“We are not kings that it would hurt our ego to take our words back. We realised that the decision (on proposed hike in VAT) was not good for footwear and textile traders. So we decided to roll back the hike,” Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said in the assembly, following protests by several Aam Aadmi Party MLAs and a BJP leader.
At present, footwear costing above Rs.500 and schoolbags costing above Rs.300 are taxable at 5 percent. A uniform tax was proposed on footwear below Rs.500 also, which were earlier exempted.
Under the proposals for 2016-17 Delhi budget, a uniform tax of five percent was proposed on textiles and fabrics, including sarees, but exempted khadi and handlooms.
AAP MLAs MadanLal, AlkaLamba, Vishesh Ravi, Anil Bajpai, Jarnail Singh and leader of opposition Vijender Gupta on Wednesday expressed concern over the government’s proposal and urged it to take it back.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appreciated his government’s move and took a jibe at the Centre.
“We are proud of our U-turn, because it is in favour of the people. While there is an arrogant central government, which despite protests by jewellers for the last 29 days, is not rolling back its proposal to impose additional excise duty on them, our government changed its decision within 36 hours for the sake of people,” said Kejriwal.
He praised his government as the “fastest” in the country, working with the “speed of light”.
“The bank along with other consortium members will examine the same (offer),” the state-run SBI said in a terse one paragraph statement in Mumbai.
The bank, however, did not mention the terms of the offer or the amount the debt-ridden airline has proposed to pay.
Earlier in the day, Kingfisher chairman Vijay Mallya told the Supreme Court through his counsel that he had offered to pay Rs.4,000 crore to settle outstanding dues against the grounded airline.
Mallya, who is out of the country since March 2, also told the apex court that he had offered another Rs.2,000crore he expected to get if he would win a law suit against US multinational General Electric.
Mallya’s counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan told Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice R.F. Nariman that his client (Mallya) had made the proposal to settle the dues to the SBI chief general manager early on Wednesday (through video conference).
The banks’ consortium’s counsel S.S. Naganand told the division bench that the SBI needed a week’s time to consider Mallya’s proposal to settle the dues.
Accepting the plea, the bench gave the consortium a week to respond and posted the next hearing to April 7.
Mallya and the airline jointly owe Rs.7,800crore to the consortium, including Rs.1,600 crore to the SBI.
The SBI and Punjab National Bank had declared Mallya, the airline and his holding firm (United Breweries Holdings Ltd) as ‘wilful defaulters’ in 2015.
Besides SBI, other banks that gave loans to Kingfisher include State Bank of Baroda, State Bank of Mysore, Axis Bank, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, UCO Bank and United Bank of India.
Once you book ticket online and choose to receive info via Messenger on the KLM website, the airline will send you itinerary, boarding pass, check-in confirmation and flight status through the app, The Verge reported.
With digital boarding pass, passengers will be able to get through security and onto their flight.
Passengers will also be able to chat with KLM support staff right inside the Messenger.
“This is one that I’ve been personally eager to solve for a while – removing stress and complication from air travel,” David Marcus, who leads the Messenger team, was quoted as saying.
KLM is Facebook’s “first airline partner,” and Facebook may go for more such partners, he added.
The agreement was reached between Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani and National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Deputy Secretary Oleg Gladkovskyi on the margins of Defence Expo in Panaji, a company statement said.
Reliance Defence and Ukraine’s Antonov will jointly address various requirements, including 50-80 seat passenger aircraft in basic configuration, and also in all its variants, for transportation, maritime patrol and other military roles.
Antonov, or “An Class” of aircraft, have served the Indian Air Force and Navy for more than five decades. Currently, the IAF has more than 100 An-32 aircraft on its inventory. Having completed its last life cycle, upgrades will now be due for replacements.
“The partnership agreement would provide the benefits of quality and low cost solution for 50-80 seater aircraft through its core competencies,” the company said.
