Former Air India director named in FIR for stealing artwork

Nov 13, 2017 0

New Delhi–A former Air India (AI) Executive Director, Rohita Jaidka, has been named in a First Information Report (FIR) for stealing an artwork, an AI spokesperson said.

“AI filed the FIR and further course of action to be taken by the police as deemed fit,” the spokesperson told IANS.

A senior Delhi Police officer confirmed that a FIR was registered on November 11 about the stolen artwork, after AI made a police complaint.

Jaidka had retired from AI more than 10 years ago.

The stolen artwork is a painting by eminent artist Jatin Das, which was a part of Air India’s collection.

Earlier this year, Das told then Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani that one of his paintings was available in the black market.

The airline used to lend out artwork of its vast collection to top executives with the rider the same be returned back to the company up on retirement.

After receiving Das’ complaint, an internal committee of Air India in July started preparing a list of former employees who were suspected of siphoning-off artwork.

After this, the painting was returned to the airline via a courier addressed to Lohani but with no details of the sender. (IANS)

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Sack Jaitley over GST, Yashwant Sinha tells Modi

Nov 10, 2017 0

Patna– Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a bid to improve the country’s economy.

“Modi should remove or change the Finance Minister if we want to improve the country’s economic condition,” Yaswant Sinha, himself a former Finance Minister, told the media here.

He said Jaitley should be replaced by someone who can handle the Finance Ministry “properly”.

Sinha also attacked the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by saying that “GST ne desh ki arthik waywastha ko kabada kar diya” (GST has ruined the national economy).

He said Jaitley had been repeatedly amending the GST but insisted that the tax regime would not work.

“Jaitely as the Finance Minister did not apply his brain when he prepared and implemented the GST. This is evident the way he has been tinkering it time and again. Even today some changes have been made. But any patchwork will not work. GST needs an overhaul.”

Sinha asked Modi to set up a high-level committee headed by economist Vijay Kelkar to study GST and suggest remedial measures.

Earlier, Sinha rubbished Modi’s claim that demonetization and GST were successful, saying both exercises had actually failed.

“Notebandi and GST failed as their objectives were not fulfilled. None of the black money has returned to the banks” after Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes were scrapped in November last year, he said.

“But as usual the central government has been telling lies to claim that it was a success,” he said at a function organised by rebel JD-U leader Uday Narain Choudhary.

Accusing the Modi government of not being serious about fighting corruption, he asked why a probe had not been ordered into the business dealings of Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah. (IANS)

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Congress taking undue credit for lowered GST rates: BJP

Nov 10, 2017 0

New Delhi– The BJP on Friday slammed Congress leader P. Chidambaram for claiming credit for the GST Council slamming tax rates, saying that the Congress was trying to take undue credit for the lowered GST rates which it said had been “worked out at the highest levels in the government”.

“P. Chidambaram’s series of tweets over GST dubiously claiming credit for lowering of rates for several goods in the highest tax bracket betray a sense of anxiety on the part of the Congress party that the modified GST norms are enhancing PM Narendra Modi’s appeal among voters,” BJP spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said.

“The decision of lowering the GST rates have been worked out at the highest levels in the government at the instance of the Prime Minister who is monitoring GST’s rollout continuously. The Congress party’s finance ministers had no specific role in decisions made, as Chidambaram has fraudulently claimed today,” he added.

Rao accused the Congress of “shamelessly” trying to take credit for the GST Council decisions of lowering the rates for many goods.

He said the step of lowering of GST on all types of restaurants to 5 per cent is a “huge relief compared to even the pre-GST era” and will “warm millions of hearts in urban India” and would expand the “fan base of the Prime Minister”.

On Friday, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council slashed the tax rates on 177 goods.

Earlier in the day, Chidambaram had said that Congress finance ministers would “force changes” in the GST rates in the meeting.

“Government avoided debate and voting in Rajya Sabha on GST Bills. Now, they cannot avoid a debate in public domain or in the GST Council,” Chidambaram tweeted.

“Thanks to Gujarat elections, government forced to heed advice of opposition and experts on flaws in implementation of GST,” Chidambaram added. (IANS)

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Need to bring entrepreneurship in farming: Vice President

Nov 10, 2017 0

Nagpur– Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said profitability of farm sector had declined and there was a need to bring entrepreneurship in the farming process to increase it.

Unless value chain involving the producer till consumer was created, profitability of farming would not improved, he said in his address at an agriculture conference here.

“In the last few years there has been an agrarian crisis and the profitability of farm sector has declined. This is mainly because farmers have medium to small holdings, and poor market access and also too much dependence on few crops and very little diversification,” he said, as per an official release.

“Entrepreneurship development is an integral part of farming process to increase the profitability of farming.”

Naidu also said the prosperity of the nation was linked to the betterment of farming community so they needed to be enlightened on the use of modern technologies for achieving sustainability and profitability.

Despite being self-sufficient in many agricultural produce through series of revolutions, the increased production had not resulted in proportional increase in the farmers’ income, he added. (IANS)

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Ford India launches new EcoSport

Nov 9, 2017 0

New Delhi– Automobile manufacturer Ford India on Thursday launched the new edition of its compact SUV EcoSport.

