Subrata Roy’s parole continues, asked to pay Rs 600 crore by February 6

Nov 28, 2016 0

New Delhi– Sahara Chief Subrata Roy will continue to remain on parole as Supreme Court on Monday asked him to deposit Rs 600 crore by February 6 next year as the group submitted the road map for returning Rs 11,036 crores in next two and half years.

Asking Sahara to deposit Rs 600 crore, the bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice A.K.Sikri asked why don’t they reverse the road map to start depositing Rs 1,000 crore per month for refunding Rs 24,000 crore of more than three crore investors.

Subrata Roy (Photo courtesy: The Hindu Business Online)

Subrata Roy (Photo courtesy: The Hindu Business Online)

Besides Ray, the parole of his son-in-law Ashok Roy Choudhary and Sahara’s Director Ravi Shankar Dubey too has been extended.

Sahara group’s two companies – Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) — had raised the money, through optionally fully convertible debenture, from about 3.3 crore investors in 2008 and 2009.

The apex court by its August 31, 2012 order directed the SIRECL and SHICL to return the investors’ Rs 17,600 crore with 15 per cent interest.

Perusing the road map for depositing money in SEBI Sahara Refund account for returning investors money by the market regulator, Justice Gogoi said: “If you don’t do it we will seriously consider appointing a receiver …”

The court was told that Sahara has deposited Rs 1,200 crore ever since Roy was released on parole on May 6 to perform the last rites of his mother. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Roy, told the court that so far they have deposited Rs 11,000 crore with the market regulator and there is a balance of Rs 11036 crore.

However, Sibal told the court that Sebi put the balance figures at Rs 14,000 crore.

As he tried to suggest that some of the properties auctioned by the market regulator were at a low price and could have been sold at a higher price, the bench observed: “(Every time) either you come saying they (Sebi) are selling dirt cheap or someone else comes offering higher price and it continue like that.

“We have not restrained you from creating assets, we have restrained you from alienating them”, the court observed as Sibal said that their “hands were tied” and even they wanted, they can’t do anything.

Sibal had expressed the haplessness of Sahara group as a lawyer told the court that her client has deposited the money for a flat in one of its housing projects but there was nothing on the ground.

The next hearing is on February 6.

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75% penalty, surcharge on undisclosed income, new black money scheme launched

Nov 28, 2016 0

New Delhi– Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Income Tax rules, levying a tax of 60 per cent on undisclosed income or investment or cash credit deposited in the banks.

According to the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, the declarant will have to pay a tax of 60 per cent and an additional surcharge of 25 per cent of the tax (i.e. 15 per cent of such income), resulting in a total tax amounting to approximately 75 per cent.

The amending legislation also gives discretionary power to the assessing officer to increase the penalty by 10 per cent of the total tax, thus raising the outgo to 82.5 per cent (75 per cent plus 10 per cent of that amount) of the unexplained or concealed income. No deductions or set-off is allowed on this amount.

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

The government has also come up with an income disclosure scheme called the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) 2016 which allows people to deposit money in their accounts till April 1, 2017, by paying 50 per cent of the total amount — 30 per cent as tax, 10 per cent as penalty and 33 per cent of the taxed amount, that is 10 per cent, as Garib Kalyan Cess.

The duration of the scheme will be announced later. The declarant will get immunity from prosecution under any law.

However, those who are prosecuted under the Naroctics Act, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, or for holding ‘benami’ (by proxy) properties and smuggling offences are not eligible to declare their hidden income under the scheme.

Additionally, under this scheme, 25 per cent of the amount has to be locked up for four years in interest-free scheme.

“This amount is proposed to be utilised for the schemes of irrigation, housing, toilets, infrastructure, primary education, primary health and livelihood,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The total amount so declared under this new income (PMGKY) will not be included in the total income of the declarant for any assessment year. No set-off is allowed under any head on this amount.

Labelling it as another chance for people having unaccounted income, brokerage firm TradingBells co-founder and CEO Amit Gupta told IANS: “It is like the earlier Income Declaration Scheme, but with a much higher penalty. It is a good move as black money will come into the system through this disclosure scheme.

“The clause of 25 per cent lock-in period for four years will give a boost to the financial sector. A lot of unaccounted money will come through this. With 50 per cent tax, and 25 per cent locked in, it leaves only 25 at their disposal.”

“There are reports of people converting their black money into black again in the markets at a rate of 30-40 per cent commission. A too higher rate would have defeated the purpose. Though the debate is still on if the source of the income needs to be revealed,” Gupta added.

