RBI keeps key rate unchanged

As widely expected, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had kept the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8.0 per cent. Also, it has decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
However, it has reduced the liquidity provided under the export credit refinance (ECR) facility from 32 per cent of eligible export credit outstanding to 15 per cent with effect from October 10.
The RBI has said that it will continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL at the LAF repo rate, and liquidity under 7-day and 14-day term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions.

Telengana's drinking water grid

The government of Telangana is likely to go for global bidding for the drinking water grid being planned with an estimated cost of Rs.27,000 crore. The project with 24 sub-grids is aimed at ensuring safe drinking water to the entire population of the State and will be completed in the next four years.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao held a review meeting on the drinking water grid in Secretariat with the officials of rural water supply, irrigation, public health, industries and finance departments. Stating that the project would create a world record of sorts, the Chief Minister said the total length of pipelines to be laid as part of it would be about four times the circumference of the earth. In all, 1,26,036 km of pipelines would be laid.
After examining maps, contours, water resources and geographical conditions with the help of Google Earth, the Chief Minister directed the officials to estimate the requirement of water for drinking needs in urban/rural areas and industries till year 2050. The officials proposed to the Chief Minister that about Rs.317 crore would be required for preparing a detailed project report, equipment purchase and staffing.

Silicon Corridor

Expressing his determination to convert challenges posed after bifurcation into opportunities, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced that he would develop Andhra Pradesh into a ‘silicon corridor’ by wooing investors in IT and allied sectors.
Addressing the CEOs’ conclave at Hotel Novotel here, he launched three dedicated and empowered missions and a ‘triad of policies’ for growth of IT, electronics and e-governance and said investors would regret if they failed to grab the opportunity to start projects in A.P. During the conclave, attended by top representatives from 150 companies the government signed MoU with Wipro, Tech Mahindra, SAMEER and Tessolve to invest in Visakhapatnam and a separate agreement with Google to make A.P. completely digital. Several CEOs including Co-founder and Executive Vice-Chairman of Infosys Kris Gopalakrishnan exuded confidence that Mr. Naidu due to his proactive policies would transform A.P. into a role model.
The Chief Minister said IT would be promoted in a big way in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati and the government was launching several policies to develop the three cities.
In his hour-long address, he told the CEOs how A.P. would be transformed into ‘Sunrise State’ and gave details on plans to promote Sunrise start-up villages at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati.
Mr. Naidu said Hyderabad became one of the leading IT hubs in nine years during his previous tenure and declared that he would take three to four years to make Visakhapatnam a better hub than Hyderabad. He said Madhurawada of Visakhapatnam had the advantage of scenic beauty of sea-view and green-capped hills and the government would construct a signature tower at Hill No. 3 of Rushikonda in Madhurwada IT SEZ shortly. He said Visakhapatnam would become the industrial, IT and tourism hub whereas Vijayawada would be built as a world-class riverside capital and Tirupati as a spiritual capital.

‘Chalein Saath Saath’

“Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go”
As leaders of two great democratic nations with diverse traditions and faiths, we share a vision for a partnership in which the United States and India work together, not just for the benefit of both our nations, but for the benefit of the world. We have vastly different histories, but both our founders sought to guarantee freedoms that allow our citizens to determine their own destiny and pursue their personal aspirations. Our strategic partnership rests on our shared mission to provide equal opportunity for our people through democracy and freedom. The currents of kinship and commerce, scholarship and science tie our countries together. They allow us to rise above differences by maintaining the long-term perspective. Every day, in myriad ways, our cooperation fortifies a relationship that matches the innumerable ties between our peoples, who have produced works of art and music, invented cutting-edge technology, and responded to crises across the globe.
Our strategic partnership is a joint endeavor for prosperity and peace. Through intense consultations, joint exercises, and shared technology, our security cooperation will make the region and the world safe and secure. Together, we will combat terrorist threats and keep our homelands and citizens safe from attacks, while we respond expeditiously to humanitarian disasters and crises. We will prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and remain committed to reducing the salience of nuclear weapons, while promoting universal, verifiable, and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament. We will support an open and inclusive rules-based global order, in which India assumes greater multilateral responsibility, including in a reformed United Nations Security Council. At the United Nations and beyond, our close coordination will lead to a more secure and just world.
Climate change threatens both our countries, and we will join together to mitigate its impact and adapt to our changing environment. We will address the consequences of unchecked pollution through cooperation by our governments, science and academic communities. We will partner to ensure that both countries have affordable, clean, reliable, and diverse sources of energy, including through our efforts to bring American-origin nuclear power technologies to India. We will ensure that economic growth in both countries brings better livelihoods and welfare for all of our people. Our citizens value education as a means to a better life, and our exchange of skills and knowledge will propel our countries forward. Even the poorest will share in the opportunities in both our countries. Joint research and collaboration in every aspect—ranging from particles of creation to outer space — will produce boundless innovation and high technology collaboration that changes our lives. Open markets, fair and transparent practices will allow trade in goods and services to flourish. Our people will be healthier as we jointly counter infectious diseases, eliminate maternal and child deaths, and work to eradicate poverty for all. And they will be safer as we ensure the fullest empowerment of women in a secure environment. The United States and India commit to expand and deepen our strategic partnership in order to harness the inherent potential of our two democracies and the burgeoning ties between our people, economies, and businesses. Together we seek a reliable and enduring friendship that bolsters security and stability, contributes to the global economy, and advances peace and prosperity for our citizens and throughout the world. We have a vision that the United States and India will have a transformative relationship as trusted partners in the 21st century. Our partnership will be a model for the rest of the world.

