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Old vehicle scrapping policy almost ready, says Gadkari

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Nitin Gadkari

New Delhi, Feb 15: Proposed vehicle scrapping policy is almost ready and soon vehicles older than 15 years could be scrapped, said Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday

“Along with Niti Aayog, we have almost finalised the scrapping policy. This would lead to the scrapping of vehicles older than 15 years,” said Gadkari after inaugurating three electric vehicle charging points at Niti Aayog.

Though he declined to divulge further details, it is learnt that the government is considering tax benefits for scrapping 15-year-old vehicles. For this it may approach the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, news agency IANS reported.

“We have a Rs 4.5 lakh crore automobile industry. The scrapping of old vehicles would fetch us plastic, rubber, aluminium, copper and steel. The waste coming out from scrapping units in ports and automobile clusters would bring down the cost of raw materials and spare parts. This would boost our exports,” the Minister stated.

The central government has been planning to scrap all Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles (MCHV), which account for 2.5 percent of the country’s total vehicles but responsible for more than 60 percent of the air pollution.

The Delhi government is also planning to come out with a policy scrapping passenger cars older than 15 years.

At the initial stage,  the Union government may propose a voluntary vehicle modernisation programme followed by a regulation determining the life of vehicles.

It may provide incentives to vehicle owners such as payment of scrap value and discount from auto majors at the time of purchasing a new vehicle after scrapping the older one.

Vehicular pollution is the prime cause of air pollution. The emissions from the vehicles contribute to rising levels of toxic carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter.

Last year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered the removal of all decade-old diesel vehicles from the roads of the National Capital Region (NCR). The Supreme Court dismissed petitions challenging the ban.

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Past policy actions’ transmission to help ease conditions, RBI Guv in MPC meet

“As supply chains adapt to the new conditions, recovery is expected to be stronger and sustained. To achieve this outcome, an accommodative monetary policy is needed at this juncture.”

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Shaktikanta Das

New Delhi, Oct 23 : The ongoing transmission of past monetary policy actions would help ease financial conditions, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had said during the Monetary Policy Committee meet earlier this month, according to its minutes released on Friday.

The statement assumes significance as past rate cut transmission will provide lower interest rates which, in effect, is expected to trigger consumption and economic revival.

Besides, the Governor said that there exists space for future rate cuts if the inflation evolves in line with the expectations.

“This space needs to be used judiciously to support recovery in growth,” he said.

Das said that monetary policy at this stage has to provide adequate support to ensure a robust revival of the economy from the devastating effects of Covid-19, while at the same time, ensuring that any persistence of elevated inflation does not lead to unanchoring of inflation expectations.

“With the supply side disruptions that are seen to drive the current inflationary pressures likely to be transient and wane out in months ahead as economy normalises, there is merit in looking through the current high levels of inflation and persevere with the accommodative stance for monetary policy as long as necessary to revive growth on a durable basis,” he said.

“Moreover, taking into account the projected moderation in inflation and the large output loss, I vote to keep the policy rate unchanged at present and continue with the accommodative stance, during the current financial year and into the next financial year, at the least. This would help to reduce uncertainty and market volatility. This would also enhance confidence in the monetary policy resolve to support the growth recovery process while ensuring that inflation remains within the target,” he added.

The penultimate meet of the MPC in 2020 was conducted from October 7 to 9.

The MPC decided to maintain the repo — or short-term lending — rate for commercial banks at 4 per cent on the back of persistently high inflation, fanned in part due to supply side disruptions along with seasonal factors.

The meeting was attended by all the members, including Shashanka Bhide, Ashima Goyal, Jayanth R. Varma, Mridul K. Saggar, and Michael Debabrata Patra.

Besides, other members cited the need support the economic recovery.

In the meeting, RBI Deputy Governor Patra said that under these conditions, it is essential for monetary policy to remain accommodative and opportunistically exploit the headroom that opens up when inflation recedes, as it is projected in the second half of 2020-21.

“Three aspects need to be emphasised. First, it is important to separate false starts from durable growth drivers. In this context, all efforts need to be trained on the revival of investment. Second, in the evolving situation in which monetary policy is committed to an accommodative stance, it is necessary to monitor inflation dynamics closely for signs of generalization and persistence,” he said.

“For this purpose, all indicators of aggregate demand, including monetary and credit aggregates, warrant continuous examination for inflation impulses. Third, with unprecedented contractions in economic activity and elevated inflation posing a razor’s edge trade-off fraught with uncertainty, forward guidance has to be clear and decisive.”

Regarding inflation, Saggar said that inflation is currently above the upper tolerance band, it is not monetary in nature.

He pointed out supply disruption in food, increase in taxes on fuel and liquor, and surge in gold prices “catalysed by risk-off” has lifted inflation.

“In my view, headline inflation should start softening from October. Apart from favourable base effects, the unlocking has picked speed and would significantly reduce supply chain bottlenecks causing both agriculture and non-agricultural prices to correct,” he said.

