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Mumbai

CBI arrests railway employee, tout in job racket

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a senior technician of Central Railway, who is also an assistant secretary of CRMS, a trade union, and a tout for allegedly taking bribes from aspirants after promising them jobs in the Railways through political connections.

The arrested employee was identified as Rammani Tripathi and the alleged middleman as Balaji Shelke Patil.
 
The two were produced before a court in Mumbai, which remanded them to police custody till January 13, a CBI press release said here yesterday.
 
According to the release, two cases were registered at CBI, Mumbai against the employee for demanding bribes of Rs 5 lakh each from two aspirants for arranging for them jobs of Ticket Collector in the Railways from the "VIP quota" through some senior railway officers and politicians in New Delhi.

PPL serves notices to hotels on music license fee for year-end bashes

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The Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) has served legal notices to several hotels and pubs in the city and elsewhere which have not paid the requisite music license fee to play music at their year-end events.

A press release from PPL said it planned to initiate strict legal action against defaulters in case the license fee does not get paid ahead of their planned events.

Vipul Pradhan, CEO, PPL said: "New Year parties attract people promising them a good time through a combination of entertainment, food and beverage. A significant component of the sum charged from the customers is for music – an integral element of entertainment. Therefore, the music companies whose sound recording is regularly used have a right towards claiming their due because their product is getting consumed too.”

According to the release, under the statutory sanction of section 35 in the Indian Copyright Act, playing commercial music in public without paying the requisite license fee is an offence liable to contempt of court.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licenses to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event, it said.

The release said that, every year pubs/ hotels target revenues with customized New Year packages but are reluctant to pay a nominal license fee (which varies depending on the number of hours for which the music is played) to PPL, flouting the norms and eating into the royalties of the music labels, it said.

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PPL said disc jockeys too need to abide by PPL guidelines if they continue to play music without paying the license fees.

The release said that, according to Music Listening Laws in India, any performance of Indian or even international music, in public places or commercial establishments such as hotels & resorts, restaurants, bars, pubs, shacks, discotheques, DJ’s, cruise liners, cinema halls, shops, banks, offices, amusement parks etcetera, rendered without first having obtained a license from PPL constitutes an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licenses to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event.

PPL, incorporated in 1941, is the apex-licensing arm of the Indian Music Industry (IMI), and was formulated to administer the Broadcast, Telecast and Public Performance rights of its member companies. Formerly known as Indian Phonographic Industry (IPI), PPL currently has more than 241 member companies and is registered with the Registrar of Copyrights since 1996.

The member companies of PPL have assigned their performing rights in sound recordings to PPL, by virtue of which it is the designated authority to issue Public Performance Licenses all over India and also ensure fair payment of tariffs to all the recording companies. This includes the communication of music to the public in any form, be it acoustic or visual and covers music recorded in any format or communicated by way of a radio, a World Space Receiver, a television set or a cable network.

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PPL has its registered office at Kolkata, administrative office in Mumbai and licensing offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

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Balaji Telefilms to sell media education, mobile content business

Television content producers Balaji Telefilms Ltd today said it had signed an agreement to sell its media education and mobile content production businesses for a consolidated consideration of Rs 8.37 crore.
 
In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the company said the transaction would be effective on receipt of the full consideration within a period not exceeding 90 days.
 
The company did not disclose the name of the buyer. It said the Internet business would be retained by it.
 
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Anna Hazare calls off fast, "jail bharo" campaign

Veteran social activist Anna Hazare called off his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill on the second day of the protest on Wednesday and also the planned "jail bharo" campaign across the country from Friday.
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Veteran social activist Anna Hazare called off his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill on the second day of the protest and also the planned "jail bharo" campaign across the country from Friday.

Hazare, 74, was running a fever when he startd the fast yesterday morning and his health condition had worsened today.
 
He told the gathering at the MMRDA ground, the venue of the fast, that he would now campaign against the Congress in the five states going in for Assembly elections early next year - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa.
 
He said the Bill, passed with amendments in the Lok Sabha late last night, was not acceptable to him.
 
While activists of India Against Corruption (IAC), the organisers of the protest, kept up a brave face, there were many who felt Hazare's decision was also due to the fact that his protest in Mumbai as well as many similar events organised in Delhi and other cities across India, did not evoke the enthusiastic response from the people that they had hoped for.
 
