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IAF sorties helped government fight cash crunch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to help the common man with the demonetization process, the government has been pressing the Indian Air Force (IAF) into action. From assisting in the functioning of currency printing presses 24×7 to airlifting cash, the IAF has already transported 610 tonnes of currency and will continue to do so over the next few days.”The Air Force has played an important role in lifting currency. We have done 35 sorties and transported 610 tonnes of cash till now, said Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Wednesday.”We have also helped in running one of the mints 24×7,” he added.The decision to rope in the IAF was taken about 10 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization—making old Rs 500 and Rs. 1000 notes illegal and replacing them with new ones.It is unprecedented for IAF to transport cash which is usually done by train. Sources said since it was an “emergency-like situation” the IAF had been roped in to bring down delays in currency, reaching different centres across the country.The four currency printing centres are located in Nasik (Maharashtra), Devas (Madhya Pradesh), Mysore (Karnataka) and Salboni (West Bengal). Sources said the employees at the press have been working overtime to meet the cash demands in the country.From close by airfields in Mysore, Indore, Ozar and Kalaikunda, IAF planes are carrying out sorties almost daily to meet requirements.”The cash is transported by road to the airfields from where the Air Force transports it to different centre. This is saving time in transportation,” said a government official. The aircraft being used for transporting the currency are C 130, C17 and AN 32, sources said.Once the cash reaches the destination the local authorities take charge.Sources said initially there was a shortage in currency as the printing machines lacked the capacity to meet the increased demands. The government had announced printing of new Rs. 1000 notes but that has not begun yet.”While the Rs 2,000 notes and Rs 500 notes are being printed the void left due to non printing of Rs 1,000 note has created a crunch,” said a government official dealing with the subject.Officials privy to the details said out of a total currency requirement of 17.5 lakh crore, Rs 8 lakh crore is expected to be in 500 and Rs 7 lakh crore in 1,000 denominations. “10 per cent of this demand is being met per month,” the official added.The rest of the demand is to be met with other notes including Rs 2,000.

Two more RBI officials held in currency exchange fraud, arrests a big blow to regulator

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two more officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday for their alleged role in currency conversion fraud cases.The arrests, coming in less than a week’s time, have caused much discomfort for the central bank, which had maintained that the one arrested earlier was a junior-level functionary. The fresh arrests put into question the role of its officials involved in currency exchange process, initiated following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s note ban announcement on November 8.The two accused—identified as Sadananda Naika and AK Kavin—are posted as Senior Special Assistant and Special Assistant RBI’s cash department in Bengaluru. The first to be arrested, K Michael, was a Senior Special Assistant in the Issue Department of RBI’s regional office.Elaborating on the arrests, a CBI official said the accused fraudulently gave away new currency notes to unknown RBI officials and others in replacement of demonetized notes to the tune of Rs 1.99 crore, in violation of the currency exchange limits imposed by the RBI.”It is alleged that both the accused and other unknown officials of RBI, Bengaluru entered in criminal conspiracy with unknown others,” said the official. Among several sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code, the duo was slapped with charges of criminal conspiracy, fraud, criminal breach of trust and so on.The arrests come after the RBI, earlier this week, claimed that “elaborate instructions” had been given to bank managements to keep in check untoward transactions.It was the arrest of Parashivamurthy—a cashier of the State Bank of Mysore in a branch in Chamarajnagar district for allegedly exchanging demonetized notes to the tune of Rs 1.51 crore with Rs 100 notes—that led the agency to Michael. Further probe revealed the role of more officials.In another incident, CBI registered case against KL Bhoyar, Assistant Commercial Manager, Central Railway, CST Mumbai. The agency said Bhoyar allegedly exchanged demonetized currency worth Rs 8.22 lakh (approx) with new Rs 2,000 notes and legal tender of Rs 100 notes at booking counters at CST, Mumbai and Kalyan in Thane district. The agency also recovered Rs 2.2 lakh cash—in denomination of Rs 100—in subsequent raids.

