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India-Singapore tax treaty amended, ‘reasonable burial’ to black money route, says Jaitley

India will start imposing capital gains tax on investments coming from Singapore from April and fully withdraw exemptions in two years as the two countries agreed to amend a decade-old treaty after New Delhi rolled back similar concessions to Mauritius and Cyprus earlier this year.

With the amendments, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday, investors based in Singapore will no longer benefit from tax exemptions on capital gains taxes.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photoFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters file photo

Changes to the treaty with the Asian financial centre had been widely expected after India this year similarly re-drafted a 33-year old tax treaty with Mauritius. The tax treaty between India and Singapore had a provision that any changes in the Mauritius treaty would automatically apply to the one with the Asian country.

The move to tighten tax treaties is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s anti-corruption drive, which includes tightening loopholes for firms or rich individuals setting up a presence in jurisdictions with tax exemption treaties.

Regulators have long suspected rich Indians were routing cash through these tax jurisdictions, and channeling money back to India in a practice known as “round tripping”.

“We are able to give a reasonable burial to this black money route,” Jaitley told reporters at a news briefing. Capital gains tax will be imposed on investments from Singapore that are made from April onwards. The tax rate will be half the prevailing Indian rate for the next two years and rates will then be equated by April 2019. Jaitley said.

Singapore has been an increasingly popular source of foreign investment into India.Foreign direct investment flows from Singapore stood at $50.6 billion between April 2000 and Sept 2016, contributing more than 16 percent to total capital inflows during that period, second only to Mauritius.

According to Abhishek Goenka, partner, direct tax, PwC India, the renegotiation of the tax treaty with Singapore marks the culmination of a long process of renegotiation of the three key treaties that India had which provided exemptions from capital gains tax, ie, Mauritius, Cyprus and Singapore. Due to this the final outcome with regards to the Singapore treaty is not a surprise and most investors were expecting that it would mirror the new Mauritius treaty, which is what it is as far as capital gains is concerned.

However, he said the press release lacks clarity on some of the key provisions.

“It remains to be seen whether the existing limitation of benefits clause will continue to apply for the 2 year phase out period, or whether there will be a somewhat diluted requirement. The press release does not have details on whether there is also a reduction in the rate of withholding tax on interest to 7.5% as in the case of Mauritius. This will be a critical aspect before there can be complete parity between the two treaties,” Goenka said.

With Reuters

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 10:15 IST

Demonetization: BJP demands apology for Parliament logjam, Congress blames govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused the opposition of hampering proceedings in parliament and demanded an apology from the latter for the ruckus created over demonetization. “The opposition is responsible for the deadlock that has been created in parliament. They are the ones who demanded a debate in the name of demonetization, but have always tried to escape from talks,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.Hussain further said that the TMC and Congress should apologies to parliament and the president for creating a ruckus in its proceedings and added that this kind of behaviour does not favour anyone.Congress, however, responded that the logjam was the government’s fault. “If there is uproar or logjam in Parliament, it is entirely of the government’s creation… it’s their duty to make it work,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ANI. “There is no logic in saying that the opposition is obstructing the Parliament, the demands are legitimate,” he said.Parliament was adjourned till Monday after the opposition described the government as anti-farmer and anti-poor government. The opposition raised slogans such as “Kisan Virodhi, Gareeb Virodhi, Yeh Sarkar Nahi Chalegi” (We will not accept this government which is anti-farmer and anti-poor).Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the demonetization was ruining the lives of farmers. President Pranab Mukherjee had on Thursday said, “For God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament,” he said.

Twitter in overdrive as MLA buys teen son a new Merc

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At this point on time, just a couple of weeks after the government’s demonetization plan was suddenly set in motion, people are still queueing up at banks and ATMs around the country, trying to withdraw their hard-earned money to pay for everyday expenses. Yet, some of the political class seem to be exempt from this situation.Mumbai MLA Ram Kadam has been thrust into the social media spotlight over the past few days, when it came to light he’d bought his son a Mercedes convertible for his birthday. Why is that so strange to hear you say? Why are social media users making this a controversy? That would probably because his son is a teenager.The BJP MLA for Ghatkopar (West) posted a photo to Twitter on Saturday last week, which showed the seemingly underage child standing in front of a swanky new Mercedes, with the caption reading, “Happy Birthday to my dearest son Aum R Kadam!!! This my loving gift for him!!!” The tweet has since been the subject of much controversy online, with those weighing in divided into three groups. The most obvious of those, is the group of people appalled at the MLA’s somewhat careless gifting, presenting an adolescent boy with a sports car of his own. “A car is not a toy, it’s a lethal killing machine in the hands of kids!” said one Twitter user Jasumati Patel, “Be a responsible dad for God’s sake!” To which Abhishek Chotani, added, “Your kid is a minor, do you want to end up in police lock up? And what’s this shameful display of wealth?”Still others were curious as to how the MLA could afford such a lavish gift for a child, and whether the authorities would be investigating him for black money income. “Did Ram Kadam buy this car as soon as he was informed of demonitization?” asked Twitter user @kunfaaya. “Were all BJP politicians given intimation?”Another user @scepticAli joked, “Why can’t you gift your brat a Swiss account like normal congress politicians?”Of course, the third faction of Twitteratti weighing in was less concerned with Ram Kadam’s reasoning behind the gift, and more with the possibility of his generosity. Multiple Twitter users asked if Kadam was looking to adopt, but alas, they received no responses. Meanwhile, the MLA has still to comment on the issue at hand.

Two PILs in Delhi HC against martyr status, Rs 1 cr aid to Ram Grewal by AAP govt

New Delhi: Two PILs were filed on Saturday in the Delhi High Court against the AAP government’s decision to declare ex-serviceman, Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide over the One Rank One Pension (Orop) scheme, a “martyr” and give his family Rs 1 crore financial aid.

The Public Interest Litigations (PILs) said the act of the Delhi government will promote more suicides for the award money and it can not “glorify” the suicide.

The Delhi cabinet has approved the government’s proposal to provide Rs 1 crore financial aid to the family of Grewal and decided to declare him a ‘martyr’.

One of the PILs filed by a central government ex-employee Puran Chand Arya, through advocate Abhishek Chaudhary, said the act of suicide is a “cowardly act” and it can “never deserve martyrdom/shaheed status”.

Ram Grewal. PTIRam Grewal. PTI

Ram Grewal. PTI

“Such acts amount to promotion of suicide in the society which is a matter of national shame. Government is wasting public money for political gain.

“Delhi government can’t spend the hard earned money of tax payers from the government fund, as it shows that the suicide is being glorified, honoured and recognised,” it said.

Another PIL filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik said granting martyr status to Grewal is a “clear abuse, insult and disdain to the real martyrs who sacrifice their lives for the nation and for the good cause”.

The act is not only “illegal, arbitrary, biased, malafide, motivated, and amounting to misappropriation of public funds, but it is also a clear case of glorifying and abetting an amiss, heinous and coward act of suicide, attempt and abetment thereof is a crime under the Indian Penal Code”, said the plea.

The petitions also objected against Delhi government’s decision of granting job to any of Grewal’s family members, saying the decision is against public interest by curtailing and infringing the fundamental rights of the people, particularly the unemployed youth of Delhi who are waiting and trying for government employment on their own merit.

The Delhi government’s act would send a wrong message and signal to the people and to the society that “committing suicide is an act of heroism and martyrdom”, and thus the same is required to be curbed at the very threshold, said Kaushik.

The pleas sought direction for the Arvind Kejriwal government to not grant or bestow status of martyr to Grewal as it would lead to promotion of suicides among the citizen for the huge amount given by Delhi government.

The pleas also sought direction to the governments to form a uniform recognition or compensation policy for the martyrs so that all of them would be treated equally by the government.

“There is no criteria at present either with Central government or state governments to classify a person as martyr or shaheed. In the absence of any such criteria/definition, the exercise of spending the limited public money is likely to be guided by arbitrariness, eg only those people may get the benefit of compensation whose cases have been highlighted in the media/public glare.”

The PILs would likely come up for hearing on Monday.

Kejriwal obligated to produce evidence on judge phone tapping, says Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Congress on Tuesday urged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to produce evidence to substantiate his allegations that the phones of judges are being tapped.Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “If true the charges are very serious one. It becomes more serious because it comes from a constitutional functionary such as the chief minister. Until and unless he produces some evidence for this blanket white statement, I would not make any allegations. Mr Kejriwal is obligated to produce some material.”Kejriwal yesterday claimed to have overheard judges expressing concern about their phones being tapped. Kejriwal gave this statement at Vigyan Bhawan in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Supreme Court Chief Justice TS Thakur, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, who were attending the Silver Jubilee function of the high court.Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected Kejriwal’s allegation. Kejriwal had said that it would be an assault on democracy and independence of judiciary if judges’ phones are tapped. “I deny with all the authority under my command that there has not been any tapping of the phones of judges,” Prasad said

UP polls 2017: Congress likely not to be part of ‘grand alliance’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the Samajwadi Party (SP) continued its efforts to form a “grand alliance” for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the Congress on Friday appeared ruling itself out of it, saying there was “no movement” forward and it had “no plans” of joining it.”As of today, there is no grand alliance, neither is there any proposal, nor any such possibility or intention,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.Faced with a volley of questions on the issue at the party briefing, he said he could not respond to “speculation or hypothetical questions”. He was asked about the possibility of such an alliance in the wake of JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav’s meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi three days ago and with party general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday. Yadav had also met the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) Uttar Pradesh unit chief, Shivpal Yadav, on Thursday.Interestingly, on Thursday Shivpal had hinted at a tie-up with the RLD and the Congress to stop the “communal forces” in the Assembly polls due early next year. Two days back, 17 Congress MLAs from the state had a meeting with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi where they conveyed to him that he should look at forming an alliance with the “secular forces” to fight the Assembly polls.Since the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was reluctant to go for an alliance, the possible options put forward by most of the MLAs were the RLD and the SP. A section of Congress leaders has been saying that there is a possibility of an alliance with the “minor players” such as the RLD and the JD(U) in Uttar Pradesh.