Hazare broke his fast by acceping a glass of fruit juice offered y a young girl from Ralegan Siddhi, his village near Pune. 
 
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Hazare's health improves slightly, to continue fast

The health condition of social activist Anna Hazare, who began a three-day fast for a strong Lokpal bill at Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) ground here, today improved slightly and he has decided to continue his fast.
 
Briefing mediapersons after Hazare's medical check-up by Dr Ratna Malhotra, Team Anna member Manish Sisodia said his fever had came down to 100 degrees this morning from 102 degrees last night. His pulse rate came down to 72 and blood pressure to 170/94.
 
He was given an injection last night to control the fever.
 
"We are requesting Anna to break his fast, but he refused to do so," Mr Sisodia said.
 
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Hazare starts fast in Mumbai for stronger Lokpal Bill

Social activist Anna Hazare waves to the crowd during his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill at the MMRDA ground in Mumbai on December 27, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Social activist Anna Hazare waves to the crowd during his three-day fast for a strong Lokpal Bill at the MMRDA ground in Mumbai on December 27, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Anti-corruption crusader and social activist Anna Hazare began his three-day hunger strike today for a stronger version of the Lokpal bill than the one being debated by Parliament.
 
A frail-looking Hazare, 74, reached Juhu beach at 1000 hrs and meditated in front of a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi. A decorated truck had ferried Anna from Juhu to MMRDA grounds, the venue of the fast.
 
Hazare saluted Chhatrapati Shivaji's statue on the way while waving out to the crowds.
 
Hazare, who is suffering from a viral infection, arrived at the fast venue along with his close aides Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia to thunderous applause and slogans of "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Vande Mataram"
 
Hazare began his fast shouting slogans of "Vande Mataram"and "Inquilab Zindabad".
 
However, there was high drama on the way as around 20 men blocked his convoy and showed him black flags. The convoy of Hazare, on way to Mahatma Gandhi's statue on Juhu beach, was briefly stopped by the protesters carrying black flags and national tricolour and shouting "Anna Hazare murdabad".
 
The mood was vibrant at the grounds despite the small turnout in the morning. As street plays took place spreading awareness about the Lokpal Bill, Prashant Bhushan took the dais to speak about the need for a greater movement that would change how democracy is viewed in India.
 
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"Rich companies are making huge profits by exploiting natural beauty and livelihoods of poor farmers, tribals and villagers. If the government doesn't agree to a strong Lokpal, we need to change the way democracy functions. The laws and major decisions need to be made only after taking into account what people and citizens of India want. Parliamentarians must not think that they can make their own decisions once they are elected for five years. If the government does not listen to our demands, we will call for a bigger movement where we need to change the way democracy functions in India," Bhushan said.
 
Hazare, alongwith other team members including Bedi, Kejriwal, Sisodia and others had travelled in an open truck to the venue of the fast.
 
Kejriwal said, "We are here to press for a strong Lokpal bill, being debated on the floor of parliament. We demand members of Parliament to reject the bill."
 
He alleged that Congress-led government has betrayed the people of the country even after the assurances given to the civil society members to bring a strong Lokpal Bill.
 
Talking about the Lokpal Bill being debated today in Parliament, he said this bill should be rejected, because it favoured corrupt officers, bureaucrats and even members of Parliament, who were kept away from the ambit of the Bill, with only ministers covered by the proposed law.
 
Addressing the gathering at the venue, Hazare described his agitation against corruption as the "second freedom struggle of the country" and appealed to people to get ready for a long fight.
 
Stating that "Jan Parliament" (people's parliament) is above the "Delhi Parliament", he said the sacrifices of martyrs in the struggle against British rule such as Sukhadev Singh and Bhagat Singh should not be forgotten.
 
Hazare, who was said to be running a fever, said he would launch a "jail bharo" campaign across the country after the three-day fast.
 
"After the Lokpal Bill, we will have to fight for the Right to Reject bill because presently there are 150 members of Parliament with criminal records. We have to send a person with a clean image to Parliament, who will take a right decision," he said.
 
Hazare said he had invited yoga guru Baba Ramdev to the venue of the fast so that they could jointly fight corruption.
 
