Madras High Court issues notice to EC on plea against registering AMMK

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NEW DELHI: The Madras High Court on Thursday issued notice to the Election Commission on a petition by former supporter of AMMK leader TTV Dinakaran seeking to restrain the poll body from registering the party without hearing him.

Justice C V Karthikeyan issued notice to the EC and posted the matter to Monday for further hearing.

V Pugazhendi, who has recently said he would join the the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, submitted that Dinakaran has filed an application before the EC for the registration of the AMMK as per the statutory norms laid down under section 29-A of the Representation of Peoples Act.

He contended that Dinakaran has proclaimed himself as the general secretary of the party proposed to be registered and nominated the office bearers as per his own choice without convening the general body meeting.

No membership application form or card had been filled by any of the cadre and he had been raising objections to the manner in which the party was being run, the petitioner submitted.

Dinakaran has also not framed the constitution of the proposed party in a proper manner, he claimed and contended that any process of granting registration to the AMMK without hearing and affording an opportunity to him would cause undue hardship and irreparable loss to the public.

Source: Press Trust of India

RBI keeps benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5.15%

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NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday kept the key policy rate unchanged at 5.15 per cent and decided to continue with its accommodative stance to support the economy.

The central bank also revised GDP growth downwards to 5 per cent for 2019-20 from 6.1 per cent projected in its October policy.

“The Monetary Policy Committee recognises that there is monetary policy space for future action. However, given the evolving growth-inflation dynamics, the MPC felt it appropriate to take a pause at this juncture,” the RBI said in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy for this fiscal.

The panel decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target.

All the six members of the MPC voted in favour of a rate pause.

The CPI inflation projection is revised upwards to 5.1-4.7 per cent for H2 FY20 and 4-3.8 per cent for H1 FY21.

Between February and October 2019, the RBI has reduced repo rate by 135 basis points.


Highlights of RBI’s monetary policy

Following are the highlights of the RBI’s 5th bi-monthly monetary policy statement of 2019-20:-

* Repo rate or short-term lending rate unchanged at 5.15 pc;

* GDP growth forecast lowered for current fiscal to 5 pc from 6.1 pc earlier;

* Various high frequency indicators suggest demand conditions remained weak;

* RBI continues with accommodative monetary stance to revive growth;

* Recognises that there is monetary policy space for future action;

* Retains retail inflation projection for second half of year raised to 5.1-4.7 pc;

* RBI notes monetary transmission to improve going forward;

* Foreign exchange reserves stood at USD 451.7 bn on Dec 3, up USD 38.8 bn over March-end 2019;

* All members of rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted for rate pause;

* Next monetary policy review meet scheduled during February 4-6, 2020.

Source: Press Trust of India


Manipur government terminates services of 82 officers

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IMPHAL:The Manipur government has terminated services of its 82 officers after a court order on pleas alleging irregularities in the state civil services examination conducted in 2016, according to an official order.

Their appointment letters issued on April 18, 2017 have been cancelled in compliance with the Supreme Court’s November 22 verdict, said an order issued by the state Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (Personnel Division).

Pleas were filed in the Manipur High Court by the unsuccessful candidates of the Main Examination conducted by the Manipur Civil Service Commission (MPSC) in 2016, alleging irregularities.

The high court then constituted a two-member panel to probe the matter. The probe revealed “irregularities and discrepancies”, including absence of examiners’ signatures on answer scripts, manipulation of marks and allotment of marks without evaluation of answer scripts, advocate Pushpa Gurumayum, representing the petitioners, told PTI.

The high court on October 18 not only quashed the appointment orders, but also directed the CBI to probe the exam within three months.

Following this, the successful candidates filed a petition before the Supreme Court, appealing against the order, but it was dismissed on November 22.

Source: Press Trust of India

India to gift interceptor vessel to Maldives in sync with security ties

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NEW DELHI: In sync with deeper security ties with the Maldives, India is set to gift an interceptor vessel to the island nation on Wednesday, sources said.

India will also launch three community development projects besides initiating the process to roll out RuPay card in the Maldives and an LED lighting project in its capital Male.

These projects will be launched during a video conference between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the sources said.

The ties between the two countries are on an upswing after Solih became President in November last year.

RuPay card facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.

Source: Press Trust of India

Supreme Court grants bail to P Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Congress leader P Chidambaram in a money laundering case related to INX Media and directed that he could not leave the country without its prior permission nor speak to the media.

