses, and drive innovation in the areas of agri-tech and health-tech.
"Small and medium-sized businesses are often the engine and the lifeblood of economies and I think it's true in India as well. And we are very passionate about trying to enable acceleration of SMBs in fueling innovation and the economy in India and so building on what we did last year, I'm excited to announce a brand new $250 million Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund," Amazon Web Services CEO Andrew Jassy CEO said. Read here

Latest News: Elevated public debt in FY21 matter of concern, says report

As the fiscal position of the country worsens due to the pandemic, there are concerns over the elevated public debt and also higher fiscal deficit at 11.8 per cent in 2020-21, brokerage UBS Securities India said.
A report by UBS has also warned of a downgrade risk in the sovereign ratings by one of the three rating agencies in the next 12-18 months.
This is despite both the direct and indirect tax mop-up crossing the revised estimates for the year. (PTI)

LIVE: India, France to cooperate on human space mission Gaganyaan

LIVE: Mamata Banerjee holds a roadshow from Gandhi Bhawan to Bowbazar in Kolkata

Latest News: NCP chief Sharad Pawar discharged from hospital

Maharashtra: NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who underwent gall bladder surgery at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, discharged from facility, says party spokesperson

Latest News: No heatwave conditions over country on April 15, says IMD

A day after several parts of the country recorded temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said there will be no heatwave conditions on Thursday.
It said heatwave conditions were observed in isolated pockets over Gujarat and Haryana on April 14.
"There will be no heatwave conditions over the country on April 15," the IMD said. (PTI)

Gujarat High Court hears suo motu case on Covid-19 situation in the state

You should make people aware about when to take Remdesivir, says Gujarat HC.
We have requested manufacturers to increase the production of Remdesivir, submits Gujarat Govt before High Court.

WPI inflation rises to 7.39 per cent in March against 4.17 per cent in February: Govt data

WPI inflation rises to 7.39 per cent in March against 4.17 per cent in February: Govt data

Indian Coast Guard, Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad apprehend fishing boat carrying 8 Pakistani nationals

Indian Coast Guard, Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad apprehend fishing boat carrying 8 Pakistani nationals, 30 kg heroin near Jakhau coast of Kutch district

CCI approves acquisition of DHFL by Piramal Group

Competition Commission approves acquisition of DHFL by Piramal Capital & Housing Finance, reports CNBC.

UP govt issues directions on quarantine of migrant workers returning to the state

SC to consider today Centre's plea, report on ISRO espionage case

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Thursday, the Centre's plea seeking consideration of the report filed by a high-level committee regarding the role of erring police officials in the 1994 espionage case relating to ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan who had been acquitted and was eventually awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation by the top court.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar will consider the Centre's application and the report filed by the three-member panel, headed by former top court judge Justice (retd) D K Jain.
On April 5, the Centre moved the top court seeking urgent hearing and consideration of the panel's report terming it as a national issue.

UP Panchayat election 2021: People stand in a queue at a polling booth in Ayodhya

People stand in a queue at a polling booth in Ayodhya as they await their turn to cast vote for the first phase of Uttar Pradesh Panchayat polls.

Rajnath Singh to inaugurate IAF Commanders' Conference today

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will inaugurate Indian Air Force (IAF) Commanders' Conference on Thursday at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan) here.
The conference is aimed at addressing the issues of IAF's operational capabilities in the times to come, the defence ministry said in a statement
"IAF Commanders' Conference for 2021 will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on April 15 at the Air Headquarters," an IAF spokesperson said.

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