Talking about his health, the Gandhian said doctors had checked his temperature, which has slightly increased, but he would continue his fast as per schedule.
 
He said members of his team would launch a public awareness campaign in the five states where Assembly elections are due early next year.
 
Social activist Medha Patkar and Bollywood actor Anupam Kher also addessed the gathering.
 
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Stage set for Hazare's three-day fast at MMRDA ground in Mumbai

The stage is set for social activist Anna Hazare's three-day fast, against what he describes as a "weak" Lokpal Bill, beginning tomorrow at the MMRDA ground at the Bandra-Kurla complex here.

India Against Corruption (IAC) sources said Hazare, 74, would pay homage at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Juhu beach around 0930 hrs tomorrow on his way to the MMRDA ground to launch his fast around 1100 hrs.
 
Hazare is suffering from viral fever for the last three days. After a routine check-up this morning at his native place Ralegan Siddi, near Pune, doctors said he could go ahead with his fast, but certain precautions needed to be taken.
 
City police have geared up to ensure the security at the MMRDA ground. Additional forces been deployed in and around the ground.
 
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Renowned theatre personality Satyadev Dubey passes away

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Noted theatre personality and playwright Satyadev Dubey passed away here today after a prolonged illness. He was 75.

A Padma Bhushan awardee, Dubey suffered an epileptic attack in September after which he had slipped into coma. His health was fragile for quite some time and he was in and out of hospital in the last few years.
 
Mentor to hundreds of aspiring actors, Dubey had become a legend in Marathi-Hindi theatre.
 
Born in Bilaspur, now in Chhattisgarh, he made Mumbai his home and became a towering figure of the Marathi theatre.
 
In his long career, he produced/directed plays of all the prominent playwrights of post-Independence period including Girish Karnad, Badal Sircar, Chandrashekhara Kambara, Mohan Rakesh and Vijay Tendulkar. He was rightist in his thinking.
 
Besides being active in theatre, he also penned film scripts and dialogue.
 
Several actors have attended his workshops to improve their acting skills.
 
Actor Shabana Azmi tweeted, "The theatre stalwart passed away half an hour ago. it's been a terrible year for artistes...he was a giant of theatre."
 
"Satyadev Dubey the icon of the world of theatre has passed away! Fond memories of our days of wandering invade me. Alvida Dubeyji! Love," filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt tweeted.
 
Producer Viveck Vaswani tweeted "No celebration for entertainers this year! We have all suffered."
 
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Fire engulfs 6th floor of office complex in Mumbai on Friday night

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A major fire broke out last night at the Akruti Trade Centre, gutting a number of corporate offices, in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area in suburban Andheri here last night. 
 
The fire broke out in the canteen on the sixth floor, fire-brigade officials said.
 
At least 15 fire brigade personnel battled the blaze for several hours, before dousing it.
 
Some offices on the sixth floor were reduced to ashes, officials said adding that the cause of the fire is still to be ascertained.
 
There were no casualties, they added.
 
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HC refuses to direct state on fee exemption for Hazare's fast venue

The Bombay High Court today refused to direct the Maharashtra government to grant exemption from charges of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority ground at Bandra-Kurla Complex, where social activist Anna Hazare proposed to hold a fast from December 27.
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The Bombay High Court today refused to direct the Maharashtra government to grant exemption from charges of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground at Bandra-Kurla complex, where social activist Anna Hazare proposed to hold a fast from December 27.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Jagrut Nagrik Manch, affiliated to Hazare’s India Against Corruption movement, seeking direction to government to allot the MMRDA ground in suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex either free or at a concessional rate.
 
A division bench comprising Justices P B Majmudar and Mridula Bhatkar, observed "it can’t allow a parallel canvassing when Parliament is seized with the debate on Lokpal Bill and questioned Team Anna’s decision to seek exemption from ground charges."
 
Refusing to interfere in the matter, saying it cannot ask government authorities to grant them exemption. The court said, "It is not judicable. If we pass an order allowing your petition then even we will be interfering with the functioning of Parliament and court can’t allow parallel canvassing when Parliament is seized with debate on the Bill."
 
"You can propagate the Bill sitting at home. Till now, the Bill has not been passed. No one knows what form and what features it will have. Is public debate permissible at this stage," the court asked. 
 
