A number of Pictou County residents will soon be enjoying betterdrinking water and a cleaner environment. A waterline replacementproject in Stellarton and a sewer upgrade in Riverton, worth acombined total of $683,140, have been approved through theCanada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program. A total of $455,426 in joint federal and provincial funding wasannounced today, Dec. 8, by Premier John Hamm and by RobertThibault, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on behalf of GerryByrne, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada OpportunitiesAgency. The Municipality of the County of Pictou and the Town ofStellarton will fund the balance upon formal acceptance of theagreement. “The projects we are announcing today for Pictou County aretangible results of the partnerships between our governments andcommunities,” said Premier Hamm. “By investing in projects likethese, we are making an investment in a prosperous future forNova Scotia.” One of the first priorities of the Canada-Nova ScotiaInfrastructure Program is “green” municipal infrastructure thatensures effective wastewater management and safe drinking water.To date, the majority of the federal and provincial fundingannounced has been directed towards green projects. “Community infrastructure is a top priority for the government ofCanada,” said Mr. Thibault. “Through the Canada-Nova ScotiaInfrastructure Program, we are investing in green projects, likethe ones announced in Pictou County today, that will improve ourquality of life through safe drinking water and reliablewastewater systems.” The $269,455 Waterline Replacement project in Stellarton providesfor the replacement of 1.34 kilometres of aging waterline on sixstreets in various locations throughout the area. This willeffectively provide some 112 households with improved waterquality and improved access to fire protection. Eliminating theneed for water main replacements will also reduce the amount ofwater loss through leakage and will significantly reduce overalloperating costs for the town of Stellarton. “Clean drinking water and effective fire protection are more thanjust services, they are essential needs of Stellarton residents,”said Art Fitt, mayor of Stellarton. “Projects like this one helpus meet those needs and improve the types of municipal servicesthat we can provide to our residents.” The second project for Pictou County, the $413,685 Riverton SewerUpgrade project, calls for the design and construction of a newwastewater collection system to replace the existing line that isinaccessible for adequate maintenance due to misaligned jointsand tree roots. Reduced infiltration will increase thereliability of wastewater collection and treatment services, andeliminate sewage backups and overflows. The new system offers thepotential to connect more houses to municipal wastewaterservices, and benefits the environmental protection of EastRiver. “It’s great to get the go-ahead for these projects today,” saidAllister MacDonald, warden of the Municipality of the County ofPictou. “Delivering efficient municipal services to the residentsof Pictou County is our number one priority.” This is one in a series of approval announcements for projectsunder the program, which has invested more than $166 million in111 projects to date. Additional announcements are expected asprojects undergo environmental assessment and final approval. The $195 million, six-year Canada-Nova Scotia InfrastructureProgram is administered by the Atlantic Canada OpportunitiesAgency and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation is a member of the managementcommittee. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities is representedon the program’s management committee. SERVICE N.S./MUNICIPAL RELATIONS–Two Infrastructure ProjectsAnnounced for Pictou County
A Nova Scotia film consortium breaks new ground this weekend whena one-hour animated documentary on fairies premieres on Canadiantelevision. Fairy Folio, a co-production of Ghostship Animation Studios Inc.and Eco-Nova Productions, airs on Sunday, April 11, at 1 p.m. onthe CTV network. Dartmouth animator Frank Forrestall says the documentary was achallenge from several perspectives. Artists painted the originalcharacters, using their imaginations to create images of theethereal subject matter. But those creative images then had to betransformed into “living” creatures using the time-consuming andstructured processes of animation. And then there was the topic itself. “Calling it a documentary isa bit tongue in cheek,” said Mr. Forrestall. “This is really aneducational film but it does what any good documentary does, ittries to educate people. It shows people that fairies are not thefriendly creatures we expect them to be thanks to literature.” While animation may be the specialty of Forrestall’s Ghostshipstudios, the animated format is a new twist for Eco-NovaProductions. That metro-based firm specializes in moretraditional documentary films and television series associatedwith the underwater world, including the popular The Sea Huntersseries that has been sold to 180 countries. Eco-Nova founder John Davis said the Halifax-based company nowhas unique partnerships with several film specialists like Mr.Forrestall. “This incubation/co-operative model helps each groupproduce its own shows, thereby helping to develop and expand thelocal film industry,” said Mr. Davis. “It also means that, as acollective, we can bring together about 90 per cent of the skillswe need to complete a production.” Such a co-operative spirit is part of what makes the project sounique, said Ann MacKenzie, CEO of the Nova Scotia FilmDevelopment Corporation, which helped finance Fairy Folio with anoriginal equity investment. “We are proud to be able to supportemerging talent like Frank Forrestall and to partner withproducers like John Davis who help create innovative models likethis. These young entrepreneurs are the successful filmmakers ofthe future.” Nova Scotians can get a preview of the fairies that will befeatured in the animated documentary during an art show and saleof the original character paintings on Saturday, April 10 at 7p.m. at Argyle Fine Arts, Historic Properties, Halifax.
