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Mumbai businessman gets life, Rs 5 crore fine for creating hijack scare in 2018

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In the first conviction under the amended anti-hijacking law, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday sentenced a Mumbai-based businessman to a life term and a fine of Rs 5 crore for creating a hijack scare on a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight on October 30, 2017.
 
Convicting Birju Kishor Salla for violating provisions of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016, the court, in its order, said that the fine amount would be used to compensate each pilot of the Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339 with Rs 1 lakh, each air hostess with Rs 50,000 and each passenger with Rs 25,000 for the misery they underwent.
 
Salla was arrested by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) after a letter warning of a hijack and bomb threat was discovered on Mumbai-Delhi bound Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339, which had 122 passengers, including seven crew, on board. 
 
Following the scare, the flight had to be diverted to Ahmedabad and then grounded at the Ahmedabad airport. It was only after all passengers were disembarked and screened at a remote bay there that the flight was cleared for take-off.
 
The NIA took over the probe on November 7. During investigation, the NIA claimed that it found clinching evidence regarding preparation of the threat note and its placement on the plane. 
 
The pilot had alerted the Ahmedabad airport authorities about the threat letter, reported to be in Urdu and English. The NIA said that Salla intentionally put the printed threat letter inside the toilet to disrupt the aircraft operation thus jeopardising the safety of the passengers and the crew members on board. 
 
The NIA filed a charge sheet against Salla on January 23, 2018 in the NIA Court under several sections of Anti-Hijacking Act 2016.
 
IANS

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Reliance, BP sanction third phase of integrated KG D6 development

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Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BP today announced the sanction of the MJ project (also known as D55) in Block KG D6, offshore the east coast of India.
 
MJ is the third of three new projects in the Block KG D6 integrated development plan and its approval follows sanctions for the development of ‘R-Series’ deep-water gas field in June 2017 and for the Satellites cluster in April 2018, a press release from the company said.
 
Together the three projects are expected to develop a total of about 3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of discovered gas resources with a total investment of circa Rs. 35,000 crore (US$5 billion). These projects together, when fully developed, will bring about 1 billion cubic feet a day of new domestic gas onstream, phased over 2020-2022, it said.
 
Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of RIL, said: “Bringing these three discoveries to production, as promised in 2017, by leveraging the existing infrastructure has been the primary objective of the Reliance - BP Joint Venture. The gas will satiate the increasing demand for clean fuel in the country, save foreign exchange and reduce dependency on imported gas. We are excited about bringing this gas onshore from our third project on the East Coast of India to power the Indian economy with an environment-friendly fuel and help strengthen energy security while moving towards meeting India's Climate Change Goal.”
 
Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, welcomed the investment decision: “We are building an important upstream business in India, helping to supply the country’s growing gas market. Working closely with Reliance, we are efficiently developing discovered resources, with focused exploration to give options for the future. This latest investment is a further demonstration of BP’s commitment to India and helps support India in addressing the dual challenge and moving to a low carbon future.”
 
The release said MJ is a gas condensate field and is the third field under development as part of the  KG D6 integrated development campaign. The project is in 700-1100 metres water depth, with a well depth of 4200 metres below mean sea-level in a high-temperature and pressure environment. It comprises wells connected to a sub-sea production, with tie-back to a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel to process and separate liquids, and gas which will be exported to the onshore terminal through one of the existing 24 inch trunk pipelines. The project is expected to begin production in mid-2022.
 
The first of the three KG D6 projects under development, the R-Series project, is in execution phase.  All six wells have been drilled. With this, the first installation campaign; in which a 54-line km, 18”/4” piggyback flow line was installed in 1920m water depth – setting a new world record for deep-water pipelay installation, has been successfully completed. First gas from this project is on-schedule and expected by mid-2020. 
 
The second project, the development of the Satellites cluster, is on track with all major contracts awarded to deliver first gas by mid-2021. The MJ project will draw on execution synergies with the R-Series and Satellite projects being developed, concurrently, the  release said.
 
India today consumes over 5 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas and aspires to double gas consumption by 2022. Gas production from KG D6 integrated development is expected to help reduce India’s import dependence and amount to over 10% of the country’s projected gas demand in 2022; benefiting India and domestic consumers at large.
 
BP had, in 2011, taken a 30% stake in multiple oil and gas blocks in India operated by RIL, including the producing Block KG D6.
 
Since formation of this partnership in 2011, the two companies have invested over Rs. 13,000 crore (US$2 billion) in deep-water exploration and production to date. In addition to the D55 gas discovery announced in 2013, the partnership has combined BP’s technology and skills with RIL’s execution and operational capability to sustain production from the geologically complex reservoirs in D1D3 on Block KG D6. This has included the deployment of world-leading technologies for production from deep-water gas fields for the first time in India.
 
With its many investments in India and employing around 7,500 people in the oil, gas, lubricants and petrochemicals businesses, BP is one of the largest international energy companies in India. In addition to its gas value chain alliance with Reliance Industries Ltd., BP’s activities include Castrol lubricants; the licensing of competitive petrochemical technologies; oil and gas trading; clean energy projects through investment in Lightsource BP; IT and procurement back office activities; staffing and training for BP’s global marine fleet; and the recruitment of skilled Indian employees for its global businesses. India Gas Solutions Private Limited, a 50:50 joint venture to source and market gas in India, is also part of BP’s gas value chain alliance with RIL.
 
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Global cues push equities higher; banking stocks gain

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Global cues on the back of ease in trade protectionist measures along with hopes of healthy inflation and industrial production data pushed the Indian equity market higher on Tuesday.
 
Additionally, hopes over a reduced bad debt burden on the banking sector and a stronger rupee buoyed investors sentiments.
 
Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex closed 165.94 points or 0.42 per cent higher at 39,950.46 points, while the NSE Nifty50 was up 42.90 points or 0.36 per cent at 11,965.60 points.
 
Sectorally, the top gainers were the BSE metal, oil and gas, banking and telecom indices, whereas, the top losers were the BSE capital goods and FMCG indices.
 
"Markets ended with healthy gains on Tuesday. It was the third consecutive session of gains for the Nifty. The gains came on the back of positive global cues as investor concerns eased after the US shelved plans to impose tariffs on Mexico," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
 
"Technically, with the Nifty rallying further, the bulls remain in control. Further upsides are likely once the immediate resistance of 12,001 is taken out. Crucial support to watch for any weakness is at 11,904."
 
