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54,000 Petrol Pumps To Go On Strike: Here's Why  ?????

Around 54,000 petrol pumps across the nation will go on a 24-hour strike from midnight on October 13, United Petroleum Front (UPF), a petroleum dealers association said. The nation-wide strike is being called to press for various demands including better margins and inclusion of petroleum products under the Goods and Services Tax. UPF represents over 54,000 dealers from the Federation of All-India Petroleum Traders, the All-India Petroleum Dealers Association and the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers

The group also warned that if the demands were not met at the earliest, fuel dealers will be forced to indefinitely stop the purchase and sale operations from October 27.

The demands include revising dealer margins every six months, better terms for return on investment, resolution of manpower issues, a fresh study of handling losses, and resolution of issues related to transportation and ethanol blending.

The front alleged that the letters which it wrote to oil marketing companies as well as a letter from the Cabinet Secretariat dated June 28, did not elicit positive response.

The Centre had earlier this week cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs. 2 per litre each to provide some relief to consumers from a three-month long relentless price hike.

Dealers also want the government to bring petrol and diesel under the GST regime.

"All the petroleum products must be brought under the Goods & Services Tax regime so that our long-pending demand of 'one nation, one rate' can be fulfilled to benefit the consumers," said Federation of All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association (Fampeda) President Uday Lodh.

He also demanded that the Daily Price Mechanism, implemented in July must be reviewed as it has failed to benefit either the consumers or the dealers.

Dealers also protested the proposed 'Home Delivery' of petroleum products saying that it was riddled with major security issues, could lead to serious accidents and hence must be reconsidered.

Lodh said that a decision on the strike was taken at the first joint meeting of UPF.

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Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran/Files)


Nine months after demonetisation, with almost 99 per cent of the banned notes back into the system and the economy gripped by slowdown, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, has said that if a decision such as this turns out exposed — of not having the right effects on the economy, “as a country, you would want to ask what were the inputs that went into that decision”.  Although the government announced it was withdrawing 500 and 1,000 rupee notes on November 8 last year, Rajan, who was Governor until September 4, 2016, was asked by the government in February that year for his views on demonetisation, which he says he provided orally.

In his new book, I do what I do, launched here Tuesday, Rajan says he had conveyed to the government that though there could be long-term benefits, the likely short-term economic cost would outweigh them and that there were potentially better alternatives to achieve the main goals.



He has also said that the RBI put together a note to the government outlining the potential cost and benefit of demonetisation as well as alternatives that could achieve similar aims besides flagging off what would happen if the preparation was inadequate. He added that at no point during his term, was the RBI asked to make a decision on demonetisation.

“I would rather ask the question — to what extent does the decision get informed by good economics? That’s what we would all want. And to that extent if that decision turns out exposed — to not having the right effects on the economy — as a country, you would want to ask what were the inputs into that decision, (demonetisation),” he told The Indian Express in an interview here on Tuesday.  Rajan, who has returned to his teaching assignment at University of Chicago, said that he wouldn’t want to share details of who were the top policy-makers who received his and the RBI’s assessment. “I would say anybody who was involved in the demonetisation decisions was informed,” he said.

What he did indicate, though, was that the chilling effect that such a move would have on economic activity, especially on informal activities which cannot migrate to other modes of transactions such as credit cards, was red-flagged to the government.  As for the RBI’s apparent suggestion prior to demonetisation to withdraw only 1,000 rupee notes and not the 500 rupee note, Rajan said that the more a currency is used for transactions, the more the central bank has to be in readiness to replace it.




If decision (noteban) is exposed, country will ask what inputs went in, says Raghuram Rajan

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan to make Come Back

Raghuram Rajan willing to come back if it makes big difference
Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Thursday said that he was open to stay for the second term because he thought that there were still some unfinished business at the Central Bank.
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Rajan said it in an interview to India Today that came days after launch of his book -I do what I do. He also clarified that he never resigned. "My term came to an end and I left," Rajan said when asked whether he left the RBI voluntary.

The former governor said that he was open to stay if the nation which is represented by the government wanted him at the RBI. During an-hour long interview, Raghuram Rajan talked about various financial issues such as demonetisation, bad debts and economic growth.

Rajan spoke about some of the conversations that he had over demonetisation while he was heading the RBI. He said that the Central government had once asked him about the cost and benefit of such move. To which, Rajan as the RBI head gave the analysis -orally- and cautioned the government that short-term cost would outweigh long-term benefits.