PREMIER’S OFFICE -MLAs salute former MLA Neil LeBlanc Members of the House of Assembly congratulated former MLA NeilLeBlanc today, May 3, on receiving an honourary degree froml’Université Sainte-Anne-Collège de l’Acadie. “Neil’s contribution to Nova Scotia and the Acadian community hasbeen, and continues to be, limitless,” Acadian Affairs MinisterChris d’Entremont said after introducing a resolution ofcongratulations on behalf of Premier John Hamm. “It’s wonderfulto see him recognized with this honour.” Mr. LeBlanc, who last served as minister of finance and ministerresponsible for Acadian Affairs, received an honourary doctoratein public administration at the convocation ceremony held at theuniversity on Saturday, May 1. -30-
KINGS COUNTY: Simpson Bridge Simpson Bridge on Gaspereau River Road is closed for majorrepairs. A detour is available. Traffic control consists ofsigns. Local Area Office: 902-456-8933 Fax: 902-860-5616 Local Area Office: 902-679-6122 Fax: 902-679-6187 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 111 Burnside Drive Bridge on Highway 111 will be reduced to one lanefor water blasting of bottom of girders until Friday, Jan. 14. Traffic control consists of signs, flashing lights and barrels.Work takes place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 125 Work will continue on the Sydney River Bridge until Monday, Jan. Crews will mostly work on the shoulder of the road but motorists may experience minor delays. Traffic control will consist of signs and cones. Local Area Office: 902-485-5254 Fax: 902-485-7047 Local Area Office: 902-527-5448 Fax: 902-527-5371 DIGBY COUNTY: Gates Bridge Gates Bridge, near the intersection of Sissiboo Road and GatesLane, will have a 10-tonne weight restriction until bridgerepairs are completed. Heavy vehicles are advised to use Trunk 1 and cross the SissibooRiver at Weymouth. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 103 Work is continuing on the Highway 103 twinning project betweenExit 4 at Hubley and Exit 5 at Tantallon. Motorists crossing Highway 103 on Trunk 3, and on Route 213,Hammonds Plains Road, must detour over temporary structures. Minor blasting may occur near exits 4 and 5 between 9 a.m. and3:30 p.m. until Friday, Jan. 14. Efforts will be made to minimizedelays at peak travelling times. Work in the area is expected to continue until the end ofJanuary. Local Area Office: 902-563-2526 Fax: 902-563-2517 Local Area Office: 902-835-2702 Fax: 902-835-1860 Local Area Office: 902-563-2526 Fax: 902-563-2517 CAPE BRETON COUNTY: Coxheath Road Work will continue on the interchange ramps on Coxheath Road until June. Traffic control persons will be in place. A detour is availableon Route 4 and Blacketts Lake Road. Local Area Office: 902-863-3420 Fax: 902-863-7365 PICTOU COUNTY: Carmichael Road Toney River Bridge on Carmichael Road in Pictou County is closeduntil further notice. Traffic control consists of signs. A detouris available on Popular Hill Road and Meadowville Station Road. CONTINUING WORK ANTIGONISH COUNTY: Carl’s Lake Bridge Carl’s Lake Bridge on Merland Church Road, Merland, is closed toall traffic until further notice for repairs. A detour is available on Monastery Road to Trunk 4 in Monastery.Traffic control consists of signs. -30-
Nova Scotia communities will benefit from improved municipal and rural infrastructure under a new six-year, federal-provincial agreement announced today, Nov. 24. Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Geoff Regan and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Barry Barnet were in Upper Tantallon for the announcement of the agreement which, together with municipal contributions, will invest $111 million in municipal and rural community infrastructure. “Today’s announcement is a testament of what can be achieved through partnerships between all orders of government,” said Mr. Regan on behalf of John Godfrey, Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities, and Joseph McGuire, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “It is also a prime example of the work that is currently being done by the government of Canada. Through the New Deal for Cities and Communities, the government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to provide municipalities and communities right across the country, and indeed in Nova Scotia, with the tools they need to ensure their sustainability.” Both the federal and provincial governments are providing up to $37 million to the Canada-Nova Scotia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, which will provide funding for projects in 10 categories. The categories range from water and wastewater to transit, local roads, tourism and culture. At least 60 per cent of the funds will be committed to green projects. “Communities big and small across Nova Scotia will become stronger as a result of this program,” Mr. Barnet said. “Investing in community infrastructure is an investment in the future of Nova Scotia. With our federal and municipal partners, the government of Nova Scotia is helping our communities grow and prosper.” Under the agreement, 20 per cent of the project funds will be allocated to Halifax County and 80 per cent to the other 17 counties. Up to one per cent of these allocations will be available to help municipalities improve and increase their capacity to manage their infrastructure assets. For example, this funding could be used to help communities enhance knowledge about their infrastructure assets, better evaluate life-cycle costs associated with infrastructure they own and operate, better assess the capacity of current infrastructure and identify future needs, and train municipal staff in long-term infrastructure management. “Municipalities are pleased that the program is moving forward and will see further investment in our