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Congress in Gujarat may project a CM face for 2017 polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki has not ruled out the possibility of the party projecting a chief ministerial face in 2017 assembly polls to take on BJP, which has been in power in the state for nearly two decades.Claiming that the Congress is well equipped to take on BJP in the Prime Minister’s home state, Solanki dubbed Vijay Rupani as a “rubber stamp” Chief Minister and claimed the change of guard earlier this year did not help the ruling party which has been grappling with Patel quota and dalit stirs.The Congress has not fought elections projecting a chief ministerial candidate in the last 20 years in Gujarat.With the exit of Modi from Gujarat political scene leaving a leadership vacuum in BJP, Congress is hoping to make a mark in the 2017 elections.”Though it (the leadership question) will be decided by the high command, after Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, we cannot rule it out. Let’s wait and see,” Solanki told PTI in an interview.Congress has named former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit as its chief ministerial candidate for Uttar Pradesh.In a direct attack on Chief Minister Rupani, who replaced Anandiben Patel, Solanki said he is a “rubber stamp of BJP president Amit Shah.””By changing chief minister,the BJP has lost on both fronts. Replacing a Patel and a woman Chief Minister by Rupani has not impacted the administration in a positive way. Things have gone from bad to worse,” he said, when asked if the change of guard will prove disadvantageous to Congress.The Congress, after remaining in opposition for last 20 years, is hoping for a revival, as the BJP is facing tough challenges in the form of Patel quota agitation and Dalit protests after the Una flogging incident.”Gujarat’s political scenario has changed due to two agitations – Patel quota movement and Dalit agitation. Come what may, both the communities have decided to defeat BJP in the 2017 elections,” Solanki claimed.

Can Viral Acharya, RBI’s new deputy governor solve Mint Street’s communication block?

It’s been only a few hours since his name was announced as the new deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in charge of monetary policy, but Viral Acharya is already a star. Media reports describe him as ‘Poor man’s Rajan’, picking the phrase from one of his old interviews, while some wrote about how the cricketer, singer and poet Acharya also has a music album to his credit.

The newfound stardom and fanfare accompanying Acharya in Indian media reminds one the initial days of Raghuram Rajan, former RBI governor, who was often called as a ‘rock star’ governor of Mint Street and James Bond who’s put the “sex” back into the Sensex’. At 42, Acharya, is the youngest deputy governor of the RBI. One needn’t be surprised if he morphs into a ‘junior rock star’ in media.

Viral Acharya - RBI Deputy Governor. Image courtesy - NYU-Stern.Viral Acharya - RBI Deputy Governor. Image courtesy - NYU-Stern.

Viral Acharya – RBI Deputy Governor. Image courtesy – NYU-Stern.

But once the welcome party is over, there is a trial by fire awaiting Acharya, who is entering the RBI at a time when the economy is fighting a self-imposed demonetisation crisis and the central bank itself is fighting a major trust deficit and credibility crisis, due to the way it has handled the Modi government’s decision on the evening of 8 November to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

Acharya needs to hit the ground running making the RBI’s voice heard in the monetary policy committee (MPC) on the course of interest rates in a challenging economic scenario. Since there is already an MPC with experts in place, Acharya’s task wouldn’t be too tough as in the old days when the monetary policy was solely the central bank’s responsibility.

Nevertheless, there is likely to be pressure from the ruling political dispensation for steeper rate cuts in the backdrop of a sharp decline in economic growth due to the demonetisation-induced cash crunch.

The RBI itself has lowered the GDP forecast for the fiscal year 2017 to 7.1 percent from 7.6 per cent while forecasters have gone even more pessimistic forecasts (one even predicted 3.5 percent for current year).

Acharya isn’t a big fan of ultra-loose monetary policies though. He believes such a policy stance ,when introduced in a weak banking system, can turn out to be disastrous. In an interview given to Bloomberg Quint, Acharya had said, “We are yet struggling to figure out what the global economies are from the ultra-loose monetary policy. Whereas, now we are seeing emerging evidence of the unintended consequences that these policies have had. So, the biggest problem that I worry with low interest rates is when parts of your banking sectors aren’t healthy; it’s a recipe for disaster.” This was in the global context, but applies to India as well.

On the bad loan issue, one of the big headaches for India’s policymakers, Acharya had made two important remarks in the same interview.

First, to hive off bad loans into a separate entity. Acharya had said that Indian banking system need to create a bad-loan bank to separate the good assets from the bad. “I am absolutely proposing, either explicitly or implicitly, that we separate the unhealthy parts of the troubled banks from the healthy parts,” Acharya said.

Secondly, he warned that taking profit from the RBI and using it for the recapitalisation of state-run banks is a solution to the capital problems of India’s PSU banks.

“I don’t think half-baked solutions like taking the RBI’s profits and putting them into public sector banks is the way to go. I think that is just like putting on a band aid and actually it’s a pretty bad band aid in my opinion, because it, kind of, distances the fiscal authority from the monetary, it reduces the distance of the two. It, kind of, almost says that central bank should generate profit because you have to recapitalise the public sector. Everything smells wrong about it.”

Interestingly, one of the thought processes within the Modi government when it announced demonetisation was that the exercise will create some fiscal boost in the form of a ‘windfall’ profit from the RBI when its currency liability goes down.

The idea didn’t work since most of the money demonetised returned to the banking system and RBI governor Urjit Patel clarified that there is no such plan to transfer a one-time surplus to the government on the cards. India’s PSU banks are reeling under heavy bad-loan burden (totalling Rs 6 lakh crore as on September) and need huge capital to meet their Basel-III credit requirements, credit expansion needs and bad loan provisioning.

In a research paper co-authored with Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian of Indian School of Business — State intervention in banking: the relative health of Indian public sector and private sector bank — Acharya had said that many of the problems faced by Indian public sector banks are due to their lack of efficient human resources (he cited the P J Nayak committee report here), their inability to adapt to a rapidly changing technology and the issue of dual regulation of these banks by both the RBI and finance ministry. In the paper, Acharya strongly advocated that in the due course some of the public sector banks will have to by privatised.

“Over the long run, some of the public sector banks can be privatised or their assets reallocated. Some of them could be acquired by the relatively well-capitalised private sector firms; the ones with worst asset quality could be wound down; and, greater entry of smaller and newer banks can be enabled to yet maintain healthy levels of competition,” Acharya said.

As Patel’s deputy in charge of monetary policy, there is no clarity whether Acharya will have a say in the bad loan resolution issue. But, if he continues to argue for some of the above recommendations in the past, he may run into trouble with the government, especially on the issue of using RBI profit to recapitalise state-run banks.

But, beyond these two issues — monetary policy and banking sector NPAs — what one needs to watch is whether Acharya can offer a solution to the communication block the Reserve Bank is suffering ever since Patel took over as RBI governor. Over the years, especially during the tenure of Raghuram Rajan, the RBI has taken serious efforts to improve the central bank’s communication to the public also using public engagements of the RBI top brass to converse and clarify key policy decisions with various stakeholders. This was done with the assessment that effective communication is equally critical for a central bank as much as taking policy decisions.

But, arguably, the RBI under Patel has been a failure to carry forward this effort, especially during the demonetisation rollout. Former RBI deputy governor, Usha Thorat, in a column in The Indian Express, criticised the RBI for not communicating to the desired extent on certain critical aspects of demonetisation. “The RBI top management must communicate more through the media and speaking opportunities. This is necessary in the interest of transparency and credibility. It generates confidence that the RBI believes in honest communication,” Thorat said. Governor Patel’s prolonged silence since 8 November, despite uncertainty on cash crunch gripping the public, had attracted strong criticism.

Can Acharya, an articulate academic, fill the void of the effective communicator in the central bank? “Perhaps he can,” said Gaurav Kapur, an independent economist. “ Not just on the demonetisation issue, but on other policy decisions as well. Acharya can be the person to communicate the RBI’s policy decisions more effectively, which was largely missing during the demonetisation episode,” Kapur said.

Over to you Mr Acharya.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 12:38 IST

Full text: Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s speech at Mumbai University

Arguing that bonhomie between the different South Asian countries can happen only through utilising an accommodating rather than an exclusionary approach, Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said that it is the only practical approach to the possibility of a “South Asian Union”.

Ansari was addressing the gathering after releasing the book ‘August Voices: What they said on 14-15 August 1947’, authored by Observer Research Foundation head Sudheendra Kulkarni, in Mumbai.

Vice President Hamid Ansari. Reuters

Vice President Hamid Ansari. Reuters

Following is a full transcript of his speech:

“I confess I have read, but infrequently, some of the writings of Sudheendra Kulkarni. Some years back he was gracious enough to send me a copy of his very interesting collection of writings on what Mahatma Gandhi would have done with the internet.

It is tempting to type caste. Could he be called an archeologist, or dubbed a futurologist? Neither would do justice to his work. To me, it is evident that Kulkarni ji has the mind of an explorer, a visionary, in quest of new worlds.

The book before us is one such endeavour, to build a new edifice on the ruins of the past. And yet, because this is not a green field venture, it is essential to understand the nature of ruins on which rebuilding is to commence.

The task of the historian, as Ibn Khuldun put it, is to ‘lift the veil’ from conditions of the past. The present case is also a matter of living memory and therefore not immune from subjectivity of greater intensity. The ‘post-truth’, in this case, arrived seven decades earlier!

The challenge for us, therefore, is three fold:

To understand what happened in 1947?

To examine the role and limitations of the principal actors?

To explore realistically the options for the future.

The happening of 1947 has rightly been describes as a ‘tragedy’ to which the Two Nation theory contributed. The British role, and their anxiety to leave India on terms most advantageous to them, is well known.

Was this sufficient to bring about the division of the country?

Some of the iconic personalities cited in the book, and others not mentioned, played a role in articulating and shaping perceptions for over two decades. Their ‘final’ statements, if such a term can be used for what they said on August 14-15, have therefore to be seen in a wider context of their role in the developments that led to the final decisions.

The critical question is simply put: why was the Partition Plan, put forth by the British, accepted?

Much has been written about the experience of the functioning of the Interim Government of 1946-47. In the discussions preceding and during the crucial AICC meeting of 14-15 June 1947 opinion was divided but both Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel supported Partition. Their line of reasoning, as per public record, was not identical. Nehru felt a compromise with the Muslim League would result in ‘a weak India, that is, a federal India with far too much power in the federating units,’ adding that partition would be temporary, that Pakistan was bound to come back to us.’ Patel felt, as he put it, that ‘in spite of my previous strong opposition to partition, I agreed to it because I am convinced that in order to keep India united it must be divided.’ He added, in a speech in Bombay on 30 October 1948, that ‘we accepted partition willingly and after a full weightment of its consequences.’

Ten years after the event, Maulana Azad attributed the decision of his principal colleagues to ‘anger or despair (that) had clouded their vision’ adding that ‘the verdict (of history) would be that India was not divided by the Muslim League but by the Congress.’

It is therefore difficult to disagree with Shri Kulkarni’s conclusion that ‘history’s verdict casts the responsibility for India’s Partition on both the parties although the Muslim league’s guilt is decidedly greater’ because it anchored its demand on the Two Nation Theory.

And yet, the thought did persist with some of the decision-makers that the impending happening was somewhat unreal, not altogether desirable, and hopefully transitory. The latter aspect, however, was not investigated or spelt out.

Even more glaring was the apparent absence, on all sides, of reflection and articulation of the economic implications of the division of what had hitherto been one economic unit for over a century with its own imperatives and socio-economic consequences.

The theme of the book before us is to project a scenario of the possibility of a South Asian Union with the India-Pakistan-Bangladesh Confederation at the core. Its underlying assumption is the possibility and desirability of an India-Pakistan rapprochement.

Our focus is on three nation-states of recent origin, of different sizes and capacities, differing versions of the past, conflicting ideologies and national security perceptions, but sharing geography, ecology and wider human security challenges.

Our author seeks a solution by plunging headlong into the core of differences. He suggests a ‘cultural and spiritual confederation’ that would subdue and overcome extremist perceptions of those whom he is not disinclined to name, reverts to what was said by some political and spiritual personalities, and cites with approval Maharishi Aurobindo’s words that the desired change will come ‘by an increasing recognition of the necessity not only of peace and concord but of common action, by the practice of common action and the creation of means for that purpose.’

Idealism, however lofty, has to be tempered with realism. Common action is easier done on areas of convergence than of divergence. This convergence is to be sought by moving beyond the traditional paradigm of conventional security into those of human security and human wrong. Both are ignored by the governments and societies in our region; there is a crying need for the recognition and implementation of both. Only then would we develop the perception and capacity for correctives.

A beginning therefore has to be made in regional cooperation with a focus on human security problems, on movement of people and on trade without unreasonable restrictions. The common traits in cultural traditions and historical narratives needs to be transmitted to a younger generation through conscious promotion rather than studied prevention of cultural exchanges, films, and other cultural activities.

The experience of Saarc has not been encouraging and therefore alternate strategies need to be explored. The proposed new structure would have to be voluntary and devoid of overt or covert coercion. There may be lessons to be learnt from other regional organizations.

The practical approach would be to make haste slowly, to be accommodative rather than exclusionary so that negative perceptions are allowed to fade away. Political commitment and modalities have to surface to resolve outstanding areas of disagreement. Foremost amongst these is what the Simla Agreement of 1972 called ‘a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir’. Its domestic dimensions, as well as the trans-LOC incursions, have been in the news of late. The State is doing all that is necessary to confront and repel terrorism. The State also has a duty to ensure that the rights and dignity of our citizens in the State are respected and ensured and shortcomings effectively addressed. Alienation of any segment of the citizen body within our land does not contribute to the overall health of the Republic.

Chale chalo ke who manzil abhi nahin aa’ii.

Jai Hind.”

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 10:20 IST

Demonetisation: Urjit Patel must come out of Modi’s shadow to arrest RBI’s unmaking

Demonetisation has shown its many faces to various stakeholders since 8 November. A bold, high-risk reform experiment for the Narendra Modi-government, a big learning for 125 crore Indians on what a disruptive reform actually means to their daily lives and, finally, a trial by fire for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that is now fighting to save its image and credibility. The demonetisation episode has inflicted severe damage to RBI’s integrity–something that hasn’t happened in the past even when the central bank had to walk a tight rope through multiple economic crises that originated both in India and abroad.

As Usha Thorat, a former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor writes in her Op-ed for Indian Express: “There have been times when the Old Lady of Mint Street was criticised for being too conservative and cautious — for not being able to keep up with innovation and markets — never has she been accused of not knowing her job. Never has she been the butt of as many jokes as in the last few days.”

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTIRBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

Thorat is probably the only voice, so far, among former RBI top brass to speak up openly on the issue of RBI’s eroding credibility. As far as the demonetisation issue is concerned, the RBI has been in a sad state clearly overshadowed by the Modi-government in all respects.

Beginning with the decision-making, the roll out and repeated U-turns on rules, all along it appeared that the North Block is in command, rather than Mint Street, when 86 percent of the currency in the country was scrapped in one go by PM Modi in a televised statement. The RBI has remained on the sidelines since then.

The RBI, one of the most reputed institutions in the country, known for its credibility and independence (operational) is now reduced to an object of jokes on social media. Thorat acknowledges this in her Op-ed when she wrote, “it is indeed a sad day to see one of the most respected public institutions in India becoming an object of ridicule and scorn”.

It appears that the RBI remains clueless at a time the common man is exposed to such massive disruption in his daily life as a result of an executive decision, making it largely inaccessible for him to draw his own money on account of curbs.

What was the turning point? Demonetisation has probably been only a trigger to expose the change in the working style of the central bank post the Raghuram Rajan era. The RBI leadership under Urjit Patel has so far been a near-failure to carry forward the virtues the central bank has guarded over several decades. There have been major shortcomings on many accounts, some of which Thorat has mentioned in her piece.

These can be summarised mainly into two issues — lack of transparency and absence of effective communication.

Beginning late evening of 8 November, government functionaries have dominated the demonetisation scene with the RBI largely reduced to an agency whose job is to only notify what is already there in public domain. At a time when the common man was gripped with panic seeing closed ATMs/ bank branches, long queues (which continues to an extent even now) and uncertainty regarding how long the cash crunch situation will continue, the RBI should have addressed the public to calm nerves and offer firm guidance, but Patel chose to remain silent for a long time. About 60-circulars in just one month of demonetisation doesn’t give a sense to the public that the RBI had any plan or conviction about the demonetisation rollout.

