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Showing posts from December 3, 2016

Demonetisation without replace ( livemint)

Investment calls for a stable macroeconomic environment, where the dominant currency denomination is not withdrawn at 3 hours’ notice. Photo: Ramesh PaInvestment calls for a stable macroeconomic environment, where the dominant currency denomination is not withdrawn at 3 hours’ notice.

Of the two denominations demonetised on 8 November at midnight, Rs500 was the preferred storage denomination among labourers and itinerant people, and the modal transactional denomination in wholesale markets and mandis. The replacement trickle is said to have started supplying the new Rs500 note (although I have yet to see it), well after the Rs2,000 denomination made its appearance. Without enough Rs500 notes in circulation, the Rs2,000 note is rejected everywhere. It has simply not taken root as accepted tender.

To what extent was the demonetisation consistent with the statutory provisions in Chapter III of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act 1934, which assigns to the RBI the sole right to issue curre…

PM Modi, Afghan President Ghani hold bilateral talks; focus on trade, security (livemint)

PM Modi, Narendra Modi, Modi-Ghani, Narendra Modi-Ashraf Ghani, India-Afghanistan, Heart of Asia conference, India news, Indian Express Amritsar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Afghanistan’ President Ashraf Ghani wave during a visit to Golden temple on the eve of the Heart of Asia Conference on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday held bilateral talks focusing on a range of key issues including boosting trade and investment, India’s reconstruction activities in the war-ravaged country and ways to strengthen defence and security partnership.

The issue of firming up an air cargo service pact between the two countries is understood to have figured in the talks which will give India a leverage in Afghanistan as Pakistan continued to deny transit link through its territory.

Ghani arrived in Amritsar last evening to attend the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process conference which began on Saturday. In the meeting, Modi assured Ghani …

Making of a legislative court ( thehindu)

The Supreme Court order on the national anthem relies exclusively on Fundamental Duties. This is not a coincidence as it closely follows the spirit of the Emergency-era 42nd amendment

The Supreme Court of India, on November 30, gave an order that the national anthem will have to be played before feature films at cinema halls all over the country, and that those present in these halls are obliged to stand up to show respect. Similar orders on respecting the national anthem have been delivered by two High Courts in recent years. Indeed such an order is not in any way an aberration in the post-Emergency trajectory of the higher judiciary. A few months back, the Madras High Court mandated that Thirukkural be taught in all schools in Tamil Nadu. Currently, in another case, the Supreme Court is considering making yoga compulsory in schools. While patriotism, education and health may all perhaps be desirable goals, what is common here is the court compulsorily prescribing highly specific mo…

Right vs far right in France (thehindu)

French President François Hollande’s decision to not make a bid for a second term in office is unsurprising. In the last leg of a term marred by economic uncertainty, high unemployment rates, workers’ strikes, infighting within the ruling party and personal scandal, Mr. Hollande’s approval ratings are abysmally low — as low as 4 per cent in some polls. Moreover, several former cabinet colleagues have said they would run against him in the Socialist Party primaries. It would have been humiliating for a sitting President to go through the primaries to win party nomination. Now, with Mr. Hollande deciding to keep out, the Socialists have the opportunity to put up a united fight under another candidate, most likely Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in the April presidential elections. Still, the left is likely to find it difficult to win back popularity in a campaign in which the agenda is largely being set by the conservatives and the far right. Mr. Hollande’s administration must share some b…

A dampening of economic activity? (thehindu)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to abruptly withdraw legal tender status for Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 notes to save the country from “the grip of corruption and black money” has had one predictable side effect: a dampening of economic activity. With cash availability significantly impaired as a result of the sudden withdrawal of the high-value banknotes that constituted more than 86 per cent of the currency in circulation as of March 31, a palpable impact has been felt across the entire economy. A snapshot of manufacturing from the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index released on December 1 revealed that demonetisation had slowed buying activity and production across the board, and led to the weakest expansion in orders in four months. The survey indicated that producers of consumer goods are among the worst hit, a signal that a key engine of India’s world-leading pace of economic growth — private consumption demand — appears to be sputtering on account of the cash…

