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Delhi govt impounds 18 Uber, Ola cabs after Kejriwal's surge-pricing warning

The Delhi government impounded 18 cabs from online operators Ola and Uber this morning, for overcharging passengers. This happened after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's warning to Ola and Uber against surge-pricing during odd-even in Delhi.

After the warning, the taxi apps had said they will revoke the surge pricing with immediate effect. However, they continued to over charge passengers. The AAP government is facing pressure to manage Delhi's public transportation system during the 15 days of the odd-even scheme's second phase. 

Explosion rocks Afghan capital Kabul, 24 reported dead

Nearly 24 people lost their lives in a loud explosion that rocked central Kabul in the early hours of 19 April. A thick plume of smoke was clearly visible, rising near the US Embassy in the Afghan capital. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi has confirmed that it had been a suicide attack that rattled Kabul and it was followed by gunfire. The complete area has been surrounded by security forces. The US embassy and NATO military coalition said said they were unaffected by the blast. 

No new sugar mills in Marathwada for next five years

To avoid distress-level drought situations in the near future, the Maharashtra government will impose a five-year ban on new sugar mills in drought-hit Marathwada.

The decision was made at a core committee meeting of cabinet ministers led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, based on recommendations made by the Madhav Chitale committee set up by the previous government, which said sugarcane cultivation requires large amounts of water.

The Marathwada region has 40 per cent of the 202 sugar mills in Maharashtra. The state accounts for 32 per cent of the total sugar production in the country, according to The Indian Express.

Key witness in Malegaon case turns hostile, says he was forced to frame Aseemanand

A key witness in cases involving the Samjhauta Express blasts case and the Malegaon blasts case has turned hostile, recording a statement before a magistrate to say that he was 'coerced' into framing people, including Swami Aseemanand.

Yashpal Bhadana, a member of Abhinav Bharat, recorded his statement at the instance of the NIA. His statement may change the course of investigation in both the Samjhauta Express case and the Malegaon case, according to The Economic Times.

Bhadana also said he was not present at the April 2008 meeting in Bhopal where Swami Aseemanand explained his 'Bomb ka Badla bomb' theory. 

BJP slams Congress over reports on P Chidambaram's handling of Ishrat Jahan case

On 18 April, media reports revealed that P Chidambaram, the ex-home minister, had in fact signed the first affidavit that declared Ishrat and three others as terrorists, but gave the four a clean chit a month later, as serious amendments were made in the second affidavit, also signed by him.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Home Minister P Chidambaram received a lot of flak in the face of this revelation, with the BJP accusing them of having downplayed a terror plot which posed a potential threat to the life of the erstwhile Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.

Dipa Karmakar wins gold at Rio test event

Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who became the first Indian woman gymnast to carve her way into the Olympics, claimed the gold medal in vaults finals at the test event of the Rio Games on 18 April.The 22-year-old finished at the first place by scoring 14.833 and bagged gold for her achievement. The Indian gymnast recorded 14.566 in her second and last try. 

Earlier in the day, Dipa Karmakar created history by becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to qualify for Olympics as she booked a berth for the Rio Games after a strong performance at the final qualifying and test event.

Patidar stir: Gujarat govt willing to drop certain charges against Hardik Patel

As Patidar protesters stayed on the rampage in Mehsana, a delegation from the Gujarat government met leaders of the community at Gandhinagar to see what could be done to end the Patidars' agitation for reservations.

The Patidar representatives demanded the release from jail of their leader Hardik Patel, after which, they said, he would handle the negotiations, while health minister Nitin Patel said the government had already sent letters to magistrates and government counsels to withdraw certain cases against the Patidars "in public interest", according to The Indian Express

Govt to release 55% of MGNREGA funds by June

The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has decided to release 55 per cent of its MGNREGA budget of Rs 38,500 crore by June this year. Officials said that this is in anticipation of a surge in demand for jobs as drought conditions deepen in several states.

"We have told the states very categorically that they should not stop providing work under the scheme," said a senior MoRD official.

In a letter to the chief secretaries of drought-hit states, rural development minister Birender Singh said that until the monsoon, no person who demands a job should be turned away, according to The Indian Express

Arunachal state BJP seek permission from party leaders to join rebel Congress government

The Arunachal Pradesh unit of the BJP is interested in joining rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul's government in the state.

"Some MLAs are willing to be part of the government. I am going to discuss the same with the central leadership of the party. It has never opposed BJP joining the government. However, there is some technical hitch that will be cleared soon," said BJP state president Tapir Gao.

Gao added: "Arunachal will have a BJP-led government. "When and how I cannot say it right now."

The Congress had accused the BJP of spurring the rebels, says The Economic Times.

New order by Rajasthan govt leaves 3 lakh children out of RTE Act

A new order by the Rajasthan government says that only those people with Below Poverty Line cards, or who belong to the Scheduled Castes and tribes will benefit from the Right to Education Act.

This means that about 3 lakh children in the state will have no access to private education, even though the RTE Act promises that every child whose parents earn less than Rs 2.5 lakh a year can apply for admission to a private school.

Activists are taking on the Rajasthan government's order dated 28 March in the high court, according to NDTV. The case will be heard on 20 April.