The company has priced the new compact SUV’s petrol-powered manual range from Rs 7.31 lakh, whereas the automatic series comes with a starting price of Rs 9.34 lakh.

The diesel version has a starting price of Rs 8.01 lakh.

According to the company, the new EcoSport has been “comprehensively redesigned” with more than 1,600 new parts.

“With its best-in-class power, safety, convenience and value proposition, it delivers significantly more at the same price,” said Anurag Mehrotra, president and managing director, Ford India.

“It is another game-changing product from Ford that, like its predecessor, raises the bar for compact SUVs.”

The new edition sports an all-new three-cylinder 1.5-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine which offers fuel efficiency of 17 km per litre.

The diesel version is powered by a 1.5L TDCi engine that delivers a fuel efficiency of 23 km per litre. (IANS)

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Political rivals clash, scuffle in Bengal on demonetisation anniversary

Nov 8, 2017 0

Kolkata– The political temperatures soared in West Bengal on Wednesday, as rival political parties clashed and scuffled on the streets as they brought out rallies, marches, held meetings and street corners in support or against the demonetisation exercise carried out exactly a year back by the Narendra Modi-led Central government.

In Kolkata, there were clashes between the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP in south Kolkata’s Rashbehari Crossing and Central Avenue in central Kolkata.

The Congress workers came to blows with the BJP activists in Asansol of Paschin Bardhaman district.

At Rashbehari, BJP leaders started a road blockade alleging that Trinamool supporters beat up their cadres, ransacked the stage and broke chairs.

Trinamool leader and Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya alleged that the BJP workers provoked her party activists by raising insulting slogans against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “But we never manhandled them. There were only verbal clashes…”

But state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee was more forthright. “The BJP started abusing and hitting our worker, who retaliated. If they use their hands on us, they should not expect to get ‘rosogollas’.”

The BJP leaders later lodged a complaint at the Tollygunge police station.

The BJP, which celebrated Wednesday as “ullas divas” and anti black money day”, brought out a rally near the Indian Airlines office on Central Avenue. Alleging that the rally was attacked by Trinamool-backed miscreants, the BJP cadres blocked Central Avenue and laid a siege outside Bowbazar police station.

As the BJP workers clashed with police, the Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed in the area.

The Congress and BJP workers fought a pitched battle at Asansol City Bus Stand. Local BJP leaders alleged that when Union Minister Babul Supriyo was addressing the workers, Congress supporters came before the stage and started a demonstration. BJP cadres physically confronted the Congressmen, sparking violence which spread to some nearby areas as well.

Chief Minister Banerjee later slammed the BJP for “indulging in violence”.

“Parties bereft of any issues resort to violence. But parties like Trinamool, who back people’s issues, come out with rallies. For the BJP, it is very difficult to gather one lakh peple. They only know hooliganism,” Banerjee told media persons at the state secretariat Nabanna.

Responding to the Trinamool chief, Supriyo challenged Banerjee to back her claim that his BJP indulged in hooliganism, adding that on the contrary, Banerjee was feeling disturbed because of his party’s rising vote share.

Trinamool brought out a series of protest marches in the city and the districts with all ministers and important leaders participating in the programmes as part of observance of “Kala Divas” (black day).

In Kolkata, the marches were led by senior Trinamool leaders like Abhishek Banerjee, Subrata Bakshi, and several ministers including Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, Firhad Hakim and Sovan Chatterjee.

The Trinamool workers sported kurtas on which were monogrammed slogans like “Modi hatao, desh bachao”, and “BJP hatao, desh bachao”.

The Left parties took out a protest march from central Kolkata’s Moulali Ram Lila Park to the Reseve Bank of India office here.

Leaders of Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (Liberation) and Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) were among the participants.

The marchers raised slogans “against the sufferings of the common man across the country and the crisis in the Indian economy as a result of the note ban.

The Congress held as meeting close to the RBI office, where its state chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sharply criticised the Modi government for its “misconceived economic policies” like demonetisation which have aderailed’ the Indian economy.

The BJP Mahila Morcha organised a amanav bandhan’ programme in the city to show its solidarity with the demonetisation exercise. (IANS)

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Can build French-style ropeways, cable cars: Gadkari

Nov 7, 2017 0

Panaji– There is potential to build thousands of ropeways, cable cars and funicular railways in India’s hilly regions, just like in France, Union Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.

Gadkari, who was in Goa to conduct a review of all works related to major ports in the country, also said that the newly formed Indian Port Rail Corporation would be mandated with studying existing global construction and security norms for adaptation of the same in India vis-a-vis the alternative travel system projects.

“France alone has around 5,000 ropeways, cable car and funicular runway… We can undertake thousands of projects in hilly areas. Instead of using diesel, we can use electricity,” Gadkari said.

The Corporation, he said, will scout for an international organisation of repute to set up such transport systems after signing a joint venture for technology exchange.

“The most important thing is that the security norms and the construction norms in our country are not so updated. There are ropeways in some places. International codes and norms will be studied and a code will be created (for India),” Gadkari said.

