17 crore people benefitted, Congress claims
The Congress on Sunday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of renaming, repackaging and re-launching schemes that had already been initiated by the previous government. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that new schemes, which were launched by Modi on Saturday, had been initiated by the Congress-led United Progressive alliance government “with an aim to widen the social security net". Sujrewala claimed that over 17 crore people had benefitted from the UPA's schemes.

Parliament is stumbling block for Ram temple: Rajnath
No law can be passed to authorise the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya because the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lacks a majority in the Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday. However, Singh said that it was hypothetical to consider whether the party would bring a law authorising the construction of the temple if it gained a majority in the Upper House of Parliament. “The matter is pending at the Supreme Court,” Singh said at a function in Ayodhya. "All of us should wait on the verdict."

'Janata Parivar not possible before Bihar polls'
Samajwadi Party General-Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav on Sunday said that there was “no possibility” of the merger of the parties comprising the Janata Parivar before the Bihar assembly elections, due to be held later this year. “If we merge in a hurry, it will be like signing the death warrant of our party,” Yadav told reporters. Reports have suggested that many leaders from the Uttar Pradesh-based party believe that it stands to gain nothing from the consolidation of the Bihar-based Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United).

CIC appointments at ‘advanced stage’, says Centre
The process for the appointments of a Chief Information Commissioner and three Information Commissioners to the Central Information Commission was at an “advanced stage”, the Central government said on Thursday. In an affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court, the Department of Personnel and Training said that candidates had been shortlisted, adding that the search committee was currently waiting for vigilance clearance and inputs from the Intelligence Bureau. The affidavit was filed after the court issued a directive which asked the department to expedite the matter. The court stated that it would monitor the appointments process.

Death penalty in crimes against women justified, says SC
Awarding the death penalty to people convicted of crimes against women that have shocked the “collective conscience of society” is justified, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday. A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu said that courts in the country had to have a “stricter yardstick” when it came to sentencing people convicted of violent crimes against women. “There are a shockingly large number of cases where the sentence of punishment awarded to the accused is not in proportion to the gravity and magnitude of the offence,” Dattu said. His remarks came after the bench upheld the death penalty awarded to two men convicted for the gang-rape and murder of a 22-year-old Business Process Outsourcing employee in 2007.