communities’ infrastructure,” said Richie Cotton, president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. “The model of federal-provincial-municipal cost-sharing allows the projects to move quickly from the design phase to construction. Today’s announcement will be welcomed by Nova Scotia’s 55 municipalities.” The agreement will be administered by Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, on behalf of the government of Nova Scotia, and by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on behalf of Infrastructure Canada. Two officials nominated by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities will also be part of the management committee. This agreement builds on investments under the government of Canada’s New Deal for Cities and Communities program, including the goods and services tax rebate of $7 billion over 10 years; $5 billion over five years in gas tax funding across Canada; and $800 million over two years for public transit. The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund is providing $4 billion nationally, the Border Infrastructure Fund represents $600 million, and the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund will provide $1 billion. For additional information on this and other infrastructure programs administered by the government of Canada and by the government of Nova Scotia, visit the website at www.infrastructure.gc.ca or www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr .
DIGBY-ANNAPOLIS COUNTIES: Bear River Bridge, Highway 101 On Tuesday, Oct. 18, between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. there will be several brief closures of the Bear River Bridge on Highway 101 to accommodate the demolition of the adjacent railway bridge. Each closure will be for about five minutes. -30-
The search will continue for a site for a new elementary school in Amherst. The Department of Education has decided the two recommended sites for the West Highlands School are unsuitable, based on a technical evaluation by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. One site is considered to be too close to an asphalt plant, raising concerns about air quality and odour. The second site poses a safety concern for students walking to school. The province has directed the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board to propose additional sites for the school. “In order for school construction to begin as quickly as possible, I am hoping to see additional sites recommended soon,” said Education Minister Ramona Jennex. “This elementary school will serve children and their families for many years, and it is critical that the best site is selected.” Funding for the project is included in the 2012-13 Capital Plan, with a total cost of about $11 million.
Nova Scotians are reminded that most retail businesses and stores will be closed Monday, July 2. Because July 1 falls on a Sunday this year, federal legislation requires the Canada Day holiday be observed the next day, Monday, July 2. Canada Day is a listed retail closing day under the provincial Retail Business Designated Day Closing Act, which requires that certain establishments be closed for business on designated holidays. Businesses and services such as small grocery stores and drug stores, gas stations, and food and beverage establishments are exempt from the retail closing day rules. For a complete list of exemptions, visit www.gov.ns.ca/lae/employmentrights .
Ghaziabad: Union Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gen. V.K. Singh was leading against alliance candidate Suresh Bansal by over 50,000 votes from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. Singh secured 1,23,349 votes while Samajwadi Party’s Bansal got 65,563 votes at the end of the 14th round. Congress candidate Dolly Sharma was trailing with 10,798 votes.
Kolkata: Three candidates from Bengal have managed to secure ranks in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) the result of which was published on Wednesday afternoon. However, many candidates, failed to check their result due to a server failure till late on Wednesday evening resulting in confusion among the medical aspirants.The candidates have raised questions on how such technical problems occur in a high profile exam like NEET where lakhs of candidates from across the country take part. NEET is a national level medical entrance examination conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA). Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaHemant Khandelia from Bengal has ranked 11 in the merit list with 691 marks out of 720 while M.H Sayan Shah has got a rank of 44 with 685 marks. Diprasom Das has managed to secure a rank of 46 with 685 marks. All of them are male candidates belonging to unreserved category. Among other states Delhi has bagged 9 candidates who have secured their ranks below 50 in the merit list. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have 6 candidates having found ranks below 50. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersIn case of Bengal the number stands at three. Many candidates from the city who hooked on the NTA portal on Wednesday afternoon failed to pull out their results as the server was down. Dr A.K Maity, an expert in the field of medical education in the country said that the NTA which has been assigned to carry out the NEET must come up with a full proof system so that the students are not inconvenienced. Dr Maity said that there were some issues with the NEET question paper. He said that there were some set of questions which had multiple correct answers on the OMR sheets as a result of which many students preferred not to attempt the questions. In a highly competitive examination like NEET, even a fraction of marks can put a candidate far behind in the merit list.
