Macroeconomic Snapshot

Telangana ratifies GST Bill

The Telangana legislative assembly and council on Tuesday unanimously ratified the Constitution Amendment Bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST).With the assembly adopting the Bill, Telangana became the tenth state to ratify the legislation facilitating the Centre to roll out the new unified indirect tax in the country by April next.
Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao introduced the Bill in the assembly following which it was passed unanimously after a brief debate.
“The GST is in line with the global trend with over 150 countries implementing similar provisions. It is a significant step towards economic reform which will benefit both the Centre and states.The unified taxation will lead to growth,“ KCR said. He welcomed the Bill saying that the Centre has decided to compensate the states for first five years in case they suffer revenue loss due to GST.
“Going by the experience of the Centre that is yet to compensate for the loss suffered by the states when the value added tax (VAT) was introduced, some states were concerned about the revenue loss that may be caused by the new tax regime. Especially , manufacturing states were worried about losing revenue to consuming states. However, it has been mentioned in the GST Bill itself that the Centre would compensate for the revenue losses suffered by the states within five years. This is a good step, and the states need not be worried,“ he said.
The chief minister added that the states had to wait for the GST Council to decide on tax slabs and rates to get a clear picture about the quantum of initial revenue loss.The CM, however, said that the states stand to gain from GST since they would get 50% share in service tax collection which is at present being levied by the Centre. As far as Telangana is concerned, KCR said the state with 35% growth rate in the service sector would benefit from the GST.
Deputy chief minister Kadiyam Srihari introduced the Bill in the legislative council. Congress members wanted a debate on farmers' issue before taking up the GST Bill, but the government did not agree prompting the opposition party staging the walkout.

Somewhere in Tamil Nadu....

BDD Chawls redevelopment

It's final. Residents of the city's BDD chawls are all set for go in for a massive lifestyle change. A new section 33(9) B will be introduced in the Development Control Regulations exclusively for redevelopment of the BDD chawls. Each of the 18,000 tenants living in these chawls at Worli, Naigaum, N M Joshi Marg and Sewri will be entitled to a free ownership 500 sq ft carpet flat. This is inclusive of fungible floor space index (FSI). For non-residential structures and religious structures, the area after rehabilitation will be the same as the existing carpet area or as decided by the government.
The Sewri site will be redeveloped by the Mumbai Port Trust which owns the land. Mantralaya officials said a copy of the draft notification will be provided to MbPT to carry out the redevelopment.
On Tuesday , the state urban development department finalised the draft notification and this will soon be put up for objections and suggestions, said officials. The section 33(9) B allows for the scheme to be implemented in phases with pro rata utilisation of the total admissible FSI for the rehab and sale component.
Officials said the new section was prompted by the fact that the tolerated structures in the BDD campus are not contiguous and so cannot be classified as slums.
“The 33(9) urban renewal scheme allows for the amalgamation and redevelopment of slums with the cluster but there is no mention of tolerated structures. Hence the need for a new cluster policy exclusively for the BDD chawls,“ said an official. Also, no permission will be required from the tenants for the redevelopment, while in case of other cluster redevelopment, consent of at least 70% of the tenants is a must. BDD chawl residents have opposed MHADA carrying out the redevelopment.
The scheme requires an environment impact assessment to be done before its implementation. The Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) which has been appointed as the nodal agency will execute the project through contractors. “There will be no affordable segment in the sale component. It will be entirely middle and high income group,“ said the official.
Each of the four Bombay Development Directorate (BDD)-owned chawl sites have been identified as a cluster.These will be redeveloped under the cluster redevelopment scheme. The FSI is 4 on the gross plot area as in the urban renewal scheme or a total sum of the rehab FSI and free sale FSI, whichever is higher. The latter incentive is allowed in the redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings. Officials said at all the four sites, 50% of the area is open and unencumbered, so the FSI required will not be more than 4.3.
Around 2,916 tenements house police personnel and their families.


Of offsite ATMs....

LPG and Kerosene subsidy: Snapshot

Financial Freedom Index


An Indo-US agreement giving the two nations access to each other’s military bases across the world can cause strategic troubles for New Delhi and may not make it any more secure, Chinese state media warned on Tuesday.
The agreement does not extend ship ‘basing rights’ and gives access only to logistics such as fuel, for joint exercises and relief, humanitarian operations.
But bells of worry could be ringing in Beijing with nationalist Chinese tabloid Global Times putting out an editorial with a note of caution for India, hours after defence minister Manohar Parrikar and United States defence secretary Ashton Carter signed the Logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA). “This is undoubtedly a leap forward in US-India military cooperation. US media highly applauded this deal, with Forbes hailing it as a ‘war pact’ and believing that India is shifting away from Russia, its Cold War ally, toward a new alliance with the US,” the editorial said.
But it is not good for Sino-India relations or relations between India and other countries in the region, it said. “If India hastily joins the US alliance system, it may irritate China, Pakistan or even Russia. It may not make India feel safer, but will bring strategic troubles to itself and make itself a centre of geopolitical rivalries in Asia,” the commentary warned.
What is under threat is India’s traditional policy of non-alignment in foreign policy, the newspaper said, adding that New Delhi seems to be gradually succumbing to the US’s overtures. “India has practiced the principles of non-alignment since independence, which have been advocated by Indian elites. However, in recent years, Washington has deliberately wooed New Delhi to become its quasi ally so as to impose geopolitical pressure on China. It is possible that the Modi administration is trying an unconventional way to lean toward the US with the logistics agreement,” it said.
But will the returns of such a strategy be substantial? The newspaper didn’t think so, at least in India’s neighbourhood. “But how close the US-India relationship can be and what geopolitical values it can get remains a question,” the commentary said.
Despite expanding India-US ties, the newspaper was optimistic that India will not change its independent foreign policy. “Due to its non-alignment policy, India has been given attention from all the major powers such as the US, Japan, China and Russia in recent years,” it said.
“Now is arguably a time when India has the most room for strategic maneuvering. During Shinzo Abe’s first tenure as Japan’s prime minister, Japan hyped the concept of a quadrilateral alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India; however, New Delhi remained cool to the idea,” it said.
“Therefore, India will not lean toward the US, because it will not only hurt India’s self-esteem, more importantly, India can gain more strategic benefits by striking a balance between China and the US.”

Somewhere in Andhra Pradesh....