Thorat talks about the pressing need for more transparency and effective communication in RBI’s functioning. “The RBI top management must communicate more through the media and speaking opportunities. This is necessary in the interest of transparency and credibility. It generates confidence that the RBI believes in honest communication.”

Further, the former deputy governor tells RBI management. “Be transparent. It is good that the RBI has started giving some information on the notes issued and deposited periodically. Doubts have been expressed on the double counting of old notes returned to the RBI. There are press reports that the data furnished by the RBI on notes issued between December 10 and December 19 do not tally between the pieces and values. Data on notes returned to the RBI after December 12 has not been officially released — this is generating enormous speculation whether the notes returned exceed the notes issued.”

Transparency has been an issue all along.  This was true for the timely availability of information on the amount of old currency deposits returned to the banking system or regarding the break-up of the new Rs 500, Rs 2,000 denominations infused.  As far as the total chunk of currency infused, the last available data is as on 10 December, which was released on 13 December. According to this, banks have garnered Rs 12.44 trillion (Rs 12.44 lakh crore) in banned notes till 10 December, while they have issued Rs 4.61 trillion.

According to Thorat, “The RBI would do well to release every week, say, every Monday, data on the notes issued, denomination and value-wise, as also on old notes returned, to set all speculation to rest.”

There are two other instances worth mentioning that gives clues on a break from the past in the central bank’s mode of functioning and preparedness. One is RBI’s decision (read the Firstpost column here to not invite a number of journalists for the policy presser, the first after the Modi-government announced demonetisation. The second is its major flip-flop on the decision to cap deposits in old currency at Rs 5,000, which was later withdrawn due to public anger.  On 19 December, the RBI issued a notification imposing restrictions which it had originally promised time till 30 December (as also the Prime Minister) to accept old currency deposits without any limit.  “Could it (the RBI) not have refrained from issuing the circular of December 19 that clearly went against earlier assurances and had to be rescinded immediately?,” Thorat asks.

It is unfortunate to see an institution of RBI’s repute, which is regarded as one of the best central banks in the world, fighting a trust deficit of this magnitude. The loss of central bank’s credibility will have disastrous impact on Indian economy and lead to bigger problems. There is an immense responsibility on governor Patel, whose credentials for the role at RBI are second to none, to get his act together and take control of the situation, thus regaining the lost image of India’s central bank.

Here, Patel would do well to pay heed to Thorat’s caution.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:50 IST

Top municipal and state officials will face prosecution for violating waste rules: NGT

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant order on municipal solid waste rules (MSW), 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) principal bench has said that top officials of state governments and municipal bodies shall be liable for prosecution if they violate the rules and orders of the Tribunal on its enforcement.It has also asked all state governments and union territories to prepare an action plan within a month, to enforce the new MSW Rules, 2016 and directed environment ministry to consider phase out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic used in packaging.The NGT’s detailed 89-page judgment of a four-member bench, headed by justice Swatanter Kumar, was passed on Thursday while hearing the petition of Bengaluru-based veteran environment conservationist Almitra Patel, who had sought directions on effective management of solid waste across the country. The Tribunal’s judgment brought down curtains on a 20-year-old petition, that was initially filed as writ in the Supreme Court and was later transferred to the Tribunal in 2014.Patel’s petition led to the formulation of the first Municipal Solid Waste Rules in 2000 that were overhauled in 2016 by the environment ministry. Speaking to DNA, Patel said, “I am happy that they are finally planning on directing phase out of short life PVC’s, stationary, flex-banners etc, which ends up burning on the footpath or in the landfills. Burning them releases dioxins.”She added, “The country needs political and administrative will that has been lacking for 16 years since the 2000 Rules. So, I am waiting to see if the threat of contempt makes any impact.”The Tribunal’s verdict revealed that no municipal corporation has ever physically verified the quantum and quality of waste generated in any district of any state or even a city. “They have proceeded with a presumptive figure that per-capita generation of MSW is nearly 450 grams per day in major towns while per capita MSW generated from small towns is 200-300 grams per day,” it said.It added, “The Central Pollution Control Board report for the year 2014- 15 has revealed that out of 7935 urban local bodies (ULBs), as per 2011 census only 389 ULBs have established compost, vermi-compost sites.” This means that 92 per cent of ULBs are dumping its solid waste in open areas without treatment.On the issue of the piles of waste accumulating at landfills, the Tribunal has directed that landfills should be subjected to ‘bio-stabilisation’, which means that the mounds of waste have to be upturned at regular intervals for composting.It also attempted to deal with the contentious issue of tipping fees, which are paid to contractors who collect and transport waste in cities. It said that tipping fee paid to the operator of the landfill facilities or contractors should also be based on the functioning of waste treatment along with the weight of the solid waste.

Why did Vajpayee not ‘re-implement’ demonetization if it was a success: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying the late Indira Gandhi lacked courage to demonetize high value currency, the Congress hit back at the Centre saying why was demonetization not re-implemented by BJP stalwart Atal Behari Vajpayee in 1978, if it was so successful in the first place.Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Ahmed Patel accused the Centre of “promoting black money” and asked the ruling party to read up history properly as the grand old party had always been firmly against demonetization.”From Rajendra Babu to Indiraji to Dr Singh,we have been consistent in opposing note ban. Those in habit of U turns should read history properly. In 1978, Vajpayee ji was part of decision to demonetize Rs 1000, as PM he re-introduced it. Can anyone say he put party interest before nation?” he said in a series of tweets.Asserting that he respected Vajpayee, who was a cabinet minister during demonetization in 1078, Patel questioned that did he did not re-implement it during his government if it was a success. “I respect Vajpayee ji. He was Cabinet Minister during 1978 demonetization. Why he did not re-implement it during his govt if it was a success? Is it a coincidence that both, Rs 1000 note & Rs 2000 note is a legacy of NDA 1 & NDA 2. So who is promoting black money ,” Patel said.Prime Minister Modi on Friday said Indira Gandhi rejected suggestions for demonetization in 1971, saying she wanted to win elections, but that resulted in poor economic conditions in the country. Alleging that Indira sold out India by ignoring advice to demonetize, Prime Minister Modi said, “She told her finance minister YB Chavan: ‘Are no more elections to be fought by Congress.'”Stressing that the implementation of demonetization policy was required in 1971, but it was implemented now, the Prime Minister, hitting out at the opposition at the BJP Parliamentary Party meet, said, “For the Congress, party is bigger than nation; but for us, the nation is above the party.”

DNA Evening Must Reads: SC on Anurag Thakur; Mamata’s meeting with Urjit Patel; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Local Arunachal Congress leaders ‘astonished’ by corruption charges against Kiren RijijuUnion Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is at the centre of a controversy for having sought release of payments for contractors named in a vigilance probe, said on Thursday that the Congress Party has made a grave mistake by raising their finger against him, and therefore, they will have to pay the price for their lifetime. Read more here.2. Demonetization: Mamata meets RBI governor Urjit Patel, complains about ‘political discrimination amongst states’Amidst protests by Trinamool Congress against demonetization, RBI Governor Urjit Patel met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during which she expressed concern over hardship faced by people and “political discrimination amongst states”. Read more here.3. Aleppo: Rebel evacuation under way after ceasefire dealAn operation to evacuate thousands of civilians and fighters from the last rebel bastion in Aleppo was under way on Thursday, part of a ceasefire deal that would end years of fighting for the city and mark a major victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Read more here.4. Demonetization | 90% ATMs recaliberated, focus on printing Rs 500 notes: Shaktikanta DasEconomic Affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das stated that the total number of notes in lower denominations of Rs 100 and below supplied in the last five weeks is three times of what the Reserve Bank of India supplies in a year. Read more here.5. SC threatens perjury, contempt proceedings against BCCI President Anurag ThakurThe court reminded the BCCI top brass that Thakur as President of the board had asked for a letter from ICC CEO Dave Richardson that the appointment of a CAG nominee in the cricket body would compromise with autonomy and amount to government interference. Read more here.

PM Modi degree row: AAP workers protesting outside Gujarat HC detained

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 40 Aam Aadmi Party workers, including senior leader Kanu Kalsariya, were on Thursday detained by police for protesting outside the Gujarat High Court before the hearing of a case challenging an order of CIC regarding academic degrees of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”We have detained around 40 Aam Aadmi Party workers, including Kalsariya, for protesting outside the high court. They will be released later,” Sola police inspector D V Rana said.A case pertaining to the degrees obtained by Modi while studying at Gujarat University has been listed for hearing on Thursday in the high court. The petition in this regard was filed by Gujarat University against the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) on the degrees earned by Modi.Earlier in July this year, the Gujarat High Court had issued a stay on the CIC’s order asking Gujarat University (GU) to provide information on degrees earned by Modi to Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.Gujarat AAP unit media coordinator Harshil Nayak said their party workers were detained while raising slogans. “Since there was a hearing of a case related to Modi’s degrees, AAP workers, led by our Saurashtra zone in-charge Kanu Kalsariya, staged protest outside the high court,” Nayak said.On April 29, the CIC had directed Delhi University and Gujarat University to provide information to Kejriwal on degrees earned by Modi in 1978 (graduation in DU) and 1983 (post-graduation in GU). The CIC’s order had come a day after Kejriwal had written a letter to Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu, saying he does not object to government records about him being made public and wondered why the Commission wants to “hide” information on Modi’s educational degree.The Information Commissioner had treated Kejriwal’s letter as an RTI application and passed the order. Soon after the CIC issued the directive, GU Vice Chancellor M N Patel had informed the media that Modi completed his Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science as an external candidate in 1983 with first class. However, Patel had expressed inability to share the same details under the RTI Act citing technical grounds.According to Patel, details of marks can only be provided to the candidate himself. He further claimed that the varsity does not provide details of records beyond 20 years. Later in June, GU approached the high court demanding a stay on the CIC’s order.

Local Arunachal Congress leaders ‘astonished’ by corruption charges against Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who is at the centre of a controversy for having sought release of payments for contractors named in a vigilance probe, said on Thursday that the Congress Party has made a grave mistake by raising their finger against him, and therefore, they will have to pay the price for their lifetime. The Lok Sabha MP also shared a post on Twitter in which he said that he had the support of senior Congress Panchayat leaders. He wrote on Twitter: “This is a tight slap on the face of Congress ! Senior Congress Panchayat leaders are also condemning the shameful & malicious Congress act.”The letter reportedly written by Congress Panchayat leaders, claimed that he they had approached Rijiju for help since they hadn’t been paid. They wrote in the letter:“We would like to inform that we were deprived off the rightful payment due to us for performing the services of providing boulders for the project during being engaged as sub-contractor of Patel Engineering. As we were facing financial difficulties we had approached the NEEPCO and Patel Engineering admin many times but they have not listened to our request for release of our due payments. Shri Rijiju being our local MP we had approached him for taking our issues at appropriate level. His conduct in this case was his responsibility towards the people of projects affected site irrespective of political affiliation. We may have political differences because many of us are representing congress party in public life but it is our right to approach elected representatives to resolve grievances irrespective of political affiliation.” Earlier, talking to the media, Rijiju said if he has committed something wrong, then the Congress has no morale right to even exist even as a political party. ‘If I have committed something wrong then the Congress has no morale right to even exist even as a political party because as a people representative we normally recommend the people’s need, we recommend people’s request. That is our job. If I don’t recommend and I don’t have the local people then what am I for’ I am the Member of Parliament for my people,’ he said.Requesting for a thorough probe into the matter, he said, ‘I have written to only one recommendation letter. There are thousands of recommendation letter written by the Congress MLAs, Congress Chief Ministers, Congress MPs. It all should come out. So, if there is a thorough inquiry then the Congress will think again to raise this issue.’‘I have very clearly said that the Congress Party has made a grave mistake by raising their finger against me, they will pay the price for their lifetime, I’m telling you,’ he added. Rijiju had earlier said “Congress people should apologise for this. The scam – awarding of contract and payments – all happened during the Congress’ reign, and thus, the Congress should apologise to the nation”.‘The scam happened during the Congress reign, it has not happened during our regime. After 2014 had there been awarding of any contract or was there any payment’ Hence, all evidences are during the Congress’ time, so, they must apologise,’ he said.Rijiju brushed aside all allegations of corruption levelled against him and his distant cousin, saying that the ones planting such news would be beaten up with shoes if they come to Arunachal. He pushed aside all blame calling it “shameful” and asked if helping one’s own people can be termed as ‘corruption’. Rijiju, his distant cousin, a contractor in Arunachal Pradesh, Goboi Rijiju, and several other officials of North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) have been alleged of corruption in the construction of two dams for one of the biggest hydro-electric projects in Arunachal Pradesh.Their names, including the names of Chairman and Managing Editor of NEEPCO, have been mentioned in a 129-page report submitted by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) Chief Vigilance Officer.With inputs from ANI

RBI Governor Urjit Patel shown black flags by TMC supporters in Kolkata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel, who was in Kolkata to conduct the central board meeting following demonetization, was shown black flags by Trinamool Congress supporters outside the regional RBI office in the city. TMC supporters sporting black flags and shouting slogans ‘Go back Urjit’ staged a demonstration outside the RBI office. Later, a procession led by senior TMC leaders reached the office and registered their protest against demonetization. Earlier in the day, the Left had staged a demonstration outside the RBI office. Patel met senior officials of RBI to take stock of the situation prevailing in eastern and north-eastern states post demonetization. However, Patel was seen dodging the media right from his arrival in the city on Wednesday afternoon. Patel did not take the vehicle of the convoy provided by the state government. He took another vehicle from the airport and left for his hotel.On Thursday morning, Patel’s meeting at the RBI regional office was scheduled for 10 am. However, he reached the office much ahead of the scheduled time and entered the office building through the ‘out’ gate to prevent any interaction with the media. Around 3.30 pm on Thursday, Patel is likely to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss issues faced by banks in the state.

India is grateful to Sardar Patel for his role in freedom struggle, says PM Modi

Thu, 15 Dec 2016-10:05am , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid his tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 66th death anniversary and said the nation is grateful to the latter for his role in freedom struggle and decisive leadership.”Tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his Punya Tithi. India is grateful to him for his role in freedom struggle and decisive leadership,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted. Sardar Patel had played a leading role in the country’s struggle for independence. He successfully united the country by the unification of about 565 princely states after independence.He served as the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India.

‘Kiren Rijiju did no wrong’, says Power Ministry, rushing to his defence

New Delhi: Springing to the defence of minister Kiran Rijiju, the Power Ministry has said payments to a contractor of power plant in Arunachal Pradesh were released even before the minister forwarded a representation for the same.

Kiren Rijiju. Image courtesy: Press Information BureauKiren Rijiju. Image courtesy: Press Information Bureau

Kiren Rijiju. Image courtesy: Press Information Bureau

Dubbing allegation of Rijiju using his influence to clear bills as “unsubstantiated, false and baseless”, the ministry said the vigilance officer SC Verma, who alleged corruption in the construction of two dams for NEEPCO’s 600 MW Kameng Hydro Electric Project in Arunachal Pradesh, had himself authorised the release of substantial payments to the contractor.

The ministry in a statement said Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju had on 9 November, 2015, forwarded a representation of local inhabitants of his constituency, complaining about the stoppage of payments to the sub-contractor of Patel Engineering Ltd for transportation of boulders/sand.

“At no point did Shri Rijiju recommend that payment be released but only requested that ‘kindly get this petition considered in your Ministry sympathetically on priority’,” it said, making public the copy of the letter.

But as much as 60 percent of the payment due to PEL was released on 4 November, 2015, on instruction of Verma, much before the letter of Rijiju. “Hence, the letter written by Hon’ble MoS Home Affairs has no bearing on any payments released by NEEPCO as the payment had already been released before his letter under authorisation of Shri Verma,” the statement said.

NEEPCO, it said, is a Mini Ratna PSU and the government does not interfere in the operational matters of PSUs. “No instructions or directions by the government were given to NEEPCO at any time for making any payments. Thus, the allegations made are baseless, totally false and seem to be motivated by the charge-sheet issued against an officer for violation of CVC instructions and service conduct rules,” it said.

