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2G scam fallout: Exit of foreign players from Indian telecom market

The controversy over 2G spectrum allotment and subsequent cancellation of licences by the Supreme Court in 2012 impacted fate of many foreign telecom players operating in India which included Norway’s Telenor, Russia’s Sistema, UAE’s Etisalat and Bahrain Telecom.Etisalat had tied up with Swan Telecom to form a joint venture in India and Bahrain tied up with STel. Both the foreign telecom companies decided to exit Indian market months after SC cancelled their licences in 2012.While Telenor and Sistema decided to participate in the auction process as directed by SC but chose to be niche players and not bid for spectrum pan India. Telenor had formed a JV with Unitech Wireless and Sistema tied up with Shyam Teleservices.Other new players which got licenses in 2008 were Videocon and Loop Telecom. Loop Telecom also shut down their services later, while Videocon also exited the market in 2016 by selling off its spectrum to Bharti Airtel.Telenor, after operating as a small telecom player for many years, decided to hang up on India early this year with a sale to Bharti Airtel. Telenor wrote off about Rs 10,000 crore on its books.Sistema also recently this year merged its wireless operations with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications. Sistema invested over $4 billion in India, according to estimates.

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2G case verdict: Political slugfest breaks out after all accused acquitted by special court

A Special CBI court today acquitted former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and all other accused in the 2G scam case that had rocked the Manmohan Singh-led UPA-II government, holding that the prosecution “miserably failed” to prove any of the corruption and money laundering charges.The stunning verdict came as an anti-climax in a case that had been repeatedly highlighted by the BJP during the 2014 general election campaign as the hallmark of corruption in the then UPA regime. The BJP turned the arbitrary award of radio frequency to telecom providers into a major political issue and put the UPA-II government on the mat.”I have absolutely no hesitation in holding that prosecution has miserably failed to prove any of the charges against any of the accused,” Special CBI Judge O P Saini said in his verdicts in three separate cases related to the 2G scam in a packed courtroom at the Patiala House premises.Also read2G verdict good news for Congress, but UPA has enough scams to worry aboutDealing a body blow to the CAG’s and CBI’s estimation of huge loss in grant of 2G licences, judge Saini in his 1,552- page verdict in the main CBI case held that some people “artfully” arranged few selected facts and created a scam “when there was none”. In all, there were 17 accused, including Raja and Kanimozhi, both leaders of Congress ally DMK, in this case that also included three corporate entities.The three judgements, which together ran into 2,183 pages, included the one that stemmed out of the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s money laundering case.Also readCBI, ED to challenge special court’s verdict on 2G scamThe ED and the CBI said they will challenge before the Delhi High Court the verdicts, which also unleashed a political slugfest between the BJP and the Opposition. There were 19 accused in the ED chargesheet some of whom figured in the CBI chargesheet filed in its main and offshoot case.Buoyed by the verdicts, the Congress and the DMK said “truth” has finally prevailed and that justice has been delivered while the ruling party asked the Congress not to treat them as a “badge of honour”.Also readFull text of special CBI court’s judgment in 2G spectrum allocation case The Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders apologise to the nation for their alleged “propaganda and lies” on the issue.Manmohan Singh said the court judgement needs to be respected as it has “pronounced that the massive propaganda” unleashed against his government was without any foundation.”Will all those people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders, who for years made false propaganda and lies their stepping stone to come to power, apologise to the country?” asked Congress communications incharge Randeep Surjewala. “Today is the day for fixing accountability and responsibility.”In a counterattack, Finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress should not treat the 2G verdict as a “badge of honour.” The party’s “zero loss theory” was proved wrong when the apex court squashed spectrum allocation in 2012, he added.A number of supporters of DMK leaders Raja and Kanimozhi, who were anxiously waiting outside the jam-packed court room, broke into loud cheers as soon as the verdict was pronounced.”There is no evidence against me and justice has been delivered,” Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, told reporters. A beaming Raja said, “You see everybody is happy.”In a statement in the evening, Raja said the court acquittal showed that the presumptive loss in allocation of 2G spectrum was “cooked-up”. He also debunked the presumptive loss theories in the allocation.Raja, who was the Telecom minister in the Congress-led UPA government when 122 spectrum licences were issued to 8 companies in 2008 on first-come-first-serve basis, said his actions were for the benefit of masses.Raja remained in jail for over 15 months while Kanimozhi was in prison for six months before they were granted bail.Other accused persons were also in jail for varying terms.The trial in the three cases relating to the 2G scam began after the then Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai in his report alleged 122 2G licences were given to telecom operators at throwaway prices when the UPA was in power and pegged at Rs 1.76 lakh crore the loss to the national exchequer.The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court court on February 2, 2012.Former telecom minister Kapil Sibal demanded an apology from Rai, saying his stand on loss from the 2G spectrum allocation stands vindicated. Sibal had contradicted the CAG report, maintaining there was “zero loss” to the Government as a result of giving 2G licences to new players in 2008.The verdict also echoed in the Lok Sabha where senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily demanded that Rai quit all posts. Rai heads the Supreme Court-appointed four-member panel of administrators to run the affairs of the BCCI and is also the Chairman of the Banks Board Bureau.Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the other accused who were given a chit in the main CBI case included former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV were also acquitted in the money laundering case.Three companies–Swan Telecom, Unitech Wireless(Tamil Nadu) limited and Reliance Telecom limited–listed as accused in the main case were also acquitted.The acquittal of all the accused brought to end the trial that lasted nearly seven years in one of the most controvesial corruption cases that involved politicians, bureaucrats and a host of businessmen and corporate executives accused of conspiracy in the allocation of spectrum or radio waves used to offer mobile servies.Raja and Kanimozhi were also let off in another case lodged by the ED under the money laundering law arising out of the 2G scam.

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Gujarat HC issues notice to Cong leader

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi in a defamation case filed by the Anil Ambani–led Reliance Group. The company had filed a Rs 5,000-crore defamation case against Singhvi for making “false and defamatory” statements while talking about the Rafale fighter jet deal.The single bench justice Paresh Upadhyay has issued notice to the Congress leader and legal practitioner Singhvi asking to file reply within fifteen days. The court is hearing a petition filed by the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group for making baseless and false allegation against the company.Group’s Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd has filed the defamation case with the Amreli District’s Rajula civil court. Allegation against the respondent is, “false, defamatory and libellous statements” in connection with the contract awarded in the Rafale deal.” The petition was returned by the Rajula Court citing reason that it is not it jurisdiction and hence the petitioner had to approach the high court challenging the order.Respondent Singhvi on November 30th in Delhi had alleged that Union Finance Minister is fooling the nation by making false claim that it has not waived loan of big defaulters. He had added that, “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to banks and of those, the three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group), Adani and Essar — owe Rs 3 lakh crore.”In the said allegation Singhvi had also dragged it group’s defence arm in the allegations, which had nothing to do with the government.

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Telecom sector will stabilise in 6-8 months, says MoS Manoj Sinha

The crisis-ridden telecom industry, which has witnessed hyper competition since the entry of a new player — Reliance Jio — last year, is expected to stabilise in the next 6-8 months.Saying this, Union Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha added that such a disruption had happened in 2003 as well, and the market had stabilised within a year at that time.”There has been some impact in the last few quarters but in the next 6-8 months, the sector will stabilise,” Sinha told DNA in an interview.”We are in a consolidation phase. Globally, there are 2-3 players in telecom sector. Here also, only 4-5 players will be left. There is stiff competition and tariffs for voice and data are very low. Indian mobile market has huge potential,” the Minister said.Telecom players together have a cumulative debt of around Rs 5 lakh croreLast year, Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Jio entered the telecom industry creating a disruption with its free voice calls and dirt cheap data tariffs. Existing telecom players such as Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellula and BSNL were forced to match the tariffs to retain their user base, but it impacted the margins and profits of the telecom companies substantially. Since then, a consolidation in the sector is underway. Vodafone and Idea have announced a merger, Airtel has acquired Telenor India and will be soon acquiring the wireless business of the Tata Group while Reliance Communications merged Shyam Sistema’s wireless business with itself and has shut down its 2G services.When asked if the telecom industry is witnessing hyper competition, Sinha said, “Let’s wait for results of the next two quarters, then we will take a view on it.”An inter-ministerial group under the Department of Telecommunications has also suggested some measures to ease the financial stress faced by telecom players. The measures include an increase in tenure of deferred spectrum instalments (for spectrum bought in auctions) to 16 years from 10 years, while lowering the rate of interest charged on penalties on delayed payments.”These have already been approved by the Telecom Commission and will be sent to the Cabinet soon. Telecom is a success story and the government will ensure its continuity,” Sinha said.India is the second largest telecom market in the world with 1.2 billion mobile users and around 450 million internet users. The telecom industry generates four million direct and indirect jobs.Last year, the industry was engulfed in the issue of call drops which had forced the government to step in and take a regular update from operators on improvement of existing infrastructure besides asking them to invest more for resolving this call drop menace.”Compared to last year, call drops have significantly reduced and even telecom regulator TRAI’s latest report has proved this,” he said.Talking about the forthcoming new Telecom Policy, the Minister said the new policy would include all the new technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), 5G, among others.”The objective is to make India future ready at a time when data adoption is increasing at a fast pace and will be the centre of many things. 5G technology will speed up the digital transformation,” Sinha added.

