Morning Brief: UDAY Scheme Helps 24 States Cut Losses; US Will Suspend Almost All Security Aid To Pakistan
Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
UDAY Scheme Helps 24 States Cut Losses: Debt-laden power distribution companies (DISCOMs) in 24 states have managed to reduce losses to Rs 36,905 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 51,590 crore in the previous fiscal, thanks to the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY). "As per data furnished by the states, the aggregate net losses of DISCOMs participating in UDAY have come down from Rs 51,590 crore in 2015-16 to Rs 36,905 crore in 2016-17," Power Minister R K Singh told Lok Sabha. The UDAY scheme was launched for the operational and financial turnaround of state-owned DISCOMs. The scheme aims to reduce interest burden, cost of power and power losses in distribution sector, besides improving operational efficiency of DISCOMs. The minister said the interventions under UDAY have yielded encouraging results.
India's Medium-Term Growth Potential Highest Among Emerging Markets: Fitch: After Fitch Rating Agency said last month that gradual implementation of the structural reforms is expected to contribute to higher growth, a latest report by the global financial monitor says that India has highest medium-term growth potential among largest emerging markets. “New estimates of supply-side potential gross domestic product growth over the next five years highlight the importance of demographic factors and investment rates and place India at the top of the list among the 10 largest emerging markets covered in Fitch Ratings’ Global Economic Outlook forecasts,” said the report. According to Fitch, India’s projected potential growth is 6.7 per cent, while China and Indonesia jointly rank second-highest, both with projected potential growth of 5.5 per cent per annum. “The estimate for China represents a significant slowdown from recent historical average growth and reflects both a deteriorating demographic outlook and a slowdown in the rate of capital accumulation as the investment rate has declined,” the report noted.
Mallya Declared Proclaimed Offender: Delhi’s Patiala High Court on Thursday declared liquor baron Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) violation case. The order was passed by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Shehrawat after noting that Mallya failed to appear before it despite repeated summons. “In view that Vijay Mallya failed to appear before this court within 30 days, and no representation was made on his behalf, he is declared as proclaimed offender,” the court said. On 4 November 2016, while issuing a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Mallya, the court observed that he had no inclination to return and had scant regard for the law of the land. It had said that coercive process has to be initiated against Mallya as he was facing proceedings in several cases and avoiding appearance in those matters. The court had also held that Mallya’s plea that he wanted to return to India but was “incapacitated” to travel as his passport had been revoked by Indian authorities, was “mala fide” and “abuse of the process of law”.
Age Proof Now A Must For Women Entering Sabarimala Temple: Authorities at Kerala’s Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala will soon start asking women to furnish age proof to enter the temple, where entry is banned for those in the age group of 10-50 years. The move comes in the wake of an increasing number of female devotees trying to enter the shrine, officials claim. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the shrine, said the decision was take to “avoid unnecessary arguments” between women and security officials. “The decision was taken in view of a number of women belonging to the banned age group trying to visit the shrine recently,” TDB president A Padmakumar said. “Carrying an authentic age proof document will help avoid unnecessary arguments between women pilgrims and the police and Devaswom officials who carry out checks.”
US May Dethrone Russia And Saudi To Become Top Oil Producer: The United States is poised to ramp up crude oil production by 10 per cent in 2018 to about 11 million barrels per day, according to research firm Rystad Energy. Surging shale oil output should allow the US to dethrone Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading crude oil producer, Rystad predicted in a recent report. The US hasn't been the global leader, nor ahead of both Russia and Saudi Arabia, since 1975. US oil production slipped – but didn't completely collapse – after Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries launched a price war in late 2015 aimed at reclaiming market share lost to shale and other players. A massive supply glut caused crude to crash from around $100 a barrel to a low of $26. The prediction shows how the fracking revolution has turned America into an energy powerhouse – a transformation that President Trump has vowed to accelerate by cutting regulation. This long-term shift has allowed the US to be less reliant on foreign oil, including from the turbulent Middle East.
Trump Singing India’s Tune, Says Pakistan Foreign Minister: Reacting to US President Donald Trump’s "lies and deceit" comments, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said he "is singing India’s tune" and that the Islambad's civil and military leaderships were on the same page. Speaking during a meeting here of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, the Foreign Minister said the Trump administration disregarded the facts presented by Pakistan about the situation in Afghanistan. Asif said the US government's claim of releasing a dispensation of $33 billion in aid to Pakistan was also baseless, the Express News reported. The Foreign Minister went on to say that the Trump stance disregards the many sacrifices Pakistan has made in the war against terrorism. "We will not make any deals when it comes to our honour," he added. In the last four years, Asif said, we have been forced to deal with the mess left behind in Afghanistan for so many decades.
Apple May Soon Become World's First Trillion Dollar Firm: American technology giant Apple is leading the race among other global enterprises to become the world's first trillion-dollar company. According to The Guardian, financial commentators and investors have predicted that 2018 will herald the first firm with a stock market valuation of one trillion US dollar or more, if technology share prices continue to rise as they did in 2017. Apple presently leads the race with a market valuation of $869 billion on Tuesday. The company is currently ahead of Google's parent company Alphabet, which has a market value of $ 729 billion. Moreover, the firm which transformed mobile communications with the iPhone, would require a 15 per cent increase in its share price to tip over $1 trillion. Apple's share prices increased 47 per cent last year. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Tencent are other leading contenders.
US Will Suspend Almost All Security Aid To Pakistan: The Donald Trump administration has announced that it will suspend almost all security aid to Pakistan which could be as much as $1.3 billion as the country did not do enough to counter terrorism. Relations between the United States and Pakistan have deteriorated since the summer, when President Trump accused the country of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the suspension could be lifted if Pakistan changed its behaviour by doing more to fight terror groups. “Pakistan has the ability to get this money back in the future, but they have to take decisive action,” she said. The suspension includes an estimated $1.1 billion in Coalition Support Funds for Pakistan, which is provided by the Pentagon to help pay the costs of the country’s counter-terror operations. The US has provided Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid since 2002.
MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS
What The 2G Verdict Missed: The 2G special court ought to have looked at criminal misconduct by public servants under the PCA before concluding that “a huge scam was seen by everyone where there was none”.
Heed The Patient: The nexus between the unqualified practitioners is apparent from the virtual absence of action against thousands of quacks. National Medical Commission Bill must address the needs of the consumer rather than the interests of medical practitioners and quacks.
Disinvestment Is Biggest Modi Success In 2017-18; We Now Need A Big-Bang Listing Of LIC Next Fiscal: The NDA, which has clearly been more successful in disinvestment than the UPA ever was, needs to crank up big-ticket disinvestments in the first half of 2018 – and there is no bigger disinvestment possible than the LIC.
We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!
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