Morning Brief: Banking Regulation Bill Introduced; Gadkari Against Driverless Cars; IMF Upbeat On India Growth

Morning
Brief: Banking Regulation Bill Introduced; Gadkari Against Driverless Cars; IMF
Upbeat On India GrowthFinance Minister Arun Jaitley. (GettyImages)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Banking Regulation Bill Introduced In Lok Sabha: Amid objections from the opposition benches Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha which allows the Union government to authorise the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to direct banks to initiate recovery proceedings against loan defaulters. Opposition demanded the bill to be sent to a parliamentary committee. Last month, the RBI identified 12 large loan defaulters who account for 25 per cent of the total non-performing assets or bad loans, in the banking sector. Action has already begun under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code against some of these defaulters, including Essar Steel, Bhushan Steel and Bhushan Power and Steel.

LPG Subsidy Transfer Model For PDS Food Grain: The Food Ministry is planning to adopt the direct cooking gas subsidy transfer scheme model for public distribution system (PDS) of subsidised food grain. The beneficiaries will get the subsidy amount in advance in their bank accounts to buy food grain from any ration shop equipped with the electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices. The ministry recently deputed three trainee IAS officers (assistants) to assess the ground situation in Ranchi where a pilot is likely to be rolled out. This initiative will ensure zero leakage of the subsidy and food grain as well. A government source said the beneficiaries' failure to buy the food grains from the e-PoS enabled ration shop would result in no transfer of the subsidy for the next month. This will also ensure that beneficiaries under National Food Security Act don't use the subsidy amount for anything else.

New Casino Policy On Way, Says Parrikar: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said a new policy will soon check the number of casinos in a particular area and Goans will be barred from visiting the gaming areas. Parrikar said all the five operational offshore casinos housed currently in Mandovi river area would be relocated on land over the next three years. While conceding that a casino was as much a vice as a bar, Parrikar said he too was opposed to the casino industry as an opposition legislator, but added that he was forced to continue their operations, because several stakeholders of the industry had invested money in vessels, especially to house casinos.

Gadkari Against Driverless Cars In India: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is against driverless cars over fears that these could take away jobs. “We won’t allow driverless cars in India. I am very clear on this. We won’t allow any technology that takes away jobs. In a country where you have unemployment, you can’t have a technology that ends up taking people’s jobs,” Gadkari said. There is a demand for 22 lakh commercial drivers in India at present, he said, for which the government has planned to open 100 driver training institutes across the country. “Five lakh people will get jobs over the next five years,” Gadkari claimed. However, India still has a long way to go before such driverless cars become a reality here.

Transparency Push: Government Vows To Carry On With Electoral Bonds: The government will proceed with electoral bonds to promote transparency even if other political parties fail to provide suggestions, and regardless of any consensus on the issue. Stressing the need to check the system of cash donations for political funding, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “If suggestions don’t come and consensus eludes us, then the government of the day can’t run away from its responsibilities. It will have to announce its decision, which will then become the law of the land.” In the Union Budget this year, Jaitley announced the introduction of electoral bonds to boost transparency in political funding. He also capped anonymous cash donations to political parties at Rs 2,000.

Punjab To Raise Rs 10,000 Crore Loan To Write Off Farm Debt: The incumbent Congress government in Punjab has announced that will raise a loan of Rs 10,000 crore to pay off farm debt. With no money in the state treasury to fund even the Rs 9,500-crore debt relief announced by the Congress government for farmers, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal will meet representatives of banks today to negotiate a term loan of Rs 10,000 crore. The state will stand sovereign guarantee for the loan that will help it write off farm debt of Rs 2 lakh each of the 10.25 lakh marginal (with up to 2.5 acres of land) and small farmers (with up to 5 acres of land).

Chaos In Lok Sabha: Six Congress MPs Suspended: Congress lawmakers Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh, Adhiranjan Chowdhary, Ranjeet Ranjan, Sushmita Dev and M K Raghavan were suspended for five days by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for unruly behaviour during Opposition protests in the house over growing cow vigilantism and alleged targeting of minorities and Dalits in the country. She said the members had “persistently and wilfully” disrupted the House by tearing and throwing papers towards the chair, causing grave disorder. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar claimed that the BJP never disrespected and defied the chair like this during its 10 years in the opposition when the United Progressive Alliance was in power.

IMF Sees India Growing At 7.7 Per Cent In 2018-2019: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has retained India's economic growth projections at 7.2 per cent in 2017-18, up slightly from 7.1 per cent in the previous year. However, the growth would accelerate to 7.7 per cent in 2018-19, IMF said while also maintaining the growth rate level projected in April. While the IMF has retained India’s growth estimate as provided in the World Economic Outlook in April, in the case of China, the forecast has been marginally raised to 6.7 per cent in 2017 and 6.4 per cent in 2018 from earlier projections. India, however will continue to grow faster than China in 2017 as well as 2018.

MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS

India’s Bulls Are Not Tiring Yet: BSE Sensex on Monday rose to a fresh record high of 32,245.87 points, whereas the Nifty 50 closed at 9,966.40 points, just shy of the psychologically important 10,000 mark. An equity culture is growing in India, propelling benchmark indices BSE Sensex and Nifty 50 to a record bull run, but beware a turning of the tide.

Is Global Recovery Statistical Or Real? American demand has helped Chinese producers, and not American producers so much. Maybe, beyond raging asset prices and official statistics, there isn’t a real global economic recovery.

Bot’s That? Since the bot can almost completely replicate what the human has been doing, its automated script can replace the human. Most of the replacement of humans in white collar jobs is accomplished with the use of bots, and an entire sub-industry has been created for them.

Private Healthcare With Public Money: Private healthcare in India usually offers quality service but is often expensive and largely unregulated. It is imperative to ensure that the association with the private sector, as far as healthcare is concerned, is rooted in principles of justice rather than financial expedience.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Less Than A Year Old, Cash-Guzzling Reliance Jio Is Already Too Big To Fail: Reliance has essentially bet the farm on its telecom foray, having invested nearly Rs 200,000 crore in it, and Mukesh Ambani proposes to take this investment all the way to Rs 250,000 crore. Failure is not an option for him. Or for those who are lending him money.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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