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Supreme Court reserves judgement on pleas on Delhi-Centre power dispute

The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a clutch of pleas on the issue whether the Lieutenant Governor or the Delhi government enjoyed supremacy in administration, after the AAP dispensation concluded its arguments asserting that it possessed both legislative and executive powers. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which had commenced hearing on November 2, reserved the judgement after hearing a galaxy of senior lawyers for 15 days in over four weeks. While the battery of senior lawyers — P Chidambaram, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Indira Jaising — argued for the Arvind Kejriwal government, the NDA government at the Centre was represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh in the marathon proceedings. Wrapping up the rejoinder submissions, Subramanium told the bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that the chief minister and the council of ministers had the legislative power to make laws as well as the executive authority to enforce the enacted statutes. “The Chief Minister heads the council of ministers to aid and advice the Lieutenant Governor,” he said, adding that Parliament wanted to accord special status to Delhi under the Constitution and, hence, Article 239AA came into being. Had that not been the intention, there was no need to frame Article 239AA (which deals with power and status of Delhi under the Constitution), Subramanium said, adding that the national capital could have also been governed by Article 239A, meant to deal with the Union Territory of Puducherry. “The executive authority lies with the Government of Delhi when one says that the Chief Minister and the council of ministers shall be responsible to the Delhi assembly,” he said. Subramanium, however, said that certain powers are “co- extensive” and the rule of Delhi has to be conducted in the name of the President through the elected government. He said the LG has been taking many executive decisions and a “harmonious interpretation” of Article 239AA was needed to fulfil the constitutional mandate for a democratically- elected Delhi government. Another senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said that Article 239AA and the GNCTD Act of 1991, made it clear that the LG was just a delegatee of the President and can only act on his own in case of an urgency. He said the Constitution has to be read as a whole to interpret the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and the fact cannot be ignored that Delhi has a democratic government chosen by the people. The top court was hearing a batch of appeals filed by the AAP government challenging Delhi High Court’s verdict holding the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of the national capital. Earlier, the apex court had considered the submissions of the ASG that several “illegal” notifications were issued by the Delhi government and they were challenged in High Court. The constitution bench had said it would only lay down the principles on the status of the national capital under the Constitution and not deal with the issues arising out of individual notifications issued by the Delhi government on matters like the ‘mohalla clinics’ and regularisation of guest teachers. The ASG had referred to several decisions taken by the AAP government on issues like mohalla clinics, regularisation of guest teachers and posting of Bihar officials in its Anti- Corruption Branch (ACB). He had also referred to a decision of the Kejriwal government to declare a bungalow allocated to its minister, as the office of the ruling Aam Admi Party. Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Reliance Industries Ltd, had dealt with the decision of Delhi government to register an FIR against then Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and others over alleged irregularities in raising of gas prices. Can a state government register an FIR against sitting Union Cabinet ministers and private company in matters pertaining to policy decision of fixing the gas price, Singhvi had asked and said in a federal set-up, such actions would “lead to chaos”. The Centre had also said the Delhi government cannot have “exclusive” executive powers as it would be against national interests. It had referred to the 1989 Balakrishnan committee report that had dealt with reasons for not granting the status of a state to Delhi.It had referred to the Constitution, the 1991 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules to drive home the point that the President, the union government and the LG had supremacy over the city dispensation in administering the national capital. On the other hand, the Delhi government had accused the LG of making a “mockery of democracy”, saying he was either taking decisions of an elected government or substituting them without having any power.
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Metro One losses not to go away soon

While the Bombay High Court on Monday denied allowing any fare hike for Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro-1 corridor, it also means that the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) will continue to operate it incurring huge losses.According to data, MMOPL has not been able to meet even half of the expenses required to operate Metro through the income generated from ticketing and non-ticketing revenue.The expenditure for operating stood at around Rs 1,500 crore between the period of June 2014 and June 2017; at the same time, the income from its ticketing and non-ticketing revenue stood at around Rs 640 crore in the same period.This also means that the more than 120 per cent of the operational cost is being borne by the operator from his pocket.To mitigate its losses, the MMOPL in 2015 had proposed to increase fare but it was challenged by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) that has 26 per cent of stakes in Metro-1.Currently, the fare slab is Rs 10,20,30,40 for the 11.4-km-long route, the MMOPL had in 2015 proposed the fare slabs of Rs 10,20,25,35 and 45. Meanwhile, the fare fixation committee (FFC) had recommended the fare to be between Rs 10 and 110.However, after the MMRDA challenged it in high court, the MMOPL has been asked to have status quo on the current fare structure.The ridership of Metro-1 has been around 3-3.40 lakh passengers on an average during weekdays. The Metro-1 corridor is the eighth densest Metro corridor in the world with 12 Metro stations.TUNNELING BEGINSThe MMRC has announced that it has started tunnelling work between CSMT Metro, Kalbadevi, Girgaon and Grant Road stations. The tunnelling started from Azad Maidan on Monday. The MMRC said that the tunnel boring machine will be used to construct 4.5 km-long route.
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Bombay High Court strikes down plea to hike Metro fare

The Bombay High Court, in a major relief to Mumbaikars, on Monday restrained the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) from hiking the fares for the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro route.The bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur refused to approve a 2015 recommendation of the Metro Fare Fixation Committee, which proposed a hike of up to Rs 110. The Mumbai Metro Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), which has stakes in the project, had challenged the proposed hike. The court asked the Union government to form a fresh committee within one month, which would decide on the issue in the next three months.A spokesperson from the company said “We are studying the detailed order and will take the appropriate legal course.”The first elevated metro operations of the city began in June 2014 and the introductory fare was Rs 10 for a one-way journey along the 11.4-km stretch. It was subsequently increased to Rs 40, the entire distance one side. In July 2015, the fare fixation committee suggested a new fare range of Rs 10-110, instead of the existing Rs10 to 40. Citing heavy losses, the MMOPL had later announced that starting December 1, 2015, the fares would be increased by Rs 5.The MMOPL had argued for the increase, claiming that it was not able to meet the operation costs. On December 17, 2015, in an interim order, the HC had stayed the proposed fare hike.The MMOPL had moved the Supreme Court against the high court’s order, but the apex court refused to interfere. The fare fixation committee led by a retired SC judge, had recommended increasing the fare up to Rs110.
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Paytm owner Vijay Shekhar contributes Rs 500 to armed forces; gets trolled on social media

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Saturday was trolled on social media for sharing a screenshot of his contribution to the Indian Armed forces on occasion of the Armed Forces Week.Sharma’s contribution, which was shared on his Twitter profile, showed a contribution of Rs 501.Naturally, people on social media questioned the genuineness of Sharma’s contribution, given that Paytm is a billion dollar company today, with some even asking why he had even shared that he had made a contribution.It’s interesting to note that in the past year, thanks mainly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and focus on a cashless economy, Paytm has thrived. In March this year, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital sold part of the stake it holds in Paytm to Alibaba Group, one of the investors in Paytm, for Rs 275 crore. According to media reports, the deal values Paytm at $4.8 billion, next only to Flipkart. Later in May, the sale of Paytm’s shares to Japan’s SoftBank valued the company, in which Sharma owns 18%, at $7 billion. According to a Forbes report, Sharma is valued at $ 1.47 billion, which is why people have raised questions of his contribution to the armed forces.This year the Army is celebrating this entire week as Armed Forces Week. The Defence Ministry has launched a campaign to spread awareness about the valour of armed forces. The objective is to encourage citizens to make financial contributions to the families of war heroes and promote welfare activities. While there will be a big push on social media, events in schools and colleges are also planned starting December 1 and ending on December 7, which also happens to be Armed Forces Flag Day. A sticker of the armed forces flag will be distributed at various public places including educational institutes.
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Congress ridicules Arun Jaitley on NPAs

