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RBI modifies rules yet again on deposit of banned notes

Two days after specifying that deposits exceeding Rs. 5000 in demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes can only be made once before December 30, 2016, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday modified the rules once again, saying that the restrictions would not apply to those with KYC-compliant accounts.

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Two days after specifying that deposits exceeding Rs. 5000 in demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 bank notes can only be made once before December 30, 2016, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today modified the rules once again, rsaying that the restrictions would not apply to those with KYC-compliant accounts.
 
In a notification sent to all banks on December 19, the RBI had said that, on a review of the provisions dealing with credit of the value of specified bank notes (SBNs) into bank accounts, it had been decided to place certain restrictions on deposits of SBNs into bank accounts while encouraging the deposits of the same under the Taxation and Investment Regime for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016.
 
"Tenders of SBNs in excess of Rs. 5000 into a bank account will be received for credit only once during the remaining period till December 30, 2016. The credit in such cases shall be afforded only after questioning tenderer, on record, in the presence of at least two officials of the bank, as to why this could not be deposited earlier and receiving a satisfactory explanation. The explanation should be kept on record to facilitate an audit trail at a later stage. An appropriate flag also should be raised in CBS to that effect so that no more tenders are allowed.
 
"Tenders of SBNs up to Rs. 5000 in value received across the counter will allowed to be credited to bank accounts in the normal course until December 30, 2016. Even when tenders smaller than Rs. 5000 are made in an account and such tenders taken together on cumulative basis exceed Rs. 5000 they may be subject to the procedure to be followed in case of tenders above Rs. 5000, with no more tenders being allowed thereafter until December 30, 2016," the earlier notification had said.
 
In the latest notification sent today to all banks, these provisions would not apply to fully KYC compliant accounts.
 
"Please refer to our circular DCM (Plg) No. 1859/10.27.00/2016-17 dated December 19, 2016. On a review of the above, we advise that the provisions of the above circular at sub para (i) and (ii) will not apply to fully KYC compliant accounts," the notification said.
 
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The Ministry of Finance had, explaining the December 19 decision, said on that date that more than five weeks had elapsed since the November 8 announcement on demonetisation. 
 
"It is expected that, by now, most of the people would have deposited such old notes in their possession," it had said.
 
"Further, an opportunity has been given to the public to make the payments towards tax, penalty, cess/surcharge and deposit under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) 2016 with the old bank notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1000 denomination upto 30th December, 2016," it had said.
 
The decision had attracted a lot of criticism from Opposition parties as well as people at large in view of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that there was no reason for people to rush to the banks to deposit their old notes because they had time till December 30 to do so.
 
The demonetisation has led to a huge shortage of cash in hand for people across the country and has severely affected businesses. There continue to be long queues outside banks and ATM kiosks all over the country, which have been running out of cash every day.
 
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RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 7.25%, keeps CRR unchanged at 4%

The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday reduced its policy repo rate by 25 basis points from 7.5 per cent to 7.25 per cent with immediate effect and kept the cash reserve ratio of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent, saying there was a case for a cut in the rate.

 
RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 7.25%
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today reduced its policy repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) from 7.5 per cent to 7.25 per cent with immediate effect and kept the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent, saying there was a case for a cut in the key rate.
 
"With low domestic capacity utilization, still mixed indicators of recovery, and subdued investment and credit growth, there is a case for a cut in the policy rate today," RBI Governor Raghuram G. Rajan said in his Second Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2015-16 here.
 
He also said that banks should pass through the sequence of rate cuts into lending rates.
 
Dr Rajan said the central bank would continue to provide liquidity under overnight repos at 0.25 per cent of bank-wise NDTL at the LAF repo rate and liquidity under 14-day term repos as well as longer term repos of up to 0.75 per cent of NDTL of the banking system through auctions.
 
It would also continue with overnight/term variable rate repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity, he said.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stood adjusted to 6.25 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 8.25 per cent.
 
Dr Rajan noted that banks had started passing through some of the past rate cuts into their lending rates, headline inflation had evolved along the projected path, the impact of unseasonal rains had been moderate so far, administered price increases remained muted, and the timing of normalisation of US monetary policy seemed to have been pushed back. 
 
"With low domestic capacity utilization, still mixed indicators of recovery, and subdued investment and credit growth, there is a case for a cut in the policy rate today," he said.
 
"Yet, of the risks to inflation identified in April, three still cloud the picture. First, some forecasters, notably the IMD, predict a below-normal southwest monsoon. Astute food management is needed to mitigate possible inflationary effects. 
 
"Second, crude prices have been firming amidst considerable volatility, and geo-political risks are ever present. Third, volatility in the external environment could impact inflation. 
 
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"Therefore, a conservative strategy would be to wait, especially for more certainty on both the monsoon outturn as well as the effects of government responses if it turns out to be weak. With still weak investment and the need to reduce supply constraints over the medium term to stay on the proposed disinflationary path (to 4 per cent in early 2018), however, a more appropriate stance is to front-load a rate cut today and then wait for data that clarify uncertainty," he said.
 
"Assuming reasonable food management, inflation is expected to be pulled down by base effects till August but to start rising thereafter to about 6.0 per cent by January 2016 – slightly higher than the projections in April. Putting more weight on the IMD’s monsoon projections than the more optimistic projections of private forecasters as well as accounting for the possible inflationary effects of the increases in the service tax rate to 14 per cent, the risks to the central trajectory are tilted to the upside," he said.
 
"Reflecting the balance of risks and the downward revision to GVA estimates for 2014-15, the projection for output growth for 2015-16 has been marked down from 7.8 per cent in April to 7.6 per cent with a downward bias to reflect the uncertainties surrounding these various risks," he noted.
 
Dr Rajan said strong food policy and management would be important to help keep inflation and inflationary expectations contained over the near term. 
 
"Furthermore, monetary easing can only create the enabling conditions for a fuller government policy thrust that hinges around a step up in public investment in several areas that can also crowd in private investment. This will be important to relieve supply constraints and aid disinflation over the medium term. A targeted infusion of bank capital into scheduled public sector commercial banks, especially those that implement concerted strategies to clean up stressed assets, is also warranted so that adequate credit flows to the productive sectors as investment picks up," he said.
 
The statement said that, since the first bi-monthly monetary policy statement of 2015-16 issued in April 2015, incoming data suggested that the global recovery was still slow and getting increasingly differentiated across regions. 
 
