Morning briefing: Jaitley to meet PSU bank chiefs today to discuss NPAs, interest rates

GN Bureau | November 23, 2015

#PSU   #Arun Jaitley   #land bill   #Malaysian PM   #air services   #fog   #AAP MLA   #Sarita Singh   #Air India   #Ram temple   #Mohan Bhagwat   #Ashok Singhal   #VHP  

Finance minister Arun Jaitley will meet heads of PSU banks today (Monday) to discuss loans, interest rate reduction and jan dhan yojana. The performance review meeting of public sector banks (PSBs) will also take stock of the credit flow to productive sectors to spur economy and review of 'Indradhanush', the seven-pronged strategy to revive PSBs.Jaitley is expected to review the interest rate cut by the banks. The meeting is expected to review credit offtake by sectors such as home, education and corporates as well as the progress made under the Jan Dhan Yojana and Prime Minister's social security schemes, among other issues. It will also disucss steps to be taken in the aftermath of Rs 6,100-crore Bank of Baroda black money remittance case to avoid such episodes in future. September.

Consensus on top as parliamentary panel on land bill meets today
In the hope of finding a headway in resolving the tiff between Centre and the Opposition on the contentious clauses of the Land Bill, the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the Bill will meet today (Monday). The committee's reports will be submitted in the winter session of Parliament which begins on Thursday.In all likelihood, the Winter session of Parliament will be a stormy one. Congress members in the committee are skeptical of the government's stand on pending issues. According to sources, Congress feels that the proposed amendment dilutes the retrospective applicability of the 2013 law passed by the UPA government.

Modi is man of action, says Malaysian PM
Promising to build better ties between the two countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak said that efforts will be made with 'renewed vigour' to maintain the momentum of the partnership. "We will make our defence relations stronger and aim for better maritime security and better disaster management," he said.He also said that India seeks the cooperation from Malaysia for Make in India and Smart Cities initiative. "Malaysia and India share a very strong bond. We are defined by diversity and culture," he added.Pleased with the bilateral meeting, Razak asserted, "I am very satisfied with the outcome of our meeting. We had very productive and constructive talks.""We will work together to get the right climate change proposal. Will also work towards areas of counter terrorism. India has a very dynamic and strong defence industry. We are look for joint cooperation in that sector," Razak said adding that Malaysia is excited about the new possibilities with India.Praising Modi for his actions, the Malaysian PM said, "Modi is a man of action. He has a proven track record."

Sensex, Nifty trade flat
At 9.40 am the S&P BSE Sensex was trading higher by 0.11%, or 27.83 points, to 25,896.32, while the 50-share CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange rose by  0.10%, or 7.85 points, to 7,865.70 points. Equities were quieter, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan off 0.2% while South Korea’s main index gains 0.7% and Australian stocks adds 0.35%. The euro sagged to a seven-month trough on Monday as the prospect of more policy easing in Europe benefited the US dollar, while activity in Asian shares was crimped by a holiday in Japan.

Pfizer, Allergan may annouce $150 billion merger today
In one of largest deals in drugs industry, Pfizer Inc. and Allergan Plc may announce an agreement today to combine into a single new company. The deal is  valued at more than $150 billion. The agreement is designed to reduce tax payments and bring together the makers of Viagra and Botox. Pfizer chief executive officer Ian Read will be the head of the new company, with Allergan CEO Brent Saunders in a high position.

Meeting this week to air services during fog
Aviation-regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has called a meeting of all stakeholders including airlines and airport operators this week to take stock of their preparedness to deal with the fog-related problems. Dense fog conditions generally hits most part of north India between mid-December and mid-February every year, which result in disruption of rail and air services.Meanwhile, the DGCA has given its go ahead to Air India to operate its Dreamliner fleet during the forthcoming fog season. Air India will operate its Dreamliner B787-800 aircraft, using CAT III Instrumental Landing System during the thick fog.Following the DGCA certification, these aircraft will be able to land even when visibility drops to below 100 meters.

