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Showing posts from November 29, 2016

Tata to sell U.K. speciality steels unit SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Tata Steel signs LoI with Liberty House to negotiate potential sale of assets valued at £ 100 million Tata Steel U.K. has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Liberty House Group, the metals company run by tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, to enter into exclusive negotiations for the potential sale of its Speciality Steels business for an enterprise value of £100 million. The LoI covers several South Yorkshire-based assets including the Rotherham electric arc steelworks, the steel purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth as well as service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury, U.K., and in Suzhou and Xi’an, China, said the statement adding that the speciality steels business employed about 1,700 people making steel for the aerospace, automotive and the oil & gas industries. Other assets This year, Liberty acquired significant assets in South Wales, the West Midlands, Scotland and Kent from Tata Steel. It is believed that Tata Steel aims to retain the rest of its U.K. businesse…

Appointing a Lokpal

Lokpal By admonishing the Union government for delaying the appointment of a Lokpal, the Supreme Court has sent across a timely message that efforts to cleanse the economy must be matched by equally strong measures to cleanse public life too. There can really be no excuse for the failure to establish an institution even three years after passing the relevant law. The only reason for the delay in the appointment of the Lokpal is that a minor amendment to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, to enable the leader of the largest party in the opposition in the Lok Sabha to join the five-member selection committee, is yet to be passed. A parliamentary committee has endorsed the amendment, which is on the same lines as the mechanism for the selection panels for the Central Vigilance Commissioner and the Chief Information Commissioner. The court has indicated that it will not allow the institution to remain inoperative indefinitely, evoking apprehension on the Centre’s part that a judicial di…

A last chance for amnesty

The amendments to the Income Tax law passed by the Lok Sabha now offer those with unaccounted cash a last shot at amnesty. They can pay half their cash as tax and deposit a quarter into a new Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Those who fail to do this voluntarily for bank deposits made since November 8 would end up retaining about 15 per cent of the total amount if they cannot establish a legitimate source for the funds. There is a Robinhood-esque edge to the PMGKY approach, directly linking the war on black money to welfare of the poor. Essentially an extension of the recent Income Disclosure Scheme that cleaned up about Rs.65,000 crore of undeclared income by levying 45 per cent tax, the December 30 deadline for bank deposits in demonetised notes gives a more purposeful push to the effort to clean out all the cash in the grey economy. The scheme for disclosing foreign assets last year had yielded just about Rs.2,400 crore in taxes, so a tougher approach was perhaps necessary to in…

Taxation laws (Second Amendment) bill: Opposition outraged as bill cleared without debate

Amid protests from the Opposition which accused the government of “bulldozing” Parliamentary democracy, Lok Sabha passed a bill that seeks to tax black money deposited in banks post-demonetisation by voice voice Tuesday, without debate. The Opposition questioned how the government introduced Taxation Laws (2nd Amendment) Bill 2016 without giving members time to move amendments. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the tax, surcharge, penalty and interest on the deposit would go to welfare schemes for the poor. “It will give a means to the Government of India to run schemes like Garib Kalyan Kosh…” he said. Watch What Else Is making News Celebrations at Yuvraj Singh-Hazel Keech Cocktail Party

Insights on the Importance of Time Management

To celebrate Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress, Nuno Francisco (Vice President, U.S. Retail Banking Business) shares insights from his first job.

As a junior in high school, I took a position as a stock room associate and weekend brand ambassador at a local men's clothing retailer in Newark, New Jersey. In addition to allowing me to become an expert t-shirt folder, the job prepared me for future success, teaching me to prioritize and manage my time effectively and about the value of teamwork and a client-centric approach to business.
My responsibilities as a brand ambassador included managing the sales floor, taking part in community events and sharing details on in-store promotions. I was also a stock room associate where I was tasked with organizing inventory and price marking our clothing for sales. While I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with customers on a daily basis, I was challenged to manage my schedule and was quick to learn the importance of prioritization.