The accord between Reliance Defence and Antonov covers the design of fixed wing military aircraft, configured for use in tactical as well strategic roles. Powered by two turbo-fan engines, the medium lift aircraft can operate on short field runways as also unpaved surfaces.
In the Indian civil aviation market, this medium-category aircraft could effectively plug the gap in regional air transport connectivity to around 350 unused airstrips currently available across the country, as desired in the draft the new aviation policy, the company said.
“India has a requirement of over 200 medium-lift turbo-fan aircraft that is the backbone of all tactical logistic transport support roles as well as route transport roles of the air force, the army and para-military forces.”
The joint venture also envisages design and manufacture of such aircraft in India, with transfer of niche technologies. It will be located at the integrated Aerospace Park at Mihan, Nagpur. The programme, valued at over Rs.35,000crore, can generate new jobs for 7,000 people.
Both leaders will be in the US capital for the Nuclear Security Summit later on Friday.
Earlier, Cameron flew back here for emergency talks with ministers to tackle the crisis engulfing Tata Steel’s British operations, amid warnings that the firm has just weeks for a rescue deal on which up to 40,000 jobs could depend, The Guardian reported.
The daily also quoted an unnamed source as saying that Tata Steel was losing one million pounds per day, with the government’s failure to back the calls in Europe for higher tariffs against cheap Chinese imports being the “last straw” to prompt the company’s decision.
The Labour Party has termed it a national crisis wanting the steel industry to be nationalised.
But British Business Secretary Sajid Javid has rejected the idea as it could carry a price tag of 1.5 billion pounds per annum. “I don’t think that nationalisation is going to be the solution,” The Guardian quoted Javid as saying.
The paper said Cameron was expected to raise the issue with Modi.
Tatas have written off 2 billion pounds from the value of the group’s UK assets, rendering the investment effectively worthless. The Guardian quoted Tata Steel finance director Koushik Chatterjee as saying that the UK operations were “quite a burden” and one which the company couldn’t sustain.
Having suffered nearly $3 billion in losses on the UK operations, Tata Steel on Wednesday said it will explore options to put its entire portfolio there up for sale, some 10 years after it forayed into Europe by acquiring Anglo-Dutch Corus for over $8.1 billion.
Amid boycott by the Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the chief minister made a detailed presentation on redesigning of projects to ensure optimum utilization of water from Krishna and Godavari rivers.
Three giant LCD screens were installed in the assembly while another screen was put up in the legislative council to enable legislators to watch the presentation.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, was seated in his chair with the permission of Speaker Madhusudhana Chary to make the presentation with the help of a laptop and a large monitor in front of him.
He began the presentation with the help of Google maps to show how upper riparian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka constructed 480 barrages on the two rivers and their tributaries.
The main opposition Congress and TDP boycotted the presentation on the ground that this will set an unhealthy precedent.
Opposition leader K. Jana Reddy told the speaker in a letter that there was no precedent in parliament or any assembly of a debate being initiated with audio-visual presentation.
The BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) members were present in the house.
Before beginning the presentation, KCR explained how Telangana suffered in irrigation sector due to injustice and discrimination in united Andhra Pradesh.
Explaining why his government re-designed the projects, he declared that all irrigation projects will be completed to irrigate one crore acres of land and to turn Telangana into a lush green and prosperous state.
The move will enable the government to bring in an ordinance to facilitate government expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India for Uttarakhand which was placed under President’s Rule on Sunday.
An ordinance cannot be promulgated while parliament is in session.
The RajyaSabha was prorogued on Wednesday night, an official of the upper house’s secretariat said on Thursday. The LokSabha was prorogued on Tuesday.
There was a break on March 16 in parliament’s budget session and it was set to meet again on April 25 and continue till May 13.
Sources said a final call on when the house will meet next will be taken soon.
The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs on Tuesday recommended proroguing the session.
The cabinet also approved the re-promulgation of an ordinance to amend the nearly 50-year-old Enemy Property Act to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China.
