Around dozen bills listed for taking up in parliament’s monsoon session

Jul 17, 2016 0

New Delhi– While the bill for the introduction of Goods and Services Tax across the country remains a priority, the Government has listed around a dozen bills pending introduction, consideration and passage during the Monsoon Session of parliament, starting on Monday.

Two bills are pending passage in the Lok Sabha, while seven bills are pending in the Rajya Sabha, including the GST Bill.

Indian ParliamentHere are the bills listed by the government:

*The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 – The bill replaces an ordinance. It introduces a uniform entrance examination for all medical educational institutions for undergraduate and the postgraduate courses.

*The Dentists (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 – The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated on May 24 to amend the Dentists Act, 1948. It seeks to introduce a uniform entrance examination for all dental colleges for the undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Bills pending in the Lok Sabha:

*The Indian Trust (Amendment) Bill, 2015 – The Lok Sabha has to pass this bill again with amendments made by the Rajya Sabha. The bill amends certain archaic provisions in the Act of 1882, which allows trusts to invest surplus income in certain categories/areas, including certain specified securities in the UK, Karachi and Rangoon.

*The Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill, 2016 – The bill is presently lying with a joint committee of parliament. It seeks to amend four laws — Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI), Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (RDDBFI), Indian Stamp Act of 1899 and Depositories Act of 1996.

Bills pending in the Rajya Sabha:

*The Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2015 – The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in May 2015 even as opposition parties sought sending it to a parliamentary panel. The bill seeks to amend the Act to incorporate necessary provisions to strengthen safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country and security of the state, among other things.

*The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2016 – The bill establishes the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state. It has been passed by the Lok Sabha.

*The Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 – The bill seeks to provide legislative backing to the regional centre after India entered into an agreement in 2006 with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) regarding establishment of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in India to serve the member-countries of UNESCO. It has been already passed by the Lok Sabha.

*The Goods and Services Tax Bill (The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-second Amendment) Bill, 2014) – Being pitched as the most important legislation for the session, this bill seeks to introduce Goods and Services Tax in India. The government has been talking to the opposition parties to get it through, after failing to take it through the Upper House in the previous sessions. It was passed by the Lok Sabha in May 2015.

*The Enemy Property (Amendment & Validation) Bill, 2016 – The bill seeks to amend the Enemy Property Act, 1968, to vest all rights, titles and interests over enemy property in the Custodian. The bill has been already passed by the Lok Sabha.

*The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 – The bill seeks to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, and adds a new category of persons called “adolescent”. An adolescent means a person between the age of 14 and 18. The bill seeks to prohibit employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations as specified, like mines and hazardous processes.

*The Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2015 – The Act establishes the Homoeopathy Central Council to regulate and enforce standards with regard to homoeopathy colleges and homoeopathy practitioners. The bill seeks to disallow admissions in homeopathy medical colleges which do not conform to the prescribed educational standards.

Bills for Introduction:

*The High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016 – The bill facilitates change in the names of Bombay High Court as Mumbai High Court and Madras High Court as Chennai High Court’ respectively.

*The Institute of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2016 – The bill amends The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961, for incorporation of new IITs at Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh), Palakkad (Kerala), Dharwar (Karnataka), Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Goa, Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) and conversion of Indian School of Mines (ISM) at Dhanbad (Bihar) to an IIT under the law.

*The National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2016 – The bill includes NIT, Andhra Pradesh, in its First Schedule.

*The Use and regulation of DNA-based technology in Civil and Criminal Proceedings, Identification of Missing Persons and Human Remains Bill, 2016 – Regulates the use of DNA analysis of human body substances, profiles and establishes the DNA profiling board and a national DNA data bank.

Apart from these, the government has also listed discussion and voting on Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) for 2015-16. (IANS)

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Market Outlook: GST, corporate results hold key to velocity of Indian equities

Jul 17, 2016 0

Mumbai–Despite the volatility and mixed first quarter results from some big corporate entities, key Indian stock market indices ended higher during the trading week that ended on July 15.

Future directions, however, will depend on a host of issues, notably the way the monsoon session of parliament deals with key economic bills, analysts maintain.