Hawala operator arrested, Rs 5.70 crore in new currency seized

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI on Tuesday arrested an alleged hawala operator K V Veerendra in connection with seizure of Rs 5.70 crore of new currency notes of Rs 2000 denomination from his premises in Karanataka.The agency sources said CBI has registered a case against officials of four banks–State Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.They said Veerendra was produced before Special court in Bengaluru which has sent him to six days of CBI custody for questioning.The sources said during preliminary probe names of several persons have been taken by Veerendra and it is trying to gather material evidence linking the alleged hawala operator with them.The sources said during the six days of questioning CBI will confront him with documents recovered from his premises and will try to get the source of these funds which may unravel alleged involvement of senior bank officials in the case.

All you need to know about J Jayalalithaa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and ​All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party chief J Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5 at 11.30 PM in Apollo hospital, Chennai, where she was admitted since September 22. On Sunday, ‘Amma’ as she was fondly called, suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away a day later, at the age of 68 years.Late Monday night, after the announcement, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam was sworn in as the chief minister. Early life
ALSO READ Jayalalithaa (1948-2016): A life called Puratchi Thalaivi► Jayaraman Jayalalithaa was born on February 24, 1948, at Melukote in Mysore State (now Karnataka), to Jayaram and Vedavalli in an Iyengar family. Her family served King Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar of Mysore.► Her birth name is Komalavalli.
ALSO READ AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa passes away► Jayalalithaa lost her father when she was just two years old, and her mother started working in films to support the family.► She was fluent in several languages, including Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, and English.
ALSO READ Remembering Amma: The Life and Times of J JayalalithaaLife as an actress► She appeared as the lead actress in over 140 films which included movies in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and even one Hindi film.► Jayalalithaa started working in films from the age of 15. Her debut Kannada film was Chinnada Gombe. She also acted in an English film, Epistle, released in 1961; and a Hindi film called Izzat, in 1968 with Dharmendra as her costar.► She made her debut in Tamil cinema with a role in Vennira Aadai (1965), directed by CV Sridhar. She was the first actress to appear in skirts in Tamil films.► In 1966, she made her debut in Telugu cinema with Manushulu Mamathalu. Political life► She was the incumbent general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). She was called ‘Amma’ (mother) and sometimes ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ (Revolutionary Leader) by her followers.► She joined the AIADMK in 1982, which was founded by popular actor Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (MGR). Although there were claims that Jayalalithaa was introduced to politics by MGR, she denied it.► Her maiden public speech, Pennin Perumai (the Greatness of a Woman), was delivered at the political conference of the AIADMK that year. In 1983, she became the propaganda secretary for the party and was selected as the AIADMK candidate in the by-election for the Tiruchendur Assembly constituency.► MGR wanted her to be a member of the Rajya Sabha because of her fluency in English. Jayalalithaa was nominated and elected to the Upper House as a Member of Parliament in 1984 and retained her seat until 1989, completing the five-year term.► She was successful as the propaganda secretary, which led to resentment among the high-ranking members of the party. Those members engineered a rift between MGR and her. Despite this, she remained admired by the rank and file of the party.► In 1984, when MGR was incapacitated after a stroke, Jayalalithaa was said to have made an attempt to take over as the chief minister or the party head on the pretext that his health would prevent him from the proper execution of his duties. She successfully led the campaign in the 1984 general elections, in which the AIADMK allied with the Congress.► She was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1989 as a representative of the Bodinayakkanur (State Assembly Constituency). This election saw the Jayalalithaa-led faction of the AIADMK win 27 seats and Jayalalithaa became the first woman to be elected as the Leader of the Opposition. In February 1989, the two factions of AIADMK caused after MGR’s death, merged and they unanimously accepted Jayalalithaa as their leader and the “Two leaves” symbol of the party was restored.► She became the second elected female chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 1991.► Jayalalithaa held the position of the Chief Minister on and off for six terms, covering over 13 years since 1991. (With agency inputs)

