Growth will be the main focus in the upcoming Monetary Policy: Urijit Patel.

It was the first meeting of the newly appointed Reserve Bank of India’s Governor, Urjit Patel with half a dozen of senior economist. In his first interaction he talked about downplaying the risk of inflation and harped on the focus of growth.

The new monetary policy under the regime of Patel is to be announced on October 4, this year. A six-member Monetary Policy Council has been set-up of which RBI Governor is a part. Even if the interest rates are not lowered, the central bank is likely to maintain an accommodative viewpoint on interest rates and liquidity.

As reported by The Economic Times, the implementation of the GST, would not increase the inflation. This is deduced from the fact that the GST regime will bring down the cost of many items such as the purchase of automobiles might come down. This will help in partially offsetting the prices of other consumption goods. He is also of the opinion that the calculation of the consumer price index on the interest rates on housing and rents in the public sector should be lowered.  

Even if the inflation is going down, the industrial production growth has slipped into negative region. However, a rate cut in the October will be well received by the common man. It is still not clear if the MPC and the RBI should wait for the numbers or should go ahead with one month’s data. The growth aspect of the economy is also in mind of these institutions.

“The governor is not dismissive of the new GDP data (which, according to many, appear unrealistic). While he thinks the GDP numbers based on the new series need a lot of explanation, the old series was even worse,” said  sources, as reported by The Economic Times.

 


DGCA suspends use of Samsung Note-2 phones on flights after a battery fire incident.

After a Samsung Note-2 phone caught fire in a Singapore-Chennai Indigo flight, the authorities of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have issued an advisory which now enables the passengers to carry their phones in the check-in baggage. The authorities of DGCA have also asked the passengers to carry it in their hand bags and not to charge the phone or switch it on during the flight time. The message was spread through social media when Vistara Airlines tweeted about it on Saturday evening. The tweet mentioned, “As per the DGCA, carriage of Samsung Galaxy note 7 and Note 2 is prohibited in check-in baggage. You may carry it on board, but it must not be switched on or charged on board and quote  This is a completely new air safety hazard. Every personal electronic device (PED) has a battery. These devices are used and charged on board all the time. The DGCA is keeping in check with its European counterparts and FAA to avoid this situation globally. A similar warning was issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration on September 9, 2016 when a Galaxy Note 7 caught fire in a flight. Earlier a Boeing 787 Dreamliner was grounded by the FAA authorities due to battery fires. Etihad Airways has imposed a temporary ban on the in-flight use of the device and battery charging as a precautionary measure after the news broke out. This has been imposed till the issue is rectified by the manufacturers. The authorities later contacted Samsung who acknowledged the incident and assured to look into the matter. The company has suspended its shipping of the new flagship mobile phones globally after the news of exploding “phablets” hit the market.

Hyderabad comes to a stand-still after heavy rainfall.

The state of Telengana has been affected by the continuous rains and the capital city of Hyderabad has been the worst affected. Four columns of Army have been deployed in the city and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district to help in the relief-rescue effort. The army has set up control room in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). While a 60-member National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) team has been put on stand-by, both the teams are co-ordinating with each other and monitoring the situation closely. Special control rooms have been set up in different districts to keep an eye on the situations. The Chief Minister of Telengana, K. Chandrasekhar Rao has ordered the officials to carry out rescue and relief operations in the affected districts. The situation is supposed to worsen after the Met department’s alert on five more days of rainfall in the state. The municipal corporation as well as few NGOs’ have been working tirelessly to provide food packets and milks in many of the low-lying areas in the city. The government has asked the IT companies to allow their employees to work from home as rains continued for the third day in the Cyber City. While 60-70 per cent IT employees worked from home on Friday, IT companies were tenterhook in putting in place the business continuity plan (BCP) in case the workforce from Hyderabad disrupts, it can be channelled to Vishakhapatnam and Bangalore to keep the work going. Nasscom sent an advisory to all its members to allow them to work from home till the situation gets normal. Citizens fear to walk out of their homes as the roads are submerged and are filled with potholes and manholes. Since the roads have been damaged, walking more than 7 kilometres have been advised against. The electricity supply had been disrupted in many parts of the state due to tree fall, snapping of electricity cables and tripping of feeders. However, power supply was restored in few of the places after the cuts were reported. Many of the educational institutes in the districts of Khammam, Warangal and Medak have declared holidays following the warnings of more rainfall in the next few days by the Met Department.

56-year old eats from floor as hospital fails to provide a plate.

In a disturbing incident in Ranchi, a 56-year old woman was served food on the floor of one of the Ranchi’s top hospital. Munni Devi, who has been admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) hospital after an injury she suffered on her head and her right arm caused by an accident ate from the floor of the hospital. The incident was reported by a BJP city unit president, Manoj Mishra who was visiting another patient in the orthopaedic ward of the institute. Munni Devi later showed the politician how she washes the floor with a bottle of water and waits for the man with the hospital food trolley to come and serve her on the floor as patients, nurses, attendants and other people walk around. The kitchen and the orthopaedic ward are both situated on the ground floor which is dirty most of the time because of the leakage from a tap near-by and the mud from the shoes. Devi later identified the person who served her food, Chandra Mani Prasad, whose contract was immediately terminated. Prasad said that the food was served in polythene packets as there were no extra plates in the kitchen. After the incident was reported, Jharkhand Special Secretary (Health), Manoj Kumar showed his concern on the situation of the patient as well as the neglect by the hospital authorities. The hospital claimed Devi as an unregistered patient and very often many poor people hang around in the hope of getting some food. Chief Minister Raghubar Das immediately ordered an inquiry and action against those who are responsible for this “inhuman” behaviour on the day this unpleasant incident was reported. Taking this episode very seriously, the Jharkhand High Court on Friday issued notices to the chief secretary, principal secretary (health) and the director of the hospital. Disturbed by the situation of Munni Devi, the BJP party member later bought some plates and distributed among the patients who had occupied spaces on the ground floor of the hospital along with Devi.