The Opposition Congress on Thursday ridiculed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s claim that no bank loan of big capitalist defaulters were ever waived off during the past three years of NDA rule. Armed with figures, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said loans worth Rs 1,88,287 crore of willful defaulters were waived since 2014. “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crore to the banks and of these Rs 3 lakh crore are from three top Gujarat-based companies — Reliance (Anil Ambani group), Adani and Essar. Only early this month, one of them (Reliance) publicly declared shutting their telecom business with a liability of Rs 45,000 crore due to the banks,” he said. He said far from declaring it as an NPA, the government is trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal.When reminded that most of the NPAs were legacies of the previous Congress-led UPA government, he asked what is preventing the current government to declare this liability of Rs 45,000 crore as NPA? He further said that it makes no sense to give these companies an offset contract worth Rs 30,000 crore in the Rafale deal.Singhvi ridiculed the government for the farm loan waiver of just one paisa to farmers of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra while waiving Rs 1.88 lakh crore of bank loans of its rogue crony friends. He wondered if the government is really trying to help the nationalised banks recover from collapse under the NPA burden. “The so-called Rs 2.11 lakh crore amount for bank recapitalisation announced by the finance minister on October 24 has neither a roadmap or a time frame. We are waiting for the finance minister to spell that out,” Singhvi added.Meanwhile, another spokesperson and party’s in-charge of media cell, Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that four private electricity companies in Gujarat were profiteering at the cost of state exchequer. Describing it a ‘huge scam in power purchase’, Surjewala said despite 8,641 MW production capacity with Gujarat government-owned power plants, they have been operating at an abysmally low level of 33% to 38% of their capacities over last three years to benefit four private power companies – Adani, ESSAR, Tata and China Light Power — from whom expensive power is purchased. He said during last three years alone (2013-14 to 2015-16), BJP government purchased electricity worth Rs.26,195 crore from the four private power companies and at the same time kept production of government-owned power plants low.Reliance replyA Reliance spokesperson said Singhvi has made false, defamatory and libellous statements against the group. “We will be filing a Rs 5,000 crore suit for damages for making these statements,” he said.
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Congress dismissive of Defence Minister’s counter on Rafael deal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting the government’s counter to its allegations on Rafael aircraft deal as “lameduck” explanation, Congress asked why the 36 Rafale aircraft were purchased on emergency basis when regular purchase had already been negotiated.Soon after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed Congress allegations relating to the procurement deal for 36 “shameful” and held that such bickering was a “disservice” to the armed forces, Congress Communication chief Randeep Surjewala accused the government of “repeated attempts at shoddy cover up”.Alleging “complete non-transparency” in purchase of Rafale aircraft, Surjewala said India’s defence preparedness cannot be subject matter of politicking nor can the sacrosanct premises of Defence Ministry be “used for political mud slinging”.Repeating the allegations, Surjewala asked what is the price per aircraft of the 36 Rafale aircraft being purchased by Modi government and why are Modi government and Defence Minister “hiding” the purchase price.The Congress leader asked why was the public sector undertaking, HAL bypassed for getting 30,000 crore worth offset contract despite the work share agreement between HAL and Dassault Aviation signed in March 2014.”Why did the Prime Minister promote the interests of a private corporate entity over a public sector undertaking. Defence Minister has said that 36 Rafale aircraft were purchased on emergency basis. What was the need to buy aircraft on emergency basis when regular purchase had already been negotiated?”Why is it then that despite the emergency purchase and lapse of 34 months, not a single aircraft had been delivered? How long will it take for the delivery of aircraft? Shockingly, Defence Minister stated that offset deal for 50 percent of contract value has not been signed. If that is so, how has Reliance placed on its website the award of offset worth 30,000 crore in a joint venture with Dassault Aviation?,” Surjewala asked.Reliance Defence Ltd has rebutted the allegations and flagged “factual inaccuracies” in the Congress statement.The RDL said that the Joint Venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation is a bilateral agreement between two private companies and Dassault Aviation selected Reliance Aerostructure Ltd as its joint venture partner. “The Indian Government has no role to play in this,” it has said.It said that that offset obligations are to be undertaken by Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture company and not by Reliance Defence.

Rafale deal allegations are a disservice to armed forces and nation: Nirmala Sitharaman slams Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today that allegations relating to the procurement deal for 36 Rafale fighter jet were “shameful” and that such bickering was a “disservice” to the armed forces.Her remarks came a day after the Congress accused the prime minister of changing the “entire deal” to benefit a businessman.”These allegations are shameful…The deal was finalised following a transparent procedure,” Sitharaman told reporters.The defence minister also called the bickering against the deal as “disservice” to the armed forces, asserting that urgent requirement of the Indian Air Force was the main reason for sealing it.The defence minister said the final agreement for 36 Rafale jets was signed in September, 2016, after five rounds of lengthy discussions between Indian and French sides and approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security.She said the UPA government had sat over the proposed procurement of jets for 10 years.The Indian Air Force (IAF) said that there was “no overpricing” in the Rafale purchase as the government had “negotiated a very good” deal for the French fighter aircraft.”It is not overpricing… We have negotiated for 36 French fighter aircraft Rafale (at a price) lower than that in the contract. The government has negotiated a very good deal,” Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said.Stressing that it was a “government-to-government contract”, he told the media at the Adampur Air Force station near here that the IAF was getting 36 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at a greatly “negotiated price”.”It is definitely a better deal. It is lower than what was there in the MRMCA contract,” he said without going into specifics.Hitting at the government over the same issue, Gandhi, who was talking to reporters after addressing a meeting of his party’s newly-formed wing All India Unorganised Workers Congress (AIUWC), said, “I happily answer all your questions fortnightly. Why don’t you question Prime Minister Modi on the Rafale deal, or on Amit Shah’s son. Why don’t you ask frankly about these. Why don’t you question the PM who changed the entire Rafale deal to help a businessman?” Gandhi also put out tweets taking a jibe at the government over Rafale deal and alleged a ‘loot’.“Modiji nice touch removing the suit. What about the loot?,” he tweeted tagging a report on the Rafale deal.He also tweeted, “Can you explain ‘Reliance’ on someone with nil experience in aerospace for Rafale deal? Self ‘Reliance’ is obviously a critical aspect of ‘Make in India’.”

‘Why no questions on PM Modi over Rafale deal,’ Rahul Gandhi asks media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale fighter aircraft agreement and asked the media why it did not question him for allegedly changing the “entire deal” to benefit a businessman.”I answer all your questions, whatever you ask me. Why don’t you question Prime Minister Modi on the Rafale deal. Why don’t you question the prime minister who changed the entire Rafale deal to help a businessman?” he asked.He was speaking to reporters after the meeting of the newly formed All India Unorganised Workers Congress (AIUWC).He expressed satisfaction over the formation of AIUWC and said he felt good interacting with them.Earlier this week, the Congress accused the government of compromising national interest and security while promoting “crony capitalism” and causing a loss to the public exchequer.The BJP rubbished the allegation, claiming it was intended to “divert attention” as the party bigwigs faced the prospect of being questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scandal.The Congress’ communications department head Randeep Surjewala alleged that the government neglected the interests of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft, refused to transfer technology to it and instead entered into an agreement with Reliance Defence.He also alleged that the aircraft was being purchased at much higher rates than what was decided after the completion of the tender process under the previous UPA government.