India came of age in the United States with an epic show of political, social and economic clout, and cohesion on a raucous Sunday afternoon at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. In a chest-swelling, heart-stirring show of bipartisan strength, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overseas Indians indulged in a mutual love-fest that sharply etched the country's growing power and profile in the minds of Americans, represented at the unprecedented Indian political rally by more than two dozen US lawmakers and governors.
Chants of "Bharat Mata ki Jai: and "Modi, Modi, Modi" rocked the iconic and gladiatorial arena that has witnessed many a great sporting battle and entertainment show, but nothing like this event, even though it has hosted political convention. As Prime Minister Modi walked in slowly, his Navratri fast now past 100 hours, the 18,000-plus audience erupted in joy and pride in a show of strength that will almost certainly be factored into US perception of India, now and forever.
The Prime Minister hit all the right buttons in a speech that received a rock-star ovation. He brought the roof down with crowd pleasing jokes about how a country that was once regarded as a land of snake-charmers was now spinning the world around its finger with a (computer) mouse and how India had sent a spacecraft to Mars for seven rupees a kilometre when it cost 10 rupees a kilometre in Ahmedabad ("Spoken like a true Gujarati," quipped someone). But at the heart of his speech talking up India was an appeal to the wealthy and skilled NRI/PIO constituency to give back their talent and experience to a country that nurtured them.
For nearly an hour, the man who once trawled New York and much of USA in the 1990s before he was banned from visiting till recently held his overseas constituency spellbound, telling them about the pride, problems, and promise of India. India, he said, had three strengths no country in the world has: Democracy, demographic dividend, and demand. The country was not just a back office to the world, but also had the capacity to be the world force of the world considering Indians had migrated to every corner of the world. As a country that was home to people from every corner of the world, the United States, he suggested, was a natural partner.
Fervent applause and cheers interspersed his nearly hour long address during which he took a swig of water only at the start and kept up a strong voice as the podium rotated 360 degrees. Dressed in a saffron jacket, he spoke extempore in Hindi, his speech relayed and translated by more than a dozen networks across the world. "God bless you!" someone shouted out in the middle of his speech. "When I have the blessings of 1.25 billion people, it feels like God has indeed blessed me," he told a worshipful live audience of 18,000 people that no Indian leader has ever attracted outside India.
In a soaring finale redolent of Martin Luther King's I have a dream address, Modi said he felt indebted for the boundless love and affection Indians in India and abroad had showered on him. ''I will clear this debt, I will make an India of his dreams,'' he promised as a confetti of tri color and red-white-and-blue balloons rained down the arena.
Regardless of one's political leanings or affiliations, it was a matchless, unprecedented show that bespoke the power and reach of the Indian diaspora. To paraphrase the poet Rupert Brooke, "There is some corner of a foreign field that will forever be India." This afternoon, it was the Madison Square Garden, New York.

Some announcements that PM Modi made during his speech

* Life time visas for persons of Indian origin (PIO) cardholders
* PIO and OCI cards to be merged to arrive at a common card
* Those who come to India for longstay will not have to report periodically at police stations as is the present requirement
* US nationals to get long term visas and visa on arrival following electronic travel authorization

No time frame was announced for the implementation of these reforms.

SEZs cancelled

The government has cancelled approvals of nine special economic zones (SEZs), including that of Hindalco Industries, Essar and Adani as no “satisfactory“ progress was made to execute the projects.
The decision was taken by the Board of Approval (BoA) headed by commerce secretary Rajeev Kher on September 18.“The board noted that the progress made by the following developerscodevelopers is not satisfactory,“ noted the commerce ministry. It said the developers have to refund the duty benefits availed by them.
Hindalco Industries had proposed to set up an aluminium product SEZ in Orissa. The formal approval to the developer was granted in July 2007. The develop er was granted extension from time to time and the last extension granted expired on December 31, 2013.
Essar Jamnagar SEZ, which had proposed to set up a multi-product zone in Gujarat, got formal approval in August 2006. It was expired in August 2009.
Similarly, Adani Townships & Real Estate Company had proposed an IT-ITeS zone in Gujarat. The BoA granted formal approval in June 2007, which expired in June 2010. The developer had reported they could not proceed with the project due to adverse demand scenario from IT sector and accordingly, were not interested in pursuing it.