DNA Morning Must Reads: Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest; Ashraf Ghani gives Pakistan a $500 mn snub

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Live Updates: Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest; Chennai on edge, heavy security outside Apollo HospitalTamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is said to be critical after she suffered a cardiac arrest in the hospital where she was admitted over two months ago. Read more.2. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani gives Pakistan a $500 mn snub on terror”Pakistan,” he told representatives of nearly 50 countries or organisations attending the Heart of Asia conference, including Pakistan Foreign Affairs and Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, “has pledged 500 million dollars for Afghanistan’s development. This amount, Mr Aziz, can be spent to fight terrorists and extremists in Pakistan.” Read more.3. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key resignStating that he had never seen himself as a career politician, Popular New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced his shock resignation. Read more.4. Despite note ban, Kerala liquor baron hosts lavish wedding for daughterDr Biju Ramesh hosted his daughter Megha’s wedding at the Rajdhani Gardens where a replica of Mysore Palace was created to greet around 20,000 guests at the venue. Read more.5. India v/s England: Ajinkya Rahane’s maiden homecoming in TestsIndia vice-captain will play his first Test at homeground Wankhede from Thursday, hoping to come out of lean patch. Read more.

Despite note ban, Kerala liquor baron hosts lavish wedding for daughter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, Thiruvananthapuram played host to one of the most lavish weddings the state has ever seen. People compared it to the recent Rs 500 crore wedding of Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy’s daughter, and not just for the amount of expenditure involved.Prominent Kerala liquor baron and politician, Dr Biju Ramesh, hosted his daughter Megha’s wedding. Her groom was none other than Ajaykrishnan, the son of Congress MLA Konni and former State Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash. The reason the wedding turned so many heads however, is thanks to early reports that the reception would feature replicas of the Mysore Palace and Akshardham temple at the venue.In an interview to The News Minute, Ramesh explained that the extravagant idea was actually a friend’s. “A replica of the Mysore palace will greet around 20,000 guests as they enter the wedding venue. Walking in through its gates, they enter the lobby area where they would be greeted, and then they move towards the stage which has been set up on the lines of the Akshardham temple,” he said.Aside from the decor, the wedding party was also being entertained by well-known playback singer Shweta Mohan, with a 80,000-square-foot wedding pandal to be the guests’ playground. All of this despite the fact that the Income Tax Department is already investigating Janardhan Reddy for the lavish wedding party he threw, though that doesn’t seem to deter Ramesh. When asked how he was paying for the entire affair in the current state of demonetization, no straightforward answers were forthcoming.It is important to note that Ramesh was a whistleblower in the UDF bar bribery scam. Prakash himself has been in headlines for allegedly demanding Rs 25 lakh bribe, to sanction a ration depot at Omasseri in Kozhikode, while in office.

Senior journalist Girish Nikam dies at 59 after a massive heart attack

Senior journalist Girish Nikam dies at 59 after a massive heart attack

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New Delhi: Senior journalist and TV anchor Girish Nikam died in New Delhi on Monday following a massive heart attack. Nikam, 59, complained of uneasiness after a programme shoot in the studios and was taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where he breathed his last, according to his associates.

Senior journalist Girish Nikam. Image courtesy: Facebook

Senior journalist Girish Nikam. Image courtesy: Facebook

Nikam started his journalistic career with “Star of Mysore” in Mysuru and later shifted to Indian Express, Bengaluru. He had worked in other media organisations including India Today, Deccan Chronicle and News Today before doing programmes for Rajya Sabha TV.

Nikam’s body is being taken to Bengaluru on Tuesday for the last rites. Prasar Bharati Chairman A Suryaprakash was among others who condoled the death of Nikam.

Suryaprakash said Nikam was an extremely versatile mediaperson who traversed the worlds of print, television and social media. Information and Broadcasting minister M Venakaiah Naidu today paid tributes to Nikam.