First Published On : Dec 13, 2016 22:58 IST

Demonetization is a right decision, but it isn’t surgical strike against black money: Hardik Patel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel said on Sunday the poor and farmers have been hit the most by the note ban and it cannot be termed as a surgical strike against black money. “As far as curbing black money is concerned, it is a right decision but it is not a surgical strike against the wealth amassed illegally. I could not see the son of Jaitley, Adani or Ambani in the queues. I saw only farmers and poor people there,” Patel said.Asked whether he supported demonetization, he said, “It is a welcome step against corruption. But if it is merely a gimmick then it is not good.”It is okay if the government continues with the note ban but it should also address the problems of farmers and the poor, the Patidar leader said. Asked if he will join protests against demonetization, he said, “No. I will not protest demonetization. I will protest corruption.”At a “Kisan Panchayat” organised by suspended AAP MLA from Bijwasan Col Devendra Sehrawat, Patel claimed that there is no development in Gujarat and the state is reeling under “a debt of Rs 3 lakh crore”.

Demonetization: Rs 76 lakh in new Rs 2,000 currency seized in Surat, four detained

As the four occupants, including a woman, failed to give any satisfactory explanation about the source of cash in their possession, they have been detained and brought to police station. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police on Friday seized Rs 76 lakh cash in denomination of Rs 2,000 from four persons in Surat and detained them as they failed to explain source of the money.This morning, police intercepted a car with Maharashtra registration near Classic Complex in Sachin GIDC area and during the search found 38 bundles of the Rs 2,000 tender, with total face value of Rs 76 lakh, Surat Police said in a statement. “As the four occupants, including a woman, failed to give any satisfactory explanation about the source of cash in their possession, they have been detained and brought to police station,” it said.They have been identified as Dipti Patel (30), a resident of Navsari, Girish Patel (45), a resident of Valsad, Arun Amrutar (58) and Rann Kumar Singh (46), both hailing from Nashik in Maharashtra. “We have informed the Income Tax department about the seizure. We will hand the four persons to I-T for further questioning,” said ACP and Surat Police PRO Nita Desai.
ALSO READ Demonetization: Gang robs businessman of Rs 58 lakh in new notes, held

RBI policy offers Urjit Patel a chance to clear air on demonetisation; will he live up to it?

That the Reserve Bank of India will most likely cut interest rate today is now almost a foregone conclusion. Economists are mostly betting on whether it will be 25 basis points or 50 bps.

The key reason being cited is that the central bank will have to cut rate to boost growth as the government’s demonetisation move is slowing down consumption and economy.

Two-thirds of the 60 economists polled by Reuters said they expected a cut, with 31 of 56 respondents expecting it to be 25 bps, while six predicted a deeper 50 bps reduction. One said the RBI would slash rates by 75 bps.

Urjit Patel, Reserve Bank of Governor. ReutersUrjit Patel, Reserve Bank of Governor. Reuters

Urjit Patel, Reserve Bank of Governor. Reuters

“Given the concerns about demonetisation and the slowdown it is likely to generate in sectors that have traditionally been cash dependant, such as consumption goods, the RBI will try to cushion the blow with a rate cut,” said Shilan Shah of Capital Economics in Singapore has been quoted as saying in the Reuters report.

A rate cut seems to be the only pill that the central bank can administer at present to boost the economic growth and the consumer confidence.

The government on 8 November announced its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and replace them with new ones, in a bid to curb black money generation, fake currency usage and terror funding. The unexpected move resulted in a cash crunch as the RBI was not prepared to meet the demand for new notes. The demonetised notes formed 86 percent of the currency in circulation by value.

In this context, here are the key aspects you should watch out for in the policy statement today.

About demonetisation

Ever since the demonetisation, the central bank and governor Urjit Patel have both come under criticism for keeping mum about the steps taken. The two times Patel spoke – interviews to PTI and Quint – he just made a customary assurance that the central bank is doing everything to reduce genuine customers’ pain. That was hugely insufficient to calm given the difficulties faced by not just the general public but also the bank staff. Bank unions have written to the finance ministry explaining the various hardhsips faced by their members. According to the union, the central bank has been saying there is enough cash and it is being dispatched to the banks while banks are getting only limited cash. Due to repeated assurances given by the RBI, customers feel that the banks are rationing the cash to them for no reason and this is resulting in tension. Again, they also have raised a suspicion that the RBI is preferring private sector banks to public sector ones while disbursing cash. The policy review today is a chance for Patel to clear all these charges. Will he speak up? Will he reveal the status of currency printing in its presses? How much rupee notes have been printed? How much more have to be printed to completely replace the demonetised currency? When does he think the situation will normalise?

About deposit amount banks got

This number is important. In the absence of regular details from the central bank, there are many numbers doing the rounds. The RBI just twice put out releases on this data and the last one was on 8 November. According to the latest numbers available through sources, as much as Rs 12 lakh crore worth old currency has returned to the banking system as deposits. This is against the government’s estimate that it would get back Rs 10 lakh crore and the rest will be extinguished. There was expectation that this will result in a windfall for the central bank which could have been transferred to the government by way of special dividend. This is as of now a speculation. The government and the RBI have neither denied it nor have they clarified. So also the case of fake currency. A report in The Times of India has said 20 days after demonetisation only 3.4% of all notes returned were counterfeit. Both these, according to many, mean that the scheme has failed in its objective. Worse still is the speculation that the rich and wealthy have already laundered their money. A report in The Indian Express noted that from tiffin service to dental implants, everybody has tried to beat the system and swap old notes. What is the RBI’s thinking? Is the suspicion that the rich and wealthy are gaming the system that forced the authorities to change the rules every other day?

Growth?

As of now, India is the fastest growing economy. It grew 7.3 percent in July-September, better than the previous quarter’s 7.1 percent. However, with demonetisation curbing the spending power

of the RBI, various agencies and brokerage houses have slashed their growth estimates. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh has said he expected the GDP to fall by 200 basis points. What is the RBI’s take? Its estimate for the current year is 7.6 percent. Most probably the central bank will give out a revised estimate for the current year. Watch out for that.

Inflation or deflation?

Inflation is already trending downwards due to the favourbale monsoon that has improved the productivity of food items. In October, the retail inflation was 4.21 percent, lower than 4.39 percent in September. The food inflation, meanwhile, stood at 3.32 percent compared with 3.96 percent in the previous month. The corresponding figure for July 2016 was a higher 8.35 percent. The slower demand induced by demonetisation is seen further pressuring the prices down. There is even a view that the entire process is deflationary. If it is indeed so, this would do more harm to the economy. The RBI is bound to give some clarity on this, including a revised estimate for inflation. Look out for the number.

One could easily argue that the central bank need not clarify all of these. But given the grand scale at which the demonetisation is being rolled out and the way it is impacting the general public, there is a need for more transparency on the workings of the central bank. But, ironically, the RBI has gone into the opaque mode.

This has seriously dented the image of the central bank. Bank officers’ confederation has even sought the resignation of Patel taking moral responsibility for the havoc in the financial system.

Today’s policy review is a chance for the central bank and its governor to clarify and bring back the integrity of a democratic institution, which has always refused to genuflect before the political bosses in Delhi. The question is will Patel live up?

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 08:25 IST

Coming your way – new Rs 20, 50 notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that it will issue new series of Rs 20 and Rs 50 notes, while the existing ones will continue to be legal tenders.“Will shortly issue Mahatma Gandhi series-2005 without the inset letter in both the number panels, bearing the signature of Urjit Patel, Governor, RBI, and the year of printing 2016 will be printed on the reverse side.“The design and security features of these notes will be similar to the Rs 50 notes, with the ascending front of numerals in both the number panels without the intaglio print as in the earlier Mahatma Gandhi series 2005,” the RBI said.With the government printing more Rs 2,000 notes, people are finding it difficult to get smaller denomination notes. This may have forced the government to get fresh sets of lower-denomination notes. The Rs 100 notes comprised 17.5 per cent of the total currency in circulation until March 2016, according to the last figures from the RBI. Data shows Rs 50 constituted 4.3 per cent of the total cash in circulation and Rs 20, 5.4 per cent.NS Venkatesh, Executive Director, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, said: “The small notes in circulation will take care of the daily payments by individual households, and for larger payments, we can use the digital channel. I think the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) are on the right track.”

India v England: Haseeb Hameed & Joe Root cannot prevent Mohali defeat

India wrap up an eight-wicket victory over England in the third Test to go 2-0 up with two matches of the series to play.

Theresa May wants ‘free trade’, but unfair visa rule upsets deal for Indian students

Prime Minister Theresa May’s first official trip to India took place in the backdrop of Brexit talks. The Prime Minister was pinning her hopes on a good deal with India to shore up post-Brexit hopes. But her efforts to win the support of Indians were dashed when Modi and his top team insisted changes in visa rules for highly-skilled Indian professionals and students.

May arrived in Delhi with one agenda in the kitty — trade. But Indians on the other side were ready with a list of issues in the agenda to discuss and get a deal. Trade deal with Britain was secondary for India. Technically, UK is just one among the 28 European Union countries and India is monitoring the developments in the UK and the Eurozone. Besides Brexit, more troubles are brewing, like the rise of the far right in France, the forthcoming German elections and the Italian referendum.

As cross-border terrorism spoils the peace in Kashmir, India was looking for a strong ally in Britain to end the issue forever. They were also looking for support from the former colonial master for a firm action against fugitives hiding in Britain. India, one of the fastest growing economies, is also looking for avenues for its young population to upgrade their skills. A fair deal for it highly-skilled professionals to work in the United Kingdom is also on agenda. Indians were looking for a package, but what May put on the table was a one line agenda — trade.

Britain Prime Minister Theresa May. ReutersBritain Prime Minister Theresa May. Reuters

Britain Prime Minister Theresa May. Reuters

The British Prime Minister also annoyed Indians by telling them to take back illegal immigrants to get a fair visa rule. Indians are not looking for any favours from Britain. Australia, America and New Zealand are now favourite destinations for Indian students. UK’s loss in America’s gain. The number of Indian students studying in the US has gone up to over 1,65,000 during the academic year 2015-16, a growth of 25 percent over the previous year. According to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, there are 1,65,918 students from India, making it the second leading country of origin among international students in the US. India accounts for one out of every six international students in the US.  Approximately three-fifths of Indian students are at the graduate level and three-fourths are in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was pleading for May to relax rules for Indian students.

“Education is vital for our students and we will define our engagement in a shared future. We must therefore encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in education and research opportunities,” Modi told May during the inauguration of Indo-UK Tech Summit. But May was firm on her strategy, which was formulated during her Home Office days. The decision to put Indian students in the net migration bracket dearly affected British universities. The rise in tuition fees, the troublesome paperwork to get visa, besides the lack of post-study opportunities deter Indian students. Their numbers are almost half now. Just 20,000 from the earlier figures of 40,000 plus.

Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, and other members of the academic brigade in the delegation were gobsmacked and furious when May and her core team defended the visa policy instead of uttering anything to please the Indian press or the politicians.

“She just wants free trade with India,” Sir Keith wrote in a blog. “Free trade means free trade, she says, good for all and nothing to do with students. She even insists that students should be labelled as migrants, which is completely potty. Even Nigel Farage didn’t want that. In any case, Indians feel doubly insulted by this position.”

India is a country with 65 percent of the population below 35 years and 50 percent of the population below 25. They are global citizens of the new world and ambitious to explore and attain new skills. Families will sacrifice their precious savings for the education of their children. That is why young Indians are flocking at embassies to seek visas to fulfill their parents’ dreams. Some may stay abroad, but the majority will return. Who can withstand the lure of 7 plus GDP rate? When the western economies are hovering over 1 percent and 2 percent, Indians are aiming a double digit growth. They want the right skills to fuel the economy. They are looking towards Britain to acquire that because of the cultural bond and the language. They want to follow the paths of Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Ambedkar, Ramanujan… But May and her team are letting them down.

Sir Keith and other are campaigning against this. He is co-founder of the #WeAreInternational campaign to welcome and value international students, staff and research. Over 100 UK universities are supporting the campaign.

“I will not speak of the real harm that these policies will do to cities across the UK, where students are vital drivers of the local economy. Others can speak of that. But what I want — what I need — to emphasise is how we are destroying hard-earned goodwill with a huge proportion of the world’s population. You should care about this. Your children’s jobs in the future could depend on it. So I’m going to work hard to make our education the very best for potential Indian students, and make the welcome as warm as possible in Sheffield.

“Sheffield students, leaders and I founded the #WeAreInternational campaign. I am damned proud of the students and staff across the UK who have joined us to show that we are still the nation that India can be friends with. And I will be working to make clear that the vast majority of Brits welcome students from India and don’t think of them as migrants – 91 percent, in fact, in a recent survey. I will work to build collaborations with Indian universities and companies. We will continue to work together on cures for diseases and inventions that will help to make our planet more sustainable. But I must beg, and I do beg. Please listen to India before it is too late.”

The British Prime Minister also annoyed Indians by telling them to take back illegal immigrants to get a fair visa rule

Sir Keith, Lord Karan Billimoria, Modi… people are appealing. But these appeals are falling on deaf years. As the world becomes a global village, mobility is a issue for global citizens. We cannot separate free movement of people from free flow of goods, services and investment.

May defended the UK’s stance by insisting that the UK already had a ‘good system’ for applications from India. “The figures show that we issue more work visas to India than [to] the US, Australia and China put together,” May said. “Nine out of 10 visa applications from India are already accepted. So we have, I believe, a good system.”

A good system? Britain is going to pay for that “good system”. Universities are already on the brink of collapse.  Trade will not help Britain to mend those faults. While Britain is barred from signing bilateral trade deals with third countries until it has left the EU, May said that there were steps that can be taken immediately to “break down barriers and make it easier to do business”.

Britain and India need to “identify what more we can do now to unleash our businesses, industries, exporters and investors”, she said, adding, “this does not need to wait for us to leave the EU”.

In summary, the visit inks business deals worth £1.2 billion and creates 1,370 jobs. The visit also formulates a ministerial level committee to look into extradition and immigration issues. A new India-UK Urban Partnership to develop ‘smart cities’ was also announced.

Among initiatives to foster trade, Indian tycoons and their families are to gain access to the GREAT Club programme which provides assistance with visa-processing, while an estimated 10,000 executives are to benefit from a Registered Traveller service to speed their way past queues at UK airports. A benefit to 10,000 people in the country with a population of 1.3 billion.

May’s first mission to India contained a business delegation of 33, besides decision-makers from the government. The absence of Priti Patel, the Indian-origin International Development Secretary, was noticed by many. The charismatic ever-smiling Brexit poster girl could have opened new avenues for discussions.

During the Cameron era, the British machinery was fully geared up to engage with the Indian platoons on trade, diplomatic and cultural relations. It is always a mela time for journalists and there is no dearth of stories to file. How many stories you can file on trade and Brexit on a busy foreign mission? May is not Cameron and she has her own views and policies.

Dealing with India needs lots of preparations. Money is not a crucial factor for India or Indians, but relations are. Indian leaders, especially the present government, believe in karma. They want to do good karma for the youngsters. They will go an extra mile for that. The route to enter the heart of India is not through airports or seaports with huge cargo, but a simple candy to please the new generation.

India never lets its partners down. They are the largest democracy and they respect friendship. May missed that opportunity in her first mission. There are many lessons to learn from recent history. Even Cameron failed to convince Modi to sign a multi-billion deal for Eurofighter Typhoon jets. Modi enjoyed English hospitality at Chequers Court, but chose France’s Rafael for Indian Air Force.  Because India believes in liberty, equality and fraternity. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Viva la friendship.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 13:08 IST

Jairam Ramesh asks Urjit Patel to quit, Arun Jaitley dubs it as unfair attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday came to the defence of RBI Governor Urjit Patel in the wake of criticism by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, saying it is an “unfair attack” and politicians should refrain from making comments on those who cannot defend themselves.”An unfair attack by Jairam Ramesh on the RBI Governor. Must politicians attack those who can’t defend themselves in the same tone?” he said in a tweet. In an article written in National Herald, Congress spokesperson Ramesh alleged that RBI was kept in the dark by the government about its surprise demonetisation move. “Urjit Patel is either guilty of misleading the nation about RBI’s preparedness on demonetisation or has sacrificed the autonomy of RBI. Either way, he should resign,” Ramesh had said.”RBI is the monetary authority of India and is solely responsible for making bank notes available to all residents of India. If RBI headed by Patel gave its approval to the Prime Minister’s demonetisation plan, then ostensibly RBI was confident of making currency notes available easily.” He complained that there are not enough notes in the system and this shortage can continue for at least a few more weeks, if not months. Questioning the RBI Governor’s “stoic silence” through the entire currency crisis of the last two weeks, Ramesh said the central bank is independent and autonomous and needs to clarify on the current situation.”How can the head of RBI that is solely responsible for the current currency crisis not be seen clarifying and assuring the nation amid this grave crisis?” he questioned.