Tamil Nadu’s main opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), is staging protests across the state Saturday against the acute water crisis. The party’s cadre held protests in Dindigul, Salem, Erode, Tiruppur, Thoothukudi and Ramanathapuramnto urge the government to take action to address the issue. Tamil Nadu is plagued with a severe water crisis. Advertising The DMK claimed the issue reached the point of a crisis due to the AIADMK government’s “negligence” and “administrative failure”, reported news agency PTI. Chennai has been affected the worst as the four reservoirs around the city, which supply drinking water, have dried up. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FranceChief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami Friday held an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation. Addressing the press, Palaniswami said the government had allocated Rs 65 crore to transfer by rail water from Jolarpettai near Vellore to Chennai. For the next six months, the government will use rail wagons to bring in 10 MLD (millions of litre per day) of water from Jolarpettai, he said.Apart from this, Palaniswami said senior officers were monitoring the situation and coordinating water supply. “Wherever there is a shortage, we have a coordinated system to ensure supply now,” the Chief Minister said.He added that in rural areas, water was being supplied from Andhra Pradesh’s Krisha river. While about 11 TMC water was supposed to have come, TN was receiving only 2 TMC water.with inputs of The Indian Express
Southampton: India skipper Virat Kohli said the hard-fought win over Afghanistan in the Word Cup was much-needed as it helped the two-time champions to show their character and clinch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Mohammed Shami’s last-over hattrick Saturday saved India from a mighty scare after they managed to pip Afghanistan by 11 runs to inch closer towards World Cup semi-finals. Shami (9.5-1-40-4), playing his first match, not only successfully defended 16 runs off the last over but also dismissed the dangerous Mohammed Nabi (52 off 55 balls), Aftab Alam (0) and Mujeeb ur Rahman (0) off successive deliveries to complete the rare feat. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ Medvedev Afghanistan were bowled out for 213 in pursuit of a manageable 225-run target which at one stage looked gettable after the Indian middle-order flopped in their first World Cup test. “This game was way more important for us, because things didn’t go as planned. That’s when you need to show character and bounce back,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony. Drafted into the playing eleven in place of injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shami Saturday became only the second Indian cricketer to register a hattrick in World Cup after Chetan Sharma, who achieved the feat in 1987. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’ships Kohli, thus, was effusive in his praise for the speedster. “Everyone’s waiting for an opportunity. Shami was really good today. He was making the ball move more than anybody. We knew these guys were hungry,” he said. Rating the win over Afghanistan as a special one, the India captain said the wicket was a difficult one for stroke-making because of its two-paced nature. “This is right up there (as a win). You win the toss, and you decide to bat and then you see the wicket slow down. You think 260 or 270 would be a good total,” he said. “At the halfway stage, we had our doubts in our minds, but we also had self-belief in the change rooms. As soon as I went in, I understood the pace of the pitch. Cross-batted shots aren’t on, and a lot of horizontal bat shots cost us on this pitch.” Kohli also praised man-of-the-match Jasprit Bumrah for his impressive bowling display that brought India back into the contest. “It’s simple – we want to use him (Bumrah) smartly. When he takes one or two wickets, he can go on, but otherwise we try to ensure the opposition knows that he has seven or so overs to go,” he said. Man-of-the-match Bumrah (2/39) said Kohli’s belief in his ability spurs him to do better every time he runs into bowl. “That gives you a lot of confidence when the captain has so much trust in you. Helps me keep a clearer head,” he said. Bumrah also elaborated on India’s strategy while defending the low total. “We saw the wicket getting slower and slower. You had to be accurate and it’s a big ground, so you had go for the yorkers and bowl wicket-to-wicket. “What we wanted to do was that when you run behind wickets, you don’t get wickets. Our plan was to get the run-rate high and create chances,” he said. Bumrah too praised his pace bowling colleague Shami for his impressive display on his maiden outing in the ongoing World Cup. “That’s very good, because it gives us healthy competition within the side. We discuss what the plans are, and it’s great when everybody is chipping in with wickets,” he said. Afghanistan skipper Gulbadin Naib showered praise on his bowling unit but said Bumrah eventually made the difference. “We bowled really well, and everybody in the batting lineup was strong. We did well in the batting too, but credit goes to Bumrah for the way he bowled in the last three overs. He was superb,” he said. “The wicket was really good for batting during the first half. The spinners stuck to the plan, and they did really well. We had other options than Rashid (Khan) and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman), but in the backend, Aftab (Alam) and I also bowled well, but India is a good side, and a favourite side.” He, however, said such tough games against strong teams like India will do a world of good for Afghanistan. “The total was not that much (to chase) but in the middle, we needed some 80s and 100s, 20s and 30s aren’t enough against a team like this. When chasing 220s, you need some batsmen to take responsibility and go longer. “We have lost four games very badly, but last two games we have played really well. This is tough cricket against high-ranking teams, and you have to fight your best,” Naib said.
