The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena are likely to face difficulty in applying the 50:50 seat-sharing formula for the Assembly polls in some regions, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis conceded on Friday. Speaking in Wardha on the second day of his Mahajanadesh Yatra, Mr. Fadnavis cited the examples of Vidarbha, where the BJP has two more seats than the Sena, and Konkan, where the Sena has a bigger share. “Once the partners have decide to contest the elections together, we may have to make compromises on some issues, while they will do so on others. I am confident we can arrive at a mutually acceptable solution in difficult regions. It will not be without some hurdles,” he said. He denied any confusion between the allies, and said the Sena’s tour of the State did not have anything to do with the BJP or the government. “In the past, too, we have taken out different yatras. They have their own party goals to fulfil and we have ours,” he said.
The Odisha government’s much-hyped Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme has gone haywire. The authorities are now facing a gigantic task of removing bogus beneficiaries who have already availed of the benefits.A total of 51 lakh cultivators, loanee and non-loanee farmers, sharecroppers and landless agricultural labourers have been provided with financial assistance under the scheme so far. The authorities have now found out that all beneficiaries were not entitled to the benefits under the scheme and have asked the ineligible people to refund the money.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had launched the scheme ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections held in April and May. He had assured that no eligible beneficiary would be left out of the scheme.The State government, which had increased the target of KALIA beneficiaries to 75 lakh families, has stopped disbursement of financial assistance following the revelation about bogus beneficiaries. It is now busy verifying the genuineness of each and every beneficiary and has extended the deadline of the verification process from August 14 to August 27.Verification processAccording to official sources, out of the 51 lakh existing beneficiaries, the verification of 13 lakh of them was completed till Tuesday and 70,000 were found to be ineligible. The number of bogus beneficiaries is likely to increase since more than one member of a family have managed to get assistance.In a majority of blocks, the number of applicants have outnumbered the number of ration card-holding families. A total of 54,000 applications were received for inclusion under KALIA from one block in Jagatsinghpur district while the total number of ration cards issued in the block stood at 23,000 only.An official of the Agriculture Department told The Hindu that the problem with KALIA is that people had applied individually instead of one member from a family seeking assistance under the scheme.Simultaneously, the government is also verifying applications of people who had been left out of the scheme earlier.The total number of applications received under KALIA stands at 1.25 crore against the targeted number of 75 lakh families, a surplus by 50 lakh.
The Centre is gearing up for a tussle with the Gujarat government over the recently amended Motor Vehicles (MV) Amendment Act, 2019, which imposes steeper penalties for road traffic violations. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has sought the Law Ministry’s opinion on whether State governments can tweak the lower limit for fines prescribed in the law after Gujarat slashed some of the fines.In its notification, Gujarat has imposed fines below the lower limit prescribed in the MV Act and has also altered those fines it is not permitted to change under the Act. Road transport falls in the Concurrent List and, therefore, both Centre and States are allowed to legislate on the subject.The Gujarat government has imposed a fine of ₹500 for not wearing a seatbelt but the Centre has laid down ₹1,000 as the penalty, without providing a minimum or maximum limit. Similarly, Gujarat says there is no need to impose a penalty if a pillion rider is not wearing a helmet, and offenders will be required to pay only ₹100 as fine if there is more than one pillion rider, but the Centre requires a fine of ₹1,000 on the person driving the bike along with disqualification of licence for three months for both these violations.Concurrent List“The Constitution is clear on what happens when there is a dispute between a State and the Centre regarding a subject on the Concurrent List,” a senior official of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said.Article 254 of the Constitution States that if there is a dispute between a State and the Centre on a provision of law on a matter that falls in the Concurrent List then the law made by the Centre will overrule the State.Also Read Uttarakhand followsUttarakhand too has slashed fines for compoundable offences by up to 50% and many States like West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka and Maharashtra have threatened to follow suit. Mr. Tewari says that the compounding process often requires consultation and, therefore, the delay by States to notify the changes shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Section 200 of the MV Act gives power to States to decide penalties for 24 Sections and State governments are currently amending those to rationalise what they feel might be relevant to them, but the law does give them power. But Gujarat is violating Article 254 of the Constitution by touching the non-compoundable offences. This entire change made by Gujarat will be thrown out of the court,” says Piyush Tewari of Save Life Foundation.Also readA complete list of new traffic violation fines under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019Mr. Tewari adds that Gujarat has in fact provided penalties which are lower than the 30-year-old MV Act of 1988. While the older law levied a fine of ₹1,000 for not wearing a helmet or seatbelt, using a phone and not carrying a licence, the latest notification by Gujarat provides for a fine of ₹500.Dangerous driving and driving on the wrong side of road fall under non-compoundable offences and carry a punishment of jail between six months to one year or fine of ₹1,000 to ₹5,000. But Gujarat has gone ahead and amended these and provided staggered penalties of ₹1,500 for three wheelers, ₹3,000 for light motor vehicles and ₹5,000 for bigger vehicles.Also Read Nitin Gadkari defends steep fines under Motor Vehicles Act Facing ₹11,000 fine, man sets bike afire