Demonetization: Six held for duping businessman of Rs 36 lakh in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Six persons including a lady police constable and a bank employee allegedly cheated a businessman by promising to exchange his Rs 36 lakh in the now defunct currency, police said today.Manish Patel, who runs transport business at Santej in Gandhinagar district, had approached some persons who promised to exchange Rs 36 lakh in the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes which he possessed.”Manish got in touch with his relative, asking him to help him exchange the defunct notes. He was then taken to the accused who took his money, promising that it will be exchanged with new currency notes, and did not return,” inspector B N Dave of Santej police said.Patel handed over the money to the accused on November 14, Dave said. When he did not get his money exchanged, he approached the police.An FIR was registered against six people including Maya Patel, a lady police constable from Ahmedabad, and Chandrakant Patel, employee of IDBI Bank, for cheating.Out of the six accused, Chandrakant Patel and Nirav Patel have been arrested, Dave said.

Patidar leader Hardik Patel accepts Gujarat govt’s invitation for talks on reservation

Ahmedabad: Gujarat government on Thursday reached out to the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) which led last year’s Patel quota agitation by inviting its leader Hardik Patel for talks, to which the young leader responded positively.

Hardik said an eleven-member team of PAAS will meet the government, but stressed that the organisation will stick to its main demand of OBC quota and won’t accept any “lollipop”.

A file image of Patidar leader Hardik Patel. PTI

A file image of Patidar leader Hardik Patel. PTI

Assembly elections are due in Gujarat in December 2017. Also, Hardik, directed by the High Court to live outside Gujarat for six months as a bail condition in sedition case, is slated to return to the state in January.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Thursday said that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani wanted the resolution of quota issue.

“For peace and unity of the state, so that every member of the state could participate in its journey of development, support of all communities is required. With this aim, the government invites Patidar leaders for talks,” he said.

The Government had in the past opened dialogue with PAAS and even succeeded in resolving the matter with Thakor community (which recently agitated demanding stringent prohibition laws and government assured amendment to the laws in the Budget session), Nitin Patel said.

“Government wants an amicable resolution at the earliest, and hopes that PAAS members will reciprocate and its leader Hardik Patel and his friends will accept the invitation,” he said.

Subsequently, Hardik issued a statement saying he would hold a meeting with PAAS conveners in the next two days, and an eleven-member team will meet the Government for talks. “The primary objective of PAAS is the community gets the

“The primary objective of PAAS is the community gets the benefit of reservation. Apart from that, we want discussion on police atrocities (during last year’s agitation),” he said.

“If there is an attempt to break the unity of community or offer a lollipop (trivial concession), there will be another round of agitation in January,” said Hardik, currently living in Udaipur.

PAAS had recently announced it would relaunch the agitation next month.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 16:10 IST

Congress accuses PM Modi of holding corrupt minister as Gujarat CM

New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of harbouring in his cabinet a “corrupt” minister for 12 years when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.

File photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

File photo of Narendra Modi. PTI

Referring to a media report that reveals how Saurabh Patel’s family invested in firms dealing in gas and petrochemicals during his 14-year tenure as the state Energy Minister, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said Modi should come clear on this.

“It has come to light how Saurabh Patel and his family-owned companies invested in a Bahamas-based company dealing in energy and petro chemicals sector,” Singhvi said.

“Out of his 14 years tenure, he worked for 12 years as minister under the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi,” he added.

A four-time MLA on BJP ticket, Patel was the Energy and Petrochemicals Minister for 14 years till he was dropped from the cabinet on 7 August this year by new Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

Singhvi said the Patels through these companies also took oil blocks from state enterprise Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC).

“Is it just conflict of interest? I think conflict of interest is a light word. This is corruption. The nation and Parliament seek answer from now Prime Minister and the then Gujarat Chief Minister,” he said.

The Congress spokesperson alleged Athat Patel was given such an important and big ministry by Modi at the behest of “the biggest and most influential industrial family of this country”.

“This is not the case of daal mein kaala‘. Here the entire daal is spoiled. There is graft all around. The Prime Minister is running away on demonetization. Will he also run away on this?” Singhvi asked.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 18:02 IST

Demonetisation: From Morarji to Modi, it is politics and volume that matters the most

When former prime minister Morarji Desai had demonetised currency notes in January 1978, he was accused of carrying out anti-black money exercise for political reasons. 38 years later, Narendra Modi is facing a similar onslaught from the Opposition about wiping out tainted money from the economy ahead of crucial elections in important states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.

The Parliament debates of 1978 give an interesting peep into the politics of demonetisation. On 21 March, 1978, Lok Sabha archive accessed by Firstpost reveal, that CN Visvanathan, a member of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) from Tirupattur constituency, had questioned the Morarji government for announcing demonetisation on the eve of elections to six states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Visvanathan said while participating in the debate over the ‘High Denomination Bank Notes (Denomination) Bill.’:

“People are thinking whether this bill is intended to curb indirectly the funds of some particular political party before the elections in six states were held. So I ask: Why was the step taken before the elections in six states especially Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The Ordinance was promulgated on 16th January 1978, but actually instead of helping the illegal transactions to be stopped, this bill may help to stop the financiers of the political parties from contributing to them,”

And, the bitter historical fact were the election results Janata Party had to swallow in 1978 after executing demonetisation, which may be a cause of worry for the BJP.

The Congress which had become extremely unpopular and was decimated in 1977 made a comeback in the Andhra Pradesh state election, winning a clear majority. In Karnataka too, Janata Party came at a distant second, winning just 59 of 259 assembly seats that went to the polls. The only face saver for Janata Party was Arunachal Pradesh where its state leader Prem Khandu was able to form a government winning 17 seats out of 30 member state assembly and Assam where Golap Borbora, follower of Ram Manohar Lohia and JP became the first non-Congress chief minister of that state. The Janata Party riding high on demonetisation move could win only 99 seats out of 288 assembly constituencies of Maharashtra and had failed to form the government.

Is there a lesson for Modi who is exploiting his black money purging decision in his public meetings in Uttar Pradesh to harvest political gains out of demonetisation?

The volume may haunt Modi government

File image of Morarji Desai. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia CommonsFile image of Morarji Desai. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

File image of Morarji Desai. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Team Morarji Desai, who first visualised the idea of curbing the menace of black money through demonetisation, had a much easier task at hand than the team Modi, which embarked on the herculean task to withdrawing 86 percent currency floating in the market. Although, Morarji team comprising of then finance minister Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel and Reserve Bank of India Governor IG Patel was more unsparing, the volume affecting households at that time was confined to just a few rich than the majority of 125 Crore population that Modi and Urjit Patel is facing today. And, the queue outside the banks and ATMs is not getting thinner by the day than the duo had anticipated.

With one announcement, Modi rendered Rs 14.2 lakh crore as useless, however, for Morarji the value was just 145.42 crore and the highest denomination note was limited to only 346 people (presuming that nobody had more than one note). Whereas for the present government, the task is to withdraw 633 crore high denomination 1000 rupee notes (Valued 6.3 lakh crore) that constitutes 38.5 percent of currency in circulation and 1,571 crore of 500 notes, constituting 47 percent of the total.

The debate that happened on 21 March, 1978 in Parliament gives indication of challenges Modi government could face. Morarji’s finance minister, Hirubhai Mulljibhai Patel while introducing the ‘High Denomination Bank Notes (Denomination) Bill had told the Parliament that, “the total number of high denomination bank notes in circulation as at the close of business on 16th day of January, 1978 was 13,05,899 notes valued at about Rs. 145.42 Crores. These included 12.69 Lakh notes of rupees one thousand denomination, 36,287 notes of rupees five thousand denomination and 346 notes of rupees ten thousand denomination.”

Morarji government while explaining that the high denomination bank notes were being used extensively for illicit transfer of money for financing transactions harmful to the national economy, only gave 3 days for exchange (January 17, 18, 19th 1978), Modi arguing the similar reasons though adding terrorism and fake currency, gave 50 days to the holders of 500 and 1000 rupee notes to deposit in the bank.

Is the comparison between Morarji and Modi government logical? Of course, as both wanted to get rid of black money choking country’s financial health. So, why is the Modi government is facing heat on the issue?

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIFile image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Hukmdev Narayan Yadav, the BJP MP from Madhubani who sits in the second right row of the present 16th Lok Sabha, but then a socialist and active member of JP movement, in a discussion on 21 March, 1978, had reminded the lower house that “Demonetisation is not the only solution to tackle black money.”

Yadav while supporting the move had asked the government to adopt several other measures like covertly initiating a dialogue with big industrialists and businessmen to disclose the amount in cash to the government and that money could be used for setting up new factories and infrastructures to generate employment for youths of this country.

“Political Purification” Yadav had said that day, was still far away while supporting his own government move. And, what Shyamaprasanna Bhattacharyya, a Communist Party member of 6th Lok Sabha from Uluberia constituency, had said on demonetisation in that era still resonates now in political discourse.

Bhattacharyya said in the Parliament during the discussion:

“I have been informed that before our Minister passed the ordinance, the blackmarketeers in Calcutta ( now knows Kolkata) came to know about it and took sufficient precautions to go to various areas and asked the Panwallahs and other poor persons to go the banks and get them changed…and told them: you take something from me and give me the changed money. Thus, they have saved themselves… without the support from the people measures such as this will touch only the fringe of the problem.” 

Team Modi should also read the facts presented in the parliament by DMK member Visvanathan, who had said that out of Rs 140 Crore in higher denomination in 1978, thousand rupee notes worth about Rs 125 Crore ( Presently 6.3 lakh crore), five thousand rupee notes about Rs 13.6 crore and ten thousand rupees notes about 82 lakh were in circulation. The figure shows that only two percent of higher denomination notes were demonetised by Janata Party government in 1978 in comparison with over 86 percent of currency termed as paper by the Modi government.

No wonder, the public, which showed miraculous discipline, is now expressing discomfort.

Vayalar Ravi, now a sitting Congress member of Rajya Sabha, but was in Lok Sabha in 1978, had said:

“Black money is not stagnant in our country. It is generating economic activities. The policy of the government should be comprehensive. It should be aimed at plugging the loopholes which help in the generation, expansion and the investment of black money. There is no policy which I can see either in the budget or in the policy of the government. This is only a piece-meal measure which can never touch the fringe of the black money problem.”

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 09:18 IST

Demonetisation: Bank officers union calls for Urjit Patel’s resignation; focus on RBI’s role

The All India Bank Officers Confederation has called for the resignation of Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel, taking the moral responsibility for the current crisis in the country and the deaths of more than 50 people, including 11 bank officials, according to a report in The Indian Express.

“The present governor has utterly failed in his role by taking a crucial economic decision without planning, which has brought havoc to the nation’s economy and lives of the majority,” D Thomas Franco, senior vice-president of the confederation, has been quoted as saying in the report.

Urjit Patel. ReutersUrjit Patel. Reuters

Urjit Patel. Reuters

According to him, as neither prime minister Narnendra Modi nor finance minister Arun Jaitley is an economist, the RBI has economists who are capable of taking the right decisions on “matters relating to economy and people’s lives”.

In 1978, when the Janata government decided to demonetise, then RBI governor IG Patel had advised against it, he has pointed out.

With the confederation raising calling for the resignation of the RBI governor, the focus now seems to be shifting to the RBI’s role in the development.

An article in Scroll today has pointed out that the RBI’s silence over the last 13 days, when the common people went through serious hardships and the economic activities in both rural and urban areas almost ground to a halt, raises questions about on its independence.

“Urjit Patel, who took over from Raghuram Rajan as the Reserve Bank of India governor in August, has not found it necessary to make a single statement about the chaos that demonetisation has unleashed,” the article says.

Firstpost columnist Yatish Rajawat has also raised the issue in an article today. “The shoddiness with which demonetisation has been executed should have been the responsibility of the RBI governor,” he has said.

The article further argues that the developments over the last two weeks have shown that Patel is “grossly under-prepared for any task that requires quick decision-making”.

Franco too is making this point when he says that the shoddy way in which the entire scheme has been executed shows that the central bank did not have a roadmap at all.

“It was very, very poor planning on the part of RBI that has led to this crisis,” Franco has been quoted as saying in the reported.

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 11:43 IST

Demonetization: Over Rs 16 lakh cash seized in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police on Sunday seized over Rs 16 lakh in cash, which included 409 new 2,000 rupee notes from a car at Himmatnagar in Sabarkantha district, which, they said, was meant to be swapped for defunct notes at a commission.”We have seized Rs 16,20,200 from a car near Himmatnagar medical college and arrested two persons.”The notes in denominations of Rs 2,000, Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10 were to be exchanged with demonetized notes for 35% commission,” D D Parmar, in-charge police inspector of Local Crime Branch, said.Those arrested have been identified as Mayank Patel (28) and Vishal Panchal (28). Two others, Nilesh Patel and Jitu Patel, are absconding, Parmar said. “We have registered the offence and started a probe. We have also informed the Income Tax department about the seizure,” he said.

Indore-Patna Express derailment failure of Modi govt: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Sunday held Suresh Prabhu-led Ministry of Railways responsible for the derailment of Indore-Patna express and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who talks of bullet trains, has totally ignored the safety of Indian railways.Demanding an explanation from the ruling dispensation, Congress leader Madhu Yashki Goud urged the government to announce adequate compensation to the grieved. “It is a very tragic incident and one of the biggest accidents in the history of railways. The Congress Party expresses its deepest condolences to the grieved family members and also at the same time demands from the government compensation to the kin of the deceased and injured,” said Goud.”Our party also demands an explanation from the government. The Prime Minister is busy travelling to Japan and talking about bullet train but in his tenure ignored the safety of the Railways. It is utter failure of the Railways Minister,” he added. Echoing similar sentiments, another Congress leader Ahmed Patel held the Centre’s approach towards the Indian Railways responsible for the accident. “There are over 1.22 lakh vacant position in the railways of which 75 percent pertain to safety. Important that government fills them up ASAP,” Patel said.With massive rescue operations in full swing to pull out bodies from the wreckage of the derailed Indore-Patna Express, the death toll in the tragic accident has mounted to a staggering 95. At least 153 people have been injured and several bodies are still trapped under the wreckage of the mangled coaches after the train derailed at the Hanshi-Kanpur intersection in Uttar Pradesh at 3.20 a.m.One army column, a team of doctors and paramedics have been deployed at the spot to help in the rescue operation. Two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams from Varanasi and one NDRF team from Lucknow have been sent to the accident spot to assist in the rescue operation. Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha has ordered a high-level probe into the incident.Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the bereaved kin of the victims. (

Gujarat: Congress MLA attacked in Jamnagar, escapes unhurt

Jamnagar: Congress MLA from Jamnagar (rural) Raghavji Patel was allegedly attacked by three persons after they intercepted his vehicle near Falla village in Jamnagar district of Gujarat, police said on Thursday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Accused Manharsinh Jadeja, who was identified by Patel and his two unidentified accomplices, forced the MLA’s driver to stop the vehicle when he was on his way from Jamnagar town to Throl village last night, they said.

“They then attacked him with a baseball stick allegedly while demanding that the MLA help them get a government contract to construct a road at Vanthali village in the district,” inspector of Panchkoshi police station, Vishna Kamliya said.

“An FIR was filed by Patel against Jadeja and two others, in which he said that he was attacked by three persons who abused him and threatened to kill him if he did not help them get the said contract. He managed to escape unhurt after,” she said.

An FIR Police has been lodged under relevant sections of the IPC including sections 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (B)(punishment for criminal intimidation).

“I told him that contract is a matter of the government and I cannot help him in any way. Upon this, he attacked me with the stick but my driver sped off so I was not hurt,” Patel claimed.

Police said they have started search operations but arrests have been made so far.