Avanti Finance

Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata, former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar and Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani are teaming up to start a technology-enabled financial inclusion vehicle, Avanti Finance, which will provide tiny loans to poor ignored by other lenders. The aim is to knit together several related threads:
The social sector presence of Tata Trusts and other like-minded partners
The JAM trinity comprising the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the Aadhaar system and mobile phones
The Unified Payment Interface, or UPI, that's just debuted
Upcoming payments bank ecosystem Since stepping down as chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata has invested in more than 25 firms. Ratan Tata has invested in several firms, including unicorns such as Ola, Paytm and Snapdeal. He has also set up a venture fund -RNT Capital Advisers.
“Avanti will be a platform to impact the poor through credit at individual and community levels to create an improvement in their livelihoods and standard of living, ushering prosperity,“ Tata said.
Infosys cofounder Nilekani, who led the team that established the Aadhaar unique identity system, recently invested in Mumbai-based Sedemac Mechatronics as well as Bengaluru-based 10i Commerce Services.
Avanti's promoters believe institutional inequalities and information asymmetries are depriving the poor of access to affordable credit, they said in a release. In the past few years, the poor have had low delinquency rates compared with any other segment but are charged the highest interest.
Financial inclusion is a key thrust area for the government and the Reserve Bank of India, aimed at opening up access to financial services for vast sections of the population.
To this end, they have initiated several programmes, including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and payments banks, which are in the process of being set up. India also has an ecosystem of microfinance institutions that offer tiny loans to the poor, although their presence is not uniform across the country.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana has so far covered over 99.7% households and offers formal banking services to them. Nearly 24 crore accounts have been opened by banks in the past one-and-a-half years, which now have a deposit base of over Rs. 41,789 crore.
Both Tata and Nilekani will invest from their philanthropic capital and any gains will be reinvested in such causes. Avanti will apply for registration to the Reserve Bank of India soon and will start operations before March 2017.
“My participation in Avanti is more driven by social motivation rather than anything else -with a view to serve the underserved and unserved and make the Tata Trusts and other like-minded partners' philanthropy more effective,“ Nilekani said. “Technology is an important differentiator and allows us to make a difference in many ways than one.“It is a very important step because the Indian mass still does not have access to financial institutions,“ said Sreedhar Prasad, partner, ecommerce and startups, KPMG India.
“Small finance banks take time to set up, the mass of people who need these loans is very large in India. Any lending product for masses is a huge opportunity. Seamless operationalisation and collection would be key, since demand will not be a problem,“ he adds.


In a major find through a project undertaken by the Goa-based national institute of oceanography (NIO), scientists have excavated the ancient submerged site of the Harappan port town of Dholavira which reveals to the world India's maritime history .
Located in Gujarat, Dholavira was the largest port-town of the Harappan civilization that flourished for about 1,500 years.Researchers have been perplexed about why the civilization came to an abrupt end. Archaeological excavations indicate that the township comprised of the castle, the middle town and the lower town.
Dholavira is the oldest known site in the world which could have been hit by the tsunami, experts at the NIO said. As per their latest findings, there is indication of marine sediments possibly transported to the site by an extreme oceanic incident, which they attribute to the tsunami.
A team of palaeo-climatologists, marine archaeologists and geophysicists from NIO surveyed an unexcavated area of the lower town using ground penetrating radar (GPR).
What lay beneath the surface were remains of construction from the civilization that were buried under a layer of 2.5 to 3.5 meter thick homogenous soil.
After systematically collecting the soil samples and examining the same, the scientists found fossils of foraminifera, that is, microscopic organisms that build calcareous shells and live only in seawater.
The presence of these shells in the soil strongly suggests an episodic deposition of marine sediments in the area. “The deposition of such a component from seawater into the soil could have occurred due to forceful movement caused by an extreme oceanic event, like the tsunami,“ said director, NIO, Dr SW A Naqvi.
One of the most intriguing features of Dholavira is the presence of a 14-18 meters thick wall at the site.
Sharing his thoughts about the same, chief scientist, Dr Rajiv Nigam who led the research said, “Most Harappan walls have fortification but nowhere have any walls been constructed with such thickness. This indicates that ancient Indians were aware of protection measures against the tsunami or storms surges. Harappans were thus pioneers in coastal disaster management. Most importantly, results of this study opens the possibility that Dholavira, at least in part, could have been destroyed by such a tsunami,“ This begs the question as to why the people of Dholavira would choose to build a civilization around such a vulnerable area. “Dholavira was an economically strategic location.So they built the city despite being prone to storms and protected it with a thick wall,“ added Nigam.
Dholavira was well connected to the ocean 5,000 years ago but it's not anymore owing to shifts due to tectonic movement.
Further research will enable NIO to date the calcareous shells and determine when the tsunami may have taken place. “We would like to pursue this project and are currently awaiting funds from the central government,“ said Nigam.

West goes...It's Bengal

The Mamata Banerjee government on Monday asked the Centre to fast-track the proposal to rechristen the state as Bengal (in English) and Bangla (in Bengali and Hindi). This comes after the government pushed through the name-change resolution in the assembly by a 189-31 majority .
Minutes after the passage of the government-sponsored resolution, the chief minister spoke to Union home minister Rajnath Singh and urged him to introduce a constitutional amendment at the earliest.
The road ahead could be treacherous as the BJP and Left voted against the resolution on Monday and Congress staged a walkout. “I will request the central government to pursue the matter so that it can be placed in Parliament. We want it to be done as early as possible,“ Banerjee said. She also criticised state BJP president and MLA Dilip Ghosh for saying he would not allow the bill to be passed. “I will see how he (Ghosh) can stop it. I will speak to the Union home minister. Who is he to stop it?“ Banerjee thundered.

Maha clears GST

Despite doubts raised by the Opposition over a new tax regime's financial implications for the state's revenues, the Maharashtra legislature unanimously ratified the Constitutional amendment bill on the goods and services tax (GST) on Monday .
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tried to convince the legislative council of no adverse financial implications of the GST on state revenue and that municipal corporations, especially the BMC, will not be dependent on the state for funds.
Fadnavis promised that ground work for transparency and ease will be done before the GST is rolled out in April 2017.
The Opposition's concern was whether implementing the GST will lead to a dip in the state's revenue, raise inflation and make the BMC financially dependent on the state.
“The government should ensure that municipal bodies are compensated for revenue loss. The state should especially demand a special package for the BMC, the richest corporation in the country . The revenue collected should be directly given to the BMC rather than it approaching the state government with a begging bowl,“ said Congress MLC Narayan Rane. Shiv Sena's Neelam Gorhe too said the BMC should be compensated for the loss and its share of revenue should be passed to it directly .
GST subsumes 16-18 different taxes. The proposed levy will be a single tax that will cover all levies at the Centre and state levels. It is a value-added tax, which means a levy at each stage of production, sale or consumption will be set off against taxes paid in the previous stage. “Maharashtra is a manufacturing state and the GST will be beneficial to states that are consumers. We have to ensure that our revenue is not hit and the rate of GST should be decided by taking into consideration all these things,“ said Dhananjay Munde, leader of the Opposition in the council.
Sources had earlier said the finance ministry would hold consultations on the GST rate --which several states suggest should be upwards of 20% to protect their revenue--as well as other legislations which need to be cleared by Parliament during the winter session.
Former CM Prithviraj Chavan said the GST rate in Canada, Japan and Malaysia is 5%, Australia 10% and New Zealand15%. “The rate of GST should not be more than 18% as indirect taxes would burdened the poor,“ he said.
Fadnavis said under GST, the state government will get a share of service tax. “There is a GST council under the chairmanship of the Union finance minister and finance ministers of all the states as members.This commitee will decide the rate of GST and which items and services are to be kept off taxes and other finer details,“ said Fadnavis and added that the net of people under taxation will increase and tax evasion will end, besides bringing in investment.