“The Corporation will study codes and norms across the world and will submit it to us. We will clear it after getting approval from other departments,” he added.

Gadkari also said that in Goa, coastal hotels and resorts could be asked to construct temporary jetties, where tourists arriving from airports can be ferried to, with the help of waterways.

The Minister also said, that at the under-construction greenfield airport at Mopa plateau in north Goa, a canal should be build so that the landlocked region could be accessed by waterway and passengers could be ferried to and from the facility by boats. (IANS)

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Existing Indian ATMs to be replaced with innovative ones

Nov 7, 2017 0

Hyderabad,– Banks in India are likely to replace the existing ATMs with more innovative and multi-function machines in the next three to four months, said officials of NCR Corporation, a global leader in omni-channel solutions.

The multi-function ATMs will have innovative features like face recognition and biometrics and will facilitate customers in transferring money and depositing cash and cheques. The machines will not run out of money as the cash deposited by customers will be dispensed.

NCR, which has a 50 percent ATM market share in India, has come out with innovations like Interactive Teller ATM and EMV contactless ATM from its research and development centre in Hyderabad.

The ATM market in the country has gone down in the country post demonetization but NCR believes that with the replacement of existing ATMs, the market would return to 9 percent annual growth rate as the progression to cashless economy will be slow.

The existing ATMs were deployed 8 to 10 years ago and with the deployment of multi-function machines in metros, the existing ones will be moved to tier II and tier III cities.

The company executives shared these thoughts while announcing opening of their research and development centre in Hyderabad, its largest R&D centre outside the US.

Spread across 140,000 square feet and 1,200 employees, the software is working on innovative products and platforms for channel transformation and digital enablement.

Paul Langenbahn, Executive Vice President, NCR Software said that the R&D centre in Hyderabad would focus on the development of innovative technologies to assist customers across the industries NCR serves.

Eli Rosner, Chief Technology Officer, NCR Corporation said the centre will be developing and supporting innovative software and services that global institutions use to empower consumers through self-service applications.

Hyderabad facility is responsible for innovations including the Interactive Teller ATM, EMV contactless ATM, mobile payments solutions, retail self-checkout lanes, CRM platforms and cinema and stadium systems management solutions.

NCR’s manufacturing facility in Chennai has manufactured 200,000 ATMs since 2004. The company exports 70 percent of the machines manufactured in Chennai facility.

With about $7 billion global revenues, NCR has 30,000 employees including 3,600 in India. (IANS)

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Sanjay Dutt’s wife denies wrongdoing

Nov 6, 2017 0

Mumbai– Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s wife, named among those in the ‘Paradise Papers’ accused of parking their wealth in tax havens abroad, says all her financial dealings are above board.

Dilnashin figures among the 714 Indian links named in the ‘Paradise Papers’, said the Indian Express in a banner story done as part of a global probe carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Her spokesperson said in a statement: “As per the requirements of provisions of Income Tax Act, 1961, all the properties, company or body corporate or shares in any company are declared in the balance sheet.”

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been named as part of the leaks, regarding shareholding in a Bermuda company acquired before the 2004 Liberalised Remittance Scheme kicked in.

A day before the big story broke, Amitabh had penned his thoughts on being named in the Bofors scandal and the earlier Panama Papers leaks.

“Tomorrow there could be more… And the process of our cooperation shall continue,” he wrote in a blog post on Sunday.

On the Panama Papers of last year, he wrote: “We were asked for reactions, for responses, for justification or not, for replies to their investigative queries… Two instant replies were given out by us… Of denial and misuse of name. They were printed… but the questions continued.

“The fullest cooperation has been extended at all hours as dutiful citizens.. And even after, if there is any more query that needs to be addressed, we shall comply.” (IANS)

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Power ministers to meet on electrifying all households by 2018

Nov 6, 2017 0

New Delhi– Central and state Power Ministers are slated to brainstorm over how to realise the ‘Saubhagya’ scheme target of reaching electricity to all households by the end of 2018, at a two-day meeting in Bihar beginning on Friday, an official statement said here.

The conference of Power and New and Renewable Energy Ministers of states and union territories, to be held in Bihar’s Rajgir November 10-11, will be inaugurated by Union Power Minister R.K Singh, the ministry said in a statement.

The Saubhagya, or the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, aims to achieve 100 per cent electrification of households by end-2018 and was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September.

“The aim of this two-day conference is to review the implementation of various ongoing schemes/programmes and deliberate on a host of issues pertaining to power and renewable energy sectors,” said the Power Ministry statement.

The other areas to be covered at the meeting include promoting pre-paid meters, separation of power feeders in rural electrification, digital payment of bills and strategies to provide 24X7 power for all, it added.

Issues related to reforms in the power and renewable energy sectors would be taken up at the meeting.

Other areas to be covered include how to mandate charges for cross-subsidy and inter-state transmission, honouring of power purchase agreements and management of ash at thermal power plants, the statement said.

The ministers will also deliberate on the issues related to hydro power, wind energy, districts affected by left-wing extremists, rooftop solar systems and the biomass programme, it added. (IANS)

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