Chidambaram, who has been in custody for 105 days, should neither try to influence witnesses nor tamper with evidence, the court said while setting aside the Delhi High Court November 15 verdict denying the former Union finance minister bail

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice R Banumathi, granted the relief to the 74-year-old Congress leader on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties of the like amount

The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, restrained Chidambaram from giving any press interview or making any statements with regard to the case

The top court, which observed that economic offences are grave in nature, said “grant of bail is rule and refusal is exception”

Chidambaram has been custody since August 21 when he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the INX Media corruption case. On October 16, the Enforcement Directorate arrested him in the money-laundering case. Six days later, on October 22, the apex court granted him bail in the case lodged by the CBI.

The bench said its order would not have any bearing on other accused in the case and Chidambaram would have to join further investigations if asked by the probe agency

Holding that the high court was justified in considering the gravity of offence while denying Chidambaram bail, the apex court disapproved of the manner in which the high court had made observations with regard to merits of the case

It said the gravity of the offences are to be examined by the court on the basis of facts and circumstances of each and every case

The bench said it was initially not inclined to open the sealed cover material placed before it by the ED. But since the high court had perused the material, it was imperative for the top court to go through the documents, it said

After pronouncing the verdict, it directed the apex court registry to return the sealed cover material back to the ED

The apex court made it clear that its order would not be construed to be the findings on merits of the case

The court said the alleged complicity of Chidambaram in the case would be examined during the trial

The apex court passed the judgement on the appeal filed by Chidambaram challenging the November 15 Delhi High Court verdict

During arguments in the top court, the ED claimed that Chidambaram continued to wield “substantial influence” on crucial witnesses in the case even while in custody. The Congress leader said the agency cannot “destroy” his career and reputation by making baseless allegations

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the ED, said economic offences like money laundering are grave in nature as they not only affect the nation’s economy but also shake people’s faith in the system, especially when it is committed by people in power

Representing Chidambaram, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi countered Mehta’s submissions and said there was neither any evidence linking Chidambaram directly or indirectly with the alleged offence nor any material to show that he had influenced witnesses or tampered with any evidence

The CBI had registered its case on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister

The ED lodged a money laundering case after that.

Source: Press Trust of India

Rajya Sabha passes Bill to merge Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu

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NEW DELHI: Parliament passed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories (UTs)) Bill, 2019 today.UTs, located along the western coast near Gujarat.

The merged Union Territory will be named as Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and its headquarters could be Daman and Diu.

The country currently has nine Union Territories after the creation of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. However, with the merger of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the number of UTs will come down to eight.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs,G. Kishan Reddy addressed the Rajya Sabha and said that the bill has been brought to provide for merger of union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, in view of fruitful utilization of manpower, improve administrative efficiency, reduce administrative expenditure and improve service delivery as well as facilitate better monitoring of schemes.

It would also ensure better cadre management of employees, he added.

Reddy said that there will be no change in administration and service conditions and reservation. Similarly, there will be no change in the status of Group III and IV employees. The merger would bring about administrative convenience, speedy development and effective implementation of central and state government schemes.

The new entity would be called the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu and would be governed under the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court, he added.

Informing about the rationale behind bringing the amendment, Reddy said that there are two secretariats and parallel departments which consume infrastructure and manpower in each Union territory. The Administrator, Secretaries, and Heads of certain departments functions in both the Union territories on alternate days affecting their availability to people and monitoring functioning of subordinate staff. The subordinate employees of both the Union territories are separate. Further, various departments of the Government of India have to co-ordinate with both the Union territories separately, causing duplication of works.

Having two separate constitutional and administrative entities in both the Union territories leads to lot of duplicity, inefficiency and wasteful expenditure. Further, this also causes unnecessary financial burden on the Government. Besides these, there are various challenges for cadre management and career progression of employees. Availability of more officers and infrastructure would help in more efficient implementation of flagship schemes of the government, the Reddy said.

The bill was earlier passed by Lok Sabha on November 27, 2019.

Indian Navy forced Chinese ship back over illegal entry in Andaman Sea

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NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy forced China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ship to return after it entered India’s exclusive economic zone in the Andaman Sea in September, officials said on Tuesday.

Asked about the incident during a press conference, Navy chief Admiral Karambir

Singh said anyone operating in “our region, will have to notify the Indian Navy”.

The officials said the Chinese Navy’s research ship was forced to leave the area as it had not sought permission to come there.