Ambanis top Forbes list of Asia’s richest families

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mukesh Ambani family is the richest in Asia as its net worth rose $19 billion to $44.8 billion, toppling the Lees of the Samsung empire, to claim the numero uno position, Forbes said.Despite dropping to the second spot, Korea’s Lee family still saw its wealth soar by $11.2 billion to $40.8 billion this year as shares of Samsung Electronics moved up 75 per cent over the past year.According to Asia’s 50 Richest Families compiled by Forbes, Hong Kong’s Kwok family, Asia’s richest real estate household that controls Sun Hung Kai Properties, ranked third this year with a net wealth of $40.4 billion. Thailand’s Chearavanont family of the Charoen Pokphand Group took the fourth spot on the list, with a net worth of $36.6 billion.The Ambanis are the only Indian family on the top 10 richest families list in Asia. “No family highlights this surge better than the Ambanis of India, this year’s biggest gainer in dollar and percentage terms,” Forbes said.It noted that shares in Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries soared on the back of improved refining margins and the demand produced by its telecom arm, Reliance Jio, which notched up 140 million subscribers since it was launched in 2016.On the list of Asia’s Richest Families 2017, compiled by Forbes, India enjoys the biggest presence in the ranking for the third time with as many as 18 families.Other richest Indian families on the list feature the Premjis (rank 11, $19.2 billion net worth), the Hindujas (12th, $18.8 billion), the Mittals (14th, $17.2 billion), the Mistrys (16th, $16.1 billion) and the Birlas (19th, $14.1 billion). Other Indian families that got into the exalted list include the Godrej family (20th, $14 billion), the Bajajs (26th, $9.3 billion), the Jindal family (32nd, $7.7 billion), the Burmans (35th, $7.05 billion), Eicher Motors’ Lals (36th, $7 billion) and Shree Cement’s Bangur family (37th, $6.7 billion).Motherson Sumi Systems Sehgal family (41st, $6.2 billion), the Wadia family (42nd, $6.14 billion), DLF’s Kushal Pal Singh (44th, $6.1 billion), the Patel family which controls Cadila (45th, $6 billion), the Piramals (47th, $5.38 billion) and the Munjals (48th, $5.37 billion) also made the cut.Collectively, the 50 families in the club are worth a record $699 billion, up by nearly $200 billion from last year, according to Forbes. The list of Asia’s 50 Richest Families is a snapshot of wealth using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of markets on November 3. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar publicly traded firms.The ticket to entry for this year’s list was $5 billion, $1.6 billion more than in 2016.

SC issues notice to MP and RIL on sham lease deeds

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to Madhya Pradesh and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on a petition challenging lease deeds signed by the conglomerate with almost 400 tribals in Madhya Pradesh.A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and M Shantanagouder issued the notice based on a plea filed by Ravinder Tiwari, the president of Janta Kisan Sangharsh Morcha who alleged that Ratan Akhori, an authorised representative of RIL, fraudulently made tribal farmers sign on blank documents in order to divert agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.The petition states the tribals, who were dependent on an agrarian economy, were induced to sign the papers as ‘lease deeds’ in way of cash. According to the terms of the lease deed, RIL offered each tribal an amount ranging between Rs 1.20 lakh – Rs 1.50 lakh and a nominal and entirely sham sum of Re 1 per acre ‘as rent’ for the lease period which may be for either 29 years or 99 years.The remaining paperwork submitted with the state authorities were written in languages that were identical and were accordingly passed with identical orders.The signed land would then be used by RIL to felicitate the drilling equipment for exploiting the CNM leases. If the land is used for drilling methane gas, it will render the land useless, thus killing the livelihood of the tribals, Tiwari further maintained.”RIL has enabled land conversion en masse without application of any policy, advocate Avi Singh said representing Tiwari.Singh alleges that the High Court erred in dismissing the matter when it was initially filed as a public interest litigation.

$25.2 bn investment committed in petroleum and gas: Dharmendra Pradhan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Out of the cumulative investments of $40 billion expected in India’s petroleum and gas industry in the next four to five years, over $25.2 billion has already been committed under production sharing contract, said petroleum and natural gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan during an industry event on Thursday.Pradhan said that his ministry is in the process of easing the bottlenecks and will soon be announcing more policies to attract further investments into the sector from domestic and international players.The Centre is looking to attract investments, which had apparently slowed down in the past few years due to several policy-related issues. India’s oil demand is growing at around 6% annually and it meets about 80% of its requirements from imports. The government aims to reduce the imports by at least 10% by the year 2022.As per the data available with the ministry, out of the committed investment, around $13.6 billion into field development planning (FDP) is approved, $11.6 billion is into declaration of commerciality, $100 million is expected from development of 30 contract areas awarded under round I of DSF (discovered small fields). Likewise, investment of about $300 million is for development of 61 contract areas under round II of DSF. Under open acreage licence (OAL) policy, $5-6 billion is expected in exploration activities and another $20-30 billion is for development activities.Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with top honchos of several large international and national companies including BP, Saudi Aramco, Rosneft, Exxon Mobil, Vedanta and Reliance Industries to discuss ways for attracting investments in exploration and production, transportation, distribution of oil and gas in India. Modi had called a similar meeting last year in January.

Navyata Goenka honoured with the Young Women Achievers’ Award by Guv

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday felicitated Navyata Goenka, an advisor to Mount Litera School International (MLSI), as one of the ‘Young Women Entrepreneurs: Leading A New India’, at an event. MLSI is a reputed international school in Mumbai.The awards were conceptualised and designed by the School of Design (ISDI), School of Communication (ISDI|WPP) and School of Management and Entrepreneurship (ISME). The jury comprised students from three schools, which are led by Dr Indu Shahani, President & Chair, ISDI, ISME, ISDI WPP.Goenka, a young achiever, has worked in investment banking and equity research, prior to joining the Education division of Essel Group – Zee Learn.Goenka strongly believes in a pedagogy that integrates the international curriculum with the Indian value system and tradition.Her aim at MLSI is to groom and nurture children and prepare them to be future-ready so that they can acquire the skills to excel in careers that might not even exist currently, but careers that are a unique possibility in 5the future.Sharing her views on being recognised as a woman achiever, Goenka said, “I feel truly honoured and privileged to be recognised as one of India’s top Young Women Achievers, along with other exceptionally talented women. We are at a crucial juncture where women are leading the way in all fields and shaping a better India. Women entrepreneurs are not only creating jobs for one but for many more women. A recognition of our achievements as entrepreneurs and catalysts of change is very encouraging”.The other achievers who were also felicitated included Isha Ambani – Director at Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Retail, Kulsum Wahab- CEO, Hothur Charitable Trust, Nisa Godrej- Chairperson of Godrej Consumer Products and Radhika Dhoot- Non-Executive Director of Videocon.

No more lights out this Diwali for locals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 4.2 million electricity consumers in Greater Mumbai will not face load-shedding during Diwali and in the coming month’s, thanks to the islanding system and adequate power supply being planned by the distribution companies including Tata Power Distribution, Reliance Infrastructure and BrihanMUmbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST).The uninterrupted power supply will be a big relief for Mumbaikars especially when the state distribution utility Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) is forced daily to shed load for three to 10 hours in different parts of the state following a dip in generation due to inadequate coal supply.Mumbai’s daily demand of 3,200 MW is mainly met by three distribution companies. Tata Power runs its Trombay plant on an imported coal and therefore does not rely on Coal India or other domestic suppliers. Tata Power generation supplies power to Tata Power Distribution with a consumer base of over 4 lakh.In case of Reliance Infrastructure, it has tied up about 60 per cent imported coal and the balance 40 per cent from domestic suppliers for its 500 MW plant at Dahanu. However, Reliance Infrastructure’s arm Vidarbha Industries Power Limited with 500 MW receives coal from Coal India and through E auction. These two companies supply power to Reliance Infrastructure distribution with a consumer base of over 2.4 million.This apart, Reliance Infrastructure distribution and Tata Power distribution draw a total of 700 MW from outside. BEST, which is not a generator, draws 800 MW power from Tata Power and supplies to 9 lakh consumers in the island city. Reliance Energy spokesperson said, “Despite coal shortage and high power demand during the peak season of October, we have been able to effectively mitigate the problem by optimising our Dahanu power plant operations to ensure continuity of power supply to our customers.”An officer at the energy department told DNA, “The islanding system was designed to intentionally isolate Mumbai’s network during widespread external grid disturbance, enabling supply to continue for essential category consumers, avoiding a tripping of thermal generators and quick restoration. The city won’t witness load shedding,” he said.CITY’S ELECTRICITY NEEDSMumbai’s daily demand of 3,200 MW is mainly met by three distribution companies
The uninterrupted power supply will be a big relief for Mumbaikars
The state distribution utility, MahaVitaran, is forced daily to shed load for three to 10 hours following a dip in electricity generation due to inadequate coal supply.