New Delhi: Amidst India’s discontent over the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) leaving shooting out of its 2022 programme, Olympic medallist Gagan Narang Monday refused to see it as a setback, saying, to thrive, the sport shouldn’t depend only on quadrennial events. Narang, a bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, cited the example of cricket and squash to corroborate his point. “I don’t see it as a setback, it’s not a negative thing. If you look at cricket, it’s not there in the Olympics, not even in the Commonwealth Games, but the sport is thriving on its own. Even squash, for that matter, that is also doing well on its own,” Narang told PTI during an interaction. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together Last month, the CGF made it clear that shooting will not be a part of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, dealing a blow to India’s hopes. However, Narang preferred not to lose heart. “Now that it is out let’s be positive and give our best in Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” he said. Indian shooters have bagged as many as 16 medals, including seven gold at the Gold Coast Games last year. Since the 2002 Manchester edition, India have won most of its medals in shooting. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open As a result of the CGF move, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) threatened to boycott the 2022 Games, even as the sports ministry promised to explore diplomatic channels. A winner of multiple medals at top international tournaments, the 36-year-old Narang is not too worried about the move because he is confident that shooting will be back in the CWG programme after the Birmingham edition. “… In any case it will be back again I am sure. Okay, it’s not there in Birmingham, but it will certainly be back for the later editions,” he said. Last year, India’s then sports minister and Olympics silver medallist shooter, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, had urged the CGF president to ensure shooting remains a part of the 2022 edition. Also, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh had called for India to boycott the Birmingham Games if shooting was not included in the roster.
Mumbai: A failure on the part of banks, the government and the regulator till 2014 has got us into the current bad loan mess and the resultant low capital buffers, Urjit Patel, the past Reserve Bank Governor, has said, asking all to resist the temptation of going back to the status quo. In his first comments after resigning as RBI governor on December 10 last year amid sharp differences with the government, Patel said banks indulged in over-lending, while the government did not “fully play” its role, and also conceded that the regulator should have acted earlier. Also Read – Balakot strikes show major shift in govt’s handling of terror attacks: IAF chief Speaking at an event in Stanford University on June 3, Patel listed out areas of concern for the country’s banking sector, including high non-performing assets (NPAs) especially at state-run lenders, and current capital buffers being “overstated” and being insufficient to tackle the huge stress. “How did we get here? Plenty of blame to go around! Prior to 2014, all stakeholders failed to play their role adequately. Banks, the regulator and government,” he said in the presentation. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps, 20 launch pads along LoC It can be noted that after 2014, which saw a change of guard in government and also Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan assuming charge, the RBI started an asset quality review, which led to the recognition of the huge pile of hidden stress in the system and resolution through the introduction of bankruptcy laws. These actions led to a sharp decline in banks’ ability to fund the needs of the economy, where growth has been sagging. Patel, who spent over five years at the RBI, including his role as the deputy governor, advised to stay on the course even in the face of difficulties. “Temptation to reset ‘back to the past’ should be eschewed,” Patel said, adding that “episodic concerns” on stability are possible if there is “foot dragging, or, worse, back-pedalling”. “Short-cuts/sweeping the problem under the carpet is unlikely to work; but will only delay unlocking of capital, and come in the way of financing future investment efficiently,” he warned. In the presentation a copy of speech was not available Patel also said, “After fiscal dominance over monetary policy, are we looking at fiscal dominance over banking regulation now.” Patel said an asset quality review for the non-banking finance companies is “inevitable” given their interconnectedness in the financial system. On the Supreme Court striking down the controversial February 12, 2018 NPA circular, which was also a major bone of contention between him and the government, Patel said only time will tell whether a system of “extend and pretend” will make a comeback. “Issues of ever-greening the NPA problem may emerge again. Banks