Morning briefing: Indirect tax mopup surges 36.7% in August to Rs 54,396 crore

GN Staff | September 10, 2015

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Indirect tax collection maintained its bumper pace in August, supporting the view that the economy can do better than the below expectation 7 per cent growth recorded in the first quarter of the current fiscal. Last month's indirect tax collection rose 36.7 per cent from a year ago to Rs 54,396 crore, taking the overall figure for April-August to Rs 2.63 lakh crore.
"The GDP and indirect tax numbers seem to suggest that directionally the economy is recovering," Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian told reporters after releasing the data on Wednesday. Indirect tax collections are considered a good measure of the underlying demand in the economy. India's economy grew 7 per cent in the April-June quarter compared with 7.5 per cent in the previous quarter.

CBSE asks affiliated schools to train girls on 'self defence'

CBSE has asked all its affiliated schools to train girls on 'self-defence' from class I to X in view of some recent incidents which have accentuated the need to ensure their safety. It has asked the schools to provide one week's training on self-defence and earmark one period out of the physical activities or games period for self-defence activities for girl. "It is earnestly hoped that all schools will follow these directives as these measures would lead to increased self-confidence and sense of safety in girl students," CBSE said in a communication to all affiliated schools. The move comes as events in the recent past across the country and especially in schools in Delhi and Bangalore have raised concerns among parents about safety of girls.

After Kalburgi's murder, writer K S Bhagwan gets threat letter
A week after the murder of noted Kannada progressive thinker and scholar M M Kalburgi, another rationalist free-thinker and writer K S Bhagwan has received a letter threatening his life. Bhagwan had incurred the wrath of right-wing activists after he allegedly disparaged the Bhagawad Gita while speaking at a programme in Mysuru in February this year.

Sensex drops nearly 400 points after two days of good run

Indian equity markets declined after stocks capped two days of gains and concern grew over the outlook for higher interest rates from the US Federal Reserve. The 30-share S&P BSE Sensex drops 384.60 points, or 1.5%, to 25,334.98, while the 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is down 124.75 points, or 1.6%, to 7,693.85. Meanwhile, Asian stocks fell on Thursday after US stocks retreated overnight and as Japan machinery orders unexpectedly shrank, deflating investors’ appetite for riskier assets. Concerns about slowing global growth also weighed on sentiment, with the New Zealand dollar tumbling after its central bank cut interest rates and signalled it may ease further, citing weakening demand and uncertainty over policy in the US and China.Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 3%, after jumping 7.7% the day before amid hopes for fresh government stimulus.

J Manjula appointed as DRDO's first woman Director General
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Thursday said it has got its first woman Director General with the appointment of J Manjula as Director General, Electronics & Communication Systems cluster. She has been leading Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), an establishment of DRDO, as a Director since July 2014. Manjula is an alumna of Osmania University. She has served in Defence Electronics Research Laboratory, Hyderabad, for more than 26 years in the area of Integrated Electronic Warfare. Manjula has designed and realised fast signal acquisition receivers, high power RF systems, responsive jammers, controller software for various systems for the defence sector and paramilitary.

Elderly Sikh-American brutally assaulted in US, called 'Bin Laden'
An elderly Sikh-American, Inderjit Singh Mukker, was brutally injured and called "terrorist" and "Bin Laden" in an apparent hate crime case in Chicago, just days before the US commemorates the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The assailant, who is in police custody, yelled racial slurs, including, "terrorist, go back to your country, Bin Laden!"

Alternate day water supply for Mumbai suggested by corporator
With the rains showing no sign of revival and lake levels dipping, the Shiv Sena has demanded that the BMC supply water only on alternate days. The idea was mooted by Sena corporator Ramakant Rahate at the civic standing committee on Wednesday. Corporators from across parties slammed the civic administration for failing to put in place any contingency plan to tackle the water crisis.Rahate suggested that the BMC implement the alternate day water supply plan in the island city, which has good water supply network. "The city area has a good water supply network. The BMC must ensure that we have enough water for the whole year. So, they should give water every alternate day in the island city while the suburbs can get regular water supply with 20% cut. This way, a lot of water will be saved," Rahate said. The Sena rules the BMC along with the BJP.

