|NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2018
FRONT PAGE NEWS
Launching an attack on the NDA’s economic policies, Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh said the Centre’s “disastrous policies” and “economic mismanagement” had cost the country dear and was endangering the “collective future of India”.
During a brief visit to the Congress office in Bengaluru ahead of the May 12 Assembly polls in the state, Singh said, “What took years of hard work to make the Indian economy the third largest in the world is being dismantled through systematic efforts that have no grounding in logic.
Calling demonetisation and the “hasty implementation” of GST “two major avoidable blunders”, Singh said, “The losses the economy suffered due to these blunders have severely hurt our micro, small and medium enterprise sectors, and have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. Along with this, exports as a share of GDP have plunged to a 14-year low.”
The NDA has failed the most on the job front, despite promising to create two crore jobs, Singh said.
Despite a favourable international climate and low oil prices, the NDA has delivered lower economic growth than the UPA, which delivered 7.8% growth under trying global conditions, he said.
“Petrol and diesel prices are at a historic high. This is in spite of lower international crude oil prices because the Modi government chooses to levy excessive excise taxes. Instead of passing on the benefits…, the government has punished the people,’’ he said.
“When asked to explain… the economic ills of the last four years, PM Modiji tends to blame everything on the 70 years of Congress rule,’’ he said.
Singh also said the language used by Modi in the rallies in Karnataka does not bode well for country. Accusing Modi of trying to “polarise” the society, Singh said, “It is all the more shocking that the Prime Minister… stoops so low and uses language unbecoming of a PM….”
A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will hear a petition Tuesday by two Congress MPs who have challenged Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu’s decision to reject the impeachment motion notice against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The petition filed by Congress MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Amee Harshadyay Yajnik has been listed for hearing before a bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and A K Goel.
The petition contends that once a removal motion signed by MPs is submitted to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, he has no option but to constitute an inquiry committee to look into the charges. It said Naidu’s April 23 decision was “ex facie illegal, arbitrary and violative of Article 14” and “deserves to be set aside for being wholly extraneous and ultra vires to the provisions of the Constitution of India and the Judges (Inquiry) Act”.
Former Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh can no longer occupy government bungalows as the Supreme Court on Monday struck down a law that entitled them to get such accommodation, saying they were like a common man after demitting office.
In August 2016, the Supreme Court had ruled that former CMs were not entitled to have any government accommodation. Subsequently, the Akhilesh Yadav Government had amended the statute to get over the judgment.
Striking down the amendment, a bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi yesterday said, “It is ultra vires the Constitution of India as it transgresses the quality clause under Article 14 of the Constitution of India”. While rendering minimal post-retirement benefits like pension is understandable, however, allotting government bungalow permanently is not required.
The Supreme Court Monday shifted trial in the gangrape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab. A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra directed that the trial in Pathankot be held on a day-to-day basis to avoid delay. This, the bench clarified, should mean no adjournment, and the examination-in-chief and cross-examination of witnesses done without break.
The victim, an eight-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakarwal Muslim community, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The J&K police Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main chargesheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua. The chargesheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped before being killed.
The girl’s father had moved the Supreme Court, apprehending threat to the family, their friend and their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat.
A separate plea was also filed by two accused seeking that trial in the case be held in Jammu and the probe be handed over to CBI.
The court did not dispose of the plea for a CBI probe, but the CJI observed during the hearing why should the court get into it when the chargesheet has already been filed. When pointed out that a petition demanding a CBI probe was pending before the J&K High Court, the bench said no other court shall entertain any matter related to the case as it was monitoring it.
Welcoming the decision of the Supreme Court in the Kathua gangrape case, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Monday said it “will go a long way” in boosting the morale of the state police while mainstream parties — from the PDP to National Conference to Congress — echoed the sentiment, saying they hope the victim’s family gets justice.
But the J&K BJP made no secret of its disappointment with the decision to shift the trial out of Kathua and not hand over the case to the CBI. State BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said shifting the trial to Pathankot “gives a wrong impression about Jammu & Kashmir”.
Vladimir Putin took the oath of office for his fourth term as Russian President on Monday, promising to pursue an economic agenda that would boost living standards across the country.
Putin said improving Russia’s economy following a recession partly linked to international sanctions would be a primary goal of his next six-year term.
“Now, we must use all existing possibilities, first of all for resolving internal urgent tasks of development, for economic and technological breakthroughs, for raising competitiveness in those spheres that determine the future,” he told thousands of guests standing in the elaborate Andreevsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace and two adjacent halls.
Putin held onto the presidency in March’s election when he tallied 77 % of the vote.
The foreign ministers of France and Germany say they will hold on to the nuclear agreement with Iran, regardless of the upcoming US decision on whether to nix the deal.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to cancel the 2015 accord restricting Iran’s nuclear activities this week, saying it’s flawed.