It said global financial markets had also been volatile, with risk-on risk-off shifts induced by changing perceptions of monetary policies in the advanced economies. Global currency markets continue to be dominated by the strength of the US dollar, with the G3 currencies reflecting the asynchronicity of their monetary policy stances. 
 
The statement noted that, as anticipated, the Central Statistics Office had revised downwards its estimate of India’s gross value added (GVA) at basic prices for 2014-15 by 30 bps from the advance estimates. 
 
"Domestic economic activity remains moderate in Q1 of 2015-16. Agricultural activity was adversely affected by unseasonal rains and hailstorms in north India during March 2015, impinging on an estimated 94 lakh hectares of area sown under the rabi crop. Reflecting this, the third advance estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture indicate a contraction in foodgrains production by more than 5 per cent in relation to the preceding year’s level," it said.
 
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The statement said successive estimates have been pointing to a worsening of the situation, with the damage to crops like pulses and oilseeds – where buffer foodstocks are not available in the central pool – posing an upside risk to food inflation. 
 
It said that, for the kharif season, the outlook is clouded by the first estimates of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), predicting that the southwest monsoon will be 7 per cent below the long period average. This has been exacerbated by the confirmation of the onset of El Nino by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it said.
 
"What is clear is that contingency plans for food management, including storage of adequate quantity of seeds and fertilisers for timely supply, crop insurance schemes, credit facilities, timely release of food stocks and the repair of disruptions in food supply chains, including through imports and de-hoarding, need to be in place to manage the impact of low production on inflation. Inflation control will also be helped by limiting the increase in agricultural support prices," it said.
 
The statement said industrial production had been recovering, albeit unevenly. The sustained weakness of consumption spending, especially in rural areas as indicated in the slowdown in sales of two-wheelers and tractors, continued to operate as a drag. Corporate sales have contracted. 
 
"The disappointing earnings performance could have been worse if not for the decline in input costs. Capacity utilisation has been falling in several industries, indicative of the slack in the economy. While an upturn in capital goods production seems underway, clear evidence of a revival in investment demand will need to build on the tentative indications of unclogging of stalled investment projects, stabilising of private new investment intentions and improving sales of commercial vehicles," it said.
 
The statement said that, in April, output from core industries constituting 38 per cent of the index of industrial production declined across the board, barring coal production. 
 
"The sustained revival of coal output augurs well for electricity generation and mining and quarrying, going forward. There is some optimism on gas pricing and availability. The resolution of power purchase processes has to be expedited and power distribution companies’ financial stress has to be addressed on a priority basis. Some public sector banks will need more capital to clean up their balance sheets and support lending as investment revives," it said.
 
The RBI said leading indicators of services sector activity were emitting mixed signals. 
 
"A pick-up in service tax collections, sales of trucks, railway freight, domestic air passenger and air freight traffic could augur well for transport and communication and trade. On the other hand, the slowdown in tourist arrivals, railway traffic and international air passenger and freight traffic could affect hotels, restaurants and some constituents of transportation services adversely. The services PMI declined in April 2015, mainly on account of slowdown in new business orders. Community and personal services are likely to be held back by the ongoing fiscal consolidation," it said.
 
In April, retail inflation measured by the consumer price index (CPI) decelerated for the second month in a row, supported by favourable base effects [of about (-) 0.8 per cent] that moderated the rise in the price index for the fourth successive month. 
 
"Food inflation softened to a contra-seasonal four-month low, with the impact of unseasonal rains yet to show up. Vegetables inflation continued to ease, along with that of other sub-groups such as cereals, oil, sugar and spices. On the other hand, protein items, especially milk and pulses, continued to impart upward inflationary pressures," it said.
 
It also said fuel inflation rose for the fourth successive month to a twelve-month high, driven by prices of electricity and firewood. 
 
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"Inflation in these components was accentuated by base effects – the recent price uptick coming on top of muted increases a year ago. Inflation excluding food and fuel rose marginally. House rent, education, medical and transport expenses were among the major drivers of inflation in this category. Rural wage growth, although still moderate, picked up. Inflation expectations remain in high single digits, although they may adapt further to current low inflation. Yet, both input and output price pressures remain muted as reflected in the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey," it said.
 
The statement said merchandise export growth had weakened steadily since July 2014 and entered into contraction from January 2015 through April, with a recent shrinking of even volumes exported. 
 
"The deterioration in export performance affected economies across Asia as global demand fell and the fall in commodity prices impacted terms of trade for commodity exporters. From December 2014 onwards, merchandise import growth also turned negative, led by a sharp decline in the volume of oil imports as inventory build-up by refineries subsided. 
 
"Gold imports spiked in the month of March and remained elevated in April owing to festival demand and regulatory relaxations. Notably, the volume of imports has been recording increases, despite the value decline. Given these developments, the reduction in the current account deficit resulting from the sharp decline in oil prices has begun to reverse, though the size of the deficit is expected to be contained to about 1.5 per cent of GDP this year. 
 
"Net exports are, therefore, unlikely to contribute as much to growth going forward as they did in the past financial year. Consequently growth will depend more on a strengthening of domestic final demand. While portfolio and direct foreign investment flows were buoyant during 2014-15, with net foreign direct investment to India at US$ 36.6 billion and net portfolio inflows at US$ 41 billion, the year 2015-16 has begun with net portfolio outflows in the wake of a reduction in global portfolio allocations to India. Foreign exchange reserves are around US$ 350 billion, providing a strong second line of defence to good macroeconomic policies if external markets turn significantly volatile," the statement added.
 
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Aruna Shanbaug, in vegetative state for 42 years after being raped in 1973, dies

Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who remained in a vegetative state for nearly 42 years after being brutally raped in1973, died on Monday morning in Mumbai's KEM Hospital after a bout of pneumonia, hospital sources said.

 
Aruna Shanbaug dies after 42 years in vegetative state
Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who remained in a vegetative state for nearly 42 years after being brutally raped in1973, died this morning in Mumbai's KEM Hospital after a bout of pneumonia, hospital sources said.
 
Shanbaug, 67, was put on ventilator support in the intensive care unit of the hospital for more than a week, they said.
 
She breathed her last at around 9.30 am today, they said. She would have turned 68 in the first week of June.
 