Condoling his death, Naidu said he was saddened at the death of Nikam who had made great contribution to the profession of journalism. He also visited the RML hospital, where 59-year-old Nikam had breathed his last.

Karanataka govt celebrating Tipu Sultan Jayanti is like celebrating Aurangzeb’s birth anniversary: Mohandas Pai

Bengaluru: Technology investor and Padmashree awardee T V Mohandas Pai on Tuesday said the Karnataka government’s plan to celebrate ‘Tipu Jayanti’ is like celebrating the anniversary of Aurangzeb, “who was a tyrant Mughal Emperor and a staunch religious fundamentalist.”

“The state government’s plan to celebrate Tipu Jayanti is like the central government celebrating the anniversary of Aurangzeb, who was a tyrant Mughal Emperor and a staunch religious fundamentalist,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an RSS event here.

Tipu Jayanti, slated to be celebrated across the state on November 10, is being observed since last year following a Congress government decision, which had triggered a major row and caused violence in Kodagu district in November last.

Tipu Sultan was the 18th century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom.

TV Mohandas Pai. Reuters

Padmashree TV Mohandas Pai. Reuters

Pai rued that government is playing politics over Tipu Jayanti and urged it to celebrate anniversaries of benevolent rulers like the Wodeyars and Mysuru Diwan Mirza Ismail.

“What the government is doing is playing politics, which is wrong and I would request them not to do it. If they want to celebrate, let them celebrate Mirza Ismail, Wodeyars -both were benevolent rulers. Let them also celebrate Sir Visveswaraya, the greatest engineer we ever had,” he said.

Ismail was Diwan (Prime Minister) of Mysuru, Jaipur and Hyderabad. Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya was Ismail’s mentor.

“The government, which is there to rule the entire state, they must never do something which divides people – divides Coorgis, Mangalurean Christians other communities,” he said.

They should instead bring different communities together.

“The BJP and the Congress play politics. They have got their own constituencies. Let them do what they want,” he said.

Pai said he feels offended that government would celebrate Tipu Jayanti who was a “bigot and tyrant”, who killed people of different communities and converted people to Islam.

“I am a Konkani and I feel very offended that the government is celebrating somebody (Tipu) who did wrong to both communities.”

Pai alleged that Tipu Sultan butchered Coorgis and the Christians living in Kodagu and Kerala, and also destroyed Konkani temples near Sultan Bathery and Kasargod, in Kerala.

“The Coorgis still have anger against him. In Mangaluru, the Christian community are angered because some 26,000 Catholics were put in dungeons,” he said. “He (Tipu) destroyed Konkani temples near Sultan Bathery and Kasargod,” he added.

“There is a dark side to Tipu. He was a despot and a bigot. He killed many people converted others to Islam by using sword. There is no denying the fact as such,” he said.

BJP and RSS have opposed the “Tipu Jayanti” celebrations.

RSS had stated recently it opposed the celebration and it would stage protests against it as the ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom was a “religious bigot and a violent sultan”.

Fairytale wedding for India royals

The maharaja of Mysore in southern India, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, marries his princess Trishika Kumari in a traditional ceremony at the royal palace.

Google denied permission to launch Street View app in India

Those who were looking forward to get a panoramic street view on their Google app are in for a disappointment. The Union home ministry has denied the Internet giant the permission to launch the Street View service in India. The increasing bonhomie between India and the US had raised hope of many, who expected Google to get permission for the popular app.Top government sources said that after considering Google’s proposal at length for nearly a year, both Union home ministry and defence ministry decided unequivocally that permission for the street view service cannot be granted, as it could have serious security implications.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The street view can be used by terrorists to set coordinates for launching terror attacks with precision. We cannot afford to have such a service. The geospatial bill, which is under process, will elaborately dwell on this issue,” said the source.The Union home ministry officials also spoke to some India-based app providers before taking the decision, and they also raised similar red flags, sources said.Google representatives had given a detailed presentation of their Street View app to the Union home ministry in April 2015 and explained how the platform could be extremely useful in promoting tourism and in times of disasters.Later in July 2015, they submitted a formal proposal to shoot images through high-end cameras mounted on cars, bikes and on foot. Earlier, a pilot project was undertaken by Google in collaboration with the tourism ministry, wherein it shot 360-degree panoramic view of famous tourist sites such as Qutub Minar, Thanjavur temple, Varanasi river bank, Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Nalanda University, Mysore Palace and Chinnaswamy Stadium. They can still be seen on Google Street View app.