When asked that despite the RBI's caution the government moved ahead with the demonetisation, Rajan said that the Centre does not need the RBI's permission. "The government can also passed a directive and do it," Rajan said. He also revealed that during his time there was no date fixed for the move. "My sense was that there was still time to persuade the government otherwise," he said.

Rajan himself was surprised by the demonetisation announcement on November 8 and later he had to come back to India to exchange scrapped currency.

Rajan also spoke about the impact of demonetisation and said until complete data comes in one cannot tell the real effect of demonetisation. He referred to financial services company JP Morgan's report on demonetisation where it claimed that the cost of note ban could be 1-2 per cent of the GDP.

When asked if he would be willing to return to India for another position or was happy teaching in the US, Rajan said he is not special among the diaspora and there were many people who, if called upon, would come back and do what is necessary.
"Many of us have certainly fairly comfortable lives there...coming back to India and doing what I did, gave a tremendous sense of fulfilment. I think it's very selfish thing to come back. Ya, if called upon and if there is a place where you can make a big difference, of course," he said.

Army will cross LoC and strike if needed, says northern commander


Northern Army Commander Lt General D Anbu on Thursday said the Indian Army would cross the Line of Control if required and claimed that there had been fewer successful infiltrations this year than in 2016. He also spoke of the need to create employment opportunities for Kashmiri youth to wean them away from the agitation dynamics.

Pointing out that there has been an increase in the number of infiltration attempts and terror camps across the LoC, Lt General Anbu said that “when we want to we will be able to breach it, go across and strike when we need’’. He said the surgical strike by India “was a point we wanted to drive home”. India wanted to convey “this subtle message” that the “LoC is not a line that cannot be breached”, he said.

Lt Gen. Anbu was addressing a press conference after presenting gallantry and distinguished services medals to 103 officers and jawans and certificates of appreciation to 31 units apart from 31 civilians at an investiture ceremony at the Northern Command headquarters here.

“There is no dearth of people who are trying to infiltrate.The launch pads and terrorist camps across the Line of Control have increased as compared to the previous year,” Lt Gen. Anbu said. “While they attempt to cross the LoC, the success they have been able to attain this year, despite large number of people trying to infiltrate, has been much less as compared to the previous year because of the very robust counter-infiltration grid we have on the LoC,’’ he said.

According to official figures, 75 people have infiltrated from across the LoC this year, “but our assessment is that their number is not more than 45-50”, Lt Gen. Anbu said.

Referring to the number of local terrorists in the Valley, the Northern Army Commander said their number has been largely constant over the past three years, including the current year. “The youth turning into separatists are those who are in the age group of 15-25 and who are not very sure of the future. This is one aspect which needs to be looked at,” he said.


“It shows that we have to engage the youth.The state government and everybody has to play a part in ensuring employment generation and a positive security environment will be created by the security forces,’’ he said. “This is what has happened now. While the effect of elimination of so many terrorists will manifest in a couple of months from now, we have already seen a decrease in local youth getting recruited in terrorist ranks,’’ he claimed.


To a question about the stone throwing youths on the streets in the Valley, Lt Gen. Anbu said: “A lot of youths are involved in it, but it is not that all the youths are involved in it and their entire population comes out into the streets.... Their heart and soul is not in it.”

Asked about the situation along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, he said it was under control.


Princess Diana revealed 'the greatest love I've ever had' was bodyguard Barry Mannakee in secret tapes


Princess Diana revealed the “greatest love I’ve ever had” was a bodyguard, Barry Mannakee, in video footage broadcast for the first time.

In tapes broadcast in the Channel 4 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, she sensationally claimed he was sacked from his job and then “bumped off".

While Prince Charles’ late ex-wife did not name Mr Mannakee, it was clear that this is who she was talking about.

Diana also said she was "completely traumatised" when Prince Charles said "whatever love is" when asked before their wedding whether he was in love with her.

She only found true love several years later, she revealed.

"When I was 24 or 25 I was deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment [security],” she said.


"But then he was chucked out and he was killed.

"Eventually he had to go and then three weeks after he left he was killed in a motorbike accident.

"He was the greatest love I've ever had, and that was a real killer."

Mr Mannakee, a police officer, was her bodyguard for about a year in the mid 1980s before he was moved to the Diplomatic Protection Group in London.

The 39-year-old died in 1987 when a motorcycle being driven by a friend, who survived, was involved in a collision with a car. The driver £85 for careless driving and a coroner ruled it had been an accident.

While there is no evidence to suggest it was not, Diana appears to have believed the death was related to their affair, saying he had been "bumped off".

'25 mn jobs can be created in digital infra space in 5-7 yrs' 

More than 25 million jobs can be created in the digital infrastructure space in the next five to seven years, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said today.

