Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Wednesday took the decision that VIP vehicles should do away with red beacons, said “Every Indian is a VIP”.
Replying to a tweet hailing the government decision, Modi said: “Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP.”
In another post, Modi said: “It should have gone long ago. Glad that today a strong beginning has been made.”
“These symbols are out of touch with the spirit of new India.”
The decision was taken by Prime Minister Modi, who informed the cabinet about it. Soon after the announcement, several ministers removed the red beacons from their vehicles.
The central government on Wednesday announced that no dignitary will be allowed to flaunt red beacons atop their vehicles from May 1, and necessary changes in the laws for the purpose are being brought about.
Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service plans to enter digital payments in India, where it will take on Alibaba Group Holding-backed digital wallet company Paytm that has added millions of customers following a government push to promote electronic payments.
Digital payments in India received a fillip after Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year recalled high-value notes of 500 rupees and 1,000 rupees that accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation. The move, aimed at curbing unaccounted wealth, triggered a cash shortage in Asia’s third-largest economy, prompting people to explore new digital cash options.
Paytm, backed by China’s Alibaba Group, is consolidating its leadership in India with more than 200 million users. In 2015, Alibaba and its financial-services affiliate Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, invested over $500 million for a 40% stake in One97 Communications, the parent of Paytm. Zhejiang Ant is the parent of Alipay, China’s biggest mobile-payment service.
Paytm had signed up over five million new users within days after the currency ban in November.
Gold imports by India, which competes with China for the role of world’s biggest consumer, are said to have risen almost three-fold in February from a year earlier as jewellers increased stockpiles before the festival and wedding period that starts next month.
Shipments jumped 175% to 96.4 metric tons in February from a year earlier, according to a person familiar with provisional data from the finance ministry, who asked not to be identified as the data aren’t public. Overseas purchases slid 32% to 595.5 tons in the 11 months to February. Ministry spokesman D. S. Malik declined to comment on the data.
After a lull in demand exacerbated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to withdraw high denomination currency notes, jewellers are building up inventories.
They expect to see some recovery in purchases ahead of India’s wedding season and on the auspicious Hindu gold-buying day of Akshaya Tritiya that falls toward the end of April this year.
With the adverse impact of note ban continuing to hamper two-wheeler sales, Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj on Thursday said the idea of demonetisation was itself “wrong” and it is incorrect to blame only the execution side of it.
“If the solution or the idea is right, it will go like a hot knife through butter…If the idea is not working, for example demonetisation, don’t blame execution. I think your idea itself is wrong,” Bajaj said at the annual Nasscom leadership forum here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 8 last year scrapped all the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, with a view to check the black money.
Massive cash rationing was introduced as the new replacement notes were in short supply. The ban on 86 per cent of the total currency worth Rs 15.55 trillion in circulation impacted economic activity across sectors with the consumption-driven ones being the most affected.
Notably, the two-wheeler sales are yet to recover from the impact of demonetisation and industry data releases over the last two months have been showing a slump. The industry was looking forward to better sales on the back of good monsoon and an acceleration in rural economic growth, which drives consumption.
Warning India against playing the ‘Taiwan card’, an op-ed article in Global Times said that New Delhi will suffer losses by challenging “one China” policy.
The editorial titled ‘New Delhi will suffer losses if it plays Taiwan card’ reminded India that even the new US President Donald Trump has made a U-turn on challenging the ”one China” policy.
“By challenging China over the Taiwan question, India is playing with fire. At a time when new US President Donald Trump has put the brakes on challenging China over the Taiwan question, agreeing to change course and respecting the “one China” policy, India stands out as a provocateur,” the article said .
“High-level visits between India and Taiwan are not very frequent, so why did India invite the Taiwan delegation to visit at this time?” the article asked referring to Taiwanese MPs delegation.
It is the first such visit since the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen administration took office, it said.
Tsai, who won on elections last year is a strong supporter of Taiwan’s independence from China.
Union Budget 2017: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Narendra Modi government’s fourth Budget gave a big relief to taxpayers up to Rs 5 lakh of income, but had little to offer to those earning above that bracket. Budget 2017 was a mixed bag from the perspective of the common man. Greater focus on railway safety, steps for affordable housing, and marginal tinkering with indirect taxes would bring cheer to many. Yet, Jaitley fell short of giving the common taxpayer a big-bang populist Budget, that was widely expected post demonetisation. We take a look at 10 key things common man – across genres – should know about Union Budget 2017.
1) Railways: One relief for the common man would be that no increase fares was announced. Apart from this, greater focus on rail safety would bring cheer. For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh will be created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore over a period of 5 years. ‘Coach Mitra’, a single window interface, to register all coach related complaints and requirements will be launched. FM Jaitley has also announced that the service charges on buying tickets from IRCTC will be removed.
