Morning briefing: Indefinite strike by truckers from today, milk, vegetables & drugs not hit

GN Staff | October 1, 2015



Transport strike is on from today. Truckers have proceeded on a nationwide indefinite strike from Thursday morning to protest against the present toll system. However, essential commodities like milk, vegetables and medicine have been kept off the purview of the strike.Transporters went on indefinite strike after talks between the government and All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) delegation failed as the truckers' body said the offer of electronic-toll system by December was not practical.Another truckers body AITWA has said that it is not joining the strike. AIMTC is demanding scrapping of toll system terming it a tool of harassment and one-time payment of taxes besides simplification of TDS. Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari yesterday offered electronic-toll system pan-India by December to address their concerns but made it clear that scrapping of toll system is not possible.

Framework to rank top engineering, management institutes launched
The ministry of human resource development (HRD) came out with an indigenous ranking framework for engineering and management institutes on Tuesday. The first ranking list which will cover government as well as private institutes would be completed by early April next year. The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. "This is the first time that a reliable, transparent and authentic ranking system is being implemented in the country for Higher Education. The primary purpose of this framework is to galvanize Indian institutions towards a competitive environment that exists in the world today. I sincerely hope that institutions will use this ranking framework to introspect and make sincere efforts to improve their standing," HRD minister Smriti Irani said in the framework's document.

Rainfall 14% less than the 50-year average, impact on rice, corn and sugar cane
India’s monsoon-sown food grain production may total 124.05 million tonnes this year, down from 126.3 million tonnes a year earlier, according to the farm ministry. Sugar production will drop 4.6% to 27 million tonnes in the 12 months starting 1 October from a year earlier. This is due to lowest monsoon rainfall since 2009 as the strongest El Nino in almost two decades parched vast tracts of farm land, hurting rice, corn and sugar cane crops.Rainfall was 14% less than the 50-year average of 89 centimeters (35 inches) between June and September, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said yesterday.

FII outflows in September quarter highest in five years
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) unloaded the highest amount of Indian stocks in almost five years in the September quarter, driven by concerns including the shock devaluation of the Chinese yuan, the timing of a US rate hike and delays to key reforms legislation in India including the land acquisition and goods and services tax (GST) bills.Overseas investors sold a net of $2.6 billion in Indian shares in the September quarter, the most since the three months ended 31 December 2008.

New railway time table to be operational from today
New Railway Time Table will come into effect from Thursday which will contain information about new stoppages in Duronto train service, details about train reservation, tatkal scheme and refund rules. While some train speeds have been increased to reduce the travel time for the benefit of the passengers, some have been re-numbered due to shifting of primary maintenance depot or due to speeding up, thus making them superfast, have been updated in the new Time Table. Some trains have also been renamed recently. The new Trains at a Glance will also be available Railways website (www.indianrailways.gov.in).

Sensex up 230 points in third day of gains
Stocks continue their rally for a third straight day after RBI cut interest rates by more than what economists estimated. The 30-share S&P BSE Sensex gains 233.82 points, or 0.89%, to 26,388.65, while the 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is up 51.70 points, or 0.65%, to 8,000.60. Asian stocks rise in holiday-thinned trade on Thursday after a Chinese manufacturing index improved and buying appetite strengthened after substantial falls in stock prices in the past quarter. The Wall Street clawed back slightly on Wednesday from hefty recent losses. The Dow rose 1.47%, the S&P 500 gained 1.91% and the Nasdaq jumped 2.28%.

Google, Microsoft resolve global patent feud over smartphones, Xbox
Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have agreed to end their long-running patent feud over smartphones and video game systems, dropping about 20 lawsuits in the US and Germany. The two companies, which didn’t disclose financial terms, have been litigating over technology innovations for five years. Google’s former Motorola Mobility unit had been demanding royalties on the Xbox video-gaming system, and Microsoft had sought to block Motorola mobile phones from using certain features. The companies pledged to work together in other ways related to intellectual property, including development of a royalty-free, video-compression technology to speed downloads, in an initiative that also involves Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc

Fitch lowers India's GDP forecast to 7.5%

Fitch Ratings has lowered India's GDP growth estimate for the current fiscal to 7.5 per cent from 7.8 per cent on average monsoon but said the country is poised to grow at 8 per cent next fiscal on reform push. This comes a day after Reserve Bank revised downwards its real GDP forecast for 2015-16 to 7.4 per cent from earlier expectation of 7.6 per cent, saying growth is expected to pick up in the latter part of the fiscal.India takes over as the fastest growing BRIC nation this year with 7.5 per cent GDP growth, accelerating to 8 per cent in 2016 driven by structural reforms and higher investment, Fitch said in its Global Economic Outlook report.

Infrastructure output rises 2.6% in August
Infrastructure sector that accounts for nearly 38 per cent of the country's industrial output, picked up in August to 2.6 per cent from a year ago, mainly driven by higher cement and electricity generation, government data showed on Wednesday.The output had grown 1.1 per cent year-on-year in July.

J&K beef ban: SC to hear state plea on Monday
The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Jammu & Kashmir government that its appeal against the conflicting orders of high court benches in Jammu and Srinagar - one banning cow slaughter and the other scrapping the provision banning slaughter - would be heard on Monday. A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu agreed to post the matter on Monday after senior advocate Amarendra Saran mentioned the appeal. The HC's Jammu bench on September 8 directed the police to enforce the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) provision banning sale of beef in the state. A week later, the HC's Srinagar bench issued notice to the state on a PIL which sought striking down of the RPC provision banning slaughter of bovine animals.

Diesel price increased by 50 paise, petrol not touched
Diesel price has been increased by 50 paise per litre with effect from midnight, however, petrol price remains unchanged."The current level of international prices and INR-USD exchange rate warrant a price increase, which is being passed on to consumers with this price revision," state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) said in a statement in the national capital.

Airtel told to withdraw 4G speed challenge ads

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has sent a notice to Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest telecom services provider, asking the firm to withdraw its 4G speed challenge advertisement on grounds that it is misleading. The ASCI decision came on a complaint filed by a consumer whose identity could not be determined. Chapter 1.4 of the code says that advertisements shall neither distort facts nor mislead the consumer by means of implications or omissions. In May, ASCI issued notices to Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone India as well as to Airtel for their 3G advertisements.

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