PMO counters criticism on ‘rehashed’ schemes under Modi government

With NDA Government facing criticism of “rehashing” schemes, a top PMO official said no idea is entirely new and its origin can be traced in old ones but what distinguishes it is how effectively a programme is applied to a particular situation.Stating that initiatives including Swachh Bharat and Jan Dhan Yojana were “path breaking and ambitious” but were dubbed by critics as “basically new names”, P K Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary in the PMO, cited the example of noted economist Amartya Sen’s concept of entitlement and suggested it was similar to observations made decades earlier by an official of erstwhile Mysore State.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sen, a Nobel laureate, has been critical of Modi government’s policies.Addressing inaugural session of second National Symposium on Excellence in Training here, Mishra said the initiatives taken by Modi government required “highly motivated and competent” personnel for ensuring “effective implementation”.”It is sometimes pointed out that these programmes or schemes are not new, they are basically new names. I would like to point out that no idea can be entirely new.”Ideas evolve over years, innovations and any new idea, so-called new idea, its origin can always be traced to something in the past,” he observed.Referring to Sen’s concept of Entitlement, the bureaucrat said the economist had developed it with “extremely insightful” study of Bengal famine.But, Mishra added, the Mysore State Diwan had in his book published “sometime between 1915 and 1920” too had explained “how during drought and famine, it is not the shortage of food but lack of purchasing power which affects people”. The Diwan though had not used the word entitlement in his book, the official said.”The point I am making is one can trace any idea in earlier ideas. But what distinguishes the current efforts or the new initiatives is how an idea, whether in the form of a scheme or programme, can be effectively applied to a particular situation,” he added.Mishra also made a strong pitch for application of three “distinctive aspects” of transparency, speed and effective implementation in governance.Underscoring need for human resource development, he said it was the same factor that had propelled economic development in East Asian countries between 1960s and 80s.The official also underscored use technology for effective implementation of schemes of like direct benefit transfer, Digital India or Smart City.”We need to use technology not in the sense of high-level technological equipment, but technology at the grass roots-level also will make the schemes more effective. So, all these pose lot of challenges to training institutes,” he said.Mishra also underlined the need for training people at the district and village levels as he noted capacity building training of those who are actually interacting with people is extremely important.”It is not difficult to say, nobody will disagree, we need transparency, we need objectively but how exactly people will be imbued with the not only capacity, but the incentive to adopt these approaches and that is a big challenge,” he added.Besides Mishra, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Co-ordinator Yuri Afansiev also addressed the session.

Pre-wedding photo shoot inside Mysore palace gets into trouble

News of a pre-wedding photo shoot at the Durbar Hall inside the Mysore Palace has invited criticism for palace board officials involved in maintaining the premises. The pictures are said to have been taken in the Durbar and Kalayan Mantap and video clippings reportedly also show a few officials watching the shoot in progress. According to a report in The New Indian Express, pictures or videos are not allowed inside the high-security zone. The Palace, which is guarded by armed police and is under CCTV surveillance, reportedly allows cameras inside the Durbar Hall only during Dasara after due permission from the Royal Family. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noted film producer Sandeshswamy has told the daily that the news was shocking as he was not allowed to shoot his film Gowdaru inside the Palace. He added that even Rajinikanth’s movie Linga was denied clearance to shoot inside the century-old Mysore Palace.