Bombay Stock Exchange

Bombay Stock Exchange

The two key indices — the sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE and the Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) — gained 2.6 per cent each last week, even though the last day of trading was marked by losses.

The 30-scrip Sensex closed with a gain of 709.60 points or 2.62 per cent at 27,836.50 points, while the 51-scrip NSE Nifty surged 218.20 points or 2.62 per cent at 8,541.40 points.

The rise was also aided by foreign portfolio investors emerging as net buyers of equities worth $1.24 billion from July 11-15, as per data with the National Securities Depository Ltd.

“This was one of those weeks when the markets did very well but somehow it didn’t feel like that. May be because of information technology results, especially Infosys (which was below expectations), and also since the last session ended on a low note,” Pankaj Sharma, Head of Equities, Equirus Securities, told IANS.

Looking ahead, analysts did not see much of an impact from the terror attack at Nice in France, but felt the passage of the goods and services tax by parliament (or not) held the key to influencing sentiments.

“The monsoon session of parliament and related developments on the passage of goods and services tax bill will be closely tracked. The markets are expecting a positive outcome. A negative outcome could be a source of disappointment,” said Devendra Nevgi, Chief Executive of ZyFin Advisors.

Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS that the impact of the new tax regime on certain stocks was already being felt.

“The terror attack in Nice ensured that investors were largely risk-averse on Friday, but the week still registered handsome gains in goods and services tax-themed stocks as well as state owned banks,” James said.

“Improved potential for parliament’s monsoon session clearing the goods and services tax bill next week has lent a positive bias to the market lately. But being more of a long-term theme rather than a one off event, it is less likely that the week ahead will further ride on goods and services-linked stocks.”

In a limited way, macro-economic data also had an impact on stocks. Four key numbers were announced last week — retail inflation, wholesale inflation, industrial output and export-import data.This apart, the Reserve Bank is scheduled to take up its monetary policy review on August 2.

“The expectations of a rate cut have receded in view of the rise in both wholesale and retail inflation coming at 1.62 per cent and 5.77 per cent, respectively, for the month of June. Industrial production growth of 1.2 per cent was a positive surprise,” said Aggarwal.

Exports, too, logged a growth, albeit small, after 18 months of decline.

Also expected soon is the government’s announcement of the next round of capital infusion in state-run banks, for which Rs 25,000 crore has been earmarked for this fiscal. Then at an academic level, focus will also be on who is named the next governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

“The government may make the announcement on who will succeed Raghuram Rajan as the Reserve Bank Governor. This certainly would be important for investors,” said Pankaj Sharma of Equirus.

“The new Reserve Bank governor is likely to be announced shortly, keeping the focus on the rupee, which was seen giving away gains on Friday, and state owned banks, which had outperformed last week,” added James.

“Another interesting thing to note is that the some of the items which contributed positively in factory output growth are not really very good indicators of core industrial activity. For example, higher AC sales are good to see but we really doubt if 39 per cent growth in room air conditioners should be seen as a sign of industrial revival,” James said.

“We also think that because of tepid industrial production growth, there would be huge pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut rates consistently and continuously, especially after Rajan departs.”

With the results season kicking in, eyes will also be on the first quarter numbers. Among the big names, Tata Consultancy and Infosys announced theirs’ last week. But no trend emerged. Reliance Industries, though, stunned the market with higher-than-expected profits.

“While Tata Consultancy was more positive in its management commentary, Infosys not only cut the full-year guidance for revenue growth but also highlighted the challenges industry is struggling with. So, this is a divergent view from two of the most keenly watched Indian IT companies. This, in our view, makes the IT sector very interesting at this point,” Sharma said.

Nevgi added: “With the markets rallying since this month, aided by global sentiments, its important that earnings also catch up to sustain the rally or else the markets would go into an expensive zone.”

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India’s National Building Code will give impetus to construction regulation

Jul 17, 2016 0

By Vinod Behl

The revised National Building Code, set to be unveiled later this year, will bring state-of-the-art and most contemporary version of the building code, dealing with futuristic developments, in line with the Narendra Modi government’s emphasis on realty reforms.