India, Afghanistan plan air cargo link over Pakistan (the indianexpress)

heart of asia, narendra modi, amritsar summit, pakistan, ashraf ghani, india afghan relations, indo pak relations, sartaj aziz, heart of asia summit A worker erects a billboard showing pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on a street ahead of the sixth ministerial conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar on Friday. (PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore )

India and Afghanistan are likely to announce an air cargo service on Saturday to help increase trade that both say is stymied because of their tense political relations with Pakistan that lies between them.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were meeting in the city of Amritsar, a short distance from the Pakistan border, for the Heart of Asia conference aimed at stabilising Afghanistan.

Officials say the focus of the air cargo service is to improve landlocked Afghanistan’s connectivity to key markets abroad and boost the growth prospects of its fruit and carpet industries while it bat…

Notify plan for ‘health emergency’ in Delhi-NCR: SC(thehindu)

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the government to urgently notify a graded response action plan to combat a new and heightened level of air pollution called ‘health emergency’ in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

This almost-lethal level of pollution is reached when the air quality worsens beyond the ‘severe’ category. As of now, air pollution is graded from ‘moderate to poor’, ‘very poor’, and lastly, ‘severe’.

A ‘health emergency’ will be declared if the air quality worsens five times the standard. This would invite blanket ban on constructions, entry of trucks and imposition of odd-even scheme in Delhi-NCR.

The new plan was framed after the Supreme Court raised questions about the authorities’ preparedness to combat levels of air pollution when “the entire city will be shut down and human lives are threatened”. A Bench led by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur had on November 9 pointed to how Beijing and Singapore were shut down due to air pollution reaching life-threatening propo…

Pollutants in Delhi air 4 times above prescribed levels(livemint)

New Delhi: The levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10, most dominant pollutants in Delhi’s air, have consistently violated the prescribed standards by about four times each over the last ten days, official data shows.

The average levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 over an eleven-day period from 21 November to 1 December were 194 and 438 micrograms per cubic metre, as against the corresponding safe limits of 60 and 100 respectively.

Although, these readings show no major difference when compared to the data collated over the same period last year, the city government said. In fact, the average level of these ultrafine particulates over the same period were higher at 264 and 518 last year. This year the situation has marginally improved riding on the back of strong wind movement for about a fortnight.

Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (24-hour average) was in the ‘very poor’ category on Friday, with a reading of 378. on Thursday, it was ‘severe’ at 403. The 24-hour-aver…

HC orders closure of units polluting Ganga ( thehindu)

: In a move to clean up the Ganga, the Uttarakhand High Court on Friday ordered that 150 “defaulting” commercial establishments, including industries and hotels in Uttarakhand, be “shut” with immediate effect. Closure notices to 44 of these polluting units were served in the year 2014, and to the remaining 106 in the year 2015.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by one Lalit Miglani, ordered the Comptroller and Auditor- General (CAG) to conduct a “special” audit of all the schemes for the Ganga river’s rejuvenation financed by the Central government and the governments of the five States through which the river passes. The Court has asked CAG to finish the report within six months and to place the audit report before the President              

The Court also directed the Central government to form an inter-State Council “for all the riparian States through which river Ganga flows” …

Three test positive for dengue (thehindu)

As part of the fever surveillance programme, Health Department officials identified three dengue positive cases at the Tiruvallur Government Hospital on Thursday, said J. Prabhakaran, Deputy Director of Health, Tiruvallur.

“We are tracking fever cases every day and of 42 cases screened first, three tested positive for dengue. One is a 14-year-old, and the other two are adults,” he said.

Dr. Prabhakaran said of the 48 samples tested on Friday, none tested positive.

“This is part of our surveillance system. The positive cases are from Palaiyanur, Pularambakkam and Sholavaram,” he said.

Preventive steps

Block-level domestic breeding checkers had been deployed to check for mosquito larvae and their breeding grounds and to initiate anti-larval measures. “If additional cases are found in those areas, health camps will be started,” he said.