"If Internet of Things alone can create 10-15 million jobs, the digital infrastructure space will create more than 25 million jobs in next five to seven years...," she told PTI on the sidelines of IoT India Congress here.

"Just look at the scenario - we are still importing 90 per cent of our equipments from abroad. We still need a million wifi hotspots. There are requirements in cloud-based telecom services and many startups are catering these services.

"So, as far as jobs are concerned, there is huge potential. We just need to start skilling people in all these new areas," she said.

Updating skills in the midst of emerging technologies is the most important antidote for tackling joblessness, she said.

"When we say technology is disruptive, what do we mean? Some technologies and conventional jobs will disappear, but new technologies will appear. So, we have to keep ourselves updated on technological front," she said.

Petrol prices may come down from Rs 70 to Rs 38 under GST. Will government do it?

Questions are being asked if Finance Minister Arun Jaitlely-headed GST Council will pay heed to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's suggestion on petroleum prices.

"The Petroleum products' inclusion in GST only way for rational fuel prices," tweeted Dharmendra Pradhan as the petroleum prices reached three-year high. Bringing petroleum products under the GST regime will make the fuels cheaper.

In Mumbai, petrol prices touched Rs 80 a litre while in Delhi, it is over Rs 70 per litre. If petrol is brought under GST, it may cost as little as Rs 38.10 in Delhi at 12 per cent GST rate.

It was August 2014, when petrol prices breached Rs 70 mark the last time. Back then the crude oil prices was around USD 98 per barrel. But, now the crude oil prices are hovering around USD 50 per barrel.


According to data released by the Indian Oil Corporation for the petrol price build up in Delhi, the fuel costs only Rs 26.65 at the refineries. Dealers get a litre of petrol at Rs 30.70. But, petrol is sold at Rs 70.39 a litre in Delhi. This means Rs 39.41 is charged as tax component and dealer's commission on every litre of petrol sold in the national capital.


While most of the taxable articles moved under the GST regime, petroleum products are still governed by VAT system. Different states have different rates of VAT applicable on petroleum products.

As per the data available with the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC), Delhi charges a VAT of 27 per cent on petrol while it is 47.64 per cent in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. This explains the difference of about Rs 9 in the petrol prices in the two cities.


Centre imposes excise duty on petrol and diesel. As per the PPAC data, excise duty on petrol has increased by 54 per cent since November 2014. An average increase of 46 per cent has been seen with regard to VAT on petrol while dealer's commission has been increased by as much as by 73 per cent.

Similarly, in the case of diesel, the excise duty has gone up by 154 per cent, VAT by 48 per cent and dealer's commission by 73 per cent. The excise duty on petrol and diesel has been increased on 12 occasions since 2014.


Beyond visual range missile Astra completes development phase


The indigenously developed beyond visual range air-to-air missile -- Astra -- underwent a series of successful trials for four days over the Bay of Bengal, marking completion of its development phase.

"The final development flight trials of Astra BVRAAM were successfully conducted over the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chandipur in Odisha during September 11-14. A total of seven trials were conducted against pilotless target aircraft successfully," the defence ministry said in a statement today.

The successful trial of the Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) paves way for its induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The missile system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in cooperation with the IAF.

A number of defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and more than 50 public and private industries have contributed in developing the weapon system.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the DRDO, IAF, DPSUs and industries for the successful trials of the missile.

The defence ministry said the successful trials marked completion of the development phase of the weapon system "successfully".

Director General of DRDO's Missiles and Strategic Systems G Satheesh Reddy said the technologies developed under the programme will be the building blocks for development of more variants of air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

The ministry said the flight trials included multiple launches of the missile to engage multiple targets including at "very long" range and medium range.

It said all the sub-systems performed accurately, meeting all the mission parameters and objectives. Two missiles were also launched in the combat configuration with warhead. 

Superpower India Set to Replace China as Growth Engine of Asia

India is poised to emerge as an economic superpower, driven in part by its young population, while China and the Asian Tigers age rapidly, according to Deloitte LLP. The number of people aged 65 and over in Asia will climb from 365 million today to more than half a billion in 2027, accounting for 60 percent of that age group globally by 2030, Deloitte said in a report Monday.

In contrast, India will drive the third great wave of Asia’s growth – following Japan and China -- with a potential workforce set to climb from 885 million to 1.08 billion people in the next 20 years and hold above that for half a century. ``India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia’s workforce in the coming decade, but this isn’t just a story of more workers: these new workers will be much better trained and educated than the existing Indian workforce,’’  said Anis Chakravarty, economist at Deloitte India. ``There will be rising economic potential coming alongside that, thanks to an increased share of women in the workforce, as well as an increased ability and interest in working for longer. The consequences for businesses are huge.’’