In case of undeclared income found during Income Tax searches, a penalty of 30 per cent shall be imposed by the Income Tax Department apart from the regular tax on the money, taking the total to 63 per cent. This would be done if the assessee admits to the undisclosed income and “substantiates” the manner in which the undisclosed income was derived.

However, if the assessee does not do that, the penalty would be raised to 60 per cent, in addition to the tax required to be paid or a total of 93 per cent.

In the objects and reasons statement, the Finance Minister said the amendment has been brought forward as “there have been representations and suggestions from experts that instead of allowing people to find illegal ways of converting their black money into black again, the government should give them an opportunity to pay taxes with heavy penalty and allow them to come clean.”

Jaitley said this would allow the government to get additional revenue for undertaking activities for the welfare of the poor, but also the remaining part of the declared income would legitimately come into the formal economy.

In the wake of demonetisation, there have been reports of people increasingly finding illegal ways of converting their black money into black again, so the amendments are on the expected lines, said global consultancy firm Protiviti India MD Nidhi Goyal.

“We were expecting such changes. The government was trying to insert a law to tackle the black money in the system post-demonetisation,” Goyal told IANS.

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Demonetisation most important economic reform, needs support: Ratan Tata

Nov 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– Industrial conglomerate Tata Sons Interim Chairman Ratan Tata on Saturday said the government’s demonetisation programme is among the “three most important economic reforms in India’s history” and needs the nation’s support for implementation.

“Demonetisation is amongst the three most important economic reforms in India’s history, along with Delicensing and GST (Goods and Services Tax),” Tata tweeted.

Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

“The Prime Minister’s recent focus on mobile and digital payments will also greatly facilitate the transition from a cash-driven economy to cashless economy, which, in the long term, will enormously benefit the poor and the underprivileged,” he added.

In its bid to curb black money economy, the Indian government on Nov 8 demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

“The parallel black money economy in India has fueled tax evasion, money laundering and corruption. The Prime Minister has displayed enormous courage in waging war on the black market economy in the country through the implementation of a major demonetisation programme,” Tata said.

“The government’s firm resolve to fight and eliminate black money needs the support and cooperation of all like-minded citizens of India who would like to see a more equitable distribution of the nation’s resources in a new India of tomorrow, based on merit and equal opportunity,” he added.

In one of his earlier tweets on Nov 24, Tata suggested the government to use special relief measures to ease the daily hardship faced by the poorer sections of society due to the demonetisation drive.

According to Tata, the present note ban implementation is said to be causing great hardship to the common man, particularly relating to medical emergencies, major surgical interventions and the procurement of medication at many hospitals in smaller towns across the country.

“Hardship is being experienced by the poorer people due to the shortage of cash to meet the daily household needs for food,” Tata tweeted.

“While the government is doing its best to increase the availability of new currency notes, it may be worthwhile to consider special relief measures similar to those employed at the times of national calamities to serve the poorer segment of the population for their daily needs and for enabling emergency healthcare/medical treatment in smaller hospitals,” he said. (IANS)

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Demonetisation will boost digital economy: Nandan Nilekani

Nov 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– Former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, Nandan Nilekani, has said the demonetisation “shock given to the currency” will boost digital economy.

“The fact is that we have had a shock given to the currency system and, in my view, this will boost digital economy,” said Nilekani, who was in a conversation with Nalin Mehta at Times Lit Fest here on Saturday.

The former Infosys chief executive also went on to add that since there is a “loss in the confidence that people had in physical currency”, they will surely look for and adopt other alternatives.

Asked by the audience to respond on the problems being faced by the people in rural areas particularly, Nilekani said he would not comment on the political decision but on the merit of the project.

“I know that there are some problems and there is going to be problems for some time but over the past seven years we have already created a system to digitise our economy,” said Nilekani.

He also said that although “pain” will remain for sometime but the extent of digitisation that will happen over the next three months would have otherwise taken three years.

Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani

Nilekani added that the “need of the hour” should be “cashless payments to merchants”, which will go a long way in boosting digital economy.

He also expressed hope that the government will increase the number of micro-ATMs in the country.

Asked to comment on whether the NDA government had carried on his Aadhar legacy and packaged it as their own, Nilekani said the success of the project was important.