"Positive momentum was triggered in banking stocks based on report that system-wide NPA level has declined to 9.3 per cent in March 2019 from 11.5 per cent a year back," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
"Still the broad trajectory of the market remains indecisive and await fresh triggers in this expensive valuation. News of government stimulus in China boosted Asian and European equities while trade war concerns has also subsided marginally. Further tensions can emerge ahead of the G20 meet this month given the war of words exchanged between China and the US."
 
In terms of investment, both foreign and domestic institutional investors (FIIs/DIIs) sold stocks. FIIs bought stocks worth Rs 95.79 crore, while DIIs sold stocks to the tune of Rs 151.01 crore.
 
On the currency front, the rupee on Tuesday strengthened by 20 paise to 69.45 per US dollar from its previous close of 69.65.
 
IANS
 

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Indian equity indices turn flat after opening in green

The key Indian equity indices traded on a flat note on Tuesday after opening in the positive territory.
 
At 9.33 a.m., the BSE Sensex traded at 39,790.50, higher by just 5.98 points or 0.02 per cent from the previous close of 39,784.52.
 
It had opened over 100 points higher at 39,900.45 points and has so far touched an intra-day high of 39,926.82 and a low of 39,778.15 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,914.40, lower by 8.30 points or 0.07 per cent from the previous close of 11,922.70 points.
 
It had opened at 11,959.85 points.
 
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Equity market rises on US-Mexico deal; NBFC fears exist

The Indian equity indices rose for the second consecutive trading session on Monday supported by positive global cues as the US and Mexico on Friday struck a deal to avert a tariff war between the two countries.
 
The rise was led by the export-oriented IT stocks, but looming concerns of a liquidity crisis in the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) persisted, leading to a decline in the banking and financial stocks, analysts said.
 
The banking and financial stocks trimmed the initial gains in the market. US President Donald Trump said he would drop plans for tariffs on Mexico after the country promised new steps to check illegal migration into the US.
 
"I am pleased to inform you that the United States of America has reached a signed agreement with Mexico," Trump said in a tweet on Friday night. 
 
"The tariffs scheduled to be implemented by the US on Monday, against Mexico, are hereby indefinitely suspended."
 
The Sensex on Monday closed at 39,784.52, higher by 168.62 points, or 0.43 per cent, than the previous close of 39,615.90 points.
 
Earlier in the day, it rose 363 points to touch an intra-day high of 39,979.48. Its intra-day low was 39,619.97 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange closed the day's trade at 11,922.70, higher by 52.05 points or 0.44 per cent, over the previous close of 11,870.65.
 
Data on the BSE showed that foreign institutional investors (FII) invested a net amount of Rs 216.20 crore and the domestic institutional investors (DII) invested a net amount of Rs 170.62 crore.
 
On the Sensex, the top gainers during the day were Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank and ITC and the major losers were Yes Bank, Coal India, Tata Motors, ONGC and Hero MotoCorp.
 
In a major stock-wise development, shares of Jammu and Kashmir Bank settled 12 per cent lower after its Chairman Parvez Ahmed was removed by the state government on Saturday on charges of nepotism and corruption.
 
The state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) also carried out a raid at the bank's corporate office in Srinagar for two days after Ahmed's removal. ACB officials said documentary evidence regarding the mismanagement, nepotism and corruption by the ousted Chairman were collected and investigations were on.
 
Earlier in the day, the shares of Jammu and Kashmir Bank slumped nearly 20 per cent to an intra-day low of Rs 47.60 per share. On Monday, the bank said that it has received the Reserve Bank's approval to appoint R. K. Chhibber as the interim Chairman and Managing Director of the bank for a period of three months with immediate effect.
 
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Yuvraj Singh retires from all forms of cricket

File photo of Yuvraj Singh
File photo of Yuvraj Singh
After 25 years in and around the 22 yards and almost 17 years of international cricket, swashbuckling all-rounder Yuvraj Singh on Monday announced his retirement from all forms of the game.
 
"Only if I could articulate what cricket has done for me, to me! But let me tell you this, cricket has given me everything I have and it is the reason why I sit here today," said Yuvraj, whose on-field exploits defined India's last two World Cup triumphs.
 
With a career that spanned over 304 ODIs, 58 T20s and 40 Tests, Yuvraj imprinted his place in the echelons of cricket as a player who could pretty much win matches for his side either through his electric fielding, deceiving bowling or fierce batting. 
 
Big-ticket events brought out the best from the big-hitting player, be it his international cricket entry at 2000 Champions Trophy, the mind-numbing batting exhibition at the inaugural 2007 World T20 or the all-round performance at the 2011 World Cup.
 
His teenage entry in the U-19 cricket World Cup surely was an indication of things to come. In his second ODI ever, Yuvraj took the Australian fast bowling battery to the cleaners in an exhibition of fearless batting in Nairobi during the 2000 Champions Trophy, which also earned him the Man of the Match award.
 
It took three years before he could score his first ODI century, and also earn his Test cap. In Test cricket, Yuvraj had an affinity for Pakistan, scoring all his three centuries against them, first on a green top in Lahore in 2004, second in Karachi in 2006 and third, his best of 169, in Bengaluru.
 
His exploits at World T20 in South Africa have remained untouched till date. Yuvraj's willow-wielding ways gave nightmares to almost every bowler through the tournament. Clobbering six sixes in the penultimate over bowled by Englishman Stuart Broad in Kingsmead was a moment not many cricket fans will forget. That performance against England took Yuvraj on top of the pile of fastest 50s in a T20I match, scoring 50 in just 12 balls, a record that still stands. 
 
As time passed, the left-hander became an established middle-order lynchpin for Indian team, and a man with golden arm too. A testimony of his accomplished all-round abilities was the 2011 World Cup where Yuvraj became the first all-rounder to score 300 plus runs and to take 15 wickets in a single edition of the prestigious quadrennial event. The feat included four MoM awards and Man of the Tournament for the 362 runs and 15 wickets.
 
"Winning the 2011 World Cup, being man of the series, four MoM awards was all like a dream, which was followed with a harsh reality of getting diagnosed with cancer," reminisced Yuvraj.
 
"All this happened so quickly and that too when I was at the peak of my career. I can't possibly explain the support of my family and friends who stood by me, like my pillars of strength and courage. The BCCI and its president at that time N. Srinivasan too supported me during my treatment," he added.
 
A fighter to the core, Yuvraj battled all odds to return to cricket after successfully treating the rare germ cell tumour. An appearance at the 2014 T20 World Cup finals looked like a perfect script until Yuvraj found the going tough. 
 
"This was probably the most difficult time in my cricket career, the 2014 T20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka when I laboured to 11 off 21 balls. It was so shattering that I felt my career was all but over, everyone wrote me off too... But I never stopped believing in myself," remarked Yuvraj.
 