TMC MP Abhishek Bannerjee in stable condition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Trinamool Congress MP and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee”s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who underwent a surgery for “orbital floor fracture” caused in a car accident, is in a stable condition now. As per a medical bulletin released by the hospital this morning, the TMC youth wing President ”slept well throughout the night but complained of persistent pain which is considered quite normal in such circumstances”.”All his vitals, including blood pressure, pulse are stable,” it read.Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, with other specialists, would visit Banerjee for a check as both dressing and eye check-up were scheduled today, the statement added. “It is expected that gradually he (Banerjee) will be put on normal diet,” Bulle Vue Clinic CEO P Tondon said. Banerjee”s car had met with an accident on the National Highway-2 near Singur in Hooghly district on October 18.

Varun Gandhi denies ‘false and frivolous’ allegations of leaking defence secrets

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Varun Gandhi refuted allegations of being “honey-trapped” into leaking defence secrets on Saturday. “I would like to point out the false and frivolous allegations and the claims made are wild and unsubstantiated,” Gandhi wrote in an open letter addressed to the “people of India”.Gandhi asserted, “I’ve never met Edmonds Allen who has written this letter containing these allegations, nor do I know him,” and added, “I’m taking legal recourse against those who have deliberately sought to tarnish my reputation and public standing.”Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav had on Friday released a letter written by Edmonds Allen, a New York-based lawyer, to the PMO last month that Varun was “honey-trapped” and compromised by arms dealer Abhishek Verma, a charge the BJP MP has stoutly denied.Allen alleged that Verma “blackmailed” Varun, a member of Defence Consultative Committee, into sharing sensitive information on crucial arms matters. The seven-page letter goes on to say that the BJP MP stood “compromised” because of his pictures with foreign escorts and prostitutes. Varun has rejected these charges, saying he has not met Verma since 2004 and threatened to file a defamation suit against Bhushan and Yadav over the charges.On Friday, Yadav told ANI, “In the year 2005 under the Congress regime Submarine were purchased and all know that this deal was made in an unfair manner. The whole country knows that the wrong doing in this deal was camouflaged by the CBI and the then Congress government. The question is why this case has not been opened under the ANI, “In the year 2005 under the Congress regime Submarine were purchased and all know that this deal was made in an unfair manner. The whole country knows that the wrong doing in this deal was camouflaged by the CBI and the then Congress government. The question is why this case has not been opened under the BJP regime?””Why no action was taken against Abhishek Verma who was accused then. I guess the BJP did not take action because their own MP is involved and second if the saffron party would have taken action against in this case, then it would have not been able to strike the Rafale aircraft deal with the same company,” he added.With ANI/PTI inputs

BJP evasive on allegations against Varun Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after allegations against its MP Varun Gandhi, the BJP maintained a stoic silence on the issue. The party neither defended nor castigated him on Friday.A BJP leader said a party general secretary had been asked to talk to Gandhi, after the Swaraj Abhiyan led by Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav accused him of leaking defence secrets to arms middleman Abhishek Verma after he was “honey-trapped”.”He has issued a clarification. There is no need to offer further comments,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.While the party appeared to be in a bind on dealing with the issue, sources said the it did not fear much political fallout of the allegations which went back over ten years. That party leaders have been asked to refrain from commenting was evident on Friday.Amidst the silence on the party’s part, speculation was rife on Friday that the BJP leadership was planning to give a show cause notice to Gandhi.His relations with the leadership seemed to have soured further after the poster campaign in Allahabad during a party conclave in June this year. Gandhi, was, as of now, left to defend himself against the allegations made by Swaraj Abhiyan.”I am going to turn 37 now. I have never met him since I entered public life in 2004. The only reason why I even know of him is because his parents were members of Parliament and was a respected family. I knew them as many other leaders knew them,” he had said.While the party refrained from getting drawn into the debate, it’s Allahabad MP Shyamcharan Gupta told a TV channel that the allegations were serious and should be probed.

Varun Gandhi was honey-trapped by arms dealer: Letter to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>American whistleblower C Edmonds Allen has claimed in a letter to PM Modi that BJP leader and MP Varun Gandhi was honey trapped by arms dealer Abhishek Verma. Allen reportedly submitted dozens of photographs to back his claim and also sent letters to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and NSA Ajit Doval. Varun Gandhi used to be a member of the Defence Consultative Committee, said several media reports.Varun Gandhi has denied the reports, claiming that while he knew Abhishek Verma from his college days, he never met him when he was MP. Gandhi, it’s claimed was being blackmailed into cooperation because he had been photographed with Uzbek escorts. Gandhi has claimed if any such pictures exist, they are ‘morphed’. Air Marshal Harish Masand, it’s believed was also captured in a similar sting.

BRICS declaration doesn’t have a single word on Pakistan: Congress blasts Modi govt

Wed, 19 Oct 2016-11:45pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress on Wednesday dismissed government’s claim of isolation of Pakistan at the just- concluded BRICS summit and asked what was it chest-thumping about.”We do not have in the BRICS Summit Declaration a single word for Pakistan. We do not have in the BRICS Declaration a single word – forget action – on Jaish. We do not have in the BRICS Declaration a single word about LeT.”We do not have in the Declaration a single word about cross border terrorism,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters, insisting that the media has been “fed by the staple diet of chest-thumping, self-congratulatory press blitzkrieg by soldiers of the BJP”.He insisted that the Declaration does “not have a single word of support” on the issue from either China or Russia – India’s long time friend. He said what was significant in the Declaration is that there is “specific reference” to several other threatening organisations which threaten China and Russia “but those who threaten India have no place. What are you chest-thumping about?” “You decide for yourself whether the glass is one quarter full and three quarters empty,” Singhvi remarked.

GST: Congress cautions govt on exceeding ‘reasonable limits’ of tax rates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the GST Council ended its meeting without a decision on rates structure, Congress on Wednesday cautioned the government that it could face problems in the passage of relevant legislation in Parliament if it exceeds “reasonable limits” of tax rates.”If government ignores the concerns of political parties or if it exceeds reasonable limits of tax rates or reduces efficacy of levy by increasing the exclusion or by increasing diversity of rates, they may face problems and issues in Parliament,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters. Replying to questions on the issue, he said the party has not been consulted and awaiting a word from the government on the issues concerned.”We have not been consulted. Let us wait to hear from them. We do not know degree of consensus or lack of it. Main point is that ultimately all decisions have to be taken in Parliament and all issues will be in the Act which Parliament is yet to pass.” His remarks came at a time when a decision on GST rate was today put off to next month even as the Centre and states converged towards a consensus on levying a cess on luxury and in goods in addition to the highest rate of tax in the new regime.Only two days ago, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had pitched for keeping the tax rate at 18 per cent or lower so that the poor are not unduly burdened. Insisting an 18 per cent cap on the GST rate is in everybody’s interest, he had said since 2005, Congress has wanted a GST that is not only pro-industry and pro-trade but also non inflationary for common people especially the poor.

What are you chest-thumping about, Congress asks govt on Brics

What are you chest-thumping about, Congress asks govt on Brics


New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday dismissed government’s claim of isolation of Pakistan at the just-concluded Brics summit and asked what was it chest-thumping about.

“We do not have in the Brics Summit Declaration a single word for Pakistan. We do not have in the Brics Declaration a single word – forget action – on Jaish. We do not have in the Brics Declaration a single word about LeT.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with other Brics leaders in Goa. PTI

PM Narendra Modi with other Brics leaders in Goa. PTI

“We do not have in the Declaration a single word about cross–border terrorism,” party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters, insisting that the media has been “fed by the staple diet of chest-thumping, self-congratulatory press blitzkrieg by soldiers of the BJP”.

He insisted that the Declaration does “not have a single word of support” on the issue from either China or Russia-India’s long-time friend.

He said what was significant in the Declaration is that there is “specific reference” to several other threatening organisations which threaten China and Russia “but those who threaten India have no place. What are you chest-thumping about?”

“You decide for yourself whether the glass is one-quarter full and three-quarters empty,” Singhvi remarked.

West Bengal: TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee out of danger

Wed, 19 Oct 2016-02:53pm , Kolkata , PTI

Abhishek, Mamata Banerjee’s nephew met with an accident on Tuesday on NH-2 near Singur, while returning to Kolkata from Murshidabad. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Trinamool Congress MP and the party’s youth wing president Abhishek Banerjee’s health condition improved on Wednesday, a day after he met with an accident on NH-2 near Singur, while returning to Kolkata from Murshidabad.”The condition of Abhishek Banerjee is much better. He is completely out of danger. The CT scan report was normal. An MRI has also been conducted today. We are waiting for the report and are planning to shift him to a normal cabin in a day or two,” hospital CEO P Tandon said.Abhishek is presently in ITU, Tandon said.

TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee severely injured in car accident

Trinamool Congress MP and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s nephew Abhishek Banerjee was seriously injured when his car met with an accident on the Durgapur Expressway in Hooghly district on Tuesday, the police said.

“The accident occurred at Ratanpur. He is being shifted to a nursing home in Kolkata,” an officer manning the state police control room said.

Banerjee, who is an MP from the Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal, was on his way to Kolkata from Murshidabad when his car crashed. He is also the national president of the youth wing of All India Trinamool Congress.

According to News 18, at the time of the accident, Banerjee was the only person in the car apart from the driver. According to the report, former Congress leader Manas Bhuniya, who recently joined TMC was also accompanying Banerjee on the trip to Murshidabad, but he was not in the same car.

Abhishek’s security personnel were in another car behind him. They rescued Abhishek from the car which was heavily damaged and took him to the hospital. Further details on Banerjee’s situation are awaited.