Belgium to keep highest threat level for Brussels on Monday
Belgium will keep the highest threat level for Brussels on Monday, with the metro as well as schools remaining closed because of a "serious and imminent" threat of coordinated, multiple attacks, the country's prime minister said.For the rest of the country, a threat level of three on a four tier scale would remain in place, prime minister Charles Michel said."What we fear is an attack similar to the one in Paris, with several individuals who could also possibly launch several attacks at the same time in multiple locations," Michel said.Possible targets were malls, shops and public transport, Michel said, adding the government would boost police and army presence in the capital.Belgium has been at the heart of investigations into the Paris attacks after links to Brussels, and the poor district of Molenbeek in particular, emerged.

2,000 new mobile towers added in Delhi to check call drops
Telecom operators have added more than 2,000 mobile towers in Delhi in the last three months to check the menace of call drops. Telcos have added 22,279 mobile sites nationwide in the last three months.  In the case of Bharti Airtel, the call drop rate has come down from the range of 2.92-17.77 per cent to 0.08-2.98 per cent whereas that of Vodafone India has dropped to 0.3-2.97 per cent from 1.53-6.63 per cent. Reliance Communications, which earlier had a call drop rate in the range of 1.53-24.83 per cent, has reduced it to 0.02-5.15 per cent while Idea Cellular has brought down it to 0.14-2.65 per cent from 3.34-10.90 per cent.

AAP MLA Sarita Singh booked for allegedly misbehaving with police official
An Aam Aadmi Party MLA was booked on Sunday for allegedly misbehaving with a police official on duty in northeast Delhi's Rohtash Nagar area, a charge denied by the legislator. According to the police, legislator Sarita Singh's driver allegedly hit the police official's motorbike while reversing his car. The officer, identified as assistant sub-inspector Om Pal, deployed in security arrangement at an event in the area. He had to jump off to save himself from getting injured. An argument broke out between the driver and the officer during which the MLA intervened and allegedly hurled abusive words on the ASI.

The incident was also recorded by someone, which later went viral on media, said a senior police official. The incident took place at the parking area around 7.15 PM when Singh had gone to attend the event where ASI Om Pal and his team were deployed, he said."An FIR has been registered under Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 279 (rash driving) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC and investigation is underway," said DCP (Northeast) Veenu Bansal.However, MLA Sarita Singh alleged that it was the officer who abused her first, leading to the entire episode, and the police were targeting her because she belonged to a particular party which has always been targeted by Delhi Police."I will go to Bhajanpura Police station and lodge a complaint. I shall also meet senior officials and take up the matter with them," Singh said.

Air India mops up Rs 7,000 crore through Dreamliners' sale
Air India has mopped up Rs 7,000 crore by selling nine of its 21 Dreamliner planes to a Singaporean lessor, which it has taken back on lease from the company under an SLB arrangement. Under a Sale and Lease Back (SLB) arrangement, the seller of an asset leases it back from the purchaser for a long-term period and continues to use it without actually owning it. A major chunk of funds generated from the sale will go into repayment of the bridge loan availed earlier for purchasing these Boeing 787-800s. Air India has 131 aircraft in its fleet, consisting of Boeing, Airbus and ATR planes as well as CRJs.

Ram temple will be a real tribute to Singhal, says RSS chief
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said serious attempts should be made to accomplish the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.Speaking at a condolence meeting that was organized to pay tributes to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) patron Ashok Singhal, he recalled Singhal's last meeting with him earlier this month and said he wanted two things to be accomplished--construction of Ram temple at Ram Janambhoomi and propagation of Vedas.The same should be accomplished by working sincerely towards them, Bhagwat said."We have to make serious attempts to accomplish the Ram temple and that will be a true tribute to him. Ashokji's spirit will guide us in this task. We have to keep moving and working on the path shown by Ashokji and in the coming few years we hope to work towards accomplishing his dream of Ram Temple," he said.



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