The urge to play top-level cricket again pushed Yuvraj to go through the grind and the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season saw him scoring 672 runs at an impressive average of 84.00, something selectors found worth rewarding him another go. 
 
He came back for the home series against England in 2017 and how. A career-best of 150 against English team in Cuttack got everyone to witness pure nostalgia -- the Yuvraj they were used to see.
 
"I am extremely lucky to play 400+ games for India, I for one, would have not imagined doing this when I started my career as a cricketer. Through this journey, some matches that remain etched in my memory were the 2002 NatWest final, my first test hundred in Lahore in 2004, the 2007 ODI series in England, six sixes at the 2007 T20 World Cup, that match when we realised to have not gone beyond at 2007 50-over World Cup and then the most memorable was 2011 World Cup finals," said Yuvraj recalling his careers highlights.
 
For now, he wishes to focus his energies on helping and enabling people affected with cancer. "My next focus is enabling and helping people with cancer through my charity YouWeCan. I really want to make a difference to the society by setting an example through my inspiring story," Yuvraj said.
 
"I would like to thank my family, my mother, especially, who is present here today; my loving mother who has been the pillar of strength and gave me birth twice, my loving wife who stood by me in my tough times and my close friends who get sick of me but are always there for me, everybody who I love is here today except my dad. So I think it's a perfect day to move on...," he concluded.
 
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Equity indices open in green, Sensex up 320 points

The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Monday, in line with the Asian stocks, with the BSE Sensex trading 320 points higher.
 
Both the domestic and Asian investor sentiment strenthened after US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he would not impose 5 per cent tariffs on Mexican exports, as Mexico agreed to strengthen immigration enforcement.
 
At 9.29 a.m., the Sensex traded at 39,937.14, higher by 321.24 points or 0.81 per cent from the previous close of 39,615.90 points.
 
It had opened at 39,787.33 and touched an intra-day high of 39,953.64 and a low of 39,785.14 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,959.90, higher by 89.25 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 11,870.65 points.
 
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Value buying, easing of global monetary policy lift equities

Value buying along with hopes of greater inflows of foreign funds, following global central banks' move towards easier monetary policy stance, aided the Indian equity market to make gains after a choppy trade session on Friday.
 
However, outflow of foreign funds coupled with a weak rupee and NBFC induced liquidity crisis capped gains.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex closed 86.18 points or 0.22 per cent higher at 39,615.90 points, while the NSE Nifty50 was up 26.90 points or 0.23 per cent at 11,870.65 points.
 
Sectorally, the top gainers were the BSE telecom, bankex and consumer durables indices, whereas the top losers were the BSE power, realty, healthcare and metal indices.
 
"Markets ended with modest gains after a volatile session that saw the Nifty witnessing a roller coaster ride. Action however was range bound across sectors as none of the sectors closed more than '+/- 1 per cent' compared to their previous close," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities. 
 
"Technically, while the Nifty has bounced back, the short term trend remains down. Further downsides are likely once the immediate support of 11769 is broken. Any pullback rallies could find resistances at 11897-11929 band." 
 
According to Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services: "On-going funding challenges faced by NBFCs prompted investors to focus on to select banking stocks while weak rupee add some impetus to IT stocks."
 
"The global central bank is moving to a rate cut cycle to combat weaker growth which supported Asian and European markets but trade war concerns continue to limit gains. Investors to remain focused on fresh triggers in the upcoming union budget and US job data to get cues on further direction."
 
In terms of investment, both foreign and domestic institutional investors (FIIs/DIIs) sold stocks. FIIs off-loaded stocks worth Rs 478.84crore, while DIIs bought stocks to the tune of Rs 179.79 crore.
 
On the currency front, the rupee on Friday weakened by 21 paise to 69.48 per US dollar from its previous close of 69.27.
 
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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 1.875 billion to $ 421.867 billion

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Maintaining an uptrend for the second consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.875 billion to $ 421.867 billion during the week ended May 31, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had gone up by $ 1.994 billion to $ 419.992 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.946 billion to $ 394.134 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 fell by $ 62.9 million to $ 22.958 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) declined by $ 2.3 million to $ 1.443 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 5.3 million to $ 3.3314 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Sensex crashes over 500 points on 'low' rate cut

Disappointment over a less-than-expected lending rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dragged the S&P BSE Sensex more than 500 points lower on Thursday.
 
According to market observers, investors were also rattled by a downward revision in the country's GDP growth rate to 7 per cent from 7.2 per cent in 2019-20.
 
Besides, a new default in the NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) space also hurt investors. According to reports, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) had missed interest payments due on Tuesday, following which rating agencies ICRA and CARE downgraded DHFL's commerical paper worth Rs 850 crore to "default".
 
The BSE Sensex closed 553.82 points or 1.38 per cent lower at 39,529.72 points, while the NSE Nifty50 was down 177.90 points or 1.48 per cent at 11,843.75 points.
 
Almost all sectoral indices, except consumer durables, IT and FMCG, closed in the red. Particularly impacted were the interest rate sensitive stocks such as banking, automobile and capital goods.
 
Additionally, stocks with exposure to DHFL came under selling pressure even as its NCDs fell sharply after rating agencies downgraded its credit rating to D.
 
On Thursday, RBI lowered its key lending rate for commercial banks by 25 basis points (bps) to 5.75 per cent.
 
Besides, the RBI changed the monetary policy stance from neutral to accommodative. The significance of such a move can be gauged by the fact that the RBI has reduced its growth forecast to 7 per cent in 2019-20 from 7.2 per cent.
 
The decision to reduce the repo rate was taken by the RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its second monetary policy review of the ongoing fiscal.
 
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Markets disappointed over lower rate cut; Sensex, Nifty plunge

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Disappointment over a lower-than-expected lending rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) dragged the key indices of the Indian equity market down during Thursday's afternoon session.
 
According to market observers, investors were also rattled by another default in the NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) space.
 
Accordingly, at 1.05 p.m., the S&P BSE Sensex traded 283.02 points or 0.71 per cent lower at 39,800.52 points, while the Nifty was down 95.15 points or 0.79 per cent at 11,926.50 points.
 
Almost all sectoral indices, except consumer durables, IT and FMCG, were in the red. Especially impacted were the interest rate sensitive stocks such as banking, automobile and capital goods.
 
Additionally, stocks with exposure to DHFL came under selling pressure even as its NCDs fell sharply after rating agencies downgraded its credit rating to D.
 
"Markets were disappointed over the fact that there were no immediate liquidity boosting measures that were announced. Though the RBI has constituted a working group on the same," Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities, said. 
 