With inputs from IANS

Kota: 14th suicide case by coaching student; aspirant appeals brother to fulfill parents’ dream

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another case of suicide by a coaching student in Kota, a 16-year-old medical aspirant from Bihar has killed himself by jumping into the Chambal River and left a video message for his younger brother asking him to work hard to fulfill their parents’ dreams.Aman Gupta, a class 11 student from Radhopur in Bihar, jumped into the river from the Hanging Bridge in the afternoon on Thursday, Rafiquedeen, SI, RK Puram police station said. He had taken admission into a primer institute this year and was preparing for NEET. He was staying at a rented accommodation in Mahaveernagar II area.Before taking the extreme step, Aman made a video clip with his mobile phone at the Bridge apologising to his parents for his action and for not being able to do what they had expected of him. He also appealed to his younger brother, Chhotu, to study hard to fulfill their parents’ dream, the SI said.He said, Aman had left his room around 9 AM on Thursday and around 1 PM he made calls to his friends informing them of his decision. His friends rushed to the spot and immediately informed the police also.After a rescue operation by the police and RAC personnel, the body could be recovered late in the evening, the SI said.Aman’s footwear and his mobile phone were recovered from the place, the SI said. According to sources at his coaching institute, Aman was doing well in studies. “Aman was a brilliant student and his study records show he has scored over 80% marks in the tests conducted by the coaching institute,” said an official of the institute.Another medical aspirant from Chattisgarh, Abhishek (17), had on September 28, committed suicide by jumping from a hilltop in Gaparnath area. This is the 14th suicide case by coaching students this year in Kota since January, despite several measures being taken to check such incidents.Around 1.75 lakh students from across the country are taking coaching for various competitive exams in science stream at different coaching institutes in the city.

Too big a trade partner: Why Indian politicians’ call to boycott Chinese goods will fail

By Abhishek Waghmare

Indian politicians are currently leading a campaign to boycott Chinese goods. But an IndiaSpend analysis shows why this will fail: China is India’s largest trade partner, a sixth of India’s imports are Chinese, up from a tenth in 2011-12, while India’s exports to its rival have halved over the same period.


Images like these are now being commonly shared on Whatsapp

Imports from China grew at 20% over two years and 5% over five years, to $61 billion. These goods range from power plants and set top boxes to Ganesh idols. This is despite the fact that India’s imports have generally fallen over the last five years — from $490 billion (Rs 23 lakh crore) to $380 billion (Rs 25 lakh crore)—because of a fall in global oil prices.

India’s exports to China have fallen from $18 billion (Rs 86,000 crore) in 2011-12 to $9 billion (Rs 58,000 crore) in 2015-16. Apart from cotton, copper, petroleum and industrial machinery, India does not export much to China. This means that India buys six times the merchandise it sells to China.

The Export-Import Imbalance

Cellphones, laptops, solar cells, fertilisers, keyboards, displays and communication equipment — including earphones — these are India’s chief imports from China, according to our analysis of ministry of commerce data.


Other major imports from China include tuberculosis and leprosy drugs, antibiotics, children’s toys, industrial springs, ball bearings, LCD and LED displays, routers, TV remote controllers and set top boxes.

The political storm

Despite this, political leaders including Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal (United) from Bihar, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the newly inducted finance minister of Assam, and Anil Vij, health minister of Haryana, are appealing for a boycott of ‘Made In China’ goods.

“People should not buy Chinese goods. Instead, Indian goods should be used. Trade with China is affecting our country. China is not our friend nation. China can buy weapons with whatever money it earns. There is a possibility that the weapons are given to enemy countries…We should focus on Make in India,” Vij was quoted by Indian Express on 4 October, 2016.

Stagnant manufacturing figures

China was referred to as the ‘world’s manufacturing powerhouse’ by former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan and chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian in a February 2006 research paper. India, however, “failed to match its neighbor in this process”, asserted the paper, published by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research.

Stagnating indices for the manufacturing sector show that India is still struggling to compete with China. Despite a record foreign direct investment of $55 billion in 2015-16, private investment in manufacturing is still sluggish.

Why China bazars are popular

IndiaSpend visited Manish market, the hub of imported Chinese goods in Mumbai’s heart. Chinese products here are cheaper, available in bulk, neatly packaged and easy to buy.

“If the 50 different types of LED lamps that I sell were available from say, Surat, at a cheaper rate and at my doorstep, why would I go for Chinese lamps?” asked a lamp distributor and retailer, requesting anonymity. “If I had to buy these in India, this collection would cost me double.”


China moved forward with rapid market reforms from the 1980s, propelled by the establishment of special economic zones. Land and labour reforms helped it ramp up its production capacity. The result is that India’s iron, steel and fertiliser production is a tenth of China’s.

China’s export story is also driven by ease of market access. Take the example of Sumant Kasliwal, who runs an apparel e-commerce start-up in Mumbai. After two years of shopping for merchandise in India, he switched to China two years ago. His sales have tripled since.

Market access is easier in China

Customers rarely have to waste time in China searching for markets and products, said Kasliwal. It took him less than a week to buy a three-month consignment that ranged from jewelry to fabric.

“Even small market-towns like Yiwu — comparable to Varanasi in terms of population — have a one-stop, dedicated market for all consumer durables, from fashion to home accessories, with cost and quality options,” he said. “In India, it would take us weeks.”


(Abhishek Waghmare is an analyst with IndiaSpend)

Allahabad: Police arrest VHP activist who wore burqa and molested women

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A VHP activist, along with his business associate, was thrashed and handed over to the police for allegedly donning a burqa and sneaking into a gathering of women at a place of worship, a charge denied by the brother of the accused who claimed that it was a fabricated case. The incident took place at Umarpur village in Mauaima police station area of the district’s trans-Ganga region, about 40 kms from the city, yesterday. Abhishek Yadav and his business partner Atif had visited an Imambara where a function in the run up to Moharram was being held, police station in-charge Satinder Singh said. He said Yadav, whose wife is a member of the Zila Panchayat, had reached the venue allegedly wearing a burqa which enabled him to sit close to the women. An outcry ensued when some people caught a glimpse of his jeans and sports shoes underneath the burqa, following which the men present at the Imambara ripped off his burqa and beat him up besides thrashing Atif who had tried to intervene. According to Singh, Yadav, who was an active member of the VHP, has been booked in the past for rioting and creating communal disturbances. A case was registered against him yesterday and IPC sections for similar offences yesterday. Meanwhile, a cross-complaint has been lodged by Yadav’s brother Veersen who has alleged that “Abhishek and Atif were waylaid close to the Imambara by a group of marauders who brutally assaulted the duo and snatched away their valuables before dragging them to the police station and fabricating a story”.”Those who attacked Abhishek nursed a grouse against him because of his association with the VHP and a thriving business of ready made garments and sports goods,” he said “They made him wear a burqa after beating him up, clicked his photographs and posted the same on social media to create the false impression that he was trying to create communal disturbances at a place of worship,” Yadav’s brother alleged. Police is investigating allegations made by both sides. Yadav and Atif have been admitted to a hospital for treatment, and adequate deployment of forces have been made in the village as a precautionary measure, the police station in charge said.

No radioactive leakage detected: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government on Sunday said the emission from a medical shipment at cargo terminal of IGI Airport in New Delhi was within permissible limit and did not fall in the category of radioactive leakage.”Officers from BARC and NDRF have cleared at 1355 hrs that there is no anticipation of any harm because there is no radioactive leakage,” senior government officials said. They said the emission “is within permissible limits”.A regular consignment of 16 packets of material for cancer treatment arrived by Air France AF 226 last night at 2230 hrs, officials noted. They further added that consignee is Dhiti Biotech India Pvt Ltd. while the consigner is CISBIO International and 10 packages were picked up by ground handling agency CELEBI.In a statement, District Magistrate Abhishek Singh said that “an inadvertently wrong radiological emergency message was conveyed”.”A nuclear medicine Molibdenum 99 was being brought from Air France flight on behalf of B L Kapoor Hospital, Pusa Road. The quantity of radiation emitted from the nuclear medicine is below 1 mill rongen (measurement of radiation). There is no beta radiation in the surrounding areas and there is no leakage. Hence it cannot be termed as an emergency. A final call has thus been taken and the Radiological Emergency has been called off at 01.55 PM,” he said.

Entire SAARC diplomatic body united against Pakistan: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As Sri Lanka pulled out of the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, scheduled to take place in November, the Congress on Saturday asserted that the entire diplomatic body is united against Pakistan. Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi told ANI that there can be lot of disagreements on SAARC issue, but on terrorism they are united.”I think it’s good that these things are now sorted out. The message is unequivocal, unambiguous and clear namely that the entire SAARC is united. We can have lot of disagreements on SAARC issues, but on terrorism we are one. You will not be allowed to export terrorism and you cannot be a good neighbour in a SAARC context while still exporting terrorism,” he added.Sri Lanka is the fifth country after India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan to pull out of the summit. In an official communication, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry told SAARC chair Nepal, “Sri Lanka regrets that the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad on 9th and 10th November 2016.”The statement said that Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard, the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner.The SAARC summit cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws.India on Tuesday announced that it would not attend the summit conveying the current SAARC Chair Nepal that in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit.

Delhi: Car thief killed in encounter with police, deceased’s family alleges encounter was fake

New Delhi: A car thief was killed in an encounter with police in outer Delhi’s Kanjhawla area on Wednesday even as his family alleged that it was a fake encounter.

The deceased was identified as Abhishek while police is looking for his accomplices.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Police received a call at 6.50 am that a car that had been stolen from the Uttam Nagar area had been spotted in the Karala area that comes under the jurisdiction of Kanjhawla police station.

Head constable Vikram and constable Lal Chand reached the area and tried to intercept the car, DCP(Outer) MN Tiwari said.

They signalled the car to stop near Inder Enclave phase-II, Mubarakpur Road but the occupants of the car opened fire on police, he said.

In retaliation, police also fired at the criminals.

“They tried to engage our men by opening fire and our officers retaliated by firing back and we had fired two rounds in response,” he added.

During the firing, the occupants sped away towards Kanjhawla, the officer said.

Later, police got to know that a man had been admitted to Savitri hospital with bullet injuries. On investigation, it was found that the injured man was the car thief who was shot in the police firing.

Abhishek was then shifted to Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospital where he succumbed to injuries, the officer said.

According to the officer, the car had two to three occupants and police have launched a search to nab them.