Curfew in Kashmir lifted after 52 days

For the first time in 52 days, curfew was lifted from Kashmir valley barring three police stations, setting the stage for a visit by an all-party delegation to J&K on September 4.
The delegation led by home minister Rajnath Singh will explore the possibility of a dialogue to bring peace to the valley racked by protests since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. The delegation will be in the valley for two days which could be extended by a day if it goes to Jammu as well. The delegation will meet a cross-section of individuals and organisations in Srinagar on September 4 and 5. The opposition has demanded a political outreach since violent protests broke out and the timing of the visit seems to have been worked out in chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's meetings with Singh in Srinagar and PM Narendra Modi in Delhi.
Singh also held a discussion with BJP chief Amit Shah, finance minister Arun Jaitley and MoS in PMO Jitendra Singh in what was described as a stock-taking exercise which decided that an all-party delegation should go to Srinagar as quickly as possible. The Centre has informed political parties about the visit and the dates. While there is no official word on the entities the delegation will engage with, indications are that it will limit itself to the brief followed by the team which went to the state in the wake of protests in 2010. Then, LJP leader and now food minister Ram Vilas Paswan had met some Hurriyat leaders separately .
This time too, the team may not talk to secessionists but individuals in the group will be free to interact with anybody they wish to. Meanwhile, J&K began limping towards normalcy even though some clashes were re ported from a number of places in Srinagar and parts of Budgam district but nobody was hurt in these incidents, police said.
Police station areas of Nowhatta and Maharaj Gunj in Srinagar and Pulwama district remain under curfew. Miscreants emerged on the streets in these areas and tried to creating trouble.Rioters pelted stones on private vehicles, erected barricades and also stoned vehicles of security forces, leading to clashes at multiple places. The clashes erupted at Sekkidafar, Nawa Kadal, Chhanapora, Magarmal Bagh, Eidgah Safa Kadal, Rainawari, Saida Kadal, Batamaloo, Habba Kadal, Kani Kadal and Hawal areas of Srinagar. Following the clashes, the authorities imposed restrictions in these areas and also tightened curfew in other areas where it was already imposed.
Forces were rushed to the troubled areas but intense clashes erupted in the interiors of Batamaloo between forces and youths. Police used tear gas shells and also chased away the protesters but they kept re-grouping intermittently . The authorities re-imposed curfew at Batamaloo in the afternoon, reports said .
According to a statement issued by police, minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora.


ISRO's Scramjet Engine

India rocketed into an elite group of space-faring nations on Sunday by successfully experimenting with a new and revolutionary rocket technology , which, once operational, will change space travel.
The other three nations working on this technology are the US, Russia and the European Space Agency (17 countries).
Sunday's much-awaited mission is related to the maiden trial of Isro's indigenously-designed scramjet engine, which aims towards the realisation of an air-breathing propulsion system.The advantage of this system is that it will make the rocket lighter, more efficient and cost-effective. In turn, it will allow the vehicle to carry payloads with greater mass.
India has now become the fourth country to demonstrate flight testing of the scramjet engine. “The successful technology demonstration of the air-breathing scramjet engines in flight by Isro is a modest, yet important milestone in its endeavour to design and develop advanced air-breathing engines for Isro's future space transportation system,“ the space agency declared . It is related to Isro's reusable launch vehicle programme.
The solid rocket booster carrying the scramjet engines lifted off at 6 a.m. (IST) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
Critical flight events--the burnout of the booster rocket stage, ignition of the second stage solid rocket, the functioning of the scramjet engines for five seconds, followed by the burnout of the second stage--were flawlessly executed.
The historic mission lasted for about 300 seconds.The rocket then touched down into the Bay of Bengal, approximately 320 km from Sriharikota. The flight was tracked by ground stations at Sriharikota. This mission endorsed critical technologies such as the ignition of air-breathing engines, holding the flame both at supersonic speed of mach VI--six times the speed of sound--the air intake mechanism and the fuel injection systems.
The scramjet engine uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere as oxidiser. Isro's Advanced Technology Vehicle was the solid rocket booster used for testing scramjet engines in supersonic condition.The rocket with the scramjet engines weighed 3,277 kg.

India May Grow 7.8%

India's growth may have slowed marginally in the first quarter of the fiscal year from the preceding three month period but the full year is expected to be better than the last, thanks to a consumption boost fuelled by a good monsoon and higher salaries and pensions owing to the seventh pay commission award.
April-June growth was pegged at 7.4%, according to the median of estimates in a 7-7.8% range by economists and research agencies polled, less than 7.9% in the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal. Full-year growth is seen at 7.8%, faster than 7.6% in FY16.
Private sector investment remains a laggard, economists said. “Around 8% growth is not possible until the investment cycle revives,“ said Upasna Bhardwaj, senior economist at Kotak Mahindra Bank.  “It is a consumption-driven story in which urban demand will come from pay commission rewards and rural demand would get a boost from good monsoon.“
Industrial growth, as measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), was a tepid 0.6% in the April-June quarter while capital goods output, a proxy for investment, fell 16.5%.
“The key factor that is holding up the acceleration of industrial growth is investment recovery,“ said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings, a Fitch Group company. CARE Ratings chief economist Madan Sabnavis echoed this. “We don't see much activity in industrial production. Only agriculture and government spending look better than last year,“ he said. “Without overstating the impact of the pay commission, full year growth could be around 7.8%. As for investment, the fall in capital formation at best will be arrested and major takeoff is not expected this year.“ There aren't too many other factors driving the economy .
“Additionally, fiscal constraints would prevent a sharp pickup in the government's direct investment in infrastructure,“ noted Aditi Nayar, senior economist at ICRA.“Also, persisting asset quality & capital adequacy concerns for public sector banks may constrain their ability to fund a sharper revival in economic growth.“
The eventual implementation of GST is likely to encourage the private sector to expand capacities, which will be crucial to ensure that the uptick in economic growth is durable, but that boost is some time away.

Modi Wants Governance Transformed

With his term at about the halfway mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to see visible change in the existing system of governance and has asked ministers and bureaucrats to accelerate the implementation of transformative reforms. “You have spent 10,000 hours and mobilized the entire government machinery to prepare departmental action plans. Now speed up your ability to bring about the change,“ he is cited as having told ministers and secretaries at a comprehensive review held on Friday.
Ministerial sources said that the Prime Minister wants to mobilize the bureaucracy for hastening implementation and bringing about structural reforms. “The idea of pushing reforms through bureaucracy is being advocated by the PM because it is the bureaucrats in consultation with the ministers who have prepared a detailed action plan to be implemented till 2019 following the recommendation of the committee of secretaries on the priority areas of the government,“ said one of those present at the four-hour meeting on Friday .
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant made a comprehensive 110-page presentation on the achievements of various departments vis-à-vis the recommendation of the committee of secretaries on eight priority areas. The NITI Aayog will keep monitoring implementation of departmental action plans with the help of a real-time dashboard as the government feels that this first-of-its-kind exercise has led to structural reforms and rapid implementation at field level.
The Prime Minister had in January set up eight groups of secretaries for focused attention on areas like good governance, inclusive growth, employment generation, education and health, Swachh Bharat and energy efficiency. This was a follow-up to Modi's presentation to all secretaries on December 31 when he had them to “get cracking“ on delivering results.