#DNAExclusive: Maharashtra govt pulls up Kokilaben Hospital, imposes Rs 174 cr fine

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government has asked the Malti Vasant Heart Trust, whose trustee list includes Tina and Anil Ambani, to pay Rs 174 crore for using parts of the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Andheri (West) for commercial purposes other than hospital operations.The government has also pulled up the Trust for changing the trustees without taking permission from the government.In 2009, the revenue department had allotted 14 acres to the Malti Vasant Heart Trust for construction of a hospital, on a 30-year lease at a token rate of Rs 1 per year.In a government audit, the Accountant General of Maharashtra raised several objections.He also claimed that hospital has been exploiting government land for commercial purpose other than the hospital, such as a gift shop, spa, beauty salon, food court, and various offices of Reliance Group.”Therefore, as per the 2008 ready reckoner rate, the total value of the land was Rs 233 crore, the 75 per cent amounting to Rs 174 crore has to be recovered from Reliance,” says an order by the Mumbai suburban collector. DNA has a copy of the government order.”Besides, Tina Ambani in her letter to Chief Minister in 2009 said that this said hospital is the flagship project by Anil Dhirubhai Ambani. She had also claimed that they had invested Rs 291 crore for the development of this hospital. It shows that the Malti Vasant Heart Trust property has been controlled by Anil Ambani. While developing this hospital, Ambani had availed the floor space index of 5.Therefore, Ambani has to pay Rs 174 crore to the state government for the said violations,” the order says.The Accountant General of Maharashtra also noted that failure to pay the amount could result in the government taking back the land.Dr Ram Narain, Executive Director at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital declined comment, saying it would not be appropriate for him to do so.In its written reply to Mumbai Suburban Collector, however, the Trust has argued that it has not been using the hospital premises for commercial purpose, but that the given facilities are supplementary to the hospital’s activities and helpful to patients.”The said objected space is not the office of the Reliance company, but it is the administrative building where research has been conducted on various diseases. While the food court has been used by the relatives of the patients and visitors. This is one of the essential sort of the facilities in the hospital and the gift shop is for the visitors and relatives. People buy gifts and give them to patients, mostly the child patients,” the Trust said in its reply to the Mumbai suburban collector.The management of the hospital was overseen by the Mandke Foundation which was established by Dr Nitu Mandke in 1998. After his demise in 2003, Anil Ambani funded the development of the hospital. However, the ownership of the land remained with the Trust, whose current members are Dr Alka Nityanand Mandke, Anil Dhirubai Ambani, Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani, Tushar Motiwala, and R Narayan.However, as per the final order by the government, Alka Mandke is the only remaining member of the original trustees, and that the trust is now completely controlled by Anil Ambani.Controversy over land leaseRevenue dept allotted 14 acres to Malti Vasant Heart Trust on 30-year lease at token rate of Rs1 per year in 2009 As per the 2008 ready reckoner rate, the total value of the land was Rs 233 cr. Its 75% amounts to Rs 174 cr

DNA Morning Must Reads: SC to deliver judgement on right to privacy, Updates on JioPhone pre-booking, Hrithik Roshan on ‘Super 30’ and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Privacy a Fundamental Right? SC to deliver judgment todayA nine-Judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its judgment on whether citizens have a fundamental Right to Privacy under the Indian Constitution. Read more here2. Aadhaar must for sonography soonTo curb cross-border gender determination and female foeticide, it may become mandatory for people from outside Maharashtra undergoing sonographies in its border districts to produce their Aadhaar cards. Read more here3. JioPhone pre-booking starts on Thursday; will be available in retail stores, website and Jio App from 5 pmA leading channel partner of Reliance Retail, which did not wish to be named, said the messages are being sent to all those who have registered their interest in JioPhone. Read more here4. When HPCA lied again to SC-appointed panelThe HPCA has made a stunning revelation to the BCCI and the COA that may be brought before the Apex court in the next hearing on September 19. Read more here5. Hrithik Roshan opens up about his next film titled ‘Super 30’!The actor, who was at a Rado event to introduce the new range of watches, spoke to us about the film that is likely to be his next release — Super 30, a biopic on mathematician Anand Kumar. Read more here

13 firms to bid for Coastal Road project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BMC on Wednesday floated tenders for Phase 1 of the Coastal Road. There were 17 firms that had shown interest in the construction of Phase 1 (southern part) of the Coastal Road, which stretches across 9.98 km, from Princess street to Worli Sea Face, of which the BMC recently declared the names of 13 firms that have qualified to submit tenders for the same.The estimated cost of Phase 1 is Rs 5,303 crore and is divided into three packages — I, II and IV. Package III will be constructed by MSRDC. The package I is a 3.7-km stretch from Priyadarshani Park to Baroda Palace with an estimated cost of Rs 2,719.75 crore. Four firms which qualified for this stretch are L&T and three in Joint Venture (JV) — Reliance Infra, NMDC and Rizzani, CGGC and Soma Engineering, and HCC and HDC.Package II is a 2.7-km stretch from Baroda Palace to Worli Sea Face at an estimated cost of Rs 1,348.39 crore. Firms qualified for this stretch are same as package I along with a JV of ITDC and HEC.While the package IV is a 3.6 km stretch from Marine Drive to Priyadarshani Park at a cost of Rs 1,235.30 crore and the firms qualified for this stretch are CGGC, and two JVs — Dogus, Reliance Infra and NMDC, and JV ITDC and HEC.The firms have been asked to submit their bids till October 31. The BMC is expected the start the construction at end of this year.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone top list of operators whose mobile towers violate radiation norms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bharti Airtel and Vodafone were at the top of list of operators whose mobile towers were found violating radiation norms in an audit conducted by the telecom department, Parliament was informed today. “During the audit carried out by TERM Cells, total 284 numbers of BTSs installed on various mobile towers by various TSPs have been found exceeding the prescribed EMF radiation limits as on June 30, 2017,” telecom minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. Out of the total non-compliant mobile sites, 69 belong to Bharti Airtel and its subsidiary, 62 to Vodafone, 34 to Tata Teleservices and its subsidiaries, 32 to Reliance Communications, 22 to Idea Cellular, 20 Aircel and 11 to LoopMobile (operations closed now), according to the data shared by the minister.Ten base station each of state-run firm BSNL and Reliance Jio, eight of Telenor (in process of merging with Airtel), three of MTNL, two of Videocon Telecom (merged business with Airtel) and one of Sistema Shyam have been found non-compliant to radiation rules till June.Sinha said that the main conclusion from the WHO reviews is that radiation exposures from mobile towers below limits prescribed under the International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) international guidelines do not appear to have any known consequence on health.He said that in India norms for exposure limit for the emission from mobile towers are already 10 times more stringent than the safe limits prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO.”Making the norms ten times stricter than what has been prescribed by ICNIRP and recommended by WHO, obviates the need for having separate norms for special localities,” Sinha said.The minister said that the DoT guidelines issued to state governments on August 1, 2013 for mobile towers do not place any restriction on installation of mobile towers near residential area, educational institutions and hospitals etc.

4-Jio! Free phone from Ambani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reliance Jio, owned by Mukesh Ambani, on Friday unleashed a 4G feature phone at virtually zero cost to tap into the country’s 500 million feature phone market. The announcement was made during the Reliance Industries Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mumbai on Friday and is expected to disrupt the mobile handset market. Reliance has set its eyes on 100 million users through the launch of this 4G feature phone, according to analysts tracking the sector.JioPhone will be available for pre-booking from August 24 this year. Users will have to put down Rs 1,500 as fully refundable security deposit, which will be returned in three years, to access free voice calls and unlimited data at Rs 153 a month.To capture small ticket users, two sachets — a weekly plan for Rs 54 and a two-day plan for Rs 24 – will also be available. “We are targeting at adding 5 million JioPhones a week,” Mukesh Ambani said at the launch.Data is capped at 0.5 GB per day on a Rs 153 pack. Users will be able to videos as well as live TV and YouTube, which will push the data usage. The phone will support 22 Indian languages, and will have a voice assistant as well as a distress button.There are over one billion mobile users in the country, half of which use 2G feature phones for just voice calls and sending messages. But, these are low ARPU (average revenue per user) customers.From the last quarter of 2017, all JioPhones will be made in India, thereby making 2G phones “obsolete”. Its 4G data coverage will exceed the country’s 2G network in the next 12 months, covering 99 per cent of India’s population.”The low priced sachet plans will increase affordability of phone services, and could prove to be disruptive, leading to other telco operators being forced to float similar plans,” Bank of America Merill Lynch said in a note on Friday.However, the note says it doesn’t see Jio being able to penetrate the mass market as the monthly price of Rs 153 and Rs 1,500 initial deposit as still being steep for the low income consumers.PROSThe JioPhone’s price is Rs 0. You can buy the phone at Rs 1500, which will be refunded after 3 years.JioPhone users will have to pay just Rs 153 a month, including the cost of the phone.The JioPhone will always have free voice calls. From August 15, the JioPhone will come with free unlimited data.CONS Does not support WhatsApp‘Unlimited’ night usage is only from 2am to 5am