“I think I am happy that it has not only been accepted but also accelerated. My loyalty is to Aadhar. For me the success of Aadhar project is paramount”, said Nilekani.(IANS)

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Rupee Outlook: Foreign fund outflows to mount pressure on rupee

Nov 26, 2016 0

By Rohit Vaid

Mumbai–The Indian rupee is expected to remain under pressure in the coming week due to heightened chances of a US rate, along with massive flight of foreign funds from the capital markets.

Besides, political bickering over the demonetisation drive and a stalemate on the contours of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) framework might lead to further erosion in the rupee’s value.

“The rupee is expected to remain under pressure over the next week,” Anindya Banerjee, Associate Vice President for Currency Derivatives with Kotak Securities, told IANS.

“The rally in US bond yields are expected to continue further, which means the dollar would gain more ground against an emerging market (EM) currency like the rupee.”

Banerjee predicted the rupee would touch 68.80-69 levels during the short-term.

“Technically, the trend is upward for USD/INR as long as the pair holds above 68.00 levels on spot,” Banerjee said.

“Indian equity markets can face further selling pressure, but Indian bonds would continue to stay resilient on the back of demand from banks.”

According to Hiren Sharma, Senior Vice President and Head-Forex Advisory at Anand Rathi Financial Services, upcoming events like the OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) meet, Italy’s referendum and the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting will have a major impact on the rupee’s movement.

“The level of 68.85 is too important to break which RBI (Reserve Bank of India) is defending, and a comeback level for the rupee will be a support break of 68.25/67.75. So a broader range of 68.25 to 69.10 seems to be a likely range for next week,” Sharma told IANS.

On last Thursday, the Indian rupee plunged to its new intra-day record low of 68.86 to a US dollar.

On a weekly basis, the rupee depreciated by 33 paise to 68.47 against a US dollar from last week’s close of 68.14.

“Last week, the rupee tracked other EM currencies which fell against the US dollar. Strong US data and FOMC minutes had strengthened the rate hike scenario in December,” Sharma explained.

“The off-loading of debt and equity by FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) has also been a major reason for the decline in rupee. But, the RBI has entered to sell US dollars at key levels and its involvement will perhaps limit a deeper decline in the rupee.”

Experts blamed the massive decline in the rupee’s value on the interest rate differential between India and the US.

Currently, India’s interest rates are higher than that of the US. A surge in rupee liquidity and some US dollar shortage last week had pushed the forward premium below the levels warranted by the rate differentials.

A similar collapse in forward premia had occurred during 2011 and 2013. During both those years, rupee had depreciated against the dollar.

Another key reason has been the FPI pull-out from the Indian equities and bond markets.

In terms of investments, provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed a massive outflow of Rs 5,409.82 crore in foreign funds during the just-concluded week.

RupeeFigures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) disclosed that FPIs were net sellers of equities worth Rs 5,22.12 crore, or $865.72 million from November 21-25.

Since November 8, when the government demonetised high denomination currency notes and the surprise victory of Republican Donald Trump in the US Presidential election, the Indian equity markets have seen foreign fund outflows worth Rs 15,952.69 crore (November 9-25).

“FPIs are least interested to chase long bonds at these yields and they are not showing much enthusiasm on the equity front too. All in all, rupee is drifting lower, only countered by spirited intervention from the central bank, which is using exchange traded derivatives and inter-bank market to sell US dollar,” Banerjee added.

As per Devendra Nevgi, Chief Executive of Zyfin Advisors, the rupee’s weakness could trigger a negative sentiment for foreign investors.

“The INR weakness though will benefit some of the sectors but could be negative for general sentiment of foreign investors. The yuan’s weakness is also adding fuel to the fire of INR weakness,” Nevgi said.

“The fall in bond yeilds too will narrow down the rate difference in US and Indian yeilds which is likely to keep INR on the weaker side, though RBI continues to intervene in FX markets.” (IANS)

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New Rs 500 notes with faulty printing valid: RBI

Nov 26, 2016 0

New Delhi– They were meant to replace the demonetised currency, but some new 500-rupee notes are causing some confusion — because of printing errors.  Apparently, in a rush to go to print, an unspecified number — no one knows exactly how many — of notes of Rs 500 denomination have visible errors.

 New Rs 500 notes with faulty printing valid: RBI

New Rs 500 notes with faulty printing valid: RBI

They have caused doubts in the minds of the people whether these currency notes are genuine or fakes.    The most starking is the way the guarantee declaration has shifted to almost superimpose on the security thread in some notes (see photo), while in others there is a visible shadow of Mahatma Gandhi’s face.