GM Begins Car Exports from India

General Motors India said it has begun vehicle exports from India, with a first shipment to Chile. The company shipped the first lot of 140 units of its hatchback Chevrolet Beat from the Mumbai port to Chile on September 25 and the shipment is expected to reach the country in the next few weeks, GM said in a statement. The vehicle is produced at the company's Talegaon facility in Maharashtra. The first 140 left-hand-drive Beats were shipped from the Mumbai Port on September 25.

Weeping in Chennai

AIADMK’s O Panneerselvam became the first person to take the oath of Chief Minister weeping. Handpicked by his predecessor J Jayalalithaa for his loyalty, the new CM of Tamil Nadu and 30 other ministers were sworn-in by Governor K Rosaiah, after their party boss was convicted to four years imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case.
Tears rolled down the faces of many ministers as they came to the podium to be administered the oath of office and secrecy. The mood in the durbar hall was anything but celebratory with no exchange of greetings, claps or smiles. All ministers also looked grim, reflecting the mood in the ruling party. In a show of loyalty, OP placed a photograph of Jayalalithaa on the lectern before taking the oath of office and secrecy and kept wiping his tears. He was earlier chosen CM in 2001, almost under similar circumstances when Jayalalithaa was unseated by the Supreme Court.
The new CM has retained all ministers of the Jayalalithaa Cabinet and effected no change in their portfolios.
According to a Raj Bhavan communique, he has retained his earlier portfolios of Finance and PWD and took over the Home and other key portfolios held by Jayalalithaa. Hours after being sworn in, Panneerselvam and his senior Cabinet colleagues left for Karnataka to call on the AIADMK supremo lodged in Parappana Agrahara prison in the outskirts of Bangalore. NR Viswanathan, R Vaithilingam, Edapadi Palanisamy, C Vijayabaskar, KC Veeramani and BV Ramana accompanied the CM in a private flight. Continuing protest against Jayalalithaa’s conviction, party workers and sympathisers observed a fast and staged demonstrations across the state on Monday.
The protocol department of the state government and Raj Bhavan kept the ceremony under a strict veil of secrecy, probably under instructions from the new CM in view of the circumstances and the mood prevailing among the partymen, who continued to hold protests across the state condemning Jaya’s conviction.

Kotak Bank buys FTIL's 15% in MCX

Kotak Mahindra Bank has completed the deal to buy out 15% stake held by Financial Technologies (FTIL) in Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) for Rs.459 crore. With this, FTIL -which set up MCX in 2003 -has completely exited from the commodity bourse, the largest in India, under directions from the sector regulator Forward Markets Commission.
The FMC direction came in the backdrop of the Rs.5,600 crore scam on the NSEL, of which FTIL is a promoter.
Kotak Mahindra Bank bought 76,49,755 shares of MCX at Rs.600 apiece. On Monday , the MCX stock closed at Rs.816 on the BSE -a premium of 36% over the deal price.


Justice Dattu sworn in as CJI

Justice H L Dattu, who has been heading the bench monitoring probe into the 2G scam, was on Sunday sworn in as the Chief Justice of India by President Pranab Mukherjee. He will have a tenure of 14 months. Justice Handyala Lakshminarayanaswamy Dattu, 63, graduated from a law college in Shimoga and started his legal profession in the Karnataka high court.

Prez Rule imposed in Maharashtra

President’s rule was imposed in poll bound Maharashtra, three days after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) snapped its 15 year-old ties with Congress reducing the Prithviraj Chavan government to a minority. President Pranab Mukherjee signed the proclamation for imposition of central rule in Maharashtra, a day after the Union Cabinet recommended such a step, a home ministry spokesperson said.
Following NCP’s decision to part ways, CM Prithviraj Chavan had resigned on Friday. His resignation was accepted by governor Vidyasagar Rao. In his report to the Centre, the governor had recommended imposition of President’s rule in the state.Congress immediately opposed the governnment decision, saying with a little over two weeks left for the October 15 assembly polls in the state, it was unwarranted.
Before imposition of President's rule in Maharashtra, governor Vidyasagar Rao had written separate letters to Shiv Sena and BJP seeking to know if they could form an interim government in the state. Reacting to the letter, Sena's Subhash Desai said the party would form a government only when it comes to power with a majority post elections.

Of 4G services in Hyderabad....