"Investors were also disappointed over the lower than expected rate cut and on the back of the DHFL default." 
 
On Thursday, RBI lowered its key lending rate for commercial banks by 25 basis points (bps) to 5.75 per cent.
 
Besides, the RBI changed the monetary policy stance from neutral to accommodative. The significance of such a move can be gauged by the fact that the RBI has reduced its growth forecast to 7 per cent in 2019-20 from 7.2 per cent.
 
The decision to reduce the repo rate was taken by the RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its second monetary policy review of the ongoing fiscal. 
 
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Full Text: RBI's Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20

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Following is the text of the Reserve Bank of India's Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20 issued here today, based on the resolution of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):
 
On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting today decided to:
 
reduce the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points to 5.75 per cent from 6.0 per cent with immediate effect.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.50 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.0 per cent.
 
The MPC also decided to change the stance of monetary policy from neutral to accommodative.
 
These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.
 
The main considerations underlying the decision are set out in the statement below.
 
Assessment
 
Global Economy
 
2. Global economic activity has been losing pace after a somewhat improved performance in Q1:2019, reflecting further slowdown in trade and manufacturing activity. Among advanced economies (AEs), economic activity in the US strengthened in Q1, supported by higher government spending, increase in private investment and a lower trade deficit. However, factory activity and retail sales moderated in April. Economic activity in the Euro area has remained weak due to muted industrial activity and weak business confidence. Leading indicators point to a further slowdown in the Euro area in Q2. In the UK, GDP growth for Q1 picked up on high retail sales and government expenditure. However, the outlook is clouded by uncertainty relating to Brexit. The Japanese economy accelerated in Q1 on net exports gains and increased public investment. In April, industrial production improved, while retail sales fell.
 
3. Economic activity has slowed in many emerging market economies (EMEs). In Q1:2019, the Chinese economy grew at the same pace as in the previous quarter, though slightly above consensus expectations. However, incoming data on industrial production and retail sales suggest that the growth momentum may weaken in Q2. The Russian economy, which had shown some signs of recovery in Q4:2018, weakened in Q1 on muted domestic activity and trade. Economic activity in South Africa contracted in Q1 pulled down mainly by a sharp decline in manufacturing activity. Brazil’s economy contracted in Q1 for the first time since 2016 and there are fears that it could return to recession.
 
4. Crude oil prices remained volatile, reflecting evolving demand-supply conditions underpinned by the production stance of the OPEC plus, rising shale output, weakening global demand and geopolitical concerns. The strengthening of the US dollar had weakened gold prices; however, prices picked up since the last week of May on escalating trade tensions, reviving its demand as a safe haven asset. Inflation remains below target in several economies, though it has shown an uptick since March.
 
5. Financial markets have been driven by uncertainties surrounding US-China trade negotiations and Brexit. In the US, the equity market has experienced some selling pressures since early May on escalation of trade tensions with China and recently, with Mexico. Equity markets in most EMEs have lost steam due to the waning risk appetite on rising geopolitical uncertainties and weakening global trade prospects. Bond yields in the US picked up in April on better GDP data for Q1, but declined in May on subdued economic data and expectations of a dovish monetary policy stance. Bond yields in Germany slipped into negative territory on weak economic data; in Japan, they remained negative on indications of sustained accommodation. In many EMEs, bond yields have been falling with central banks adopting accommodative monetary policy to boost economic growth. In currency markets, the US dollar strengthened on better than expected domestic economic data for Q1. Most EME currencies have depreciated against the US dollar.
 
Domestic Economy
 
6. Turning to the domestic economy, on May 31, 2019 the National Statistical Office (NSO) released quarterly estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for Q4:2018-19 and provisional estimates of national income for 2018-19. GDP growth for 2018-19 has been estimated at 6.8 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y), down by 20 basis points from the second advance estimates released on February 28, pulled down by a downward revision in private final consumption expenditure (PFCE) and moderation in exports. Quarterly data show that domestic economic activity decelerated sharply to 5.8 per cent in Q4:2018-19 from 6.6 per cent in Q3 and 8.1 per cent in Q4:2017-18. Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) growth declined sharply to 3.6 per cent, after remaining in double digits in the previous five quarters. Private consumption growth also moderated. The drag on aggregate demand from net exports increased in Q4 due to a sharper deceleration in exports relative to imports. However, the overall slowdown in growth was cushioned by a large increase in government final consumption expenditure (GFCE).
 
7. On the supply side, agriculture and allied activities contracted, albeit marginally, in Q4:2018-19 due to a decline in rabi production. According to the third advance estimates, foodgrains production at 283.4 million tonnes for 2018-19 was lower by 0.6 per cent compared with the previous year mainly due to lower production of rabi rice, pulses and coarse cereals. However, there has been a catch-up in foodgrains production relative to earlier estimates. Foodgrains stocks at 72.6 million tonnes as on May 16, 2019 were 3.4 times the prescribed buffer norms. Growth in manufacturing activity weakened sharply to 3.1 per cent from 6.4 per cent in the previous quarter. Service sector growth, however, accelerated, supported by financial, real estate and professional services, and public administration, defence and other services. In contrast, construction activity slowed down markedly.
 
8. Moving beyond Q4, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that south-west monsoon rainfall (June to September) is likely to be normal at 96 per cent of the long period average (LPA). The current weak El Niño conditions over the Pacific are likely to continue during the monsoon. However, currently prevailing neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions may turn positive in the middle of the monsoon season and persist thereafter, which augur well for the rainfall outlook.
 
9. Growth in eight core industries decelerated sharply in April, pulled down largely by coal, crude oil, fertilisers and cement. Credit flows from banks to large industries strengthened, though they remained muted for micro, small and medium industries. Based on early results of the Reserve Bank’s order books, inventory and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS), capacity utilisation (CU) in the manufacturing sector improved to 77 per cent in Q4 from 75.9 per cent in Q3; seasonally adjusted CU, however, slipped marginally to 75.2 per cent in Q4 from 75.8 per cent in Q3. The business assessment index (BAI) of the industrial outlook survey (IOS) in Q1:2019-20 remained unchanged at its level in the previous quarter. Imports of capital goods – a key indicator of investment activity – remained anaemic in April. However, the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) edged up to 52.7 in May with strengthening of output, new orders and employment.
 
10. High-frequency indicators suggest moderation in activity in the service sector. Sales of commercial vehicles, tractors, passenger cars, and three and two-wheelers contracted in April. Railway freight traffic growth decelerated. Domestic air passenger traffic growth contracted in March, but turned around modestly in April. Two key indicators of construction activity, viz., cement production and steel consumption, slowed down in April. The PMI services index moderated to 50.2 in May on subdued growth of new businesses.
 