may drag their feet on decision making, viz. delayed negotiations/taking haircuts for timely resolution could come back to haunt the sector,” he warned. It can be noted that four days after this presentation at Stanford, RBI did come out with a revised framework after being forced by the Supreme Court which struck down the February circular. Patel also went public with his disappointment with the execution under the Insolvency and the Bankruptcy Code, saying it has “thrown up a worrying number of exceptions” and signs of “gaming” are visible as many of the major cases are delayed beyond the 350-day resolution window. He also sounded peeved at no divestment by the government in joint ventures, special purpose vehicles and asset management companies despite the equity markets overall remaining quite buoyant. Patel said social sector requirements and an inability to access capital markets have resulted in the government’s stake in many lenders going up as more infusions came from the government despite fiscal constraints. He also sounded disappointed at the recent government forces bank consolidations, saying such mergers have “eroded” the value of the entity taking over weaker banks and termed IDBI Bank as a “highly problematic” entity, which was forced on LIC. Patel said the state-run lenders have high ratio of non-operating expenses to earnings compared to their private sector peers. “High cost structure of government banks is borne by the economy; may be impinging transmission of policy rate changes,” he warned.
New Delhi: Investors pulled out Rs 1.6 lakh crore on a net basis from mutual fund schemes in June against a net investment of Rs 76,989 crore in May mainly due to persisting weak confidence in debt-oriented plans, industry data showed Monday.Net outflows from debt-oriented schemes were more than Rs 1.71 lakh crore in June against inflows of Rs 70,119 crore in May, the data by Association of Mutual Fund of India (AMFI) showed. In recent months, the mutual fund industry has been grappling with redemption pressure in the wake of debt crises at various groups, including IL&FS, Essel and DHFL. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep”The debt segment saw the largest outflow of Rs 1,71,349 crore as compared to Rs 70,119 crore inflow witnessed in May’19, as investors’ confidence was dented after a series of defaults/delays by some popular names,” Bajaj Capital CEO Rahul Parikh said. The net outflows of mutual funds stood at Rs 1,59,814.40 crore in June. Debt-oriented schemes, which include overnight fund, liquid fund, low duration fund saw a significant outflows with liquid funds being the worst hit. Liquid funds alone witnessed an outflow of Rs 1.52 lakh crore. On the liquid fund outflows AMFI CEO N S Venkatesh said, “This is a usual quarter-end phenomena where the industry does witness temporary redemptions from liquid funds.”
Shanghai: Thirty-three people were killed and 16 others were missing after super typhoon Lekima made landfall in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, leaving a trail of destruction, local authorities said on Sunday. Lekima, the ninth typhoon and the strongest this year, hit Wenling city on Saturday afternoon, packing winds of 187 kilometers per hour and bringing heavy rainstorms. Most of the deaths occurred in Yongjia County, administered by Wenzhou City, where torrential downpours caused a landslide that blocked a river. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe barrier lake burst and flood waters swept people away. Local media reported 33 people were killed and 16 remained missing. According to the provincial flood control headquarters, nearly 1.08 million people have been evacuated to safe places, and close to 5 million people in Zhejiang were affected, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. In Zhejiang, the typhoon damaged more than 173,000 hectares of crops and 34,000 houses. The direct economic loss amounted to 14.57 billion yuan (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars), the headquarters said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsRescue operations are underway. On Saturday, heavy downpours flooded the 1,600-year-old town of Linhai, which is about an one-and-half hour drive north from where the typhoon hit. The town was completely inundated, and rescue workers had to navigate on inflatable boats and evacuate residents. Floodwater started to retreat on Sunday, rescuers said. Over 16 civilian rescue teams have volunteered to rescue stranded residents in Linhai, local authorities said. With the typhoon sweeping through Shanghai, about 253,000 people in the city had to be evacuated to safe places, Shanghai flood control authorities said. On Sunday, Lekima was moving northwards and will churn up the east coast of Shandong Province, officials said. It is expected to make a second landing along the coastline in Shandong late Sunday, bringing strong wind and heavy downpours, the National Meteorological Center warned. Around 3,200 flights have been cancelled due to the typhoon, state broadcaster CCTV has reported.