Consolidation govt policy; need global-sized institutions, says FM Jaitley

New Delhi: The proposal of SBI to merge its five associate banks with itself and acquire Bharatiya Mahila Bank is in line with the government’s policy of consolidation as the country needs global-sized institutions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday.

“Consolidation was part of the Indradhanush package. I had announced about consolidation in the budget…therefore, the banks have acted. It is accordance with the government’s policy,” Jaitley said.

On Tuesday, the country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) proposed merger of its five associate banks and the three-year old Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with itself and sought the government’s approval for the same.

“Let the proposal come to the government. I had already announced consolidation as the road map in the Budget itself. And therefore, I think the larger question (is) that India doesn’t need so many banks in the public sector,” Jaitley said in an interview to CNBC TV 18 channel.

“And therefore, let larger global-sized institutions come into existence without adversely impacting the employees’ working conditions. And if it (the proposal) comes to us, I will certainly look at that. And I will look at it very
positively.”

He said there is a need to reduce the number of banks by consolidating some of them.

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTIA file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

A file photo of Arun Jaitley. PTI

Further, he said the banks have given their own opinion and if some banks have a contrarian view, the government will “certainly respect that, look into it and take that into consideration”.

According to SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, with the merger, the balance-sheet size of the bank will soar to Rs 37 lakh crore, from Rs 28 lakh crore currently.

The five associate banks that are under proposal to be merged with the banking major are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Hyderabad.

Among these, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore and State Bank of Travancore are listed on bourses.

Asked if more lenders are expected to come out with such consolidation plans, Jaitley said the immediate priority will be to improve the stress situation and their economic health.

“I think the immediate priority with regard to other banks is to get them out of the stress situation, improve on their economic health and then look at a possible consolidation, wherever possible,” he added.

Asked about the government’s plan on strategic sale in PSUs through divestment, he said suggestions from NITI Aayog are awaited.

“Divestment is the art of the possibility. Divestment is not something which you decide and you do it. You decide to divest and privatise them… market conditions may not be conducive. You may have other issues related to a particular proposal, how meritorious a proposal is…,” Jaitley said.

Speaking about the government having widened its policy for the first time, the finance minister pointed to the available means such as divestment, strategic sale and privatisation, asset recycling and buybacks.

“And therefore, over the past policy, we have improved upon it… all these options are today open to the government… there is a lot of flexibility now. Once NITI Aayog gives us the report, we will do it,” he said.

The government is working on “some unfinished work” on stake sale in hotels in the earlier NDA rule.

“For the present, I can tell you that we have some hotels which were left out in the earlier NDA government’s privatisation plan. The ministries concerned are moving very fast on it…,” Jaitley added.

Namma Metro beats delay blues, bouquets make up for it in a week

On 29 April Bengaluru witnessed the launch of the first underground metro corridor in South India. With this the Purple Line of Namma Metro is fully functional, carrying commuters on an 18.2 km stretch in 38 minutes bringing their travel time down by almost half. A road trip even without peak hour traffic would easily take an hour and a half.

The Reach 1 of the metro, from Baiyappanahalli to MG Road, was completed in 2011 and Reach 2, from Magadi Road to Mysore Road, in 2015. These stretches did not connect to any of the busy junctions of the city and so the footfall in these stretches was around 20,000- 22,000 on an average day. A dismal figure, for the crores of money invested in the project. Now that the underground section connects Reach 1 and Reach 2 with the high profile and important areas of the city has the metro finally gained popularity among the citizens?

Vasanth Rao, general manager and chief public relations officer, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRC), says, “In the week since its launch Namma Metro has seen on an average around a lakh people travelling every day. The trains generally run between 6 am to 10 pm, but on days when Bengaluru is hosting the Indian Premier League matches the trains ply even past midnight. Currently the trains make 115 to 120 trips per day at a frequency of 7- 15 minutes depending on the time and volume of people commuting at that time.”

And the jump in trips during IPL matches and the rising footfalls due to the newly commissioned underground link between the two routes is also resulting in praise from tweeple.

