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Will PM deposit at least Rs 5 lakh in people’s accounts: Congress leader Anant Gadgil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Anant Gadgil on Wednesday asked if citizens will now get at least Rs five lakh out of the promised Rs 15 lakh “as the government must have collected a lot of black money due to demonetization”.”Lot of black money must have been collected due to scrapping of high currency notes. If that is so, then will Modi deposit at least Rs five lakh of the Rs 15 lakh promised in the bank accounts of people?” asked Gadgil, who is the AICC panel spokesman.Modi, during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign, had prominently highlighted the issue of black money and had promised to bring it back. He had said that every citizen will receive Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts.Gadgil said Modi should also clarify if Rs 15,000 crore were spent on printing of new notes and whether the country suffered losses to the tune of Rs 25 lakh crore since transactions across the country were almost shut for a week since the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.”Lack of proper planning and vision is the reason for the present chaos. There was a move to close banks for five to six days after the decision, but had to be withdrawn because of the adverse reaction from people,” he claimed.He said BJP leaders are claiming that five per cent people have huge amount of black money. “If that is so why are 95 per cent people held to ransom for the last one week,” he asked.

High gold prices will impact Akshaya Tritiya sales this year

Mumbai: Akshaya Tritiya, which is considered an auspicious day to buy gold, is likely to be lacklustre this time as jewellers are expecting negative to marginal growth compared to last year, on the back of rising gold prices, which is ruling at over Rs 30,000 per 10 grams.

Gold is currently ruling at Rs 30,050 per 10 grams in domestic market. In February first week it was at Rs 26,930.

“During Akshaya Tritiya (which falls on May 9) we are expecting marginal growth in sales compared to last year as the prices are ruling very high and due to the present dry weather conditions in the country,” All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (GJF) Chairman Sreedhar G V told PTI.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Even as the overall market sentiment is positive, the surge in gold prices is likely to put a halt on consumer demand for heavy jewellery and people might go for small ticket size items, chains and bangles, Sreedhar added.

Echoing a similar view, former GJF Chairman Bachhraj Bamalwa said in terms of volume, the consumer demand might witness a negative growth of about 10 per cent, but in value terms it is likely to be at par with last year’s sales. “There will be buying as people will purchase a token small ticket size jewellery or coin for the festival and they will hesitate to go for heavy pieces due to high prices,” he said.

As for wedding jewellery, he said, usually consumers book for bridal jewelleries before one month for which most of the bookings were already done just after the strike ended.

“Bridal and wedding jewellery takes time so we usually get most of the bookings before one month. We got most of the wedding jewellery bookings just as the strike ended,” he said.

However, World Gold Council (WGC) MD Somasundaram PR felt that there will be sharp hike in demand during Akshaya Tritiya, where wedding jewellery as well as investment-related items like coins, bars will also move fast. The industry has been facing a challenging time as people were waiting for the Budget expecting a cut in import duty.”However, the jewellers went on strike after the announcement of excise levy. The industry is gearing up to meet the pent-up demand which will be witnessed during this Akshaya Tritiya,” Somasundaram said.

However, he cautioned that there are restrictions in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the two big markets, due to elections. Also the artisans, who had ventured into other professions during the strike, are coming back slowly and cannot meet the demand in such a short time.

“We don’t expect the price to deter demand. However, we feel that it will be difficult for the industry to increase supply in such a short time,” he added.

Ishu Datwani, founder of Anmol Jewellers, said there is likely to be 20-25 per cent rise in demand, mainly ruled by wedding jewellery. “Whatever demand was there during the strike we cannot regain it. But we are trying to make up for the lost business through many offers to attract consumers. Wedding jewellery will dominate the demand during Akshaya Tritiya as the bookings look good” he said.

P N Gadgil Jewellers Chairman and Managing Director Saurabh Gadgil opined this is the first major festival after the strike and there is a positive sentiment all around.”Expectations of good monsoon and wedding season will also help boost demand, which is likely to go up by 15 percent compared to last year,” he said.

Gadgil added that this will mainly be aided by the weekend preceding Akshaya Tritiya, which falls on the coming Monday, so people will get three days to shop.