If everything goes according to plan, the fourth generation broadband (4G) services would be rolled out in the city in the first week of October.Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) is planning to commence 4G services during the Metropolis World Congress 2014 to be held at HICC in Madhapur from October 7 to 10. In the first phase, the services would cover about 310 square km, especially west and central zones of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) like Madhapur, Hi-Tec City, Jubilee Hills, Banjara Hills, Gachibowli and surrounding areas. These services would be extended to other parts of the city by the end of December this year. Reliance has planned to cover about 1,700 kms by laying optical fibre cable network with an investment of Rs.4,100 crore in the entire Telangana. Of the total length, 900 kms has been planned in Greater Hyderabad.
“Since over 1,000 delegates from about 60 countries are going to take part in the international event, the state government asked Reliance to demonstrate the 4G services during Metropolis World Congress,“ Information Technology and Communication secretary Harpreet Singh said.
GHMC has already permitted Reliance for aerial cables in August this year.Initially in 2013, it permitted RJIL to lay underground cable for about 70 km. As the restoration of roads after digging was not satisfactory, the GHMC commissioner cancelled permission for road cutting.
Reliance then approached the state government and sought permission for aerial cabling by utilising existing electrical poles, thus eliminating the need of road digging and restoration which is a time consuming process.
The corporation approved the proposal of aerial cabling and decided to collect some rent from the service provider for utilising the poles. GHMC allowed Reliance to use as many as 9,000 poles and charged it Rs.1,000 per pole.
The state government has been giving top priority for IT and IT enabled services as it will help in fuelling growth of the city.Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and IT Minister KT Rama Rao have been monitoring the works to bring IT services including Wi-Fi services to the city.
Meanwhile, the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) department issued a GO amending the guidelines for installation of ground based, rooftop tower shelter and antennas especially for cell towers.
As of now, erection of any telecommunication infrastructure tower or pole or accessory room shall be permitted only on buildings with valid permissions and occupancy certificate from the local body.
But on the representation by Reliance Jio Infocomm, the state government amended the permission stating that it would be given for mobile towers on buildings based on a No Objection Certificate from building owners instead of sanctioned plan and occupancy certificate.

Ho Ho Shame Shame

Amma barred from being CM or MLA for 10 yrs

Four years in jail. Rs 100 crore as fine. Confiscation of all seized properties. Immediate imprisonment, and no private medical treatment. This is the crux of special judge John Michael D'Cunha's verdict in the Rs.66.65-crore disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The immediate consequence of Saturday's shocker is that Jayalalithaa ceases to be both MLA and CM.
The conviction may push Jayalalithaa's party into a tighter embrace with the central government as AIADMK will now have to fight off rival DMK which, no doubt, will be enthused by the court's order. AIADMK has 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 11 in the Rajya Sabha. For BJP, such a development would be helpful, especially after its split with Shiv Sena, which has 18 MPs in the Lower House and three in the Upper House.
This is the first time anyone has been convicted while being a CM. However, this is the third time Jayalalithaa, 66, has been convicted in a corruption case, and the second time she has been forced to step down as CM. Her two earlier convictions-on February 2, 2000 and October 9, 2000-came when she was not in power. Both those convictions were overturned. The case she is now convicted in deals with offences such as abuse of office and amassing of wealth during her first term as CM. It has dragged on for nearly 18 years.
Three of Jayalalithaa's aides and co-accused--N Sasikalaa, V N Sudhakaran, J Elavarasi--were also awarded four years in jail. They were fined Rs.10 crore each.
As details of the ruling trickled out, violence broke out across TN with AIADMK cadres forcing businesses to down their shutters, torching buses and blocking roads.
Several former and serving chief ministers have been imprisoned for political reasons and a handful of former CMs for corruption, but J Jayalalithaa is the first CM in office to go to jail for amassing illegal wealth.Former CMs who have been jailed for graft are Lalu Prasad, Madhu Koda, B S Yeddyurappa, O P Chautala and Jagannath Mishra.
The prosecution scored a perfect 10 of sorts as it got all the four convicted on all the three charges against them. While Jayalalithaa was convicted under provisions of Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (criminal misconduct by public servants), the other three were guilty of Sections 109 (abetment) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, special public prosecutor Bhavani Singh said.
Singh and his assistant M S Maradi said the prosecution had proved its case and law had taken its course. Maradi said, “Since the sentence is four years, she has to move the high court by way of a criminal appeal for getting bail“. As sporadic violence broke out across Tamil Nadu, officials briefed governor K Rosaiah, who expressed concern over the situation.


Maharashtra CM resigns

Barely 19 days before Maharashtra assembly elections, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan resigned from his post on Friday, after the Congress-led government in the state was reduced to a minority due to Nationalist Congress Party pulling out of it. There is no word yet from Raj Bhavan about the next course of action. But there is speculation the governor might ask Chavan to continue as caretaker CM or even recommend President's rule.

Somewhere in Lucknow....

