Idea Cellular – Vodafone merger announcement soon?

Idea Cellular has put off the trimonthly meeting of its board of directors scheduled to take place tomorrow, raising speculation that it may soon announce a merger or deal with Vodafone India. The meeting was supposed to take on-board results  of the telecom operators’ working the three months from October to December. After the meeting, Idea was scheduled to release its quarterly financial results on Monday as well. Both have now been postponed indefinitely, and the new date is yet to be intimated. This has led to massive speculation that the…

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Siddhu on joining Congress: No party is good or bad!

Navjot Singh Siddhu, the cricketer turned politician and a vehement critic of the Indian National Congress for several years, justified his decision to join the party saying that no party, by itself, is good or bad. “No party is good or bad. The same party can be run by bad people, the same party can be run by good people,” he said. He said he was willing to forget past issues in the interest of the people. “They’ve been criticizing me. Nitishji has been critizing Laluji. They’ve formed a government….

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Indian Aviation 2016: INDIGO the big winner, JET Airways, AIR INDIA losers

InterGlobe-owned Indigo turned out to be the big winner in Indian aviation sector in 2016, increasing its domination of the Indian skies relentlessly through the year. It was a good year for Indian aviation as low fuel prices kept fares affordable, leading to a 23% jump in total passengers to 99.9 million; almost 10 cr passengers in the year. Indigo started the year as the biggest airline in India, with a market share of 37% in the first quarter of the year. Its market share rose to 38.4% in the…

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Katju says SP will defeat BJP in UP Elections; Demonetization, Akhilesh to aid

Former Supreme Court judge and a keen observer of Indian politics, Markandey Katju has predicted a win for the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. BJP, which is seen as a strong contender by many, would be negatively impacted due to the impact of demonetization and the clean image projected by SP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, which is also seen as a likely contender, will also fail as it will not be able to attract the required Muslim votes,…

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Supreme Court to consider banning charge-sheeted candidates from polls

The Supreme Court has today agreed to hear a petition that seeks to ban anyone who has been charge-sheeted in a criminal case from contesting elections in India. BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among one of the most prolific filers of public interest litigation in India, is among those who had filed such petitions seeking disqualification of such candidates in elections. The petitioners alleged that the current law — which prohibits only convicted people from standing for elections — is being misused by criminal politicians. Charge sheets are filed…

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What Demonetization? Godrej Properties sells 300 flats in Pune in 2 months

Godrej Properties said it has sold over 300 out of the 400 apartments put up for sale at its Godrej Greens project in Pune. The sale comes in the backdrop of a slow real estate market complicated by a recent crackdown on ‘black money’ or tax evasion. The crack down was widely seen as throwing the real estate sector into a virtual freeze. The Greens project was launched two months ago, roughly at the same time as Modi announced his anti black money program. The number represents “more than 75%…

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UP POLLS: BSP gives most number of seats to Upper Castes; Muslims second

Bahujan Samaj Party has allocated the highest block of candidacies for the upcoming elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly to upper caste Hindus, followed by Muslims. Announcing the details, party supremo Mayawati said a total of 113 seats — amounting to 28% of the total 403 seats — have been given to candidates belonging to upper caste Hindus. Out of these, 66 were allocated to Brahmins — coming to around 16.4% of the total seats. Brahmins comprise about 5% of UP’s population. 36 seats went to Rajputs and Kshtriyas,…

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Mayawati warns Muslims: Akhilesh vs Mulayalam will bring BJP to power

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kumari Mayawati has warned Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh against continuing to vote for Samajwadi Party, claiming that the current fight between SP leader Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh would split their votes in two. “I urge you not to let your vote get divided between Akhilesh and Mulayalam groups. If you do that, the benefit will directly go to the BJP,” Mayawati said today. To drive home the point, Mayawati said she has allocated 97 candidates out of the total 403 candidates to the Muslim community,…

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Hindu fighting for Muslim rights alleges religious discrimination by orthodox Muslims

Sreeja Neyyattinkara, one of the state secretaries of Welfare Party in Kerala, has set off a storm among Dalit and Minority activist circles in Kerala by heavily criticizing some orthodox practices among the Muslims of the state. The criticism has come as a surprise as the Welfare Party is largely comprised of Muslim supporters and activists, and was floated five years ago to build a national coalition of minorities and Dalits. Sreeja’s outburst came after she was stopped from visiting her Muslim friend — who had lost her husband — by the…

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Tata Steel acquires Brahmani River Pellets at Rs 900 cr EV

Tata Steel Limited said that it has executed definitive agreements to acquire 100% equity shares of Brahmani River Pellets Limited (BRPL) from Aryan Mining and Trading Corpn Private Limited (AMTC) and other companies in the Moorgate Industries Group (MIG). The transaction is based on an enterprise value of Rs. 900 crores plus closing adjustments and is subject to completion of certain condition precedents including regulatory approvals. The funding for the acquisition will be done from internal cash flows of Tata Steel. The company did not specify how much it was…