Mann Ki Baat on Kashmir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday when he said in his “Mann ki Baat“ address to the nation on radio that all political parties and the 1.25 crore people of the countryfrom the gram pradhan to the PM have a feeling of unity and compassion with the state and if a life is lost--be it of a youth or a security personnel--in the Valley , it is a loss of one of our own people.
Modi's remarks come against the backdrop of his meeting with J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti and Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif 's attempt to internationalise the issue by dashing off 22 parliamentarians to various countries to take up matter. The Modi government has been trying to come to grips with the situation in Kashmir that has been under curfew since July 8 when Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter. Home Minister had visited Srinagar last week and the government is mulling over sending an all-party delegation to the Valley . Modi has already held interactions with all political parties and met a delegation of opposition leaders from J&K. Modi hailed the statesmanship and unity shown by all parties in passing the Goods and Services Tax Bill in Parliament in the monsoon session. “Similarly , on whatever has happened in Kashmir, in regard to the situation in Kashmir, all parties have expressed their views in one voice. They have given a message to the world, a message to the separatist elements and also expressed their feelings towards the people of Kashmir,“ he said. Mufti had praised the Prime Minister after her meeting with him in the national capital.She said he feels the pain of the Kashmiri as much as she and others from the state do and maintained that the problem in the Valley can be solved by the NDA government which enjoys a two-thirds majority .
“In all my interactions on Kashmir, there is one thing that has come out in everybody's words. If I were to put it in a few words, it is unity and compassion (for the people of Kashmir).There were the two basic mantras,“ Modi said in his address.


Mehbooba: Give me a chance

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday appealed to the people to give her a chance to address the crisis in the state, underlining the fact that she has been in power for just three months and a half. “I appeal to all those protesting in the streets. You may be angry with me, I may be angry with you. But please give me one chance to address your concerns and aspirations,” she said.
In an exclusive interview with dna, after her 45-minute-meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the first time since the unrest broke in the state on July 8, Mehbooba said she outlined a three-pronged action during the meeting.
It included the involvement of separatists and Pakistan in a substantive dialogue and a solution in the light of the contemporary geo-political realities. But she refused to divulge details.
Mehbooba said that good governance in her state was linked to peaceful relations between India and Pakistan. “How can you govern and undertake development-related work when there are tensions?” she said. On this front, she blamed Islamabad for not responding to Modi’s peace overtures.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stepped out as a confident leader with an action plan after an hour-long meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Even as Mehbooba's actions -including the arrests of separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani -spoke of her confidence and determination to come to grips with the situation in her land, the meeting is said to have sent out the message of the Centre's faith in her leadership.
Speaking to media after the meeting, Mehbooba said, “You can only talk with those who want to talk. Those who are inciting the youth don't want peace, they want bloodshed.Our democracy is large enough to encompass the dreams of Kashmiris.This matter can be solved.“
Lauding Modi's efforts to improve relations with Pakistan, she recalled Modi's invitation to Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his oath-taking ceremony and even visiting the neighbouring country. “The Pathankot incident, however, affected the ties between both countries. With the situation in Kashmir taking a turn for the worse in the past few days, Pakistan, instead of helping us, is fomenting trouble. They had a golden opportunity to talk about Kashmir when Rajnathji was in Islamabad recently but he was ill-treated.“
Official sources said the prime minister's meeting with Mehbooba was intended to signal the Centre's support to J-K's CM. “There was a section in the government that was toying with the idea of replacing Mehbooba Mufti as violence escalated,“ a source confided, adding, “Pakistan does not want Mehbooba to succeed which is why it has been adding to the trouble in PDP (Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party) strongholds in the Valley.The CM's order of rounding up Jamaat-i-Islami supporters in the state is likely to help curb the violence.“
However, several interlocutors expressed their dissatisfaction against the J&K CM for her speech on stone pelting and blaming parents for sending children into violent areas. “It would have helped if Mehbooba had refrained from using the toffee and milk analogy for children hurt during stone pelting in the Valley. She could have used Rajnath Singh's visit to the Srinagar to bargain for relief,“ said interlocutor MJ Khan.

Curfew and restrictions continued for the 50th day across the Kashmir Valley on Saturday with no let-up in the separatist-called shutdown as the toll rose to 71 after the police fished out the body of 20-year-old Shahnawaz Khan from Jhelum. As per residents, Khan from Dadoo Marhama area in Sangam, south Kashmir, was one of three men who jumped into the river to escape being caught by police chasing protestors on Friday. The other two youths are believed to have swum to safety.


GMR wins bid to build Goa’s second airport

GMR Infrastructure Ltd won the bid to build Goa’s second airport, expected to cost Rs.3,000 crore, gaining an opportunity to tap tourist traffic to the north of the state.
The company, which operates the Delhi and Hyderabad airports, beat Subhash Chandra’s Essel Infraprojects Ltd and state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) to the contract by offering the highest revenue share to the state government.
GMR offered 36.99% of the revenue generated by the airport to the government of Goa, a former Portuguese colony known for its beaches and fishing villages. Essel Infraprojects and AAI offered 27% and 32.31%, respectively.
Airports built from scratch, like the one in Bengaluru, offer a revenue share as low as 4% to the state government. Old airports farmed out to private operators offer more. The operators of two of India’s biggest airports—in Mumbai and in Delhi—share 37% and 46%, respectively.
The Goa project will be the largest new airport planned after the Navi Mumbai airport, Mumbai’s second airport, where bidding is expected to start soon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to be in the state soon to lay the cornerstone of the project in Mopa, north Goa.
GMR will get about six months for tying up finances for the project, after which construction will begin.
The airport, which will be developed in four phases, is expected to have a capacity to handle 13.1 million passengers a year by 2045. A total of 2,271 acres is required for the project. Flights are expected to start around 2020.
GMR Group has been struggling under the weight of heavy debt. With business interests in airports, energy and infrastructure, the group has a consolidated debt of Rs.39,154 crore.
The present airport at Dabolim in Goa has already exceeded its capacity of handling five million passengers a year. Fares to and from Goa tend to be high, especially during the peak season (December-January) and on weekends when tourists flock to its beaches.
The Dabolim airport cannot be expanded as it is a naval facility where AAI runs a civilian section that offers few flights. Airlines often complain of no landing slots being available at the airport.
India’s yearly air traffic is expected to touch 100 million passengers by 2017, up from 80 million in 2015. India recorded the fastest domestic air passenger growth of 18.8% in 2015, according to the International Air Transport Association.
India is set to build 50 new airports in the next three years as part of a plan to boost regional connectivity, and of these at least 10 will become operational over the next one year, according to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
India has more than 30 non-operational airports and more than 400 airstrips dating back to World War II.
Consulting firm Capa Centre for Aviation estimates that India needs $40 billion for airport development.
The existing airport at Goa will continue to operate. “The new airport is closest to Morjim beach. Both the old and the new airports are equidistant from Panaji,” he said, referring to the state capital.