Ratings – /5

In bridge over Ganga, Modi to fulfil plea pending from Nehru’s time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over five decades after a proposal for making a bridge to link Tarighat in Uttar Pradesh to the north bank of the Ganga was placed before Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to turn it into reality. The date chosen for this is November 14, the birth anniversary of the country’s first Prime Minister.Modi will be laying the foundation stone for the Tarighat-Mau railway line and bridge when he goes to Ghazipur. Besides, he will also address a rally, participating in BJP’s ‘parivartan yatra’ launched on November 5. Besides this, the Prime Minister is expected to address rallies in Kushinagar, Bahraich, Kanpur, Agra, Bareilly and Moradabad.The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Modi, had cleared the rail project in June. The proposal to build a bridge from Tarighat had come up first in the 1960s after Lok Sabha member Vishwanath Singh Gahmari gave a grim picture of poverty in the eastern UP region. This had touched Nehru and the government set up the Patel Commission, which recommended linking Tarighat to the north bank of the Ganga, to give a boost to economic activity. Sources said the proposal which had been put on the backburner for years was now revived by the BJP government.Ghazipur is also adjacent to Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP is trying to revive the mood of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when it swept the state on the development plank. The BJP has been focusing on the politically crucial Poorvanchal belt, from where five union ministers– Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra, Manoj Sinha, Anupriya Patel and Mahendra Pandey–belong. The party’s state chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, an MP from Phoolpur, is from Kaushambi near Allahabad, where the BJP held its national executive earlier this year.The SP was hoping to win Ghazipur in the general elections, but BJP’s Manoj Sinha, who is now minister of state for railways, defeated the party’s Shivkanya Kushwaha in Ghazipur. The region has a high concentration of backward classes like Patels and Mauryas besides Brahmins, Yadavs, Muslims and Thakurs. The BJP is trying to reach out to the non-Yadav backward classes in the assembly elections due early next year.While launching the yatra from Jhansi, in the economically backward Bundelkhand region, BJP chief Amit Shah has promised to turn UP into the richest state if the party came to power. The party’s four parivartan yatras will culminate in Lucknow on December 24, the eve of the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was an MP from the state capital.Target audienceThe SP was hoping to win Ghazipur in the general elections, but BJP’s Manoj Sinha, who is now minister of state for railways, defeated the party’s Shivkanya Kushwaha in Ghazipur. The region has a high concentration of backward classes like Patels and Mauryas besides Brahmins, Yadavs, Muslims and Thakurs. The BJP is trying to reach out to the non-Yadav backward classes in the assembly elections due early next year.

Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary: Congress slams Modi for disrespecting her martyrdom

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari paid floral tributes to Indira Gandhi on her 32nd death anniversary while Rahul Gandhi led a march from 24 Akbar road to 1 Safdarjung road, where the former Prime Minister was assassinated.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present at the Indira Memorial, where the Congress Vice President paid tributes to her along with party President Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders.The dignitaries attended a prayer meeting on the occasion during which no one from the Union government was present, senior leader Anand Sharma said. Sharma also attacked the Narendra Modi government for “deliberately disrespecting” the memory and martyrdom of Indira Gandhi, describing her as the “tallest leader, and a popular Prime Minister who gave her life for India.””Indira Gandhi’s martyrdom is respected by the people of this country. It is matter of shame that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government are disrespecting the memory and ultimate sacrifice of India’s late prime minister Shrimati Indira Gandhi,” he said. “I would like to remind the BJP and the RSS that they should also remember Sardar Patel’s action and the decision to ban the RSS. They should also publish this in their government advertisements,”Sharma said.Leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sharma, Kumari Selja, Ahmed Patel and Randeep Surjewala covered the one- kilometre-long distance from the Congress headquarters to the memorial with Rahul. Earlier, the party had cancelled the annual commemoration programme at Shakti Sthal as it continues to remain shut after reporting a number of duck deaths amid the bird flu scare in the city. Remembering the contribution of the ‘Iron man’ of India, Prime Minister Modi had on Sunday urged the nation to promote unity and equality among all.”We should take a positive step towards it and work to promote equality in the society. But on one Sardar’s birthday, history remembers how the Sikhs and ‘sardars’ all over the country faced violence and pain, which is why we all need to learn that we all must unite and work towards unity rather than allowing divisiveness to spread,” he added.Indira Gandhi was the first and to date the only female prime minister of India. She was assassinated after she ordered the storming of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar to counter the Punjab insurgency. On October 31, 1984, two of her Sikh bodyguards shot her with their service weapons at the Prime Minister’s residence.Both the accused were sentenced to death and hanged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, while following her cremation, millions of Sikhs were displaced and nearly three thousand were killed in anti-Sikh riots. With ANI/PTI inputs

Digital India: Free Wi-Fi facility begins in Daman-Diu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tourists visiting Daman and Diu will get free Wi-Fi facility from today with the administration making the service available as part of the Centre”s Digital India programme.Other parts of the Union Territory will also be given access to free Wi-Fi in coming days, Daman and Diu administrator Praful Patel said.”Free Wi-fi internet service has been made available at many tourist and public places as a step towards Digital India programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Patel said.The service has been launched by the Information Technology department of Daman and Diu along with BSNL, Patel said, adding that with this, a user can use data upto 300 MB on mobile handset at a speed of 2 to 4 Mbps.To start with, the service has been made available in Daman in areas frequented by tourists such as Fort area, Pargola Garden, Bom Church, Moti Daman and Nani Daman Jetty, Devka Beach, Marwad Hospital, Somnath Temple and Jampore Beach.
ALSO READ DMRC launches free Wi-Fi facilities on Airport Express LineIn Diu, the facility will be available at Nagoa Beach, Khukri, Bandar Chowk, and Jalandhar Guest House.

Narendra Modi on Mann ki Baat: Dedicate this Diwali to our jawans for their courage and sacrifice

Amid tension on the border with Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the valour of the armed forces and lauded their sacrifice while dedicating the festival of Diwali to them.

“From last few months our jawans (soldiers) are sacrificing their lives, we should celebrate this Diwali in their name,” Modi said while speaking on Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio address.

Modi also applauded Indian soldiers for their undying love and sacrifice for the country and said that this Diwali dedicated to them.

“Every citizen of the country is proud of our soldiers,” he said.

He hailed the people, including celebrities for sending overwhelming messages to his “#Sandesh2Soldiers” campaign.

PM Modi celebrates Diwali with jawans in Sumdo, Himachal Pradesh. PTI

PM Modi celebrates Diwali with jawans in Sumdo, Himachal Pradesh. PTI

“People from walks of life sent messages of love and encouragement for our jawans (soldiers), just as they light candles for their well-being,’ he added.

“Our forces endure grave hardships for our security. Someone is stationed in a desert, someone on the Himalayas, someone is guarding our industrial installations and someone is protecting our airports. Everyone is fulfilling a mighty responsibility. If we remember them while being in a festive mood, our remembrance will give them strength and renewed energy. I thank everyone for responding to Sandesh2Soldiers,” Modi said in over half-an-hour address on the occasion of
Diwali.

Modi also urged all citizens and state governments to find ways of forging unity across the country and working to defeat separatist tendencies and mentalities.

In the wake of ongoing troubles in the Kashmir Valley, he said, “Unity in diversity is our strength. It is the responsibility of every citizen and all governments to forge unity and curb separatist tendencies to save the country.”

In an apparent reference to tension on the Indo-Pak border, Modi credited the soldiers for maintenance of peace and security in the country and called upon everyone to remember their gallantry while celebrating Diwali.

“In the wake of recent events, our soldiers have been sacrificing their everything for the safety and security of the country. Their dedication and labour has overwhelmed me completely. Let us dedicate this Diwali to our armed forces.

“I had invited everyone to participate in the Sandesh2Soldiers campaign and I have been humbled by the response. From students, villagers and traders to political leaders and sports persons , everyone has sent a Diwali message for our soldiers,” he said while referring to the jawans who are stationed in deserts and on the icy heights of the Himalayas and security personnel who are guarding our industries and airports.

Recognising the works of the Armed forces, Modi said, “Be it BSF (Border Security Force), CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), Assam Rifles, ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police), Navy, Air Force, our jawans are on duty and guarding us. That is why we are celebrating Diwali joyfully,” the Prime Minister said.

Modi also said that when we remember our soldiers on festivals we give a message that we are with them.

More than 10 lakh messages have arrived for soldiers from across the nation.

Modi also urged people to mark Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary and remembered the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

“Tomorrow we are celebrating Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary. He worked to bring everyone together, he worked for unity, fought for unity and brought unity amongst people and we all must remember it,” Modi said.

Modi also said, “History remembers how Sikh people and ‘sardars’ all over the country faced violence and pain” after 31 October when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.

Remembering Sardar Patel’s contribution, Modi said: “He gave us a united India and to keep it united is our responsibility.”

“Sardar Patel has a rich contribution in strengthening the cooperative movement in India. He was always dedicated to farmer welfare,” Modi added.

Speaking on Guru Nanak’s teachings, Modi said they are the guiding principles not only for Indians but for the entire humanity. The PM recalled how Guru Nanak’s life and teachings hold a message for people even today.

“Kartik Purnima is celebrated as the Prakash Parv or birthday of Guru Nanak Devji. His teachings are the guiding principles not only for Indians but for the entire humanity.

“Principle of service, truthfulness and welfare of all are the core of his teachings,” he added.

“Peace, unity and tolerance is the basic principle. To free the society of discrimination, blind faith and other evils was the campaign of Guru Nanak’s life.

“At the time when casteism and untouchability were at its peak, Guru Nanak Dev chose Bhai Lalo as his companion,” Modi added.

Bhai Lalo was a carpenter by profession and Guru Nanak chose food from his house over food from a rich government official.

Drawing a parallel between Guru Nanak’s teachings and his government’s motto, Modi said: “Guru Nanak Dev’s teachings inspire us to shun discrimination of all kind. ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ is the way forward and no one can be a better guide than Guru Nanak Dev.”

With inputs from agencies

IAS probationers get lessons on UP from Rajnath Singh and co

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Labelled a “pep talk” by some and an “unhealthy practice” by others, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday organized an interactive meeting between 14 of his ministerial colleagues, mostly connected with Uttar Pradesh, and 34 IAS probationers due for posting in the poll-bound state.The 2014 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre officers will be posted in the state after their probation gets over in December, just before elections due in February-March next year.Addressing the probationers getting ready to join the bureaucracy in the politically powerful state that has already started witnessing a high-voltage campaign, the minister is believed to have said that the most valuable thing they had is their reputation.”Don’t think if you go to place A from place B, people in place A won’t know what you did in place B. Your reputation will travel faster,” the minister was quoted as saying by those who attended the meeting, which has raised opposition hackles with some accusing the BJP of trying to influence the bureaucracy ahead of elections.Amongst the ministers present were Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (elected from the state), Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi (MP from Pilibhit), Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel (MP from Mirzapur), Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan (MP from Muzaffarnagar), Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (MP from Fatehpur) and Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi (Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand).Home Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi, who was also present at the interaction, is learnt to have told the probationers not to think themselves as rulers of the British era but work as “public servants in a democratic set-up”.While all the probationers were promptly whisked away after the interaction, ministers present at the meeting described it as a useful exercise to help groom the officers for good administration.”These people will take care of the districts. It was a good interaction, there was no politics in it. By the time elections start, they all will be transferred to different places,” Baliyan said when asked about the reasons for the interaction.Maneka Gandhi told the young officers to give it their all and help people in their respective districts. “It is easy to say no. But try not to say so,” she is quoted as having said.Opposition viewOpposition leaders questioned the timing of the interactions and pointed out that most of these IAS officers would be serving as returning officers during the elections.”Hope ECI will take note,” Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted.”I have never heard of such a meeting before elections. It is an unhealthy practice. The Election Commission of India should take note. It seems that the central government instead of taking care of administration is only worried about elections,” added Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi.However, Mirzapur MP and minister Anupriya Patel refuted the criticism and said the officers were very young and would be in no position to influence the elections.

2002 Gujarat riots accused extradited from UK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 40-year-old man wanted in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots in Gujarat was on Tuesday extradited from the UK to stand trial in India, becoming the first person to be sent back from Britain 24 years after the two countries signed an extradition treaty.Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel had been arrested by Scotland Yard in west London in August on a Red Corner Notice issued by Indian authorities. His extradition order was signed by UK home secretary Amber Rudd on September 22 and the “surrender arrangements” were finalised for his departure. It marks the first extradition from the UK since the signing of the India-UK Extradition Treaty in 1992.”Following Government of India’s request for extradition, Mr Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel, an Indian national, is being extradited on 18th October, 2016 to face trial in India,” the High Commission said in a statement.”Mr Patel is facing trial in connection with post-Godhra riots in India in 2002. He is charged with the offence under Section 302 of IPC, along with 43 other accused. The offences include being member of an unlawful assembly; rioting and murder. The accused was arrested in India and was on bail and after jumping bail had escaped to UK,” the statement added.According to Gujarat Police, Patel is wanted in connection with riots in Ode village of Anand district. A team of officials from India will take him into their custody to fly him back to India today.”On 22 September the Secretary of State (Amber Rudd), having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed the order for Samirbhai Vinubhai Patel’s extradition to India. He is accused, whilst being part of a rioting mob, of three counts of murder, two counts of using unlawful violence with others for a common purpose and one count of arson,” a UK Home Office spokesperson had confirmed last week.On March 1, 2002, 23 people from the Muslim community were burnt alive in a house in Pirwali Bhagol area of Ode village. Patel along with two other accused, who are still at large, are accused of being part of the rioting mob at the time. Patel’s whereabouts were traced to a home in Hounslow, west London, after which Scotland Yard nabbed him on August 9.”On 9 August officers from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) extradition unit attended an address in Beavers Lane, Hounslow and arrested Samir Vinubhai Patel, aged 40, on a warrant issued under section 71 Extradition Act 2003. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on August 10, 2016,” a Scotland Yard statement said.”We can confirm that Mr Patel has consented to his extradition to India. However, we are unable to comment on any surrender arrangements as this is an operational matter for the police,” a UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) statement added.

BJP not a party of Hindus, but greedy for money: Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after launching AAP’s poll campaign in Gujarat, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked the BJP government on Monday for use of force during the Patel agitation, terming it as a party full of “greedy people” for which it will not spare even its own.In a scathing Facebook post, Kejriwal said, contrary to its claim, BJP was not a champion of Hindus, referring to the death of Patidar youth during last year’s agitation and the recent assault on Dalits in Una. “BJP says it is a party of the Hindus. But it fired on Patel boys last year. Those boys were Hindus. If BJP is a party of the Hindus so why did it kill Hindu boys? Few months ago, in Una district, BJP got Dalit youth beaten up.”The truth is that BJP is not a party of the Hindus. BJP is a party full of people greedy of money and power for which it will not spare even its own,” Kejriwal said. Addressing the AAP’s first rally in Gujarat on Sunday, the AAP chief attacked BJP president Amit Shah, equating him with “General Dyer” and tried wooing the Patidar community by calling Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel a “patriot”.”I want to ask, what is the fault of Hardik Patel? Why sedition charge was slapped against him? I would like to say that there is no bigger patriot than Hardik Patel and there is no bigger traitor than General Dyer,” Kejriwal had said, referring to Shah. Gujarat goes to polls next year.

Gujarat polls 2017: People fed up of Kejriwal’s lies, says CM Rupani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday said the people were fed up with his “lies”.”Entire country is saddened by his comments supporting Pakistan and people are fed up with his lies, and I believe his words have no meaning,” Rupani said, when asked about Kejriwal’s tirade against his government during his ongoing four-day visit.Senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Purshottam Rupala said people were protesting against Kejriwal because of his comments seeking proof of Army’s surgical strikes in PoK.”Did (BJP president) Amit Shah conspire to make his rally unsuccessful? He (Kejriwal) should understand that after the surgical strikes, he went asking to provide proof to Pakistan. People are protesting because of this, and don’t try to link this with Amit Shah,” Rupala said.Kejriwal and AAP had alleged that Shah was trying to stop his Surat rally. State BJP president Jitu Vaghani termed Kejriwal’s comments during his Gujarat visit as “political stunt”.”He is doing a political stunt to stay in the media glare and and blames our national president. I would like to ask him and Delhi public wants to know, have you fulfilled many of your promises made to them?” sai Vaghani.Kejriwal, visiting Gujarat ahead of next year’s Assembly polls, met families of youths killed during Patidar reservation agitation last year. He addressed a public rally in Surat today and termed Amit Shah a “traitor” while calling the Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel “true patriot”.

