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EC willing to prohibit political ads on social media for 48 hrs before polling if High Court issues orders’

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Election Commission

Mumbai | The Election Commission (EC) told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it is willing to prohibit any political advertisements on social media 48 hours before polling day, provided the high court issues such orders.

The EC also told a bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice N M Jamdar that it was going to ensure implementation of all its previous notifications regulating political advertisements on social media, particularly around the time of elections. The statement was made by the EC’s counsel Pradeep Rajagopal.

He was responding to a query posed by the court on a previous hearing, asking why the EC was hesitant to issue specific directions prohibiting political advertisements on social media 48 hours before an election day.

Rajagopal submitted that the EC was aware that specific rules were required to govern advertisements on social media ahead of elections and that it was going to implement all safeguards to ensure that there were no obstructions to free and fair elections in the country.

“The EC will implement directions passed by it (sic) from time to time with respect to social media intermediaries,” Rajagopal said.

“It will also issue directions keeping in view the submissions made by other parties in the PIL on the 48-hour period. If this court passes orders on prohibitory regulations for social media during this 48 hour period, it will implement them,” he said.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Sagar Suryavanshi seeking directions to the Election Commission to regulate fake news in the form of paid political ads on social media.

The PIL had also urged the court to direct the EC to prohibit all persons, whether politicians or private individuals, from posting advertisements related to politics or elections, or paid political content on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter 48 hours before election day.

On the previous hearing, Facebook had told the court that it had introduced strict “pre-verification processes” for all political ads and paid content of “national interest” on their websites in India ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The new system ensures that only bonafide individuals, who are citizens of India, and political organisations based in the country can place political ads.

Twitter and YouTube had told the bench that they already only permitted such political ads that had been verified by the EC.

The social media sites, however, told the court that they could not voluntarily impose a 48-hour ban as sought by the petitioner.

The counsels for Facebook, Google and YouTube said that they could prohibit display of political ads on their websites 48 hours before polling day, if they were directed by the EC to do so.

The Representation of the People’s Act already prohibits political campaigning 48 hours before polling day and a notification of the EC regulating ads on TV and print media prohibits publication of political ads 48 hours before polling day.

The court, therefore, asked why the Election Commission could not formulate a similar direction for political ads on social media.

The HC is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on Monday.

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Javed Akhtar could have called us: ‘PM Narendra Modi’ producer Sandip Ssingh on credit row

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Javed Akhtar

Apart from Javed Akhtar, another veteran lyricist, Sameer, had said that he was surprised to find his name in the credits. 

 

Mumbai| Producer Sandip Singh, whose latest film “PM Narendra Modi” is embroiled in a controversy after Javed Akhtar expressed shock over getting credit for a song in the biopic, says the noted lyricist could have shared his grievance personally.

The 74-year-old writer’s name was mentioned in the credits of the film’s trailer alongside lyricists Prasoon Joshi, Sameer, Abhendra Kumar Upadhyay, Sardar, Parry G and Lavraj.

“Javed sahab is a senior writer in our country. We have grown up listening to his songs. We have used one of his old songs ‘Ishwar Allah’ from ‘1947: Earth’ and gave him credit. T-series is our music partner.

“I did not get any call from him and so I also did not call him. He spoke about it on Twitter, so even I replied there. But he could have called us,” Singh told PTI.

Apart from Akhtar, another veteran lyricist, Sameer, had said that he was surprised to find his name in the credits.

In his response, Singh said on Saturday that they gave credit to Sameer because they had incorporated his song “Suno gaur se Duniya walon” from the film “Dus”.

The trailer of the Omung Kumar-directed film, featuring Vivek Oberoi in the lead, released on Wednesday.

When asked about the response to the trailer, Singh said, “We can’t always have everyone like our work. We welcome all the criticism and we will learn from it.”

The film, which also features Boman Irani, Manoj Joshi, Zarina Wahab and Prashant Narayanan, releases on April 5.

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Vice Admiral Karanbir Singh becomes the new Navy Chief

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navy

 New Delhi| The Modi government on Saturday appointed Vice-Admiral Karanbir Singh as the next Naval Chief of Staff. He will take over the charge from former Navy Chief Sunil Lamba. Vice Admiral Singh has been serving as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam. According to a news agency, Lamba will retire as the Navy Chief on May 31, 2019.

The Vice-Admiral in his career spanning over 36 years has served as the Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet. He has also been Joint Director Naval Air Staff at the Naval Headquarters, Captain Air and Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Air Station at Mumbai and as a member of the Aircrew Instrument Rating and Categorisation Team (AIRCATS).

 

 

 

 

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In the election month, 4.74 Cr farmers to get second installment of PM Kisan Scheme

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PM Kisan

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre announced the Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme.

 

New Delhi| About 4.74 crore small and marginal farmers registered under the PM-Kisan scheme before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for general election came into effect on March 10 will get the second instalment of Rs 2,000 each in their bank accounts, a senior government official said Saturday.

Of these 4.74 crore beneficiaries, 2.74 crore farmers have so far received the first instalment and the rest will be covered by month-end, he said.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed the Union Agriculture Ministry to transfer the first and second tranche of the payment to all those beneficiaries registered under the scheme before March 10, the official added.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre announced the Rs 75,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM Kisan) scheme under which Rs 6,000 per year would be disbursed in three instalments to around 12 crore farmers who hold cultivable land up to 2 hectares.

In the budget, the NDA government allocated a sum of Rs 20,000 crore, to transfer Rs 2,000 each to farmers in the first instalment by March-end, for the ongoing fiscal under the scheme.

The PM Kisan scheme was formally launched at the national level by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24 at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh by transferring the first instalment to 1.01 crore farmers, amounting Rs 2,021 crore.

“We were hoping to have the data of 12 crore farmers from across the country. But the data of 4.74 crore farmers have come before the MCC was enforced,” the official told PTI.

The government has already released the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each to 2.74 crore beneficiaries and the remaining will be covered before this month-end, he said.

With regard to the payment of the second tranche to begin from April 1, the official said the ECI has allowed making the payment to all those beneficiaries registered before the MCC kicked in.

“We can go ahead and make the payment of the first instalment to the rest of the people whose names are on the portal. We can go ahead and make the payment for the second instalment as well,” the official said.

In Uttar Pradesh, the first instalment has been released to around one crore farmers so far and the Centre has received data of additional 66 lakh farmers.

The official further said that Punjab and Haryana are amongst the top beneficiary states as more than 80 per cent of the farmers registered under the PM Kisan scheme have received the first instalment.

While, some states including West Bengal, Delhi and Sikkim have yet not submitted the farmers’ data and therefore no money has been transferred.

The official also mentioned that no fresh data has come from states after the MCC came into effect.

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