Indian Prime Minister Modi

Indian Prime Minister Modi

The code, meant to help regulate building construction in the country, lays down a set of minimum provisions for buildings, designed to protect the safety of the public, with regard to structural efficiency, fire and earthquake hazards and health aspects, including environmental concerns. It mainly contains administrative provisions, development control rules and general building requirements, stipulations regarding building materials, structural design and construction, plumbing services, landscaping, signage and outdoor displaying structures, etc.

The new code will provide detailed guidelines on construction management and come up with a comprehensive regulation and certification of structural safety of buildings with a series of improvements in the safety provisions to meet the challenges associated with the new trend of high rise buildings, including super tall structures and mixed use developments such as malls, multiplexes and integrated townships.

The new code will also give an overall direction for practical application of the provisions of different specialised aspects of spatial planning, design and construction of buildings, creation of services, proposing an integrated approach for utilising appropriate knowledge and experience of qualified professionals, right from conceptualization through construction and completion stages of a building project and during the entire life cycle.

The code complements the government’s ambitious mission “Housing for All” that has a special focus on low cost affordable housing. The new code has detailed provisions for pre-fabricated construction for speedier construction with quality, to meet acute housing shortage. Further, to check project delays, the code focuses on streamlining procedures for real estate projects (SAPREP) through the single window concept.

It incorporates the suggestions mooted by the SAPREP panel constituted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, as part of Model Building Bylaws. The revised code has also renewed focus on integrated approach to get maximum benefit from the building and its services in terms of timely completion and cost- effectiveness with quality.

In line with the Modi government’s mission “Accessible India, Empowered India”, together with the “National Policy for Persons with Disabilities” and the “UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, the code has for the first time made elaborate provisions for making buildings and public places accessible to millions of disabled and elderly persons. The code for barrier-free built environment will be applicable to all forms of public housing by government and private builders.

In view of the growing popularity of green/sustainable buildings, the new code promotes ecologically appropriate practices, use of eco-friendly construction materials and conventional and alternative technologies, reduction of pollution, protection and improvement of local environment and socio- economic considerations towards the creation of sustainable human settlements.

With a view to boosting sustainability, the building code has for the first time included provisions for glazing in buildings with respect to their effect on energy, visual (light) in the building and selection and manifestation of glass with respect to safety. It will also focus on energy conservation, use of solar energy and efficient lighting.

Keeping pace with the era of smart homes and smart cities, NBC 2016 has come up with a new chapter on “Information and Communication Enabled Installations” with general guidelines for planning and providing information and communication technology (ICT) services in the building and execution stages. Also, in view of the growing significance of property management, for the first time, a new chapter on “Asset Facility Management” has been added. The other new additions include Escalation and Moving Walks and solid waste management.

The building code, first formulated in 1970, and subsequently revised in 1983 and 2005, is implemented through municipal corporations, local urban bodies, public works departments and other construction departments and agencies. The new code, a revised version of the one released in 2005, will turn out to be a game changer in regulating building construction in line with the contemporary new trends and advancements in construction, together with new age reforms in the real estate and construction sector.

(Vinod Behl is editor, Realty Plus, a leading real estate monthly. The views expressed are personal.)

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World Bank-funded fruit project underway in Himachal

Jul 17, 2016 0

Shimla– A World Bank-funded Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project is being implemented in the state with an outlay of Rs 1,115 crore, mainly to protect apple cultivation, a government spokesperson said on Sunday.

The project spread over seven years would focus on providing new technologies to horticulturists for increasing crop productivity and capacities.

Apples-HimanchalTo protect the fruit crop, mainly from the hailstorms, the state government has increased subsidy on anti-hail nets to 80 per cent.

The spokesperson said for strengthening marketing facilities, 10 fruit yards and collection centres have been made operational in the state in the past three and a half years with an expenditure of Rs 27.45 crore.

Himachal Pradesh is one of India’s major apple producing states, with more than 90 per cent of the produce consumed in the domestic market.