Gujarat: 4 cops suspended after clash between two communities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four persons were injured after members of two communities clashed at Dhori village in Dhrangadhra taluka of Surendranagar district, following which four policemen were suspended for “dereliction of duty”, police said on Sunday. The confrontation between the members of Patidar and Koli communities occurred on Saturday night and the police had to lob three teargas shells to control the crowd.”Members of Patidar and Koli communities clashed last night after tempers ran high over a land issue,” Surendranagar District Superintendent of Police Deepak Meghani said.”Yesterday morning, a Patel youth was beaten up by the members of the Koli community over the issue, after which tension between the two communities escalated. Around 9 pm, both the sides indulged in stone-pelting with some members even firing two rounds in the air,” he added.The incident left at least four persons injured, Meghani said, adding that the police lobbed three teargas shells to bring the situation under control. Four policemen were found guilty of dereliction of duty and were suspended in this connection, he said.The suspended policemen were sub-inspector DV Basiya, assistant sub-inspector DM Jadhav, constables Rasikbhai Panara and Rohit Thakor. “The in-charge of the outpost should have visited the spot in the morning after the Patel youth was beaten up and should have informed the senior officials about it so that proper police deployment could be made to prevent the clash. They were suspended for negligence and dereliction of duty,” Meghani said.Cross FIRs have been filed against 36 persons in this regard for attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly, causing hurt using dangerous weapons and under relevant sections of the Arms Act, police said. Further investigation into the case was on although, no arrest had been made yet, they added.

Gujarat: Arvind Kejriwal branded ‘traitor’ for seeking proof of surgical strikes

Sat, 15 Oct 2016-11:41pm , Ahmedabad , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of Arvind Kejriwal’s tour to Surat, posters attacking him sprang up in the city, placing the Delhi Chief Minister alongside terrorists like Osama bin Laden, Hafiz Saeed and the Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani. “Heroes of Pakistan,” said the posters. However the posters were hurriedly removed by Aam Aadmi Party activists.Kejriwal has drawn strong criticism for asking the government to provide evidence of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control against terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir earlier this month. Posters branding him “traitor” have been put up in north Gujarat’s Surat and Unjha, where he met families of those killed during the Patel agitation in Gujarat on Saturday.

Gujarat polls 2017: Kejriwal promises ‘justice’ to Patels, seeks their support

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aggressively wooing the politically dominant Patel community ahead of next year’s Assembly polls in Gujarat, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday sought its support to “clean” the state’s politics and assured support to get “justice”. On the second day of his four-day visit to the BJP-ruled state, the Delhi Chief Minister was greeted with black flags at various places by some little-known groups who termed him traitor for demanding proof of Army’s surgical strikes in PoK.Kejriwal met family members of four Patel youths who died during last year’s OBC quota agitation. Before that, he addressed a gathering at the Patel-dominated Piludra village in Mehsana district and sought the community’s support to “clean” Gujarat’s politics.The village held special significance as the quota agitation started from here one year ago, he said. “Now I request you to start another movement from this village to clean the politics of Gujarat. We all must come together to fight against corruption and clean Gujarat’s politics,” he said. He also shouted the slogan “Jay Sardar – Jay Patidar” several times during the speech, and paid floral tributes to Sardar Patel’s statue in Mehsana. He then visited Kaamli village in Unjha tehsil of Mehsana district where he met the kin of Nagjibhai Thakor, a police constable who committed suicide allegedly due to harassment from bootleggers and politicians last month.At this village, he also met the parents of Kanubhai Patel, a Patidar youth who died during quota violence last year. He then visited Umiya Mata temple, revered by the Patel community, at Unjha. Outside the temple, members of ‘Rashtriya Patidar Sansthan’ protested against Kejriwal over his remarks on the surgical strikes.Kejriwal landed in Ahmedabad in the afternoon and met family members of three Patel youths who died during the violence in August last year.Talking to reporters after meeting family members of Siddharth Patel, one of these youths, Kejriwal demanded more compensation for the kin of all the Patel youths who died during the quota agitation.He also termed these deaths as “murders”.”Bullets were fired on unarmed people who were protesting in a peaceful manner. I believe it was an act of murder. Police do not fire on their own, they only follow orders. So strict action must be taken against those leaders who gave such orders,” Kejriwal said.”I learned that state government gave Rs four lakh to family of each victim. This is nothing, as many families have lost their sole breadwinner. I demand that government give more compensation and take care of every family till their children stand on their feet,” the AAP leader said.Prior to visiting Siddharth’s family, he went to Ghatlodia area of city to meet the kin of Nimesh Patel. During his visit to Siddharth Patel’s house in Vastral area, Kejriwal faced protest from the members of Sardar Patel Group, a prominent Patel outfit which was part of quota agitation alongwith Hardik Patel-led PAAS. SPG workers alleged that the AAP national convener had come with an eye on next year’s polls, and showed him signs with message “Kejriwal Go Back”.To avoid trouble, police took eight SPG members away from the spot before Kejriwal’s arrival. They were released soon, Inspector Paresh Solanki of Ramol police station said.Kejriwal blamed BJP president Amit Shah for this. “Amit Shah is behind these protests. Just days ahead of our Surat rally on Sunday, a non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued against in-charge of Gujarat AAP, Gulab Singh. It shows BJP is too much scared of us,” he said.”BJP believes in the policy of persecution. Just like in Gujarat, they are trying to suppress our voice in Delhi. But the more BJP indulges in persecuting people, the more they will face retaliation from common people,” Kejriwal said. He also met the parents of Swetang Patel, who died under mysterious circumstances in police custody last August.Swetang’s mother Prabhaben handed Kejriwal a memorandum in which she alleged that her son was murdered by police but no action had been taken against the culprits even after a year. Kejriwal slammed the Gujarat government after the meeting.”This government has a dictatorial style. Though Swetang was murdered in the custody, no one has been punished yet. We demand that whoever is responsible for his death must be immediately arrested. If government does not take any cognisance, then people will take their revenge,” he said.When media persons asked Prabhaben whether she thought Kejriwal’s visit had political motives as he was visiting one year after her son’s death, she answered in negative. “Kejriwal gave an assurance to us that he will fight to get justice for us. We have very high hopes from him. At least he visited us… Gujarat Chief Minister (Vijay Rupani) has not come yet,” she said.

Hardik Patel warms up to Kejriwal ahead of 2017 Guj polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel appears to be warming up to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal ahead of Gujarat Assembly elections, by issuing statements supporting the Delhi Chief Minister and urging him to spell out what he can do for his community. Kejriwal, on a four-day visit to Gujarat, is widely seen to be in the poll-bound state to woo the numerously strong Patel community to gain foothold in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf, where the BJP has been in power for long but is now facing challenges.Hardik is being wooed by all opposition parties of Gujarat after he came out of jail, and declared that he might jump into politics if his community members want him to do so. 23-year-old Hardik’s leaning towards AAP and Kejriwal are being seen as a major shift in the strategy of his organisation Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which has so far tried not only to maintain distance from political parties but also opposed leaders of BJP and Congress whenever they tried to organise programmes in Patel-dominated areas. Yesterday, Hardik issued a statement in support of Kejriwal, who was on his arrival greeted with protests by members of a local outfit ‘Yuva Azadi’ over his remarks on the surgical strikes by the Army. “We should not oppose Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when he is coming to meet the family members of those who died during Patidar community’s reservation agitation. He will tell the rest of the country about our plight,” Patel said in a message from Udaipur. Later, Hardik through members of his outfit in Mehasna, gave a written memorandum to Kejriwal, in which he asked the latter to spell out what he can do for the Patel community. “Our youths lost lives during the quota agitation, cases were slapped against us for carrying out the agitation. Please spell out during your visit what you can do for us,” Patel wrote in the memorandum to the Delhi Chief Minister. “Our main demand is reservation for our community and you should spell out what you can do for giving reservation to us,” he asked. “BJP has finished democracy in Gujarat. You are the chief minister of the capital of the country — Delhi — and whatever you say will be heard in the entire country. I request you to do whatever is possible for our community,” the memorandum by Hardik said. In response, Kejriwal said, “It is important that those leaders who ordered firing on Patel protesters (during quota agitation of August 2015) should be punished.” Earlier, PAAS members on the call of Hardik had disrupted a public rally of BJP chief Amit Shah in Patidar community dominated Varachha area of Surat. The outfit had also barred Congress and BJP leaders from entering areas dominated by them and many functions of BJP leaders were disrupted.The BJP had effected a leadership change in the long-ruled state with Anandiben Patel being replaced by Vijay Rupani as Chief Minister, though the party had rejected suggestions that that was the result of organisational nd electoral calculations.The quota stir had turned violent after the arrest of Hardik Patel in August 2015. Patel community protesters had indulged in arson and stone pelting and clashes with police and damaged government and private properties worth crores of rupees.In police action against protesters, 12 youths including one policeman had died in the state. Kejriwal yesterday met family members of some of the Patel youths who lost their lives. Patel community has so far supported BJP in Gujarat.On his arrival, Kejriwal had alleged that BJP president Amit Shah and his party were trying to disrupt the rally in Surat on Sunday.

Arvind Kejriwal and Hardik Patel to join hands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Patidar leader Hardik Patel may soon join hands to challenge BJP on Narendra Modi’s home turf in Gujarat. Top party sources said that while AAP leaders have been in touch with Patel, he has agreed to support Kejriwal.Kejriwal will be in Gujarat from October to 14 to October 17 and will address the diamond city, Surat. Apart from several AAP leaders including Kumar Vishwas, Kejriwal is also expected to share the stage with Patidar leaders Vandana Patel and Kanubhai Kalsariya. Vandana Patel was among the agitators during the Patidar protest and had spent 28 days in jail.AAP supremo’s rally comes after the party was refused the permission to hold the same by Gujarat state government. The party had then approached the High Court, contesting against the Gujarat administration.Sources in the party said, that soon after the confirmation of Kejriwal’s rally in Surat, a delegation including AAP’s Gujarat in-charge Gulab Singh Yadav had met Hardik in Udaipur. While Yadav confirmed that the party is in contact with the Patidar leader, he refused to share any more details.”Just like any other political party we are in touch with local leaders, who want to work for the people. We have approached Hardik and he has assured all support to AAP,” said a top AAP leader. He added that while Hardik is unlikely to share the stage along Kejriwal on October 16 in Surat, the Patidar leader is expected to make a formal announcement of support to AAP soon.As per details, Kejriwal is expected to reach Mehsana in Gujarat on the evening of October 14, he will then visit the temple of a local deity before reaching Ahmadabad on October 15. “In Mehsana and Ahmadabad Kejriwal visit the families of those killed during the patidar agitation. On October 16, Kejriwal will reach Surat and address a public rally, after the rally he is expected to meet various local associations,” said Yadav.Meanwhile, expecting turbulence at the rally, close to 200 AAP volunteers have been tasked with ensuring safety and security of Kejriwal during the rally. “The BJP has been trying its best to keep us from holding the rally. On previous occasions our office were vandalised and our volunteers assaulted, keeping this in mind we have made attempts from our own side also,” said a party leader from Gujarat.

Slumdog to Lion

It has been a long and bumpy ride for Dev Patel since the success of Danny Boyles’ Slumdog Millionaire, but he may have a winner on his hands with his new film, Lion.

Gita Gopinath, financial advisor to Kerala govt, roots for India’s 8% growth

Gita Gopinath, the India-born Harvard economist and professor, is currently in the country for consultations with the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. She was appointed the financial advisor of this southern state in late June this year.

The Mysore born 44-year old economist with impeccable credentials is often labelled as a ‘neo-liberal’, which experts fear may not go down well with the conservative ruling Left party in the state.

Gita Gopinath - Harvard economist and Kerala's economic advisorGita Gopinath - Harvard economist and Kerala's economic advisor

Gita Gopinath – Harvard economist and Kerala’s economic advisor

“The term neo-liberal does not have a good definition. It’s mostly used when you are angry with somebody or dislike someone, you call them a neo-liberal. Because otherwise, there is no concrete definition to the term,” The Financial Express reported citing a Kerala-based television news channel.

According to Gopinath, she considers herself  a trained technocrat and an economist, who rejects all ideological labels, the FE report said.

On being asked of her role in the Kerala government, Gopinath in an interview with BusinessLine said, “I have an advisory role. When I am asked for inputs, I give that. I think probably my more substantial role is in trying to connect with people in Kerala, who may be interested, with knowledge leaders in the world. They can, in turn, help solve some of the problems that matter for Kerala.”

The John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University also said that India’s 7.6 percent growth is good. She also said that India can sustain 8 percent growth for next couple of decades if the country focuses on reforms and review its policies towards health and education, the BusinessLine reported.

She also said the passage of goods and services tax (GST) will be quite transformational, and would be good for the fiscal balances of the States and Centre eventually, the BL report said.

The third woman to become a tenured professor at the Ivy League university, Gopinath also said that RBI’s decision to cut interest rate by 25 basis point need not be based on the US Fed policy decision.

“I don’t think one needs to worry so much about holding back on a 25-basis point rate cut in expectation of what will happen in the US. But, in the long run, we will have to see how the US Fed moves,” Gopinanth said in a interview with Business Standard.

“Everything right now points to a slow increase in interest rates in the US. Though that could change. But I would not say that this (rate cut) is premature. My expectation is that as things evolve, RBI will pay attention to not only domestic events but global events as well,” she said.

On being asked whether the new RBI government is deviating from the original policy of continuity, Gopinath said she would not comment based on the recent policy, and rather wait for the next monetary policy committee meeting to pass her judgement, the BS report said.

dna Morning Must Reads: Latest on surgical strikes, 3 infiltration bids foiled, successful satellite launch and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Surgical Strikes | Security czars in govt weighing options on releasing footage; discusses future strategy implicationsPrime Minister Modi’s message advising everyone to remain calm post the Cabinet meeting on Thursday was short and crisp. According to sources the PM said — not everyone needs to speak on the surgical strikes, it is the Army’s job and they should be allowed to handle it. Read in detail2. J&K: Militants attack army camp in Kupwara; Army says 3 infiltration bids foiled along the LoCSome militants on Thursday attacked an army camp in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, prompting security forces to retaliate, army said. “At around 5 AM, militants opened firing on an army camp at Langate in Kupwara district, which was retaliated by the alert jawans,” an army official said. Read more3. Rajan’s NPA schemes may get quiet burial; Patel hints at new debt resolution frameworkInflation has flown out of the Reserve Bank of India’s top agenda as Urjit Patel, its new governor, unveiled his maiden credit policy that would make both the growth-focused government and companies happy. Read more4. India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-18 launched successfully on board Ariane-5 from KourouIndia’s latest communication satellite GSAT-18 was on Thursday successfully launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana. Read more5. Hurricane Matthew kills 26 in Caribbean; prompts Americans to flee coastHurricane Matthew twisted toward the Bahamas and Florida’s east coast on Wednesday after killing at least 26 people and damaging a majority of homes in Haiti’s south, prompting the hard-hit country to postpone a long-awaited presidential election. Read more6. Wriddhiman Saha is here to stayThough he was clutching on to his first man of the match award in Tests for two fifties in the second Test at his home ground, Eden Gardens, on Monday, wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha had a sorry-looking face. Read more7. Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday plansKing Khan has big plans for his 51st birthday on November 2. Find out more

RBI’s Urjit Patel announces cut in repo rate by 0.25% to 6.25%, surprises market

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday cut its key lending rate, repo, by a quarter percentage point or 25 basis points to 6.25 percent. This is the first policy where the rate decision is taken by the monetary policy committee (MPC). For Urjit Patel too, this is the first policy as RBI governor.

RBI governor, Urjit PatelRBI governor, Urjit Patel

RBI governor, Urjit Patel

Since January 2015, the RBI has cut the repo rate by a cumulative 150 bps. The Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) trajectory had indicated room for the RBI for a rate cut. At the last reading (in August), the CPI inflation fell to 5.05 percent compared with 6.07 percent in July.

The RBI has set March 2017 target of 5 percent for inflation. Economists have been saying that inflation might well fall further down going ahead, given that monsoons this year have been favourable, enabling better crop output. Food price inflation, the main villain in the inflation story, has eased considerably in the recent past, giving room for further rate cuts.

However, most economists expected the RBI to postpone the rate cut to December, considering the persisting upside risks to inflation, including the impact of 7th pay commission and chances of unseasonal rains.