Work on the mass rapid transport system in Lucknow will formally kick off from today with the chief minister Akhilesh Yadav performing bhoomi-puja for Metro rail project on 32nd battalion of PAC campus on Kanpur Road. The ceremony will mark a green signal to the civil construction work on the `priority section' from Transport Nagar to Charbagh Railway Station and metro's depot on the PAC ground. UP urban development minister Azam Khan, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation's MD Kumar Keshav and housing principal secretary Sadakant are expected to attend the ceremony . SP supremo Mulayam may give the programme a miss but has assured to inaugurate metrorail once it starts operating.
The construction work has been awarded to Larsen and Toubro, which qualified the tenders floated by DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) in July-end. The LMRC board met on Friday to give formal approval to the company . L&T is currently working on Hyderabad and Faridabad metro projects too.
L&T has already ordered for construction equipment and machinery landed on depot land on Friday . French company Systra has been chosen as the design consultant for this 8-km stretch. It would provide designs for structure like escalators, platforms, stations and staircases. L&T has been asked to complete civil construction of priority section and metro's depot by December 2016.This is excluding a special span above Mawaiya railway crossing for which separate tender would be floated.
The project has been front runner in various development projects launched by the CM. After securing several land and procedural clearances, the project got stuck at PIB's (Public Investment Board) approval front. Since PIB raised queries regarding design, cost and security arrangements of the project and sought clarifications from LMRC, the project could not get official nod from the Centre. This also delayed the possibility of getting financial assistance from Centre for the project in near future.
As CM has promised to deliver the project by Dec 2016, LMRC has no choice but to begin construction on priority section from the available funds. It is noteworthy that PIB's approval has been sought for entire North Corridor from Amausi Airport to Munshipulia Chouraha (about 23 km).

Somewhere in Kolkata....

The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) zeroed in on October 7, the Lakshmi Puja day , to resume work of the jinxed East-West Metro project. The agency finalized the date following Justice Nadira Patherya's suggestion to start work on an auspicious day .Justice Patherya had even suggested Mahasthami, but she changed her mind later since it would have been too early .
Calcutta high court on Thursday scrapped the state government's proposal to realign East-West Metro route and asked the KMRC to start work following the original alignment. Justice Patherya made it clear that the route will follow the old alignment -Howrah Maidan to Salt Lake via Howrah Station, Mahakaran, Central (Bowbazar), Sealdah, Phoolbagan, Salt Lake Stadium, Bengal Chemical, City Centre, Central Park, Karunamoyee and Sector V .
A closer scrutiny on the project reveals that the government’s insistence on the realignment has cost the project dearly. The project cost has jumped from Rs .,874 crore to nearly Rs.6,500 crore for a time lapse of more than one and a half years. Afcons, the joint venture firm entrusted with the work from Maidan to Central, has submitted a bill of extra expenditure to the tune of Rs.320 crore incurred during the no-work period. Two tunnel-boring machines (TBM) have also been lying unutilized in Sealdah for the uncertainty over alignment. According to sources, maintenance of the TBMs (there are four in total) requires Rs 2-3 lakh per machine per month. Ever since the realignment was proposed, agencies involved in the project raised objection as it would entail a cost escalation of around Rs.1,200 crore. JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), the principal funding agency for the project, agreed to lend up to Rs.2,531 crore of the Rs.4,874-crore project through a 20 year loan, bearing an annual interest rate of 1.2-1.4%. Started in July 2008, KMRC was to launch the first phase of the Metro link by the end of 2013. Its deadline was rescheduled to 2015 and the second phase a year later. But now, the dates have further been rescheduled to 2016 and 2017, respectively.
While giving its verdict for the original plan, Justice Patherya instructed the state government to shift an Indian Oil fuel pump from Brabourne Road for the construction of Mahakaran station. Indian Oil officials said that it had paid the government to relocate its pump to a larger space in Rajarhat.

Amma Cement

Brand Amma gets bigger in Tamil Nadu. After rolling out a slew of projects and services under the name, chief minister J Jayalalithaa has announced subsidised Amma Cement to help low and middle-income families.A 50 kg Amma Cement bag will be sold at Rs.190. The scheme is valid only for construction of houses ranging from 100 sq ft to 1500 sq ft. One can buy a maximum of 750 bags under this scheme.
“I wish to state that my government's initiative will reduce the burden on the weaker sections extensively ,“ Jayalalithaa said in a statement. Amma Cement will also be made available for houses being built under the government's solar-powered green houses scheme and the Indira Awas Yojana Housing Scheme funded by the Centre.
According to Jayalalithaa, about two lakh metric tonnes of cement would be procured from private cement manufacturers every month to supply under the Amma brand. It would be sold through 470 godowns spread across the state.
Tamil Nadu Cement Corporation Limited (Tancem) will act as the nodal agency and Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation and rural development and panchayat raj departments will carry out sales.
The buyers are required to submit the certified building plan permit obtained from government regulatory agencies or certificates issued by village administrative officers revenue officers panchayat union supervisors panchayat union road inspectors. Those who want to renovate or repair their houses can buy 10 to 100 bags of the subsidised cement. “Now that the scheme is announced, we will have to wait for the CM to inaugurate it. We are ready to proceed,“ said a senior Tancem official.