Shanbaug had been in a semi-comatose condition after the horrific incident of November 23, 1973 in which her assailant, Sohanlal, used a dog chain around her neck to pin her down during the assault, resulting in serious damage to her brain cells.
 
Her colleagues at the KEM Hospital had been caring for her for the past four decades, meeting her every need and ensuring, among other things, that she did not have even a single bedsore during this period.
 
On March 7, 2011, the Supreme Court had, in an important ruling, dismissed a petition filed by Ms Pinki Virani, who claimed to be the next friend of Shanbaug, seeking permission for euthanasia since she was in a vegetative state for more than 37 years at that time.
 
A bench comprising Justices Markendey Katju and Gyansudha Misra  held that active euthanasia is illegal but passive euthanasia is permissible with the permission of the concerned high court in appropriate cases.
 
The bench in its 110-page judgement held that the real next friend of Shanbaug was the staff of the K E M Hospital, Mumbai, who had een looking after her for decades.
 
The apex court while permitting passive euthanasia in appropriate cases with the permission of the concerned high court, however, put a rider that the high court will have to set up a medical court before permitting passive euthanasia and it will be the law of the land till Parliament enacts appropriate law on the issue of mercy killing.
 
The Central Government as well as the KEM Hospital had vehemently opposed the petitioner.
 
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Salman Khan given 5 years in jail in 2002 case, HC extends his bail by two days

Bollywood star Salman Khan was on Wednesday convicted and sentenced to five years in prison by a court in Mumbai for causing the death of a pavement dweller in a 2002 hit-and-run case in which he was accused of driving under the influence of liquor, but got bail for two days from the Bombay High Court a little later.

 
Salman Khan gets five years in jail in 2002 hit-and-run case
 
 
Popular Bollywood actor Salman Khan was today convicted and sentenced to five years in prison by a sessions court here for causing the death of a pavement dweller in a 2002 hit-and-run case in which he was accused of driving under the influence of liquor, but got bail for two days from the Bombay High Court a little later.
 
Sessions judge D W Deshpande held that all the charges against the actor, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder, had been proven.
 
Since the quantum of sentence was more than three years, Khan could not have applied for bail in the sessions court and, therefore, approached the High Court. Khan was already on bail in the case, and the High Court extended it by two more days until Friday, when it will hear his bail application.
 
Khan's lawyers had sought bail on the ground that the detailed order of the sessions judge had not been made available yet.
 
Once the copy of the High Court's order reached the session court, he left for home around 7.15 pm after completing various formalities. Hundreds of his fans and well-wishers had gathered outside his residence in Bandra to greet him on his arrival.
 
The sessions judge accepted the prosecution's case that Khan, 49, was at the wheel at the time of the accident, rejecting the defence plea that it was his driver Ashok Singh who was actually driving the vehicle then.
 
Khan and members of his family present in the court room were visibly upset after hearing the verdict.
 
During the argument on the quantum of sentence, lawyers for the actor pleaded for a lesser term, citing his philanthropic work and the fact that he had paid Rs 19 lakh as compensation to the family of the victim. They also said he was prepared to pay more if ordered to do so. "We are not running away from responsibility," his counsel said.
 
The prosecution, on the other hand, argued for the maximum sentence of 10 years.
 
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The case related to the incident, nearly 13 years ago, on September 28, 2002 when the actor's Land Cruiser went out of control and ran over five persons sleeping on a pavement outside a bakery in the Bandra area of the city. One person died and the four others suffered injuries in the incident.
 
The prosecution said Khan was driving the vehicle when the mishap occurred, that he was driving without a licence and that he was drunk at that time. They also accused him of fleeing from the scene. The actor, on the other hand, said he was not driving, that he was not drunk and that he had not run away from the spot.
 
The prosecution produced eyewitnesses, those who were injured in the accident, employees of the bar where the actor had consumed drinks, doctors who examined his blood samples and forensic experts, among others, as witnesses.
 
In a surprising development, Khan's driver Ashok Singh turned up in court recently, after more than 12 years, and deposed that it was he who was driving the car on that day. He said the front left tyre of the car had burst, leading to the mishap
 
Large crowds of Khan's fans, mediapersons, lawyers and others had gathered outside the court at Kalaghoda to find out about the judgement.
 
The judge pronounced his guilty verdict within minutes after arriving in court and later prounced the quantum of sentence, about two hours later, at 1.10 pm.
 
Khan was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, rash and negligent driving, causing hurt by act endangering life,  causing grievous hurt, causing damage to property, driving vehicle in contravention of rules and driving at great speed after consuming alcohol.
 
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Modi urges RBI to set targets for financial inclusion for banks, FIs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged the Reserve Bank of India to take the lead in encouraging financial institutions to set concrete targets for financial inclusion over the next 20 years, to help transform the quality of life of the poor.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Financial Inclusion Conference organised by the Reserve Bank of India, in Mumbai on April 2, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the Financial Inclusion Conference organised by the Reserve Bank of India, in Mumbai on April 2, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take the lead in encouraging financial institutions to set concrete targets for financial inclusion over the next 20 years, to help transform the quality of life of the poor. 
 
"I come as a representative of the poor, underprivileged, marginalized and tribals; I am one among them; I seek on their behalf and trust you will not disappoint me," he said at the RBI Conference on Financial Inclusion here, which also marked the completion of 80 years of the central bank.
 
Mr Modi encouraged RBI to set goals on intermediate targets: of 2019, when the country will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; 2022, 75 years of independence; 2025, 90 years of RBI, and 2035, 100 years of RBI. 
 
He said the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy (DBTL), had shown the potential of the enormous role that the banking sector can play in ensuring financial inclusion. 
 
Calling for making financial inclusion a "habit", Mr Modi asked banks to take inspiration from the success of women self-help groups. He asked banks to keep in mind the requirement of youth who needed either knowledge or skills. He also gave the example of the soon-to-be-launched Micro Units Development Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank in this regard and urged banks to come up with creative financial inclusion instruments to help prevent farmer suicides. 
 
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The Prime Minister said that, along with economic and social parameters, there was need to think of a geographical parameter as well for financial inclusion. He said eastern India had immense economic potential, and the banking sector should recognize and plan for this. 
 
Appreciating the role played by RBI over the last 80 years, the Prime Minister complimented the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan for his grasp and clarity on economic issues. 
 