Shiv Sena goes against BJP on meat ban in Mumbai
Amid a controversy over a four-day meat ban in Mumbai for Jain festival, the Shiv Sena has declared that it would not allow any such restriction. "We will ensure there is no ban on sale of meat for the eight days," said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, taking a position completely at variance with that of its ruling alliance partner BJP. The ban was introduced in 1994 by the then Congress government, for a Jain festival of fasting. Ten years later, the two-day ban was extended to four days. The ban covers mutton and chicken, and excludes fish and eggs. The sale and slaughter of meat will be banned on four days - Thursday, Sunday, September 17 and 18.

Nestle to be more responsive, Maggi to be back next month
Nestle could start making Maggi noodles again in India as early as October, it said on Wednesday, paving the way for the snack to go back on sale by the end of the year. "The comeback of Maggi is clearly at the top of our agenda. This is a fourth of our business," Suresh Narayanan, the newly appointed head of Nestle's Indian operations, said. Nestle is now awaiting the results of fresh tests at court-appointed laboratories, expected by early October, after which it can begin manufacturing. Narayanan now plans a 24/7 consumer helpline, more active engagement on social media and a revitalisation of what he described as "an organisation in agony." The company would also engage more actively with regulators in the country that represents less than 2 percent of sales now, but has huge potential.

Modi reiterates concern on the issue of call drops, slams telcos

Prime minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came down heavily on telcos for rising call drops and backed the telecom department's move on 'punitive measures' to be taken against erring telcos. The issue was raised at the Wednesday's cabinet meeting. This is the second time in about 15 days that the PM has brought up the call drops issue. At an August 25 review of the progress of digital and rural infrastructure and connectivity sectors, he had directed officials to address the issue of call drops on an urgent basis. While the government has found the primary cause for call drops to be the reluctance of operators to optimise their networks, the industry maintains that the main reason is the difficulty in installing more towers  to service customers.

Bengaluru faces massive power cuts, improvement in a week
Bengaluru has been battling unprecedented levels of load-shedding. Effective Wednesday , there is four hours of load shedding in residential areas, two hours in commercial and industrial hubs. Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has sought to assure Bengalureans that the power cuts imposed in the City is only temporary, and will ease in about a week's time. A sudden shortfall of 1,000 mw from Ballari and Udupi coupled with the failure of rains have caused the unprecedented power crisis.

Apple launches iPhone 6S, 6S Plus and bigger iPads
Apple has once again heralded a big change in world's best-selling gadget iPhone. The new iPhones, named iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, are not lighter, thinner or bigger anymore. They instead feature a new display technology called 3D Touch, a derivative of the Force Touch technology used in Apple Watch. The 3D Touch will be able to differentiate between types of touches and taps in preloaded apps as well as on the homescreen. This new technology adds new functionalities to iPhones; for example, applying a little extra pressure on the screen may preview a photo in one app and open a file in another. The new iPhones will be up for pre-orders starting September 12 in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan. The two smartphones will go on sale on September 25. Both are expected to make to Indian shores in time for Diwali festive season. Apple announced a new addition to the iPad family. iPad Pro is a reality after being in the rumour mills for over 18 months. To be available in November, the new iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch screen with whopping 5.6 million pixels. It is powered by the new 64-bit A9X chip from Apple, which promises 1.8 times performance that of the existing second-generation 64-bit A8X chip that runs iPad Air 2.

Reliance Jio to offer 4G handsets starting at 2,000
Mukesh Ambani-led  Reliance Industries (RIL) is planning to launch fourth generation or 4G-enabled entry-level smartphones for as less as Rs 2,000. Reliance Jio, the telecommunications arm of RIL, targets to corner 10 crore of the 90 crore consumers in the world's fastest growing mobile market. These entry-level smartphones with inbuilt Jio apps will be sold under the in-house brand 'ReConnect' and will be sold through the network of Reliance Retail, the retailing arm of RIL.

Modi to inaugurate World Hindi Summit today
The 10th World Hindi Summit, that begins on Thursday in Bhopal, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The "Vishwa Hindi Sammelan" that will conclude on September 12 will also be attended by Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan. The Lal Parade Ground has been named Makhanlal Chaturvedi Nagar after the noted Hindi journalist, while the main venue has been named after writer Ramdhari Singh Dinkar.



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