Police is also trying to find whether Abhishek was a member of a gang of auto-lifters.

With the help of GPS system installed in the robbed car, the vehicle was found in a field in Kulasi village in Bahadurgarh area of Haryana.

Abhishek’s family is alleging that he was killed in a fake encounter by police.

‘Udta Punjab’ exposes plight of women trapped in India’s drug trade | Reuters

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new Bollywood film gives a rare glimpse into the exploitation and enslavement of women in India’s drug trade, highlighting how the stigma surrounding women drug users leaves them vulnerable to abuse.

‘Udta Punjab’ (Flying Punjab), directed by Abhishek Chaubey and released last week, shows how one of India’s most prosperous states has been blighted by drug use, with corrupt politicians and police complicit in the trade that largely afflicts young men.

Alongside a drug-addicted rock star, the film tells the story of a nameless young female migrant worker, who is enslaved by a gang of drug dealers, made an addict and forced to have sex with multiple men.

Eventually she escapes amidst a dramatic shoot-out, as the rock star and a corrupt cop turned good come to her rescue.

Once considered a male-only problem in India, drug addiction is rising among women, who are more likely to be subject to abuse and less likely to seek help, experts say.

“We have seen a big uptick in female drug users in recent years, even though a majority of them don’t seek help because of the enormous stigma they suffer,” said Shaveta Sharma, a senior psychologist at the Hermitage rehabilitation centre in Amritsar in Punjab.

“They suffer far more than male users, as they are neglected by their families and the state on one hand, and physically and sexually abused by dealers and partners on the other,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

About 70 percent of the state’s young men are addicted to drugs or alcohol, according to a 2013 government report. One in 10 female students has taken drugs, it said.


There are more than 11 million drug users in India, according to recent data, which does not show how many are women.

Once confined to India’s wealthy, substance abuse now straddles all socio-economic groups and ranges from addiction to heroin and cannabis, to methamphetamine and codeine-based cough syrup.

The impact of drug use is far greater on women because they “tend to lack access to the continuum of care”, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual drug report this week.

Women drug users are more vulnerable and more stigmatised, and far less likely to enter treatment programmes, it said.

In India, more than 40 percent of female drug users surveyed by UNODC for a 2008 report – among the few to focus on women – said they were forced to have sex in exchange for drugs or money. A third said their livelihood came from sex work and/or peddling drugs.

Such abuse is graphically illustrated in the film, which shows the young woman locked up and constantly drugged while a series of men abuse her. In typical Bollywood fashion, she finally shakes the drug habit herself through sheer grit.

The UNODC predicted in its 2008 report that there would be a “feminisation” of substance use among women in India, with patterns imitating male substance abuse, including rising violence and crime.

Last year, the Indian government pledged more funds for counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.

But the stigma persists: ‘Udta Punjab’, which has been declared a critical and commercial hit, ran into trouble with the censor board for its representation of drug use, and state officials complained that it defamed Punjab.

Sharma said it is a fair depiction and a call for action.

“We need a completely different approach to female drug use, and we need it soon,” Sharma said. “Otherwise, we will have a very serious problem on our hands.”

(Reporting by Rina Chandran, Editing by Jo Griffin and Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit to see more stories.)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Why no criminal charges have been framed against Khadse? Congress asks

Congress on Monday kept up its attack on Modi government on the Eknath Khadse issue wondering why criminal charges have not been framed against the former Maharashtra Minister who was forced to resign last week.Seeking to puncture Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion of “zero tolerance against corruption”, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said it took three months for BJP to act against Khadse.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Have criminal charges been framed against Shri Khadse? Modiji said he was going to fight corruption but it took three months to act against Shri Khadse and that only after many protests,” Singhvi told reporters.In Mumbai, Maharashtra Congress demanded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis book the former Revenue Minister under stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) over his alleged links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.The party’s Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam also termed as “mild” Fadnavis’ decision to order a probe by a retired High Court judge into the allegations against Khadse. Khadse, facing a string of allegations of graft in a land issue and purchase of a reserved land near Pune in the name of his kin at a throwaway price, resigned on Saturday.

Identify two most polluted cities in each state, study emissions from diesel, petrol: NGT to states

While putting off extension of diesel vehicle ban to other cities in the country, the National Green Tribunal, on Tuesday, asked all states to identify two most polluted cities in their states within three weeks. Additionally, it has asked states to file a detailed affidavit on vehicular pollution in these two cities, the different sources of pollution, data on petrol and diesel emissions, ambient air quality and impact of mining and industries on air quality. “We need complete data and through their secretaries, the states should file affidavits within three weeks,” said Swatanter Kumar, chairperson, NGT.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier on Monday, the NGT bench had asked all states to submit data on cities worst affected by pollution. But most states asked the bench for more time to submit the data. Only Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand and Bihar was ready with data on pollution.After the Supreme Court banned registration of new diesel vehicles and the southern bench of NGT banned diesel vehicles in Kerala, a petition was moved to extend the ban across other major cities. Meanwhile, the union ministry of heavy industries had opposed the plea for extending the ban to other cities. Arguing against the plea for the ministry of heavy industries, additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, said, “A lot of investment is coming in the sector which will provide a lot of employment opportunity. A ban will also affect Make In India.”Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, too, opposed the extension of the ban. Appearing for SIAM, senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that instead of using a “sledgehammer” approach, any decision should be taken after source apportionment studies are carried out. “We need source apportionment studies that provide data on emissions fuel wise and also as per vehicles,” said Singhvi.

Two years of Modi govt: BJP, Abhishek come out in defence of Amitabh Bachchan

Congress, on Wednesday, launched a direct attack on superstar Amitabh Bachchan, questioning the government if it was an appropriate time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to share the dais with the megastar at an upcoming social event as the megastar’s name allegedly appeared in the Panama Papers reports.

Amitabh Bachchan. Getty ImagesAmitabh Bachchan. Getty Images

Amitabh Bachchan. Getty Images

The actor, who is the brand ambassador for the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign, will host a segment of the programme to be hosted by R Madhavan, the Times Now reported.

The event is part of the two-year celebration of the Modi government at the Centre.

“Would it be fair? ….What message it would send to investigating agencies going into siphoning of funds abroad
illegally” when they see the Prime Minister sharing dais with the accused, party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

“We have no objection to Amitabh Bachchan hosting NDA programme, but what signal will it sent to investigation agencies?” asked the Congress spokesperson according to the ANI.

Raising several questions over the issue, he wondered whether the mega star hosting the event which is expected to
be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not dilute the fight against black money.

He recalled that Prime Minister has time and again vowed to bring back black money stashed abroad and punish those
guilty. During the poll campaign, BJP leaders had promised to deposit Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh in the bank account of every individual once the black money is uncovered.

The government is organising the event—Zara Muskura Do (Smile Please)—which will have several performances and
programmes highlighting its “achievements”.

The show will be beamed across the country by Doordarshan.

Various schemes and programmes, particularly Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Digital India and Rural Electrification, will
be highlighted during the show.

However, the in-charge, Communications, All India Congress Committee Randeep Surjewala might have exceeded his brief as he was wrong in saying that the megastar was hosting the event.

Reacting to the Congress charges, Bachchan in response to a Times Now query, said, “I am doing only a segment of the programme as the brand ambassador of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign. It is for the government to decide.”

Later in the evening, son Abhishek Bachchan, denied that the senior Bachchan is hosting any political event.

“He’s not hosting any political event. He’s part of a function where he is talking about educating the girl child. That’s not a political event,” said Abhishek.

The BJP also came out in strong defence of the megastar for his association with an event to mark the second anniversary of Modi government despite a probe against him after his name appeared in Panama Papers expose.

A host of BJP leaders, including Union ministers said the probe against Bachchan has nothing to do with the event linked with a social issue of protecting the girl child which the megastar will attend on 28 May and attacked Congress for its “mental disability” in raising a row over it.

BJP leader and Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said the probe into Bachchan’s name cropping up in Panama
Papers will have no affect if he attends the event to mark two years of Modi government on Saturday.

“See, practically, participation of Amitabh Bachchan and the investigation with regards to Panama Papers, certainly, it will not have any connectivity. Investigation will be done by an independent agency, they will take care of things.

“Even today, we have seen so many cases against politicians. Agencies do their duty independently. There is no
harm,” he said when asked about Congress’ charge that the actor’s presence will not ‘go down well’ with probe agencies.

Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said the megastar is only hosting a programme and he is not yet proven guilty by any court.

“You may have questions, but has he been labelled guilty for that. His name has come. Let the court of law take action. If somebody is hosting a programme for celebrating our two years and he is not a criminal, he is a respected person of society. If his name has come, let the court of law take action,” he said.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the superstar has done a lot of good in films and people love him more than
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, but this should not be a reason for Congress to be “jealous about”.

Party MP Paresh Rawal said the Congress is “issue-less” and is thus creating an issue and dubbed it a “bogus issue”
like the row created over the return of awards by writers and litterateurs in the wake of Dadri lynching incident.

Bachchan’s name had cropped up in the reports as part of a global expose of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and over 100 global media organisations, based on millions of leaked documents of the Panama law firm Mossak Fonseca.

A high-level probe team has been constituted, with members drawn from the various agencies of the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) based on the orders issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian authorities have already said not all off-shore funds need be illegitimate. In response to the allegations, Bachchan’s office sent a rejoinder, which was also posted on his Twitter account.

“On Panama disclosures, I wish to state that queries continue to be sent to me by the media. I would humbly request them to kindly direct these to the GOI (Government of India) where I, as a law abiding citizen, have already sent, and shall continue to send, my responses,” the post said.

“I stand by my earlier statement on the ‘misuse of my name’ in the matter and in any event the press reports do not disclose any illegal act committed by me.”

Assembly elections 2016: Here’s most of what you don’t need to know

India’s 2016 election season, a breakneck schedule of five Assembly polls — one of which was spread across more phases than the CPM won seats in West Bengal (just kidding, but you get the idea) — that began on 4 April, finally came to a conclusion on Thursday.