Sensex surges 131 pts on RIL earnings numbers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The benchmark Sensex rallied over 131 points above the 32,000-mark on Friday as Reliance Industries reported its highest quarterly earnings.The numbers came in after market hours on Thursday.Besides, better-than-estimated results by Wipro gave investors more confidence.The 30-share index bounced 131.48 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 32,035.88.The big movers were IT, technology, oil, gas and realty.The gauge had lost 50.95 points on Thursday.The NSE Nifty gained 26.65 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 9,899.95.According to traders, ample liquidity from foreign funds and increased buying by retailers following RIL’s robust numbers provided a perfect platform.The stock of RIL, a market heavyweight, soared 2.03 per cent, to Rs 1,559.75 in early trade after the company on Thursday reported its highest quarterly consolidated net profit of Rs 9,108 crore in three months to June on the back of higher petrochemical margins and one-time gain from sale of African asset.Stocks of Wipro, India’s third largest IT firm, was also trading 7.06 per cent higher at Rs 288 after the company on Thursday posted a 1.2 per cent rise in its consolidated net profit at Rs 2,076.7 crore for June quarter. Besides, the company’s board announced a share buyback proposal of Rs 11,000 crore entailing 34.3 crore shares at Rs 320 apiece.Other gainers included Infosys, Coal India, Asian Paints, NTPC, SBI, TCS, Tata Motors, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, rising by up to 1.04 per cent.Globally, Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.25 per cent whileHong Kong’s Hang shed 0.24 per cent in early trade on Friday.Shanghai Composite too was down 0.19 per cent.The US Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.13 per cent lower on Thursday.

DNA Evening Reads | Announcement for India coach; Demands by the J&K Human Rights Commission and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>J&K human rights commission asks state govt to pay Rs 10 lakh to ‘human shield’ Farooq Ahmad DarThe Jammu and Kashmir human rights commission on Monday directed the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to Farooq Ahmad Dar, who was used as a “human shield” by the Army during the Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll. Read more here.Rahul Gandhi defends meeting with Chinese envoyAmid the ongoing border stand-off, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday met Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui​. Read more hereReliance Jio users’ data hacked: Here’s all you need to knowIn one of India’s biggest data leaks ever, details of millions of Reliance Jio users have been compromised and have been posted online on a website called Details such as user name, Jio number, email ID, verification ID and Aadhaar number have all been exposed. Read more hereIndia Coach selection: Decision on hold, to be announced after consultation with Kohli: Sourav GangulyNo decision has been made to appoint the Indian coach, it has been announced. Speaking to media persons, CAC member Sourav Ganguly said that they will speak to people who matter before they take a final decision. Click here to read moreBengal communal violence: Amartya Sen expresses concernNobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday expressed concern over the communal riot in Basirhat and said it has to be seen why it has happened in West Bengal which has a tradition of communal harmony. Read more here

Mumbai, June 25 (PTI) Following are the top stories

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>from the western region at 1720 HRS: BOM1 TL-GIRL-BOREWELL Hyderabad: Rescue workers pull out the body of 14-month-old girl who had fallen into an open borewell in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district on Thursday. BOM 2 GJ-JAGANNATH-RATH YATRA Ahmedabad: 140th rath yatra of Lord Jagannath starts in Ahmedabad amid tight security. BOM 3 CG-NAXAL-ENCOUNTER-TOLL Raipur: Police jawan injured in encounter with Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district dies; death toll of security personnel in the operation rises to three. BOM5 MH-RAINS Mumbai: Heavy rains lash Mumbai and Konkan region of Maharashtra. BES6 CG-NAXAL-IED Raipur: Two security personnel injured in IED blast triggered by Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. BCM1 BIZ-RIL-SNP Mumbai: Rating agency S&P says the Rs 40,000-crore capex that Reliance announced last week in deep water gas fields will delay its deleveraging, but the investment plan is credit neutral.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence, in Cooperation with

Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence, in Cooperation with

Thu, 15 Jun 2017-12:08pm , PTI

its Partners, Rally the Indian Aerospace Industry in New Delhi (Attn. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>its Partners, Rally the Indian Aerospace Industry in New Delhi (Attn.editors: The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with Businesswire.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India adds 298 ‘D’ Licence coaches for grassroots football

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Football grassroots coaching programme in the country today received another shot in the arm with the largest ever contingent of 298 physical education teachers successfully completing AIFF’s ‘D’ Licence certification course. The training and certification programme was conducted by Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) along with ACG Worldwide under the aegis of All India Football Federation, a media release issued here said. The 298 ‘D’ Licence coaches are now expected to spread the grassroots football movement through their school and community outreach programmes. AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das expressed satisfaction at the way the training module was professionally conducted in the eight cities for the PE Teachers, terming it as “the largest ever contingent of D Licence coaches passing the examination”. “We need more such collaborative efforts and commitment from corporates, sponsors and individuals in the future to create a vast resource of certified D Licence coaches, who further will engage and impart appropriate age specific grassroots football training to youths in their respective schools and community.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SEBA Assam HSLC (Class 10) Results 2017 at 10 am on May 31 declared

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The wait is finally over! The Assam HSLC/Class 10 Results 2017 have been announced on 31st May at 10 AM. The Board of Secondary Education Assam (SEBA) declared the Assam HSLC Results 2017 on the official websites and​The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) is responsible for conducting High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination for the students of Class 10th every year. This year, around 3.91 lakh students appeared for the Assam Class 10 exams 2017. The exams were conducted between 17 February and 10 March 2017.After following the following steps and getting their results, students can visit for online application for re-checking of answer scripts, or online application for obtaining photo copy of the answer scripts if they feel the need to do so.Here’s how students can check SEBA AHM Result 2017​1. Visit the websites: and​2. Click on ‘HSLC/AHM RESULTS – 2017’3. Enter your roll number, name and other credentials4. Click on ‘Submit’5. Your result will be flashed on the screen6. Keep a print-out of the SEBA Result 2017 for future reference Results via SMS:BSNL users can send an SMS to 57766 with the format: “SEBA17 “. For example if your roll is B17-025 and no. is 0123 then type “SEBA17 0250123 and send to 57766Vodafone/Reliance/Tata/Idea users can type “AS10 ” eg: “AS10 0250123 ” and send to 58888111Airtel users can type “AS10 ” eg: “AS10 0250123 and send it to 5207011Airtel, Vodafone,Idea and Aircel users can also get their results by dialling *588# We wish all the students best of luck for all their future endeavours!About Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) was established in the year 1961. The Board is responsible for conducting High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) / Class 10 examinations across the state of Assam. This Board is popularly known as SEBA. The Board was established to conduct and manage high school examinations in schools across Assam. SEBA regulates and supervises high school education in Assam.

Other Acts should be invoked or cited with RTI in public interest matters: Ratnakar Gaikwad, on his last day as state info chief

Gaikwad’s stint saw some landmark orders like ministers’ offices coming under the RTI ambit, Reliance Metro being declared a public authority, FIRs and police manual being brought under RTI Act, among others <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his last day of office on Monday, state chief information commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad emphasized that information commissioners should now increasingly look to invoke or cite various Acts along with the RTI Act in their orders, whenever there is a public interest application.Speaking to DNA as he prepared to demit office on Monday after a five year tenure, Gaikwad said,”In all public interest matters, other Acts like Public Records Act, legislation on delay in file movements etc should be clubbed in the orders. That will help in development and achieve greater transparency,” said Gaikwad.Gaikwad’s stint saw some landmark orders like ministers’ offices coming under the RTI ambit, Reliance Metro being declared a public authority, FIRs and police manual being brought under RTI Act, among others. He also issued show cause notices to senior officials under IPC sections and defined powers of a chief information commissioner that were upheld by court. Application of RTI Act that sought reasons for government decisions if controversial transfers were made further ensured that several provisions of RTI Act were in use.