While the looming ‘Indian summer’ will last decades, it isn’t the only Asian economy set to surge. Indonesia and the Philippines also have relatively young populations, suggesting they’ll experience similar growth, says Deloitte. But the rise of India isn’t set in stone: if the right frameworks are not in place to sustain and promote growth, the burgeoning population could be faced with unemployment and become ripe for social unrest.

Deloitte names the countries that face the biggest challenges from the impact of ageing on growth as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand. For Australia, the report says the impact will likely outstrip that of Japan, which has already been through decades of the challenges of getting older. But there are some advantages Down Under.

``Rare among rich nations, Australia has a track record of welcoming migrants to our shores,” said Ian Thatcher, deputy managing partner at Deloitte Asia Pacific.  “That leaves us less at risk of an ageing-related slowdown in the decades ahead.’’

Japan’s experience shows there are opportunities from ageing, too. Demand has risen in sectors such as nursing, consumer goods for the elderly, age-appropriate housing and social infrastructure, as well as asset management and insurance. 


But Asia will need to adjust to cope with a forecast 1 billion people aged 65 and over by 2050. This will require:

  • Raising retirement ages: Encouraging this could help growth in nations at the forefront of ageing impacts.
  • More women in the workforce: A direct lever that ageing nations can pull to boost their growth potential.
  • Taking in migrants: Accepting young, high-skilled migrants can help ward off ageing impacts on growth. 
  • Boosting productivity: Education and re-training to bolster growth opportunities offered by new technologies.

India tears into Pakistan at UNHRC, calls Islamabad face of global terrorism


India on Monday tore into Pakistan's statement at the 36th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, and called Islamabad the "face of international terrorism".


Exercising India's 'right of reply' to Pakistan's speech, Indian diplomat from the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva, Dr. Vishnu Reddy spoke strongly against "Pakistan's unsolicited and unwarranted comments pertaining to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir are factually incorrect and absolutely misleading. We outrightly reject them."


Reddy also spelt out the biggest challenge faced by the region. "The foremost challenge to the stability of the region is the scourge of terrorism. Pakistan's malicious attempt to hide its interference behind the facade of domestic discontent carries no credibility with the world", he said.

Hitting back at Islamabad, New Delhi also raised two issues of concern, Pakistan-backed terrorism in the Kashmir Valley and human rights violations in Balochistan, an issue that India has been raising at all international platforms.


Reddy said, "Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is run by a 'deep state' and has become an epicenter of terrorism. Its [Islamabad's] human rights record in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Baluchistan is deplorable."



India on Tuesday sought investigations into North Korea's nuclear proliferation linkages and asked to hold accountable those responsible for it, in a veiled reference to Pakistan. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's remarks came days after North Korea fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday. It follows North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 which was in direct defiance of United Nations sanctions and other international pressure.

"External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj deplored North Korea's recent actions and stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved must be held accountable," the ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a news conference at New York.

Swaraj's assertion in this regard came during her trilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Monday on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly session at New York.

Responding to questions, Kumar did not specify the country, but said the hints were enough to determine that.

"I think I am giving you enough material to try to figure out what we are talking about," he said.

"We have very clearly mentioned that we not only deplore DPRK's recent actions but also stated that its proliferation linkages must be explored and those involved be held accountable," Kumar said.

In addition to proliferation, the three leaders discussed the issue of maritime security and connectivity.

"Three broad issues were discussed -- maritime security connectivity and proliferation. We have spelled out what these heads mean on security the ministers emphasised the need to ensure freedom of navigation respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes," he said.

"On connectivity, there was discussion on how to base them on universally recognised international norms prudent financing and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity," Kumar said.

The first trilateral ministerial meeting between the three countries was held in 2015. Senior official level meeting has been taking place since 2011.


Rs 389 cr Bihar Dam collapses ahead of inauguration; Tejashwi Yadav targets Nitish Kumar, alleges corruption

A portion of a dam in Bhagalpur's Kahalgaon came down crashing hours before it was to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The dam built at an estimated cost of Rs 389.31 crore is part of the ambitious Gateshwar Panth Canal Project which was planned to improve the poor land irrigation system in the region.

Several low-lying areas were flooded as water from the collapsed dam rushed into residential areas in Kahalgaon.

"The dam broke due to release of water in full capacity. The incident has not caused any damage to the newly constructed part of the project," Minister of Water Resources, Lallan Singh said.