France’s top diplomat, Jean-Yves Le Drian, says the three European countries that were part of the deal – France, Britain and Germany – are committed to maintaining it.
China has dismissed White House criticism of its demand that foreign airlines not refer to self-ruled Taiwan as a country, saying companies operating in China must respect its sovereignty.
“Whatever the U.S. says will never change the objective fact that there is only one China in the world and the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan regions are an inalienable part of China’s territory,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement Sunday posted online.
“Foreign enterprises operating in China should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China’s law and respect the national sentiment of the Chinese people,” Geng said.
Taiwan’s independence-leaning president, Tsai Ing-wen, weighed in with a tweet, saying, “We call on all businesses to resist #China’s efforts to mischaracterize #Taiwan.”
The White House on Saturday condemned China’s efforts to control how U.S. airlines refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, saying the push to make them comply with Chinese standards is “Orwellian nonsense.”
China’s Civil Aviation Administration has demanded the change from 36 foreign airlines, including some American carriers, according to the White House.
Stung by a volley of barbs against him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah over alleged corruption, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah on Monday sent legal notices to them warning he would file criminal and civil defamation cases.
The notice asked them to tender unconditional apology or face a defamation suit for Rs 100 crore. Modi has repeatedly attacked Siddaramaiah over alleged corruption, calling his government “seedha rupaiya sarkar” (government that takes bribe for every work) and “10 per cent commission government.”
A tourist from Chennai died Monday after he was hit on the head by a stone during a protest on the outskirts of Srinagar. Police sources said 22-year-old R Thirumani from Chennai was on his way to a resort in Gulmarg with his parents when their car was stoned by protesters.
This is the second incident this month in which tourists were targeted by stone-throwing protesters. On May 1, five tourists were injured when three vehicles were stoned at Aishmuqam in Anantnag.
NC leader Omar Abdullah condemned the incident. “We’ve killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let’s try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters & their methods,” he tweeted.
The Home Ministry said Monday that it has identified top Maoist leaders who have been diverting a chunk of the funds they receive to sponsor the education of their children in professional colleges and ensure that their “families live in comfort”.
To choke this funding, officials said, the Ministry has now set up a multi-disciplinary group comprising officers of intelligence and investigative agencies, and various tax departments.
According to officials, intelligence agencies have tracked specific cases of funds being allegedly diverted by Maoist leaders. They include:
In a statement issued Monday, the Home Ministry said, “The Left Wing Extremism (LWE) movement in the country is financed through a network of dubious activities, which include illegal levy collected from private contractors including those involved in execution of government works and schemes, mining contractors, transporters and owners of small and medium industries. Similarly, funds are said to be garnered through collections from illegal stone crushing and distribution of Naxal ideology papers.”
Over the last year, it’s not just ships that are being dismantled in Alang. According to ship-breakers here, dipping crude oil prices worldwide and rising iron prices in India are attracting “idle oil rigs” to this ship-breaking hub.
Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) data shows that from April 2017 to March 2018, 61 of the 253 vessels that reached Alang were oil tankers and rigs.
Between January and March 2018, 30 of the 87 vessels that arrived to be recycled were tankers and rigs, over one-third of the total. In March, they constituted 12 of the 25 vessels — nearly half — that docked in Alang. In April, seven of the 16 vessels that arrived were oil rigs or oil tankers.
Apart from poor sentiments in the oil market, one of the major reasons for oil tankers to head to Alang is the ban imposed by Pakistan on scrapping oil and LPG tankers after a string of accidents last year at the Gadani yard. All tankers for recycling are being diverted to India.
Currently, scrap steel from Alang fetches Rs 32,000 per tonne, while the price in 2015 stood at Rs 20,398 per tonne. Ship recycling produces scrap steel and iron, which gets converted into bars, rods or machinery parts.
In twin jolts to the economy, the rupee on Monday breached the 67-mark to the dollar after 15 months while crude oil prices crossed the $75-a-barrel level, hitting a three-year high, which is likely to impact India’s current account deficit, inflation and growth momentum.
However, despite these factors, the stock markets showed buoyancy with the benchmark BSE Sensex going past the 35,000-mark on expectations of corporate results.
The Sensex rallied almost 293 points to finish at 35,208 points while the Nifty reclaimed the 10,700-level with a 97-point leap. This is its highest closing since February 1, 2018 when it had finished at 35,906 points.
Experts said the rising crude oil prices will impact inflation and growth. A 10% increase in oil price could potentially increase headline CPI inflation by 0.2-0.3%, increase CAD to GDP ratio by 0.3% and lower overall GDP growth by 0.1%. The final impact on fiscal would depend upon the degree of discretionary fiscal adjustment encompassing both non-oil revenue and non-oil expenditure.