As part of the Make in India initiative, the Prime Minister urged RBI to take the lead in ensuring that India starts to manufacture the paper and ink that are used to print currency notes. 
 
Apart from Dr Rajan, Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
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RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 7.5%, keeps CRR unchanged at 4%

Acting for the second time within two months outside the policy review cycle, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday, in a surprise move, reduced the key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 7.75 per cent to 7.5 per cent with immediate effect.

 
Acting for the second time within two months outside the policy review cycle, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today, in a surprise move, reduced the key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points (bps) from 7.75 per cent to 7.5 per cent with immediate effect.
 
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said in a statement on monetary policy that the central bank had also decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks unchanged at 4.0 per cent of net demand and time liabilities (NDTL).
 
He said the RBI would 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.
 
He said it would continue with daily variable rate repos and reverse repos to smooth liquidity.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stood adjusted to 6.5 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 8.5 per cent with immediate effect, he said.
 
The RBI had, on January 15 this year, reduced the repo rate by 25 basis points to 7.75 per cent, stating then that the momentum of inflation had significantly reduced.
 
However, in its Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2014-15 on February 3, the RBI decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 7.75 per cent, saying there had been no substantial new developments on the disinflationary process or on the fiscal outlook since January 15.
 
Today's decision has come just four days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his General Budget for 2015-16 to Parliament on February 28.
 
On February 20, the Central Government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had signed a landmark agreement on Monetary Policy Framework under which the RBI will aim to bring inflation below 6 per cent by January 2016.
 
The target for financial year 2016-17 and all subsequent years shall be 4 per cent, with a band of +/- 2 per cent.
 
The agreement, made public on March 2, is a shift towards inflation targeting that Dr Rajan had been advocating for some time.
 
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Dr Rajan said in his statement today that the need to act outside the policy review cycle was prompted by two factors.
 
"First, while the next bi-monthly policy statement will be issued on April 7, 2015 the still weak state of certain sectors of the economy as well as the global trend towards easing suggests that any policy action should be anticipatory once sufficient data support the policy stance. Second, with the release of the agreement on the monetary policy framework, it is appropriate for the Reserve Bank to offer guidance on how it will implement the mandate," he said.
 
He said that, going forward, the RBI would seek to bring the inflation rate to the mid-point of the band of 4 +/- 2 per cent provided for in the agreement with the Governmnt, that is, to 4 per cent by the end of a two-year period starting fiscal year 2016-17.
 
He said the guidance on policy action given in the fifth-bi-monthly monetary policy statement of December 2014 was largely unchanged. 
 
"Further monetary actions will be conditioned by incoming data, especially on the easing of supply constraints, improved availability of key inputs such as power, land, minerals and infrastructure, continuing progress on high-quality fiscal consolidation, the pass through of past rate cuts into lending rates, the monsoon outturn and developments in the international environment," he said.
 
Dr Rajan recalled that, in its statement on monetary policy of January 15, 2015, the RBI had reduced the policy repo rate by 25 basis points and indicated that “Key to further easing are data that confirm continuing disinflationary pressures. Also critical would be sustained high quality fiscal consolidation…”.
 
"While maintaining the interest rate stance in its sixth bi-monthly monetary policy statement of February 3 in the absence of new developments on inflation or on the fiscal outlook till then, the Reserve Bank indicated that it will keenly monitor the revision in the consumer price index (CPI) with regard to the path of inflation in 2015-16 as well as the Union Budget for 2015-16," he said.
 
The statement said the new CPI, rebased to 2012, was released on February 12. Inflation in January 2015 at 5.1 per cent as measured by the new index was well within the target of 8 per cent for January 2015. 
 
"Prices of vegetables declined and, hearteningly, inflation excluding food and fuel moderated in a broad-based manner to a new low. Thus, disinflation is evolving along the path set out by the Reserve Bank in January 2014 and, in fact, at a faster pace than earlier envisaged," it said.
 
"The uncertainties surrounding any inflation projection are, however, not insignificant. Oil prices have firmed up in recent weeks, and significant further strengthening, perhaps as a result of unanticipated geo-political events, will alter the inflation outlook. Other international commodity prices are expected to remain benign, given still-sluggish global demand conditions. Food prices will be affected by the seasonal upturn that typically occurs ahead of the south-west monsoon and, therefore, steps the government takes on food management will be critical in determining the inflation outlook. Finally, the possible spill over of volatility from international financial markets through exchange rate and asset prices channels is also still a significant risk," it said.
 
The RBI said that, perhaps, the most significant influences on near-term inflation would be the strength of aggregate demand relative to available capacity. Two recent developments pertaining to the demand-supply balance are the recently-released GDP estimates and the Union Budget for 2015-16.
 
"The Central Statistical Organisation is to be commended on the changes it has made to the methodology of estimating GDP, bringing India up to international best practice. Yet the picture it presents of a robust economy, with growth having picked up significantly over the last three years, is at odds with still-low direct measures of growth of production, credit, imports and capacity utilisation as well as with anecdotal evidence on the state of the economic cycle. Nevertheless, the picture of a steadily recovering economy appears right," Dr Rajan said.
 
"The fiscal impulses in the Union Budget then assume importance. There are many important and valuable structural reforms embedded in this Budget, which will help improve supply over the medium term. In the short run, however, the postponement of fiscal consolidation to the 3 per cent target by one year will add to aggregate demand. At a time of accelerating economic recovery, this is, prima facie, a source for concern from the standpoint of aggregate demand management, especially with large borrowings intended for public sector enterprises," he said.
 
"Some factors mitigate the concern. The government has emphasized its desire to clean up legacy issues which gave a misleading picture of the true extent of fiscal rectitude, and has also moderated the optimism in its projections. To this extent, the true quantum of fiscal consolidation may be higher than in the headline numbers. Also, the government is transferring a significantly larger amount to the states, without entirely devolving responsibility for funding central programmes. To the extent that state budget deficits narrow, the general fiscal deficit will be lower. 
 
"Furthermore, supported by lower international energy prices, there is a welcome intent to shift from spending on subsidies to spending on infrastructure, and to better target and further reduce subsidies through direct transfers. Finally, the central government has signed a memorandum with the Reserve Bank setting out clear inflation objectives for the latter. This makes explicit what was implicit before – that the government and the Reserve Bank have common objectives and that fiscal and monetary policy will work in a complementary way. In sum, then, the government intends to compensate for the delay in fiscal consolidation with a commitment to an improvement in the quality of adjustment," he said.
 