The position of the Ashoka Pillar lion is also in wrong place while some of the numbers on the note jut out.  However, the RBI has said these are valid and can be used.

If people find it difficult to transact in these notes, they have been advised to exchange them.  The government had on November 8 announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes with the aim of curbing black money and corruption.

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Post-demonetisation, Mumbai’s gold markets dull, deserted

Nov 25, 2016 0

By Quaid Najmi

Mumbai– Post-demonetisation, Mumbai’s bustling and glittering Zaveri Bazar, the national bullion and jewellery market, wears a forlorn, deserted look.

Thousands of big and small jewellery shops and glittering showrooms in India’s oldest and biggest hub, as well as retail outlets in the eastern and western suburbs, eagerly await the elusive customers.

The annual big, fat wedding season that is underway — with an average of 15,000 weddings scheduled in Mumbai every month till May-June — usually means a money-spinner. This year it is passing by without a ripple.

“I have taken some small orders for bridal gold jewellery sets, well before the demonetisation and kept them ready. Now, the customers are not prepared to take delivery as they have no money to pay their bills,” rued S.K. Velly, the proprietor of Pramila Jewellers in the suburbs.

Some customer now demand they be permitted to make payments in instalments, but Velly rejected this, saying it’s not possible since he has to pay upfront at all other levels — and the ready bridal jewellery sets lie in the shop.

Many others are apprehensive of Big Brother — the Income Tax Department — and refuse to either make or accept cheque/online payments to avoid future complications.

Major bodies like the Indian Bullion and Jewellers Association, the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, the Mumbai Jewellers Association and other trade associations are “extremely concerned” but unable to do much.

Mumbai Jewellers Association Vice President Surinder Kumar Jain said that in terms of volumes, the industry has taken an unprecedented beating with business down by “more than 90 percent” in the peak wedding season.

“The average sales here is around 3.4-4 tonnes of gold, bullion, jewellery, and other items, worth an estimated around Rs 125 crore. Post-demonetisation, it has plummeted to less than 10 percent daily, or around Rs 10-12 crores value,” Jain revealed.

After a modest 2015, this year was expected to herald cheerful days with a good monsoon, overall positive sentiments in the economy and the bullion industry was preparing to cash in on a good 2016.

Since January, Jain said there have been huge imports of gold, around 120 tonnes, to cater to the marriage season, investments and corporate requirements. “But that investment and gold is simply stuck. We can’t sell it or throw it away.”

Both Jain and Velly are worried that if the supply position of currency notes does not improve immediately, they may be compelled to down shutters, retrench staff and move out to other smaller locations in the country.

The industry directly employees around 3.75 crore artisans across India, besides another 50-lakh plus in jewellery trade like owners of retail shops, their well-paid staffers and other allied service providers.

Mumbai Jewellers Federation President Rakesh Shetty said that “gold, silver and jewellery shops are full” but there are no takers after the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

“There are some claims that a part of the business has gone to the online portals, but that is far from the truth. We are in a severe crisis, never seen before,” Shetty said.

While around 5,000-plus shops and showrooms are located in the crowded Zaveri Bazar in south Mumbai, another 27,000-odd dot the city and suburbs, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all gold trading and business in India.

Some of the smaller shops with minimal stocks of gold or silver jewellery, struggle to make ends meet with repairs or polishing or modifying customers’ existing jewellery, but that is barely 10 percent of their normal business activities.

Shetty said that against cheques, RTGS (real-time gross settlement) or new currency notes, gold is being sold in minuscule quantities by retailers at around Rs 29,000 ($422) per tola (10 gms).

“The rates havd sharply come down by around Rs 1,500 per tola since Dhanteras (preceding the Diwali festival in late October). Actually, this is the start of the annual wedding season… we were expecting much higher gold prices this year on account of various positive factors, but demonetisation has dealt a deadly blow,” said Shetty.

“The current situation is very tough. We have passed through some very rough or recessionery patches in the past, but this is unprecedented. Demand and supply exists, but there is no money to conduct any business, people prefer to first spend on survival before buying jewellery,” lamented the owner of a leading jewellery shop in the posh Juhu neighbourhood, preferring anonymity.

