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♦ IRCTC rolls out Bharat Darshan train tours
- The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has announced four Bharat Darshan Tours that will be operated during November and December 2018. For the first time, the IRCTC is introducing the Ramayana yatra as part of the tour in South India.
- According to L. Ravikumar, additional general manager, tourism, IRCTC, the Ramayana yatra will start on November 14 from Madurai Junction and will cover places like Hampi, Chitrakut Dam, Janakpuri (Nepal) and other places associated with the epic. The entire tour will be for 15 days and will cost Rs15,830 per person.
♦ No pension from cess fund for labourers
- There are no mandatory pension benefits in the final version of the Centre’s model construction workers’ welfare scheme, despite earlier suggestions that 20% of the construction cess fund be set aside for retired workers.
- The final version of the scheme, which was released last week, simply notes that: “Considering that pension would constitute a permanent liability which the States may not be able to sustain in the long term, the State Welfare Boards may formulate pension schemes depending upon their financial capacity.”
- The model scheme was formulated in response to the Supreme Court’s March 2018 order in a case filed by the National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour (NCCCL).
- The NCCCL now plans to file a review petition in the case which was closed on October 4, asking the apex court to continue monitoring government actions on the issue.
♦ No ‘less cash’ two years post note ban
- Cash in circulation and ATM withdrawals have only increased, RBI data shows
- Thursday, November 8, marks the second anniversary of the demonetization exercise. It was on the same day in 2016 that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Rs1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes would no longer be legal tender. These notes constituted over 86% of the currency in circulation, then.
- One of the objectives of demonetisation was to move to a ‘lesscash’ society. However, two years down the line, it appears the objective has not been achieved. According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, currency in circulation rose to Rs6 lakh crore as on October 26, 2018, a 9.5% growth from two years ago.
- The currency in circulation was ₹_17.9 lakh crore on November 4, 2016, the week before the note ban came into force. With cash back in the system, ATM withdrawals have picked up.
- According to RBI data, cash withdrawals from ATMs grew 8% to ₹_2.75 lakh crore in August 2018 from ₹_2.54 lakh crore in October The October figure, which will be released in December, could well be higher, as withdrawals generally increase in the festival season. Cash withdrawals from ATMs fell sharply during the demonetisation exercise, hitting ₹_1.06 lakh crore in December 2016.
♦ Indian Bank raises Rs110 crore via Basel bonds
- Indian Bank on Tuesday has raised Rs110 crore by issuing Basel III compliant bonds on a private placement basis. The bonds come with a coupon rate of 8.85% per annum, tenor at 10 years and call option after completion of five years.
- During August 2016, the Bank’s board had accorded approval to raise up to Rs1,000 crore in one or more tranches in the current or subsequent years based on requirement.
♦ India R&D centre crucial to Huawei’s global operations
- Huawei’s research and development (R&D) centre in India plays a key role in driving innovation and supporting the company’s global operations, president of the company’s Consumer Business Group in the Middle East and Africa Gene Jiao said. “We see tremendous potential in the India market and are committed to foster innovation here.
- India was our first R&D centre outside China and carries a lot of strategic importance for Huawei,” Mr. Jiao said. He added that a significant example of the contribution of the India R&D centre was the latest version of its phone user interface.
- “In fact, India is one of the four major regions that has worked on our latest user interface EMUI 9 as well as the world’s first 7nm chipset, the Kirin 980 — the others being Europe, China and North America.” Stating that the “tremendous contribution” from India had driven talent, especially in IT, Mr. Jiao said the country played a “very major part in supporting our global operations.”
♦ ArcelorMittal may become Uttam Galva promoter
- Life will come a full circle for Uttam Galva Steel and its erstwhile promoter, ArcelorMittal, as the latter may be named promoter again. It acquired the company in 2009, was classified as defaulter in 2017 and was declassified as promoter in March 2018. Having paid the entire amount due to lenders in October 2018, it now plans to become the promoter of the firm, again.
- N. Mittalled ArcelorMittal is said to be in talks with the Miglani family, original promoter of Uttam Galva, to again be tagged as promoter as the acquirer has paid the entire outstanding dues of the Mumbaibased firm to lenders. ArcelorMittal paid the dues to become eligible to bid for Essar Steel as per IBC norms. “As of now, ArcelorMittal is a significant financial creditor of Uttam Galva after repaying all its dues,” said an ArcelorMittal official without elaborating further.
