Top Headlines: Key Cabinet decisions, Coronavirus updates, and more

FM Nirmala Sitharaman briefs media along with Prakash Javadekar and Piyush Goyal. (Photo | Somesh Jha)
Cabinet approves reconstruction scheme for Yes Bank

The Union Cabinet on Friday approved reconstruction scheme for Yes Bank under which SBI will acquire 49 per cent stake in the crisis-ridden private sector bank. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Union Cabinet has approved the reconstruction scheme for Yes Bank as suggested by the Reserve Bank. On March 5, the RBI imposed a moratorium on Yes Bank, restricting withdrawals to Rs 50,000 per depositor till April 3. READ MORE

Cabinet clears 4% DA hike for central government employees

The Union Cabinet on Friday approved 4 per cent hike in dearness allowance (DA) to 21 per cent for central government employees, costing the exchequer an additional Rs 14,595 crore. READ MORE

Air India cancels flights to Italy, France, Germany, three other countries

National carrier Air India has cancelled flights to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, South Korea and Sri Lanka till April 30, an airline official said on Friday. The decision has been taken in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, the carrier said it was curtailing services to various other countries, including Spain, France and Sri Lanka. The carrier has already cancelled flights to Kuwait. READ MORE

Pvt airports want fliers to pay more as Coronavirus hurts their profits

Private airport operators of India have sought the government's permission to levy extra charge on fliers, citing losses incurred due to reduced passenger footfall and aircraft movement.

“Revenue streams of airports have been impacted adversely against the gloomy background of sharp declines in traffic and passenger throughput. To address the growing severity of this issue and ensure sustainability of airport operators, we propose to levy a nominal facilitation charge as part of airline fares to cover the increased operating cost,” Association of Private Operators said in a communication to the Pardeep Singh Kharola, secretary at Ministry of Civil Aviation. READ MORE

BS-VI transition, economic slowdown drag auto sales down 19.8% in Feb

Automobile sales in India across categories declined 19.08 per cent in February as economic slowdown continued to hit demand, besides lower production in view of transition to BS-VI emission norms affecting wholesale dispatches, auto industry body SIAM said on Friday.

"The decline in wholesale dispatches is primarily due to economic slowdown and lower production of BS-IV vehicles. Some upside on the registration numbers of VAHAN can be attributed to last-minute purchase by customers trying to advance purchase of BS-IV vehicles," SIAM President Rajan Wadhera said in a statement. READ MORE

Govt extends deadline to submit bids for Air India sale till April 30

The government on Friday extended the deadline for submitting bids for buying 100 per cent stake in Air India till April 30. The deadline was originally set at March 17.

The government had allowed access to the “virtual data room” of Air India to interested bidders late in February and allowed them further time till March 6 to pose queries. READ MORE

As markets get hysterical over Coronavirus, CEA says govt ready to step in

The government and the RBI will take all necessary steps to quell the "fear sentiment" created due to coronavirus, Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian said on Friday. He said the fall in Indian stock indices is lower than the decline witnessed globally and the situation in India will stabilise over the next few weeks as focus shifts to economic fundamentals like declining inflation, growing industrial production and adequate forex reserves. READ MORE

SoftBank to buy back up to $4.8 bn of shares after pressure from Elliott

SoftBank Group Corp said on Friday it will buy back up to 7 per cent of its own shares for as much as 500 billion yen ($4.8 billion) - a decision that comes after activist investor Elliott Management pressed for $20 billion in stock buybacks.

A SoftBank spokeswoman said the company had decided to conduct the buyback of its own accord after considering the risk that current stock market volatility could increase the deep discount that SoftBank's stock has relative to the value of its holdings. READ MORE

Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah's detention revoked with immediate effect

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday issued orders revoking the detention of former Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah with immediate effect, Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary Planning, Jammu and Kashmir, said in a tweet.

Abdullah, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir has been in detention for over seven months. He was earlier detained under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA). READ MORE

LIC to buy 1.35 billion shares of YES Bank at Rs 10 apiece: TV reports

As part of the YES Bank restructuring plan, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) would buy around 1.35 billion shares at a price of Rs 10 apiece, according to a report by business channel CNBC-TV18. SBI will pick 7,250 million shares at Rs 10 each, and its shareholding will remain within 49 per cent of the paid-up capital of the private sector lender. READ MORE

Ready for floor test; 22 MLAs held captive: Kamal Nath to MP governor

Expressing the readiness of his government for a floor test in the Assembly, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Friday accused the BJP of holding 22 Congress MLAs in captivity. Nath met Tandon and submitted a letter to him accusing the BJP of being involved in horse-trading and holding the Congress MLAs in captivity.

The meeting happened in the midst of political crisis in the state triggered by the resignation of the 22 Congress MLAs three days ago. He met the governor at around 11 am and submitted the three-page letter to him. READ MORE

Coronavirus: Bengaluru shuts down; firms ask employees to work from home

After a Google employee in Bengaluru tested positive on Thursday, the US-headquartered company has shut its office in the city for a day asking all employees to work from home as a precautionary measure.

"We can confirm that an employee from our Bangalore office has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They were in one of our Bangalore offices for a few hours before developing any symptoms. The employee has been on quarantine since then, and we have asked colleagues who were in close contact with the employee to quarantine themselves and monitor their health,” said the company in a statement. READ MORE

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