Mumbai-Nagpur expressway snippets

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis unveiled a detailed plan for the Mumbai-Nagpur Super Communication Expressway, a 706-km link that seeks to connect 24 districts and improve access from rural communities in the east to commercial hubs in the west.
The highway, which will have at least three lanes on each side, will reduce travel time between the two cities from 12-16 hours to six-eight hours. The Rs.46,000-crore project, formally called `Maharashtra Prosperity Corridor', also involves construction of agricultural centres, warehouses and other facilities that the state hopes will lead to creation of thousands of new jobs. The facilities will be set up near several nodes planned on the route. “If the project is completed within a reasonable time, Maharashtra will be 20 years ahead of other states,“ Fadnavis said.
According to the plan shared on Friday, the construction will begin in January next year and end in October 2019, a schedule officials may struggle to meet because of land disputes that generally plague major road projects.Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) is the implementing agency for the project.
Officials said securing land would not been an issue as the state had decided not to follow the tricky acquisition scheme, which invariably gets stuck over the compensation rate. The government will instead follow a land pooling model, in which farmers will be made partners and a certain percentage of the developed land will be given back to them.
This is the first time Maharashtra will obtain space through land pooling. In such a system, farmers and plot owners transfer land ownership rights to the government or a single agency, which develops the space by building roads and other infrastructure. It then returns a small portion to the owners, who benefit from the higher market value of developed land.
Fadnavis said land pooling was already being followed by the Andhra government to acquire land for its new capital, Amaravati.
The super expressway, which will pass through 10 districts, will need 8,520 hectares of land, while amenities planned along the stretch will require 1,500 hectares. Node development will require 10,800 hectares.

My Vision for India is Rapid Transformation: NaMo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there is a need to change laws, eliminate unnecessary procedures and speed up processes to go beyond “mere incremental progress“ to rapidly transform India.
“If India is to meet the challenge of change, mere incremental progress is not enough. A metamorphosis is needed. That is why my vision for India is rapid transformation, not gradual evolution,“ he said while inaugurating the first Transforming India lecture organised by the NITI Aayog.
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam delivered the first lecture, which was attended by the council of ministers, bureaucrats, a few chief ministers and chief secretaries of some states.
Stressing the need to bring about changes through transformation of governance, Modi said this cannot happen with an administrative system rooted in the past. “A transformation of governance cannot happen without a transformation in mindset and a transformation in mindset cannot happen without transformative ideas,“ he said.“We have to change laws, eliminate unnecessary procedures, speed up processes and adopt technology.We cannot march through the 21st century with the administrative systems of the 19th century.“
Modi said the change is needed for external and internal reasons. “Today, countries are inter-dependent and inter-connected. No country can afford any longer to develop in isolation. Every country has to benchmark its activities to global standards, or else fall behind.“

Maharashtra 6th in governance

Maharashtra bagged the sixth position in governance among the states in the country in the recently released Public Affairs Index of Public Affairs Centre.
The state secured an impressive second rank on the economic freedom parameter. But it stood 26th in fiscal management.
The states were categorized as big and small,  depending on their population.Ten themes covering 25 focus subjects and 68 variables were taken into account while preparing the index.
Kerala topped both the big and small states' group with 0.5675 points, followed by Tamil Nadu with 0.5498 and Karnataka with 0.547 points. Among the smaller states, Mizoram topped with 0.5428 points and Himachal Pradesh with 0.5389 points.The Union Territories were not included in the study.
The project was led by C K Mathew, a senior fellow at PAC. A retired 1977 batch IAS officer, he served as the chief secretary in Rajasthan. He was assisted by Symbiosis alumnus Athreya Mukunthan and Vivek Devakar.

2 top Hurriyat men detained

Authorities on Friday detained two top separatists, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Act, as the situation continued to remain grim in the Valley following the death of another youth in Pulwama, taking the toll in the unrest to 69. JKLF's Yasin Malik, who was arrested on July 9, will be flown to New Delhi on Saturday , reportedly for a check -up at AIIMS.
The three Hurriyat men had constituted a group, `joint resistance force', in June to spearhead the agitation against the “proposed establishment of Sainik colony , separate cluster for Kashmiri Pandits, as well as the admission test NEET and industrial policies that allow non-locals to get lease of land for 90 years in the state“. Police sources said Hurriyat hardliner Geelani was detained at his Hyderpora residence and barred from meeting anybody . Mirwaiz, the head of the moderate Hurriyat faction, was lodged in a J&K tourism development hut at the Chesmashahi tourist resort in the foothills of Zabarwan ranges.
The JKLF in a statement said authorities were shifting Yasin to Delhi on the pretext of admitting him to AIIMS for medical tests. A spokesman said authorities at Srinagar's Central Jail approached JKLF's incarcerated chairman, advising him to take the tests as per doctors' advice, which are not available in Srinagar. Malik was shifted to Srinagar Central Jail on July 30.
Shakeel Ahmad Ganai, the youth killed in Pulwama on Friday, was hit when security forces acted to foil the `eidgah chalo' call by imposing strict curfew in Rajpora area. Scores of people were injured as clashes erupted after the Friday prayers across the valley .Sources said no sooner did the news of Ganai's death spread, hundreds of people took to the streets in Rajpora villages and staged massive protests.


Dr. Ambedkar's Memorial

Somewhere in Punjab....

TN Premier League

India 7th on list of wealthiest nations

Odisha Investors' Meet

Mumbai Mono-II carries out 2nd trial run

The second trial of Monorail-II was carried out between Wadala and Parel (Mint Colony) on Thursday . MMRDA plans to begin services before March 2017. The trial began at 11am and ended by 1pm. The train crossed over the Wadala railway tracks, Dadar (E), Naigaum and Ambedkar Nagar. MMRDA additional metropolitan commissioner Sanjay Khandare said the trial was to “check the guideway's fitness and smoothness of run“.


World Industrial Output

Monsoon Tracker

UPI Gets RBI Nod

Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the brainchild of the Reserve bank of India (RBI) which is expected to revolutionise peer-to-peer payments in the country, has received clearance from the RBI and is ready to be launched on Thursday. The bank applications will be made available on Play Store for download by customers over the next two days. NPCI chief operating officer Dilip Asbe said it will be sending the communication to the media shortly but did not elaborate.
The payments process, which was launched officially by RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on April 11 in Mumbai, was in the final stages of integration and testing with the banks and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
According to people mentioned above, 19 banks are going live with the UPI app and 22 banks are going to accept payments through the new interface.
“The banks as well as the clearing house are ready with the technology but even after the launch it will take some time to stabilise the systems,“ said Asbe.
NPCI had kept an internal criteria for the pilot of UPI that only lenders with thousand pilot customers, five thousand transactions and 90% success rate for transaction will be allowed to go live.
In the first stage, the likes of ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Union Bank of India and few others are going live. India's largest lender State Bank of India and private sector lender HDFC Bank are yet to have an UPI app and they are expected to go live by October.
Unified payments is supposed to do away with the whole business around adding a beneficiary for peer to peer online payments. Through UPI the customer can download any bank's UPI app on his smartphone, just add the amount to be transferred, provide the beneficiary's UPI handle and click send. Money will be transferred through the IMPS railroad in real time.