Read full policy statement here

RBI by Firstpost on Scribd

Disposable women

Women in South Asia are being used and abandoned by the British Asian men who marry them. Should their treatment be classed as a form of domestic violence?

Would follow SC order on admission, recruitment under EBC: Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a flip-flop on keeping in abeyance the 10% EBC quota for general category, Gujarat government on Saturday sought to clarify its stand on the issue, saying the process of admission and recruitment will go on as per the Supreme Court’s order. The government on Friday first issued a notification keeping in abeyance the Economically Backward Class quota in jobs and educational institutes, but later withdrew it.Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said on Saturday the first notification was issued in view of the Supreme Court’s interim stay to the implementation of the quota. Apex court had said admissions granted to around 3,000 students under the EBC quota will remain valid, but no further admissions or recruitment will take place under it. “SC asked us not to implement the 10% EBC quota until final order is passed. Considering this, the general administration department and social justice ministry issued the (first) notification,” Patel said.However, it was withdrawn a few hours later “taking into consideration the larger interest of society,” as EBC beneficiaries and others demanded that those who had applied for jobs under the EBC quota need more clarification, he said. “The notification was withdrawn and the process should go on as per the SC order. Shortly we will discuss the matter in detail, considering its legal aspects, with the advocate general to find some way out for the EBC beneficiaries and take fresh decision on the issue,” Patel said.
ALSO READ Backlash compels Gujarat government to withdraw EBC quota notificationAsked if the entire recruitment process of the government will be put on hold, the Deputy CM said, “Supreme Court has put on hold the EBC quota, and no recruitment can be done under EBC quota. Government is considering the matter in consultation with SC lawyers and trying to find a way out. Government is in the process of recruiting at a scale not seen in the last 20-25 years. The recruitment process is in different stages of test, interview, job advertisement. So whether EBC can be implemented and what can be done about different sections, the government is deciding and will take a decision soon,” he said.The 10% EBC quota for the economically weaker section among the non-reserved category was introduced following the Patel community’s agitation for reservations. The High Court struck it down. On appeal, the SC, on September 9, referred the issue to a Constitution bench.

Urjit Patel new RBI chief: Here’s what may have made the silent ‘owl’ PM Modi’s favourite

Urjit Patel has always preferred the analogy of an owl, not a hawk or a dove as media typically refers the central bank, to describe the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pick for the post of RBI governor after Raghuram Rajan, can be best described as an unassuming, reticent owl. In his three-year’s (Patel took charge on 11 January, 2013) term as one of the four deputy governors of the RBI, Patel has hardly spoken in public platforms (the RBI site shows just a single speech of Patel).

For the media and outside world, access to Patel has been mostly limited to the bi-monthly monetary policy pressers. Even there, Patel has weighed his words so carefully to limit his views only to what he is expected to speak on — monetary policy, inflation and the RBI’s views on the fiscal side.

Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel. PTIRaghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel. PTI

Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel. PTI

The only exception to this Patel pattern was when he once made a speech at a private function in January 2015. Patel then spoke on entrepreneurship and praised the Narendra Modi government abundantly on its various initiatives — Make in India, ease of doing business, the promise of maximum governance and Jan Dhan Yojana, sounding more like a finance ministry official than a central banker.

A few quotes from the speech are worth a re-look now:

i) “The national objective to make India a global manufacturing hub and a substantive part of international supply chains. The “Make in India” vision/strategy is apposite and provides a much needed “focal point” to inculcate durable competitiveness in key sectors of our economy.”

ii) The stress on improving India’s ranking in the “Ease of Doing Business index”. This provides a measurable gauge to determine how we progress. The repeated commitment and associated ground-level changes already taking place towards deepening “Policy-driven” governance (and less government) is mission critical in this context.

iii) Uncertainty has been lifted in key sectors like coal and spectrum.

iv) The “Jan Dhan Yojana” scheme implemented almost wholly by our public sector banks, whereby 100 million bank accounts have been opened for those who were unbanked, is unequivocally a “game-changer”. It provides an unprecedented scaffolding and a spring board for meaningful financial inclusion and, concomitantly, substantial financial deepening of our economy.

Patel concluded his 806-words speech by quoting a participant at the inaugural session of that year’s Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit: “India will be a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre global economic outlook”.

In short, the only public speech (available on the RBI site) made by Patel was mostly a praise for the Modi government. See this in comparison with the frequent criticism from outgoing governor Raghuram Rajan on various government schemes, including Make in India and Jan Dhan Yojana during his tenure.

Rajan also questioned the accuracy of the GDP numbers, the chest-thumping on the world’s ‘fastest growing economy’ status and made enemies in government with his ‘one-eyed King’ and ‘Hitler’ remarks. It’s not rocket science to understand why Patel is any day a more preferred, comfortable candidate for PM Modi and someone whose line of thought goes in sync with that of the government.

Besides this, Patel has also proved why he is critical to be the central bank’s top brass in these times when there is a radical shift happening in the monetary policy structure of the country. He is the one who wrote the narrative of the consumer-inflation focused inflation-fighting strategy that has worked well to bring down inflation in the economy from double digit levels to about 6 percent. It was based on Patel’s panel recommendations that Rajan initiated his inflation fight strategy. The government showed its acceptance to Patel’s inflation strategy by accepting the 4 percent (plus or minus 2 percent) target till 2021. So, seen in this backdrop, Patel has emerged as an obvious winner from a list of a dozen potential candidates before PM Modi.

Handling the Rajan’s succession was also a politically sensitive issue post the Subramanian Swamy-Rajan saga that grabbed the attention of the world media and raised questions on the Modi government’s approach to safeguarding the central bank’s independence. Also, it needed to find someone worthy to take over the baton from a world renowned ‘rock star’ economist.

Patel has won the war on perceptions and emerged as Modi’s favorite. What lies ahead for him as the RBI governor?

There are two key challenges for Patel — continuing with the inflation battle and taking ahead the banking sector reforms, mainly the clean-up of non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector. Both have political implications and can turn out to be tough tasks for Patel as he wears the governor’s cap.

On the inflation-front, though the government has agreed to a 4 percent target, it may not have unending patience to tolerate high interest rates in the economy. If the upside risks to inflation picks up substantially in the coming time, the RBI may prefer to continue on pause mode for a longer-than-expected period which may not be necessarily acceptable to the government. And what could worsen things for RBI is that in the proposed joint monetary policy committee (MPC), the government may have a strong upper hand, curtailing RBI’s role.

With Patel’s elevation, the post of the deputy governor in charge of the monetary policy is vacant and the government can fill in someone who agrees with its views. That would mean in the 6-member panel (three each from both side), the government will have an invisible upper hand that could complicate things for Patel on the policy front. Remember, some of the RBI governors who joined from the government (for example D Subbarao), with a perceived government’s man image, had to lock horns with the North Block later on various policy issues. Under Rajan’s shadow, Patel didn’t have much problem but he may have to travel the same road being the new face of the central bank.

On the banking sector clean-up too, things may not be easy for Patel. The large-scale digging out of NPAs (following Rajan’s March 2017 deadline to complete the task) has eroded substantial capital from public sector banks’ coffers, resulting in a much bigger burden on the government which owns 70 percent of the Indian banking system through state-run banks. The cronies and crooks that looted the Indian banks so far too have been irked by the sudden jolt. How Patel will handle this pressure and take the bank clean-up exercise to its logical end is something one should wait and watch.

Thirdly, Patel may have to face some new issues too. According to reports, the government wants to tap the central bank’s funds to recapitalise public sector banks.

The RBI has a total equity of 32 percent of its assets and the government wants to draw this fund, which is a combination of contingency funds, capital and retained earnings, to bail out the cracked balance sheets of state-run banks.

The current leadership of RBI, under Rajan, seems to have reservations about this move since it perceives that a strong corpus of contingency funds with the central bank is crucial for the country in the long term. Even more critical, infusing these funds in sarkari banks may prove to be a dangerous idea in the long term since the issues of these lenders are more on account of operational inefficiency and not just capital shortage. The government should instead privatise these banks and let them compete in the free market. How Patel will respond to such a situation is worth watching.

The point here is this: Patel has so far managed to be in the good books of the Modi-government. But, in the new role there are many big hurdles that await him in the road ahead.

Urjit Patel as RBI chief: Why Subramanian Swamy is forced to befriend PM Modi’s pick

Subramanian Swamy and his 3-million strong Twitter army seem to have made peace with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reckoning a friend, not an adversary, in Raghuram Rajan’s successor Urjit Patel. The Twitter exchanges between the maverick BJP MP and his supporters/ followers suggest that Swamy is in approval of Patel’s appointment. This proves that Swamy’s issue with Rajan (Swamy ran a campaign against Rajan to oust him) was more on account of the fact that he was a UPA-appointee, and mainly because of that, rather than differences on the governor’s interest rate policies.

New RBI chief Urjit PatelNew RBI chief Urjit Patel

New RBI chief Urjit Patel

After the Narendra Modi government announced Patel as Rajan’s successor, Swamy said it would be ‘idiotic’ to criticise Patel. Swamy finds Patel  ‘desi’ enough despite he being born in a foreign country (Kenya), assignments with foreign organisations and his stints with some of the prominent corporate houses in India and abroad (Reliance Industries, Boston Consulting Group, IDFC). Patel, according to Swamy, is unlike ‘mentally not fully Indian’ Rajan who was born here but lost his Indian-ness eventually when he continued to be a US green card holder.

The interesting fact is that Swamy has even better reasons to target Patel if high interest rates are the point of contention. This is because it was Patel’s proposal that laid the foundation of Rajan’s inflation battle in 2013-14.

The central bank began focussing on CPI (consumer price inflation) as the core price indicator for the purpose of monetary policy formulation and kept the interest rates high and unchanged till January, 2015 ignoring the loud noises from the pro-growth lobby of economists, industrialists and politicians. Even after that, a significant reason why the central bank went slow in reducing rates (it cut rates by a total 150 basis points since then) was the caution exercised by the central bank’s monetary policy team on the inflation front. Here again, Patel, the deputy governor in charge of monetary policy played a crucial role to form that assessment.

The central bank’s inflation target with a 4 percent (plus or minus 2 percent) in the medium term was later duly endorsed by the government. Unless ‘RBI governor’ Patel drastically changes his policy stance so far, we would see a more hawkish central bank than Rajan in the days ahead. Future interest rate cuts will be a rarity then till the time the inflation genie is bottled and sealed forever. That would mean Swamy’s major problem with Rajan (wrecking the Indian economy with high interest rates and causing unemployment) apply equally to Patel also. But, Swamy is fine with that. Why?

It’s simple politics. If Swamy launches a missile against a Modi-appointed RBI governor candidate, it will most certainly take the shape of a lethal boomerang that can shake his position in the party circles further and affect his future prospects in the government significantly. Already, Swamy’s experience in messing with NDA-appointees in crucial posts (chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian and economic affairs secretary Shakti Kanta Das) wasn’t a pleasant one. At the very beginning itself, Swamy was restrained by his arch rival the Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and top brass in the BJP forcing the economist-turned-politician-turned Hinduvta icon to significantly soften his stance on both Subramanian and Das.  Swamy wasn’t happy with this but had to fall in line. On Sunday, the MP launched a fresh attack on CEA saying “Arvind S called Namo a mediocre leader, efficient in riots & asked US to grill India in WTO for drug cos mkt access, is CEA! Tolerance!! (Sic).”

Once can link Swamy’s public attacks and the subsequent embarrassment caused to the government to him being sidelined during the recent cabinet reshuffle despite having decades of experience in the areas of finance, commerce and academia. Swamy would be shooting himself in the foot if he targets Patel. Hence it isn’t hard to figure out the origin of the white flag Swamy is waving towards Patel.

For the Modi government, Patel is the safest bet at this point. The deputy governor’s elevation to the RBI governor’s post has been welcomed by economists and industry patrons like NR Narayana Murthy. A soft-spoken, hardworking individual, who wouldn’t bother to talk on issues beyond his pay grade, is precisely what this government wanted in a RBI governor.

By appointing Patel, the Centre has smartly hedged a slew of potential problems of discontinuity in the central bank’s policy course a new governor may have faced, issue of preparedness when huge foreign currency deposit redemptions are due in the next few months, likely volatility in the international markets if Brexit, China and US conditions turn bad for emerging markets and, most importantly, the criticism of not having a credible and internationally accepted face to succeed the ‘rock star’ economist Raghuram Rajan.

Some have praised Patel’s past stints with private organisations and proximity to Modi. But no one can dispute Patel’s commitment after he took over his job at the RBI and his impressive academic credentials — not even his enemies.

Patel has been around in India in various roles for one-and-a-half decades and has gained an image of a hardworking, visionary economist who gives his best to his job. In this context, any attack from Swamy against Patel would have been self-destructing for the BJP leader.

Seen in this perspective, Swamy’s instant approval of PM Modi’s pick is least surprising.

(Disclosure: Reliance Industries owns Network18 that runs Firstpost.)

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Urjit Patel is new RBI governor: Colleagues, India Inc, bankers all hail govt move

New Delhi – Hailing Urjit Patel’s appointment as RBI Governor as “vote for continuity”, India Inc and experts are unanimous that he is an excellent choice for the top job at the central bank when the economy is passing through a crucial phase.

“We all are very happy. Being a colleague, he brings great continuity and familiarity. He has a clear understanding of what is going on,” said RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra.

Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel in a PTI file photoRaghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel in a PTI file photo

Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel in a PTI file photo.

Patel’s colleague further said every new leader will bring his or her own thinking.

“There could be some addition, (in) some processes little bit changes. It’s normal in transition. We are looking for great continuity and that provides great comfort,” Mundra said, adding that the appointment means that it is business as usual from the day one and “ensures smooth transition”.

Patel was on Saturday appointed the next Governor after Raghuram Rajan demits office on September 4. He was first appointed Deputy Governor for three years in January 2013 and was given extension this January.

Welcoming the appointment, SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said: “Patel has been at the helm of institutionalising the inflation targeting regime in the monetary policy framework. His appointment signals continuity of policy intent, both on part of RBI and the government.”

Bhattacharya was one among the seven names speculated to succeed Rajan as the 24th Governor.

Infosys founder and IT doyen N R Narayana Murthy, who had earlier pitched for a second term for Rajan, said Patel is the “right man” to succeed the incumbent Governor.

“He is the right man to succeed Raghuram Rajan. Who better than him to see what needs to be done to stimulate growth and contain inflation?” Murthy asked.

Industry chamber Ficci hoped that Patel will also ensure continuity of ongoing initiatives at RBI.

“We are confident that RBI and the economy will gain tremendously from Dr Patel’s experience in both private and public sectors,” said Ficci’s President Harshavardhan Neotia.

Director General of industry body CII Chandrajit Banerjee said: “CII is confident that the new Governor will lead the central bank and take its developmental and regulatory agenda to new heights.”

Mahindra & Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra tweeted: “A very astute move. He’s young, qualified and experienced. Above all, signals policy continuity. Markets should exhale.”

Urjit Patel as new RBI Governor signals continuity in policies; will settle concerns

Ever since Raghuram Rajan announced that he would be going back to academics when his tenure ends, there has been a lot of speculation on the next governor. The names that were discussed ranged from bureaucrats, members of institutions and some leading economists. It did seem to also be surprising that the decision has been taken just around two weeks before the present governor completes his term. The name of Urjit Patel was certainly high on the list and in a way the selection was not out of the blue.

The first thought that comes to mind is that his selection indicates continuity and this is good for the system because it sets to rest speculation on what the RBI thinks about various issues and how it will react to different situations. He is also presently in charge of monetary policy and hence is ideally suited to work with the ministry of finance, which is the other important player on the monetary stage. The market should feel reassured though not ecstatic and it will probably be business as usual on Monday when trading starts in all the markets.

Patel, it must be remembered, had steered the committee on monetary policy and the recommendations thrown up were accepted by the RBI and subsequently the ministry of finance. The concept of monetary policy committee germinated from his report and hence in a way he may be called the father of this idea. With this system set to be institutionalised, there would be less controversy on how it is conducted and to this extent the road will be predictable.

urjit-raghuramrajan-PTIurjit-raghuramrajan-PTI

Raghuram Rajan addressed the issue of getting in money to stabilise the currency. Urjit Patel has to work to ensure the repayment, while keeping the Rupee stable. PTI

There would be three areas of focus as he takes over. The immediate challenge so as to call it is to address the issue of redemption of FCNR deposits of around $25 bn. Ironically when Raghuram Rajan took over he had addressed the issue of getting in this money to stabilise the currency. Now the new governor has to work to ensure the repayment, while keeping the Rupee stable. This is what can be called the very short term objective.