CM Nitish Kumar, who was supposed to inaugurate the project today, had to cancel his visit.

PF "money transfer becomes easier"


Now subscribers need not file separate form for EPF transfer

New Delhi, Sep 22 (PTI) Retirement fund body EPFO's subscribers are no longer required to file separate EPF transfer claims using Form-13 after changing jobs as it will now be done automatically.

Now, at the time of joining new employer, the employees can give details of their previous EPF account in new composite F-11 form to give declaration about their details, a senior official said.

Once the old EPF account details are provided in F-11 form, the funds will be automatically transferred by the EPFO to new EPF account, the official added.

The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to use new F-11 composite form, which is a declaration document filed by employee through employer to provide details like bank account number and Aadhaar.

At present, the formal sector employees are required to file Form-13 for EPF transfer to their new account on changing jobs.

The EPFO has also decided that the composite declaration form (F-11) will replace Form No 13 in all cases of auto transfer.




Army Targets Hideouts Of Naga Terror Outfit On Indo-Myanmar Border


The Indian army targeted hideouts of terror group NSCN-Khaplang in Nagaland along the India-Myanmar border today. The operation was carried out by special forces and troops of the Assam Rifles early this morning, around 4.45 am, said the Army's Eastern Command.


There was a firefight and heavy casualties were suffered by the NSCN-K, tweeted the Eastern Command.


Reports say Indian commandos exited the operation zone safely. The army has denied reports that its soldiers crossed over the border.


In surgical strikes against Pakistan a year ago, Indian army soldiers had crossed the Line of Control and targeted terror staging areas.

Two years ago, the army attacked separatist rebels just over the border with Myanmar in a rare cross-border strike that the government said showed its resolve to fight terrorism beyond the country's borders.


The raid was carried out in retaliation for the killing of 20 soldiers in an ambush in Manipur.

The mountainous northeast which borders China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, is home to dozens of insurgent groups.

'A Liability, But...': Pak Foreign Minister's Confession On Hafiz Saeed

Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif has admitted on the global stage that terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed "is a liability" for his country but says his government "needs time to get rid of this liability".

Speaking at the Asia Society seminar in New York, he said: "It is very easy to say that Pakistan is supporting Haqqanis, Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. They are liabilities...we have said they are liabilities... but give us time to get rid of these liabilities because we have do not have the assets to (deal with) these liabilities."

Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, roams free in Pakistan and recently launched a political party, saying he would contest elections in 2018.

Under growing international pressure to crack down on terrorists operating from its soil, Pakistan earlier this week opposed the registration of Hafiz Saeed's political party Milli Muslim League.

Note ban a disaster, GST poorly conceived: Yashwant Sinha lambasts Modi govt’s policies

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led central government’s economic policies,saying that the economy is headed for a downward spiral.

In an opinion piece for the Indian Express, Sinha lambasts the government’s decisions on the economic front. “I shall be failing in my national duty if I did not speak up even now against the mess the finance minister has made of the economy,” writes Sinha, adding that many within the BJP are aware of the situation, but fear speaking up.

In the no-holds barred piece, Sinha says demonetisation proved to be an “unmitigated economic disaster” and that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a “badly conceived and poorly implemented” havoc.

Sinha further took on BJP president Amit Shah for citing ‘technical’ reasons for slowdown in the GDP rate and wrote, “Even the SBI, the largest public sector bank of the country, has stated with unusual frankness that the slowdown is not transient or “technical”, it is here to stay and the slowdown in demand has only aggravated the situation. It has openly contradicted what the BJP president said just a few days ago that the slowdown in the last quarter was on account of “technical” reasons and will be corrected soon.”

Data is the new Oil -" India doesnt need to import it "

Speaking at the India Mobile Congress which is being held for the first time, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani said, "data is the new oil and India does not need to import it. We have it in super abundance and we have to ensure every Indian has access to it."

Data is the oxygen of a digital economy, we cannot deprive Indians of this vital life-sustaining resource. We have to provide Indians the ubiquitous access to high speed internet, Ambani said. 

The Indian economy will grow from $2.5 trillion to over $7 trillion to rank among top 3 economies in next 10 years. The fourth industrial revolution, fuelled by connectivity, data and Artificial Intelligence has begun, Ambani said at India Mobile Congress.

Growth in India's mobile data market is unparallelled in world. India's 4G coverage will be larger than 2G coverage in next 12 months, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani added.

Vodafone India MD and CEO Sunil Sood said "absolutely", when asked if the merger of the two telecom firms is on course. Sood spoke on the sidelines of India Mobile Congress here.

