Daily news wrap: Bonus for central govt employees, political crisis in Pak & more

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NEW DELHI: Union Cabinet's approval of immediate disbursal of Rs 3,737 crore of bonus and non-productivity linked bonus to 30 lakh central government employees within a week, political crisis brewing up in Pakistan after a high-profile kidnapping of police chief in Sindh were among the top news stories of the day.

Here is a look at the top 10 news stories from the day


Union Cabinet approves bonus for central government employees, to benefit 30 lakh

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the immediate disbursal of Rs 3,737 crore of bonus and non-productivity linked bonus to 30 lakh central government employees within a week, which the government said will boost demand in the festive season.

Announcing the decision, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said at least 30 lakh non-gazetted employees will benefit from the announcement and the bonus will be disbursed in one instalment before Vijaya Dashami.

The beneficiaries include 17 lakh non-gazetted employees from government's commercial establishments such as railways, post office, EPFO, ESIC and production and their share will be Rs 2,791 crore. The rest 13 lakh government employees will get non-productivity link bonus of Rs 946 crore.


Political crisis in Pakistan deepens after police, army dispute

A high-profile kidnapping of a police chief in Pakistan — allegedly by official paramilitary troops — has signaled deepening of the political turmoil in a country bracing for further opposition protests aimed at ousting Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The paramilitary troops, known as the rangers, are accused of raiding the house of Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, the inspector general of police in southern Sindh province.

They kidnapped him and forced him to sign an order to arrest an opposition leader, Safdar Awan, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, a spokesman for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — whose opposition party rules the state — said on Dunya TV Tuesday.


Why PM Modi’s still so popular even as India fails to fight coronavirus

India is battling one of the world’s highest coronavirus caseloads, its worst-ever economic slump, shuttered factories, farmer protests and the deadliest border fighting with China in decades.

Yet Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to remain as popular as ever. Opinion polls in Bihar, where from October 28 to November 7 he faces his first major electoral test since the pandemic, show his coalition comfortably retaining control of the state government.

A poll in August said 78% rated his performance as “good to outstanding” compared with 71% last year.


India releases Chinese soldier who had strayed across border

India on Wednesday released the Chinese soldier who was apprehended after he inadvertently crossed over into Indian territory in the Demchok sector of eastern Ladakh on Monday.

The soldier, Corporal Wang Ya Long, an armourer in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was handed over to China at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point after completion of all formalities, as per established protocols, said an officer.

The PLA soldier, who had his identity card in his pocket and belongs to Shangxizhen town of central Zhejiang province in China, was disoriented when he was taken into custody by Indian troops in the Demchok sector in the early hours of Monday.


IIT Kharagpur's 'Covirap' diagnostic machine gets ICMR certification

'COVIRAP,' the diagnostic machine developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur researchers, has been successfully validated for its efficacy in Covid-19 detection by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the institute said on Wednesday.

After rigorous testing with patient samples by an authorized ICMR laboratory, adhering to their strict guidelines, ICMR has now granted certification for this Covid-19 Diagnostic Test.

This test has been designed to be fairly easy to conduct and affordable as well and can produce results within one hour.


MP bypolls: EC issues notice to Kamal Nath over 'item' remark

The Election Commission on Wednesay issued a notice to former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath over his 'item' remark against state minister Imarti Devi.

The poll body has sought his response within 48 hours of receipt of notice.

Last week, Nath had referred to Imarti Devi as an "item" at an election meeting in the Dabra (scheduled caste) assembly constituency in Gwalior district.


India at the doorstep of revival process: RBI governor Shaktikanta Das

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday said that the Indian economy, which has been battered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is at the doorstep of revival.

Expressing confidence that the policymakers will be able to overcome challenges caused due to Covid, Das said that government will have to spell out a fiscal roadmap post-Covid.

The RBI governor also emphasised on the need to build capital buffer for banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to deal with stress caused by the pandemic.


Terrorists kill Assam Rifles jawan, hurt another in Arunachal

An Assam Rifles jawan was killed while another received bullet injuries on Wednesday during an encounter with suspected militants in Tirap district in southern Arunachal Pradesh, the police said.

An official of the Tirap district police control room said that the incident took place when a convoy of Assam Rifles came under attack by suspected terrorists at the Sanliam tri-junction on Khonsa Lazu road of the district, which shares borders with Myanmar.

"In the ensuing gunfight, a jawan of the para-military force died while another sustained bullet injuries," the official said on condition of anonymity.


0/720 in NEET: Shocked Amravati girl moves HC, seeks revaluation

The controversy over this year's NEET refuses to die down. Some aspirants claimed final scores did not match with what they calculated from their OMR (optical marking response) sheets.

A student from Amravati has moved the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court after getting zero out of 720 in her results. Another student is filing a petition after scoring 212, which is “lower than what I calculated from my OMR sheet”.

Stressing that she was expecting over 600/720 marks, Vasundhara Bhojane from Amravati, through counsel Ashwin Deshpande, contended she had an excellent academic record with 93.4% in class 10th and 81.9% in class 12th. She said it was likely she got zero marks due to a technical discrepancy.


Assam seizes locomotive for ‘murdering’ elephants

Assam forest officials "seized" on Tuesday the engine of a goods train that had mowed down a mother elephant and her calf inside Lumding Reserve Forest through which the tracks pass, the first time such action has been taken by the authorities.

“The department shall not fail to take a tough stand against the Railways. The killing of elephants on tracks must stop forthwith,” Assam environment and forests minister Parimal Suklabaidya said.

Assam chief wildlife warden Mahendra Kumar Yadava said, “The killing of a female elephant and her calf by a goods train engine in Lumding RF on September 27 has been very vigorously pursued under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 against the railway authorities. The department instituted an inquiry under the act. Accordingly, a team of forest officials proceeded to Bamunimaidan Loco Shed on October 20 and seized the diesel loco engine (No. 12440). Earlier, the loco pilot and his assistant were suspended by the railways after an internal inquiry."

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