Unemployment statz

Motown snapshotz

Of tension across the LAC....

Monsoon tracker

Khed City


He Shakya Aahe

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has demanded an autonomous status for Maharashtra even as the party unveiled its much-touted blueprint eight years after he announced his vision for the state.
Tagged with the punchline ‘He shakya aahe’ (it is possible), the blueprint was unveiled by Thackeray who stated that an autonomous status for Maharashtra will help in its long-run development as it will be possible to frame and execute region-centric policies. “We are not seeking an independent state, but an autonomous Maharashtra. This is because people sitting in Delhi don’t know what are our woes. We are the people who understand local issues. Hence, we are for autonomous status for Maharashtra,” Thackeray said, addressing a packed house of partymen and Marathi film celebrities at Matunga.
During the presentation made, Thackeray tried to woo voters from different segments like farmers, women, security personnel (police) besides youth, in a way launching his campaign for the October 15 polls. “All these years, politicos have been promising to solve the same issues. But nobody tells how. When will we start thinking beyond basic needs? This study took time. But I am happy to bring this report out,” he said. While the blueprint proposes populist ideas like complete waiver for farmers and executing direct marketing, the development plan largely focuses on urban issues like development of 5,000 grounds across state, public transport, traffic management, resolving parking issues, water transport, etc.

Skill development gets Rs.500cr boost

The government declared that it would spend Rs.500 crore on skill development of urban poor. The announcement came barely hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Make in India’ plan, which also aims at creating job opportunities.
Four major private firms also made a commitment to hire at least 30,000 rural youth who would be trained in the next three years. The skill development scheme has been named Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana and was announced by housing and poverty alleviation minister M Venkaiah Naidu and rural development minister Nitin Gadkari. Naidu said it will now cover all the 4,041 statutory cities and towns, instead of the current 790 cities and towns.

Make in India

For long, India has been projected as an elephant compared to the Chinese dragon and Asian tigers.
But that could change, if the government's ambitious branding campaign to make India a manufacturing hub works. Launched on Thursday, the 'Make in India' campaign seeks to replace the stately and steady elephant with a lion exuding power and vitality.
The campaign seeks investments in 25 sectors, ranging from aviation and defence to automobiles, tourism and hospitality and wellness. The focus is not just on attracting foreign investment but also getting homegrown business houses, many of whom have invested overseas due to policy uncertainty during UPA-II, to return to Indian shores and create jobs. As PM Narendra Modi exhorted Indian businessmen at the launch function, “FDI should mean First Develop India”.
Many factors went into choosing the lion symbol. Wieden+Kennedy, the agency that also worked on 'Incredible India’, initially thought of the elephant. But some in the government pointed out that it was BSP's election symbol and may create a controversy. The tiger, India's national animal, came up next. But it was feared that the dwindling population of tigers in the country could send out the wrong signals.
Around this time, the PMO also stepped in as Modi announced the theme in his Independence Day speech. With the Mauryan period seen as a glorious period for India, the Ashoka Chakra made an entry and with it came the lion. Besides, there is a Gujarat connection as lions are thriving in Gir.
 During the election campaign, Modi was often called the lion of Gujarat. In his address before a gathering of the country's top businessmen on Thursday , he seemed to point to it. “This is a step by a lion,“ he said, referring to the manufacturing campaign, which will be a key theme over the next three-four years with a multi-stage campaign planned across the globe.
In his address to a packed house of around 2,000 industry representatives, officers and journalists at Delhi's Vigyan Bhawan, Modi drew upon the steps taken by his government in the first four months in office to suggest that confidence was slowly returning as he promised a trust driven approach. “We don't want any businessman to be forced to go out. We have to change that. In fact, we have already changed that based on the experience of the past few months,“ Modi told an audience that included the country's top industrialists, and said that his , government would not shy away from making it easier to do business.
“Who is putting a hurdle in ease of doing business? The government alone can help improve India's ranking from 135 to 50... I have sensitized the entire team and told them that are we putting up restrictions in the name of scrutiny , and for perfection? My experience of three months tell me that my entire team in Delhi, the entire bureaucracy is moving ahead with me with a positive spirit.“
Modi, who launched the campaign a day before his first visit to the US, where he will seek investments from top American corporations, made it clear that his government's policy on attracting investment will not be driven by concessions and sops but by providing the right business environment.
“Industrialists do not come because of incentive schemes... We need to create development and growth-oriented environment... Investors first look at security of their investment, later growth and then profit. They don't want profits from Day 1,“ he said.