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Dr Rajan noted that all these mitigating factors had a fair component of intent. The realised net fiscal impulse will depend on both central and state government actions going forward, he said.
 
"Finally, the rupee has remained strong relative to peer countries. While an excessively strong rupee is undesirable, it too creates disinflationary impulses. It bears repeating here that the Reserve Bank does not target a level for the exchange rate, nor does it have an overall target for foreign exchange reserves. It does intervene on occasion, in both directions, to reduce avoidable volatility in the exchange rate. Any reserve build-up is a residual consequence of such actions rather than a direct objective," he said.
 
The RBI said that softer readings on inflation are expected to come in through the first half of 2015-16 before firming up to below 6 per cent in the second half. 
 
"The fiscal consolidation programme, while delayed, may compensate in quality, especially if state governments are cooperative. Given low capacity utilisation and still-weak indicators of production and credit off-take, it is appropriate for the Reserve Bank to be pre-emptive in its policy action to utilise available space for monetary accommodation," it added.
 
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Bollywood personalities take a stand, urge people to vote for "secular party"

In an unprecedented move, a group of well-known people from the film and entertainment industry, including filmmakers such as Vishal Bhardwaj, Mahesh Bhatt, Govind Nihalani and Zoya Akhtar, singer Shubha Mudgal and actor Nandita Das, on Wednesday issued an appeal, urging people to vote for the secular party which is most likely to win in their constituency.

Nandita Das
Nandita Das
In an unprecedented move, a group of well-known people from the film and entertainment industry, including filmmakers such as Vishal Bhardwaj, Mahesh Bhatt, Govind Nihalani and Zoya Akhtar, singer Shubha Mudgal and actor Nandita Das, today issued an appeal, urging people to vote for the secular party which is most likely to win in their constituency.
 
"The best thing about our country is its cultural diversity, its pluralism - the co-existence of a number of religions and ethnicities over centuries, and hence the blooming of multiple streams of intellectual and artistic thought," the appeal said.
 
"And, this has been possible only because Indian society has prided itself on being essentially secular in character, rejecting communal hatred, embracing tolerance," it said.
 
The signatories, who also included filmmakers Imtiaz Ali, Kabir Khan and Vijay Krishna Acharya, writer Anjum Rajabali, and actors Swara Bhaskar, Jyoti Dogra and Joy Sengupta, said that the very sense of India was vulnerable today.
 
"The need of the hour is to protect our country's secular foundation. Undoubtedly, corruption and governance are important issues, but we will have to vigilantly work out ways of holding our government accountable to that. However, one thing is clear: India's secular character is not negotiable! Not now, not ever. 
 
"As Indian citizens who love our motherland, we appeal to you to vote for the secular party, which is most likely to win in your constituency," they added.
 
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Other signatories to the appeal include filmmakers Anand Patwardhan, Kundan Shah, Hansal Mehta, , writer-diector Saket Chaudhary, documentary filmmaker Rakesh Sharma, actor Aditi Rao, writer-director Vinay Shukla, writers Sanjay Chhel, Kamlesh Pandey, Robin Bhatt, Rajesh Dubey, Vinod Ranganath, Imteyaz Husain, 
 
Tabla maestro Aneesh Pradhan, lyricists Sameer Anjan, Kauser Munir and Jalees Sherwani, film editors Amitabh Shukla and Nishant Radhakrishnan, art director Sukant Panigrahi, producer Anusha Khan, sound designer Bishwadeep Chatterjee, screen writers Manasee Palshikar, Rukmini Sen, Priyanka Borpujari and Mazahir Rahim, documentary filmmaker Surabhi Sharma and screen writer Sharad Tripathi also signed the appeal.
 
The signatories also included cinematographers Anil Mehta and C K Muraleedharan, producer Preety Ali, filmmaker Sona Jain, theatre activist Sameera Iyengar, playwright Shivani Tibrewala Chand and activists Tushar Gandhi, Teesta Setalvaad and Javed Anand.
 
This is the first time that Bollywood personalities have come out collectively to take a stand during elections in the country, though many of them have been individually associated with political parties. Many have also contested and won elections and also served as Ministers at the Centre.
 
Writer Rajabali, whose brainchild the appeal is, told mediapersons that he was surprised at the readiness with which the younger lot signed the statement and took a stand at a time when they might justifiably be more obsessed with their careers.
 
Actress Nandita Das, who has been involved in a variety of causes, said that she owed whatever she was today to the secular and pluralist upbringing that she had.
 
Without naming any party, she said there was a couple of them which are playing a divisive role. She said that, by laying emphasis on development and governance, these parties were seeking to underplay their divisive record.
 
According to her, there was enough evidence in the public domain about the role these parties had played. She said it was not just about communalism and Muslims, but about all other religious, linguistic and regional groups. In this context, she pointed out the stand taken by various parties on criminalisation of private and consensual sex between adults of the same sex.
 
"I am what I am because of the varied influences that I have experienced. I want my son to grow up with all these many influences," she said. She said the country could not be reduced to a monolith or a homogenous entity. "In our differences lie our unity," she said.
 
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Nine killed in fire on Mumbai-Dehradun Express near Dahanu in Maharashtra

Nine passengers including a woman, were killed when a fire broke out in the speeding 19019 Mumbai-Dehradun Express near Dahanu in Thane district of Maharashtra in the early hours of Wednesday.

Fire kills nine on Mumbai-Dehradun Express
Nine passengers including a woman, were killed when a fire broke out in the speeding 19019 Mumbai-Dehradun Express near Dahanu in Thane district of Maharashtra in the early hours of today.
 
Western Railway sources said the fire broke out in S3 coach of the train and then spread to the adjoining coaches S2 and S4, taking the passengers, most of whom were asleep, unawares.
 
The cause of the fire, which broke out at around 0235 hours today while the train was running between Dahanu Road and Gholwad stations , could not be ascertained immediately, the sources said.
 
According to them, the fire was noticed by a gateman at a level crossing, and he alerted the station master of Gholwad station, who quickly contacted the driver and asked him to stop the train.
 
Fire tenders and ambulances rushed to the spot and the blaze was brought under control soon. The affected coaches were detached and the rest of the train was later brought to Gholwad station, about 145 km north of Mumbai, on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, around 0530 hours.
 