Worse, the leading players predict an uncertain, gloomy period ahead till December 30, followed by the Union Budge on February 1, 2017, and the upcoming GST to be implemented from April 1, 2017. (IANS)

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley Accepts Position as Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer at Indian-American-Founded RxAdvance

Nov 23, 2016 0

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA–RxAdvance Founder and CEO Ravi Ika announced that former Apple CEO John Sculley, who has been an RxAdvance founding investor and vice chairman, has accepted the expanded role as Chairman of the Board and Chief Marketing Officer.

“Great entrepreneurs start with a ‘Nobel Cause’. The more time I spend with Ravi, the more I appreciate that he has created something truly amazing,” says John Sculley. “After leaving Apple, I have acted as an advisor, investor, and board member in over two dozen companies. RxAdvance is the first company that has inspired me to get involved as an operating partner.”

From left to right: Ika, Sculley and Kota

From left to right: Ika, Sculley and Kota

Indian-American entrepreneur Subu Kota, president of the Boston Group USA, also serves on the board of RxAdvance. Other Indian-American board members include Devaiah Pagidipati and Krishna Ika.

The $370 billion Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) industry is encumbered with huge administrative inefficiencies, obsolete transaction methodologies, legacy systems, limited service offerings, and a lack of a single point of accountability, RxAdvance said in a statement. This introduces over $350 billion of avoidable drug-impacted medical costs, which is half of the total $700 billon avoidable medical costs in the healthcare system. If optimized correctly, half of these savings are more than enough to fund the uninsured and underinsured, while also reducing premiums for all Americans, according to the statement.

“As we were building RxAdvance, we collectively began to understand that the Rx ecosystem is a huge untapped opportunity for the US health system to save hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Our disruptive solutions revolve around machine learning and collaborative process automation among patients through the mobile cloud, prescribers at the point of care, pharmacists at the point of sale, and clinical pharmacy staff at plan sponsor through their workflows. Convincing John Sculley to join our management team was a great step forward toward positioning RxAdvance as the most transformationally innovative company in healthcare”, says RxAdvance founder Ika.

Southborough-based RxAdvance is a national full-service pharmacy benefit manager that leverages Collaborative PBM Cloud™ to deliver integrated PBM services that reduce overall pharmacy costs, optimize specialty spend by converting from “Buy & Bill” to “Authorize & Manage”, and reduce avoidable drug-impacted medical costs while improving patient’s quality of life with unmatched regulatory compliance and transparency.

 

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Not worthwhile, said Finance Minister who imposed 1978 note ban

Nov 23, 2016 0

By Vikas Datta

Will demonetisation, touted as a measure against black money, corruption and terror financing, successfully meet the objectives set for it by the Narendra Modi government?

Not really, if you listen to the man who imposed the earlier demonetisation in 1978.

Contending that there was no chance of ending black money “until we destroy the conditions which encourage it”, eminent bureaucrat-turned-politician, H.M. Patel, who was Finance Minister in the Janata Party government, said that demonetisation only ended in inflicting “a great deal of hardship on a great many innocent people”.

He termed the process “not worthwhile”, a few years before he went on to impose demonetisation on the instructions of then Prime Minister Morarji Desai.

In an article in the October 1972 issue of Gujarati periodical “Nireekshak”, Patel listed three contributing factors — igh tax rates, controls and corruption — to the growth of undisclosed money. He said that unless these were addressed, there was “little point in grappling with shadows”.

On January 16, 1978, the Morarji Desai-led government demonetised the Rs 1,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 currency notes which were largely held by the rich. An Ordinance was issued and the announcement made through All India Radio’s 9 am news bulletin.

“Most people who have black money and who are involved in such operations rarely keep their ill-gotten gains in cash. They will have converted much of it into assets or even into white money. Only a small percentage of the total amount of what might have initially been black money is likely to exist in cash,” Patel wrote.

Despite such strong views, why he did not object to the demonetisation is not clear. In his autobiography, the then Reserve Bank of India Governor I.G. Patel says he remonstrated with the Finance Minister when the latter told him of the decision by saying that most people in possession of black money rarely kept their ill-gotten gains in the form of currency for long. “Thinking that black money is stashed away under mattresses or suitcases is naive,” I.G. Patel wrote.

But I.G. Patel does not record what H.M. Patel’s reaction to his statement was. Eminent economist and former Union Minister Y.K. Alagh, then in the Planning Commisssion, recalls I.G. Patel telling Prime Minister Desai in Gujarati that it would not work as black money was held in land, gold and dollars and not in currency, while H.M. Patel, who was also present, only smiled away.