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11. Retail inflation, measured by y-o-y change in CPI, remained unchanged in April, at its March level of 2.9 per cent, with higher inflation in food and fuel groups being offset by lower inflation in items excluding food and fuel.
 
12. The April food inflation print showed an increase to 1.4 per cent from 0.7 per cent in March. Within the food group, vegetables moved out of nine months of deflation. However, three sub-groups, viz., fruits, pulses and sugar, remained in deflation in April, though the extent of deflation moderated. Among other food sub-groups, inflation in prices of milk, oils and fats, spices, non-alcoholic beverages and prepared meals moderated, while inflation in meat, fish and eggs prices ticked up.
 
13. Inflation in the fuel and light group rose to 2.6 per cent in April from the February trough of 1.2 per cent, pulled up by prices of liquified petroleum gas due to an increase in international prices. Inflation in subsidised kerosene also rose, reflecting the impact of the calibrated increase in its administered price. Electricity prices moved out of three months of deflation in April. Prices of rural fuel consumption items – firewood, chips and dung cake – moved into deflation.
 
14. CPI inflation excluding food and fuel fell sharply to 4.5 per cent in April from 5.1 per cent in March – the largest monthly decline since April 2017. The moderation in inflation was broad-based, with household goods and services, and personal care and effects sub-groups registering the largest fall in April; housing inflation was the lowest since June 2017, reflecting softening in house rents in urban areas. Inflation in clothing and footwear also touched its historical low in the new all-India CPI series. Inflation in education, health and transportation and communication moderated as well.
 
15. Inflation expectations of households in the May 2019 round of Reserve Bank’s survey declined by 20 basis points for the three-month ahead horizon compared with the previous round, but remained unchanged for the one-year-ahead horizon. However, manufacturing firms participating in the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey expect input cost pressures to intensify on account of higher raw material costs and salaries in Q2. Input price pressures eased in both agricultural and industrial raw materials. Nominal growth in rural wages and in organised sector staff costs remained muted.
 
16. Liquidity in the system turned into an average daily surplus of Rs. 66,000 crore (Rs. 660 billion) in early June after remaining in deficit during April and most of May due to restrained government spending. The Reserve Bank injected liquidity of Rs. 70,000 crore (Rs. 700 billion) in April and Rs. 33,400 crore (Rs. 334 billion) in May on a daily net average basis under the LAF. It conducted two OMO purchase auctions in May amounting to Rs. 25,000 crore (Rs. 250 billion) and a US dollar buy/sell swap auction of US$ 5 billion (Rs. 34,874 crore) for a tenor of 3 years in April to inject durable liquidity into the system. The weighted average call money rate (WACR) – the operating target of monetary policy – remained broadly aligned with the policy repo rate: it traded above the policy repo rate (on an average) by 6 bps in April, but below the policy repo rate by 6 bps in May. The Reserve Bank has announced that it would conduct an OMO purchase auction of Rs. 15,000 crore (Rs. 150 billion) on June 13, 2019.
 
17. Transmission of the cumulative reduction of 50 bps in the policy repo rate in February and April 2019 was 21 bps to the weighted average lending rate (WALR) on fresh rupee loans. However, the WALR on outstanding rupee loans increased by 4 bps as the past loans continue to be priced at high rates. Interest rates on longer tenor money market instruments remained broadly aligned with the overnight WACR, reflecting near full transmission of the reduction in policy rate.
 
18. Exports were unable to sustain the growth of 11.8 per cent observed in March 2019; they grew by 0.6 per cent in April 2019 dragged down by engineering goods, gems and jewellery, and leather products. Imports grew at a somewhat accelerated pace in April 2019 relative to the preceding month, driven by imports of petroleum (crude and products), gold and machinery. This led to a widening of the trade deficit, both sequentially and on a y-o-y basis. Provisional data suggest that net services exports in Q4:2018-19 were broadly comparable to their level a year ago which bode well for the current account balance. On the financing side, net foreign direct investment flows were stronger in Q4:2018-19 than a year ago. After a sharp recovery in March 2019, net foreign portfolio inflows were relatively modest at US$ 2.3 billion in 2019-20 in April-May. While the equity segment received net inflows during this period, the debt segment witnessed net outflows. India’s foreign exchange reserves were at US$ 421.9 billion on May 31, 2019.
 
Outlook
 
19. In the bi-monthly monetary policy resolution of April 2019, CPI inflation was projected at 2.4 per cent for Q4:2018-19, 2.9-3.0 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 3.5-3.8 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced. The headline inflation outcome in Q4 at 2.5 per cent was largely in alignment with the April policy projections.
 
20. The baseline inflation trajectory for 2019-20 is shaped by several factors. First, the summer pick-up in vegetable prices has been sharper than expected, though this may be accompanied by a correspondingly larger reversal during autumn and winter. More recent information also suggests a broad-based pick-up in prices in several food items. This has imparted an upward bias to the near-term trajectory of food inflation. Second, a significant weakening of domestic and external demand conditions appear to have led to a sharp broad-based decline of 60 bps in inflation excluding food and fuel in April; this has imparted a downward bias to the inflation trajectory for the rest of the year. Third, crude prices have continued to be volatile. However, its impact on CPI inflation has been muted so far due to incomplete pass-through. Fourth, near-term inflation expectations of households have continued to moderate. Taking into consideration these factors, the impact of recent policy rate cuts and expectations of a normal monsoon in 2019, the path of CPI inflation is revised to 3.0-3.1 per cent for H1:2019-20 and to 3.4-3.7 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced.
 
21. Risks around the baseline inflation trajectory emanate from uncertainties relating to the monsoon, unseasonal spikes in vegetable prices, international fuel prices and their pass-through to domestic prices, geo-political tensions, financial market volatility and the fiscal scenario.
 
22. In the April policy, GDP growth for 2019-20 was projected at 7.2 per cent – in the range of 6.8-7.1 per cent for H1 and 7.3-7.4 per cent for H2 – with risks evenly balanced. Data for Q4:2018-19 indicate that domestic investment activity has weakened and overall demand has been weighed down partly by slowing exports. Weak global demand due to escalation in trade wars may further impact India’s exports and investment activity. Further, private consumption, especially in rural areas, has weakened in recent months. However, on the positive side, political stability, high capacity utilisation, the uptick in business expectations in Q2, buoyant stock market conditions and higher financial flows to the commercial sector augur well for investment activity. Taking into consideration the above factors and the impact of recent policy rate cuts, GDP growth for 2019-20 is revised downwards from 7.2 per cent in the April policy to 7.0 per cent – in the range of 6.4-6.7 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 7.2-7.5 per cent for H2 – with risks evenly balanced.
 