Accident and medical relief vans were rushed to the spot from Mumbai and Valsad in Gujarat to assist in the relief efforts.
 
Five persons who felt suffocated due to the smoke were given first aid in the acident relief vans and later discharged, te sources said.
 
The Divisional Railway Manager of Mumbai Central Division and other top railway officials rushed to the spot to supervise the relief operations.
 
Five of the deceased have been identified by the Railways as Ms Deepika Shah , 65, Mr Dev Shankar Upadhyay, 48, Mr Surendra Shah, 68, Mr Nasirkhan Ahmedkhan Pathan, 50, and Mr Feroz Khan, 38. 
 
The bodies of the victims were sent to Civil Hospital, Dahanu Road (Telephone No. 02528 222371) by the Government Railway Police.
 
The  Railways have offered free accommodation in the train to the relatives of the deceased up to Dahanu Road.
 
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has expressed his grief at the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed in the fire.
 
He has also announced an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Western Circle, into the incident.
 
Meanwhile, services on the up line resumed at 0640 hours, the sources added.
 
About 500 food packets along with tea and drinking water were arranged for the passengers of the train at Valsad where five more coaches were added to the train before dispatching it for its o­nward journey.
 
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The Railways have opened helplines to provide information to relatives of the passengers.
 
The numbers are:
 
Mumbai: 022 23011853 and 022 23007388
Valsaid: 241903- Valsad; 
Dahanu Road: 022 67649632
Bandra Terminus: 022 26435756
Surat: 0261 2423992
New Delhi: 011 23342954
Dehradun: 0135 2624002, 2624003
 
Just 11 days ago, on December 28, 2013, as many as 26 passengers were killed and eight others suffered injuries when a major fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the 16594 Bangalore-Nanded Express shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
 
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APM Maersk's operations at JNPT disrupted by cyber attack

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The operations of APM Maersk, one of the private terminal operators at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) here, have been disrupted as a consequence of a worldwide disruption faced by it and several other organisations because of a cyber attack in Europe.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Shippinng said that the company had informed the authorities about the unforeseen situation.
 
"While the terminal operator is taking steps to address the issues disrupting the operations, it is anticipated that there could be bunching of in-bound and out-bound container cargo.  Ministry of Shipping and JNPT are alive to the situation and are taking steps to ensure minimum disturbance to trade, transporters and more importantly local citizens.  
 
"Since the congestion could create difficulties in traffic management, JNPT has opened up its parking lots for cargo destined to this private terminal.  Further, CFSs (container freight stations) have been advised to hold the cargo in their yards.  JNPT is also working with local authority CIDCO, to identify more parking areas.  Traffic control teams are being deployed to address potential road congestion," the release said.
 
The Ministry said the situation was being closely monitored and further steps to deal with the traffic situation would be initiated based on an assessment during the course of the next few days.   
 
Dr. Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator, is proceeding to JNPT to further deal with the situation, the release added.
 
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RBI amends Banking Ombudsman Scheme to include complaints relating to Mis-selling, Mobile/ Electronic Banking

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has widened the scope of its Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006, to include, inter alia, deficiencies arising out of sale of insurance, mutual fund and other third party investment products by banks. 
 
Under the amended scheme, a customer would also be able to lodge a complaint against the bank for its non-adherence to RBI instructions with regard to Mobile Banking and Electronic Banking services in India, a press release from the central bank said yesterday.
 
The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Banking Ombudsman to pass an award has been increased from existing Rs. 1 million to Rs. 2 million, it said.
 
Compensation not exceeding Rs. 100,000 can also be awarded by the Banking Ombudsman to the complainant for loss of time and expenses incurred as also, harassment and mental anguish suffered by the complainant.
 
The procedure for complaints settled by agreement under the Scheme has also been revised. Appeal has now been allowed for the complaints closed under Clause 13 (c) of the existing Scheme relating to rejection which was not available earlier, the release said.
 
The Reserve Bank has released a Notification dated June 16, 2017 amending the Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006. The amended Scheme shall come into force from July 1, 2017. The amended Scheme is available on the Reserve Bank's website here.
 
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RBI says no restrictions on exchange of Qatari riyals in India

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said that it had not issued any instructions restricting the exchange of Qatari riyals in the country.
 
"The Reserve Bank of India under Section 10 of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, read with Section 3 of the Act, authorises the Authorised Persons to deal in foreign exchange as an Authorised Dealer or as a money changer or in any manner as it deems fit.
 
"It has come to the notice of the Reserve Bank of India that certain entities authorized as Authorised Persons by the Reserve Bank of India under Section 10(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, to deal in foreign exchange, are not undertaking the exchange viz., sale/purchase of Qatari Riyals in India," a press release from the central bank said.
 
"It is clarified that the Reserve Bank has not issued any instructions restricting the exchange of Qatari Riyals in India," the release added.
 
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India's forex reserves rise by $ 799 million to record $ 381.955 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 799 million to a new high of $ 381.955 billion during the week ended June 16, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had declined by $ 11.5 million to $ 381.156 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 802.4 million to $ 358.084 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.096 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went down by $ 1.3 million to $ 1.469 billion.  
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 2.1 million to $ 2.306 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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Salman Khan's Tubelight to be released across 4400 screens in India

Salman Khan in a scene from Tubelight
Salman Khan in a scene from Tubelight
Actor Salman Khan's Tubelight, one of the most keenly awaited movies of the year, will be released in 4400 screens across India, the biggest release any Bollywood movie has ever seen in the country.
 
This is being done in view of the huge fan following of Salman and the excitement about the movie among the audiences, a press release from the Indian distributors, NH Studioz, said.
 
The trailer of the movie has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube and the music has also gained massive acceptance among the audiences, it said.
 
"The fan following of Salman Khan is huge in India and across the globe. The combination of Kabir Khan and Salman Khan has proven themselves year after year. They have won hearts of people at all levels of society. Keeping the content of Tubelight in mind, the Indian distributors, NH Studioz are confident it will be loved by both the single screen goers and the multiplex audiences," the release said.
 
“We have a lot of trust in the content and the makers of ‘Tubelight’. They have consistently delivered brilliant movies and this Eid again 'Tubelight' will be a treat for the fans across India. In the recent past, we have released some of the most popular Bollywood movies. The entire team of ‘Tubelight’ has worked hard and I believe that it will pay off tomorrow, when the goes on the floor across 4400 theatre screens in India," said Mr. Shreyans Hirawat, Managing Director, NH Studioz.
 