On the flip side, higher oil prices also provide some buffer in the form of higher remittance inflows into India from oil exporting countries along with a beneficial impact on state VAT collections linked to oil.
The proposed $15-billion Flipkart-Walmart deal may face hurdles if the government goes ahead with a probe as sought by traders’ body CAIT, which has said it will promote predatory pricing in the absence of an e-commerce policy in the country.
“This (Walmart-Flipkart) deal should not be allowed since it will encourage more loss funding and predatory pricing in e-commerce which is already gripped with malpractices,” the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement.
Walmart is set to buy over 70 per cent in India’s largest ecommerce player, Flipkart, for nearly $15 billion.
It is unfortunate that despite having an FDI policy, foreign companies are finding an escape route, whether it is in retail or e-commerce, Praveen Khandelwal, the national secretary-general of the CAIT, said. It also alleged that after failing to enter India through the FDI route, Walmart has chosen the e-commerce option, which will be quite harmful to traders.
The traders’ body demanded that the government form a regulatory authority for e-commerce and till the authority is formed, no such deal should be allowed.
GST Network has invited bids from private entities for “360-degree” profiling of taxpayers for early detection of fraud as it seeks to transform into an end-to-end platform for checking GST evasion, from being just a tax collection portal.
The analytics company to be roped in will have the mandate for designing and developing a Fraud Analytics System.
GST Network has, however, barred Infosys from bidding for the project to avoid conflict of interest.
The system will take about a year to be operational and leverage existing data pertaining to GST registration, return filing and e-way bill, along with information from other external sources such as Financial Intelligence Unit, CBDT, banks and state tax departments.
According to the eligibility criteria, the interested bidder will need to have a turnover of Rs 300 crore and should have posted profit in the past three financial years. Also, it should have experience in implementing advanced analytics, the GSTN said in the Request For Proposal (RFP).
It would also establish taxpayer’s risk profile by analysing information on purchasers and sellers as part of returns data, whether the taxpayer deals with sensitive or evasion-prone commodities, history of the owner of the company and rapid change of promoters, among others.
BCCI has officially informed Cricket Australia that India will not play any Day/Night Test match on their tour Down Under at the end of this year. CA was insistent on having a pink-ball Test, which has been a convention of sorts for all touring teams in the past three years.
The Indian team management, headed by chief coach Ravi Shastri, intimated the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that the team will take at least 18 months to prepare for the Day/Night Test.
Last week, CA chief executive James Sutherland had told a radio station in Australia that India’s reluctance to play the pink-ball Test was primarily because of their desire to win the series. Australia have not lost a single Test match under lights played at home.
Sunrisers Hyderabad produced yet another spirited bowling effort to beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by five runs and virtually assure themselves a place in the semi finals.
At their hiome ground in Hyderabad, Sunrisers managed a modest 146 but restricted RCB to 141/6. By virtue of this win, Sunrisers have consolidated their position at the top of the table with 8 wins from 10 games.
RCB, on the other hand, are on the verge of elimination with just 3 wins from 10 matches.
Sensex 35,208 (+293), Nifty 10,715 (+97), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 28,640
Nasdaq 7,265 (+56) Dow 24,357 (+95), S&P 2,673 (+9)
US$-Rs. 67.07 GBP-Rs. 90.88, Euro-Rs. 80.04, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.25, Can$-Rs. 52.12, Aus$- Rs. 50.41
GBP 0.73 /US$, Euro 0.83 /US$, Jap.Yen 109.13 /US$, Aus$ 1.33 /US$, Sing 1.33 /US$, Bang Taka 83.54 /US$, Can$ 1.28 /US$, Mal Ring 3.94 /US$,
Pak Re 115.29 /US$, Phil Peso 51.85 /US$, Russian Rouble 62.74 /US$, NZ$ 1.42 /US$, Thai Baht 31.78 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.17 /US$
Bitcoin – USD 9,348
Dollar Index 92.59 Brent Crude 75.53 BDI 1384
Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,313 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3173 / 2985, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,200
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The fear of becoming a “has been” keeps some people from becoming anything. – Eric Hoffer
An armless man walked into a bar which is empty except for the bartender.
He ordered a drink and when he was served, asked the bartender if he would get the money from his wallet in his pocket, since he has no arms.
The bartender obliged him. He then asked if the bartender would tip the glass to his lips.
The bartender did it and commented it must be very difficult not to have arms and have to ask someone to do nearly everything for him.
The man said, “Yes, it is a bit embarrassing at times. By the way, where is your restroom?”
The bartender quickly replies, “The closest one is in the gas station three blocks down the street.”
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Newsletter May 8, 2018
May 9, 2018