And what a season it was!

History was made, reputations were strengthened (and in some cases, shattered), tears were shed, killer dance moves were invented and so on. Reams of newsprint, hours of airtime and gigabytes of online content has already been devoted to analysing every little twig of information, insight and implication stemming from the elections, so we decided we’d pass on that. Instead, we thought it would be a far better use of our time to focus on what really matters.

So here then are the five things we predict may or may not happen in the aftermath of these elections:

Congress to undergo surgery

No sooner had the results — crushing results for the Congress unless the party’s sole aim was to come to power in Puducherry — been declared than senior party functionaries began grumbling. With good reason, we’re sure. Party president Sonia Gandhi swiftly issued a call for ‘introspection’.


This, unsurprisingly, set off plenty of alarms — not to mention references to Groundhog Day — at the inescapable sense of dèja vu. After all, it was in the wake of the Congress defeat in Delhi’s 2013 Assembly election that Sonia announced her party’s resolve to “introspect seriously”. Less than six months later, the Congress was decimated in the Lok Sabha polls and Sonia once again told her party to “introspect on the results in all seriousness and in depth”. Presumably, the first batch of introspection wasn’t deep or serious enough.

And yet, here we are again: Introspecting.

We will introspect into the reasons for our loss and will rededicate ourselves to the service of the people with greater vigour,” offered Sonia on Thursday.
The time for introspection is now past,” blazed Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
We have done enough Introspection shouldn’t we go for a Major Surgery,” (sic) thundered senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,” chuckled BJP president Amit Shah (probably).

We decided to lend the Congress a hand and help them with this course of major surgery… after an intensive session of introspection, of course. And here’s what we came up with. It’s time for a complete overhaul, particularly of the party’s image. And what better way to begin image reinvention than by redesigning the party symbol?

Quite obviously, a simple change of symbol will not be sufficient and so, in order to usher in this change, an appropriate party president will need to be appointed. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Appointing Suresh Kalmadi as president will serve three purposes.

The first is the ‘Mohammad Amir effect’ (yes, we’re copyrighting that one), in that he will return rejuvenated and obliterate all his opponents. The second is the message a confident Congress will be sending out by embracing corruption rather than running away from it in vain. And the third is that it will allow the Congress to use this blinged-out new symbol:


2) Have no fear, the Ranes are here! Or at least they will be if Nitesh and Nilesh are appointed joint-presidents of the Congress. With their trademark heavy-handed approach, their penchant for conflict-resolution by any means necessary and their youth, the Brothers Rane will be an investment for the future of the party founded by Allan Octavian Hume all those years ago.

Best of all, the Congress will get a symbol that will drive the fear of a solid thrashing into its opponents. One tight slap!


3) The third option is to bring in a complete outsider (a defector, if you prefer) to change the attitude of the party. Enter Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee aka Mamata’s foul-mouthed nephew. Now there’s a man who won’t let a single jibe, remark or allegation from political parties go unanswered.

But Abhishek’s attitude won’t stop there. It’ll spread to the party symbol in no time.

03 (1)

Vijayakanth is made for memes, not politics

What else is there to say? Just look at this screen grab from Google Images while the ‘Captain’ figures out how to deal with the loss of his deposit.


Indian politics is learning from Indian tennis

Leander Paes, arguably India’s most successful tennis player, has a not-so-secret recipe to his success. No it’s not his fitness and it’s not his dedication, motivation, focus or any of those words blurted out as often by sportspersons as Sonia speaks about introspection. The key to his success, according to us, has been his ability to mix it up with new partners, having had over a hundred of them in his career.

Coalitions tend to throw up strange combinations, what with the British ruling regime comprising the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Afghan government that brought together the Hazara Shia community-backed Adullah Abdullah and the Pashtun Sunni community-backed Ashraf Ghani or closer to home, the BJP-PDP combine in Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress however, is something of a past master at stitching together strange partnerships, and this round of Assembly elections was marked by a couple of pretty notable combos: Tying up with the Left in West Bengal and the DMK in Tamil Nadu.

The BJP isn’t far behind though. Apart from the aforementioned Jammu and Kashmir government, it too struck up a fresh new partnership this election season, opting to go into the Assam polls with the Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland Peoples Front.

And just last year, the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar brought together Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), Lalu Yadav’s RJD and the Congress.

With three years to go till the next Lok Sabha election, political parties have a long time to identify and get comfortable with new partners. How? By doing some homework. Here’s what Leander told about how he selects a partner: “I put a lot of homework into choosing a partner, because I like to choose someone whose skill set is my weaknesses and my skill set is their weaknesses… Chemistry is a pre-requisite. I choose partners who are hard-working but laid back; partners who are not only students of the game but are students of life“.

And what better student of life could the Congress hope to find than one who has worked his way through life, taken the hard-knocks and climbed up the political ladder to become the Prime Minister of India.

That’s right. The 2019 Lok Sabha could very easily see the birth of the Grandest Coalition in the World (patent pending)!

Remember, you heard it here first!


So while the Congress might well have appointed Prashant Kishor as its strategist, Leander seems to be a much more logical choice. And with rumours doing the rounds that things aren’t quite right between party and Prashant, Leander should probably keep his phone nearby, just in case.

People love free sh*t

People have grown tired of freebies, they said.
People don’t trust a government that hands out freebies, they said.
People value good governance over handouts, they said.
People need more important things than free mixer/grinders, they said.

Well, as it turned out, they were a fair way off the mark.

Whether it was the free electricity, free mobile phones, free laptops (and free WiFi to boot), free gold or free Amma Banking Cards (we don’t know what they are or what purpose they serve, but we simply must have one of those), people lapped up the gifts and gave the AIADMK a historic second consecutive term and party supremo Jayalalithaa a broad grin. Not to mention they fantastic dance moves they gave all of us.

But why are we all so surprised? Everyone loves free stuff. Don’t tell us you’ve never gone to a conference or seminar just for the free stuff! You know, those single drawstring bags, tote bags, pen drives, sometimes MP3 players (it has happened), but rather more regularly, free food and booze.

Bottom line: There’s nothing wrong with social welfare, especially if it comes with a 4G network.

Perhaps, the AIADMK should be invited to join the Grandest Coalition in the World (patent still pending) to ensure free gifts for all of us, and not just those lucky people in Tamil Nadu.

The FP Special Forces budget is limited and doesn’t allow us to shower you, dear reader, with free gifts, so here’s a free GIF of a dog having a lovely bath:


India’s new prime minister will wash your dishes

Having voiced her ambitions to take Delhi by storm, Mamata Banerjee has sought to shake her political allies (from all over the country) into action.

But this is a bad strategy. Not the prime minister part, but the plans to tie up with the ‘Third Front’. Instead, we feel it would be far more prudent for Mamata and her Trinamool Congress to join forces with the Grandest Coalition in the World (patent sadly declined).


Hey, if a one-time teaseller could do it, why not a dishwasher? Just don’t call her a chor.

MCD bypolls: AAP wins 5 seats, Congress 4, BJP bags 3 seats, Independent 1

AAP on Tuesday won in five wards and Congress in four, while the BJP won from three wards in the MCD bypolls for 13 wards, results of which were declared today.Independent candidate Rajender Singh Tanwar won from Bhati ward where the maximum votes had been polled in the bypolls held on Sunday last.AAP candidate Abhishek Bidhuri won from Tekhand ward by a margin of 1555 votes defeating BJP candidate Sunil Verma.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Other winners from the party were Ramesh from Matiala ward, Anil Malik from Nanakpura and Ashok Kumar from Vikas Nagar ward, election officials said.Congress candidate Pankaj won from the Jhilmil ward by a margin of 2419 votes. Pankaj defeated ex MLA and BJP candidate Jitender Singh Shunty. Congress candidate Yogita Rathi won from the women reserved seat of Munirka. The party candidates also won from Khichdipur and Qumraddin Nagar.BJP candidate Bhupinder Mohan Bhandari won from Shalimar Bagh by a margin of 1451 votes. Party candidate Dr Mahender Nagpal won Wazirpur ward by 3608 votes while Nawada candidate Krishan Gehlot won by 4843 votes.The AAP is leading in Balimaran seat where the results are yet to come.The bypolls to the wards falling under three corporations- SDMC (7), NDMC (4) and EDMC (2)- were necessitated due to their sitting councillors getting elected to Delhi Assembly in 2013 and 2015.

VVIP Chopper scam: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh denies allegations made by Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday described as “baseless and politically motivated” the allegations of Swaraj Abhiyan leaders of floating a global tender in a “shady manner” to purchase a specific AgustaWestland helicopter by paying “over 30 per cent” commission without exploring options.”The allegations levelled by former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan are baseless and politically motivated. There was no irregularity in the helicopter deal. It was done through the global tendering process, maintaining full transparency,” the CM said at a press conference at his official residence here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said senior Congress leaders were facing heat over the AgustaWestland chopper deal scam involving corruption to the tune of several crores of rupees and these baseless charges against a BJP-ruled state was “an attempt to divert the attention”.”He (Bhushan) is trying to dilute the issue,” Singh said.Earlier in the day, Swaraj Abhiyan leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav in Delhi accused the Raman Singh government of paying USD 1.57 million as “commission” to a company registered in tax-haven British Virginia Islands to procure the chopper.The two also sought to link Raman Singh’s son Abhishek to the controversy saying he formed a company called Quest Heights Ltd on July 3, 2008, almost six months after the bulk of the payment was made by the state government to Sharp Ocean, an agent company. When asked whether he will pursue legal action against Bhushan, Singh said he will consult his lawyers.”Procurement of the helicopter was done after taking consent from the technical committee constituted for the purpose in the state. Full transparency was maintained in the entire procurement process,” the CM said.The allegations were based on the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report for the year ended March 31, 2011, but the report only pointed out that the delay in procurement of the chopper led to the extra expenditure of Rs 65 lakh, Singh said.Jharkhand had procured the same chopper in 2006, he said, adding the company increased the price for the Chhattisgarh government in 2007. Abhishek, the MP from Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha constituency, also denied his links to the deal. He also denied having offshore bank accounts.”I have nothing to do with it,” Abhishek said in a statement.”I am also being accused of working with Sarda Brothers company. But I want to clarify that Sarda Brothers had never been my employer. All allegations against me are politically motivated, just to malign my image,” he said.