Tubelight is the story of a man's unshakable faith in himself and the love for his family. In a small picturesque town in North India, Laxman (Salman Khan) lives with his younger brother Bharat (Sohail Khan). The two have no other family and are inseparable. Laxman's world comes crashing down, when war breaks out and Bharat gets drafted into the Army. A helpless Bharat leaves a devastated Laxman behind. News from the border only worsens, as the tension continues to escalate. Seeing the carnage around him and worried for his brother, Laxman decides he must stop this conflict and get his brother back.
 
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Kumble resigns as Head Coach of Indian cricket team amid reports of rift with Kohli

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble
Former India captain Anil Kumble has resigned from the post of Head Coach of the Indian cricket team amid media reports of a rift between him and captain Virat Kohli.
 
"?The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC) confirms that Mr Anil Kumble has withdrawn his services as the post of the Head Coach for the Senior India Men’s team," a brief statement from the BCCI said this evening.
 
"While the Cricket Advisory Committee had endorsed an extension to his tenure as Head Coach, Mr Anil Kumble has decided not to continue as the coach," the statement added.
 
Kumble's decision came just two days after India's humiliating loss to Pakistan in the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy tournament on sunday.
 
His one-year contact expired at the end of that tournament but the BCCI had given him the option to travel with the Indian team to the West Indies for the limited overs series beginning on Friday. But Kumble chose not to accompany the team and decided to stay back in London for the ICC Annual Conference, citing his commitments as the chairman of its Cricket Committee.
 
According to various accounts, the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and V V S Laxman, had conveyed to the Board that they had not been able to resolve the differences between Kumble and Kohli.
 
On May 25, before the start of the Champions Trophy tournament, the BCCI had invited applications from interested candidates for the position of Head Coach. Kumble was a direct entry for the process.
 
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Eros International signs two-film co-production deal with leading Turkish film company Pana Film

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd has announced two Indo-Turkish co-productions with one of the largest Turkish film studios, Pana Film, owned by leading Turkish actor Necati ?a?maz, best known for playing the lead role of Polat Alemdar in Turkey’s most popular television series Kurtlar Vadisi (Valley of the Wolves).
 
With proposed A list actors from India and Turkey, including ?a?maz himself, both films will be collaborative with shoot venues and crews in both countries and will be made bilingual, a press release from the company said.
 
Original stories blending Indian and Turkish cultures will be conceptualized and developed by Eros’ in-house writers along with top Turkish writers, it said.
 
Kishore Lulla, Chairman, Eros International said, “We are honored to associate with a powerhouse entity like Pana Film. Following our pioneering Indo-China joint production initiatives, we continue to expand the scope of Indian films internationally with our exciting Turkish collaboration. With our similar cultures, we want to tell stories with a mainstream appeal that transcend language and geographical boundaries. We hope our Indo-Turkish productions will pave the way to open one of the significant regions in the world and reach out to fans across the two countries and the MENA (Middle East to North Africa) regions”.
 
?a?maz added, “Pana Film greatly values this exciting partnership with Eros International.  Our common goal is to build a cultural bridge between both regions. With our Indian collaboration, we aim to expand our presence and tell new stories that can bring Indian and Turkish audiences together. Pana Film and Eros International will make history together as the co-producers of the first Indo-Turkish feature films, which will open new doors and provide endless opportunities for everyone involved with filmmaking. We consider this only the beginning of a new era and cannot wait for our fans to see the result of this successful partnership.”
 
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Cardinal Ivan Dias passes away in Rome at age of 81

Cardinal Ivan Dias
Cardinal Ivan Dias
Cardinal Ivan Dias, former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and nuncio to several countries, died in Rome today.
 
He was 81.
 
Cardinal Dias breathed his last around 8 pm today. The funeral details are awaited, an announcement by the Archdiocese of Bombay said here this evening.
 
Cardinal Dias had served as the Archbishop of Bombay from 1996 to 2006.
 
Born on April 14, 1936 in Mumbai, he was ordained for the Archdiocese of Bombay on December 8, 1958. He held a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome.
 
He entered the Holy See’s diplomatic service in 1964 and was posted to the Nordic countries, Indonesia, Madagascar, La Réunion, the Comorros, Mauritius and the Secretariat of State. On 8 May 1982, he was appointed titular Archbishop of Rusubisir and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Ghana, Togo and Benin, and received episcopal ordination on June 19 that year. He later served as Apostolic Nuncio in Korea (1987-91) and Albania (1991-97).
 
On November 8, 1996 he was appointed Archbishop of Bombay and served in that position till 2006.
 
He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Saint Pope John Paul II in the consistory of February 21, 2001.
 
Cardinal Ivan Dias was also President Delegate of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 2001). He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbanian University from 20 May 2006 until 10 May 2011.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders valued at Rs. 2231 crore

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs. 2231 crore across various business segments.
 
A press release from the company said these included a turnkey order worth Rs. 1324 crore bagged by its Building & Factories Business from Andhra Pradesh Township Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. for the construction of residential buildings in the West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. 
 
The project is the part of the Government's flagship Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) scheme and consists of residential tenements for the economical weaker sections, it said.
 
The scope of work includes construction of around 22,000 residential units on a fast track mode.
 
The release said the company's Power Transmission & Distribution (PT&D) Business had won orders worth Rs. 540 crore.
 
A transmission line order has been secured from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. to build a section in the +/- 800kV HVDC bipole link between the Western and Southern Regions. Having secured another stretch of the same corridor earlier, the PT&D business is constructing significant parts of this vital HVDC link, it said.
 
The company has also secured an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract from NHPC Ltd. for the development of a 50MW Grid Connected Solar PV project including the evacuation arrangements, near the border of Theni and Dindigul districts in Tamil Nadu.
 
The release said the company's Water & Effluent Treatment Business had won an order worth Rs. 367 crore from Tamil Nadu Water Supply & Drainage Board to execute a dedicated water supply project for Erode Corporation. The scope includes construction of an intake cum pump house in the river Cauvery, a 120 MLD water treatment plant, water storage structures along with supply & laying of clear water mains, feeder mains and distribution system, it added.
 