Check for MSBSHSE HSC Results 2017: Maharashtra Board HSC Class 12th XII Exam Result 2017 announced

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Board +2 HSC Results 2017:​ And the wait is over for the students who appeared for class 12th – HSC exam of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) as the result of class 12th XII 2017 has been declared on Tuesday, May 30.An estimated 15 lakh students appeared for the HSC examination in which out of nine regional divisions of the Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board, Konkan topped the list for the sixth consecutive year with passing percentage of 95.20 and with Mumbai lagging at 88.21%.While 86.65% boys were successful, girls outnumbered them with a passing percentage of 93.50.Pune Divisional Board scored 91.16%, Aurangabad Divisional Board scored 89.83% and Latur and Nashik scored 88.22 % marks.Mumbai Divisional Board scored 88.21% against 86.08 in 2016The Maharashtra Board conducts exams within the state through nine divisional boards at Pune, Mumbai, Latur, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Nashik, Kolhapur, Amaravati and Ratnagiri.How to check your MSBSHSE Results 2017​:1. Visit either of the websites mentioned below.2. Click on ‘HSC Result 2017’3. Enter relevant details like name, roll no etc 4. Click on ‘Submit’5. Your Maharashtra 12th Board Result 2017 will be flashed on the screen. 6. Download the HSC result and take a printout of the result for future use.Maharashtra 12th board students please note MSBSHSE Plus two +2 Result will be available on these,​ ​ or How to check MSBSHSE HSC Results 2017 via SMS: BSNL subscribers: Text MHSSC to 57766Idea, Vofafone, Reliance and Tata users: Message MAH12 to 58888111

MSBSHSE HSC Results 2017 Maharashtra Board: & MSBSHSE Class 12th XII Results 2017 to be announced today in few…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Board +2 HSC Results 2017:​ And the wait is almost over for the students who appeared for class 12th – HSC exam of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) as the result of class 12th XII 2017 will be announced on Tuesday, May 30.In a few hours from now, the state board will announce the result.MH HSC Results 2017 will be declared for the examination held between February 28 – March 25. Over 15.05 lakh students are waiting for MH HSC Results 2017.The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education, Pune is an Autonomous Body established under the provisions of the Maharashtra Act No. 41 of 1965.The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education, conducts the HSC and SSC Examinations in the state of Maharashtra through its nine Divisional Boards located at Pune, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nasik, Kolhapur, Amravati, Latur, Nagpur and Ratnagiri. The Board conducts examination twice a year. There are about 21000 schools (SSC) and 7000 (HSC) Higher Sec. Schools / Jr colleges in the entire state.How to check your MSBSHSE Results 2017​:1. Visit either of the websites mentioned below.2. Click on ‘HSC Result 2017’3. Enter relevant details like name, roll no etc 4. Click on ‘Submit’5. Your Maharashtra 12th Board Result will be flashed on the screen. 6. Download the result and take a printout of the result for future use.Maharashtra 12th board students please note MSBSHSE Plus two +2 Result will be available on these,​ ​ or How to check MSBSHSE HSC Results 2017 via SMS: BSNL subscribers: Text MHSSC to 57766Idea, Vofafone, Reliance and Tata users: Message MAH12 to 58888111

Work allocation for sea memorial in 10 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government will decide on allocating work on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial in the Arabian Sea in around 10 days. Work on the statue, which will be the world’s tallest, is expected to start in October.MLC Vinayak Mete, who heads the committee monitoring the project, said three infrastructure majors had bid for it. While Reliance Infrastructure lost in the technical evaluation, Afcons and L&T had quoted Rs 4,779 crore and Rs 3,826 crore respectively for the first stage.”We had estimated the first stage to cost Rs 2,300 crore but the lowest bid is at a much higher cost of Rs 3,826 crore. Hence, we have asked PWD officials and our consultants to examine the reasons for this discrepancy. If L&T agrees to negotiate, the project can be awarded to them,” said Mete.Mete said a decision about the project was likely to be taken in around 10 days. If the project is awarded to the lowest bidder, work is expected to start after the monsoon season.The Shivaji Maharaj statue, which has a 36-month completion period, will come up on a 15.96 hectare rocky basalt outcrop in the Arabian Sea 1.2 km south west of Raj Bhawan. The state government wants the statue to be the tallest in the world by rising it to a staggering 210 meters against the proposed 192 meters. This may push up the costs from the present estimate of Rs 3,700 crore for the two phases.It will have landscaped gardens, two jetties, library, helipad, medical amenities, amphitheatre and a museum.

Surgery corrects rare heart defect

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Six-year-old Saket More from rural Aurangabad would often turn blue while playing with his friends. Carrying the school bag was an arduous task for him, and he always asked to be carried around. His concerned family consulted several doctors in Aurangabad, then Pune and eventually Mumbai, where Saket was diagnosed with Congenital Transposition of the Great Arteries, where ventricles (heart chambers) are reversed. He also had additional complications: the heart was found in the right side of his chest cavity, he had a hole in the heart, and the artery to his lungs was very narrow affecting blood supply.”There are very few such cases globally. We had to refer case papers to understand the condition better. The boy’s heart was on the right side, with abnormally coursing arteries, and the hole in his heart complicating the case further,” said Dr Shivprakash Krishnanaik, Saket’s operating surgeon.The position of the heart, and ventricles within were corrected, the hole was repaired, and a cow valve was used to widen the narrow artery to the lungs, said Dr Krishnanank, Head, Paediatric Cardiac Sciences Department, HN Reliance Foundation Hospital.The six-hour surgery took place on Friday. “The heart has an internal electric wiring that helps with the pumping. We had to conduct the surgery without disturbing it. A surgeon’s skill is most crucial in such cases since one cannot see the wiring of the heart,” explained Dr Shreepal Jain, senior paediatric cardiologist.Twelve hours after the procedure, Saket was taken off the ventilator. Doctors said that he was stable, and had started walking around. Sanket now has a near normal heart and a shot at healthy life. Doctors said that about 40 per cent patients with such transposition of heart chambers and arteries, as in Sanket’s case, could go through life without knowing about it. However, in most cases, it adversely their lifespan. Sanket was lucky to receive help on time, said doctors.”Referral systems also play a big role in ensuring that such children reach tertiary care hospitals in time,” said Dr Krishnanaik.Saket was referred to Dr Pankaj Sugaonkar in Pune by MGM Hospital in Aurangabad, who later refered the case to doctors at HN Reliance Foundation.For Sanket’s parents, who are into farming, their son’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle. “We were not sure if the surgery would be successful. He woke up and the first thing he asked for was khichdi,” beams his mother Dwarka. Several NGOs raised funds for Saket’s surgery.Term SpeakCongenital Transposition of the Great Arteries is a rare congenital heart defect where the heart twists abnormally during fetal development and the ventricles are reversed

From May 1, fuel bill will swing daily to mirror global crude price

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what could soon see your fuel bill swinging daily, state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) are looking at revising prices of petrol and diesel every day to keep them in line with global crude oil and currency rates.This new pricing model will first be implemented in five cities of Puducherry, Vizag, Udaipur, Jamshedpur and Chandigarh from May 1 and then gradually rolled out nationwide.Currently, government-owned OMCs – Indian Oil Company (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) –review fuel prices every fortnight to tune them to international crude prices.This leads to manipulation of fuel prices for political gains by various governments. The new pricing method will reduce political interference in the pricing of fuel and enhance transparency, which would eventually lead to a more stable margins for OMCs, controlling around 95 per cent of the market today.The remaining 5 per cent is held by private auto fuel retailers Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Essar Oil despite the fact that they own 8.5 per cent share in terms of number of outlets and 27 per cent share of the domestic petroleum refining business.E S Ranganathan, managing director of Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL), said with a day-to-day revision of fuel prices, consumers would have a better understanding of pricing than when it was calculated on a fortnightly basis.He said it would mirror the published international crude price of the day as against the 15-day average that is being used at present for calculating the price.He, however, wondered how dealers would be able adjust their pricing daily as most of them buy huge stocks of fuel and store it. Ranganathan said only those with high daily turnover bought from OMCs on a day-to-day basis.“OMCs will have to find a way to index the (fuel) price. Most dealers buy stock for a longer period and if crude dip during this period then OMCs would have to compensate them for the hit they would take by selling at lower price to customers,” he said.Over the last few years, the government has been gradually freeing fuel prices from the regulatory control. Petrol price was deregulated in 2010 and diesel in 2014. The latest move, which was a long-pending demand of the sector, is another step in that direction.The most recent slash of Rs 3.77 per litre in petro price and Rs 2.91 per litre in diesel price on April 1 came after three months because of election in five Indian states.Ranganathan said the new pricing model would reduce the scope of such manipulation of fuel prices for political dividends and would facilitate in consumers getting immediate gains from any drop in global crude price.