Kia Seltos sales at 14,005 units in November;becomes India’s fourth largest vehicle

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NEW DELHI: Kia Motors Corporation today announced November sales of 248,942 units led by popular RV models including the Seltos and Sportage. The November results were slightly higher than the 246,942 sold in the same month a year earlier.

Sales in Korea posted 48,615 units, almost on par with 48,700 sold in November 2018, led by the continued popularity of the Seltos entry SUV, which hit the market earlier this year. Shipment of K5 mid-size sedan, however, dropped last month as customers lined up for the launch of the all-new generation K5 model due to be launched in the Korean market later this month.

Sales outside of Korea climbed 1.1 percent to 200,327 units from 198,242 a year before, backed by strong sales of SUV models such as the Seltos in India and the Telluride flagship SUV in the US.

During the month, the South Korean vehicle manufacturer dispatched 14005 units of Seltos. In the Last three months, Kia Motors has received 86840 bookings and has delivered more than 40000 units till date. In the festive month of October, wholesales of Seltos stood at 12854 units.

The Sportage SUV was Kia’s best-selling model globally with sales of 40,541 units last month, followed by the K3 (Forte) sedan and Rio (Pride) subcompact sedan models.

Introduction of the all-new K5 in Korea later this month is expected to provide fresh stimulus to the company’s home market and the momentum will likely expand to overseas markets through 2020.

Nov-19Nov-18YoY ChangeOct-19MoM Change2019 YTD2018 YTDYTD Change
Korea Sales48,61548,700-0.2%47,1433.1%471,075489,500-3.8%
Overseas Sales200,327198,2421.1%203,372-1.5%2,072,1622,081,501-0.4%
Global Sales248,942246,9420.8%250,515-0.6%2,543,2372,571

Will win 15 seats, present pro-farmer budget in February:B S Yediyurappa

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NEW DELHI: Exuding confidence about the BJP winning in all 15 constituencies going to bypolls on December 5, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday said there would be a stable government in the state and he would present a “pro farmer” budget in February.

Observing that the Congress and JD(S) were only making statements about a possible tie-up after the by-elections, but there was nothing happening on ground, he said in a way both parties have already conceded defeat.

“I have visited twice all the 15 constituencies and there is a pro BJP atmosphere everywhere, beyond our expectation.

I have already said that we will win all the fifteen constituencies,” Yediyurappa claimed.

Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, he said, Congress and JD(S) leaders have been giving statements about they being united, but there was nothing happening on ground.

“(JDS leaders) Kumaraswamy makes a statement, Deve Gowda makes a different statement, I don’t want to react to it, but in all the 15 constituencies people are supporting us beyond our expectation, with an intention that Yediyurappa should give a stable and good government.

I’m committed to giving a good administration,” he added.

The ruling BJP needs to win at least six seats in the bypolls to 15 constituencies to remain in a majority in the 224-member assembly, which would still have two vacant seats– Maski and R R Nagar.

Pointing out that Congress and JD(S)could not come together and field a candidate against K C Ramamurthy of BJP for Rajya Sabha by-election, Yediyurappa said, “they (Congress-JDS) in a way have already accepted the defeat, so where is the question of Yediyurappa resigning?”

“Mostly Congress may seek Siddaramaiah’s resignation as the leader of opposition after bypolls….

people will give answer to them on December 9 (results date), let them be peacefully until then at least.”

Among 15 constituencies going to the bypolls, 12 were held by Congress and three by JD(S), whose coalition government collapsed due to rebellion by the disqualified MLAs.
With winning majority of seats being crucial for the government’s survival, BJP has fielded 13 of the 16 disqualified legislators who joined the party as its candidates from their respective constituencies.

Assuring that he would present a pro farmer budget in February, Yediyurappa said, my intention is that farmers should come out of all difficulties and lead a peaceful life.

“I will try to find a solution to their problems and announce new programmes in the budget during the February session,” he said.

As Tuesday is the last date for campaigning, political leaders in the state have intensified electioneering in various constituencies, in a last bid to woo the voters.

Source: Press Trust of India

Devendra Fadnavis named Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly

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MUMBAI: Maharashtra BJP legislature party leader Devendra Fadnavis was on Sunday named Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

Speaker Nana Patole made the announcement in the House.

Patole said that the BJP is being accorded the status of opposition party in the Assembly and Fadnavis would be the new Leader of Opposition.

CM Uddhav Thackeray and some ministers greeted Fadnavis, former CM, after Patole made the announcement.

Source: Press Trust of India