Delhi becomes eighth state to ratify GST Bill

Delhi became the eighth state to ratify the Goods and Services Tax Constitution Amendment Bill after a nod was given by the assembly on Wednesday . The Bill needs to be ratified by at least 15 states before the President can notify the GST council.
The Bill was ratified in the absence of the BJP MLAs who had earlier staged a walkout. AAP has been in favour of GST. However, Sisodia and other MLAs raised several concerns that they hoped  would be kept in mind while drafting the specificities of the Bill. “There is a Rs 20 lakh threshold for VAT that may be brought down to Rs 10 lakh or less. This will have a detrimental impact on small and medium traders. We want the limit to be increased to Rs 25 lakh per month,“ Sisodia said.
“We want the limit of Rs 1.5 crore turnover up to which the state can collect tax to stay,“ he said.


Gujarat assembly ratifies GST bill

Gujarat has become the sixth state to ratify the bill after Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam and Jharkhand.
The bill for the roll out of GST was passed by the Rajya Sabha earlier in August. The bill has to be ratified by at least 50% state legislatures before it goes for the President's assent.
The assembly , which is made up of 182 legislators ratified the bill after the suspension of 50 Congress MLAs for a day , who disrupted the House proceedings over Una atrocities.
While introducing the bill, Nitin Patel, deputy chief minister who also holds the finance portfolio, assured the trade and industry that all efforts would be made to protect their interests while forming the rules.
“The bill, once approved, will pave the way for constitution of the council of ministers, which will make GST legislation. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will approve the legislation. Then, all respective states will also be able to make their own state legislation for GST,“ he added.
Gujarat gets Rs.38,000 crore revenue from VAT CST, which will be subsumed in GST. However, revenues of Rs.19,000 crore that the state gets from petroleum products will not be impacted as these products have been kept out of the purview of GST.
According to Saurabh Patel, former finance minister, the formation of the council of ministers for determining the rates within 60 days, threshold limits, identifying items to be exempted and creation GST network are some of the challenges.


Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh ratify GST bill

Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on Monday ratified the constitutional amendment bill for the goods and services tax (GST)—the former is the first Congress-led state to ratify the legislation.
“Himachal Vidhan Sabha has passed the GST bill. With this bill, it will ease the burden of crores of rupees on the state of Himachal,” chief minister Virbhadra Singh told reporters.
Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh join Assam, Jharkhand and Bihar in endorsing the bill. While Assam and Jharkhand are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bihar, led by the Janata Dal (United) government, became the first non-BJP-governed state to ratify the bill.
The Congress had initially opposed the bill, forcing nearly a year’s delay. It was only after the centre conceded some of its demands that the party rallied behind the legislation.
“Today, Chhattisgarh assembly unanimously ratified the historic GST constitution amendment bill. I thank everyone for their support. Heralding of GST era will reinforce CG’s revenue, improve in ease of doing business & make taxation system more transparent,” Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh tweeted on Monday.
The GST bill received parliamentary approval earlier this month. The bill needs to be ratified by 50% of Indian states before it can be sent for presidential assent.
It was reported last week that other states are in the process of calling special sittings to ratify the GST bill. This includes Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal and BJP-led Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra.

India's RIOport Card

Falling four short of 2012 London mark, India's campaign at Rio came to end with wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt losing his bout in the lung opener.
Dutt was nowhere near his competitor and looked like he was never interested in the bout.
If it wasn't for the great efforts from wrestler Sakshi Malik and shuttler PV Sindhu, India would have returned empty handed.
This is a report card on each of the discipline India participated in with its highest-ever (118) contingents.

After their London meltdown much was expected from the women archers. India's biggest hope Deepika Kumari did not do well in the team event although they reached the quarters, thanks to Bombayla Devi's super form. In the individual event, she fell out in the round of 16.
India's sole male representative Atanu Das too was ousted in the pre-quarters.

They were nowhere close to even their personal best. The largest unit in the contingent failed to impress one and all. In the terrible way they finished their respective campaign raises questions about their qualification.Besides Lalita Babar, who not only created a national record in the qualifiers, but finished 10th in the 3000m steeplechase final, there was no one to really throw up a challenge.

When Saina Nehwal failed in the group stage it looked as if India's badminton hopes were over. But two debutante shuttlers ­ PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth ­ rose to the occasion.While Srikanth threatened World No. 3 Lin Dan in the quarters, Sindhu, despite her tough draw, fought her way through to the final before losing to World No. 1Carolina Marin of Spain to settle for silver.

The biggest achievement for the boxers was their participation.With most of the bouts taking off the ring Shiva Thapa, Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan ­ did not survive the onslaught of others in the world, who seemed more prepared.Vikas was the only one to go the distance and lose in the quarters.

They played according to plan in matches against big teams like The Netherlands and Germany but fumbled in games against minnows.Overall, the team now has a structure in place that needs to be improvised futher. The 2-2 draw against Canada turned out to be their undoing.
As far as women's team is concerned, they have a long way to go before they can make their presence felt in women's world hockey. They need more exposure against top teams to raise their standard.

The only one to attract attention was Bangalore's woman golfer Aditi Ashok, who had an impressive first two rounds before she slid to 41st position with scores of 291 over seven.Meanwhile, high-profile men's contingent SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri finished 50th and 57th respectively, despite some of the top golfers pulling out citing Zika virus.

This has been the story of Rio Olympics for India. The lone Indian ­ and the first ever Gymnast at Olympics Dipa Karmakar has managed to put India on the map. Her Produnova attracted eyes balls and bravery was topic of discussion on all kinds of media covering the event. Despite finishing fourth at the vault apparatus, Dipa returned home a hero.

Avtar Singh earned himself the tag of an Olympian.

The heart-moving story of Maharashtrian rower Dattu Bhokanal did find itself some attention in Rio. Although he crossed the first hurdle in qualification, his rowing could not match the speed and strength of the regulars in the men's single sculls. Finishing 13th in overall ranking, Dattu can return home satisfied.

The biggest bunch of hopeful turned out to be the biggest disappointments. With 12 shooters in the fray ­ nine men, three women ­ India was expecting a decent medal haul here. In terms of medals, there weren't, in terms of scores the unit has improved tremendously.
Appearing in his last Olympic, Beijing Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra entered the 10m air rifle final and missed a medal by 0.5 point. India's first skeet shooter at the Games Mairaj Ahmad Khan shot well for a place in the final, but fell on his fourth shot. Every one else missed out the final. They could have done better.

Well, well tried. But we are far, far away from being `there'. Just also-rans is the best description.

They came, they played and they left. With around 40-odd Chinese representing various countries, it's difficult for Indian paddlers to make impress upon anyone.

If they had score more points than just shooting from the lip, Indian tennis stars could have ended up with a medal here. The stories of rift between Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes started when they team together. They fell at the first hurdle. Sania Mirza- Prarthna Thombare too fell at the first hurdle.
The Mirza-Bopanna pair lost the medal from a winning position against US duo Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram. In both, the semis and the bronze medal match against Redak Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka, it was Mirza who did the hard work, while Bopanna did the wrongdoings.

