Morning briefing: Consumers spending less this festive season

GN Staff | November 10, 2015


#festive spending   #assocham   #delhi pollution   #orop   #bihar   #bjp   #shatrughan sinha   #nitish kumar   #lalu prasad yadav   #whatsapp  

Diwali is likely to be a subdued affair this year as middle and lower income families cut their festive spends by 43%, a survey by industry body ASSOCHAM has said. The study has attributed this reduction in spending to high prices of daily food items, education costs and grim job market scenario. Majority (56%) of the respondents said they planned to spend less, citing increasing prices of food items as one of the key reasons.

Severe pollution warning for tomorrow in Delhi

The meteorological department has cautioned that pollution level during Diwali night is expected to be "severe" due to bursting of firecrackers and advised those persons with heart and lung diseases to stay indoors.According to System of Air Quality, Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), an agency of Ministry of Earth Science responsible to track pollution levels in the national capital said, November 12-13 is expected to witness dense haze formation. The Diwali this year is falling on November 11. The peak time pollution is expected at 1 am and the duration for maximum pollution will be between 10 pm to 2 pm on the intervening night of November 11 and 12 and 7-9 am early morning.

Projecting me as CM could have saved BJP, claims Shatrughan Sinha

Shatrughan Sinha has claimed that projecting him as chief ministerial candidate could've saved the BJP some face in Bihar. "I am not bragging, but I do feel that when the darling of Bihari people, the son of the soil, the original Bihari Babu was deliberately sidelined, it definitely had an impact on my supporters and fans," Sinha told a news channel. "We could have definitely got more seats than what we got," he said. The BJP and its allies had to settle for a paltry 58 seats as the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav-Congress 'Grand Alliance' won 178 seats, a two thirds majority in Bihar. Sinha met both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav in Patna yesterday with warm hugs and fulsome praise. "Nitish Kumar is a tall leader and will be good for Bihar," he said. Asked if he did not fear disciplinary action by his party, Mr Sinha said, "If somebody wants to take me to task they're welcome to do so, I have done no wrong," adding, "If the BJP thought I was an embarrassment, I would not be in the party."

People are waking up to Whatsapp and social media
Instant messaging apps like Whatsapp and social networks are the first things that most consumers check on their smartphones in the morning, a study by professional services firm Deloitte said on Monday.According to Deloitte's Mobile Consumer Survey 2015, about 78 per cent of respondents owning smartphones said they checked their phones within 15 minutes of waking up.About 52 per cent of the respondents said they check their phones within five minutes before going to sleep every night. "The research found that communication services namely mobile IM, social networks are the first thing consumers check on their smartphones in the morning. These are followed by emails and SMS," it added. The survey analysed mobile usage habits of over 2,000 Indian consumers as part of a global survey of 49,000 respondents across 30 countries. As of June 2015, 86 per cent of those surveyed owned smartphone, which is 12 per cent higher than in 2013.

Ex-servicemen to start returning medals from today over OROP
Protesting ex-servicemen on Monday hit back at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for his comments that not all demands could be fulfilled saying they only have "one demand" of One- Rank-One-Pension (OROP) and that they will intensify the agitation by returning their medals from today. "We have one and only demand and that is OROP. It was the government who inserted provisions that has made the issue complicated. We want OROP as per the definition. No junior should get more pension than his senior. "In protest against the government notification, we will start returning our medals and have already informed the District Magistrates about this," Group Captain V K Gandhi (retd), who is the general secretary of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM), said. Gandhi said in Delhi the medals will be returned outside Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) today. He said the move to select crowded places was to educate the common man about the impending issue. The government had on Saturday formally notified the OROP scheme for the over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country.

How did Chhota Rajan get Tatkal passport, CBI wants to know
A special CBI team interrogating long-absconding underworld don Chhota Rajan will visit Karnataka in a couple of days to enquire from the regional passport officials who had issued him a passport in 2003 on a fake name and address. The passport was made using the Tatkal (urgent) service with its validity date till 2008, sources said. "But Rajan managed to renew it on July 8, 2008 with its validity till July 7, 2018." The probe agency has booked Rajan in a case under the Passport Act, 1967, and separate sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.The case pertaining to this fake passport is the only matter for probing which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has got 10 days custody of the mafia don.

Marriages without priest cannot be declared as illegal: Madras HC

 Nearly 50 years after Tamil Nadu government legalised "self-respect" marriages which are conducted without a priest the Madras High Court has upheld the amendment made in the year 1968 to simplify Hindu marriages. Dismissing a PIL filed by A Asuvathaman, an advocate, against the amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam in its recent order said, "the Hindu religion by itself is pluralist in character and thus various forms of marriage have traditionally existed depending on the area and the custom prevalent therein." Madras High Court has upheld an amendment made in the year 1968 to simplify Hindu marriages. "Section 7-A (inserted by Tamil Nadu government in 1968) provides for a particular kind of marriage - "Suyamariyathai" (self-respect) marriages - among two Hindus. It has also stood the test of time now for nearly half a century", the judges said. "It was the state of Tamil Nadu which legalised the Suyamariyathai marriages, which simplified conducting of marriages without Brahmin priests and the couple going seven steps around the fire 47 years ago", the judges said.

Companies fined for misuse of H1B visa

Two Silicon Valley companies owned by an Indian-American have been ordered to pay $103,000 in fines to the federal government and $84,000 in back wages to its employees carrying H-1B visas. The two companies -- Scopus Consulting Group and Orian Engineers -- owned by Indian-American Kishore Kumar, bring workers from India and other countries on H-1B visas to employ them as software engineers for Silicon Valley firms such as eBay, Apple and Cisco Systems. During investigations, US Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigators found that the two companies violated the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act by misrepresenting the prevailing wage level on the Labor Condition Applications required by the act, an official release said. Federal Administrative Law Judge Stephen R Henley ordered the two businesses owned by Kishore Kumar to pay 21 workers $84,000 in back wages and $103,000 in fines to the federal gover ..

GE to supply 1,000 diesel locomotives to Indian Railways

General Electric has won a $2.6 billion (Rs 17,250 crore) order, the biggest in its over 100-year history in India, to supply Indian Railways 1,000 diesel locomotives over 11 years. Under this, the US-based conglomerate will invest $200 million to build local manufacturing and service facilities. After winning the long-awaited order following competitive bidding, the company said it would build a diesel locomotive manufacturing facility in Marhowra, Bihar, as well as maintenance sheds in Bhatinda in Punjab and Gandhidham in Gujarat.

Supercritical thermal power units to replace 5,228 Mw old plats
The ministry of power has advised the Central Electricity Authority to prepare a report on replacement of old and inefficient units with supercritical units and explore the possibility of replacing old and inefficient thermal generating units with supercritical units. CEA was requested to identify retired power plants that can be replaced with ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) that require additional land in the vicinity. However, additional land availability was an issue mainly due  to rapid urbanisation in the vicinity of existing thermal stations. It was, therefore, decided to explore the possibility of replacing old and inefficient units with supercritical units that can come up on the same land. Out of a total 32,800 Mw of installed thermal power capacity that's 25 years old, the government has decided to replace 5,228 Mw with 10,180 Mw of new supercritical units.

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