23. The MPC notes that growth impulses have weakened significantly as reflected in a further widening of the output gap compared to the April 2019 policy. A sharp slowdown in investment activity along with a continuing moderation in private consumption growth is a matter of concern. The headline inflation trajectory remains below the target mandated to the MPC even after taking into account the expected transmission of the past two policy rate cuts. Hence, there is scope for the MPC to accommodate growth concerns by supporting efforts to boost aggregate demand, and in particular, reinvigorate private investment activity, while remaining consistent with its flexible inflation targeting mandate.
 
24. Against this backdrop, all members of the MPC (Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, Dr. Viral V. Acharya and Shri Shaktikanta Das) unanimously decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis points and change the stance of monetary policy from neutral to accommodative.
 
25. The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by June 20, 2019.
 
26. The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during August 5 to 7, 2019.
 
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RBI reduces repo rate by 25 bps to 5.75%, changes stance to accommodative

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The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today reduced its key policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points (bps) to 5.75 per cent from 6.0 per cent with immediate effect, saying there was scope to accommodate growth concerns by supporting efforts to boost aggregate demand.
 
The MPC also decided to change the stance of monetary policy from neutral to accommodative.
 
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF stood adjusted to 5.50 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.0 per cent, the central bank's Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20, based on the resolution of the MPC, said.
 
"These decisions are in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth," it said.
 
The statement said all members of the MPC (Dr. Chetan Ghate, Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra, RBI Deputy Governor Viral V. Acharya and RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das) unanimously decided to reduce the policy repo rate by 25 basis and change the stance of monetary policy from neutral to accommodative.
 
This was the third consecutive reduction in the repo rate by the RBI. The MPC had reduced the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25% in its Sixth Bi-Monthly Monetary Police Statement for 2018-19 on February 7 and then  in its First Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2019-20 on April 4.
 
The statement recalled that, in the bi-monthly monetary policy resolution of April 2019, CPI inflation was projected at 2.4 per cent for Q4:2018-19, 2.9-3.0 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 3.5-3.8 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced. "The headline inflation outcome in Q4 at 2.5 per cent was largely in alignment with the April policy projections," it said.
 
"The baseline inflation trajectory for 2019-20 is shaped by several factors. First, the summer pick-up in vegetable prices has been sharper than expected, though this may be accompanied by a correspondingly larger reversal during autumn and winter. More recent information also suggests a broad-based pick-up in prices in several food items. This has imparted an upward bias to the near-term trajectory of food inflation. 
 
"Second, a significant weakening of domestic and external demand conditions appear to have led to a sharp broad-based decline of 60 bps in inflation excluding food and fuel in April; this has imparted a downward bias to the inflation trajectory for the rest of the year. Third, crude prices have continued to be volatile. However, its impact on CPI inflation has been muted so far due to incomplete pass-through. Fourth, near-term inflation expectations of households have continued to moderate. 
 
"Taking into consideration these factors, the impact of recent policy rate cuts and expectations of a normal monsoon in 2019, the path of CPI inflation is revised to 3.0-3.1 per cent for H1:2019-20 and to 3.4-3.7 per cent for H2:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced," it said.
 
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The statement said risks around the baseline inflation trajectory emanate from uncertainties relating to the monsoon, unseasonal spikes in vegetable prices, international fuel prices and their pass-through to domestic prices, geopolitical tensions, financial market volatility and the fiscal scenario.
 
"In the April policy, GDP growth for 2019-20 was projected at 7.2 per cent – in the range of 6.8-7.1 per cent for H1 and 7.3-7.4 per cent for H2 – with risks evenly balanced. Data for Q4:2018-19 indicate that domestic investment activity has weakened and overall demand has been weighed down partly by slowing exports. Weak global demand due to an escalation in trade wars may further impact India’s exports and investment activity. Further, private consumption, especially in rural areas, has weakened in recent months. 
 
"However, on the positive side, political stability, high capacity utilisation, the uptick in business expectations in Q2, buoyant stock market conditions and higher financial flows to the commercial sector augur well for investment activity. Taking into consideration the above factors and the impact of recent policy rate cuts, GDP growth for 2019-20 is revised downwards from 7.2 per cent in the April policy to 7.0 per cent – in the range of 6.4-6.7 per cent for H1:2019-20 and 7.2-7.5 per cent for H2 – with risks evenly balanced," it said.
 
"The MPC notes that growth impulses have weakened significantly as reflected in a further widening of the output gap compared to the April 2019 policy. A sharp slowdown in investment activity along with a continuing moderation in private consumption growth is a matter of concern. The headline inflation trajectory remains below the target mandated to the MPC even after taking into account the expected transmission of the past two policy rate cuts. Hence, there is scope for the MPC to accommodate growth concerns by supporting efforts to boost aggregate demand, and in particular, reinvigorate private investment activity, while remaining consistent with its flexible inflation targeting mandate," it said.
 
The minutes of the MPC’s meeting will be published by June 20, 2019.  The next meeting of the MPC is scheduled during August 5 to 7, 2019.
 
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Key Indian equity market in red

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Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher but immediately on commencement of trading, both the indices were quoting in red, ahead of the Reserve Bank of India's bi-monthly monetary policy announcement.
 
The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 40,083.54 on Tuesday, opened higher at 40,136.43.
 
Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 40,016.87, down by 66.67 points, or 0.17 per cent.
 
The markets remained closed on Wednesday on account of Eid-ul-Fitr
 
At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader Nifty 50, which had closed at 12,021.65 on Tuesday, was quoting at 11,999.50, down by 22.15 points or 0.18 per cent.
 
The Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI will announce its resolution under the Second Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2019-20 later in the day.
 
On Thursday, Asian indices were mostly showing a positive trend. Japan's Nikkei 225 was quoting in green, up by 0.17 per cent; Hang Seng was also up by 0.27 per cent. South Korea's Kospi was quoting in green, up by 0.10 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite was, trading in red though, down by 0.50 per cent.
 
Overnight, Nasdaq closed in green, up by 0.64 per cent while FTSE was also up by 0.08 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.
 
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Actor Dinyar Contractor passes away at 79

Dinyar Contractor
Dinyar Contractor
Veteran actor, comedian and model Dinyar Contractor passed away here on Wednesday morning, according to family sources.
 
He was 79 and was suffering from old-age related issues.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Smriti Irani condoled his death.
 
