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Digital payments rise at World Book Fair but small publishers struggle



world Book fair

New Delhi, Jan 9

As people are still struggling to manage the shortage of cash, the ongoing World Book Fair here is witnessing a rise in payment through mobile banking and debit/ credit cards.

Most of the major book stalls like Penguin, Oxford, and Bloomsbury have installed card swiping machine while some of the stalls who could not manage to acquire a machine in time are using Paytm to help customers with payment facilities.

“We knew that people will not be able to carry much of cash so we had to get swipping machines. Many customers are also opting for Paytm, so sale of books till now has been normal,” Shinjini Jain of FingerPrints publishing house told IANS.

However, the recent demonetisation has lead to a major dip in the sales of small scale publishers and book store owners who are not into card swiping or digital payment methods.

“The demonetisation is indeed affecting our sale as people do not have sufficient cash. We did apply for the machine but have not received yet,” Maqbool Khan from Bikaner’s Vagyadi Prakashan told IANS.

“The first question that buyers are asking after coming to the stall is whether we have card machine or not. Since we do not have a machine, customers are turning away,” said Kiran Lingwal from Lifi Publication.

“The market is down by 25 per cent this year compared to last year. Even after having card swiping machine and Paytm, the sales did not see a rise yet. Despite a Sunday crowd, we managed to sell limited books,” said Saji Pappacha from National Book Stall.

Even for customers, not having enough cash all the time or unavailability of ATMs is creating a little trouble.

Sri Kumar, an Advocate by profession said: “I had to come out of a book store because I did not had sufficient cash and I still could not find the ATM here. I will either have to abandon the hope of getting the book or come some other day.”

According to the organisers, there are six ATM machines and one mobile ATM van stationed at the venue.

Organised at Pragati Maidan, the 44th edition of World Book Fair will continue till January 15.


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Is operating ratio of Indian Railways the worst: Chidambaram



P Chidambaram

New Delhi, April 21: Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Saturday asked if the operating ratio of Indian Railways is the worst and added that if the ratio is close to 100 per cent or has exceeded it, that indicated a “comprehensive failure of management.”

He also asked if it was true that the accounts are being “dressed” to show an Operating Ratio just a little less than 100 per cent.

“What is the Operating Ratio of Indian Railways in 2017-18? Is it the worst ratio in recent years,” Chidambaram tweeted.

“Is it correct that the true Operating Ratio has exceeded 100 per cent? Is it correct that the accounts are being ‘dressed’ to show an Operating Ratio just a little less than 100 per cent,” he asked.

“If the Operating Ratio is close to 100 per cent or has exceeded 100 per cent, that indicates a comprehensive failure of management of the Indian Railways,” Chidambaram said.


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No parole for mafia don Abu Salem to get married



A file photo of gangster Abu Salem being taken to jail after a Mumbai court sentenced him life imprisonment in the Pradeep Jain murder case in 2015.

Mumbai, April 21: The Maharashtra government on Saturday rejected an application by incarcerated mafia don Abu Salem seeking 45 days parole for getting married, official sources said here.

Among the grounds cited by the authorities are that parole is not permitted for those accused or convicted of terror charges under the revised parole rules of the Maharashtra government in 2016, an official, who declined to be identified, told IANS.

Abu Salem, who is currently undergoing life imprisonment in Taloja Central Jail, Navi Mumbai, had applied in March to the Konkan Divisional Commissioner for parole for his second marriage with Sayed Bahar Kauser alias Heena.

The marriage was scheduled for May 5 in Mumbai and he had also provided the names and details of two of his cousins who were willing to stand guarantee for him.

He planned to stay temporarily at the Mumbai home of his prospective wife Heena during the parole duration.

In his application, Abu Salem cited how he was in jail continuously since the past more than 12 years without stepping out on parole/furlough even once.

In September 2017, Abu Salem – a close confidante of absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar – was convicted and sentenced to a life sentence for his role in the March 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai which killed 257 and wounded over 700 others.


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Cabinet approves restructured scheme for making local bodies self-sustainable



Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Saturday approved a restructured Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) scheme aimed at making rural local bodies self-sustainable, financially stable and more efficient.

Addressing a press conference here, Union Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who chaired the CCEA meeting — will officially launch the scheme on April 24 in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla.

The total outlay for the scheme during 2018-19 to 2021-2022 would be Rs 7,255 crore, of which 60 per cent would be borne by the Centre.

Tomar said the RGSA will help more than 2.55 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions to develop governance capabilities to deliver on sustainable development goals through inclusive local governance, with a focus on optimum utilisation of available resources.


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