Mirabai Chanu, who lifted a told of 192 kgs back home, failed to find strength to lift 188 kgs in Rio. Had she repeated the performance from the past, the bronze medal was her's to take.
Sathish Sivalingam finished 11th with a lift of 329 kgs in the men's 77kg category.

Another controversial unit. Just 12 hours before Narsing Yadav's bout the Court of Arbitration for Sport imposed a four-year ban upholding World Anti-Doping Agency appeal.However, Sakshi Malik provided the bronze moment with a dramatic victory in the women's 58kg category. She became the first Indian women wrestler to do that.

Aadhaar snippets

You may soon need the 12 digit individual identification number for many more services, the unceasing debate over making it compulsory notwithstanding. Directors of companies, small businesses and non-governmental organisations seeking registration and even individuals wishing to open demat accounts for market trading, or a simple bank account for that matter, may be asked to furnish Aadhaar, officials said.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar, recently identified 20 additional areas where the number can be mandated in the future, they said. As per the Supreme Court's directions last year, only six schemes are covered by Aadhaar at present. However, with Parliament passing the Aadhaar Act earlier this year, the UIDAI has identified more areas where the identification number can be mandated as per the law.
The government will have to take a considered call on this, given that as many as 15 petitions against making Aadhaar compulsory are pending in the apex court, officials said. “No service will be denied for lack of Aadhaar,“ a senior government official said on condition of anonymity . “Any person left out will be immediately enrolled. Aadhaar saturation levels among adults will hit 100% by next month,“ the official said. About 98% of India's adults have already been issued unique identification numbers.
UIDAI's move comes after the Prime Minister's Office fixed a target of September 2016 for all adults in the country to be given Aadhaar and of March 2017 for covering all 128 crore Indians.
The PMO has already directed that five child-specific schemes including Mid-Day Meal, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Integrated Child Development Services be now linked with Aadhaar.
Individuals seeking a SIM card or a landline connection may soon be asked to provide Aadhaar, under the areas identified by the UIDAI, which could also propose that property registration, vehicle registration, voter registration and land records be linked with the unique identification number.
The list goes on to include student enrolment in schools and colleges, and examinations conducted by the UPSC and Staff Selection Commission, where candidates may be asked to furnish Aadhaar for registration.
Aadhaar may be required for applying for a passport or for opening an account with the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation, as for subscribing to life, health and accidental insurance schemes, filing of income tax returns or applying for a Permanent Account Number.
The government may link crop insurance scheme with Aadhaar, besides making the number mandatory for persons seeking to enrol as a Bank Mitra for disbursing Direct Benefit Transfer benefits to people and registration of small businesses under the Udyog Aadhaar project.
The Centre had transferred all states except Assam and Meghalaya to UIDAI from the Registrar General of India for Aadhaar enrolment. As part of a new strategy, the UIDAI is running an `Aadhaar Challenge' scheme in states, seeking out adults who do not have Aadhaar and offering to enrol them immediately.

Only 1.9 crore adults remain outside the enrolment net, as per the UIDAI. However, nearly 21.5 crore children below 18 years of age are still to get Aadhaar, prompting the PMO to order that enrolment be made part of five child-specific schemes and children be enrolled in schools and anganwadis twice in 2016-17 ­ in October this year and in March next year ­ and in the hospitals soon after birth.
Officials said the PMO has asked the departments overseeing the schemes to “own the enrolment work“ of children and “get on-boarded as registrars“ for the UIDAI, along with their state counterparts, to carry out the enrolment work of children at a fast pace.
The women and child development ministry implements Integrated Child Development Services and Integrated Child Protection Schemes while the Department of School Education of the human resource development ministry oversees Mid-Day Meal scheme and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Among the existing schemes allowed to be disbursed using Aadhaar, 78% of all LPG connections, 61% of ration cards and 69% of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) cards are now linked with unique identification numbers of the subscribers, as per the UIDAI. Besides, 30 crore people have linked their personal bank accounts with Aadhaar.

KCR, Fadnavis to sign pact on Godavari water sharing

Telangana and Maharashtra on Tuesday will enter into what is being touted as a historic pact on sharing Godavari river water. Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is scheduled to sign the agreement with his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis during Godavari River Board meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday .
As a mark of growing bonhomie and cooperation between the two neighbouring states over water sharing, Telangana and Maharashtra earlier in March entered into five separate memoranda of understanding (MoU) on irrigation projects to be built across river Godavari and its tributaries Penganga and Pranahita. Telangana officials said the MoUs were turning into a final agreement between the two chief ministers. “It's historic since the agreement being arrived at is an example of how two neighbouring states can strike an amicable deal through proper understanding rather than fighting with each other. The Board will meet on Tuesday and the agreement will be signed after the meeting,“ said Sridhar Rao Deshpande, officer on special duty to Telangana irrigation minister T Harish Rao.
The chief minister will leave for Mumbai on Tuesday morning. Ministers including Harish Rao, finance Minister Etela Rajender, agriculture minister Pochram Srinivas Reddy and forest and environment minister Jogu Ramanna were scheduled to leave for Mumbai on Monday evening. Among the agreements to be signed, significant are the ones for building Thammidihatti dam, the height of which Telangana government agreed to reduce from earlier proposed 152 metres to 148 meters. Another significant agreement is related to the Medigadda barrage, besides Chanaka-Korata, Rajapet and Penpahad projects. All these projects are part the redesigned version of Pranahita Chevella lift irrigation scheme that has been renamed as Kaleswaram project.
When completed, the projects under Kaleswaram put together are expected irrigate 16.4 lakh acres in Telangana and over 50,000 acres in tribal areas of Maharashtra.

Funds from UK to boost Smart projects

Pune is likely to receive a major chunk of the 4.5 million pounds financial assistance the UK government would provide to three smart cities -Pune, Indore and Amravati. A British delegation led by the secretary of state, Department for International Development (DFID), Government of UK, Priti Patel, held a meeting with Union minister of urban development M. Venkaiah Naidu last week. After deliberations, the India-UK joint statement mentioned that DFID would collaborate with three Indian cities -Indore, Pune and Amravati -to support their urban development goals through technical assistance, expertise sharing and business engagement. “DFID has agreed to position a Strategic Programme Management Unit as a part of the technical assistance programme for the Smart Cities Mission at central-level. It has also agreed to provide a financial assistance of 4.5 million pounds over a period of four years,“ states the release issued by the Union urban development department.
A source said Pune would get a big chunk of UK's financial aid. “Our city is leading in the implementation part of the Smart Cities Mission.So, it will be naturally the biggest claimant of the UK funds,“ he said confidently .DFID has also indicated interests to help in bringing the best UK expertise and experience to pilot smart urban solutions in the three smart cities.
PMC commissioner Kunal Kumar, also a director Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL), said, “UK has a tremendous experience and expertise in urban master planning and urban transport planning. Pune is already working with UK and we shall enhance the collaboration. Urban planning and transport are two major sectors which need transformation in the city because it will impact everyday life of citizen. During the survey , citizens have listed transport as the biggest problem.“
Kumar said, “The UK Prime Minister will be in India in November for a formal announcement of some projects and innovations in Pune will be formally announced during that period. After being selected for the Smart Cities Mission, we have been working closely with the UK government for the past six months. A master planner from UK will be on board this week.“
Kumar said PSCDCL was trying to engage the best in the world. “We must appreciate that world wants to get engaged in Pune. We know we can't cut and paste designs and projects from abroad. We have to contextualize projects considering the ground reality in Pune,“ he said.
Prerna Deshbhratar, PMC's additional municipal commissioner (special) and chief executive officer of PSCDCL, said, “The UK assistance will help in long-term in innovation and technology. We are open to ideas from anywhere. Collaboration with UK will definitely facilitate projects under the Smart Cities Mission.“
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and David Cameron met in London last November. The two Prime Ministers then had announced three UK-India city partnerships with Indore, Pune and Amaravati to support India's ambitious urban development goals through technical assistance, expertise sharing and business engagement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the flagship Smart Cities Mission into the implementation mode with the launch of 14 projects of Pune's Smart City Plan on June 25 this year, exactly a year after he had set off the mission by releasing the mission guidelines.