“Japan has committed loan of an amount of 242.2 billion Japanese yen, at exchange rate of Re.1 equals 1.70 Japanese yen,” the finance ministry said in a release. It added that the latest ODA loan takes the total assistance to 390 billion Japanese yen in FY16, which is the highest amount committed in a year.
“The notes were exchanged on Thursday between department of economic affairs and ambassador of Japan to India,” the finance ministry said in a release.
The assistance loan has been committed for strengthening transmission system project in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha integrated sanitation improvement project, a dedicated freight corridor project, northeast road network connectivity improvement project, and Jharkhand horticulture intensification project.
In the last few years, the economic cooperation between India and Japan has strengthened and grown into strategic partnership.
“India and Japan have had mutually beneficial economic development cooperation since 1958. With general political consensus and popular support for the greater cooperation between Indian and Japan, the partnership is poised for a great future,” the statement said.
Targeting the mid-price market and extending its portfolio of “J series” smartphones, the device is available for Rs.8,990 exclusively on Snapdeal from Thursday.
The “S-bike Mode” works in harmony with a NFC-enabled sticker that enables the device to automatically reply to callers informing them that they can “call again later time as the person they are trying to reach is riding a bike”.
With this, riders can simply concentrate on their riding and stop worrying about checking notifications on their phones or answering phone calls while they are in the middle of the road.
“While studying the consumers’ phone-usage behaviour, we realised that incoming calls are a major distraction to bikers. We are happy that we have come up with something that will benefit millions of two-wheeler riders,” Asim Warsi, senior vice president, Samsung electronics, told reporters here.
To activate the mode, the user just needs to “tap” the Samsung J3 smartphone to the NFC-enabled tag which can stuck on the fuel tank or the helmet.
In case of urgent calls, the caller can press “1” to notify user about the urgency of the call and the rider will get the message of “urgent call” on device’s screen.
With this, the device activates a “motion lock” feature that restricts the rider to pick call while he is driving. As soon as the rider comes to a halt, the phone allows the user to take the call.
“The device has been equipped with NFC hardware to activate the “S-bike Mode” with a single tap on the NFC-enabled tag that will be shipped with every unit. The technology is designed by the engineers in India,” Dipesh Shah, senior vice president, Samsung R&D Institute India, added.
The Samsung Galaxy J3 comes with a 5-inch touchscreen display and is powered by 1.2GHz quad-core processor assisted with 1.5GB of RAM. The phone packs 8GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB via a microSD card.
The dual-SIM (micro-SIM) phone is packed with an 8-megapixel primary camera and a 5-megapixel front shooter for selfies.
The Galaxy J3 runs on Android 5.1 and is powered by a 2,600mAh non removable battery. It measures 142.30 x 71.00 x 7.90 (height x width x thickness) and weighs 138.00 grams.
The device comes with a faux leather back panel and is available in black, white and gold colours.
The J3 will also have Ultra Data Saving (UDS) mode which was launched in September with other J series phones last year, for saving upto 50 percent of data over mobile network and wi-fi.
The company is also offering special offers for Vodafone users. They will get twice the data on select internet packs for a period of six months.
Easterbrook said that the firm wants to make China its second largest market worldwide, behind only the US, EFE news reported.
Easterbrook said that the aim is to open some 250 restaurants this year, and to do that the firm will seek an investing partner to participate in broadening its franchise business in China, where McDonald’s currently operates some 2,200 stores.
The firm’s expansion plans in China comes along with those of other multinationals such as coffee chain Starbucks, which plans to open some 500 coffee shops per year over the next five years in the Asian country, or sports retailer Adidas, which wants to open some 3,000 stores.
Easterbrook also announced that given the rising interest among Chinese consumers in healthier food options, the company will include more items on its menus in China such as apple slices and whole wheat cupcakes.
“The prime minister talked about our interest in having dairy technology from New Zealand,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said at a media briefing here.
Modi’s meeting with Key was held on the sidelines of the fourth and final edition of the biennial Nuclear Security Summit, the first of which was held in 2010.