Skeletons in the closet: India bad loans getting messier

India’s bad-loans problem looks much worse than lenders have been willing to acknowledge, heaping pressure on banks’ profits and further tightening the screws on distressed debt that could be bigger than New Zealand’s $170 billion economy.

The magnitude of the debt-mess was laid bare late last month when two of India’s largest private sector lenders provided unprecedented guidance on non-performing loans, underscoring repeated warnings by Reserve Bank of India’s governor Raghuram Rajan on the need to clean up banks’ balance sheets.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The dangers are clear cut. Increasing provisions to cover rising bad loans are likely to hurt banks’ profits and curb credit growth, stoking a vicious circle of lower economic growth triggering more defaults and choking off business investment and production.

Indeed, banks’ loan growth at 10.7 percent in the last fiscal year ended March 31, was the slowest in nearly two decades, partly on lower lending to debt-heavy sectors such as iron and steel that account for the lion’s share of bad debt.

Profits at most lenders have also taken a hit in the past six months as they set aside a higher sum to cover for defaults after a clean-up exercise ordered by the RBI.

“The banks need to keep provision covers high,” said Abhishek Bhattacharya, a director at Fitch’s Indian affiliate, India Ratings and Research. “That all points to the fact that the earnings should continue to be under pressure.”

Bhattacharya estimates about 13 trillion rupees ($195 billion), or a fifth, of bank loans are already stressed – bigger than the size of New Zealand’s economy.

That compares with 8.06 trillion rupees of distressed loans reported as of December or 11.5 percent of India’s entire bank debt, meaning more pressure on profits.

Deep surgery

RBI’s Rajan, who wants banks to fully disclose and provide for bad debt by March 2017, is calling for “deep surgery” to clean up the balance sheets.

Investors and analysts have long suspected that Indian lenders, especially the dominant state-run banks, are not disclosing the true extent of their troubled loans to avoid having to raise provisions.

But granular details released for the first time last month by ICICI Bank (ICBK.NS) and Axis Bank – India’s no. 1 and no. 3 private sector lenders respectively – highlighted the depth of the problem.

Axis Bank disclosed it had put 226 billion Indian rupees of its loans on a ‘watch list’, and was expecting 60 percent of those to default within two years. That would mean its bad debt could triple from the 60.88 billion rupees reported at end-March.

ICICI said some 525 billion rupees of loans to struggling sectors including steel and power had been put on watch.

Moody’s estimates bad loans at the 11 state-run banks it rates to be between 10.5 and 12 percent, compared with the 7.2 percent reported as of end-December.

“The ability of (state) banks to support economic growth or to provide loans will ultimately depend on how the government will support them in terms of capital,” said Alka Anbarasu, a Singapore-based vice president at Moody’s.

These state-owned banks account for more than two-thirds of the sector’s assets and about 85 percent of bad debts – a major headache for policymakers keen to support a slowing economy.

“It could get worse before it gets better is the sense we have,” India Ratings’ Bhattacharya said.

dna Morning Must Reads: Uttarakhand floor test; updates on Panama Papers; ‘Dhoom: Reloaded’ casting; and more

1. Bihar road rage: JD(U) MLC’s son Rocky Yadav accused of killing youth arrestedTwo days after allegedly shooting dead a 20-year-old youth in a road rage incident, Bihar police on Monday late night arrested the son of a JD(U) MLC who was on the run after the incident. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Uttarakhand floor test: It’s advantage Rawat as Supreme Court benches rebelsOusted Chief Minister Harish Rawat will today move a trust vote in a court-monitored floor test. Read more here3. Panama Papers: New ICIJ data shows about 2,000 Indian linksThe ICIJ has published a massive trove of ‘Panama Papers’ information on detailed offshore holding of companies in various tax haven nations including thousands of documents related to India linking close to 2,000 individuals, entities and addresses from the country. Read more here4. MS Dhoni’s lack of faith in Ashwin surprises Daryll CullinanThe Indian Premier League is the flavour of the season. Thus, it was interesting to hear former cricketers talk about the talent on display and the different aspects of the game in the ongoing tournament. Read more here5. No Abhishek, no Uday; it will be Ranveer Singh vs Salman Khan for ‘Dhoom: Reloaded’?Sources swear that the next sequel of the Dhoom franchise, Dhoom Reloaded: The Chase Continues will have a young actor. And Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra who have been in the earlier three Dhooms, will no longer be part of the franchise. Read more here6. Donald Trump says London’s mayor could be ‘exception’ to proposed ban on MuslimsUS Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (US), suggested on Monday he would make an exception for London’s newly elected Muslim mayor. Read more here

Delhi: Man commits suicide by jumping in front of train at Metro station

Abhishek Gupta, 35, was last spotted waiting for a train in platform number 2 on of the Rohini East station A man allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a moving metro train at Rohini East station in outer Delhi on Sunday.The incident took place in the evening and the man, identified as Abhishek Gupta, aged around 35 years, was last spotted waiting for a train in platform number 2 of the Rohini East station on Delhi Metro’s Red Line, a senior police official said.Gupta was rushed to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. However, the reason why he took the extreme step could not be ascertained yet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From the spot, the police recovered Gupta’s broken mobile phone and his drivers’ license but no suicide note. He was a resident of Rohini Sector 14, the senior official said.

SC wonders why odd-even scheme is not working in Delhi

The Supreme Court on Saturday wondered why Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s much hyped Odd-Even scheme has not been able to reduce pollution level and steps taken to achieve ambient air quality standards seemed not to be working.”Why no difference is made out in pollution level in Delhi, even after steps have been taken like odd-even scheme, diversion of trucks from the national capital. What are the solutions,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur asked while hearing a PIL filed in 1985 to check pollution levels.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench also comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, which gave a special hearing on Saturday, said that earlier, the trucks used to ply through the centre of the national capital but now they have been diverted but still no difference seems to have been made in improving the ambient air quality.Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the automobile manufacturers said that there are several other factors which contribute to pollution which include road dust which is 38 per cent and industries which contribute 11 per cent.”Unless we look and address the issue of real pollutant, nothing will seem to improve,” Singhvi said without commenting on the Odd-Even scheme whose second phase will end on Saturday.Singhvi further said, “to say diesel cars cause more pollution and therefore we should ban them will solve no problem.”The second phase of Odd-Even scheme started on April 15 under which vehicles with odd or even registration numbers ply on alternate days ended today. The first phase of Odd-Even scheme was first launched on January 1 to January 15.Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, earlier in December, had virtually endorsed the Delhi government’s decision to allow plying of private vehicles bearing odd and even registration numbers on alternate days to lower pollution levels, saying it can be followed “if it helps in reducing” the problem. He had said that he was not averse to pooling vehicle with brother judges.

India narrowing gap with China on FDI inflows: Nomura

New Delhi: India may this year surpass China in attracting foreign direct investment, in terms of percentage of its GDP, as the gap in inflows between the two has been narrowing on the back of ongoing reforms in the country, says a Nomura report.



According to the Japanese financial services firm, the trend of rising inflows to India and moderating inflows to China began in 2013 and FDI inflows to India can surpass those into China this year.

“We believe FDI inflows to India (as a percentage of GDP) can surpass those into China in 2016, as India already has large investment commitments from MNCs in sectors like electronics, solar energy, auto, defence and railways,” Nomura said in a research report.

FDI inflows to India are picking up. They rose from 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2014 to 2.1 per cent in 2015, narrowing the gap with China (2.3 per cent of GDP in 2015).

These trends of rising inflows to India and moderating inflows to China are likely driven by a mix of pull and push factors, such as divergent growth outlooks, ongoing FDI liberalisation/economic reforms in India and rising labour costs in China, Nomura said.

Rising FDI inflows not only provide a stable source of financing the current account deficit, they also bring in technical know-how, which can boost India’s productivity growth in coming years, the report said.

“They can also be viewed as early evidence that reforms in India are bearing fruit,” Nomura added.

Foreign Direct Investment into India touched the “highest ever” mark of USD 51 billion during April-February period of last fiscal ended March 31, according to DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek.

In fiscal year 2011-12, India had attracted FDI worth USD 46.55 billion. In financial year 2014-15, it was USD 44.29 billion. This FDI includes equity, re-invested earnings and other capital.

Pathankot probe: Modi govt ‘messed up’ dealing with Pakistan, accuses Congress

Congress on Friday accused the Modi government of “messing up” while dealing with Pakistan on the Pathankot attack probe and playing into its hands on the issue even as BJP countered the charge, saying India’s stand on all bilateral issues and talks is clear and has been appreciated.Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “I think the government has messed it up completely. There cannot be a bigger mess-up. Pakistanis are to blame…there is no doubt, but the Indian government, unfortunately, is playing into their hands.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan will continue to be a “rogue state and I don’t think we can expect anything better from it”, he said.Singhvi said India “legitimised” Pakistan by inviting its team to Pathankot as such an invitation had never been given in the last 70 years.”Having legitimised them, we got a slap on our face by them going back, debunking us, decrying us, criticising us. We have equated terror perpetrators with victims.”It is adding insult to injury…They and not us are the ones who suspended the peace process after doing nothing about Pathankot,” he said.Countering the charges, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said, “After the Pathankot terror attack, it was the Pakistan Prime Minister who said action is being taken and it is in that context that the JIT came here and now Indian team is supposed to go there on a reciprocal basis.”He said that “now it is upto Pakistan to show how serious it is about its commitment and combating terrorism” and added the world is concerned over what is happening with regard to terrorism and in Pakistan.”India’s position has been acknowledged, recognised and even appreciated. The Pakistan Prime Minister has made a commitment.”So if Pakistan reneges despite itself facing terrorist attacks, then it will show that in Pakistan the old policy of ‘good terrorist’ and ‘bad terrorist’ continues and everyone is taking note of it,” Kohli said.He said the Indian government’s policy is very clear and the three principles under Prime Minister Modi are — all talks should be bilateral, everything should be resolved peacefully, and terror and talks would not go together.The BJP leader said a lot has changed on the border. “When there is bombardment or mortar attacks, the army does not need to take permission and it responds,” he said.”So India is in a more secure position,” he said, adding, “It has extended the hand of friendship and the Pakistan Prime Minister has responded to an extent in various bilateral talks and otherwise.”Kohli said, “Now if it translates into action, then this relationship can be built. Otherwise, it has been a thorny relationship and we have to acknowledge this. While India will proceed on its path, it is upto Pakistan how it wants to see its ties with India.”