Himachal Pradesh’s fruit economy is worth around Rs 3,500 crore a year, with apple alone contributing 89 per cent to this figure, mostly in Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Chamba districts.

A Horticulture Department official said growers are taking to apple plantation on a large scale even in the remote district of Lahaul-Spiti.

Overall area under apple cultivation has increased to 1,09,553 hectares in 2014-15, he said.

He said the government has started weather-based crop insurance scheme to protect growers’ interests.

Initially, the scheme was launched in six blocks for apple crop and four blocks for mango crop. The coverage under the scheme has since been extended in view of the scheme’s popularity.

In the last fiscal, the scheme was implemented in 36 blocks for growing apple, 41 blocks for mango, 15 blocks for kinnow, 13 blocks for plum and five blocks for peach crops.

In addition, 17 blocks have been covered under add-on cover scheme to protect the apple fruit crop from hailstorms.

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Who Moved My Interest Rate?: Book Review

Jul 15, 2016 0

By Meghna Mittal

Title: Who Moved My Interest Rate?; Author: Duvvuri Subbarao; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 308; Price: Rs 525

It’s no secret that the equation between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government of the day has often been ticklish. But seldom has that been reflected openly — and certainly not in a book where the actors have been identified and their stands spelt out.

Book-who moved myBut Duvvuri Subbarao’s book “Who Moved My Interest Rate” gives a candid, lively account of his interactions with the government, ministers, bankers and the media when he was the RBI Governor during the turbulent years for the global economy between 2008 and 2013.

So much so, he does not shy away from naming some people like P. Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee when they were finance ministers, or even Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister during Subbarao’s tenure. Their comments and Subbarao’s take — and misgivings — make for interesting reading.

It also somewhat reflects the unease one sees today with Raghuram Rajan in the governor’s seat.

“I have been asked several times if there was pressure from the government on setting interest rates. There certainly was, although the precise psychological mechanics of pressure would vary depending on the context, setting and personalities,” says Subbarao — a fact presumed earlier.

“Both Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee were piqued by the Reserve Bank’s tight interest rate policy on the ground that high interest rates were inhibiting investment and hurting growth,” he adds, while reflecting how this resulted his recommendations on his deputies being overturned.

He also refutes Chidambaram claim that the government and the RBI agreed on eight out of 10 policy actions. “I found that all through my tenure, the government was distinctly uncomfortable with the RBI raising interest rates and seemed convinced that monetary policy was choking growth.”

Subbarao also reflects on how he found some statements by Chidambaram, upset over the central bank’s refusal to cut rates, unusual and uncharacteristic – specifically over the minister’s statement: “If the government has to walk alone to face the challenge, we will walk alone.”

Then he faults the finance minister’s decision on a money supply panel without consumting him.

“Chidambaram clearly overstepped into the Reserve Bank turf as liquidity management is a quintessential central bank function. Not only did he not consult me, but he had not even informed me of this before the notification was issued.”

As ragards Mukherjee, Subbarao says he met him only twice on a one-to-one basis. But there was one incident in which he feels the current President, was, perhaps naive and wanted to claim some credit for what is otherwise in the domain of the central bank.

This was when, just ahead of a monetary policy review, Mukherjee told a group of industrialists that the Reserve Bank governor will have some good news for them. “This was most inappropriate and indiscreet,” says Subbarao.

Then, on Manmohan Singh, he says the rigid stand on interest rates and concerns over high fiscal deficit did irk him. But this, he adds, was conveyed to him not directly, but via C. Rangarajan, a former governor himself and chair of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

Nonetheless, Subbarao alludes, it was Manmohan Singh who ignored others for giving him a two-year extension.

The book is not about controversies alone. It is written in a simple format to give a peek into the life of a central bank governor, while also giving a ground-level account of how this coveted job is not about glamour alone.

The fact is Subbarao’s term from 2008-13 was marked by continuous firefighting and dealing with global financial crisis, inflation and rupee depreciation, among other concerns. The book gives a candid account of how governments and the central banks want to deal with such concerns. (IANS)

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Netherlands-UP to set up skill development center for farmers

Jul 14, 2016 0

Lucknow– The Netherlands and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday signed an MoU to set up a skill development centre to help farmers.

Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav

The agreement, signed by Dutch Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga and UP Chief Secretary Deepak Singhal in presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, would ensure that farmers would get information of not only food processing but also of how modern techniques can be also used for better produce of sugarcane, potato, dairy development and flowers.

Other than this, the Dutch government would also help in cleaning the Yamuna in Agra and in sewage treatment, said officials.

According to the MoU, Netherlands would assist Uttar Pradesh in solid waste management, urban development and infrastructure, water management, water supply, cleanliness of water resources, sewage treatment, transport management and revival of water bodies.

Other than this, it would also help in land reclamation of 1,500 acres in the Ganga basin in Kanpur and development of cultural heritage.

The chief minister said that by works undertaken under the MoU, income of farmers would increase and that agriculture production would increase, dairy industry would be modernised and modern technology would be introduced in the food-processing industry.

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Transport Minister Tells US Investors that it is a Golden Opportunity to Invest in India

Jul 14, 2016 0

Washington, DC – The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) this week hosted a luncheon discussion with Indian Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari. The roundtable was attended by senior executives of U.S. and Indian companies that included TransAsia Infrastructure, Uber, Bentley Systems, Tata, Caterpillar, Moody’s, DLZ Corporation and Texas Instruments.

Washington, DC, USA - July 11, 2016: The U.S.-India Business Council hosts Minister of Road Transport and Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari . Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

July 11, 2016: The U.S.-India Business Council hosts Minister of Road Transport and Highways & Shipping Nitin Gadkari . Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The discussion was focused around Minister Gadkari’s plans and vision to strengthen India’s infrastructure, investment opportunities in road construction and port-led industrialization, and how U.S. industry can collaborate with the Government of India.

Speaking to investors, Minister Gadkari said, “Prime Minister Modi has made the country’s infrastructure development the top-most priority of the government. We are committed to improving the country’s road, highways, and port connectivity in a time-bound, result oriented, corruption-free and transparent manner that includes e-governance and fast-tracking decision-making. The pace of road construction has accelerated to an all-time high of 20 kilometers per day and next year we plan to increase it to 41 km per day. This is a golden opportunity to invest in India.”

The Minister also spoke on the new highways under construction in the country, financing mechanisms under PPP models, framing policies for logistics parks, modernization of roads, building intelligent traffic systems for road safety and further innovation and technology to India’s logistics sector Minister Gadkari’s team also outlined the progress that has already been made in the roads, highways, and shipping sectors.

Rohit Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, highlighted specific investment opportunities in the highways sector; whereas Alok Srivastava, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, shared details on the Sagarmala Program – the Ministry’s flagship port-led development initiative to bring down logistics cost and boost investment, exports, and jobs.

USIBC President Dr. Mukesh Aghi said, “With an upsurge in India’s e-commerce markets and the unprecedented growth in Indian cities, there is a critical need for advanced logistical services and better transportation infrastructure. India needs $1 trillion for developing new roads, ports, rail lines, and airports over the next few years and U.S. companies can provide the necessary expertise as well as capital to enable the robust growth of this sector. We are excited to witness the rapid growth of this sector— under Minister Gadkari’s leadership, road construction rates have gone up, infrastructure spending has received a boost and India has jumped ranks in the Logisitics Performance Index. It is timely and urgent to explore the full potential of U.S.-India collaboration in this sector.”

Dr. Ravindra Verma, Managing Director of TransAsia Infrastructure Group, a confederation that manages and executes multi-modal integrated transport and logistics infrastructure in Asia provided an industry perspective during the discussion.

Dr. Verma said, “Under Minister Gadkari’s leadership, the Indian highways sector is now at a critical turning point. More than $100 billion in capital is now needed over the next several years to expand existing corridors and build new ones to keep up with the growth in traffic. This presents an opportunity for all players in North America to mobilize resources on a major scale. We are now actively gathering over $1 billion in global capital towards a dedicated multi-modal surface transport platform RoadStar, with major focus on India.”