“Monsoon risks to inflation have dissipated. Cumulative rainfall has been 9 per cent above long period average with its temporal and spatial distribution satisfactory. Area sown under Kharif has expanded by 4.8 per cent. With resumption of businesses by small poultry, high prices in protein items should witness some correction.”

On his part, Bhide said that there are clearly uncertainties facing the growth and inflation projections.

There is also uncertainty over the speed with which the Covid-19 pandemic is brought under control, which also affects growth and inflation scenarios in the next 2-3 quarters, he said.

“Towards the end of Q2, there are indications of revival of the economy after the relaxation of restrictions on transportation and businesses across the country,” Bhide said.

“As supply chains adapt to the new conditions, recovery is expected to be stronger and sustained. To achieve this outcome, an accommodative monetary policy is needed at this juncture.”

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AISAM likely to take key decisions on Air India divestment on Saturday

But Air India, with vast pool of international flying slots and running overseas operations under the Vande Bharat scheme, is expected to get some investor interest.

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Air India 777

New Delhi, Oct 23 : The Centre’s top group of ministers looking into Air India divestment is slated to meet on Saturday with the agenda ranging from extending the process to allowing greater debt re-structuring.

These key decisions might come at a time when the divestment deadline of October 31 is fast approaching.

The meeting of the AISAM (Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism), headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, will be conducted via video conferencing. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal amongst others, will be participating.

As per sources, extending the deadline for submission of initial bid or expression of interest (EoI) till December is on the cards.

Another significant change that might be put forth for AISAM’s approval will be a change in the deal’s financial structure, especially concerning the airline’s debt.

Under this change, sources said that the bidders would be given the option to decide on the quantum of debt on the Air India books that they will like to absorb rather than freezing the debt amount and seeking investors’ bids.

As per the Air India EoI, floated by DIPAM in January, of the airline’s total debt of Rs 60,074 crore as of March 31, 2019, the buyer would be required to absorb Rs 23,286.5 crore, while the rest would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle.

With the proposed changes, buyers will decide on the level of debt that they will take and the one taking the largest debt may be considered favourable to be declared winner.

The Centre is, however, said to be finding it tough to get investors on board.

A Tata Group-led consortium was considered the favourite to take over the airline earlier but its interest lately has been subdued. With foreign airlines bleeding over fall in air travel during the pandemic, getting investors would be difficult.

But Air India, with vast pool of international flying slots and running overseas operations under the Vande Bharat scheme, is expected to get some investor interest.

Air India has been been unprofitable since its 2007 merger with state-owned domestic operator Indian Airlines Ltd, and since then is flying on government budgetary support, adding pressure to central resources.

Air India disinvestment will be a key component of this years sell target of Rs 2.1 lakh crore. The government has so far mobilised a mere Rs 5,500 crore as disinvestment receipts.

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New BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS: List of changes

New BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS are significantly cheaper than their BS4 counterparts. Furthermore, the bikes have also received several functional changes to improve performance.

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BMW G Motorrad

BMW Motorrad recently launched new G 310 R and G 310 GS bikes at ₹2.45 lakh and ₹2.85 lakh, respectively. All prices are ex-showroom, India. This means that both the entry-level BMW bikes are now significantly cheaper than their BS4 counterparts. This has been done to make G 310 twins more popular than before and attract better sales. But besides reducing the price, the German two-wheeler maker has made several functional and design tweaks to the motorcycles. Here’s a low down on how different the new G 310 twins are when compared to their previous models.

New BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS: Design

BS6 G310GS side hq.png

The new G 310 R and G 310 GS bikes look sportier than their predecessors, thanks to a couple of new body panels and all-new LED headlamp cluster with LED DRL. Both the bikes are also available in new colour schemes; while G 310 GS is available in Rallye Style, Polar White, and a special 40 Years GS black-yellow colour scheme, the G 310 R can be had in Style Sport, Cosmic Black, and Polar White colour options. Another change with the bikes is that they now get an adjustable clutch lever.

BS6 G310R front.jpg

New BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS: Features

BS6 BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS use the same LCD instrument panel that offers all the essential readouts. The motorcycles now also get ride-by-wire system for improved throttle response. Sadly, the bikes still do not get smartphone connectivity.

BS6 G310gs ins.jpg

New BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS: Specs

Both the bikes are now powered by a BS6-compliant 313 cc, liquid-cooled engine that generates 34 bhp at 9,500 rpm and 28 Nm at 7,500 of peak torque. This engine is paired to a six-speed gearbox with slipper-clutch as standard. This means that mechanically, the motorcycles are no different than their predecessors but the addition of slipper clutch makes it easier to downshift, especially at high speeds.

BS6 G310GS rider front.jpg

Furthermore, the new G 310 twins use the same suspension setup — 41 mm USD forks with mono-shock — and braking hardware — 300 mm front and 240 mm rear disc brakes with dual-channel ABS — as their BS4 models.

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