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Modi pushes for simultaneous polls as BJP suffers bypolls defeat

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Modi-and-Amit-Shah

The simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in various states being thought out as a way to retain power by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is terming out as a failure for the Bharatiya Janata Party thanks to the impact of government policies directly impacting the livelihoods of voters who are being driven to total desperation.

Being hit out directly at their survival while resorting to the extreme step of suicides being undertaken by the voters, BJP should stop living in the world of illusion as the Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a major blow by losing Alwar, Ajmer Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seats in the Rajasthan.

The results of Rajasthan bypolls indicate a resurgence of the Congress party in 2018 under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. The BJP which had shied away to equate Rahul with Narendra Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha elections are now finding it difficult to win even bypolls against Congress.

Modi, who ridiculed the current Congress President in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls is now worried to face an astute politician Rahul Gandhi in 2018 Assembly Polls and Lok Sabha elections in April-May 2019.

But sensing and witnessing the voters’ mood against the BJP led NDA, Prime Minister  Narendra Modi is pushing aggressively to implement BJP’s political strategy of simultaneous polls with an argument trying to play with the people’s emotion that– “frequent elections adversely impact the economy and development”.

During the launch of the SCBA Times, the newsletter of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked SCBA president, senior advocate Vikas Singh, if the journal could start a debate on the need for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

“Can your journal provoke a debate, a purely Constitutional one, whether we should have simultaneous elections in the entire country?

As in 2014, Modi swept elections by touching the emotional chord of the voters by alleging the corruption and joblessness under the UPA government continuously for the last 70 years.

On the contrary, Modi during his tenure has failed to curb corruption in which his ministers are involved such as BJP President Amit Shah’s son, Many ministers holding the office of profit, Vyapam scam, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya who fled India.It is pertinent to mention that On the same day that he finally fled India, Mallya had been spotted in the lobby of Rajya Sabha, of which he was the member.

Modi government has achieved one major goal which no party has achieved in 70 years  after India’s Independence,
is the widespread disintegration on the lines of caste and religion on one pretext or the other (Ghar Wapsi, cow slaughter, suspicion of beef consuming, Dalits, Patidar protests etc).

Far from fighting corruption in govt., the BJP government in Rajasthan had issued an ordinance in October 2017 that prevents any probe against judges and public servants and even prohibits the media from writing about it.

Modi and his cabinet ministers are now making every attempt to postpone the elections and hold the simultaneous elections in 2022 citing that their financial reforms like Demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax will take some time to revive the economy. Finance Minister Arun Jaitely appears to have demanded from Modi a couple of years to focus more on agriculture and industries so as to create a wave that BJP is working for the country and postponing the elections will be beneficial for BJP’s prospects.

On January 29, President Ram Nath Kovind had called for a “sustained debate” on holding simultaneous polls, saying all parties need to reach a consensus on the issue.

In his maiden address to the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament at the beginning of the Budget session, Kovind said citizens alive to the state of governance in the country were concerned about frequent elections
in one part of the country or another, which adversely impacted the economy and development.

ACtually, the BJP is in a catch 22 situation, the off and on assembly elections have proven disastrous for the BJP’s governance. For instance, in 2017, BJP emerged victorious by bagging  312 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 57 in Uttarakhand while Congress won 77 seats in Punjab, 28 in Manipur and 17 in Goa. BJP succeeded in its game of horse-trading and managed to install their government in Goa and Manipur just to show that BJP is ruling the maximum number of states in India. But fails to understand that it is ruling through coalition in several states.

There is also a likelihood that the Modi government could advance the general elections so as to coincide with the scheduled assembly elections to the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram, to do away with an anti-incumbency factor.

The most glaring failure of Modi government is visible in Jammu and Kashmir where the Army has been weakened by the government policies and the Kashmiri people have been alienated from India with foreign terrorists attacking the line of Control repeatedly.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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Who is Murari Lal Jalan, the ‘mysterious’ buyer of Jet Airways?

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Jet Airways

New Delhi: The consortium of Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan won the bid to revive Jet Airways but not much is known about how Jalan made his riches and how he plans to revive the airline.

According to a report in Marketfeed: “According to many in the business world, Murari Lal Jalan is a very mysterious man. There is not much information about how he was able to create all his wealth.”

“He has always kept a very low profile, and is not popular among the business communities in India or abroad. Totally inexperienced in the field, he has confused a lot of people as to how he was able to enter into the airline industry,” it said.

In the 1980s, Jalan started working at his family’s paper trading business in Kolkata. He also worked as a trader for JK Paper and Ballarpur Industries, which were once big paper manufacturing companies.

In 2003, he wanted to expand his paper business, and acquired Kolkata-based Kanoi Paper and Industries. He renamed it Agio Paper, and it currently has a manufacturing facility in Bilaspur (Chattisgarh).

However, in 2010, the paper company faced a lawsuit from government agencies, for pollution-related issues, and its production activities have been suspended since then, as per the report. “So almost his whole career, his focus was on the paper industry and even that did not end well either,” it said.

Jalan then began plans to enter the real estate and healthcare sector.

“In 2015, he approached Dr. Naresh Trehan and Associates Health Services. He went on to acquire a stake in the company for Rs 75 crore, through a secondary share sale transaction. A secondary sale means that Jalan bought-out the shares from an existing stockholder. Around the same time as the acquisition, Dr. Trehan’s Medanta Hospital had plans to establish a hospital in Dubai, with the help of Jalan. Unfortunately, this plan was not implemented,” Marketfeed reported.

