23.6.17

The new Smart Cities List

Smart City Mission: Full list of 30 new smart cities

City-State/UT
1 Tiruvanthapuram - Kerala
2 Naya Raipur - Chattisgarh
3 Rajkot - Gujarat
4 Amaravati - Andhra Pradesh
5 Patna - Bihar
6 Karimnagar - Telangana
7 Muzaffarpur - Bihar
8 Puducherry - Puducherry
9 Gandhinagar - Gujarat
10 Srinagar - Jammu & Kashmir
11 Sagar - Madhya Pradesh
12 Karnal - Haryana
13 Satna - MP
14 Bengaluru - Karnataka
15 Shimla - Himachal Pradesh
16 Dehradun - Uttarakhand
17 Tiruppur - Tamil Nadu
18 Pimpri  Chinchwad - Maharashtra
19 Bilaspur - Chattisgah
20 Pasighat - Arunachal Pradesh
21 Jammu - Jammu & Kashmir
22 Dahod - Gujarat
23 Tirunelveli - Tamil Nadu
24 Thootukkudi - Tamil Nadu
25 Tiruchirapalli  - Tamil Nadu
26 Jhansi - UP
27 Aizawl - Mizoram
28 Allahabad - UP
29 Aligarh - UP
30 Gangtok - Sikkim

Prez Polls: Meira Challenges Ram

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was chosen as the Opposition's presidential candidate against NDA's Ram Nath Kovind. Kumar is a four-time Congress Lok Sabha MP and daughter of Dalit leader Babu Jagjivan Ram. Worried about the fissures in the ranks, the Opposition zeroed in on Kumar's name but Nitish Kumar's JDU ruled out rethink on its support for Kovind.

At a meeting of 17 non-NDA parties in Parliament House Library , RJD chief Lalu Prasad is learnt to have proposed only one name -that of Bihar-born Meira Kumar. NCP, which was maintaining a curious silence so far, finally rallied behind Meira, even though NCP chief Sharad Pawar's first choice was former Maharashtra CM Sushil Kumar Shinde.

The Left parties were initially backing Mahatma Gandhi 's grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi or BR Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar, but finally agreed to go with Meira. BSP has also decided to back Meira.

Meira's choice was unanimous. Pawar was the first speaker at the meeting and he proposed three names -Shinde, educationist B Mungekar and Meira Kumar. Prasad strongly supported Meira's name. Following Prasad, all parties, including the Left, decided to back Meira.

It is also gathered that no further discussions were held on the strategy for the presidential elections, with numbers stacked up in favour of the NDA.

CPI's D Raja said that the contest was for the idea of India. “For us it is simply RSS versus the rest. It is about saving the ideals and idea of India and hence we support Meira Kumar's candidature,“ he said.

Pune Ring Road update



Maharashtra Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis cleared a proposal to fund the ring road project through town planning schemes. The Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority will undertake 12 9km the project in two phases, the first of which is expected to complete in three years. The entire project is estimated to take seven years for completion.

The town-planning schemes were floated as a means to fund the project, on the lines of the Gujarat model of land monetization. The CM approved the proposal at the third PMRDA general body meeting in Mumbai. More than 10,000 hectares will be acquired for the 20-plus townplanning schemes along the ring road, which is estimated to cost Rs.17,412 crore.

The detailed project report will be prepared by a consortium of three companies -Intelligent Information Conversions Technologies (Hyderabad), Monarch Surveyors and Engineering Consultants Private Limited (Pune), and India International Infrastructure Engineers Ltd (Bengaluru).

PMRDA chief Kiran Gitte has proposed for the Surat and Ahmedabad town planning models for setting up corporate and industrial hubs along the ring road, likely near the Chakan industrial belt and the proposed airport in Purandar.

Gitte further said that with over 2 lakh people needing affordable housing, they will look to attract as many builders as possible to the town planning schemes. With Pune saturated, these individual clusters can take on a lot of projects, he added.

Most of the clusters will come up on government land, while the PMRDA will also acquire and develop private land which will be sold back to the original owners. PMRDA was recently granted 7,800 hectares of government land for this purpose.But before proceeding with the schemes, the authorities will first clear the land of encroachments before fencing it off.

22.6.17

Somewhere in Maharashtra....


Now Karnataka does a Farm Loan Waiver


Joining the states that recently wrote off farm loans, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah announced a waiver of crop loans and short-term loans of up to Rs.50,000 availed from agricultural cooperative banks in the state. The governments of UP , Maharashtra and Punjab have already announced waivers to quell the growing demands of distressed farmers following a crash in prices of farm produce.
“While some farmers have got interest-free loans of Rs.25,000, others have availed up to Rs.3 lakh. We'll waive off loans up to Rs.50,000, irrespective of the total amount,“ Siddaramaiah said. “I want the Centre to waive off farmer loans availed from nationalised and commercial banks,“ Siddaramaiah said in the legislative assembly , putting the onus on the Centre to do its part for farmers. The CM said Karnataka was the first state in the country to transfer input subsidies directly to bank accounts of farmers.

The loan waiver will benefit 22,27,506 farmers who have taken loans worth Rs.10,736 crore from cooperative banks.This puts a burden on Rs.8,165 crore on the state exchequer.

The waiver, seen as a bonanza for farmers reeling under consecutive drought, is expected to win their goodwill towards the Congress government which is heading for elections in early 2018.

Moreover, Karnataka's move assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of two political developments: One, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley's statement that the Centre will not fund any waiver of farm loans by states; Two, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi expressing his solidarity with the farming community by demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi waive farm loans.

21.6.17

SpiceJet Places Order for 50 Bombardier Q400 Planes

SpiceJet has announced an order to buy Bombardier Q400 aircraft valued at $1.7 billion. This order, which is split in half, is a firm order for 25 aircraft and an option to add 25 more, will make the airline the largest turboprop aircraft operator in India.

Notably , the aircraft order follows a 50 ATR aircraft order by IndiGo, which announced it would float a new regional subsidiary, recently . Singh said the aircraft would be used for regional connectivity as well as for providing connectivity to the neighbouring international destinations.

Besides the Regional Connectivity Scheme, there are small airports that are opening as a consequence of the RCS scheme.

The airline said the Letter of Intent includes 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights on an additional 25 aircraft. Based on the Q400 turboprop list price, an order could be valued at up to $1.7 billion. This would be the single biggest order for the Q400.

On Monday, SpiceJet ordered 40 Boeing 737-10 aircraft worth $5 billion, which should start joining the fleet most likely from 2020.

GST's Midnight Parliament Bash

The goods and services tax will be showcased as a unifying force at the midnight event that marks the rollout of India's biggest indirect tax reform. “The world will witness a transformation and how all the political parties of different ideologies united for the implementation of the GST,“ Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Lucknow, terming the rollout of the GST from July 1 as “historic“.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley set to rest any remaining doubt about the tax being implemented as scheduled. “The hour-long function will mirror the contribution made by different political parties and states to the revolutionary new tax regime,“ he said in New Delhi. The launch function will be held in the central hall of Parliament.

Jaitley reiterated that GST, over the medium to long term, will lead to a rise in central and state revenue as the size of the formal economy will grow. Being a more efficient system, GST will also result in better tax compliance, he said.

The new levy will subsume state and central levies and help create a common market, although some sticking points such as e-way bills remain to be resolved. These pertain to inter-state transactions.