BMRC has more plans in store for its commuters like providing WiFi and retail-and-transit facilities at the metro stations. They are working in tandem with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the city bus service provider, to provide feeder bus services to solve the issue of last mile connectivity. They are also in the process of launching an app that will help the commuters with information like feeder routes, timings, fares, parking and other commuter related services. Meanwhile they are also working on reducing the travel time further by five minutes and increasing the frequency to every three minutes. In a city like Bengaluru, traffic is the bane in everyone’s life. So does the metro help to resolve this issue? While the metro does not ply in the areas that house the IT sectors and other important hubs that face severe traffic bottlenecks, it still goes through some critical areas like Cubbon Park, Vidhan Soudha, etc. During peak office hours even these areas tend to get crowded. People working in these places now can choose to commute by the metro. “Since its inauguration, I have begun to commute to work by the metro. Earlier I used to go by my bike from my home near Mysore Road to my workplace near MG Road. Though the metro is a more expensive option, I still prefer it as it is more comfortable and I can completely avoid traffic,” says Sijo Abraham, a professional. He further says, “While Mysore Road doesn’t have as much of traffic issue as other parts of the city, it is heading in that direction and so the metro comes more as a preventive measure. Before the traffic issue gets much out of hand the metro has come to the rescue.”

KR Surabhi, a student at Christ University, tried the metro two days after its launch from Vidhan Soudha to Indira Nagar. “I wanted to experience it as it is something new, but it does not ply in the route that I take so I simply went on a joy ride. The metro could be a solution to the traffic woes if it could connect the rest of the city as well. Even though it is slightly more expensive, people would opt for it as it is more comfortable and saves time as well.”

Sarayu Srinivasan, a reporter for a news portal, says, “The metro might not be an easy solution for the city’s traffic issues. The traffic is not on the metro route, it is elsewhere. But it will definitely help to cut down travelling time for commuters.” She further complains, “Once the train goes underground the phone receives no signal.”

People now reach the metro stations by their private vehicles and then park it at the stations for the day. Currently the stations on Reach 2 are allowing free parking while Reach 2 stations charge a nominal amount for a day’s parking.

The Phase I of the metro will be completed with the completion of the Green Line, which currently has Reach 3 in operation.

“The Green Line will also be completed by the end of this year,” Rao said.

Government lab report on Maggi finds lead in permissible limits

A government laboratory on Tuesday submitted its test report on 16 samples of Maggi noodles in the Supreme Court, which directed that copies of it be given to the Centre and Nestle India, its manufacturer, within three days.One of the reports said that while the lead content was within permissible limits but monosodium glutamate (MSG) was on the higher side. Centre’s counsel opened the sample report and said, “the first report says lead content is within the permissible limit but MSG content is there.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To this Nestle’s counsel told the bench, headed by justice Dipak Misra that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in a recent notification, had said that it was not possible to determine the MSG content after the manufacturing of the food item. As per the notification, the MSG levels can only be determined during manufacturing only.Nestle’s counsel further maintained the stand that MSG occurs naturally in grains and that no added MSG was present in Maggi noodles.The court fixed July 19 for further hearing of the matter.Underlining that Maagi is consumed mostly by youngsters, the apex court had sought a conclusive report from the government laboratory in Mysore on whether Maggi noodles is safe for consumption and if lead and glutamic acid in it are within permissible limits.The National Consumer Disputes Reddressal Commission (NCDRC), had on December 10, 2015, sent 16 more samples of Maggi noodles for testing in the Chennai lab to ascertain the quantity of lead and MSG in them, in connection with the government’s Rs 640 crore suit against the company for alleged unfair trade practices.Later, on December 16, 2015, the top court ordered that the testing can be conducted in the Mysore laboratory, instead of the Chennai lab. It also stayed the proceedings before the NCDRC and directed that the test reports, including the earlier one, be placed before it.