The gathering crisis in Seoul

Hundreds of thousands of angry citizens have been taking to the streets every weekend in South Korea, against the continuation in office of President Park Geun-hye. The crisis of confidence in Ms. Park’s leadership exploded after her aide Choi Soon-sil was arrested over allegations that Ms. Choi covertly exercised illegal authority over critical government decisions. She has also allegedly extorted $69 million from the giant industrial conglomerates, or chaebols, in the form of donations to two charitable foundations. Ms. Park has stood her ground and clung on to the presidency, even as she sacked at least eight of her aides in an unsuccessful attempt to regain public trust. Yet, pressure is mounting as the opposition parties are circling the wagons over impeaching her for breach of the Constitution. An impeachment motion would require two-thirds support in the 300-seat National Assembly. Opposition parties enjoy a combined majority there, and say they have secured the backing of mor…

Shashi Tharoor strikes back at the British Raj

Within weeks of our moving to London from Singapore, I received a note from my son’s school, saying that the students were to dress up as a character important in British history and tell the story of the character in their class, as part of History Week. We were still settling in a new country, and trying to organise the dress of a long-dead king or an author with whom my then-six-going-to-be-seven-year-old son could connect seemed less of a priority than figuring out how to register ourselves with the local doctor’s clinic. So we thought of sending him dressed in churidar-kurta with a red rose, and said he should tell the story of Jawaharlal Nehru, about which he knew what a six-year-old boy would. The following day the teacher patiently told me that I had probably misread the note: the character had to be important in British history, not world history. I smiled and said, actually, Nehru was pretty important for British history—not only because Nehru studied at Harrow and Cambridg…

Cuba after Fidel

Ads by Google The life of Fidel Castro, Latin America’s last revolutionary leader and towering and charismatic anti-imperialist torch-bearer, came to signify the high point of Cold War ideological hostilities of the 20th century. At home, his policies to promote affordable and accessible health care, housing and education, as well as his standing up to global hegemony, endeared him to the majority, even as his record on human rights came in for serious scrutiny. But these domestic issues played out in the larger shadow of his defiance of American power, which has outlasted that of the Soviet Union. When Castro captured power in 1959, there were few signs that the Marxist radical would emerge a global champion of Third World countries in his nearly fifty-year rule. But the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, by Cuban exiles trained by the U.S., to overthrow his regime began a pragmatic partnership between Castro and the Soviet Union, bringing the Cold War into the western hemisphere. This…

The New Cultural Revolution

Change is the law of life. Modernity is about breaking stereotypes that govern individual and institutional habits. In today’s world, technology has come to be the main driving force of change. From the steam engine to the electric bulb and internet, technology has defined the evolution of the human mind and civilisation. Should India not keep pace with this momentum? The demonetisation of high-value currency notes announced on November 8 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has several dimensions. Cutting off money channels to terrorists and extremist elements, weeding out counterfeit currency and driving out black money are the visible, short-term objectives. But the long-term consequences and gains include ushering in a behavioural change at all levels of society. It is a part of the grand “cultural revolution” that the PM is working on. The entrenched old order needs to make way for a new normal. This cultural revolution, impinging on all walks of public and private life amounts to sh…

Demonetisation and its discontents

Demonetisation seems to have made friends of foes, and foes of friends in the political firmament. If Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar differed from his allies while heaping praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for embarking on demonetisation, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was critical of his party’s senior partner in government for “bringing tears in the eyes of the people” who had voted it to power. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress showed a readiness to join hands with arch-rival Left Front to fight the demonetisation drive. While the withdrawal of high-denomination notes can hardly be expected to trigger a political realignment anywhere, political parties seem to be rising above mundane political calculations while reacting to the demonetisation. A cynical view might be that Mr. Kumar is keeping his political options open by building bridges with the BJP, and keeping his politically junior but numerically stronger ally, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, in …

Lessons from another jailbreak

The daring escape of six prisoners, including the self-styled commander of a Khalistani militant group, from the Nabha Jail in Punjab is another wake-up call for the security establishment. This is the second major jailbreakin the country in the space of weeks involving high-profile prisoners jailed on terrorism charges. Both were well planned and executed. While the jailbreak by members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from the Bhopal Central Prison last month was planned inside and executed largely by the prisoners on their own, the incident in Nabha was aided by a group of armed men from outside wearing police uniforms. Shortly after the Bhopal jailbreak, all those who had escaped were gunned down in an alleged encounter. And a day after the Punjab incident, Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo was nabbed in Delhi, while the alleged mastermind, Parminder Singh, was arrested in Shamli district in western Uttar Pradesh. Apart from Mintoo, the five others…