LIVE: Cabinet approves Rs 22,810-cr outlay for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' scheme

FILE PHOTO: Communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (right) at a press conference with Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 22,810 crore outlay for a new employment scheme that aims at encouraging businesses to do fresh hiring. Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana, the government will for two years provide employee and employer contribution to the retirement fund for new hires by businesses and entities, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said. The scheme would till 2023 entail an outgo of Rs 22,810 crore and would benefit around 58.5 lakh employees.

The Justice Ashok Bhushan-led Supreme Court Bench on Wednesday adjourned hearing to Monday in the petitions in loan moratorium case. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the top court on Tuesday that a complete waiver of interest during the six-month loan moratorium period had a cost associated with it. "If we waive off the interest, there is a cost associated with it. Either the banks take it or the government. The government cannot and depositors cannot," the Solicitor General said.

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Gehlot blames Covid-19 for panchayat poll loss

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday blamed Covid-19 for the party's loss in the panchayat polls, saying the results were not as per the Congress' expectation.

Gehlot said in a statement, "The results of the district council and panchayat polls are not as per our expectation. For the past nine months, our government was involved in Covid management and our priority was to save lives and livelihoods of the people."

"Due to coronavirus, we could not publicise our works while the opposition misled the people. But we will give a befitting reply to the opposition, considering the feedback from the people," he added.

In a major setback to the Congress in Rajasthan, the opposition BJP swept 1,911 seats in the recently held panchayat samiti elections while the ruling party was limited to 1,781 seats. The Independents won 425 seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party got 3 seats while the CPI-M captured 16 seats in the elections while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party got 57 seats, according to the State Election Commission.

Gehlot had attacked his detractors in the party while inaugurating a Congress office in Sirohi district recently, saying the state government was saved from a crisis as the senior leaders suspended the rebels within the party fold.

Nadda shown black flags by Trinamool supporters in Kolkata

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President J.P. Nadda was shown black flags allegedly by Trinamool Congress supporters when he arrived in Kolkata's Hastings area to inaugurate the party's election office on Wednesday.

The incident took place outside the newly-opened office when about 50 people tried to wave black flags and shouted "BJP go back" slogans when Nadda entered the building. BJP activists also came out of the building and engaged in counter-sloganeering.

The police immediately intervened and stopped both parties from coming close, following intervention of state BJP leaders. The protesters left the spot soon after the incident.

"No untoward clash or scuffle took place. Both sides left the spot peacefully," a Kolkata Police officer said.

NBFCs with 15% CRAR for 3 years may be allowed to pay dividend: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has come up with a draft circular for declaration of dividend by NBFCs, wherein it has proposed that NBFCs should have at least 15 per cent Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) for the last 3 years, including the accounting year for which it proposes to declare a dividend.
 
The RBI has sought comments on the draft circular from NBFCs, industry participants and other interested parties by December 24.
 
"Deposit taking Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC-D) and Systemically Important Non-Deposit taking Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC-ND-SI) should have CRAR of at least 15 per cent for last 3 years, including the accounting year for which it proposes to declare dividend," said the draft circular.
 
It has also suggested that NBFCs should have leverage ratio of less than seven for the last three years, including the accounting year for which it proposes to declare a dividend.
 
Further, it has proposed that the Core Investment Company (CIC) should have Adjusted Net Worth (ANW) of at least 30 per cent of its aggregate risk weighted assets on balance sheet and risk adjusted value of off-balance sheet items for last 3 years, including the accounting year for which it proposes to declare dividend.

Article 370 abrogation coincided with human rights violation rise: Farooq Abdullah

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday claimed the unilateral and unconstitutional abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status has coincided with a steep rise in the infringement of fundamental and human rights in the Union territory.
 
He also said that restricting the movement of mainstream political leaders has become the order of the day.
 