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COLUMN: Why it’s hypocritical for Rahul Gandhi to accuse Narendra Modi of taking money from corporates

One of the interesting aspects of the current accusations and counter accusations around the alleged funding of BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign by corporate houses is the sheer hypocrisy of it. Let’s see why. According to third-party figures, an estimated Rs 23,000 cr was spent by candidates and political parties on the 2014 general election. Assuming that about 40% of this was spent by the BJP and its candidates, the saffron party’s tally comes to around Rs 9,200. The Indian National Congress and its candidates are likely to have spent about Rs…

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BSNL offers email IDs in Hindi and other Indian languages

BSNL has introduced a free e-mail service for its broadband users based on its डाटावन.भारत domain name. As a result, it is possible for a customer to now have an complete email address in Hindi. “It’s now possible in every part of India to have an email address in their own language and communicate in preferred language”, said Anupam Shrivastav, Managing Director, BSNL. “The linguistic email service offered by BSNL will have डाटावन.भारत (DataOne.Bharat) domain and email address will be offered in eight regional languages including Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi,…

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Mining baron Sekhar Reddy arrested after Income Tax raids

Sand miner Shekar Reddy has been arrested, two weeks after the seizure of crores of rupees and gold in an income tax raid. The arrest has come hours after Income Tax officials conducted a raid on Tamil Nadu’s top bureaucrat chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao at his home. It was speculated that Rao’s home was raided on the basis of information obtained from the earlier raid. Income Tax raids has unearthed Rs 130 crore in cash including Rs 34 crore in new currencies and 177 kg of gold from…

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Rahul Gandhi’s gives ‘earthquake evidence’ on Modi

After keeping the nation waiting for 10 days, Rahul Gandhi today dropped his ‘bomb’ on Narendra Modi that he had promised would ’cause an earthquake’. Gandhi said a company based in Uttar Pradesh has written “that Modi has taken money from them multiple times over six months.” Quoting income tax investigation reports, Gandhi said: “They have written that 2.5 cr was given to Narendra Modi on October 31… nine times in six months.” However, the Congress Vice President’s allegations around big corporates paying Prime Minister Narendra Modi crores of rupees…

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NEET 2017 medical entrance exam to be conducted in 8 languages

The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test medical entrance test for academic year 2017-18 will be conducted in eight languages, the government of India said. The decision was taken by the government after consultations with State Governments. The eight languages are Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Assamese, Telugu and Tamil. The language will not impact the candidate’s all India rank. “In addition to this, the candidate qualifying NEET will be eligible for All India quota and other quotas under the State governments/Institutes irrespective of the medium in which exam is taken…

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We need more buses, not Nanos: Union Minister

What India needs are more buses and better public transport and not more cars, said Union Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways & Shipping, Mansukh L Mandaviya. Tata Motors introduced its Nano car within a price bracket of Rs 1.5 lakhs-2 lakhs for middle class buyers. But low-cost cars merely add to the traffic congestion, Mandaviya said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today. “We need to promote research and innovation for devising a sustainable urban road transport model that is suitable for India and should not…

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Demonetization: RBI removes ‘explanation’ requirement for KYC accounts

The Reserve Bank of India has responded to widespread criticism of its directive to collect ‘explanations’ from those depositing more than Rs 5000 by clarifying that this directive will not apply to bank accounts with proper documentation. “On a review of the above, we advise that the provisions of the above circular at sub para (i) and (ii) will not apply to fully KYC compliant accounts,” it said. The move comes after people expressed displeasure over the earlier rule that required them to furnish an ‘explanation’ in front of the…

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Cabinet approves Salary via Bank ordinance

The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance that empowers all employers to pay their salaries via banks unless the salary is less than Rs 18,000. This has been done to promote cashless economy, and to bring more and more of the economy into the formal sector. Salary can now have to be routed through electonic payments or cheques. It is not clear whether employers will continue to have the option of paying salaries via cash. UPDATE: It appears that the option of payment in cash will continue to be available. The…

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Govt of India starts crack down on low-quality medicine makers

The government of India has started conducting inspections at drug manufacturing units across the country to prevent the production of low-quality drugs and medicines in India. Typically, inspections are conducted by state authorities, while central agencies largely confine themselves to checking quality of final products put up on store shelves. However, in the last few years, India has seen the emergence of low quality drug makers. These drug makers enter into deals with medicine marketing brands to supply drugs at a fraction of the price at which these are sold….

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Demonetization: Modi announces bumper prizes; 15 lakh users to get 1,000 rupees

Narendra Modi announced several ‘prize schemes’ to promote cashless transactions. Under the schemes announced today, there will be two sets of prizes for consumers and another for small merchants. Under the first scheme, any customer who uses any electronic form of payment, including wallets and debit cards, will qualify for a ‘lucky draw’ of Rs 1,000 each. 15,000 such prizes — each amounting to Rs 1,000 — will be given out per day. This will be continued for a period of 100 days. This will start on Dec 25. In…

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