Second, in the short to medium term the conduct of monetary policy through the MPC has to be worked out. While the members will be announced, the questions that are raised are in the areas of which entity would be presenting the policy. Would the committee members also be present and whether if there is a difference of opinion within the committee, what would the tone be. Therefore getting this committee in place and then operationalising the same will be the job of the new governor.

Third, the medium to long-term radar would be on the banking sector especially the public sectors banks. The present situation though looking better on the issue of quality of assets is still hazy in terms of timelines. Banks need to clean up their books as soon as possible and only then can they begin on a clean slate. Quite fortuitously this period coincides with one where economic conditions are not strong enough to warrant demand for funds. Once the cycle turns around, banks should be prepared to lend.

This leads to the associated issue of bank capitalisation. Getting the government to lower its stake to 51 percent has been the stated objective. But we need to move closer to the implementation, which can happen only when the books are in good condition or else the valuation will be low. Hence, the governor will have to look at ways of expediting this process to ensure that in the next couple of years these banks are able to stand on their own feet.

The rest of the work to be done will be fairly routine as has been the case, though the market will always try and guess how his mind works on the ideal inflation rate and hence preference for the interest rate, his view on the exchange rate and his reaction to it and the speed of financial sector reforms.

The easy part of the job is that several ideas which germinated in the era of Subbarao, have gotten transformed into work in progress under Rajan, and hence seeing through the successful implementation should be fairly seamless for the new governor. Also given that he has been in the system and most likely contributed to them, would make it easier to see them through. The economy too appears to be poised for upward movement only which makes it easier to go in for consolidation of all the banking policies.

The end of this uncertainty is good and the fact that he has been deputy governor is positive for the markets. However, it would now be time for speculation on who would be the next deputy governor in place of Urjit Patel. As this position is reserved for an economist normally, the media will be abuzz with several names. Will it be one with a foreign background? Or would it be one from the ministry? Or will it be an independent economist? Admittedly it can be anyone from these categories. There would, also have to be some reworking of the portfolios as the monetary policy one which has traditionally been the forte of the economist governor is being institutionalized. But the media will be watching closely for sure as will the markets.

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dna Morning Must Reads: Turkey wedding attack; new RBI guv Urijit Patel; PV Sindhu’s Olympic journey; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. At least 30 killed, dozens wounded in Turkey wedding attack near Syria borderAt least 30 people were killed when a suspected suicide bomber targeted a wedding celebration in Gaziantep city of Turkey on early Sunday. Read more.2. Centre picks insider Urijit Patel as next governor of Reserve BankKeeping grip on inflation, helping banks in strengthening their balance sheets and bringing in regulations that will ensure the stability of the financial system will be the challenges before the new governor. Read more.3. Rio 2016: A few mistakes in the third set proved crucial, says PV SindhuTalking to dna, Sindhu shares her dreams and her journey thus far to make her dream a reality. Read more.4 Kashmir unrest: Boycott threat looms large over pro-India politicians in the ValleyThe warning by separatists was issued on the day when joint opposition called on President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to impress upon the Central government to initiate a credible, meaningful dialogue with no further delay. Read more.5. Saif-Kareena splurge lakhs in Harrods for their babyThe Nawabs are already planning a nursery for their child for which they have hired an international designer to design the nursery for their baby. Read more.

New Reserve Bank of India chief Urjit Patel, solitary by nature, steps into spotlight

Incoming governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Urjit Patel, is widely regarded as having the professional and academic credentials he needs to make a success of his new job. Less well-known is whether a man who seems to feel most at ease in his own company commands the communication skills to answer to multiple constituencies and keep a 17,000-strong team on his side.

Patel, deputy governor of the RBI since 2013, demonstrated intellectual heft in overseeing landmark changes to the 81-year old institution, including switching to inflation-targeting and establishing a monetary policy panel to set interest rates.

Now promoted, Patel offers the promise of continuity with most of the policies of the man he will replace, Raghuram Rajan, who was feted by investors for halving inflation and for pulling the country out of its worst currency crisis in over two decades.

Within the RBI, however, Patel is widely viewed as a solitary and at times temperamental figure.

He avoids large meetings and gatherings with colleagues and, in contrast to other deputy governors who had busier public schedules, gives few speeches or media interviews. “His biggest challenge is his communication skill,” said an official who works closely with Patel. “He prefers to interact with only those whom he is comfortable with, which is a very small group.”

That raises questions about how Patel will approach the public aspects of a role that is set to be transformed under changes he largely helped spearhead.

New RBI chief Urjit Patel.

New RBI chief Urjit Patel.

He will have to seek consensus with five other members of the RBI’s new monetary policy committee.

He must also work closely with heads of state-owned banks as the sector battles to clean up $120 billion of soured loans – a relationship that greatly frustrated Rajan as lenders went only half way towards matching 150 basis points of RBI rate cuts.

Respected By Investors

Already known to have a good rapport with government officials, Patel may find his low public profile helps him develop even better ties.

Rajan, by contrast, faced a backlash from hard-right elements in Prime Minister Narendra Modi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for sometimes peppering his public statements with social critiques.

“(Patel) is extremely sensitive and pragmatic about not upsetting the government,” said another senior RBI official who works with him.

“The fact that he was reappointed as a deputy governor … and now promoted … shows the strong support he enjoys from the government,” the first official said.

Patel is also likely to share his predecessor’s good reputation among investors.

Both men worked for the International Monetary Fund and studied abroad, in Patel’s case at the London School of Economics and Oxford University before heading across the Atlantic to Yale for his economics doctorate.

Patel has also spent time in the private sector with stints at the Boston Consulting Group and Indian energy conglomerate Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) and, at the RBI, was seen as the candidate most in tune with Rajan’s policy agenda.

Having beaten off the challenge of, among others, IMF Executive Director Subir Gokarn to get the top job, analysts believe Patel will not kow-tow to the government either.

His reputation suggests he will uphold the independence of the central bank while pushing Modi and his ministers towards fiscal prudence – all welcome traits for investors used to a steady hand at the RBI tiller.

“The new governor needs to reinforce the faith that the external world and Indian markets have in the … central bank,” said Mihir Vora, Chief Investment Officer of Max life insurance.

Kejriwal’s Gujarat visit cancelled as BJP government refuses permission

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s upcoming visit to Gujarat has been cancelled after the Anandiben Patel-led BJP Government in the state did not give permission for programme at the chosen venue.Kejriwal, who visited Gujarat in 2014 in the run up to the general election, was expected to woo the Patidar community during his visit to the state.The Patidar community, which is adamant on its demand for quotas in jobs and education, is gradually shifting from its traditional loyalty towards the BJP.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AAP, which is keen to establish its base in the BJP-ruled state ahead of the assembly polls scheduled next year, is now looking to benefit from the discontentment of the Patidar community.According to reports, the AAP supremo was expected to reach out to the farmers besides local businessmen and industrialists during his visit.Kejriwal, who has been extremely critical of Gujarat strongman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also expected to meet Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel, presently lodged at Surat’s Lojpore Central Jail on sedition charges.The AAP chief had earlier this month dubbed the arrest of 23-year-old Patidar agitation leader as illegal.In a video message posted on the AAP’s Gujarat Twitter handle, Kejriwal said Hardik, who has been in prison for more than eight months, had merely raised his voice for the rights of Gujaratis.”Hardik Patel is in jail for the last eight months and he has been charged with sedition. People told me that they are very upset with this. What is the mistake of Hardik Patel. He raised his voice for Gujarati’s and fought for their rights. He never raised voice against the nation. He never spoke of breaking the nation,” he said.Asserting that Patel’s demands were the same as that of lakhs of Gujaratis, Kejriwal demanded to know if the government would label all those as ‘anti-national’.

Praful Patel to PM Modi: Cleanse BJP first instead of ‘Swachh Bharat’

In a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the cleanliness drive, senior NCP leader Praful Patel on Tuesday said he should first set the BJP’s house in order.”It would be appropriate on the part of Prime Minister to cleanse the BJP first instead of making a propaganda about ‘Swachh Bharat’,” the former Union minister told reporters.His comments came in an apparent reference to allegations of corruption against senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse who resigned recently as Revenue Minister. Patel claimed that no section of society is satisfied with the performance of the state and Central governments.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is unfortunate that BJP leaders like chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari have not brought any development to Vidarbha,” Patel said.He said the NCP would contest the forthcoming elections to the local bodies and municipal councils in the state on its own strength.
ALSO READ Wilful defaulters, I will show you what law can do, says PM ModiPatel alleged that no development in real terms came to Vidarbha despite the CM signing MoUs worth thousands of crores at various forums.”Gadkari has performed ‘bhoomipujan’ (groundbreaking ceremony) for road development projects but not a single tender has been passed so far,” the former Civil Aviation Minister said.He replied in negative when asked if NCP would extend its support to BJP in case Shiv Sena walks out of the coalition government.When asked whether NCP is avoiding playing an aggressive opposition out of fear of action against its leaders facing the graft charge, Patel said, “Who has stopped government from launching probe or taking legal action against us. They are free to do so. We are ready to face any eventuality”. He said NCP would go with people’s choice on granting statehood to Vidarbha.

Gujarat: First regional flight connecting Surat, Bhavnagar takes off

The first regional flight in Gujarat connecting Surat and Bhavnagar took off on Saturday.After inaugurating the service in Surat, which is run by Ventura Air Connect Private Ltd, Gujarat minister Saurabh Patel said, “It is the first regional air connectivity in the state and the proposed destinations to be covered are Palitana, Ambaji, Dwarka, Morbi, Ankleshwar, Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Kandla.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our (Gujarat government’s) golden goal is to develop new airports at Ambaji, Dwarka, Palitana and Ankleshwar,” the Gujarat aviation minister added.Regional connectivity is the centrepiece of the new civil aviation policy recently unveiled by the Centre.”Gujarat government’s vision is to enable growth of the aviation industry, oversee and promote safety in the sector, provide air navigation services and develop Gujarat as a centre of excellence for aviation knowledge and human resource development,” Patel added.According to the minister, the state government’s mission is to create state-of-the-art civil infrastructure for the aviation sector.

130-year-old Congress pushed on backfoot by younger BJP: CM Anandiben Patel

The 130-year-old Congress party has been pushed on the backfoot in the political arena by the BJP, which is just 36-year-old, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Friday said.She was addressing the state BJP executive meeting in the neighbouring Mehsana district. The meeting passed a political resolution criticising the Congress for straying from its core values and said it symbolised “corruption, pseudo-secularism and bad governance”. It is no more the party of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel. Today, Congress has become the party of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, it said. “Our 36-year-old party has managed to put the over 100-year-old Congress on the backfoot,” Patel said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two-day conclave of the state BJP executive, which ended today, saw party leaders from all over the state deliberating on strategy for the 2017 Assembly elections. “The reason behind it (Congress on backfoot) is the strength of BJP workers. Strength is in being together. In the play of snakes and ladders, it is your inherent strengths and goodness that take you up the ladder of political life,” Patel said.The political resolution said `Congress Mukt Bharat’, a slogan given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was an idea to get the polity of the country rid of “nepotism, corruption, pseudo-secularism and bad governance”.It further stated that Congress has drifted far away from its core values as it was now seen standing with those who were against the culture of this country. “It is indirectly supporting cow slaughter by saying that to eat beef is a personal choice. In the name of freedom of speech, it supported JNU students who glorified terrorists involved in Parliament attack like Afzal Guru,” the Chief Minister said.The resolution went on to criticise the state unit of Congress, saying its local leaders are running the show by merely giving statements to the media. “Gujarat Congress is talking about giving 20 per cent quota to Economically Backward Classes. But they have not implemented this in even one state they are ruling, while we have given 10 per cent quota to EBCs in Gujarat,” the resolution said.

Selfie gone wrong: Seven drown in Ganga in Kanpur

Clicking a selfie turned out to be fatal for a youth as well as six of his friends, who drowned in the Ganga on Wednesday while trying to save one another, police said.The incident happened when six youths from Juhi area and one Shivam from Colonelganj area of Kanpur had gone to take a bath in the river after rainfall, SSP Shalabh Mathur said.Shivam was clicking a selfie while bathing following which he lost his balance and started drowning in the river. Maqsood tried to save Shivam but he too lost his balance due to the high water level and high current following heavy rainfall, SP (West) Sachindra Patel said. All the other friends jumped one after another to save the others but drowned in the attempt, the SP said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of divers was deployed to save the youths and their bodies were recovered after two hours, Patel said, adding, all of them were sent to Medical College Hospital where they were declared dead by the doctors.The deceased have been identified as Sachin Gupta (21), Bholu Tiwari (20), Rohit (20), Shivam (19), Maqsood (31), Bhola (16) and Satyam (24). The matter will be investigated, SSP Mathur said.In a similar incident in Mumbai in January, three girls, had fallen into the Arabian Sea while clicking selfies on a rock jutting out of the sea near Bandra Fort. A local youth who had jumped to save them had drowned in the attempt.

Ensure cock fights don’t take place in state: Bombay HC to Maharashtra govt

The Bombay High Court has told the Maharashtra government to ensure proper implementation of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and to see to it that no events including cock fights take place in the state.A division bench of Justice SS Kemkar and Justice MS Karnik directed the government to ensure that cock fights don’t take place in the state and if there are any such instances found in the state then action should be taken against the event organisers. The bench made these directions while disposing off a public interest litigation filed by an animal lover NG Jayasimha, who had brought to the notice of the court a cock fight being held in 2015 at a village in Ulhansnagar.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Advocate Prakash Mahadik said then in 2014, they had moved the court seeking directions to the government for proper implementation of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act and further sought that proper awareness be created among the public. In December 2014, a vacation bench of Justice Gautam Patel had stayed the event after organisers assured that they will not go ahead with the event.On Wednesday also the organisers assured the court that henceforth they will not organise such fights and accordingly the court accepted their statement.The bench then disposed off the matter and asked the government to ensure proper implementation of the act.

DG Vanzara stokes controversy, puts garland with toy gun on Sardar Patel’s statue in Surat

Former IPS officer D G Vanzara, accused in a string of fake encounter cases, on Sunday stirred a controversy when he put a garland with a toy pistol around the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at a rally organised by his supporters in Surat.The incident triggered sharp reactions from Congress as well as the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) whose members removed the garland after Vanzara had left the venue. Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounter killings of Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati, was in Surat to attend the rally. Before the rally, he put a garland, having a pen and a toy pistol tied to it, around Sardar Patel’s statue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked about the rationale behind offering such a garland, Vanzara told reporters that it was a “symbolic tribute” to Patel’s contribution to uniting hundreds of princely states after independence.”It was Sardar Patel who had convinced more than 665 princely states to join the Union of India after independence. Though a majority of states got convinced and acceded, some like Junagadh and Hyderabad raised their head in protest. In such a scenario, Sardar kept aside his pen and took up the gun,” he said.PTIVanzara said the pen in the garland is a “symbol of wit”, and the pistol of “power”.”Sardar Patel used both of them (pen and pistol) to build a united India. That is why we have garlanded Patel’s statue with pen and a (toy) gun to pay tribute to this great leader,” the retired IPS officer said. However, the incident drew criticism from various quarters.Condemning the act, former Congress MP and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Society chairman Dinsha Patel demanded an apology from Vanzara.”I strongly condemn such an act. I believe that whoever did this must apologise to the people of India,” said the veteran Congress leader.PAAS, fighting for the cause of reservation for Patels, also demanded an apology from Vanzara even as its workers removed the garland.”Vanzara has insulted a great leader. He has also hurt the feelings of Patel community. Sardar Patel always walked the path of peace and never advocated violence. We have removed that garland having the (toy) pistol and put a garland of flowers. We have also demanded an apology from Vanzara on the whole issue,” said Surat PAAS convener Nikhil Savani.On April 8, Vanzara landed in Ahmedabad after the CBI court relaxed his bail conditions and allowed him to enter and stay in Gujarat. Since then, Vanzara has been felicitated by his supporters at such rallies in different parts of the state. He had also not ruled out joining politics.

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