Stating that the merger process goes through various stages, including approvals from the CCI, Sebi, the NCLT and the telecom department, Sood said "we feel all of them are on track and in fact, we are going ahead on schedule".

On the timeline for completion of the merger, he said it will happen by 2018.

We must foster confidence in the society to tap new technologies like AI, internet of things, blockchain, etc.

Telecom minister Manoj Sinha on Tuesday said the Department of Telecom will organise the India Mobile Congress every year which would emerge as a global event in coming years.

"We want to organise India Mobile Congress every year. We expect that it will emerge as a global event in years to come," Sinha said.

The country is hosting the India Mobile Congress for the first time which provides a platform for mobile, internet and technology companies. Industry leaders Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Airtel and Kumar Mangalam Birla along with Sinha, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Oil and Skills Minister Dharmendra Pradhan are attending the three-day event.

"We are proud to say that our country is now hosting its own first ever mobile, internet and technology, the India Mobile Congress. We are hopeful that this will be a huge platform for mobile and internet technology sector in the sub-continent," Sinha had said.

About 150 foreign delegates and eight embassies including the US, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Israel are participating in the event.

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Shaheed Bhagat Singh: A look at the life, teachings of the revolutionary on his 110 birth anniversary

On September 28, 1907, a boy was born in the in Lyallpur district of the Punjab Province of British India, a boy who went on to create an unreplaceable space in India's struggle for freedom and in the hearts of Indians.

The nation is remembering freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his 110th birth anniversary today. The revolutionary leader who was given a death sentence when he was just 23 years old, continues to inspire many young Indians through the essays and books he wrote and with the kind of work he did for the nation.



As the first anniversary of surgical strikes conducted by Indian Army special forces draws nearer, the tension on the line of control (LoC) is palpable and the vigil tight. The soldiers of 4/1 Gorkha Rifles posted at Nowgam sector, which looks deep into the Leepa Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, have their fingers firmly on the trigger.


"The orders are very clear. Everyone is supposed to maintain a 24x7 vigil and anyone attempting infiltration will be engaged and eliminated. Any Pakistani post trying to push through terrorists into our territory will be destroyed," a senior Army officer told India Today TV. "We are keeping our powder dry."


The commanding officer of Nowgam post, Colonel Sharang Pun, told India Today TV that the troops have now been deployed in an innovative manner (using a grid deployment) so that they can intercept the infiltrators.


"Our surveillance capabilities have improved significantly in the last few years with the inclusion of radars and sensors which help us monitor our area of responsibility very effectively and more accurately," Pun said.


On the LoC, the Pakistan Army posts are nearby but not much activity could be seen there. Indian troops also maintain a low profile while moving outside their bunkers.

During the night patrolling that India Today TV team took up with the troops, one could see that patrol party is adopting extra care and moving with eyes and ears open literally.


Intelligence inputs have suggested that Pakistan may try to avenge the killings of its soldiers by India, and may choose the first anniversary of the surgical strikes for the action.


Army officers said in the recent times, ground sensors, infra-red thermal imagers and battlefield surveillance radars have been deployed in a big way along the LoC, to improve the monitoring of any movement of terrorists.


Officers also admit that after Gen Bipin Rawat took over as Army chief in January this year, the Indian stance on the LoC has also become "very aggressive" as they take direct shots at the Pakistani posts if they are seen aiding terrorists.


"Quick punitive action is taken in case Pakistanis violate ceasefire by firing at our posts, often to provide cover for terrorists trying to infiltrate. The action is so severe that it becomes difficult for the opposite posts to operate for a long time to come," said an officer posted on the LoC.


Due to the newly-adopted aggressive posture on the LoC, the morale of troops seems to be very high. The Gorkha troops that the India Today TV team interacted with sounded very confident.


"As our Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has said, we will receive the terrorists in the reception area on our side and send them two-and-a-half feet below the ground," the troops said in the KB battalion area.



After a month-long search for Gurmeet Ram Rahim's "adopted" daughter, Haryana Police today arrested Honeypreet Insan. The woman, who is in her mid-30s and is often referred to as "papa's favourite angel", has been handed over to the Panchkula police in Haryana by the Punjab police. Honeypreet had been on the run for the past 38 days since her self-proclaimed foster father Gurmeet Ram Rahim's conviction in two 

rape cases on August 25.

He is currently serving 20 years in Rohtak jail. Earlier today, in an exclusive interview with the India Today Group, Honeypreet had hinted at the possibility of hersurrender .Following the airing of the interview, the Haryana police formed a new team to arrest her and other top Dera aides. The development comes after the state policewasaccused of helping Honeypreet Insan and other Dera aides, who have been on the run for more than a month, even after lookout notices and non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against them by a Panchkula Court.