"The honour of the people has been compromised and downgraded on every account since the spiteful measures of August 5, 2019 were undertaken by the Centre by giving a ditch to all established constitutional norms and parliamentary propriety," Abdullah, the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, said in a statement on the eve of the International Human Rights Day.
 
He alleged that the months that followed the August 5, 2019 measures saw a steep rise in human rights violations of people in the face of disallowing people to pray, blocking communication channels and snatching exclusive job rights of local youth.
 
BJP climbed the political ladder nationally by employing a narrative that Articles 370, 35-A were impeding the job prospects of the youth. Far from providing jobs to the youth, the incumbent ruling dispensation at the Centre which is in direct control of J&K's affairs showed the door to thousands of employed youth.

In new Parliament building, Lok Sabha will be thrice as big than now

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform the Bhoomi Pujan ceremony of the new Parliament House building on Thursday. The new building could be completed by October 2022 so that a Parliament session in the new building on the 75th anniversary of the country's Independence can be held.
 
The dimensions of the Lok Sabha in the new Parliament House will be three times as big as the present one. The size of the Rajya Sabha will also increase. Tata Projects Limited will construct the new Parliament House over a total area of 64,500 sq metre. The design has been prepared by HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited.
 
According to officials of the Ministry of Urban Affairs, the new Parliament House will be in sync with the sensibilities and aspirations of a new India on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022. It will be built keeping in view the needs for the next hundred years so that there is no difficulty in increasing the number of MPs in the future.

PM Modi has worked more for farmers in 6 yrs than earlier govts did since 1947: UP CM

Amid the ongoing farmers' stir against the three central farm laws, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done much more work for farmers in last six years compared to what previous governments did since Independence.

While inaugurating two sugar mills in this eastern region of the state, Adityanath also attacked the opposition, saying some people are not able to appreciate the welfare work being done for farmers by the BJP government.

The chief minister was here to inaugurate a sugar mill at Pipraich in Gorakhpur district. He also inaugurated the second mill at Munderwa in Basti district from here digitally as his helicopter was unable to take off for Basti due to bad weather.

Accusing the previous governments of selling 21 sugar mills in the region at throwaway prices after suppressing farmers' agitation against the move, Adityanath expressed satisfaction that his government was able to start two mills with four times higher processing capacity.

He also promised to open many more mills after the pandemic s controlled.

SC to hear Maratha quota case from Jan 25, says matter requires urgent hearing

The Supreme Court Wednesday said that issues pertaining to 2018 Maharashtra law, granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs, requires urgent hearing as the legislation has been stayed and the fruits accrued are not reaching to the people.
 
The apex court had on September 9, while referring to a larger bench the batch of pleas challenging the validity of law, had stayed the implementation of the legislation but made it clear that status of those who have availed of the benefits would not be disturbed.
 
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan Wednesday said it would hear the matter on a day-to-day basis from January 25 next year as it is necessary to complete the final hearing as early as possible looking into the issues raised and the consequences to be followed.
 
This issue is required to be heard urgently as the effect of law has been stayed and fruits accrued are not reaching to the people. Therefore, this issue requires urgent hearing, observed the bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat.

UK PM in Parliament confuses farmers' protest with India-Pak dispute

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday seemed to confuse two separate issues when he reiterated the UK government's stance that any dispute between India and Pakistan was for the two countries to settle bilaterally.
 
British Sikh Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who has been leading a drive to keep the protests by the Indian farmers against the government's agricultural reforms in the news in Britain, repeated one of his previous Twitter statements on the issue in the House of Commons during the weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) session.
 
Many constituents, especially those emanating from Punjab and other parts of India, and I were horrified to see footage of water cannons, teargas and brute force being used against peacefully protesting farmers. However, it was heart-warming to see those very farmers feeding those forces who had been ordered to beat or suppress them. What indomitable spirit and it takes a special kind of people to do that, the Opposition lawmaker said.
 