Solve Jammu and Kashmir row politically: SC

The judiciary had its limitations in resolving “certain dimensions“ of the ongoing unrest in J&K and it should be done politically , the Supreme Court said on Monday . Finding that the petitioner, National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh, had not filed his response to the Centre's status report on the J&K situation, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur adjourned his petition seeking imposition of governor's rule in the state. “You (Singh) must realise that certain dimensions of the problem cannot be addressed judicially . It has to be addressed politically ,“ the bench said.
Singh said, “The situation in the Valley has gone out of control and the administration has not been able to restore law and order. The government is not functioning as per the state constitution.“
Justice Thakur told Singh that political leaders from J&K were meeting the PM to give their views on solving the impasse in the state and advised him to participate in the political discussions.
Singh said the “RSS-dictated central government“ had not invited him for the meeting. The bench snubbed him and said, “Please do not make political speeches inside the court.“ However, it told solicitor general Ranjit Kumar it would be proper for the government to invite Singh to the political discussions on J&K as Singh's credentials were beyond doubt. The SG promised that he would get in touch with the home secretary. The court posted the matter for further hearing on Friday .

Of investment proposals for tourism projects....

Expect more leisure and tourism options in Maharashtra, followed by Gujarat and Karnataka, in the years to come. As per a latest study, Maharashtra has attracted highest investment from private investors in building facilities for tourists and visitors till June 2016. But the state stands fifth in terms of attracting tourists over the last two years.
While Maharashtra attracted investment proposals worth more than Rs.15,547 crore, Gujarat recorded Rs.13,542 crore, followed by Karnataka (Rs.11,049 crore), Tamil Nadu (Rs.8,926.4 crore) and West Bengal (Rs.8,207 crore). The remaining 16 states received Rs.36,150 crore worth proposals.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) study revealed that these investments would mainly cater to domestic tourists who have multiplied from 6.6 crore in 1991 to 143 crore in 2015. Big tourism projects are expected in the Mumbai-Pune zone, followed by the Konkan, Nashik, Ajanta-Ellora and around tiger reserves in Vidarbha. A senior state tourism official said an art village in Lonavala was one of the big projects on the cards.
Tamil Nadu and UP are the top two states that get most domestic tourists, who outclass international tourists in India. Foreign tourists increased from 31 lakh to 2.33 crore during the same period but their share in tourism has gone down. “In terms of contribution to tourism activity, the share of domestic tourists has been increasing. It is up from 95.5% in 1991 to 98.4% in 2015. The state's contribution is very high. The share of foreign tourist visits declined from 4.5% in 1991 to 1.6% in 2015,“ a tourism expert explained. Maharashtra recently announced a liberal policy to attract investment and is working to enhance the share of foreign tourists.
The investment pattern indicates that the distribution is highly skewed across states. As of June 2016, five of the 21 major states, (Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal) emerged as preferred investment destinations by attracting 61.3% of the outstanding investments. “Maharashtra attracted investments worth over Rs.15,500 crore of the outstanding investments worth over Rs.93,400 crore attracted by the hotel and tourism industry in India as of June 2016,“ stated the `Domestic Tourism: Tap the treasure' study conducted by ASSOCHAM's economic research bureau.The study said domestic tourist visits in India can increase from over 143 crore in 2015 to over 227 crore by 2020.

Maharashtra MoU for 10 small airports

To boost inter-city connectivity , the Maharashtra government is likely to sign on Tuesday an MoU with the civil aviation ministry and the Airports Authority of India to develop 10 airports in the state.
Officials said airports at Nanded, Kolhapur, Solapur, Amravati, Jalgaon, Shirdi, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Gondhia and Nashik have been short-listed for development under the Union government's regional connectivity policy .The Centre will bear 80% of the cost and the state the remaining 20%.
According to officials, the Shirdi airport is ready and will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 1, while the Kolhapur airport will be expanded and made operational by January 1, 2017.

Waste separation mandatory at source: Bombay HC

The Bombay high court directed all municipal corporations and councils in the state to make segregation of dry and wet waste at source mandatory .“This is the only way . There is no other way to tackle the issue,“ said a bench headed by Justice Vidyasagar Kanade. The judges said municipalities should issue directions to “residences, restaurants, manufacturers of food“. The order was passed on a PIL by Harshwardhan Modak and Vinod Patil from Pune on the failure of a firm to fully dispose solid waste. The judges said that besides having solid waste plants it was necessary to ensure separate waste collection at source so that segregation at the dumping ground is easier.

Reserved forest status for mangroves

Maharashtra has officially notified 15,087.6 hectares of mangrove land across the state as reserved forest, the first state to do so. “Only mangroves on government land have been notified as reserved forest. The land will now be transferred to the forest department, which will be responsible for its protection and conservation. Earlier, we needed to inform the collector for any action to be taken,“ N Vasudevan, chief conservator, mangrove conservation cell, stated.
Mangroves on most private forest land are still to be notified as reserved forest. While initially 1,850 hectares of private land was proposed to be notified in Mumbai, the grievance redressal committee set up by the state allowed 1,775 hectares to be notified. A PIL has been filed challenging the process of notification. Another 10,000 hectares of private mangrove land, therefore, remains to be notified, an official said. It was in 2005 that the Bombay high court had directed the state government to declare mangroves as forests. Thereafter, the state government set up the mangrove conservation cell to demarcate mangrove areas. The cell obtained satellite maps of 2005 after the order was delivered to begin the demarcation and notification process.In case of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, which is part of Thane district, the process was completed by 2008. “Two months ago, we notified 114 hectares in Thane district, 2,908 hectares in Palghar and the remaining 478 hectares in Bhiwandi have now been finally notified,“ said Vasudevan.
The biennial study conducted by the Forest Survey of India, Dehradun, showed that the state's mangrove cover, which was static at 186 sq km between 2005 and 2013, had gone up to 222 sq km. This was the highest increase in mangrove cover recorded by any state in the country during the two-year period between 2013 and 2015.