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel has set a new example in putting an end to the tradition of VIP culture.She has asked the state government to withdraw 50 security men posted at the Raj Bhawan.According to sources, the Governor said that these security personnel would do better to serve the people.Though there was no statement on this issue from Raj Bhawan, a government spokesman confirmed that the Governor had sought reduction in her security. Patel was sworn in as the 25th Governor of Uttar Pradesh on July 29.Additional chief secretary Home, Avanish Awasthi, meanwhile, said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also asked for a curtailment in his security.Adityanath has been given ‘Z’ plus security by the Centre but he wants excess security personnel withdrawn.
New Delhi: The latest FICCI Economic Outlook Survey has pegged first-quarter GDP growth at 6 per cent in 2019-20 while for the whole fiscal growth is seen at 6.9 per cent in 2019-20. The growth numbers for the first quarter are expected to be released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) next week. Ficci said boosting agriculture sector, strengthening MSMEs, undertaking factor market reforms are key to steering the economy out of the slowdown. Furthermore, the annual median GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 has been pegged at 6.9 per cent, with a minimum and maximum estimate of 6.7 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively. While the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities has been put at 2.2 per cent for 2019-20, the industry and services sector are expected to grow by 6.9 per cent and 8.0 per cent respectively during the current financial year. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The survey was conducted during the months of June-July 2019 amongst economists from the industry, banking and financial services sectors. With regard to inflation, the latest official numbers report moderate price levels. The outlook of participating economists on inflation also remains benign. The median forecast for Wholesale Price Index based inflation rate for 2019-20 has been put at 2.9 per cent, with a minimum and maximum estimate of 2.1 and 5.7 per cent respectively. The Consumer Price Index, on the other hand, has a median forecast of 3.7 per cent for 2019-20 – with a minimum and maximum estimate of 3.4 and 4.1 per cent, respectively. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost Concerns remain on external front with median current account deficit forecast pegged at 2.3 per cent of GDP for 2019-20. Merchandise exports are expected to grow by 3.6 per cent, while imports are expected to grow by 4.0 per cent during the year. Overall decline in global growth forecasts, escalating trade tensions, uncertainty around Brexit and foggy outlook on international crude oil prices have emerged as key concerns on the external front. Slower global growth will impact India’s growth prospects as well going forward. In fact, economists unanimously indicated that India’s potential growth rate would be in 7.0 7.5 per cent range, which is lower than the 8 per cent plus potential growth rate estimated until a few years back. However, a majority of participants felt that potential GDP growth would settle at the higher end of the range at 7.5 per cent. The participating economists were sceptical and divided about replicating the previous high growth performance of over 8 per cent and sustaining it at that level. Those who were optimistic believed that a turnaround would be challenging given the current global environment and could take at least three to four years. On the strategies to achieve India’s potential growth rate, the surveyed economists suggested four key areas that needed immediate attention: boosting agriculture sector; strengthening MSMEs; undertaking factor market reforms; and enhancing avenues for infrastructure financing. The recently released unemployment numbers by NSSO re-affirm the grim situation with regard to employment in the country. The participating economists were asked to indicate areas of improvement that would help create more jobs, particularly in manufacturing and services sectors. The participating economists identified four key areas of improvement that would help create more jobs: cost of doing business; regulatory reforms; labour reforms and announcement of sector specific special packages. The participating economists opined that it was necessary to ensure availability of capital and access to diversified long-term capital sources for carrying out productive investments in the economy. Economists felt that it was necessary for input and more importantly, borrowing costs to be lower to drive investments and employment in the country. Participants also indicated that it was important to carry out structural reforms in the factor markets and the same has been echoed by FICCI time and again. Further reforms in areas of land, labour and capital are needed urgently to enhance competitiveness of the Indian industry. Furthermore, greater efforts are required to develop the bond market, non-banking financial sector, and the stock exchanges. Economists also felt the need for establishing a long-term development finance institution on a priority basis. Sharing their outlook on the future course of the monetary policy, participating economists unanimously felt that the Reserve Bank of India will continue with its accommodative stance. Majority of them suggested further cut in the repo rate in the remaining part of fiscal 2019. Economists felt that the prevailing real interest rates were high. The participants also signalled that tardy deposit growth is haunting the banks as it is limiting their ability to lend and is preventing adequate transmission. Economists suggested that the liquidity situation needs to further improve for ensuring smooth transmission of the cuts in repo rate. Further, it has been observed that the saving rate in India has declined over the past few years, with the decline being sharper in the household segment. This is a major concern as household savings form a very important source of funds for investment in the economy. Intermediation of savings into financial assets has also been a challenge. Economists were asked to suggest ways in which financialization of household savings in India could be improved. Economists attributed the dip in net household savings to lower overall incomes in the hands of the consumer on back of slowdown in economic growth. They emphasized the need for enhancing GDP growth and ensuring a more equitable distribution of gains from growth to improve the savings rate. Economists also underscored the importance of improving penetration of financial products to improve financialization of savings. While commending the government for opening mass bank accounts under Pradhan Manti Jan Dhan Yojana, participants said they believed that innovative approaches such as focussing on promoting digital banking need to be undertaken more aggressively to bridge the gap in access and usage of bank accounts. Surveyed economists recommended that financial instruments offered by equity and bond markets should play a major role in diversifying the available saving options. Furthermore, from a regulatory standpoint; the government bond market, the corporate bond market and the equity market are treated separately in India and the same needs to be corrected.
