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Ola to ride in Australia to take on Uber

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Indian Ola app co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal (Getty Images)

Bengaluru, Jan 30: Indian online cab aggregator Ola on Tuesday announced its entry into the international market, starting with Australia, to take on its American rival Uber.

“We have begun recruiting private hire vehicles and drivers in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth from Tuesday, with rides expected to begin in the coming weeks,” a company spokesperson told IANS.

The company sees “immense” potential in Australia for ride-sharing, which combines technology and innovation, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement here.

“We aim to create a high quality and affordable travel experience for citizens and contributing to a healthy mobility ecosystem in Australia,” Aggarwal asserted.

Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market.

Headquartered here in Bengaluru, Ola currently has over 125 million users in India, operating in over 110 cities.

San Francisco-based Uber operates in over 633 cities world wide.

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India’s November wholesale inflation eases to 4.64%

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New Delhi, Dec 14: India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices eased to 4.64 per cent in November from 5.28 per cent in October, official data showed here on Friday.

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Sensex, Nifty opens in green; banking stocks down

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Dec 14: The Sensex and Nifty on Friday opened with slight gains. However, minutes into the trading key indices slipped in the red tracking its global peers.

The financial stocks witnessed selling pressure while telecom, IT and realty counters gained.

On the domestic front, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) board meeting and the release of key macro-economic data was due on Friday.

The BSE Sensex that opened at 35,960.19 from its previous close at 35,929.64 on Thursday, traded at 35,919.73 at 9.36 a.m. — lower by 9.91 points or 0.03 per cent.

The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), which opened at 10,784.50 after closing at 10,791.55 on Thursday, traded at 10,777.80 during the morning trade session, down 13.75 points and 0.13 per cent.

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Modi government thinks it owns RBI, says Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Dec 13 : Attacking the Narendra Modi government over its differences with RBI Governor Urjit Patel who resigned on Monday midway through his term, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said the Modi government thinks it owns the RBI.

He also hoped that the new Governor, Shaktikanta Das, although a vocal supporter of the much-debated demonetisation, would stand up for the central bank’s autonomy.

“This government thinks it owns the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This government thinks the RBI is another department of the government. This government thinks if CBI is listening to them, why is RBI not listening?” Chidambaram said at an event here.

“This government simply does not understand what a central bank’s independence is,” he added.

The former Finance Minister slammed the government for its eagerness to get hold of the central bank’s reserves, which apparently became the bone of contention between the government and Urjit Patel and ultimately led to his resignation.

“This government is like ‘I have one hoard of cash, so much cash lying there. I can’t meet my fiscal deficit this year, my GST revenues are less than expected, I have not provided for the food subsidy, I have not provided for Ayushman Bharat programme, and I need money in my election year. What do I do? There is this pot of gold. Now I want to reach that pot of gold’. That’s the only aim of this government,” he said.

Stressing that RBI’s independence is crucial, he said it “worries” him that the government has appointed a perceived “yes man” as the central bank’s boss.

“It worries me that they (government) have appointed two persons to two key posts, both of whom were vocal supporters of demonetisation. It worries me,” he said.

However, he “hopes” that the new RBI Governor would not buckle under pressure from the government and would keep the central bank’s autonomy intact.

“I sincerely hope, and I would appeal to Mr. Shaktikanta Das, that you (Das) are now the RBI Governor. You are no longer ex-Secretary Economic Affairs, you are the Governor of central bank of India. Therefore, you must stand up for the autonomy and rights of India’s central bank,” he added.

Asked about his differences as then Finance Minister with then RBI Governor D. Subba Rao, Chidmabaram said those were the “usual differences” that Finance Ministers across the world have with their central bank Governors.

He pointed out that Rao never resigned over these differences unlike the case of Urjit Patel who put in his papers on December 10, around 10 months before his three-year tenure could end.

He also said that the RBI suffered a blow to its reputation among the world’s central banks due to demonetisation and has not recovered its image to this day.

“Urjit Patel should have walked out on November 19 itself. He delayed his resignation. Perhaps he gave benefit of doubt to the government and thought perhaps the government would retrace its step. But everything that happened after November 19 proved the government was pressing ahead its agenda,” the senior Congress leader said.

Asked if Patel erred in endorsing demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, Chidambaram said: “Of course, he (Patel) was wrong. He should not have called a Board meeting in Delhi, a hurriedly called truncated Board meeting to pass a resolution endorsing demonetisation. He should have stood his ground. He was wrong.”

“He suffered a huge reputational slide by endorsing demonetisation and the RBI suffered reputational damage in the world. I don’t think RBI has recovered its reputation among the central banks of the world after demonetisation,” he added.

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