“As you know, New Zealand is one of the world leaders in food processing. Prime minister said that India is one of the world’s largest producers of milk,” Swarup said.
Modi said that when it came to processing milk, India was not too good and New Zealand could find a very good market in India since the food processing industry has been enabled to obtain 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI).
Discussions between the Indian and New Zealand prime ministers also involved trade issues.
“The New Zealand prime minister said that they had concluded a very successful FTA (free trade agreement) with China some years back and he was very keen on signing an FTA with India as well,” Swarup said.
The two prime ministers also discussed the promotion of tourism between the two countries given Bollywood’s interest in New Zealand.
Modi also told Key that more and more Indian students should be encouraged to study in New Zealand as they felt safe there.
The Indian prime minister said that New Zealand could follow Australia’s example of attracting Indian students.
Modi arrived here on the second leg of his three-nation tour on Wednesday night from Brussels where he attended the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit and held a bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
Leaders of 53 nations and four international organisations are attending the Nuclear Security Summit.
“As the current financial year ends today, we hope to finish this year at 7.6 percent growth rate which is much less than our potential. We are hopeful that we will do better than this next year,” Jaitley said while delivering the K.R.Narayanan Oration series lecture here.
“Our current account deficit is well under control, inflation rate is under control. In last 16 months, the wholesale price index has been negative. Consumer index has been in the range of 4-5 percent. Interest rates are slowly coming down,” he said.
“We had to reform our systems. There is a considerable amount of ease which has come in and we have moved up in global rankings,” he added.
Declaring that India’s earlier “fairly aggressive tax system” had been rationalised, Jaitley said implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) could further add India’s to growth story.
In a statement, Volkswagen India said it will recall 3,877 Vento cars with 1.5-litre diesel engine and manual gearbox due to inconsistent carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.
The company said the emissions were observed to be sometimes exceeding the threshold limits during the Conformity of Production (COP) tests done by Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
“At the same time, Volkswagen India is temporarily holding back sales of the manual gearbox version of the Volkswagen Vento with 1.5-litre diesel engine with immediate effect,” the company said.
“Volkswagen India is analysing the issue and will propose technical measures to ARAI to solve this inconsistency at the earliest,” the statement added.
According to the statement, production of the model would resume once the remedial measures are approved and confirmed by competent authorities.
“The same technical measures will also be implemented in the impacted vehicles that are already with customers,” the company said without specifying any timeline.
Volkswagen India said the current issue is not connected to the the global problem of manipulating the emission readings with ‘cheat device’ faced by the parent company.
The company assured that all other vehicles with the customers are technically safe and roadworthy, and all other diesel models and variants of Volkswagen India conform to the norms and shall continue to be produced and sold in India.
According to information technology research and advisory company Gartner, sales of smartphones in India will reach 29 percent in 2016 and will continue to exhibit double-digit growth in the next two years while the sales in China and North America will be flat.
Gartner said global smartphone sales will, for the first time, exhibit single-digit growth in 2016 with global smartphone sales estimated to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016 — a seven percent growth from 2015.
Worldwide combined shipments for devices (personal computers, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are expected to reach 2.4 billion units in 2016, a 0.6 percent increase from 2015 while the total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.
“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,” RanjitAtwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.
“Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent growth respectively,” Atwal added.
Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia/Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable.
“Prices did not decline enough to drive upgrades from low-end feature phones to low-end smartphones,” said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. “Vendors were not able to reduce the price of a ‘good enough to use’ smartphone lower than $50.”
Although there will not be any significant increase in mobile growth in mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and mature Asia/Pacific, Gartner analysts expect to see an extension of phone lifetimes among users.
“As carriers’ deals become more complex, users are likely to hold onto phones, especially as the technology updates become incremental rather than exponential,” Zimmermann added.
She noted that the volumes of users upgrading from basic phones to premium phones would slow with more basic phones being replaced with the same type of phone.