Participation of citizens will make smart city scheme successful, says Fadnavis

Allaying fears that setting up of special purpose vehicle (SPV) for smart city would take away the authority of elected representatives in the local bodies, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday said that smart city scheme would be successful only through participation of citizens of Pune.Fadnavis, while delivering a talk on smart city in Pune, said that smart city concept was nothing but creating a mechanism to provide all the services to citizens at affordable cost with efficiency and transparency. He was delivering the lecture on smart city to mark the 50’th death anniversary of Late Kakasaheb Gadgil. Among present were former union minister Jairam Ramesh, guardian minister for Pune Girish Bapat and MLC Anant Gadgil.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fadnavis said that special purpose vehicle is nothing but forming a separate company for achieving particular target of development. In smart city case, he said that the SPV would not transgression to the authority of elected representatives of the local bodies.Fadnavis said that the urban life can be transformed with the help of information communication technologies (ICT). He said that by providing services efficiently through ICT, one can improve quality of life in the cities. He said that Pune city has been leader in many ways and I congratulate citizens of Pune for being selected in the list of smart cities.Fadnavis said that for making the city smart, Pune would have to deploy technologies through SPV for improving health, education and public transport along with solid waste management and treatment of waste water and sewerage. He said that improving urban life does not mean opposing rural development since with improving quality of life in cities and joining the interest of the urban life directly to the rural produce would provide the solution on massive migration to cities.He added that big cities have a problem of slums and it would also have to be taken care of in smart city scheme. Fadnavis said that while finding out solution on slums by providing affordable housing and by providing employment to rural youth, cities as well as rural areas also would be transformed.Fadnavis said that city of Pune is known for its educational institutions and has provided leadership in many fields. He said that all the sectors, including growing IT sector in Hinjewadi, educational institutions and corporates would have to contribute towards making city smart so that life of average Punekar is improved.

Had no role in Manmohan Singh’s ouster from RBI: President Pranab Mukherjee in his new autobiography

Should Indian Prime Minister or Finance Minister meet industrialists individually? President Pranab Mukherjee has posed this question in his just released autobiography.He has answered the question himself by stating that his meetings with industrialists, individually or collectively, were very important. This, the President said, is what he had followed during his tenure as Finance Minister and Commerce Minister unlike V P Singh who was “adamant” about not having any one-on-one meetings with industrialists. Mentioning about the period between 1998 and 1991, which was marked by social and political turmoil in the country, Mukherjee cited differences in approach between him and V P Singh, who was appointed as Finance Minister under the Rajiv Gandhi government.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”For instance, as Finance Minister, he was adamant about not having any one-on-one meetings with industrialists. My view–which I followed during my tenures as the Finance and Commerce Ministers–was that meetings with industrialists, individually or collectively, were very important to get an overall understanding of specific contexts. “In other words, how can a Finance Minister or Prime Minister not meet industrialists?,” the President asked in the memoir–“The Turbulent Years- 1980-1996”.On much talked about differences between Manmohan Singh and him, Mukherjee said he had no role in Singh’s exit as RBI Governor. He, however, said the differences between him and central bank head were nothing more than legitimate exchanges of opinion over professional matters. “I never saw my differences with Dr Singh, on the rare occasions they occurred, as anything other than legitimate exchanges of opinion over professional matters.”Let me add that, contrary to conjecture in some quarters, I had absolutely no role in Dr Manmohan Singh’s departure from the RBI,” the President said. Mukherjee said the relationship between the Finance Minister and the Governor of RBI is complex and it is impossible that they be of one mind on all issues. Singh was RBI Governor between September 16, 1982 and January 14, 1985. Mukherjee was Finance Minister from January 1982 to December 1984. Mukherjee held the post of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, from June 1991 to May 1996, the entire period of P V Narasimha Rao’s tenure as Prime Minister. “It was a period when several radical measures were being put in place to liberalise the economy. However, PV(Narasimha Rao) and I were both clear that the Planning Commission had to continue playing a pivotal role in policymaking and the allocation of resources between the Centre and the states,” he said.PV’s biggest achievement was spearheading the economic reforms of 1991. These reforms put our country on a high growth trajectory and helped towards achieving our true economic potential. The economic reforms programme unlocked India’s entrepreneurial potential across various sectors of the economy, Mukherjee said. In the financial sector, measures were implemented to bring capital adequacy and prudent norms for asset classification in banks, the licensing of new private banks, the gradual decontrol of foreign exchange, currency convertibility, privatisation and disinvestment. Foreign investment norms and external trade were liberalised.The President said Rao had a unique style of functioning.”The occupation of Hazratbal shrine in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists was put to an end in 1993 without any damage to the holy structure,” he wrote. The President mentioned how he worked out a new “Gadgil-Mukherjee formula”, by working with Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission D R Gadgil, for non-special category states.”The uniqueness of the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula was the inclusion, for the first time, of a performance criterion for the allocation of central resources in plans. “This formula prevailed from 1991 till the establishment of the Niti Aayog–with Arvind Panagriya as Vice Chairman–which replaced the Planning Commission,” he said.