Uttarakhand crisis: No floor test in the assembly on March 31, rules two judge bench

A two judge bench ruled on Wednesday that no floor test will take place in the assembly. The next hearing is set to take place on April 6. The Centre will send its affidavit on the President’s rule by Monday.Live England vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final T20, ICC World T20 2016, March 30, 2016The Centre on Wednesday moved the Uttarakhand High Court challenging an interim order by a single bench directing a floor test in the Assembly on March 31, days after President’s Rule was imposed in the state. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A petition was mentioned before a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bisht by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on behalf of the central government. The petition sought clarity on whether the floor test can be held in the state Assembly after the promulgation of President’s rule when the House is in suspended animation.After a two-day hearing on a writ petition challenging the imposition of President’s rule in the state, the single judge bench of Justice UC Dhyani in an interim order yesterday directed a floor test in the Assembly on March 31 and allowed even the nine disqualified rebel MLAs of the Congress to vote during the exercise.Filed by former chief minister Harish Rawat through his counsel and senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the writ petition has Union of India as the respondent.

Uttarakhand crisis: Congress delegation to meet President Pranab Mukherjee

Upping the ante against government’s recommendation to impose President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, a Congress delegation will on Tuesday meet President Pranab Mukherjee to brief him on the situation. The delegation of senior Congress leaders led by Mallikrajun Kharge, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Sheila Dikshit, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Maken, Randeep Singh Surjewala and RPN Singh will be meeting the President Mukherjee at 6.30pm at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the Nainital High Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in the Assembly to determine which party enjoys a majority even as President’s rule has been imposed in Uttarakhand. The High Court said the results of the floor test should not be declared in the Assembly and instead, should be presented before it in a sealed envelope.However, according to sources, the Congress is likely to challenge the part of Nainital High Court’s verdict, wherein it says that the rebel MLAs would be allowed to vote in the floor test. Congress party’s lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the court order states that while the nine disqualified MLAs can vote but it will be kept separately. “The votes of the disqualified MLAs will be counted only as per the outcome,” he said.However, the court allowed President’s rule in the state to continue. The Centre had dismissed the Congress government in Uttarakhand and imposed President’s rule citing breakdown of governance on March 27. (

Uttarakhand HC orders floor test in state Assembly to find out which party has majority

The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly on Thursday to resolve the political crisis and determine which party has majority in the House.

The court also stayed President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, according to NDTV.

Representational image. IBNLive

Representational image. IBNLive

News reports also said that all MLAs will take part in the floor test, including the nine disqualified MLAs who will be allowed to participate during the proceedings of the Assembly only during the floor test.

The court also appointed its registrar to be an observer during this test.

Reports further said that the result of the floor test will not be revealed immediately. CNN-IBN reported that the result will be enclosed in a sealed envelope by the Speaker and sent to the court.

Directions have also been given to the Uttarakhand DGP to ensure the floor test takes place in a peaceful way.

Addressing reporters after the court’s order, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “The matter was argued extensively. The high court has passed an order which, according to us, accepts the point that despite President’s Rule, there is enough scope for judicial review to allow the floor test. The floor test was called for on the basis of past precedents of the Supreme Court.”

He also said that the charges against Rawat do not justify President’s Rule.

“Mere horse trading allegations will not justify President’s Rule. The court has implemented what the governor has said thrice and what the chief minister agreed to twice.

“The court has allowed, only for the purposed of counting, voting by disqualified and non-disqualified MLAs. Votes of disqualified MLAs will kept separately for identification, subject to the outcome,” he said.

The Congress on Monday had legally challenged the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand as it sparred with BJP, accusing the Centre of toppling its government when the governor had given time to the chief minister to prove his majority in the Assembly.

The dislodged chief minister had moved the Uttarakhand High Court in Nainital, questioning the Centre’s decision bringing the hill state under President’s Rule.

Rawat’s petition had come up before the single-judge bench of Justice UC Dhyani, who after hearing both sides, had said the matter would be taken up again on Tuesday. It was filed on Rawat’s behalf by senior Supreme Court counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Singhvi had contended that circumstances were not suitable for invoking Article 356 of the Constitution under which the government was sacked and the Assembly kept under suspended animation.

With inputs from PTI

Harish Rawat moves High Court against imposition of President’s rule

Former chief minister Harish Rawat on Monday moved Uttarakhand High Court seeking revocation of President’s Rule in the state and restoration of his government, terming the Modi government’s decision as a “brazen display of high-handedness and authoritarianism”.A day after the decision to impose President’s Rule for which Centre cited a Constitutional breakdown in the wake of a rebellion in the ruling Congres in the state, senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi filed a petition on Rawat’s behalf seeking high court’s intervention to quash invocation of article 356 in Uttarakhand which was “illegal”. Singhvi said, “Invocation of article 356 in Uttarakhand is absolutely illegal, arbitrary and malafide and therefore its invocation should be quashed and Harish Rawat Government restored.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Questioning the timing of the move which came just a day before the Rawat government was to go for a floor test, Singhvi said it was meant to sabotage the Constitutional process. After hearing both the sides for close to four hours, the single bench of Justice U C Dhyani of the high court said the hearing will continue tomorrow.Additional Solictor General Tushar Mehta will argue in the court on behalf of the Union government tomorrow. Rakesh Thapliyal represented the Centre today. Singhvi argued that circumstances were not appropriate for invoking article 356 as there was no constitutional breakdown.

Swing to modest surplus sets tone for India’s balance of payments | Reuters

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI India’s balance of payments swung to a surplus in October-December, marking a modest upturn in its financial position that analysts believe may prove resistant to global economic fragility.

Monday’s central bank data also showed a narrowing of the current account deficit and higher foreign investments.

Volatile oil prices and worries about China’s economy have hit foreign appetite for Indian assets and, while the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan are providing plenty of monetary stimulus, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to continue raising interest rates, although only slowly.

“The risks to capital flows could be sharper outflows in foreign direct investments and we could also see some slowing of remittances on account of depressed oil prices for a prolonged period,” said Shubhada Rao, chief economist at Yes Bank.

The fourth quarter balance of payments surplus was $4.1 billion, reversing a deficit of $856 million in July-September.

The current account deficit narrowed to $7.1 billion, or 1.3 percent of gross domestic product, from $8.7 billion.

Analysts expect a balance of payments surplus of nearly $15 billion for the full fiscal year ending in March, and a similar surplus in the coming fiscal year.

Those are much healthier levels than in 2013, when anticipation of a reining-in of the Fed’s then stimulus programme led to big outflows that ballooned the balance of payments deficit and sent the current account gap to a record high of 4.8 percent of GDP.

Since then India’s economy has picked up and inflation eased, and the central bank is widely expected to cut interest rates by at least 25 basis points at its policy review on April 5.

But India’s external financial position seems unlikely to improve much from current levels.

Foreign investors have dipped in and out of Indian shares and bonds in the past two quarters, and a weakening global economy is raising concerns about exports and remittances.

The trade balance stayed in deficit in the December quarter, narrowing to $34.0 billion from $37.4 billion in the previous three months.

The capital account, which includes foreign direct investments and portfolio flows, registered a $10.54 billion surplus in October-December, up from $8.58 billion in the previous quarter.

“We expect the balance of payments to be in surplus in 2016/17 but with downside risks,” said Abhishek Upadyay, economist at ICICI Securities Primary Dealership.

(Editing by Rafael Nam and John Stonestreet)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

AYUSH minister calls the news totally false as the ministry comes under fire for not hiring Muslim yoga teachers

The ministry, which looks at alternate medicine and health practices of ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha, homeopathy, had organised the World Yoga day last year, which was a pet project of Prime Minister Modi. A day after it was revealed that the Ministry of AYUSH did not hire any Muslim yoga teachers for the World Yoga day 2015, saying “as per government policy, no Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad”, minister for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik called the matter “totally false”. “”It is totally false. I strongly condemn it. It’s an attempt to defame us. I will order a probe into this,” said Naik on Saturday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ministry came under fire, as the reply to an RTI by journalist Pushp Sharma showed that “711 Muslim candidates had applied for the short term abroad assignment… for the World Yoga Day 2015”. Additionally, 3841 Muslim candidates had applied till October 2015, for the post of yoga teacher/trainer. In both cases, none were selected due to “government policy”.The ministry, which looks at alternate medicine and health practices of ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha, homeopathy, had organised the World Yoga day last year, which was a pet project of Prime Minister Modi. It had achieved two Guinness world records, for the largest yoga class with over 35,000 participating, and the largest number of nationalities participating.Meanwhile, the Congress, through Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Abhishek Singhvi spoke about the matter, saying, “If it’s true it’s ridiculous, on the face of it, it’s unconstitutional and illegal. It shows the extreme perverse mindset. On the contrary it should be the matter of joy that Yoga is being practiced globally as it knows no boundaries of gender, ethnicity, sex, and religion or nation hood. In the middle of all this clearly the government mindset and lots of organisations associated with this government and it’s the same mindset of the biggest controller of this Government, at Nagpur. Once you bring this mindset into something that transcends borders is something to be condemned to the core and which is completely unconstitutional and illegal. “

dna Evening must reads: From PM Modi & Nitish’s camaraderie to Sunny Leone’s latest avatar