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India's forex reserves decline by $ 11.5 million to $ 381.156 billion

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India's foreign exchange reserves declined by $ 11.5 million to $ 381.156 billion during the week ended June 9, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country's forex reserves had soared by $ 2.404 billion to an all-time high of $ 381.168 billion during  the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement, the central bank said that  foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone down by $ 8.3 million to $ 357.282 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 20.096 billion during the week, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by $ 1.3 million to $ 1.471 billion.  
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 1.9 million to $ 2.308 billion during the week, the bulletin added.
 
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Vistara announces monsoon sale with all-in fares starting at Rs. 849

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Vistara, the joint venture between the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines (SIA), has announced a Great Monsoon Sale offering all-inclusive fares starting at Rs. 849 in economy class and Rs. 2099 in premium economy class.
 
A press release from the full-service carrier said bookings under the sale, which started yesterday, would remain open till midnight of June 17 for travel between June 28 and September 20.
 
"With Vistara, the fares are always what you see is what you get, with no hidden fees and fuel surcharges," it said.
 
The release said seats under the offer were limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis and the best fares are available for customers willing to make their travel plans at least 15 days in advance.
 
Bookings under the offer are open on www.airvistara.com, Vistara’s iOS and Android mobile apps, at Vistara’s airport ticket offices (ATOs), through Vistara’s call centre and through online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel agents. Vistara’s GDS partners include Abacus, Amadeus and Travelport, enabling customers to book via all major channels, the release added.
 
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RBI issues new batch of Rs. 500 banknotes with inset letter "A"

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today said it was issuing a new batch of Rs. 500 banknotes in continuation of the Mahatma Gandhi (new) series, which are currently legal tender.
 
The new notes have the inset letter "A" in both the number panels, bearing the signature of Dr. Urjit R. Patel Governor, RBI, with the year of printing '2017’ on the reverse, a press release from the central bank said.
 
The design of these notes is similar in all respects to the Rs. 500 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series which were first notified on November 8, 2016, the release added.
 
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Struggling model-actress Kritika Chaudhary found dead at Mumbai residence

 
Struggling model-actress found dead in mysterious circumstances
Kritika Chaudhary, a young struggling model and actress, was found dead at her residence in the Amboli area in Andheri here last last evening, police said.
 
Police broke open the door to her apartment, which was locked from outside, after neighbours complained of a foul smell emanating from it, and found her body in a decomposed state. The air-conditioner in the room was running when police entered the flat.
 
A police official told reporters that the body had been sent for an autopsy and that they had not come to any conclusions at this stage about the circumstances of her death. A case of accidental death has been registered.
 
Kritika, said to be in her mid-20s, had done a minor role in the 2013 Kangana Ranaut-starrer Rajjo. Hailing from Haridwar, she had come to Mumbai some years ago to pursue her dreams of a career in the tinsel world. She had made her debut in the television serial Parichay in 2011.
 
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Sun Pharma announces US FDA approval for generic Zetia tablets

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Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. today said that one of its wholly owned subsidiaries has received final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) for the generic version of Zetia (ezetimibe) tablets 10 mg.
 
These generic ezetimibe tablets are therapeutic equivalents of Merck’s Zetia tablets, a press release from the company said.
 
As per IMS, ezetimibe tablets had annual sales of approximately US$2.7 billion in the US for the 12 months ended April 2017, it said.
 
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Indian Navy launches search for Mexican woman cadet who fell overboard

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The Indian Navy has launched a search and rescue (SAR) mission to look for a Mexican woman cadet who reportedly fell overboard from Mexican Sail Training Ship (STS) Cuauhtemoc in the Arabian Sea yesterday.
 
The incident occurred at about 1400 hours yesterday about 560 nautical miles west of Goa when the ship was on its way to Mumbai.
 
An official press release said that it was reported that the woman was not donning life saving gear when she fell overboard.
 
Responding to the alert, Indian Navy's Boeing P81 aircraft undertook sorties from 2100 hours to 2300 hours yesterday and from 0630 hours to 1030 hours today.
 
INS Teg, which was enroute Mumbai from Port Louis, Mauritius has been diverted and is likely to arrive in the area at 1800 hours today. Additional INS Mysore, with two integral helicopters, has sailed from Mumbai this morning and is expected to reach the area tomorrow evening for search and rescue operations.
 
"No success has been reported yet on sighting / recovery of the lady cadet," the release said.
 
The Mexican sail ship is scheduled to visit Mumbai from June 21-26. Its last port of call was Port Said, Egypt and the next port of call is Singapore.
 
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Nine dead as bus overturns in Beed district of Maharashtra

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Nine passengers died and 12 others suffered injuries when a private bus they were travelling in veered off the road and overturned early this morning in Beed district of Maharashtra.
 
Official sources said the bus was on its way from Mumbai to Latur when the mishap occurred at around 5.30 am near Dhanora village.
 
Police officials and emergency services personnel rushed to the scene and helped remove the victims from the bus and rush the injured to a hospital in Ahmednagar.
 
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Maharashtra govt. announces loan waiver, farmers call off protests

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The Maharashtra government today announced a loan waiver for farmers and said it would set up a committee to finalise the conditions and details in this regard, following which agriculturists called off their protests.
 
"The government has decided to waive farmers' loans. Loans of farmers with small land holdings will be waived from today itself," State Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil told newspersons after a meeting with leaders of the farmers' agitation.
 
Mr. Patil is the head of a high-powered committee set up by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to address the issues raised by the farmers.
 
Mr. Patil said the Government and representatives of the farmers had reached a consensus at today's discussions. 
 
He said the State Government had also accepted the farmers' demand for an increase in milk prices. He said that, at the same time, milk societies would have to agree to a 70:30 formula for profit sharing on the lines of the sugar industry.
 
"Farmers and their betterment was, is and will always be this Government's top priority," he said.
 
Lok Sabha member Raju Shetti, one of the farmers' leaders, told journalists after the meeting he was happy that their demands had been accepted.
 
He said the farmers had decided to suspend their agitation, including the demonstrations slated for the next two days. He said that they would wait until July 25 for satisfactory criteria to be evolved for the loan waiver, failing which they would resume the agitation.
 
Farmers in several parts of the state had been staging protests since June 1 in support of their demands, including waiver of farm loans and fair prices for their produce.
 
A Group of Ministers will also hold discussions with various political parties for a broader consensus and inclusion, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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