Somewhere in Greater Noida....

Maharashtra Elections : Split Wide Open

The 25-year-old Shiv Sena-BJP alliance breathed its last on Thursday , bringing to an end a robust and stormy era in coalition politics in Maharashtra and India. After more than a fortnight of often bitter negotiations over seat-sharing for the October 15 assembly polls, BJP announced the decision at a press conference at the party's Backbay Reclamation state headquarters. A phone call from BJP national president Amit Shah to Maharashtra unit chief Devendra Fadnavis sealed the saffron alliance's fate, it is learned. Senior state BJP leader Eknath Khadse conveyed his party's farewell to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray over the phone.
The tussle over the chief minister's post turned out to be the biggest stumbling block during talks, with Sena repeatedly saying that Uddhav would be CM after the elections and BJP saying its ally was not willing to cut its seats from 151 because it wanted to claim the top post. Amit Shah had said during a visit to Mumbai in August that the next government in Maharashtra would be led by BJP .
Addressing the press conference after a final round of seat-sharing talks with Sena, which was fruitless, Fadnavis said, “We are heading for the October polls with smaller parties.“
The BJP said it had won over junior partners in what it claimed was Phase Two of the `maha yuti'. The party will contest 250 seats across the state, giving 38 to junior partners, Khadse said.
BJP's core committee for the Maharashtra polls met earlier in the day and formal ly decided to bring to an end the poll partnership which Bal Thackeray and Pramod Mahajan flagged off in 1989.
After the core panel ended its deliberations, Khadse put a call to Uddhav and told him about BJP's decision.

The Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday said it was terminating its 15 year alliance with Congress, accusing the bigger party and particularly CM Prithviraj Chavan of not being serious about continuing the partnership. The combination came undone within hours of the saffron alliance breaking, over NCP's demand of half the 288 assembly seats and a 50:50 share of the chief ministership by rotation.
After days of deadlocked seat-sharing talks, the Congress move to unilaterally release its first list of 118 candidates late on Wednesday seemed to have proved the last straw for NCP . “We have terminated our alliance with Congress. Now we will secure support of like minded parties and contest all the 288 seats,“ senior NCP leader Praful Patel said at a press conference attended by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and state NCP president Sunil Tatkare after a long meeting. In a facile gesture, NCP also decided to pull out of the state government. Pawar met the governor on Thursday evening.
CM Chavan reacted sharply to the decision. “NCP alone is responsible for terminating the alliance, it was wrong to blame us.When Congress had moved a step forward, NCP was adamant and unilaterally decided to terminate the alliance,“ he said.
In a press conference in the city after the NCP announcement, the CM seemed to take potshots at his former deputy and ally . “NCP ended the alliance over the personal agenda of an individual... It's a remarkable coincidence today that NCP terminated its alliance with Congress after BJP terminated its alliance with Shiv Sena. Now we will have to watch if there are new combinations in the state,“ he said.Party sources said the Congress may tie up with the Samajwadi Party in the state.
Reiterating his stand for the last few days, Chavan said the NCP was “unreasonable... (and) approached Congress with preconditions“. The party had wanted to stick to its 2009 seat-sharing formula: 174 seats for itself and 114 for NCP .But it increased the NCP's share to 124, but the party took a rigid stand. “There can't be discussion with preconditions,“ Chavan said.
Though the Congress high command remained cold, Patel said he and Pawar had submitted a proposal for allotment of 144 seats and the chief minister's post by rotation. “Our contention was that since our performance has improved, we should be given more seats.In addition, since Congress was holding the CM's post for 15 years, we felt NCP should be given the post for two and half years,“ Patel said.


ADB ups 2015 growth to 6.3%

Revising India's GDP upwards by 0.3% to 6.3% in 2015, Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said the economy shows a new promise of turnaround after the election brought a stable government in May. "India shows new promise of a turnaround. After winning a decisive parliamentary election victory, the new (Modi-led) government is better positioned than the old to pursue the reform necessary to unlock the economy's growth potential.
"This Update maintains the 5.5% growth forecast for 2014 but upgrades....to 6.3%, the forecast for 2015, when reform can begin to bear fruit," ADB said in its Outlook 2014 Update released on Thursday.
The reform to stimulate investment, the timely award of environmental clearances, and measures to control inflation are expected to augment firming export demand from the major industrial economies, to boost economic growth, it said.
The new single-party government in India with the strongest mandate in three decades has outlined wide-ranging reforms, which will gradually overcome the difficult structural problems that have beset the economy and caused two years of slow growth and stagnant investment, it said.
"Public expectation of strong economic policy from the government is seen in record highs on the stock market and robust capital inflows.
"As demand from consumers and businesses continued to grow,...India's buoyant portfolio flows mean that financing the deficit should not be a problem, as capital flows are more resilient under global volatility this year than they were last year," the Update by ADB Chief Economist Shang-Jin Wei said.
Improving prospects in India will buoy the 2015 regional growth outlook somewhat, even as the growth path of China moderates, it added.
"Growth in Asia as a whole in 2014 is now expected to be higher at 5.4% on unexpectedly strong outcomes in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, as well as India." It said a greater momentum is expected in 2015 with South Asian growth now forecast at 6.1%, revised up from 5.8%.