The company’s total sales stood at 129,345 units during the month — up from an off-take of 111,555 units during the corresponding period of 2015.
According to the automobile manufacturer, its total sales in the last fiscal grew by 10.6 percent to 1,429,248 units.
“With this the company ended 2015-16 with its highest ever sales of 1,429,248 units, a growth of 10.6 percent. This comprises the highest ever domestic sales of 1,305,351 units and 123,897 units of exports,” the company said in a statement.
“For the fourth year in a row, the top four best-selling models in India are from Maruti Suzuki: Alto, Dzire, Swift and WagonR.”
The statement added that introduction of new models including S-Cross, Baleno and VitaraBrezza, new technologies, expansion of existing network and launch of company’s premium retail channel — NEXA brought in the incremental numbers.
For last month, the company’s domestic sales surged by 14.6 percent to 118,895 units, from 103,719 units sold during the corresponding period of 2015.
In addition, exports augmented by 33.4 percent with 10,450 units shipped out — from 7,836 units sold abroad in March last year.
Segment-wise, sales of passenger cars rose by 7.4 percent to 92,105 units – from 85,733 units sold in the like month of 2015.
The company’s passenger car segment comprises of brands like Alto, WagonR, Swift, Ritz, Celerio, Baleno, Dzire, Dzire Tour, and Ciaz.
Besides, sales of utility vehicles which comprises of brands like Gypsy, Ertiga, S-Cross and the new addition Vitara Brizza augmented by 123.4 percent.
The utility vehicle sales during last month stood at 13,894 units from 6,218 units sold during March 2015.
Off-take in the van segment, which includes brands like Omni and Eeco, grew by 9.6 percent to 12,896 units from 11,768 units sold in the corresponding month of last year.
The state’s loan liability till February 29 this year includes Rs.7,162crore from the open market and Rs.242.82 crore from the Centre, he told the house in a written reply.
Virbhadra Singh, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that interest on the borrowings ranged from zero per cent to 13 per cent.
He said despite limited resources, the hill state brought down the debt-gross state domestic product ratio to 34.8 in 2014-15 as against the 40.1 percent target fixed by the 13th Finance Commission.
The state government raised all market loans only after obtaining the Centre’s approval under Article 293 (3) of the Constitution, he said.
In his budget speech on March 8, the chief minister said that out of every Rs.100 spent, Rs.28.98 go towards salaries of government employees, Rs.12.89 for pensions, Rs.10.43 for interest payment, Rs.6.84 for loan repayment, and the remaining Rs.40.86 are spent on developmental works.
“We do believe that 7.5 percent rate can be improved upon and the government is concentrating on several areas, especially rural India. Its only then India can eliminate the curse of poverty,” he said, addressing a meeting here of heads of Australian pension funds.
“People in India are benefiting from the whole process of liberalisation,” the finance minister said.
The meeting was attended by Australian Minister for Small Businesses and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer, Future Fund chairman Peter Costello, Indian High Commissioner Navdeep Suri and members of a delegation led by industry chamber Ficci.
In this connection, Jaitley assured his audience of rationalisation of India’s tax system, saying India offered a huge amount of opportunity also in manufacturing and infrastructure.
On the penultimate day of his four-day Australia visit on Thursday, Jaitley estimated that India’s GDP growth rate for the current fiscal would touch 7.6 percent which, he said, was much less than the country’s potential.
“As the current financial year ends today, we hope to finish this year at 7.6 percent growth rate which is much less than our potential. We are hopeful that we will do better than this next year,” Jaitley said, delivering the K.R. Narayanan Oration series lecture in the Australian capital Canberra.
“Our current account deficit is well under control; inflation rate is under control. In last 16 months, the wholesale price index has been negative. Consumer index has been in the range of 4-5 percent. Interest rates are slowly coming down,” the finance minister said.
“We had to reform our systems. There is a considerable amount of ease which has come in and we have moved up in global rankings,” Jaitley added.