Apart from that Railway lines of 3,500 kms will be commissioned in 2017-18. During 2017-18, at least 25 stations are expected to be awarded for station redevelopment. 500 stations will be made differently abled friendly by providing lifts and escalators.
2) Cost of borrowing to come down, remonetisation to gather pace. Pace of remonetisation has picked up and will soon reach comfortable levels, FM Jaitley said. The surplus liquidity in the banking system will lower borrowing costs and increase the access to credit.
3) Digital push: 125 lakh people have adopted the BHIM app so far, the FM claimed. The government will launch two new schemes to promote the usage of BHIM; these are, Referral Bonus Scheme for individuals and a Cashback Scheme for merchants.
4) Defence: A comprehensive web based interactive Pension Disbursement System for Defence Pensioners will be established. This system will receive pension proposals and make payments centrally. This will reduce the grievances of defence pensioners.
The 2017 Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit’s inaugural ceremony on Tuesday looked like a shadow of its own past glory as the trademark big-ticket investment promises were missing.
Several chief executive officers attending the summit praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “dynamic and visionary leadership” over the past two and a half years.
The PM’s speech, which was at least a quarter of an hour shorter than last year’s, showcased India’s growth story. “Despite the global slowdown, we have registered excellent growth. India is a bright spot in the global economy.” The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other institutions have projected even better growth in the coming days, he added.
Listing out India’s global rankings on various indicators, Modi said, “Creating an enabling environment for business, and attracting investments, is my top priority.”
Modi was called a transformational leader by many, including Executive Chairman of Cisco John Chambers and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Canada Prem Watsa. Calling Modi the Lee Kuan Yew of India, Watsa said the Prime Minister can transform the country. The late Singaporean leader was the city-state’s first Prime Minister and is credited with transforming Singapore into a developed nation in a span of 25 years.
Investment promises came only from a couple of people. Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, committed fresh investments worth Rs 49,000 crore over five years and Lulu Group promised Rs 12,000-crore investment.
Former Reserve Bank governor D Subbarao on Thursday termed demonetisation as “creative destruction and the most disruptive policy innovation since 1991 reforms” that has helped destroy black money.
“On November 8, the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and the Reserve Bank have demonetised 86 per cent of currency in circulation overnight, which is what is arguably the most disruptive policy innovation in India since the 1991 reforms,” he said.
“Demonetisation, in that sense, is creative destruction. But it is a very special type of creative destruction. Because what it has destroyed is a destructive creation — black money. So, you can understand that demonetisation is creative destruction of a destructive creation,” Subbarao said.
He was addressing an international conference organised by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technologies (IDRBT) in Hyderabad. He further said demonetisation is “arguably” leading to a flurry of innovations in Indian financial sector by way of digitisation of payments.
In a decision that will bring big cheer to the common man, the RBI (Reserve Bank Of India) has hiked the daily ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 4,500 per card. This would come as a huge relief to people who stand in queues for a long time and still manage to get only Rs 2,500.
In its latest notification, the RBI said, “The daily limit of withdrawal from ATMs has been increased (within the overall weekly limits specified) with effect from January 01, 2017, from the existing Rs 2500/- to Rs 4500/- per day per card. There is no change in weekly withdrawal limits.Such disbursals should predominantly be in the denomination of Rs 500.”
The current withdrawal limit per bank account per week has not been revised, a fact that is likely to disappoint people.
The Narendra Modi government’s move to demonetise old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has largely been supported by the common man, though most agree that the implementation could have been better planned and executed. Long queues at banks and ATMs were a common sight in the first few days since the historic decision was announced by PM Modi on November 8. The situation has admittedly improved since then, but with increase in the daily limits, the government and banking system must work to ensure that ATMs have enough cash. But even as the central bank has eased the ATM withdrawal limit, the government is leaving no stone unturned to promote cashless transactions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the nation on December 31 evening, a day after his 50-day deadline for the completion of the demonetisation process draws to a close. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to address the nation before dawn of the New Year,” news agency PTI reported.
However, it was not clear as to whether he would address the nation on Friday or Saturday. In his address, the Prime Minister may speak about the roadmap post the demonetisation period especially on the steps likely to be taken to ease cash flow that has been a major problem ever since demonetisation took place.
He may also speak on the steps to deal with the problems the economy faces after the demonetisation was announced on November 8. The Prime Minister in his public meetings in the last few weeks has been urging the people to bear with the pain following the government’s decision and that it would start easing gradually once the 50-day period is over. On Tuesday, Modi met economists and experts at a meeting in Niti Aayog to discuss the current economic situation