"Dinyar Contractor was special because he spread lots of happiness. His versatile acting brought smiles on several faces. Be it theatre, television or films, he excelled across all mediums. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and admirers," Modi tweeted.
 
Irani wrote: "He brought bursts of laughter with him wherever he went, he lit up the screen and our lives with his wit and charm. We will miss your presence Dinyar bhai. Rest in Peace Padma Shri Dinyar Contractor, theatre legend, actor par excellence."
 
Dinyar Contractor was an accomplished actor, comedian and was renowned for his work in Gujarati and English theatre, TV serials and films. He acted in several Gujarati, Hindi and English stage productions as well as Hindi movies.
 
Launching his acting career while at school, he began as a professional in 1966 in Mumbai.
 
Initially, he was seen on television programmes with the legendary Adi Marzban when Mumbai Doordarshan launched the DD-2 channel in Mumbai with "Aao Marvao Meri Saathe," a Gujarati programme. 
 
He was awarded the Padma Shri in January 2019.
 
Popular for his roly poly looks, his ability to tweak both ears and other acting skills, some of the prominent films in which he acted in "Baazigar", "Khiladi" and "36 China Town".
 
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Comedian Dinyar Contractor passes away at 79

Dinyar Contractor
Dinyar Contractor
Veteran model, comedian, film and theatre actor Dinyar Contractor died here on Wednesday, family sources said. He was 79.
 
He had been suffering from various age-related illnesses for some time.
 
His last rites will be performed later in the day in Worli.
 
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Market jittery over likely delay in monsoon, global trade clashes

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Profit booking, along with the forecast of a delay in the onset of the southwest monsoon and concerns over global trade tensions, dragged the country's key equity markets lower on Tuesday.
 
However, the sharp correction during the late afternoon session was proceeded by a hefty rally in which the barometer S&P BSE Sensex touched a new lifetime, intra-day high of 40,312.07 points.
 
The early rally was supported by investors' hopes of easier monetary policy rates during the upcoming review on Thursday. 
 
Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex closed 184.08 points or 0.46 per cent lower at 40,083.54 points, while the Nifty ended 66.90 points or 0.55 per cent at 12,021.65 points.
 
"Intensified trade tensions and the prediction of further delay of the onset of monsoon pushed investors to book profits," Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services said.
 
"However, expectation of further cut in interest rate by the RBI, falling oil prices and higher spending will improve the earnings outlook."
 
The Reserve Bank of India is expected to lower its key lending rates, in a meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee on June 6 (Thursday).
 
The MPC meeting in April lowered its key lending rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 6 per cent. Before that, in February, the MPC had voted to lower the repo rate by 25 bps to 6.25 per cent.
 
"Indian markets underwent a much-awaited correction due to profit taking ahead of the RBI's policy decision on the next trading day. Losses in IT (due to Nasdaq weakness), Oil and Gas (due to GST notices) offset gains in other sectoral indices," Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities, said. 
 
"Fitch downgrade of ICICI Bank and Axis Bank raised fears of further such action on other 'Financials'. Technically, while the Nifty has corrected today (on Tuesday), the index remains in a firm uptrend. Further upsides are likely once the immediate resistance of 12,095 is taken out. Crucial supports to watch for any weakness are at 12,006-11,968."
 
In terms of investment, both foreign and domestic institutional investors (FIIs) sold stocks. FIIs off-loaded stocks worth Rs 416.08 crore, while DIIs sold stocks to the tune of Rs 355.42 crore.
 
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Vikhe-Patil quits as Congress MLA, may join BJP soon

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Veteran Congressman Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who was Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, quit his seat as a legislator and is likely to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
He submitted his formal resignation letter from the Shirdi constituency in Ahmednagar district, from where he was elected five times, to Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade.
 
Since the past few weeks, Vikhe-Patil has been in constant touch with several top BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and has broadly indicated that he would be joining the ruling party soon.
 
On the eve of the last Lok Sabha elections, his medico son Sujay Vikhe-Patil had dropped a bombshell by quitting the Congress to join the BJP and later contested -- and won the Ahmednagar parliamentary seat.
 
A sulking Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil had refrained from campaigning for the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party in Ahmednagar region.
 
After the elections in which the National Democratic Alliance returned to power, he had written to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, and discussed with party General Secretary and Maharashtra in-charg) Mallikarjun Kharge on why he was planning to quit before tendering his resignation as Leader of Opposition.
 
BJP circles hint that in view of the upcoming Assembly elections around October, Vikhe-Patil may be rewarded with a cabinet post.
 
Shortly after Vikhe-Patil's quitting as MLA, expelled Congress legislator from Sillod in Aurangabad, Abdul Sattar A. Nabi claimed that at least 8-10 Congress legislators were in touch with the BJP and called the state party leadership as "a total failure".
 
However, state Congress President Ashok Chavan dismissed the claims and contended that none of the disgruntled legislators are planning to quit.
 
For the Congress, a fresh challenge is to appoint a new party leader for the monsoon session of the state legislature commencing on June 17 for better coordination with the NCP and allies, and lay the groundwork for the Assembly polls.
 
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Markets in red: Sensex down by 100 points

Taking a cue from global markets, the key Indian equity market indices on Tuesday opened lower.
 
The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 40,267.62 on Monday, opened lower at 40,196.
 
Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 40,155.50, down by 112.12 points, or 0.28 per cent.
 
At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader Nifty 50, which had closed at 12,088.55 on Monday, was quoting at 12,054.65, down by 33.90 points or 0.28 per cent.
 
As many as 17 stocks advanced in the Nifty 50 index while 33 stocks declined. In the BSE Sensex, 15 stocks including Tata Steel, ITC were trading in green while 15 stocks, including TCS, HDFC were trading in red at 9.20 a.m.
 
The key Indian equity indices surged to fresh benchmarks on Monday and eventually settled at record closing levels on the back of expectations of a rate cut in the upcoming Reserve Bank of India monetary policy on June 5-6.
 
The Sensex was up by 553.42 points or 1.39 per cent at the Monday's closing. In the day's trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 40,308.90 and a low of 39,711.02. The Nifty, too was up by 165.75 points or 1.39 per cent.
 
On Tuesday, Asian indices were showing a negative trend. Japan's Nikkei 225 was quoting in red, down by 0.12 per cent, Hang Seng was also down by 0.38 per cent. South Korea's Kospi was quoting in red, down by 0.05 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite was also trading in red, down by 0.97 per cent.
 
Overnight, Nasdaq closed in red, down by 1.61 per cent while FTSE was up by 0.32 per cent at the closing on Monday.
 