Disapproving of the agitation despite the Lokpal Bill being tabled in Parliament, Justice Majmudar asked, "How is the country’s interest involved? We are a democratic set-up. We have elected a government. Wouldn’t your agitation interfere in the functioning of Parliament? The Bill will be debated in Parliament where our elected representatives will plead our case."
 
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The court added as judges they have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and law. Under which law are you (petitioner) asking for exemption? It might be Satyagraha for you but for some other factions it might be a nuisance, it said.
 
The bench, however, asked the Maharashtra government to inform whether it was ready to open the gates at Azad Maidan, the second option available for holding the fast from December 27, to allow Team Anna to have access to a larger area.
 
When the counsel for the petitioner informed the court that they have got permission for holding the fast in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, the court said "If Ramlila Ground is available, why don’t you hold fast there?"
 
The petitioner informed the court that Azad Maidan, which is being given for free, cannot be used due to space constraints.
 
The court, however, observed that it cannot direct MMRDA or any other government authority to grant exemption.
 
Counsel for MMRDA told the court that the petitioner is not a registered organisation and the MMRDA cannot include them in the category of social organisation and give concession.
 
The petitioner has to make a security deposit of Rs 8 lakh and Rs 11 lakh as rent to use the MMRDA ground. Under the category of social organisation, the petitioner will have to pay Rs 6 lakh, he said.
 
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Coach of CST-Kalyan local train derails in Mumbai

Train services on the main line of Central Railway were disrupted during the peak hours today after a coach of a CST-Kalyan local train derailed near Masjid Bunder station.
 
Railway sources said the incident occurred around 0847 hrs when the sixth bogie derailed. Services were suspended on the slow line.
 
There were no casualties, the sources said adding that efforts were on to remove the bogie from the track.
 
Hundreds of passengers were seen moving on the tracks towards the nearby CST station to proceed to their destination.
 
The Railway made announcements, allowing passengers to travel in Harbour line trains.
 
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Singapore Airlines to increase flights from Mumbai from March 2012

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) today said it would increase the frequency of its flights from Mumbai from 17 flights to 19 weekly flights during the Northern Summer operating season (March 25-October 27, 2012) in an effort to meet growing demand.
 
Earlier, on October 30 this year, the airline had increased flight frequencies from 14 to 17 weekly flights for the Northern Winter operating season.
 
A press release from SIA said the airline plans frequency adjustments to points across its network during the Northern Summer operating season.
 
Accordingly, frequency to the Maldives’ capital Male will increase to two flights per day from the current 10 flights per week. The four additional flights will be daytime flights, enabling SIA to offer customers a choice of seven daytime flights and seven nighttime flights per week.

Bombay HC to deliver verdict on 2003 Mumbai blasts case this week

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The Bombay High Court is expected to announce its verdict this week on confirmation of death sentence, awarded to three convicts including a woman, in the 2003 Mumbai twin bomb blasts case.
 
The twin blasts had left 52 people dead at the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar on August 25, 2003.
 
Last week, the court was supposed to deliver the verdict but Justice P D Kode, who had heard the case along with Justice A M Khanvilkar, was occupied in the Nagpur bench of high court and, therfore, it was adjourned for this week.

GoAir announces 7 new flights form Mumbai to 4 cities from Dec 21

 

Low-cost carrier GoAir has announced the addition of seven new daily flights from Mumbai to four cities from December 21.
 
The new flights will service Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Patna and Bangalore and cater to the additional traffic expected in these sectors. 
 
With the introduction of the new flights, the total number of daily flights will touch 82, and weekly flights will touch approximately 580. 
 
GoAir currently flies to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengalore, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Srinagar, Guwahati, Bagdogra, Chandigarh, Goa, Jaipur, Nagpur, Nanded, Patna, Pune, Leh, Lucknow, Ranchi, Kolkata and Port Blair. 
 
GoAir operates 11 aircraft and will induct 2 new Airbus A320 aircraft in January 2012 and April 2012, a press release from the airline said. 
 
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RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 8.5%, CRR at 6%

The Reserve Bank of India on Friday kept its policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility unchanged at 8.5 per cent and consequently the reverse repo rate at 7.5 per cent. The cash reserve ratio was retained at 6 per cent.
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The Reserve Bank of India today kept its policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 8.5 per cent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged at 6 per cent.

Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the LAF would remain unchanged at 7.5 per cent and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate at 9.5 per cent.
 
In its Mid-Quarter Monetary Policy Review, the central bank said that, while inflation remained on its projected trajectory, downside risks to growth have clearly increased.
 
In view of the moderating growth momentum and higher downside risks to growth, the RBI reiterated the guidance given in its Second Quarter Review (SQR) of October 25 that, based on the projected inflation trajectory, further rate hikes might not be warranted.
 
"From this point on, monetary policy actions are likely to reverse the cycle, responding to the risks to growth.
 
"However, it must be emphasised that inflation risks remain high and inflation could quickly recur as a result of both supply and demand forces. Also, the rupee remains under stress. The timing and magnitude of further actions will depend on a continuing assessment of how these factors shape up in the months ahead," a statement from the RBI said.
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The review noted that, since the SQR, the global economic outlook had worsened significantly. "The recent European Union (EU) summit agreement did not assuage negative market sentiments, thereby increasing the likelihood of persistent financial turbulence as well as a recession in Europe. Both factors pose threats to emerging market economies (EMEs), including India. Significantly, despite these developments, crude oil prices remain elevated," he said.
 
The RBI said that, on the domestic front, growth was clearly decelerating. "This reflects the combined impact of several factors: the uncertain global environment, the cumulative impact of past monetary policy tightening and domestic policy uncertainties," it said.
 
"Both inflation and inflation expectations are currently above the comfort level of the Reserve Bank. However, reassuringly, inflationary pressures are expected to abate in the coming months despite high crude oil prices and rupee depreciation. The growth deceleration is contributing to a decline in inflation momentum, which is also being helped by softening food inflation," it said.
 
The review noted that the country's GDP growth moderated to 6.9 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2011-12 from 7.7 per cent in Q1 and 8.8 per cent in the corresponding quarter a year ago.
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The deceleration in economic activity in Q2 was mainly on account of a sharp moderation in industrial growth. On the expenditure side, investment showed a significant slowdown. Overall, during the first half (April-September) of 2011-12, GDP growth slowed down to 7.3 per cent from 8.6 per cent last year, it said.
 
The statement said industrial performance has further deteriorated as reflected in the decline of the index of industrial production (IIP) by 5.1 per cent, year-on-year (y-o-y), in October 2011. This was mainly due to contraction in manufacturing and mining activities. The contraction was particularly sharp in capital goods with a y-o-y decline of 25.5 per cent, reinforcing the investment decline story emerging from the GDP numbers.
 
"Other indicators also suggest a similar tendency, though by no means as dramatic as the IIP. The HSBC purchasing managers' index (PMI) for manufacturing suggested further moderation in growth in November 2011. However, PMI-services index recovered in November from contractionary levels in the preceding two months. Corporate margins in Q2 of 2011-12 moderated significantly as compared with their levels in Q1. The decline in margins was largely on account of higher input and interest costs. Pricing power is evidently declining.
 
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"On the food front, the progress of sowing under major rabi crops so far has been satisfactory, with area sown under foodgrains and pulses so far being broadly comparable with that of last year," it said.
 
The review said that, on a y-o-y basis, headline WPI inflation moderated to 9.1 per cent in November from 9.7 per cent in October, driven largely by decline in primary food articles inflation. Fuel group inflation went up marginally.
 
It said that non-food manufactured products inflation remained elevated, actually increasing to 7.9 per cent in November from 7.6 per cent in October, reflecting rising input costs.
 
"The new combined (rural and urban) consumer price index (base: 2010=100) rose further to 114.2 in October from 113.1 in September. Inflation in terms of other consumer price indices was in the range of 9.4 to 9.7 per cent in October 2011. Reassuringly, headline momentum indicators, such as the seasonally adjusted month-on-month and 3-month moving average rolling quarterly inflation rate, show continuing signs of moderation," it said.
 
The RBI said merchandise exports growth decelerated sharply to an average of 13.6 per cent y-o-y in October-November from an average of 40.6 per cent in the first half of 2011-12.
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However, as imports moderated less than exports, the trade deficit widened, putting pressure on the current account. This, combined with rebalancing of global portfolios by foreign institutional investors and the tendency of exporters to defer repatriating their export earnings, has led to significant pressure on the rupee, it said.
 