Once Jalan moved his base to the UAE, he quickly expanded to sectors such as real estate, mining, fast-moving consumer goods, and construction. He was chairman of the Agio Image group, which sold and distributed photographic and consumer products of well-known companies such as Sony, Panasonic, and Konica.

He also established a real estate development company, MJ Developers. The firm has its headquarters in Dubai, but its main businesses span over countries such as Russia, Brazil, and India. MJ Developers is currently engaged in developing residential and commercial properties in Uzbekistan.

Jalan had partnered with his own family relatives to set up Patanjali India Distribution Ltd. The report says that documents from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs state that this company would be involved in trading, export, distribution, and marketing of milk products and health foods. The list of products also included herbal medicines and ayurvedic cosmetic items.

“Regardless of these claims, the company never opened, and the founders never looked back on it. We do know that Patanjali Ayurved is owned by the yoga guru, Baba Ramdev. However, it is not clear whether the two companies are linked in some way,” the report said.

Some may question as to why there was a sudden need for Jalan to enter into the airline field. Many have suspicions whether this deal would really help the airline to bring back its former glory, the report said.

Jalan, however, said: “Jet Airways is a renowned Indian aviation company with a strong legacy. The aviation sector underwent substantial correction on account of Covid-19 and created an opportune time to enter the sector. Our vision for Jet Airways is to operate the carrier as a full-service airline, both domestic and international.”

But, as per the report: “The point to be noted here is that Jalan has no expertise in this particular sector. However, the management team of Kalrock does have the essential experience from cargo and logistics management through past deals.”

“But now, a major doubt remains to be answered – how was Jalan able to create all this wealth and expand his business to such a large magnitude? We have seen that his initial business in the paper manufacturing industry had failed. Also, when Jalan moved to the UAE, he was not able to contribute effectively towards the implementation of projects in the healthcare sector. He created a company in India that was never launched. Moreover, the fact that most business people don’t know about him, makes everything all the more suspicious. All these facts make us feel very unsure and doubtful about his new deal with Jet Airways,” it said.

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Will work with JPC to set record straight on data privacy: Amazon

Google and Paytm too have been asked to appear before the committee on October 29.

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Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO

New Delhi: Amazon, which has refused to appear before a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) next week, said on Friday that its position on the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 has been “misconstrued” and the e-commerce giant would work with “the JPC to set the record straight”.

The online retail giant is scheduled to appear before the committee on October 28.

In a statement shared with IANS, an Amazon spokesperson said that they have the utmost respect and regard for the important work being done by the JPC on the PDP Bill.

“We have already offered our written submissions for consideration of this august committee. We will continue to engage in any way the JPC considers fit,” the spokesperson said.

“The inability of our experts to travel from overseas due to travel restrictions and depose before the JPC during the ongoing pandemic may have been misconstrued and led to a misunderstanding,” the spokesperson added.

Sources suggest that the committee, which has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha, is of the unanimous opinion that if Amazon representatives indeed fail to show up on October 28, “appropriate actions” can be initiated against the US business giant.

However, there is no clarity so far, as far as the nature of “appropriate actions” is concerned.

Apart from Amazon, companies such as Twitter and Facebook have also been summoned.

Google and Paytm too have been asked to appear before the committee on October 29.

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Urgent need to rationalise weights under retail inflation: Report

“Clearly, the inflation numbers based on a broken CPI methodology hides more things than it reveals and RBI will be constrained in its policy decisions, an irony in itself!”

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Inflation

New Delhi, Oct 23 : There is an urgent need to rationalise the weights under retail inflation, a SBI Ecowrap report said on Friday.

According to the report, inflation numbers based on a broken CPI methodology hides more things than it reveals.

Consequently, the headline inflation constrains the RBI in its policy decisions.

“With the recent changes in CPI (IW), we again raise questions on the validity of continuing with existing weights in Headline CPI,” the report said.

The weighting pattern of food items in CPI, at 45.86 per cent, is based on 2011-12 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES).

This is significantly different from the share of food and beverages (30 per cent) in the ‘Private Final Consumption Expenditure’ published by the National Account Statistics (NAS).

“Against such a backdrop, we again reiterate there is urgent need to rationalise the weights under CPI,” the report said.

“If we provisionally calculate the new CPI by looking at revised weights of CPI (IW) with 2016 as the base and logically assuming the same trend in CPI, we find that the weights of food in CPI could decline by at least as much as 6 per cent, thus shaving of 50 basis points from current headline CPI at 7.34 per cent.”

Such rebasing of CPI, the report pointed out, also finds mention in MPC minutes.

“However, the weights of services could jump by at least 7 per cent through the postulated increase in service consumption pushing up the weighted contribution of miscellaneous inflation by 42 basis points,” the Ecowrap said.

“Thus, the overall impact will depend on the strength of food and services, though the bottomline is the revised hypothetical CPI is more representative of demand pressures as weights of services and food could be almost in equal proportion.”

However, the report cited that CPI is drawn from “CES and such survey is still pending since 2017”.

“Adding to woes, the Oct’ 20 CPI inflation will be more than 7 per cent due to unexpected rains in major part of the country,” it said.

“Clearly, the inflation numbers based on a broken CPI methodology hides more things than it reveals and RBI will be constrained in its policy decisions, an irony in itself!”

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