UNHRC holds meeting on the issues of minorities in Pakistan.

An event on the “Plight of the Pakistani Minorities” was organised during the 33 rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The event was organised by the European Union of Pakistani Minorities. The plight of the minorities such as Shias, Christians, Hindus, Baloch people was discussed extensively during the event. The recent attacks on the Christians as well as the atrocities on the people of Gilgit-Balochistan were the main focus of the event. Fulvia Martusciello, a member of the European Parliament discussed the discriminatory laws that prevail in Pakistan. The growing intolerance in the Pakistani society amongst the minority communities such as Christians, Hazaras, Ahmadiyas and Baloch will sooner or later destabilise the nation not only internally but will spread to different parts of the world gradually. The Pakistani government along with the military establishment should work towards eliminating the extremism and not support their movements in different parts of the nation. Earlier this month, lawyers, journalists were killed in Quetta near a hospital where they had gathered after a prominent lawyer from the town was gunned down earlier the same day. Scores of lawyers were also killed after a suicide bomb went off outside the Mardan Court and in the Christian Colony in Peshawar. Dr. Rubina Greenwood, an activist of the human rights of the Sindhi community in Pakistan stated that 11,500 Christian-Pakistanis have fled the country since April 2016 and have been seeking asylum in Thailand. She called on the international communities to restrict its aids till it improved laws on issues related to the religious minorities and set up a committee to investigate the cruelties on them. A whole community of Baloch people have been facing atrocities by the Pakistani military. Mario Silva, Executive Director, International Forum for Rights and Security, Canada condemned the government for the act of genocides caused in the area. The issue of this tribal area in Pakistan have not been adequately addressed by such international forums. It is a concern for all the nations to put pressure on the Government of Pakistan to stop the brutal killings or “Kill and Dump” policy by the Pakistani security forces and intelligence in the region. Otherwise the natives of the land will be forced to flee the country and seek asylum in other parts of the world.

Railway hikes passenger fares in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto.

In a bold move, the Railway Ministry has brought in a reform to increase the fare prices of the Duronto, Rajdhani and Shatabdi express trains. Even after the hike, the railway is still the cheapest mode of travel for a common man. The decision has been made on the model of dynamic fare system in vogue in the aviation sector. The flexi fare system will be introduced in the II AC, III AC, Chair Car in the three trains where the 10 per cent of the seats will be sold in the normal fare in the beginning but it will go on increasing by every 10 per cent with every 10 per cent berths sold with a maximum cap of 50 per cent. The I AC and the Executive Class has not been included in this system because of the already prevailing high fares. The sleeper class will also be charged in the Duronto Trains. While the maximum hike for II AC and Chair Car will be 50 per cent, for III AC, it will be 40 per cent. The Ministry targets to earn Rs. 500 crore from 42 Rajdhani, 46 Shatabdi and 54 Duronto trains by introducing the flexi fare system. It targets to achieve Rs. 51,000 crores of revenue which is passenger induced in contrast to the Rs. 45,000 crore in the last fiscal year, an increase of Rs. 6000 crore in 2016-17. There will be hardly any difficulty for the common man to avail to the railway services as the majority of the population use the unreserved segment where there is no price hike. The aforementioned train mostly cater to the high-end category of the passenger segment and comprises of a small segment of the population.A price hike in the railway was much needed as the carrier service had been facing losses in the passenger segment. As mentioned by Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha in the Lok Sabha inApril, the total loss incurred by the Ministry in the passenger segment was Rs. 33,490.95 crore in the financial year 2015. While railways’ primary mandate is to make cheaper travelling possible for the common man, it is in the interest of the public that railways remain operationally viable to stay here for long.

70th Independence Day: Of Terrorism, Economy and Women.

As the morning dawned upon us, the nation found itself in the 70th year of Independence. The National Flag was hoisted and the National Anthem was sung in unison. After the customary practices were finished, Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Red Fort began with his speech addressing the nation.

In his speech, he came out openly about the atrocities caused on the people of Gilgit, Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He thanked the people from these regions by saying, “It gave me great joy the way they have wished me and I am thankful to them.”

PM Modi condemned the neighbouring country of Pakistan, who celebrated their Independence Day yesterday, for supporting the terrorist outfits. This statement was made in the light of the terrorist acts on the Peshawar school children and the way the Indians reacted to it.

Major public sector companies like Air India, BSNL and Shipping Corps have rose from their losses and are now making profits with the help from the government. In addition, he announced that the government is going to complete 118 projects which are worth of 7.5 lakh crores this year which remained incomplete by the previous governments. A group have been made to review these pending projects.

The Prime Minister thanked all the political parties for coming on board to pass the Goods and Service Tax (GST) Bill in the Parliament. It is going to ensure financial stability of the nation. He came out in support of the government’s 4% inflation target which was decided under the monetary policy framework agreement with Reserve Bank of India. With a plus-minus range of two percentage points, it will ensure the macro-economic stability in the country.

“The nation continues to grow as a major economy in the world. Be it the International Monetary Fund, World Bank or the World Economic Forum, India is considered as one of the best destination for global capital.” continued Modi during his speech.

Amid the economic achievements, he encouraged the initiative of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” and pushed for the education and improvement of health related matters of women. He cheered for the Maternity Bill which was passed in the Parliament in the last session which extends the leave to 26 weeks.