The review noted that, as on December 15, 2011, the rupee had depreciated by about 17 per cent against the US dollar over its level on August 5, 2011, the day on which the US debt downgrade happened.
 
"In the face of this, several measures were taken to attract inflows. Limits on investment in government and corporate debt instruments by foreign investors were increased. The ceilings on interest rates payable on non-resident deposits were raised. The all-in-cost ceiling for external commercial borrowings was increased. Further, a series of administrative measures that discourage speculative behaviour were also initiated. The Reserve Bank is closely monitoring the developments in the external sector and it will respond to the evolving situation as appropriate," it said.
 
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According to the review, the central government’s key deficit indicators worsened during 2011-12 (April-October), primarily on account of a decline in revenue receipts and increase in expenditure, particularly subsidies. The fiscal deficit at 74.4 per cent of the budgeted estimate in the first seven months of 2011-12 was significantly higher than 42.6 per cent in the corresponding period last year (about 61.2 per cent if adjusted for more than budgeted spectrum proceeds received last year). The likely slippage in this year’s fiscal deficit has inflationary implications, it said.
 
The review said the y-o-y money supply (M3) growth moderated from 17.2 per cent at the beginning of the financial year to 16.3 per cent on December 2, 2011, although still higher than the projected trajectory of 15.5 per cent for the year. Y-o-y non-food credit growth at 17.5 per cent on December 02, 2011, however, was below the indicative projection of 18 per cent.
 
"Consistent with the stance of monetary policy, liquidity conditions have remained in deficit during this fiscal year. However, the deficit increased significantly beginning the second week of November 2011. The average borrowings under the daily LAF increased to around Rs. 89,000 crore during November-December (up to December 15, 2011) from around Rs. 49,000 crore during April-October 2011. The Reserve Bank conducted open market operations (OMOs) on three occasions in November-December 2011 for an amount aggregating about Rs. 24,000 crore to ease liquidity conditions." it said.
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"There are currently no significant signs of stress in the money market. The overnight call money rate is stable around the policy repo rate and liquidity facilities such as marginal standing facility (MSF) remain unutilised. However, in view of the fact that borrowings from the LAF are persistently above the Reserve Bank's comfort zone, further OMOs will be conducted as and when seen to be appropriate," it said.
 
The RBI said global growth for 2011 and 2012 is now expected to be lower than earlier anticipated. Increased strains in financial markets on the back of growing concerns over euro area sovereign debt, limited monetary and fiscal policy manoeuverability, high unemployment rates, weak housing markets and elevated oil prices are all contributory factors. These factors have also contributed to moderating growth in the EMEs. As a consequence of all-round slower growth, inflation has also started declining, both in advanced countries and EMEs.
 
On the domestic front, it said agricultural prospects look promising on the back of expected record kharif output and satisfactory progress on rabi sowing. However, industrial activity is moderating, driven by deceleration in investment, which is a matter of serious concern.
 
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"Overall, the growth momentum in the economy is clearly moderating. Further, considering the global and domestic macroeconomic situation, the downside risks to the Reserve Bank’s growth projection, as set out in the SQR, have increased significantly," it said.
 
"Between the First Quarter Review (FQR) and the SQR, while non-oil commodity prices had declined significantly, the rupee too had depreciated sharply. Consequently, the headline inflation projection at 7 per cent for March 2012, as set out in the FQR, was retained in the SQR. With moderation in food inflation in November 2011 and expected moderation in aggregate demand and hence in non-food manufactured products inflation, the inflation projection for March 2012 is retained at 7 per cent," it said.
 
The Reserve Bank will make a formal numerical assessment of its growth and inflation projections for 2011-12 in the third quarter review of January 2012, the statement added.
 
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Sonu Nigam performs in Mumbai

Singer Sonu Nigam performs during the launch of his album "Icchapurti Gayatri Mantras" in Mumbai on December 14 night. UNI PHOTO
Singer Sonu Nigam performs during the launch of his  album
Singer Sonu Nigam performs during the launch of his album "Icchapurti Gayatri Mantras" in Mumbai on December 14 night. UNI PHOTO

Memorial service for Dev Anand at Mehboob Studios on Friday

A memorial service for late actor Dev Anand will be organised this Friday at the Mehboob Studios at Bandra in north-west Mumbai, family sources said.
 