Capt. Amarinder set to kick start three-day ‘Invest Punjab’ initiative

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will on Monday kick start a three-day trip to Mumbai as part of his `Invest Punjab? initiative, with a series of meetings scheduled with some of the leading captains of industry and business in the country. The Chief Minister will be accompanied by a high-profile official delegation to meet the who?s who of the Indian industry, beginning with Tata Sons chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran on Monday evening. The delegation will comprise State Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, Irrigation and Power Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh, Senior Advisor to Chief Minister Lt Gen (Retd.) Tejinder Singh Shergill, Media Advisor to Chief Minister Raveen Thukral and Chief Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Suresh Kumar. Others accompanying the Chief Minister include Secretary (Political III) Karanpal Singh Sekhon, PSIC and IP Anirudh Tewari, PBIP CEO D.K. Tiwari and PBIP ACEO Shruti Singh. An official spokesperson said the delegation will explore avenues of investment in the state, along with possible collaborations to revive its ailing economy and industry. ICICI Bank Ltd CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar, Goldman Sachs Chairman Sonjoy Chatterjee and Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej are the other top business leaders whom the Chief Minister is expected to meet on Monday evening, culminating in a dinner meeting with Arun K Kumar, Chairman and CEO, KPMG India, which is the state?s knowledge partner for the Progressive Punjab Campaign since 2013. The highlights of Tuesday?s programme include a breakfast meeting with Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambai, besides a post-lunch meeting with Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani. The Chief Minister is also slated to hold intensive discussions with RPG Group Chairman Harsh Goenka, Hindustan Unilever Ltd CEO & MD Sanjiv Mehta and Mahinder and Mahindra Ltd Chairman Anand Mahindra during separate meetings in the pre-lunch session on Tuesday. Other business leaders who are scheduled to call upon the Chief Minister in the course of the day include L&T Director and Executive Vice President (Power and Heavy Engg. & Defence) Shailendra N. Roy and Hinduja Group Chairman Ashok P Hinduja. The programme agenda also includes meetings with the Organization of Pharmaceutical Producers of India and an Ashoka University delegation, besides a round-table with industry leaders. According to the official spokesperson, the Punjab Government, led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder is committed to streamlining the systems in the state to facilitate hassle-free industrial development, while wooing investors, in an industry-friendly environment.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Emission standards of TPPs shouldn’t be diluted: Green bodies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Green bodies today demanded that emission standards set for thermal power plants should not be diluted and said inadequate execution of such norms worsens air pollution killing 1.2 million people in India every year. Volunteers and activists of the green bodies held a silent protest over this issue and submitted a petition, titled ‘Clean Air Nation’, signed by over a lakh people, to the Environment ministry, which assured the activists that the norms will not be diluted. Joint secretary in the ministry, Arun Kumar Mehta, has assured the activists of Greenpeace India, Care4Air and Help Delhi Breathe, that emission standards of thermal power plants will not be diluted, Greenpeace India said in a statement. The ministry had notified the emission standards for thermal power plants (TPPs) on December 7, 2015 and had set December 2017 as the deadline for implementing it. With less than nine months left, reports have appeared that the government is ready to relax the deadline and even dilute the emission standards. “We urged the ministry to ensure that a monitoring mechanism for implementation of the emission standards is put in place, so that we do not reach a situation in December where no power plant has complied to the notification,” Sunil Dahiya campaigner of Greenpeace India said. “The joint secretary said he is aware of the effect of air pollution on human health and will make sure that pollution level does not increase,” he said. The impacts of air pollution are far-reaching and devastating which include rise in economic and health expenditure. It is a national problem which is killing 1.2 million Indians every year and costing the economy around 3 per cent of GDP, Greenpeace said. “We desperately need to upgrade thermal power plants to control air pollution. Without these upgrades we will never have clean air,” said Help Delhi Breathe campaign coordinator Reecha Upadhyay. “Along with upgrading the newer plants, we need to phase out older power plants and use our resources to invest in clean and green renewable energy for India,” Upadhyay said. According to various studies, exposure to particulate matters have both short and long-term effects on human health. There is a marked increase in pollution-related ailments like redness in eyes, lung cancer and heart attacks. “In the short term, we must focus on reducing emissions from existing power plants by implementing the standards. In the long term, we need to recognise that coal is the biggest contributor to air pollution. Breaking free from fossil fuels will lead India towards a cleaner and sustainable future,” Ekta Singh of Care4Air said. Coal has been a major source of air and water pollution. Reliance on coal has led to loss of forests, wildlife and has destroyed livelihoods of thousands of people. Research suggests that growth in use of coal is responsible for around one lakh premature deaths in India, Greenpeace said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath has the keys to Modi’s 2019 success

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If the new Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is to keep his party’s election promise, all slaughter houses in the state should be shut down within 24 hours of his swearing in, and farmers’ debt waived off. These were the two main promises that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah reiterated at almost every rally during electioneering in the state.”A decision will be taken in the first Cabinet meeting within 24 hours,” was an oft-repeated statement heard during their public meetings, drawing big applause from the crowd. These promises also find a pride of place in the BJP’s 30-page election manifesto.But can the firebrand CM handle these two contentious issues in such a short span of time? With an empty coffer, Yogi has to make amendments for a whopping Rs 85,000 crore if he is to waive farmers’ debt. Closing 126 slaughter house units is also next to impossible task. Amit Shah has already modified his statement, distinguishing between legal and illegal abattoirs.Uttar Pradesh is the second largest exporter of beef in the country after Kerala. “It is next to impossible for Modi or Yogi to shut down slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh as it earns much-needed foreign currency for the country,” said Shameem Qureshi, a slaughter house owner in western UP.Also, majority of abattoirs are owned by politicians. There was a hue and cry when Sangeet Som, a BJP MLA from Sardhana, allegedly sought land for setting up an abattoir.Sugar farmers’ dues is another issue which may bind the new CM in a spot. Once known as the sugar bowl of the country, sugar mill lobby is quiet strong in UP. They give hefty donations to the ruling parties to settle the minimum support price and policies on molasses etc in their favour. The factories, which make huge profits by selling molasses and ethanol, blatantly refuse to clear dues of the farmers which come to around Rs 6,000 crore.”We will launch an agitation if the government fails to fulfill promise to farmers,” said VM Singh, leader of sugarcane farmers and a close relative of Union Minister Maneka Gandhi.Deteriorating law and order and corruption in power corridors are other challenges before Yogi. Though the CM has given clear instruction to Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar and DGP Javeed Ahmed to maintain law and order at any cost, Sambhal had come close to witnessing a communal riot even before his swearing-in, as the BJP supporters clashed with members of a minority community over a small accident.A can of worms would be opened if Yogi chooses to probe big-budget projects of previous Akhilesh government, including the Lucknow-Delhi expressway. “Providing a clean, corruption-free administration and keeping the corrupt bureaucracy under check would be a daunting task,” noted Afsar Husain, a senior journalist.Uttar Pradesh face a shortfall of about 2000 MW power every day. Meeting the shortage and making power available in every village will be another challenge. Also, not many industrialists had taken interest in UP as an investment destination ever since Mayawati shut shops of Reliance Retail in 2008.”How the government strengthens infrastructure and extends a congenial atmosphere to industrialists and corporate houses in order to bring investment in the state would largely depend upon how bureaucracy is controlled by the new CM,” said DS Varma, an office-bearer of Indian Industries Association (IIA).It would be interesting to watch what model Yogi would adopt to accelerate the pace of development in the state, which is far below national average on many counts. “Yogiji has three models at hand viz Modi model, Kalyan model and his own Gorakhnath model. Modi model of development is most suited as its success rate is seen by all,” suggested Rama Pati Ram, a senior BJP leader, who was a minister in the Kalyan Singh Cabinet.But the main problem with hardliner Yogi is that he has only less than two years to deliver. “For an inclusive growth, Yogi will have to concentrate on development ahead of Hindutva. People have high expectations from the new BJP government and if it fails to deliver, the saffron brigade will feel the heat in the 2019 parliamentary polls,” said another senior BJP functionary on condition of anonymity.