India is world’s largest democracy with 90 crores (900 million) voters. This number is four times eligible voters in the United States of America, the second largest democracy.
In 2019-India general election, 10 percent of world’s population is eligible to vote. There are 8.3 crores (83 million) new voters since 2014 general elections. Also there are 1.5 crores voters in the age group of 18-19 years. In last general elections, held in 2014, out of more than 83 crores (830 million) eligible voters, more than 55 crores (550 million) people voted.
The first election in India was held in1951-2
Conducting elections in India is a mammoth task. The elections are spread over 39 days from 11 April to 19 May, in seven phases. There are 10 lakh (1 million) polling stations.
The race at national level is between two major political parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) with each having coalition with some regional parties. There are 543 elected seats in the lower house, Lok Sabha and 272 seats are needed to form the government. In 2014 elections BJP alone won 282 seats where as Congress bagged only 44 seats. It is not going to be a cake-walk for any party and is seen as a close contest.
The election results will be out on May 23.
Food and Drug administrator (FDA) officer Neha Shoree was shot dead in Kharar by a chemist. The assailant, Balwinder Singh, walked into FDA office and fired four rounds at her, two of which hit her.
Balwinder in his late forties, had a chemist shop in Morinda and his license was cancelled 10 years ago when a huge cache of intoxicants were recovered during the raid conducted by Neha.
Neha, 38 years old, is survived by husband Varun Monga and daughter. She lived in Panchkula.
There was a bilateral agreement On September 14, 1974 between India and Pakistan on the protocol on visit to religious shrines for nationals of these countries.
Fifteen locations in Pakistan and five in India were later identified. The locations included in the agreement are:
1. Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Ajmer, Rajasthan
2. Nizamuddin Dargah, Delhi
3. Hazrat Amir Khusro, Delhi
4. Sirhind Sharif, Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab
5. Kalyar Sharif, Haridwar, Uttarakhand
1. Shadani Darbar, Hyat Pitafi, Ghotki
2. Katasraj Dham, Lahore
3. Gurudwaras of Nankana Sahib
4. Gurudwara Panja Sahib, Rawalpindi
5. Samadhi of Ranjit Singh, Lahore
6. Gurudwara Dera Sahib, Lahore
7. Gurudwara Janam Asthan, Lahore
8. Gurudwara Deewan Khana, Lahore
9. Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj, Singhanian, Lahore
10. Gurudwara Bhai Tara Singh, Lahore
11. Gurudwara of Guru Hargobind, Mozang, Lahore
12. Birthplace of Guru Ram Das, Lahore
13. Gurudwara Cheveen Padshahi, Mozang, Lahore
14. Shrine of Data Ganj Bakhsh, Lahore
15. Mirpur Mathelo, Sindh
Kartarpur Sahib was not included in the agreement. According to the Ministry of External Affairs India, India had requested for its inclusion but it was not agreed by Pakistan
Maiden Kartarpur corridor meeting concluded March 14 with following key demands from India.
First – Number of pilgrims:
India: Initially the number of pilgrims allowed daily should be 5,000 and 15,000 on special occasions. Entry should be visa free.
Pakistan: No commitment yet, the proposal was 500 pilgrims per day.
Second – Days and Timing:
India: Corridor should remain open on all days of the year, from dawn to dusk.
Pakistan: Wanted to restrict opening of corridor three to four days a week.
Third – Access to people of all faiths:
India: Allow all resident Indian citizens and overseas citizenship of India (OCI) holders.
Pakistan: Initially wanted only Sikh pilgrims but agreed to all Indian citizens only.
Fourth – Encroachment of land around Gurdwara:
India: Raised objection on the rampant encroachment of land around Gurdwara.
Pakistan: No specific assurance.
Fifth – Activities of pro-Khalistan elements:
India: Raised objection of activities of pro-Khalistan elements in Gurdwaras of Pakistan.
Pakistan: Assured that there won’t be any activities to spread any anti-India agenda in the name of Khalistan.
The next meeting is on April 2 in Wagah, Pakistan.
Several people were killed when a gunman open fire at a crowd gathered for Friday prayers in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
According to local media, at-least six people were killed. Witnesses had reported seeing people bleeding at the Al Noor mosque, located in central Christchurch along Dean Avenue.
Bangladesh cricket team, who are currently in New Zealand, had gone to mosque by bus and were about to go inside when the incident took place.
Update: The death toll has reached to 49 in the mass shooting. A man in his 20s has been arrested.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had approved Kartarpur corridor at the cost of Rs. 190 crore.
The complex will provide all the necessary facilities to pilgrims visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara located four miles across the border in Pakistan.
The project will be on the priority list and to be complete before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, 12th November 2019.
Reuters team was prevented from visiting the bombed site for third time citing security concerns. Pakistani official said that no visit would be possible for a few days more due to security issues.
High-resolution satellite images reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday showed the madrasa appears to be standing, virtually unchanged from an April 2018 satellite photo of the facility.
Attorney General K K Venugopal on Friday claimed the Rafale documents were not stolen from the Defence Ministry and that what he meant in his submission before the Supreme Court was that petitioners in the application used “photocopies of the original” papers, deemed secret by the government.
“I am told the opposition has alleged that it was argued (in SC) that the files had been stolen from the defence ministry. This is wholly incorrect. The statement that files have been stolen is wholly incorrect,” he told PTI.
Earlier related story: Indian Defence Ministry needs Defence
The road transport and highways ministry of India had issued notification making it mandatory for all states to follow the same norm for driver license and vehicle registration certificates from October 1, 2019. These documents will have QR code which can be scanned by the handheld device to get the complete information about these documents from the central online database thus making past violations impossible to hide. Also these documents can be easily validated.
The state governments can add additional features to the card like chip and NFC (near-field communication).
Congress party has come out with the first list of candidates for upcoming Lok Sabha elections. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi will contest Rae Bareli and Amethi seats in Uttar Pradesh respectively.
The first list does not include Priyanka Gandhi.
The elections to 17th Lok Sabha are few weeks away.
Announcement of first list of candidates selected by Congress Central Election Committee for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. pic.twitter.com/FEzssyx3uV
— Congress (@INCIndia) March 7, 2019
It was reported by the central government to Supreme Court that Rafale jet deal papers were stolen from the defence ministry.
The Supreme Court has put off hearing in the case to petitions filed seeking review of its December 2018 verdict refusing to order a probe into the Rafale fighter jets deal, until March 14.
The defence ministry is supposed to very secure institution and such an incident is very surprising.
Indian government had signed a deal with France government for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets in 2016.
The Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, attacked the government. He said “It is now crystal clear that blatant and massive corruption has taken place in the Rafale deal. It is undoubtedly established that Modi misused his office as Prime Minister to grant undue benefit to Dassault Aviation and caused a loss to public exchequer.”
India and Pakistan will go ahead with planned meeting to finalizes the process of opening of Kartarpur sahib corridor. The Pakistan delegation will visit India on March 14. This will be followed by Indian officials visit to Islamabad on March 28 to discuss the draft agreement. The meeting was earlier scheduled to take place on March 13.
After recent conflict between the two neighboring nuclear power countries, there were speculations that the upcoming meeting might be cancelled and the project might not go as planned.
Pakistan had recently taken steps to de-escalate the tension by detaining members of internationally proscribed terrorist organizations.
US President Mr. Donald Trump had criticized India for unfair trade practices and called out India for high tariffs. He had threatened to impose “a reciprocal tax” to match the heavy duties that India imposes on goods imported from the United States.
He had directed the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) to remove India from a programme that grants it preferential trade treatment.