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought prosecution sanction for three TMC MPs and one former MP of the party from Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla, in connection with the Narada sting operation case, sources in the know here said on Thursday.The central probe agency has sought sanction to prosecute Prasun Banerjee, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Saugata Roy – all sitting members of the 17th Lok Sabha – and former TMC MP Suvendu Adhikary. Interestingly, no prosecution sanction has been sought for Mukul Roy, who jumped ship to the ruling BJP, within four months of CBI registering its FIR. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’While the sanction to prosecute these four accused in the Narada case was sought almost nearly four months ago from the former Speaker of the Lower House, the probe agency has sent a reminder to Birla with regards to the sanction. All four of these senior Trinamool Congress members have been questioned by the CBI in the Narada case, which came up after video footage was released, purportedly showing several senior members of the ruling party in West Bengal demanding and accepting cash bribes. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe series of videos, dubbed the Narada tapes, was first released on Narada News, owned and operated by Matthew Samuel, who had visited senior party leaders pretending to be the owner of a fictitious company, asking for favours. The CBI’s preliminary probe in the case had established that Dastidar, Adhikary and Roy were all seen accepting Rs 5 lakh in cash from Samuel, who was the sting operator, covertly recording his meetings with the leaders. In the Narada tapes, the probe agency has also established that Banerjee was shown accepting Rs 4 lakh in cash. However, all four have consistently denied that the money they were shown accepting was bribe amount, insisting to the probe agency that Samuel had pretended to donate to their election campaign before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Meanwhile, the central probe agency has also summoned 11 people accused in the Narada case to appear before agency officials in Kolkata, so their voice samples can be collected, as mandated by the Supreme Court of India. This list of 11 includes ex-TMC MLA Sovan Chatterjee, TMC MP Aparupa Poddar, former TMC MP Sultan Ahmed and other politicians accused in the case, except senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, formerly of the Trinamool Congress. Even though the CBI has established that Mukul Roy had demanded money and indicated that an IPS officer, SMH Meerza would accept it on his behalf, the probe agency has not sought sanction to prosecute him as of yet. In fact, the tapes also show Meerza accepting cash amounts on behalf of Mukul Roy. The role of investigators in the case, is as a result, being perceived to be very controversial.
Karachi: Pakistan has recorded a 13 per cent jump in the new HIV infections, according to a UN report that recorded the fastest surge among the transgender people and sex workers, a media report said on Tuesday. The total number of HIV cases in Pakistan has increased to 160,000 this year, a significant increase from 67,000 in 2010, the Express Tribune reported, quoting a latest UN report on HIV cases in the country. The report indicates that there was a jump of 1,500 cases between 2015 and 2018 among those aged14, the report said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”Similarly, female HIV patients above the age of 15 rose to 37,000 in 2015 and 48,000 in 2018. HIV rates among injection drug users increased by 21 per cent during 2019, followed by 3.7 per cent among homosexuals and 3.8 per cent in sex workers,” the paper reported the UN report as saying. The UN report on the country’s HIV infections came amidst nearly 800 people tested positive for the infection in Sindh province’s Larkana district since April this year. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHealth officials had attributed the cause to the use of unsanitary equipment, unsafe blood transfusion and rampant malpractice often at the hands of quacks. “Globally, 37.9 million people are infected with HIV out of which 13.3 million have access to antiretroviral therapy, which is used to treat the infectious disease,” the report said. According to statistics gathered by the UN and the World Health Organization, since 1985, a total of 25 million people lost the battle against HIV globally. In recent years, government awareness campaigns around the world helped reduce the number of HIV cases transmitted through drug use. However, awareness campaigns were mostly missing from the radar in Pakistan, the paper reported. AGENCIES