In the time that she was absconding, she had managed to escape the police drag net six times before finally being caught today morning. 

The Latest: Anti-nuclear weapons group "ICAN" wins Peace Prize for 2017 

OSLO, Norway — The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has won the Nobel Peace Prize.


The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the Geneva-based group "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."


The statement, read by committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, "ICAN" has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress."


Asked by journalists whether the prize was essentially symbolic, given that no international measures against nuclear weapons have been reached, Reiss-Andersen said that "what will not have an impact is being passive."

The Norwegian committee that chooses the Nobel Peace Prize winner sorted through more than 300 nominations for this year's award, which recognizes both accomplishments and intentions.

The prize announcement comes Friday in the Norwegian capital Oslo, culminating a week in which Nobel laureates have been named in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee does not release names of those it considers for the prize, but said 215 individuals and 103 organizations were nominated.

Observers see the Syrian volunteer humanitarian organization White Helmets as a top contender, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for shepherding the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program.

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Shell companies: 5,800 firms on scanner for money laundering in fight against Black Money

In a major breakthrough in its fight against black money, the government has zeroed in on 5,800 companies suspected to have laundered money after demonetisation, a government statement said on Friday.

The announcement comes after 13 banks submitted data on bank account operations and post-demonetisation transactions of some of the 209,032 companies that had been struck off the Registrar of Companies earlier this year.

“These 13 banks have submitted their first instalment of data. The data received from them pertains to merely about 5,800 companies (out of more than 2 lakh that were struck off) involving 13,140 accounts. This in itself is a revealing figure,” said the statement.

A few of the companies have been found to have more than 100 accounts in their names. One company had as many as 2,134 accounts.

On 12 September, the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) issued a statement saying that it had identified 106,000 directors of companies who did not file their financial statements or annual returns for three straight years, violating provisions of the Companies Act, 2013. Prior to that, it struck off 200,000 firms that were suspected to be shell companies and directed banks to restrict operation of bank accounts of such companies by the directors of such companies or their authorized representatives.

Shell firms, though not defined under the Companies Act, are those that adhere to basic company laws and are used to avoid taxes and convert black money into white.

According to the government statement, the data shows that these companies had multiple accounts with negative or low balance prior to 8 November. The account balances, however, reflected transactions worth several crore rupees post- demonetisation and continued till the companies were struck off.

In some cases, transactions have been recorded even after the company was struck off, the government said.

“It is informed that, after separating the loan accounts, these companies were having a meagre balance of Rs 22.05 crore to their credit on 8th November, 2016. However, from 9th November, 2016 i.e. after the announcement of demonetization, till the date of their being struck off, these companies have altogether deposited a huge amount of Rs4,573.87 crore in their accounts and withdrawn an equally large amount of Rs 4,552 crore. With loan accounts there was a negative opening balance of Rs 80.79 crore,” the statement added.

World Bank backs PM Modi

India's recent GDP slowdown is temporary, it will be corrected: World Bank

The recent slowdown in India's economic growth is an "aberration" mainly due to the temporary disruptions in preparation for the GST, the World Bank said on Thursday, pointing out that it will get corrected in the coming months. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim also said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is going to have a hugely positive impact on the Indian economy.

"Theres been a deceleration in the first quarter, but we think thats mostly due to temporary disruptions in preparation for the GST, which by the way is going to have a hugely positive impact on the economy," Kim told a group of reporters during a conference call ahead of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank here.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would be leading the Indian delegation to the annual meeting next week. Kim was responding to questions on slowdown in India's growth in the first quarter, which the Opposition and several economists have attributed to demonetisation and the GST.

Indias GDP grew 5.7 per cent on a year-on-year basis during the April-June period (Q1). During the previous quarter (January-March) the GDP had grown by 6.1 per cent. The GDP growth rate for the same quarter last year was 7.9 per cent.

Responding to questions, the World Bank president insisted that this slowdown is temporary. "We think that the recent slowdown is an aberration which will correct in the coming months, and the GDP growth will stabilise during the year. Weve been watching carefully, as Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has really worked on improving the business environment, and so, we think all of those efforts will pay off as well," Kim said.

Next week, both the World Bank and the IMF are expected to come out with their new GDP figures and growth projections for India and the rest of the world. "Let me just say, as I said from the beginning. Im not sure that I could say that any country in the world is investing enough in their human beings. I think there's no country in the world that cant improve its healthcare system. Theres no country in the world that cant improve its educational system," Kim said.