The actor died on December 3 in London after a heart attack and his funeral was held there last Saturday.
 
The service has been organised to pay tributes and "pray for the peace and Sadgati of my father" his son Suneil Anand said.
 
Industry sources expect a big turn-out of Bollywood film personalities, who will speak about the contribution of Dev Anand to the film industry and their personal relationship with the actor for whom cinema was a passion.
 
The service is scheduled between 1700 and 1900 hrs, the sources added.
 
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Ugandan woman apprehended with cocaine at Mumbai airport

A 25-year-old woman from Uganda was detained at the Chhatrapati Shivaji international Airport here for trying to smuggle 5 kg of cocaine, worth over Rs 1.5 crore in the international market.
 
A team of Customs officials stopped Diana Musoga, a Ugandan national, on suspicion yesterday, checked her baggage but could not find anything. Later, it was found that the woman had concealed the cocaine inside the cavity created in her bags, officials said.
 
The woman had gone to Delhi and then reached Mumbai, from where she was to proceed to Uganda.
 
Diana is a frequent traveller and customs sleuths were interrogating her to ascertain the destination of the drug.
 
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Bank accounts of AI, Kingfisher frozen over service tax dues

 

Kingfisher Airlines and national carrier Air India, which are already facing financial problems, were hit again after their bank accounts were frozen as the two airlines had failed to deposit service tax payments.
 
While Air India owes the service tax department around Rs 100 crore, Kingfisher Airlines owes it approximately Rs 70 crore. Both airlines have collected service tax from fliers but have failed to clear their dues, the sources said. 
 
Six bank accounts of Air India have been frozen and seven accounts of Kingfisher in the past five days. The action was taken after giving sufficient time and intimation to both carriers for making the payment within a stipulated time period, but they failed nonetheless, according to sources. 
 
On December 1, the Mumbai International Airport authorities threatened to put the airline on a cash-carry mode if it failed to pay its Rs 90 crore dues.
 
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Actor Shiney Ahuja allowed to travel to Dubai to attend premiere

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The Bombay High Court has allowed actor Shiney Ahuja, convicted for raping his maid, to attend the premiere of his film "Ghost" in Dubai.
 
The actor was released on bail and his appeal against the conviction is pending in the high court.
 
Judge R C Chavan yesterday directed Oshiwara police to release Ahuja's passport and told the actor to furnish a surety of Rs 25,000 before the sessions court.
 
The actor had sought the court's permission to travel abroad for the premiere of the film in which he plays the lead role. 
 
The film is set for release on December 16.
 
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Police file charge sheet in journalist J Dey murder case

The Mumbai Police today filed a charge sheet in the murder case of journalist J Dey against 10 people, who are facing charges under MCOCA.
 
The charge sheet was filed in a special court, nearly six months after senior journalist J Dey was shot dead.
 
Underworld don Chhota Rajan is among the ten people, who have been accused in the chargesheet.
 
In the chargesheet, the name of the recently arrested accused Jigna Vora, Deputy Bureau Chief of The Asian Age, has also been mentioned.
 
However, a separate supplementary charge sheet, elaborating Vora's role in the crime, will be filed shortly, sources added.
 
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Ashwin chosen for Dilip Sardesai Award for performance against West Indies

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Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was today chosen for the Dilip Sardesai Award for being India's best cricketer in the 2011-12 Test series against the West Indies.
 
A press release from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said he would be presented the award at the BCCI Awards Ceremony, scheduled to be held in Chennai on December 10.
 
The award comprises a trophy and a cheque for Rs 5 lakhs.
 
Ashwin, 25, was chosen the Man of the Series in his debut series, which India won 2-0, taking 22 wickets at an average of 22.90.
 
In his debut in Delhi, he claimed nine wickets. He won two Man of the Match awars during the series. He also made 121 runs at an average of 40.33 and scored his maiden century in the third Test in Mumbai, which ended in a tense draw.
 