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BCCI announces Team India's 2019-20 home season

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Team India will play a total of 12 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), nine One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and five Tests in its 2019-20 home season, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Monday.
 
India will start their season with a series against South Africa, in which the Proteas will play three T20Is and as many Tests with the season starting on September 15 in Dharamsala. 
 
Later, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Australia will also tour India during their respective season schedule, which will extend till March 2020. 
 
While Bangladesh will play three T20Is and two Tests, West Indies will arrive in India in December for three T20Is and as many ODIs while Zimbabwe will get their first ever bilateral series in India since 2002. Zimbabwe will then play in a three-match T20I rubber with the men in blue, followed by Australia, who will play three ODIs.
 
South Africa will also make their second visit, this time to play three ODIs.
 
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Sensex, Nifty hit fresh highs on rate cut hopes

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The key Indian equity indices surged to fresh benchmarks on Monday and eventually settled at record closing levels on the back of expectations of a rate cut in the upcoming RBI monetary policy on June 5-6.
 
The BSE Sensex settled at a record closing of 40,267.62 after touching an intra-day all-time high of 40,308.90 points. Similarly, the Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange closed at 12,088.55 after touching an all-time high of 12,103.05 points earlier in the day.
 
"Today Auto, FMCG, IT and Realty pulled the market to a new all-time high as they are trying to catch up the rally on the back of the expected rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and increase in demand from the domestic sectors," said Romesh Tiwari, Head of Research, CapitalAim.
 
"Traders can go long on these sectors with caution as the rally is limited to market leaders, and midcaps and smallcaps are still not matching the gains. Investors should avoid buying at this level," he added.
 
Reduction in interest rates is likely to infuse liquidity and boost consumption.
 
The Sensex ended 553.42 points or 1.39 per cent higher to close at 40,267.62 against the previous close of 39,714.20. It had opened at 39,806.86 and touched an intra-day low of 39,711.02 points.
 
The major contributors to the surge included Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and IndusInd Bank, which rose by 6.01 per cent, 3.92 per cent and 3.70 per cent, respectively.
 
The Nifty50 settled at 12,088.55, higher by 165.75 points or 1.39 per cent from its previous close.
 
Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities said that decline in crude oil prices also helped the market sentiments and auto stocks surged on the back of strong sales in May.
 
Further, strong manufacturing data supported the investor sentiment. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index expanded to 52.7 per cent in May from 21.8 per cent in April. 
 
Strong investment by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) also boosted the Indian indices on Monday. Data from the BSE website show that FPIs pumped in Rs 3,068.88 crore during the day, whereas the Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) sold stocks worth Rs 462.69 crore.
 
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Maharashtra IAS officer transferred, ostensibly over anti-Gandhi tweets

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The Maharashtra government on Monday transferred BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Joint Municipal Commissioner (Special) Nidhi Choudhari ostensibly as a fallout of her tweets against Mahatma Gandhi, official sources said here.
 
An officer of the 2012 IAS batch, Choudhari has been posted as Deputy Secretary in the Water Supply and Sanitation Department in the state headquarters.
 
Following a political furore, the state came down heavily on Choudhari for her tweet of May 17 that said: "What an exceptional celebration of 150th birth anniversary year is going on... High time, we removed his face from our currency, his statues from across the world, rename institutions/roads named after him! That would be a real tribute to all of us! ThankU #Godse for 30.01.1948."
 
The tweet was deleted on May 31.
 
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Equity indices open in green, Sensex up 160 points

The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Monday due to buying activity in banking, FMCG and oil and gas stocks.
 
At 9.35 a.m., the Sensex traded at 39,878.35, higher by 164.15 points or 0.41 per cent higher from the previous close of 39,714.20 points.
 
It had opened at 39,806.86 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 39,920.93 and a low of 39,711.02 points.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,963.10, higher by 40.30 points or 0.34 per cent from the previous close of 11,922.80 points.
 
The gains, however, were capped by a fall in the growth rate of the country's GDP, analyst said. 
 
Data released by the Central Statistics Office on Friday showed that India's GDP grew by 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of FY 2018-19 against 6.6 per cent growth in the preceding quarter and 8.1 per cent during the corresponding quarter of FY 2017-18.
 
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Sensex ends in red on profit booking after crossing 40k

The BSE Sensex ended over 100 points lower on Friday as traders took to profit booking after the index crossed the 40,000 mark earlier in the day.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange too retreated from the 12,000-mark it crossed during the morning trade to end lower.
 
Analysts said that as the portfolio allocation in the new cabinet took place on Friday, the initial euphoria and surge eventually subdued and made way for profit-booking by investors.
 
The domestic market also took cue from the global indices which declined due to the ongoing US-China trade concerns.
 
The NSE Nifty50 closed at 11,922.80 points, lower by 23.10 points or 0.19 per cent from the previous close of 11,945.90.
 
The Sensex, which touched an intra-day high of 40,122.34 points, ended at 39,714.20, lower by 117.77 points or 0.30 per cent from the previous close of 39,831.97. It touched an intra-day low of 39,374.24 points.
 
Saurabh Jain of SMC Comtrade said that with the government and Ministers taking charge on Friday, the market will now look forward to the steps it takes for the economy.
 
The key Finance Ministry has gone to former Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Piyush Goyal, who stood in for then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at times in the last government, is the Commerce Minister besides still heading the railways ministry.
 
"Suspense over allocation of ministries and expectation of deceleration in domestic GDP growth also led to volatility in the markets. Profit booking was broad based. However, market witnessed strong buying at lower levels which was also supported by strong gains in IT," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
 
GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018-19 and the fourth quarter of the year witnessed a sharp decline on a year on year basis, which is likely to impact the market next week. 
 
GDP growth numbers were released after market hours. 
 
The GDP growth rate plunged to 5.8 per cent during the January-March quarter of the financial year 2018-19, from 8.1 per cent per cent growth witnessed during the same quarter the previous year, data from the Central Statistical Office showed.
 
For fiscal 2018-19, the country recorded a GDP growth of 6.8 per cent, the lowest growth rate in five years. In FY 2017-18, the country recorded at 7.2 per cent growth in GDP. 
 
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India’s forex reserves rise by $ 1.994 billion to $ 419.992 billion

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India’s foreign exchange reserves rose by $ 1.994 billion to $ 419.992 billion during the week ended May 24, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had dipped by $ 2.057 billion to $ 417.998 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.991 billion to $ 392.188 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 $ 23.021 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went up by $ 0.8 million to $ 1.4453 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) increased by $ 2.0 million to $ 3.3367 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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