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Income Declaration Scheme is not a seasonal sale: Jaitley

Jul 14, 2016 0
Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

New Delhi–Refusing demands to make the Income Declaration Scheme 2016 more attractive, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the IDS is “not a seasonal sale”.

“There are many in the business community who are asking to make it more attractive. But this is not a seasonal sale,” Jaitley said at the IDS workshop here organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

The violator cannot be given better facilities than the honest assessee who regularly pays his taxes, he said.

In fact, there is a legitimate analysis in the Central Board Of Direct Taxes (CBDT) that some of the earlier schemes could have been considered discriminatory against the honest tax payer, he added.

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India issues new requirements for refund of cancelled air tickets

Jul 13, 2016 0

New Delhi– The government has issued regulatory norms with regard to the minimum requirements for refund of airline tickets.

According to the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday, these will come into effect from August 1.

Etihad AirwaysThe CAR document elaborated that while the government is committed to “no interference” in the commercial practices of airlines, however, the volume of the complaints have necessitated some affirmative action to safeguard the interest of passengers.

“The matter has been discussed in several meetings with the airlines with no significant improvement in the system adopted by airlines for refund of tickets,” the aviation regulator said in the CAR document.

“It is, therefore, now considered necessary by government to fix some minimum bench marks, as far as the refund policy is concerned in order to stem the growing dissatisfaction among the passengers regarding the refund procedures adopted by some airlines.”

The prescribed minimum requirements directs airlines to indicate the refund amount admissible on ticket cancellation.

“For this purpose, the amount and its break-up may be indicated on the ticket
itself or through separate form used for the purpose, and the policy and amount of refund shall also be displayed by the airlines on their respective websites,” the CAR document said.

Further, the regulations instructs the airlines not to levy cancellation charge of more than the basic fare plus fuel surcharge, and also no additional charge to process the refund.

The regulations also states that in case of credit card payments, refund shall be made by the airlines within seven days of the cancellation to the account of credit card holder.

“In case of cash transactions, refund shall be made immediately by the airlines office from where the ticket was purchased,” the document said.

“In case of purchase of ticket through travel agent, portal, onus of refund shall lie with the airlines as agents are their appointed representatives. The airlines shall ensure that the refund process is completed within 30 working days.”

Besides, the airlines are required to refund all statutory taxes and user development fee (UDF), airport development fee (ADF), passenger service fee (PSF) to the passengers in case of cancellation, non-utilisation of tickets or no show by the traveller.

“This provision shall also be applicable for all types of fares offered including promos, special fares and where the basic fare is non-refundable,” the document pointed out.

The regulations were released a month after the Civil Aviation Ministry had proposed a number of steps to rein-in the indiscriminate policies of some domestic airlines on flight cancellations and refunds.

At that time, Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that proposals, which will be finalised soon, also call for airlines to ensure that refunds on cancelled tickets are made within 15 days, even if the bookings were made through agents or portals.

“The proposal will be put up on the ministry’s website for 15 days during which stakeholders are free to give their suggestions and comments. After this, the ministry will finalse the proposed amendments and implement them very soon,” a ministry statement had said that time. (IANS)

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Andhra signs MoU with Russia’s marine tech university

Jul 13, 2016 0
N. Chandrababu Naidu

N. Chandrababu Naidu

Vijayawada– Andhra Pradesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russia’s State Marine Technical University to promote marine education and technology.

The agreement was signed at the port city of St. Petersburg on the first day of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s visit to Russia on Wednesday.

The university works in close connection with United Shipbuilding Corporation and Rosoboronexport.

Companies involved in the marine segment in India and Andhra Pradesh will benefit from this collaboration, said a government statement here on Wednesday.

Rakhmanov Alexey, President of United Shipbuilding Corporation said that the university is considering to make Andhra Pradesh the headquarters of the company in India as the state has unique marine activity.

Highlighting the opportunities available, Naidu said that Andhra is set to become a logistics hub in India.

“We want to promote inland navigation and also the commercial usage of water transport. Water-based transport is cheaper when compared to other forms of transport,” the Chief Minister said.

Naidu said the state would soon set up maritime university.

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