Global applause for Mangalyaan

The US, China and Australia were among the countries which congratulated India after Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft ‘Mangalyaan’ slipped into a smooth orbit around the Red Planet after almost an year-long voyage.
China hailed India’s successful Mars mission saying it was not only a proud achievement for the country and Asia but also a landmark progress in mankind’s exploration of outer space, in a rare acknowledgment of its Asian rival’s rising space prowess.
“We have seen the report and congratulate India on the Mars satellite entering the orbit successfully,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here. “This is pride of India and pride of Asia and also is a landmark progress in humankind’s exploration of outer space. So we congratulate India on that,” she said.
Responding to a question on whether China sees any room to work with India on space exploration in future, she said, “China always maintained peaceful development of outer space and carry out cooperation in this regard. We are willing to work with the world to peacefully develop and explore the outer space and make contribution to the sustainable development and long term peace of the outer space,” Hua said.
The US too congratulated India for entering into the elite group of space-faring nations after the successful insertion of MOM into the planet’s orbit.
“The US Embassy congratulates India and the Isro on its Mars Orbiter Mission. India is in an elite group of space-faring nations by achieving insertion into Mars orbit,” a statement from the US embassy here said.

Jet Airways to Boost Gulf Connectivity

Jet Airways is enhancing connectivity to the Gulf, with flights to Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi as part of its strategy to focus on short-haul international destinations and building its network through its strategic partner Etihad's hub .India's second-largest carrier by market share on Sept 24 said it would introduce a new direct flight to Dubai from Kochi in November and another flight connecting Mumbai and Doha, which will be followed by flights to Doha from Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram in December. On Tuesday, the airline had announced flights to Abu Dhabi from Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Goa and Pune from November. Kozhikode will be the second destination in Kerala after Kochi to have a daily service to Doha.

IKEA :1st India store in Telangana

A year after Swedish furniture major IKEA 's foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal in single brand retail was cleared by the UPA government, the company has finally entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Telangana government to set up its first India store in Hyderabad.
The MoU was signed by IKEA chief executive officer Juvencio Maeztu and Telangana special chief secretary (industries) Pradeep Chandra in the presence of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao here. IKEA retail outlets have a standard design and each location entails an investment of around Rs.500-600 crore, the release issued by the CM's office said.

NaMu Airport update

The Bombay high court has said that local residents cannot halt the Navi Mumbai international airport project and must decide their compensation scheme option by October 6. The HC order, significantly , paves the way for smooth and swift acquisition of over 670 hectares of land for the much delayed project. The land would be used for the core airport area. If there are no further impediments, the first phase of the airport can be expected to be completed by 2018.The entire project will be on 2,268 hectares. The majority of the land is already in possession of the City & Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco), the implementing agency . The project will affect 3,500 families, for whom the state has set aside over 350 hectares for relocation and rehabilitation.
Disposing of a petition filed by locals seeking better compensation, an HC bench headed by Justice Anoop Mohta said, “There is no question of halting the project as it is in the interest of the public at large.“ V Radha, joint managing director, Cidco, was present in court during the hearing.
The HC order is crucial also because on October 14 the land acquisition scheme would begin to lapse, giving the project yet another jolt.
The petition, filed by 13 locals, sought improvements and transparency in the compensation package the state government offered in March.Their counsel, Sachin Shetye, said the challenge was not to land acquisition but to the “lack of fair opportunity for a fair compensation option“ under the land acquisition law enacted last year. It was a representative petition on behalf of nearly 500 families whose lands would go for the project, he said. It sought more time to decide options.
Maharashtra's advocate general, Darius Khambata, said that not only was the state's option “fair“, it was “amazing“. This is the first time such a compensation option is being offered for a public project in the country and is expected to serve as a model, said the authorities. As per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, the state may give project-affected persons options apart from what the law lays down. Thus, for the airport project, the state has given affected locals the option to accept a compensation package thrice the value of what the Act provides.
“Our scheme is crystal clear. The residents can reject the state's scheme and opt for the process provided under the 2013 law, but this (the attempt to delay the project by filing the petition) can't go on. No one is forcing them to accept the scheme,“ said Khambata.