- The lenders, led by State Bank of India, have approached the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal to withdraw the insolvency petition against the company and the bench, presided over by V.P. Singh and Vijaykumar Duraisamy, accepted the request. ArcelorMittal will become a copromoter in the Indian steelmaker with 29% stake. Uttam Galva’s total outstanding to lenders stood at ₹_6,880 crore as of September 2017. “I am not in a position to comment on the shareholding of Uttam Galva at the moment as no decision has been taken yet,” Ankit Miglani, MD, Uttam Galva, told The Hindu.
♦ India re-elected as member of ITU council till 2022
- Indiahas been elected as a member of the International Telecommunications Union-ITUCouncil for another four-year term from2019 to 2022. The elections to the Council were held during the ongoing ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 at Dubai.
- India secured 165 votesand ranked third among the 13 countries elected to the council from the Asia-Australasia region, and eighth among the 48 countries elected to the council globally. The ITU has 193 member stateswho elect representatives to the Council.
♠ARTICLE THE HINDU♠
(Shape of sanctions: on U.S. waiver on Chabahar port)
The U.S. administration’s decision to grant India and seven other countries waivers on the sanctions it reimposed on Iran provides some temporary relief to India. While the details of the waivers are yet to be released, the Trump administration has agreed to waive sanctions on the purchase of oil from Iran for about six months, which would help the Modi government tide over until the general elections, without any major oil price shocks. The waivers announced cover Indian investment in Iran’s Chabahar port and the plan to build a railway line from Chabahar to Afghanistan to facilitate trade. The waivers are welcome also as they indicate that despite all the harsh rhetoric on “choking Iran”, the U.S. may have had a rethink on its sanctions, and the costs incurred in pushing around allies and partners such as India, Japan and South Korea to “zero out” oil purchases. This conclusion stems from the fact that both India and China, Iran’s two biggest oil importers, have been extended waivers. This flexibility could be a sign that the U.S. is leaving space for leeway in resuming talks with Iran in the long term. However, the fact that the waivers are temporary, and contingent on further reductions in oil trade with Iran, means that for now India will need to continue to find alternatives to its off_take from Iran. The alternative rupeerial mechanism, which was operationalised in 2012 during the last round of sanctions, depends on increasing Iranian demand for Indian goods to balance India’s annual purchases of about $10 billion, which hasn’t fructified yet. The European Union, Russia and China have also been working on a “special payment mechanism” to circumvent sanctions. But they have yet to launch it, limiting India’s options. Moreover, despite the waivers from the U.S., India will still face the impact of the U.S. sanctions, both on oil and on its investment in Chabahar, as very few international companies may be willing to undertake contracts. Above all, by seeking the waivers, instead of sticking to its earlier line that it accepted only UN and not “unilateral” sanctions, India has lost its moral leverage. Unlike China, it chose to reduce its oil intake from Iran, and entered into negotiations for alternative fuel supplies from Iran’s rivals in the Gulf. This could, in turn, impact DelhiTehran ties in the long run. Meanwhile, India will have to keep engaging the U.S. in order to secure further waivers, both in this case and for CAATSA related U.S. sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea. As a result, by securing the waiver the government has not exactly dodged the figurative bullet, but merely outpaced it. It will need to keep outrunning that bullet for the foreseeable future.
Synonyms:fecundate, impregnate, pollinate
Synonyms:alluring, appealing, attractive, captivating, fascinating
Antonyms: boring, disagreeable, hateful, mean, repulsive
Synonyms:postponement, remission, abandonment, abdication, disclaimer
Antonyms: allowance, approval, sanction, accept, claim
Synonyms:aid, ease, expedite, further, help
Antonyms: block, cease, check, delay, halt
- Choking( अवरोध/चकित करना)
Synonyms:clog, congest, drown, fill, gag
Antonyms: free, let go, loose, advance, aid
- Indicate(प्रकट करना/सूचित करना)
Synonyms: announce, argue, demonstrate, express, hint
Antonyms: conceal, deny, hide, lose, refuse
- Despite( बावजूद)
Synonyms: against, although, even though, even with, in contempt of
Synonyms:closure, completion, consequence, denouement, development
Antonyms: beginning, cause, commencement, introduction, opening
Synonyms: unforeseen, accidental, chance, dependent, incidental,
Antonyms: designed, essential, planned, certain, definite
Synonyms: one-sided, independent
Antonyms: bilateral, many-sided, multilateral
Synonyms:attach, catch, fix, glue, hold
Antonyms: go, halt, leave, let go, release
- Foreseeable(निकट )
Synonyms:certain, anticipated, calculable, expected, foreseeable
Antonyms:improbable, unexpected, unforeseen, unpredictable