1. In Bihar, PM Narendra Modi slams Congress, lauds Nitish KumarWithout naming Congress, Modi said that electricity has not reached 18,000 villages of the country even after 70 years of independence. Read more here.2. Did PM Modi direct CBI to change lookout notice against Vijay Mallya? asks Congress<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The question is did they issue it on the order of the court or by the order of honorable Prime Minister,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked. Full story here.3. Sunny Leone stuns on the latest cover of BazaarHere’s how Sunny looked in a beautiful golden-white lace outfit, golden jewellery, tousled hairdo, minimal makeup. 4. Watch: PM silences ‘Modi Modi’ chants amid Nitish Kumar’s speech in HajipurPM Modi got up from his seat and walked towards the end of the dais, gesturing the crowd chanting ‘Modi Modi’ with his hand to maintain silence. Watch the video here.5. Loan default case: ED questions Kingfisher Airlines’ ex-CFO Raghunathan for 2nd dayHe is being questioned in connection with the money laundering probe in the alleged default of over Rs 900 crore loan from IDBI bank. Read more here

Burning autos for Marathi pride? MNS boss Raj Thackeray’s sermons on how to scare non-Maharashtrians

Raj Thackeray has once again demonstrated how proud he is of being a Maharashtrian. Addressing a rally on Wednesday, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief called on his followers to burn those autorickshaws that belong to non-Maharashtrians, even if the licences are in order. This is not the first time he has made a statement against people from outside the state. Here’s a list of the things that previously rubbed him the wrong way:

In response to Jaya Bachchan saying, “Hum UP (Uttar Pradesh) ke log hain, isliye Hindi mein baat karenge, Maharashtra ke log maaf kijiye (We are from UP, so we will speak in Hindi; Maharashtrians, please forgive us) at a promotional event for the Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Drona.

4_AFP (1)4_AFP (1)

In response to news reports in 2012 that a Bihari youth had vandalised the Amar Jawan memorial during the Azad Maidan protests.

3_AFP (1)3_AFP (1)

On Mumbai being referred to as Bombay multiple times in Wake Up Sid


On finding out that a member of the Jain community had distributed aam ras and puri to several households to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Mahavir’s statue being brought to Mumbai

2_AFP (2)2_AFP (2)

On defeating the influx of North Indians into Mumbai

1_AFP (3)1_AFP (3)

Yamuna Expressway accident: Probe team visits victim’s family, son blames Smriti Irani for death

A fact finding team of Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party visited the residence of the doctor who was killed in the accident on Yamuna Expressway last week even as his family accused Union Minister Smriti Irani for “inhuman conduct” and ignoring the victims on the night of the mishap.On March 5, Irani escaped with minor injuries when her vehicle and her escort vehicle had rammed into another vehicle that had allegedly hit a motor cycle killing one Dr Ramesh Nagar and injuring his daughter Sandali and nephew Pankaj. The team, led by Samajwadi Party Lok Mani Jadon, yesterday met Nagar’s family in Etmadpur district of Agra.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the minister’s office had clarified in a statement that the vehicle mentioned in the media reports of having hit the motorcycle had nothing to do with Irani’s cavalcade and that she had directed SSP, Mathura, to arrange ambulance immediately so that injured could be given medical treatment at the earliest. SSP Mathura Rakesh Singh had also stated that the minister’s car had nothing to do with the accident involving the motorcycle.According to Jadon, the family members alleged that Dr Nagar could have been saved had the HRD minister taken all the injured to hospital in Noida or Mathura. Abhishek Nagar, who had filed an FIR with the police alleging that Irani ignored the victims and moved away, said that police should have verified the vehicle from the injured before coming to any conclusion.”Only the eye-witness can identify the offending vehicle since, after the mishap, four or five vehicles of the minister’s fleet had collided,” Abhishek, Dr Nagar’s eldest son, claimed. “The minister virtually buried humanity and left without ensuring medical aid to injured,” he charged.”The minister should visit the bereaved family, express sorrow for her conduct and provide maximum help to family, failing which we will burn her effigy and demonstrate against her conduct,” he said.”My father was the only bread-earner and now our family is facing financial problems,” he said.”We shall apprise Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on the incident and request him to provide maximum help to our family,” he added.

Naxals kill 10 villagers in Chhattisgarh for being informers: Police

Maoists have killed at least ten persons in the Abhujmad area of Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Narayanpur district after suspecting them to be informers in the last few days, police said on Tuesday. “The incidents took place at various villages located inside the core area of Abhujmad under Narayanpur and Orchha police station limits during the past week,” a senior police official told PTI. So far police had received specific information of killing of ten villagers by the ultras, he said, adding that security forces had been rushed to these villages.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The forces have been directed to be extra cautious while moving in forests so as not to fall into any trap, he said. “We have reports of murder of four villagers in past two- three days in remote pockets of Abhujmad,” Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena told PTI.There were similar reports from elsewhere too and police teams had been sent to verify them, he said. According to police sources, some senior Maoist leaders recently met in Abhujmad after the ultras suffered major setbacks in encounters with police in the region.”These killings are outcome of the frustration of their senior leaders with the increasing pressure of security forces in their so-called liberated zone,” the SP said. On February 27 night, a local man called Sukhram Poyam was shot dead by rebels at village Kundla under Kurusnar police station limits, who suspected him to be a police informer.

Delhi HC upholds TRAI’s notification

The Delhi high court upheld a decision of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which made it mandatory for a cellular operator to compensate a consumer by a rupee for every call dropped, with a cap of three calls compensated per day.The division bench comprising of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayanth Nath stated that cellular operators would have to compensate aggrieved consumers and in its conclusion added, “TRAI was at liberty to take appropriate steps in accordance with law for compliance of the same.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench also dismissed petitions filed by the Cellular Operators association of India (COAI), a body of unified telecom service providers and 21 telecom operators that include Vodafone, Bharati Airtel and Reliance.The court stated that since it had not stayed the notification during the hearing of the petition, the telecom operators would have to fulfil the obligations as stated in the notification from January 1, 2016. There is no dispute about the power of TRAI to make regulation under section 36 of the Act. The impugned regulation has been made in exercise of the power conferred under the Act, keeping in mind the paramount interest of the consumer,” the bench observed.In October 2015, after TRAI had added this amendment, COAI had filed a petition in court stating that this directive was “arbitrary and whimsical.” Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harish Salve and others representing COAI had argued that according to the TRAI regulations, the cellular operators had a cap that allowed call drops up to 2% of all calls made. According to the figure submitted by TRAI – 800,000 calls were dropped, which made the limit and number of calls dropped well within the stipulation.India is one of the largest mobile user markets after china. The fast growth coupled with unproportionate expansion has increased the number of calls dropped.In their arguments TRAI through their counsels Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha, Sanjay Kapur among others argued that this amount (Re1/call max upto 3 calls) was merely a deterrent and not a penalty upon the telecom providers. The object behind this compensation was reasoned out by saying that a “call dropped” tantamounts to a deficiency in a service.After TRAI says the policy was created after it started received numerous complaints with regard to calls dropped in the first quarter of 2015

Jat agitation: MLA and son booked for death of two non-Jat youths in Jind

An uneasy calm prevailed in the town as a group of non-Jat people demanded action against those responsible for the death of two youths from their community in Jind during the protests by the Jats for reservation following which an MLA and his son has been booked.Veer Singh of Chhapar village and Navin Kumar, both non-Jat, were killed on Sunday. Their relatives, joined by their community members, did not allow a post-mortem demanding action against those responsible.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jind SP Abhishek Jorwal said they have booked Saffidon Independent MLA Jasbir Deswal, his son Joni and other people on the basis of a complaint filed by Navin’s uncle Om Prakash. The government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of the deceased and job to a member of the two families.Led by their leader Karmbeer Saini the agitating group demanded martyr status for the deceased, Rs 1 crore compensation to the families of the deceased, Rs 20 lakh each for the injured people and resignation of Deswal.In a clash between Jats and non-Jats on Sunday evening Veer Singh had died on the spot whereas Navin succumbed to his injuries in the night.

Katrina approached me for her role in ‘Fitoor’, says director Abhishek Kapoor

Katrina Kaif approached Abhishek Kapoor for the role of Firdaus as the actress is a fan of Charles Dickens’ celebrated classic ‘Great Expectations’, the inspiration behind Fitoor.Set in Kashmir, the upcoming film will see Katrina stepping into the character inspired by beautiful but cold Estella while Tabu is playing eccentric Miss Havisham and Aditya Roy Kapur is Pip, an orphan.”Before I started casting, Katrina did reach out to me. She heard that I am making this book and she had read it in her school. She wanted to be a part of it. She is perfect for the role as she is very beautiful and she is also aspirational like her character in the film,” Abhishek told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Katrina has never attempted a film like that. So, it was also a challenge for me and also interesting to see how it would play out with Tabu and Aditya. It would make for an exciting experience for me.”The Rock On director, who is returning behind the camera after a gap of three years, said he always wanted to try his luck in an out-an-out love story and what better than Dickens’ classic tale of romance.”I have not tried love as a genre and this is a classic tale of love. It just talks about love in a totally different context. I find it very fascinating and I thought that if I set it in India, it would appeal to our audience,” said the director, who also read the novel in his school days.Abhishek feels the enchanting beauty of Kashmir provides the perfect setting for the film as it complements the beauty of the two leading ladies.”As a child, I have grown up watching most romantic films set in Kashmir. Those movies left a mark on me. Then for a couple of decades nobody shot in Kashmir. It is very special place, not like other hill stations. The beauty of Kashmir is not real, not a fantasy but surreal. The film’s story is also like that. The characters in it are kind of lost in time and Kashmir has that air about it.”The director said he kept the theme of the novel intact but drew his characters in a more believable manner.”Havisham’s character doesn’t make you feel the pain she went through after her lover left her at the altar on the day of her wedding in the novel. I have not tried to make her in a caricature way. I have tried to make her dilemma and problems far more believable. The film is about real emotions and the effect of heartbreak, it just doesn’t go away. There is a lot more bitterness to that and you pass this negativity on others.”Also starring Aditi Rao Hydari and Rahul Bhat, the romantic saga hits theatres on February 12.