Ahead of the annual meeting, Kim said after years of disappointing growth, the global economy has begun to accelerate, and trade is picking up as well, but investment remains weak. "We are concerned that downside risks such as a rise in protectionism, policy uncertainty, or possible financial market turbulence could derail this fragile recovery," he said.

"Countries need to continue to advance their reform agenda, they need to invest in people. They need to build resilience against overlapping challenges, including the effects of climate change, natural disasters, as well as conflict, forced displacement, famine and disease."

Responding to a question on India and human capital, Kim said Prime Minister Modi has made a huge commitment to sanitation issues, and Swachh Bharat is one of the "most effective programmes" anywhere

"I know that Prime Minister Modi himself personally is very committed to improving opportunities for all of India. But, India has a lot of challenges. We look at some of the educational outcomes, weve looked at some of the health outcomes, and India has room to improve, like most other countries," he said.

"Our job is to take the political will and commitment that Prime Minister Modi has clearly demonstrated and has communicated to everyone, and then bring to India the most effective intervention that will, as quickly as possible, improve the stock of human capital," Kim said. Thats the message for every country in the world, he said.

"The Bank stands ready, with lots of new insights on how to improve health outcomes and improve education outcomes to help every country in the world with financing, with technical knowledge, and with direct support around implementation that will lead to a situation where we can talk about an emerging equality of opportunity, which has got to be the central focus of all this work," he said.

Kim said investing in people drives economic growth. But far too many leaders undervalue the contribution of human capital which one builds through effective investments in people through health care, quality education, jobs and skills. "Human capital is the key to reducing poverty and to reducing inequality," he said.

This year, the Bank is producing a new report in a series on The Changing Wealth of Nations.

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Honeypreet Insan distributed Rs 1.25 crore to spread violence in Panchkula: Haryana Police

Haryana police have claimed that Honeypreet Insaan, the adopted daughter of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had distributed Rs 1.25 crore through two dera functionaries —Chamkor Singh and Daan Singh — to the dera followers to spread violence in Panchkula on August 25.

A senior police officer told The Indian Express that the information about the distribution of the money has come to light during the ongoing interrogation of Honeypreet and other accused. Chamkor Singh and Daan Singh, who were arrested earlier for instigating violence, are currently lodged in judicial custody. As many as 36 persons were killed in the violence in Panchkula which took place soon after the conviction of Ram Rahim under the charges of rape on August 25.

However, when contacted, Panchkula Police Commissioner AS Chawla said, "Honeypreet is not cooperating with the investigating agency. She misled the investigators when she was taken to all the specific places in Bathinda. Her associate, Sukhdeep Kaur, is also following on the lines of Honeypreet Insaan."

Meanwhile, in another interesting revelation, one of the arrested accused, who was considered very close to Ram Rahim, was found castrated. This came to light during the medical examination of the accused. “His medical report has been shared with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is already probing the allegations of forceful castration at the dera," said a police official. Apart from this, the official said, one more accused was also found castrated.

Though, Chawla said, "It is a sensitive matter and we can not make any comment on this issue at this stage. The medical examination of all the accused, who were considered to be very close to Ram Rahim, is conducted by a special panel of doctors."

Meanwhile, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Friday demanded that a sitting high court judge probe the deadly violence in Panchkula which followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

"The entire episode leading to the Panchkula violence needs in-depth probe. A commission headed by a sitting judge of the high court should be set up," Hooda said while speaking to the journalists. He suggested that former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh, under whom a panel to probe the role of police and civil administration officials during the Jat reservation stir last year was constituted, should assist the commission.

A number of "conspiracy theories" have been doing the rounds, he said, adding that the state government had first said that Section 144 had been imposed in the city, but how did thousands of Dera followers gathered in Panchkula ahead of Ram Rahim's conviction. "The government first said those who had gathered there did not carry any weapons or sticks, but when violence broke out, they changed their stance," he said.

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Nobel Prize for Economics awarded to Richard H. Thaler

The Nobel Prize for Economics was on Monday awarded to Richard H Thaler. Thaler is professor at the University of Chicago for his “contribution to behavioural economics”. Born 1945 in East Orange, Professor Thaler has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on integrating economics with psychology.

In a statement, issued, the The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, in memory of Alfred Nobel 2017, has been awared to Richard H Thaler for having incorporated psychologically realistic assumptions into analyses of economic decision-making.

“By exploring the consequences of limited rationality, social preferences, and lack of self-control, he has shown how these human traits systematically affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes,” the statement read. Over the last few days, former RBI Governor and renowned economist Raghuram Rajan was also among those speculated to having been nominated for the top prize. 

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