So, will the Prime Minister (Johnson) convey to the Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) our heartfelt anxieties, our hopes for a speedy resolution to the current deadlock and does he agree that everyone has a fundamental right to peaceful protest, he questioned Johnson. 

AAP alleges Kejriwal's movement still 'restricted', Delhi Police denies claim

The AAP on Wednesday alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's movement is still "restricted" and the main gate of his residence remains closed by the Delhi Police, which denied the charge. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had on Tuesday alleged that the Delhi Police put Kejriwal under house arrest after he met farmers protesting against the Centre's agriculture reform laws at the city's Singhu border, again claimed that it was being done at the behest of Union Minister Amit Shah.
 
The Delhi Police had rejected AAP's charge against it as "totally baseless". Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said there is an atmosphere of "undeclared emergency" around the chief minister''s residence.
 
"I am telling you with full responsibility that the movement of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is still restricted at the behest of the (Union) home minister. The main gate of the chief minister's residence is still closed," Chadha alleged. "In a way, there is an atmosphere of undeclared emergency. All this, just because we did not allow the stadiums to be converted into prisons for farmers," he alleged.

Centre releases Rs 6,195 crore to 14 states as instalment of post-devolution revenue deficit grant

The Centre on Wednesday released Rs 6,195 crore to 14 states as monthly instalment of post devolution revenue deficit grant.
 
"Based on the 15th Finance Commission interim recommendations, the Govt released Rs 6,195.08 crore on 9th December 2020 to 14 States on account of the 9th equated monthly installment of Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant," Office of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted.
 
Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand and West Bengal are the states to whom the amount has been released.
 
A similar amount was released as grant for April-November months of the current financial year. The Finance Commission provides a mechanism for the Centre to compensate for revenue loss incurred by states, which is referred to as post devolution revenue deficit grant.

Govt to launch public Wi-Fi networks, with no fees or licence

The government has approved a framework for the proliferation of public Wi-Fi networks through PM WANI scheme, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday. PM Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM WANI) would unleash a massive Wi-Fi revolution in the country, Prasad said. This would entail a complete framework involving multiple elements -- Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregators and app providers.
 
"No licence, no registration, and no fee would be applicable for the PDOs, which could be small shops or even Common Service Centres," Prasad told reporters after the meeting of the Cabinet.
 
The Cabinet has also approved the laying of undersea submarine optical fibre cable to provide high-speed broadband to Lakshadweep, he said.
 

Cabinet approves MoU between India, Suriname for cooperation in health and medicine sector

The Union Cabinet has approved a memorandum of understanding between India and Suriname for cooperation in the field of health and medicine, an official statement said on Wednesday. The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between India's health ministry and the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Republic of Suriname through joint initiatives and technology development in the health sector.
 
"It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Suriname. It will also lead towards achieving Atma-nirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India) by way of sharing of expertise in public health system, and by promoting mutual research in various relevant areas," the statement said.
 
The main areas of cooperation between the two governments include exchange and training of medical doctors, officials, other health professionals and experts, assistance in development of human resources and setting up of healthcare facilities, regulation of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics and exchange of information thereon and promotion of business development opportunities in pharmaceuticals.
 
It also includes procurement of generic and essential drugs and assistance in sourcing of drug supplies, procurement of health equipment and pharmaceuticals products, promotion of mental health, digital health and tele-medicine, among others, the statement added.

Govt approves Rs 22,810 crore outlay for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana'

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 22,810 crore outlay for a new employment scheme that aims at encouraging businesses to do fresh hiring.
 
Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana, the government will for two years provide employee and employer contribution to the retirement fund for new hires by businesses and entities, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said.
 
The scheme would till 2023 entail an outgo of Rs 22,810 crore and would benefit around 58.5 lakh employees.

 

ED files chargesheet in UPA-era Embraer deal money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a chargesheet in a money laundering case linked to a UPA-era defence deal with aircraft manufacturer Embrarer, the central probe agency said on Wednesday.
 
