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Modi government blows life in dying Air India with 49% FDI

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A major decision has been taken to revive the dying government venture Air India. Under the new amendments, FDI up to 49% has been allowed under the approval route.  

 

New Delhi/Mumbai: In what can be seen as the biggest boost for Indian Economy, the Union Cabinet today cleared a number of modifications in Foreign Direct investment policy. The FDI modifications come at a time when the World Bank has projected 7.3 % growth rate for Indian Economy in 2018. It liberalizes the economy and boosts investors’ morale. The Modi-led cabinet set aside the previous limitations on FDI in various sectors and introduced modified limits.

The cabinet has approved 100% FDI under automatic route for Single Brand Retail Trading and Construction Development sector. While the major decision has been taken to revive the dying government venture Air India. Under the new amendments, foreign airlines have been allowed to invest up to 49% under the approval route.

Total FDI of US $ 60.08 billion was received in the financial year 2016-17 which is an all-time high. Thus, the government is eyeing for more investment with the improved policy in the new year.

Here are the details of the amendments in various sectors:

Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT)

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The government today decided that its approval will no longer be required for FDI in SBRT. The existing policy on SBRT allows 49% FDI under automatic route and FDI beyond 49% and up to 100% through Government approval route. It has now been decided to permit 100% FDI under automatic route for SBRT.

Civil Aviation

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Under the current policy, foreign airlines are allowed to invest under Government approval route in the capital of Indian companies operating scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital. However, this provision was presently not applicable to Air India, thereby implying that foreign airlines could not invest in Air India. It has now been decided to do away with this restriction and allow foreign airlines to invest up to 49% under approval route in Air India subject to the conditions that:

  • Foreign investment(s) in Air India including that of foreign Airline(s) shall not exceed 49% either directly or indirectly
  • Substantial ownership and effective control of Air India shall continue to be vested in Indian National.

Construction Development: Townships, Housing, Built-up Infrastructure and Real Estate Broking Services

It has been decided to clarify that real-estate broking service does not amount to real estate business and is, therefore, eligible for 100% FDI under the automatic route.

Power Exchanges

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The extant policy provides for 49% FDI under automatic route in Power Exchanges registered under the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Power Market) Regulations, 2010. However, FII/FPI purchases were restricted to secondary market only. It has now been decided to do away with this provision, thereby allowing FIIs/FPIs to invest in Power Exchanges through the primary market as well.

Pharmaceuticals:

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FDI policy on Pharmaceuticals sector inter-alia provides that definition of a medical device as contained in the Policy would be subject to amendment in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. As the definition as contained in the policy is complete in itself, it has been decided to drop the reference to Drugs and Cosmetics Act from the policy. Further, it has also been decided to amend the definition of ‘medical devices’ as contained in the Policy.

 

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Agusta Westland Scam: Middleman Christian Michel missing after Dubai court extradition order

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New Delhi | A British middleman Christian Michel the prime accused in the AgustaWestland Chopper scam is currently missing after the Dubai court had ordered his extradition to India.

Michel who is wanted in India for allegedly organising bribes in exchange for a contract for VVIP helicopters was out on bail after his arrest in UAE. Speaking to media, Michel’s lawyer said after courts ordered Michel extradition could not be traced. He said, “Michel will be arrested if found. He is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.”

After allegations of bribe giving by the AgustaWestland parent company Finmeccanica in Italy to the Indian official, the government in 2014 had scrapped the contract. Former Airforce Chief SP Tyagi was arrested in 2016 over allegations for accepting bribes for the deal.

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Assam NRC: SC orders resumption of filing of claims and objections by those left out

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New Delhi | The Supreme Court Wednesday ordered a resumption of filing of claims and objections by around 40 lakh people who were left out in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) of Assam.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said the process will commence on September 25 and remain open for 60 days.

“We are of the view that all that which we are required to do at this stage is to open the filing of claims and objections with regard to inclusion in the draft NRC published in July this year,” the bench said.

It also made clear that the second opportunity has been granted to the citizens keeping in mind the “magnitude” of the issue.

The bench, which has now posted the matter for hearing on October 23, has sought the view of Prateek Hajela, coordinator of Assam NRC, on the stance of the central government with regard to applicability and non-applicability of certain documents for inclusion of names in the NRC.

The final draft NRC list was published on July 30 in which names of 2.89 crores of the 3.29 crore people were included. The names of 40,70,707 people did not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold.

The apex court had on September 5, ordered that any one of the 10 of a total 15 documents provided in List-A of the claim form can be used by the claimants to prove legacy.

It had also expressed reservation oversharing with the Centre the copy of the NRC Coordinator’s report on the modalities for receiving claims from those excluded in draft NRC, saying that although the Government of India was “extremely interested”, the court “has to strike a balance”.

The court had said that the report with regards to the preparation of the modalities of the Standard Operating Procedure for dealing with claims and objections, has been considered.

Hajela had filed the report in compliance with the court’s August 28 order and stated that the 10 documents of List-A could be relied upon or introduced afresh by any claimant for his or her claim for inclusion in the NRC, subject to their authenticity as per the certification by the relevant issuing authority.

The 10 legacy documents which are admissible include land documents like registered sale deed, a permanent residential certificate issued from outside the State, passport and LIC insurance policy of the relevant period.

Other documents which can be relied upon include any license or certificate issued by a government authority of the relevant period, papers showing service or employment under government or public sector undertaking, bank or post office accounts, birth certificates, educational certificate and records or processes pertaining to courts, provided they are part of a processing in a Judicial or Revenue Court.

The report had said that all these documents should be of the relevant period up to the midnight of March 24, 1971.

The list of documents to prove legacy, which were in the list-A of the claim form but were not included in the report include extract of NRC, 1951, extract or certified copy of electoral rolls up to the midnight of March 24, 1971, Citizenship Certificate issued by competent authority, refugee registration certificate and ration cards issued by competent authority with official seal and signature.

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 in accordance with the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.

Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.

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Cyclonic circulations in Arabian Sea cause rain in Mumbai

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Mumbai | Cyclonic circulations in the Arabian Sea near the Gujarat coast caused rain in Mumbai and its neighbouring districts in Maharashtra Wednesday morning, a MeT official said.

The showers brought down temperatures in the megapolis and its surrounding areas which were witnessing a dry spell. Light to moderate rain occurred in Mumbai and its adjoining areas in the morning.

“The cyclonic circulations formed over the Gujarat coast have brought a lot of moisture, leading to cloud formation over most parts of Maharashtra,” India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) senior director Shubhangi Bhute told PTI.

Due to this, several parts of the state, including Mumbai, are expected to receive medium intensity rains, she said, adding that moderate showers are also likely to occur in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in the next two days. The south China region was expected to be hit by a tropical storm last week. It could have brought some dry days to Odisha and parts of West Bengal, she said.

“But with cyclonic circulations developing off the Gujarat coast, there is an increased possibility of showers from Maharashtra to Odisha,” Bhute said. These circulations have also delayed the withdrawal of monsoon and farmers have welcomed the showers for rabi crops.

“Indications of monsoon withdrawal should have been evident by now. The current circulations would now push the withdrawal further. It means that the country is likely to have a longer monsoon period,” the official said.

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