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Union Cabinet gives nod for merger of Railways and General Budget

The Union Cabinet on 21 September gave its nod for the merger of the General and Railways Budget.

With this approval, the 92-year-old practice of presenting a separate Railways Budget will now come to an end from the next fiscal.

Apart from the merger, the Cabinet also approved the finance ministry's recommendations to reform the budgetary process, including the date of budget presentation and dropping the plan and non-plan expenditure distinction.

The new date for presenting the union budget will be decided later on.

A Committee headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy had recommended that the British-era legacy of having a separate Railway Budget should be phased out and it should be merged with General Budget in interest of the nation.

Aawaaz-e-Punjab not a political party, 3 months too short to win: Navjot Singh Sidhu

Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had recently floated a new party named 'Aawaaz-e-Punjab', on 21 September described his party as a forum and not a political party.

In a statement released to the press, Sidhu said that he did not want to play a "spoilsport" and his party will not contest the upcoming Punjab elections.

"We shall not play a spoilsport and instead facilitate the Punjab election. Aawaaze Punjab forum welcomes any alliance for the betterment of Punjab and will not be a political party," Sidhu stated.

Asserting that they will not divide the anti-incumbency vote bank, Sidhu hinted that three months was a very short time for any party to be able to win an election.

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan arrested in alleged sexual harassment case

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan was arrested on 21 September after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him by his sister-in-law.

This comes days the AAP MLA resigned from all positions on 10 September, following the complaint. However, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia refused to accept the resignation since the party believed that the allegations levelled against Khan were false.

The Okhla MLA had asked to be relieved of all responsibilities in the party and the government, where he served as chairman of the Waqf Board and a member of the party's Political Affairs Committee.

US lawmakers introduce legislation to designate Pakistan as a terrorist state

A legislation has been introduced in U.S Congress to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's speech before the UN General Assembly.

The bill, H.R 6069 or the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, enjoins the U.S administration to make a formal call on the matter within four months of its passage, reportsThe Times of India.

The President will have to issue a report within 90 days detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism.

The bill was moved by lawmakers Ted Poe from Texas, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, a strong votary of the Baloch cause.

Cauvery Row: SC order to release 6,000 cusecs of water unimplementable, says K'taka CM Siddaramaiah

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah terms Supreme Court's order directing Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till September 27 as "unimplementable". He has also called for a cabinet as well as an all-party meeting on 21 September to discuss the issue.

"....the Supreme Court has passed an order, since we do not have water, it is very difficult to implement it. It is an unimplementable order," he told reporters here.

Siddaramaiah said Karnataka had placed certain facts based on ground reality before the Cauvery Supervisory Committee but it still passed an order directing the state to release 3,000 cusecs per day between 21 and 30 September.

Prevent terrorists from using Pakistani territory as safe havens, John Kerry suggests Nawaz Sharif

Prevent terrorists from "using Pakistani territory as safe havens," US Secretary of State John Kerry tells Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Kerry also expressed concern over the violence in Kashmir particularly the terror attack on an Army base in Uri.

John Kerry met Nawaz Sharif on 19 September on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. Mr Sharif raised the issue of alleged human rights violations and killings in Kashmir and sought American help to resolve the Kashmir issue.

US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said that the US wants to see more progress from Pakistan in dealing with the terror groups effectively.

"We've seen some progress; we want to see more, and I think moving forward we'll just continue to work closely and try to encourage greater counter terrorism cooperation with Pakistan but also within the region," Mr Toner said.