It said the prosecution complaint has been filed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court here and the agency has named Embraer SA, Brazil, Interdev Aviation Services Pte Ltd, KRBL Limited, Anoop Kumar Gupta (director of KRBL Limited), Anurag Potdar (nephew of Anoop Kumar Gupta) and others.
 
KRBL Ltd is the manufacturer of India Gate Basmati Rice. The case pertains to payment of alleged commission by Embraer to clinch the USD 208 million deal with India, in which it is suspected and alleged that kickbacks were paid. READ ON...

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today

Massive spike in cross-border firing by Pak shows its desperation to infiltrate terrorists: BSF data

There has been a massive spike in cross-border firing at Jammu and Kashmir's international border by Pakistan this year with the number of incidents almost doubling from last year, showing the neighbouring country's desperation to infiltrate terrorists, according to the Border Security Force's data. According to senior officials deployed in Jammu, the reason behind this spike in cross-border firing is the desperation of Pakistan's security forces who are trying to infiltrate terrorists and give cover to them by diverting the attention of the Indian security forces.
 
According to data, compiled by the BSF, to which ANI has access, this year Pakistan was involved in 314 firing incidents at the border till October. In contrast, the number of such incidents at the Jammu border last year was 185.
 
In February alone, Pakistan was involved in 36 firing incidents, as compared to 23 last year. The data shows that from June this year, Pakistan has consistently been targeting the Indian troops and civilians through cross-border firing, which has been retaliated by the BSF.
 

Need to expedite implementation of new telecom policy, lower 5G reserve price: DoT

There is a need to expedite implementation of new telecom policy approved by the Cabinet in 2018, and lower the reserve price for 5G spectrum, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
 
Department of Telecom Member (Services) Bharat Kumar Jog said forward looking policies are needed to derive benefits from the emerging technologies.
 
"National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) 2018 seeks to unlock transformative power of digital communications network to achieve the goal of digital empowerment and well being of the people of India. There is a need to expedite implementation of NDCP 2018. The government is working with all stakeholders for the same," Jog said at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020.

Govt approves PM WANI scheme to unleash Wi-Fi revolution

The government has approved a framework for the proliferation of public Wi-Fi networks through PM WANI scheme, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday. PM Wi-Fi Access Network Interface (PM WANI) would unleash a massive Wi-Fi revolution in the country, Prasad said.
 
This would entail a complete framework involving multiple elements -- Public Data Office (PDO), Public Data Office Aggregators and app providers.
 
"No licence, no registration, and no fee would be applicable for the PDOs, which could be small shops or even Common Service Centres," Prasad told reporters after the meeting of the Cabinet.
 
The Cabinet has also approved the laying of undersea submarine optical fibre cable to provide high-speed broadband to Lakshadweep, he said.

Sensex gains for fifth day, settles at 46,104; Nifty tops 13,500

Continuing its record-breaking streak, the domestic equity market scaled yet another milestone on Wednesday amid broad-based buying and positive global cues. Among headline indices, the S&P BSE Sensex ended above the crucial 46,000 level for the first time ever at 46,103.50, up 495 points or 1.09 per cent. It was the fifth straight session of gain for the 30-share index. 
 
On the NSE, the broader Nifty50 index ended above 13,500 level at 13,529, up 136 points, or 1.02 per cent. The index rallied for the seventh day in a row. 
 
Meanwhile, volatility index, India VIX, gained 1.62 per cent to 18.92 levels. CATCH ALL LIVE UPDATES HERE...

Cabinet approves Rs 22,810 crore outlay for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Rs 22,810 crore outlay for a new employment scheme that aims at encouraging businesses to do fresh hiring.
 
Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana, the government will for two years provide employee and employer contribution to the retirement fund for new hires by businesses and entities, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said.
 
The scheme would till 2023 entail an outgo of Rs 22,810 crore and would benefit around 58.5 lakh employees.