The BCCI instituted the Dilip Sardesai Award in 2007 for the player who performs best in bilateral series between India and the West Indies.
 
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Crawford Market blaze

Fire fighters trying to douse a blaze at a mall in Crawford market area, in Mumbai on November 26, 2011. UNI PHOTO Read story.
Fire fighters trying to douse a blaze at a mall in Crawford market area, in Mumbai on November 26, 2011. The fire broke out on Friday night and the narrow lanes and approach roads were hindering the operations. UNI PHOTO
Read story.Fire fighters trying to douse a blaze at a mall in Crawford market area, in Mumbai on November 26, 2011. The fire broke out on Friday night and the narrow lanes and approach roads were hindering the operations. UNI PHOTO

Cricket: India-Windies Test ends in scores-tied draw

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The third and final Test match between India and the West Indies ended in a scores-tied draw, after a nerve-wracking last-ball thriller at the Wankhede Stadium here today.
 
The only other time in the history of Test cricket that a match ended in a draw with the scores level was in 1996 in Bulawayo, when England fell short of beating Zimbabwe. 
 
Earlier, opener Virender Sehwag's half-century had put India on course for an unlikely victory in the third Test after spinners Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin ripped through the tourists'
batting line-up.
 
Ojha claimed a career-best six for 47 while Ashwin took the other four wickets as the West Indies, having scored 590 in their first innings, crashed to 134 all out before lunch in their second.
 
That set India a victory target of 243 off 64 overs and they reached 148 for four at tea on the final day, needing another 95 in the final session to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.
 
Sehwag (60) contributed a typically aggressive innings to set them on their way. But the big-hitting opener fell just after India had brought up their 100.
 
Sehwag's dismissal brought master blaster Sachin Tendulkar (3) to the wicket but the home favourite could only make three before he was also sent back.
 
When West Indies made their fourth breakthrough of the session, Rahul Dravid dismissed for 33, the tourists may have sensed a chance to get something out of the Test, but their fightback was dented by V V S Laxman (31) and Virat Kohli (63).
 
The Indian tailenders lacked the finishing firepower to overhaul the target.
 
The hosts needed three runs in Fidel Edwards' last over but Varun Aaron (2 not out) consumed three balls without scoring a run. Off the last ball, the hosts needed two runs and Ashwin (14) could manage just a single before being run out. 
 
Resuming at the overnight score of 81 for two, the visitors completely lost the plot on a Wankhede track which gave some assistance to the spinners as they lost eight wickets for a mere 53 runs in the action-packed pre-lunch session.
 
Kraigg Brathwaite and first-innings centurion Darren Bravo added 61 for the third wicket, the only notable partnership in the innings, but Braithwaite's dismissal in the fifth over of the morning opened the floodgates.
 
Ojha took a return catch to get rid of the other Bravo for 48.  Samuels was out four deliveries later when he jumped out to the pitch of the ball and was stumped without scoring. 
 
Ashwin joined in the party by trapping left-hander Kieran Powell lbw for 11 and Carlton Baugh gave away his wicket when he went for a big drive against the spin and was bowled for one.
 
India won the three-match series 2-0.
 
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350 shops gutted in fire in south Mumbai

Fire fighters trying to douse a blaze at a mall in Crawford market area, in Mumbai on November 26, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Fire fighters trying to douse a blaze at a mall in Crawford market area, in Mumbai on November 26, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Fire fighters spray water to control the fire which broke out at Manish Market, a  commercial complex and adjoining areas in South Mumbai on November 26, 2011. UNI PHOTO
Fire fighters spray water to control the fire which broke out at Manish Market, a commercial complex and adjoining areas in South Mumbai on November 26, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A huge fire engulfed the Sara-Sahara shopping complex, near the Crawford market, in south Mumbai, early today, destroying goods worth crores of rupees.
 
At least 350 shops and "galas" were gutted in the fire, which broke out around 0330 hrs. The blaze originated in the Sahara Mall and spread to the shops, selling electronic, cosmetics and other imported goods.
 
As many as 25 fire tenders and 10 water tankers fought the  blaze for about ten hours. Fire-dousing operations are still on, fire brigade officials said. 
 
The area has been cordoned off by the police. The cause of the fire was still to be ascertained, police said, adding that most of the shops were completely destroyed. 
 
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