Pay dues honourably or face coercive action: FM to Mallya

New Delhi: In a stern warning to wilful defaulters like Vijay Mallya, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said they should settle their dues honourably with the banks or else be ready to face “coercive action” by lenders and investigative agencies.

Vijay Mallya. AFPVijay Mallya. AFP

Vijay Mallya. AFP

“I don’t want to make any comments on individual cases but I think it’s a responsibility of large groups like his (Vijay Mallya‘s) to honourably settle their dues with the banks,” he told PTI in an interview here.

He further said that banks have certain collaterals of group companies of Vijay Mallya and will take legal action to recover dues that are in excess of Rs 9,000 crore.

“Banks have some securities. Banks plus other agencies have also coercive methods available with them through legal enforcement…these are all being investigated by relevant agencies,” he said.

Mallya, promoter of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had left India on March 2, presumably for London, days before the Supreme Court heard a plea of clutch of state-owned banks seeking recovery from his group firms.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank, which had an exposure of over Rs 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline. Other banks that have exposure to the airline include Punjab National Bank and IDBI Bank (Rs 800 crore each), Bank of India (Rs 650 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 550 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 410 crore).

UCO Bank has to recover Rs 320 crore, Corporation Bank (Rs 310 crore), State Bank of Mysore, (Rs 150 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 140 crore), Federal Bank (Rs 90 crore), Punjab & Sind Bank (Rs 60 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 50 crore). The Finance Minister said the government has been trying to address the problem of NPAs in sectors such as steel, textile, highways and infrastructure, which are on account of economic slowdown.

“I think the NPA resolution process will now begin. The sectors which have caused distress… I have always said that there are two kinds of NPAs. One is because of economic environment, the losses in certain categories of industry. Now those areas we are trying to address,” he said.
PTI

Pay dues honourably or face coercive action: Finance Minister to Vijay Mallya

New Delhi: In a stern warning to willful defaulters like Vijay Mallya, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said they should settle their dues honourably with the banks or else be ready to face “coercive action” by lenders and investigative agencies.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reuters

“I don’t want to make any comments on individual cases but I think it’s a responsibility of large groups like his (Vijay Mallya‘s) to honourably settle their dues with the banks,” he told PTI in an interview here.

He further said that banks have certain collaterals of group companies of Vijay Mallya and will take legal action to recover dues that are in excess of Rs 9,000 crore.

“Banks have some securities. Banks plus other agencies have also coercive methods available with them through legal enforcement…these are all being investigated by relevant agencies,” he said.

Mallya, promoter of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had left India on 2 March, presumably for London, days before the Supreme Court heard a plea of clutch of state-owned banks seeking recovery from his group firms.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank, which had an exposure of over Rs 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline.

Other banks that have exposure to the airline include Punjab National Bank and IDBI Bank (Rs 800 crore each), Bank of India (Rs 650 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 550 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 410 crore).

UCO Bank has to recover Rs 320 crore, Corporation Bank (Rs 310 crore), State Bank of Mysore, (Rs 150 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 140 crore), Federal Bank (Rs 90 crore), Punjab & Sind Bank (Rs 60 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 50 crore).

The Finance Minister said the government has been trying to address the problem of NPAs in sectors such as steel, textile, highways and infrastructure, which are on account of economic slowdown.

“I think the NPA resolution process will now begin. The sectors which have caused distress… I have always said that there are two kinds of NPAs. One is because of economic environment, the losses in certain categories of industry. Now those areas we are trying to address,” he said.

PTI

The Indian clock to tower over Big Ben

Indian IT giant Infosys plans to build the world’s largest free-standing clock tower, dwarfing structures like Old Joe and Big Ben.

Congratulations, Tamil Nadu! Only Indian destination to make it to NYT’s list of 52 places to visit in 2016

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Indian Science Congress: PM Modi for greater scientific cooperation between state, central institutions

The Prime Minister also lauded the University of Mysore for maintaining high standards of education. “Some of the tallest leaders of India have passed through the doors of this respected institution,” he said.

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