Govt to launch PM- Wi-fi Access Network Interface across India: Ravi Shankar Prasad

ED makes second arrest in money laundering case linked to Shiv Sena MLA

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has made a second arrest in connection with itsmoney laundering case against a security service provider company and others that includes Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, officials said on Wednesday. They said Tops Grup Managing Director M Shashidharan was placed under arrest on Monday night here under various sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
 
The ED is probing the role of Shashidharan in connection with alleged financial irregularities in providing Tops Grup security guards for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) projects during 2014-15 and the payments made in this connection. Shashidharan recently had filed a complaint with the Mumbai Police alleging that a former director of the Tops Grup, Ramesh Iyer, had allegedly perpetrated fraud with the company.
 
Iyer had earlier filed a police case in Mumbai against the security group and its promoter Rahul Nanda for alleged financial irregularities in the company and its transactions. The ED had earlier arrested Amit Chandole, an alleged associate of Sarnaik, in this case.

BJP won in 1,990 Panchayat Samitis,14 Zila Parishads and 93 Block Panchayats in Rajasthan: Javadekar

PIL for regulating techfin firms like FB, Google, Amazon; HC seeks Centre, RBI stand

The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought response of the Centre, RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on a PIL seeking a detailed legal framework for regulating operations of techfin companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon in India's financial sector space. According to the petition filed by an economist, techfin entities are technology, telecommunications or e-commerce companies which have entered the financial sector to provide financial services and need to be regulated.
 
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the ministries of finance and law as also Reserve Bank of India (RBI), NPCI, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) seeking their stand on the plea by Resmi P Bhaskaran
 
Bhaskaran, in her plea filed through advocate Deepak Prakash, has alleged that the "lackadaisical approach" of Indian financial regulators permits unregulated operation of techfin firms and claims that this could adversely affect the financial stability of the country.

PM Modi greets Sonia Gandhi on her birthday

Loan moratorium case: If banks were to bear burden of waiving interests vide a blanket order, it would wipe out a major part of their net worth, says Centre

Yesterday, Centre had stated If banks were to bear the burden of waiving interests vide a blanket order, it would necessarily wipe out a substantial and a major part of their net worth, rendering most of the banks unviable which would mean foregoing an estimated 6 trillion.

What can the President do in this matter?, says Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on farmers' protest

Yes, what can the President do in this matter?: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on his tweet on Opposition's meeting with President Kovind scheduled for today.

Jammu and Kashmir: Three civilians injured in a grenade attack at Singhpora, Pattan in Baramulla

Telangana: The 64 Heads of Missions in India arrive in Hyderabad; to visit Bharat Biotech and Biological E

They are scheduled to visit Bharat Biotech and Biological E. Ltd, in continuation of the briefing by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). 

Bihar: Dense fog engulfed parts of Patna today morning, flights disrupted


Loan moratorium case in SC | Blanket interest waiver on all loans to cost Rs 6 trillion: Centre to SC

The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that if it were to consider waiving interest on all the loans and advances to all categories of borrowers for the six-month moratorium period announced by RBI in view of COVID-19 pandemic, then the amount foregone would be more than Rs 6 lakh crore.
 
If the banks were to bear this burden, then it would necessarily wipe out a substantial and a major part of their net worth, rendering most of the lenders unviable and raising a very serious question mark over their very survival, it said. Read on...

Covid-19 vaccine: Joe Biden vows 100 million shots in first 100 days

US President-elect Joe Biden has promised to distribute a coronavirus vaccine to 100 million people during the first three months of his incoming administration, pledging 100 million shots in the first 100 days.
 
At an event from Delaware to introduce his pandemic response team on Tuesday, Biden laid out his top three priorities for the start of his new government.
 
He repeated his previous calls for all Americans to wear masks for 100 days to prevent the spread of the virus and said he'd mandate doing so in federal buildings and on public transportation, while also making the new promise to distribute 100 million vaccines shots over the same period. Read on...

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