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In touch with US, Australia govts on visa issues: India

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New Delhi, Apr 19 : Amid concerns over the US’ changed H1B visa programme, India said today it was in touch with the Trump administration and making “full assessment” of its impact on Indian professionals.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gopal Baglay said India was also in touch with the Australian government regarding the changes in that country’s work visa programme.

“The government is in touch with the governments of the United States and Australia on these matters and is also making full assessment of impact of these recent changes, in consultation with all stakeholders,” he said.

Baglay also downplayed criticism of the government’s foreign policy vis-a-vis job creation, saying the government has facilitated expansion of workforce through its flagship programmes such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ as also by delivering large technological partnerships and enhanced Foreign Direct Investment.

“Insofar as H1-B visas are concerned, the cap has remained at 65,000 since December 2004 when the H1-B Visa Reform Act of 2004 was enacted by the US Congress,” he said.

Referring to Australia replacing its popular 457 work visa programme with another programme, he said senior Australian officials have conveyed to India that “the impact of the changes will be negligible on Indian workers, most of whom fall in high skill category.”

The MEA spokesperson recalled that the government had agreed with the government of France last year to allow Indian students at Masters level and above to extend their stay in that country for two years.

In a blow to Indian IT industry and professionals, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order for tightening the rules of the H-1B visa programme to stop its “abuse” and ensure that the visas are given to the “most- skilled or highest paid” petitioners.

Acting on his ‘Buy American, Hire American’ pledge, Trump signed the order that calls for an overhaul of the programme at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of tool-maker Snap-on Inc yesterday.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had yesterday said his government will abolish a popular work visa used by over 95,000 foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment and replace it with a new programme requiring higher English-language proficiency and job skills.

Turnbull said Australia will adopt a new ‘Australians first’ approach to skilled migration.

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SpiceJet announces 14 new flights starting July 1

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New Delhi, June 18: Budget passenger carrier SpiceJet on Monday announced 14 new domestic flights and enhanced frequency on some routes effective from July 1.

“Effective July 1 the airline is all set to introduce new direct flights on the Pune-Patna, Chennai-Rajahmundry, Hyderabad-Calicut and Bengaluru-Tuticorin sectors,” SpiceJet said here in a statement.

The airline would also enhance its operations on the Delhi-Patna (second frequency), Bengaluru-Rajahmundry (second frequency) and Mumbai-Bengaluru (fifth frequency) sectors, it said.

The new flights introduced on the Delhi-Patna, Mumbai-Bengaluru, and Chennai-Rajahmundry sectors would be operational daily, the airline said, whereas the frequencies introduced on the Hyderabad-Calicut, Bengaluru-Tuticorin and Bengaluru-Rajahmundry routes would be operational on all days except Tuesdays.

Patna-Pune will be operational on all days except Saturday, it added. SpiceJet further said bookings for the new flights are currently open.

IANS

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Money laundering: Enforcement Directorate files charge sheet against Vijay Mallya

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New Delhi, June 18: The Enforcement Directorate on Monday filed a charge sheet against Liquor baron Vijay Mallya in connection with money laundering case. 

The 62-year-old is facing a trial in the UK Court, to rule if he can be extradited to India to face charges for financial irregularities involving a total amount of Rs 9,000 crores, as well as money laundering cases.

Earlier in May, Mallya lost a lawsuit filed in London by a consortium of Indian banks seeking to collect the amount of Rs. 10,000 crore amid allegations that he committed massive fraud.

In its order, the Court had said the consortium of lenders, including IDBI Bank, can impose an Indian court’s decision against Mallya, who was found to have willfully defaulted on $1.4 billion in loan taken by his now-defunct airline Kingfisher, news agency ANI reported.

Judge Andrew Henshaw also refused to overturn a countrywide freeze placed on Mallya’s assets.

The Businessman was nabbed by Scotland Yard on an extradition warrant in April 2017. Presently he is out on bail on a bond worth 650,000 pounds.

Besides this case, the High Court of London on February 12 ordered Mallya to pay an estimated USD 90 million to a Singapore-based carrier leasing firms in claims.

The case involves a number of aircraft leased by Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines from BOC Aviation in 2014. However, the business denied the allegations levelled against him and claimed they are “politically motivated”.

WeForNews 

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Army chief General Bipin Rawat meets family of martyr Aurangzeb

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Jammu, June 18: Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday visited the family of rifleman Aurangzeb who was abducted and killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir on June 15.

Gen Rawat went to the village of the slain soldier in Mendhar area of Poonch district.

“He spent 45 minutes with the bereaved family, consoling them and lauding the exemplary courage and bravery of the martyred soldier who faced death in the true tradition of a brave soldier,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

“The Army chief assured the family that the killers of Aurangzeb would be brought to justice and the death of the Braveheart would be avenged at all costs.”

Aurangzeb was brutally killed in Pulwama district in the Kashmir Valley.

He was on way to join his family on the occasion of Eid when the militants intercepted the private vehicle in which the soldier was travelling to Shopian town, from where he would take another vehicle for Poonch.

A video released by the militant group that abducted Aurangzeb showed him bravely acknowledged that he was a soldier of the Indian Army and had participated in anti-militancy operations in south Kashmir.

IANS

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