In his article in “Nireekshak”, H.M. Patel said that demonetisation does not work had become more and more evident from the results of raids carried out during the past few years. “Not much cash was found during those searches, though some amount of evidence may have been found indicative of the existence on the premises of black money at some time and of its translation into assets or white money,” he wrote.

Ph. Studio/June, 1957, A22n/A22a(iv) Photo shows Shri H.M. Patel, Secretary Ministry of Finance (left) and H.E. Mr. Aaro Pakaslahti Head of the Finish Legation in India, who signed the agreement on behalf of their respective Governments, exchanging the Agreement papers, in New Delhi on June 14, 1957.

Ph. Studio/June, 1957, A22n/A22a(iv)
Photo shows Shri H.M. Patel, Secretary Ministry of Finance (left) and H.E. Mr. Aaro Pakaslahti Head of the Finish Legation in India, who signed the agreement on behalf of their respective Governments, exchanging the Agreement papers, in New Delhi on June 14, 1957.

“This is perhaps the conclusive reason why demonetisation is not considered to be worthwhile. More so as demonetisation can be carried out only at heavy cost. After inflicting severe hardship on the vast majority of people, those who have indulged in black-market operations are unlikely to be found hoarding large sums of money in cash,” wrote Patel.

Decades later, the situation was no different. A Finance Ministry White Paper in 2012 showed that for the period 2006-2012, cash seized during searches and seizures ranged from 3.75 to 7.3 per cent of total undisclosed income for those cases.

Despite his perspicacious words, wisdom seem to have eluded the Finance Minister when the time came to impose demonetisation. An Indian Civil Service officer, Patel rose to become Cabinet Secretary before turning 40, served as Partition Secretary and then went on to hold high posts in independent India, including Principal Secretary, Finance, before resigning from service after his name came up in a scam.

He subsequently joined politics, was Leader of Opposition during the Emergency and Finance and Home Minister in the Janata Party government.

Citing the country’s huge volumes of cash transactions, he noted in the article that agriculture is not subject to income tax and “demonetised notes declared by farmers, large, medium and even small, will have to be accepted without question. Farmers may well help holders of black money to escape the net of ‘demonetisers'”.

The situation is no different now in Modi’s demonetisation.

Noting that “a little thought should convince those who demand demonetisation so vociferously that it would not achieve anything, not even uncover hoards of black money or prevent its re-emergence”, Patel said: “All that it would do for certain would be to inflict a great deal of hardship on a great many innocent people and to increase corruption immensely.”

It was Spanish-American philosopher, George Santayana, who said that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The pain, though — then as now — is left to be borne by the common man.

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Madame Tussauds to open branch at Regal Cinema in Delhi

Nov 23, 2016 0

New Delhi– Lifelike wax statues of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and pop icon Kim Kardashian will vie for attention at Madame Tussauds’ newest branch that is set to open in Delhi’s Regal Cinema complex in mid-2017, it was announced.

Merlin Entertainments, one of the world’s leading visitor attraction operators, said that Madame Tussauds’ 22nd branch will pay homage to “A-List celebrities from Bollywood through to Hollywood”.

World renowned for over 250 years for the creation of detailed and lifelike wax figures, Madame Tussauds new attraction in Delhi will also feature “icons from sport, music and notables that have not only shaped the popular and historical landscape of India, but the world” as a whole, it was announced.

Madame Tussauds Delhi will be offering a host of experiences spread over two interactive floors at Regal Cinema in Connaught Place.

John Jakobsen, Chief New Openings Officer of Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are delighted to be announcing that our 22nd Madame Tussauds Attraction will be opening in Delhi. Ever since we introduced Amitabh Bachchan as the first Bollywood figure in Madame Tussauds London in 2000, we have seen how Madame Tussauds appeals to the Indian consumer, and having a permanent attraction in the heart of the country’s capital made perfect sense for the evolution of the Madame Tussauds story.”

Allowing closer access than ever before, guests will be encouraged to interact with the life-like figures in “highly themed and immersive environments”.

“In order to bring the attraction to life, we worked with a host of local experts to ensure an authentic visitor experience — truly bringing to life the colour and vibrancy that encapsulates the essence of India. We have no doubt that locals and visitors alike will relish in meeting their heroes in a way that only Madame Tussauds can offer,” he added.

The wax statues of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and pop star, Kim Kardashian among others will be displayed at Madame Tussauds Delhi, he said.

Madame Tussauds, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan figure

Madame Tussauds, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan figure

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