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New Delhi, Nov 28: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday denied that the government had waived off bank loans of big capitalists and asserted that proceedings had been initiated against 12 largest defaulters for time-bound recovery of dues totalling Rs 175,000 crore.

“Over the last few days, a rumour is being propagated regarding waiver of loans of capitalists by banks… Government has not waived any loans of big NPA defaulters,” he said in a blog post.

“On the contrary, under the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, cases have been instituted in the National Company Law Tribunal for time-bound recovery from 12 largest defaulters in six to nine months (to the tune of) Rs 1,75,000 crore,” he said.

Responding to criticism on recapitalization of banks, Jaitley said it did not mean waiving the NPA loans and that public sector banks had been provided capital in the past as well.

“During 2010-11 to 2013-14 too, the government provided banks an amount of Rs 44,000 crore for recapitalization. Was that also for waiving off loans of capitalists?”

The Minister accused the erstwhile UPA government for the NPA crisis and said state-run banks disbursed disproportionate sums of loans to several industries between 2008 and 2014.

“The public needs to ask the rumour mongers at whose behest or under whose pressure were such loans disbursed. They should also be asked that when these debtors delayed in repayment of their loans and interest thereon to Public Sector Banks, what decision was taken by the then government,” Jaitley said.

Instead of taking a firm decision with regard to such debtors, the UPA government kept these defaulters as non-NPA account-holders and kept the loss to banks hidden, he said.

“The banks kept giving loans repeatedly to these debtors and kept ever-greening the loans.”

He said that through correct recognition of NPA, the NPA amount of Public Sector Banks rose from Rs 278,000 crore in March 2015 to Rs 733,000 crore in June 2017, “thereby meaning that those loans of about Rs 454,466 crore, which were actually fit to be NPA and were under the carpet, were recognised.

“At the same time, banks were given necessary capital so that Public Sector Banks become strong and capable of contributing to nation’s development,” he said.

Jaitley said the government decided to go for capitalizing state-run banks with an aim to increase credit off-take and create jobs.

According to the government’s plan, Rs 211,000 crore would be infused into the banking system within two financial years with maximum allotment in the current year.

This would be arranged through Rs 135,000 crore of recapitalization bonds and Rs 18,139 crore of budget provision, with the balance coming from raising of capital from the market by diluting government shareholding.

“Through capital infusion, banks weakened by NPAs would become strong and capable of raising adequate capital from the market. For receiving this capital, banks will have to carry out several reforms so that such situations do not recur,” Jaitley added.

IANS

Health

Covid cases haven’t yet peaked or even plateaued: AIIMS Dir

The remarks come at a time when the infections are racing ahead with the country adding at least a lakh new cases every two days.

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Randeep Guleria AIIMS

New Delhi: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Randeep Guleria, one of India’s leading medical experts, has asserted that the coronavirus cases in the country have not yet hit their peak or even plateaued.

The remarks come at a time when the infections are racing ahead with the country adding at least a lakh new cases every two days. It has logged more than 23 lakh cases and over 46,000 deaths so far since the first case on January 30.

“These are trying times. It has tested the resilience of the nation. We have not reached the peak or started plateauing as far as cases are concerned,” Guleria, who is also the part of a core team monitoring the pandemic, said.

Shedding light on the vaccine development, he said that India has an advantage because it makes almost 60 per cent of the world’s vaccines.

“We have the capacity to manufacture a large number of vaccines and that is the commitment that the government and manufacturers have given — that we will be able to upscale our manufacturing capacity not only for our own country but for the entire world,” he added.

Three vaccine candidates are in different stages of human clinical trials in India — one developed by University of Oxford by Pune’s Serum Institute of India, the other inactivated virus vaccine by Bharat biotech and the third DNA vaccine by Zydus Cadila.

The country’s top pulmonologist further said that the vaccine development has moved so rapidly because of the collaborative work between various countries. “What the pandemic has shown is the resilience that the world has and the way researchers, manufactures and industries can come together to overcome any hardship we face as a planet.”

Guleria, however, advised caution with regards to the Russian vaccine, being touted as the world’s first coronavirus vaccine. Elaborating on the safety aspect, he said that the issue would be just to make sure that the vaccine is “safe and efficacious”.

“Any vaccine that is tried in a large number of people who are elderly or have comorbidities, safety is the most important thing and should of course be efficacious in terms of what degree of protection does it give and how long the protection lasts,” the AIIMS Director said.

The comments come in the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement about the approval of the coronavirus vaccine for public use. It is, however, marred by controversies and is yet to complete the final trials.

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India

Shia board issues Muharram guidelines

Muharram, this year, begins on August 20 and ends on September 18.

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Muharram Shia

Lucknow, Aug 12 : The All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) has issued its Muharram advisory, asking people to follow all norms of social distancing, wear masks and wherever possible, take part in Muharram rituals online or via TV channels broadcasting them.

The first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram is a mourning period in remembrance of Imam Husain-Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and his family and companions who were martyred by Yazid in Karbala (Iraq) in 680 AD.

The 14-point advisory issued by board president Maulana Syed Saim Mehdi and general secretary Maulana Yasoob Abbas said that all mosques and Imambaras with carpets and floor covers should ensure disinfecting the space before and after every majlis (sermon session).

Clerics said that the advisory was in accordance with the guidelines by ayatullahs from Iraq and Iran, including Grand Ayatullah Ali Al Sistani.

Children, pregnant women and the elderly have been advised to stay at home and use online and other mediums to be part of the sermons.

Water and food distributed among the poor as ‘tabarruk’, should be packed and sealed, and guidelines issued by the administration should be followed. A number of Shia and Sunni clerics have also met the district officials and discussed the guidelines with them.

Muharram, this year, begins on August 20 and ends on September 18.

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India

Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha posts emotional tweet

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Pranab Mukharjee Iftar Party

New Delhi, Aug 12 : As former President Pranab Mukherjee remains in critical condition after a brain surgery, her daughter and Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee on Wednesday posted an emotional message on her Twitter handle.

“Last year, August 8 was one of the happiest day for me as my dad received the Bharat Ratna. Exactly a year later, on August 10 he fell critically ill. May God do whatever is best for him and give me strength to accept both joys and sorrows of life with equanimity. I sincerely thank all for their concerns,” she tweeted.

Pranab Mukherjee remains on ventilator support at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi. The 84-year-old had earlier tested positive for coronavirus. He had undergone a brain surgery for the removal of a clot.

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