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Dec 16, 2017 09:01 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

News highlights: Shiv Sena chief disagrees with Gujarat exit polls projecting BJP's win

This blog will keep track of key global and local developments impacting business and markets through the day. Important local and global political developments will also find resonance here.

  • Dec 16, 03:34 PM (IST)

    Top Headlines

    1. GST Council makes inter-state e-way bill compulsory from Feb 1, 2018. While Reuters reports the govt ignored warnings over GST rollout

    2. Rahul Gandhi takes charge as Congress President, says PM Modi taking India into medieval past, BJP breaking up country

    3. Former Jharkhand CM Koda, ex-coal secy get 3yr jail in coal block allocation scam

    4. FinMin yet to decide on SLR status for recap bonds, reports CNBC-TV18

    5. Hardik Patel accuses BJP of EVM tampering in Gujarat Assembly polls

    6. Final Republican tax bill slashes US corporate rate, voting next week, reports Reuters

    7. US says North Korean ICBM not yet a 'capable threat' against US, reports Reuters

  • Dec 16, 09:00 PM (IST)

    That's all for today, readers. Thanks for staying on with our coverage of the day's action. Your enthusiasm encourages us to better our coverage every day. Do come back tomorrow for more news, views and insights.

  • Dec 16, 08:10 PM (IST)

    Himachal Pradesh polls: Security arrangements made to ensure peaceful counting on Dec 18
    Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful counting of votes on Monday for all 68 assembly constituencies in Himachal Pradesh that went to polls on November 9, an official said today.

    Counting will take place at 42 centres and the results are likely to be declared by noon on December 18, Chief Electoral Officer Pushpendra Rajput said.

    Three-tier security arrangements have been made at all the counting centres. Media rooms and public communication rooms have also been set up at the centres, he said. Eight to ten feet high wire mesh barricading has been done at the centers and a separate entry passage has been made for the counting staff and counting agents. - PTI

  • Dec 16, 07:29 PM (IST)

    Shiv Sena chief disagrees with exit polls projecting BJP's win in Gujarat

    Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today appeared to disagree with exit polls predicting a clear victory for the BJP in Gujarat.

    There is a big difference between the political atmosphere prevalent in Gujarat and the exit poll results, said Thackeray, whose party shares an uneasy relationship with its ruling ally BJP.

    "The exit polls have predicted a clear victory for the BJP (in Gujarat). However, the exit poll predictions are not agreeable to us. The final result will be out on Monday and everyone has to accept it," he said.

  • Dec 16, 06:29 PM (IST)

    SC for relook into 349 fixed-dose combination medicines by drug advisory board
    Pharmaceutical firms have suffered a setback as the Supreme Court has favoured re-examination of 349 fixed-dose combination (FDC) medicines, a ban on which was set aside by the Delhi High Court.

    The FDC medicines, including well-known brands such as Corex cough syrup and Vicks Action 500 Extra and several anti-diabetes drugs, were banned by the Centre on the grounds that they involved "risk" to humans and safer alternatives were available.

    Deciding the appeals of the Centre, a bench of justices R F Nariman and S K Kaul yesterday set aside the high court order, saying that the requisite procedure prescribed in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act were not followed and ordered that these medicines be re-examined by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB).

  • Dec 16, 06:10 PM (IST)

    Not enough done for women security since Nirbhaya: Kejriwal
    Recalling the infamous 2012 December 16 gangrape incident, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today lamented that not enough has been done towards bolstering the security of women, but asserted that his government would soon install CCTV cameras across the national capital.

    "A few years ago, on this day, the Nirbhaya incident took place. I don't think, together we all have taken any bold steps towards bolstering the security of women. It is a matter of concern for all of us and we should not indulge in blaming each other," he said. -PTI

  • Dec 16, 05:36 PM (IST)

    UIDAI suspends Airtel, Airtel Payments Bank's eKYC licence

    UIDAI has temporarily barred Bharti Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank from conducting Aadhaar-based SIM verification of mobile customers using eKYC process as well as e-KYC of payments bank clients.

    The action follows allegations of Bharti Airtel using the Aadhaar-eKYC based SIM verification process to open payments bank accounts of its subscribers without their 'informed consent'. UIDAI also took strong objection to allegations that such payments bank accounts are being linked to receive LPG subsidy.

  • Dec 16, 05:24 PM (IST)

     Mizoram to soon become gateway to SE Asian countries: PM Modi

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the Act East Policy of his government would soon make Mizoram the gateway to the South East Asian countries.

    The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, linking Aizawl with the Sittwe port in Myanmar, would provide wide-ranging benefits for the state, he said.

    The development of the Rih-Tiddim road and establishment of numerous rural "haat" (flee markets) along the Mizoram- Myanmar border would also increase the trade volume, Modi said while addressing a public meeting at the Assam Rifles ground here after inaugurating the 60-MW Tuirial hydro-electric power project.

    The high literacy rate, presence of a large number of English-speaking people and good hospitality could transform Mizoram into a model tourist destination, he said, adding that the Centre was committed to linking all the state capitals in the north-east by rail.

  • Dec 16, 04:51 PM (IST)

    Sonia Gandhi to contest from Rae Bareli in 2019 LS polls, says daughter Priyanka

    Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra on Saturday put to rest the speculation over her contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Rae Bareli, saying her mother Sonia Gandhi would again be in the fray from the Parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

    Rae Bareli is currently represented in the Lok Sabha by outgoing Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who passed on the mantle of the top party post to her son Rahul Gandhi today.

    There is a speculation in the media over Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra assuming an active role in politics to assist her brother, Rahul Gandhi.

    The speculation arose after Sonia Gandhi indicated her "retirement" yesterday.

  • Dec 16, 04:43 PM (IST)

    Cabinet Approves Bill To Set Up National Medical Commission
    The Cabinet approved the draft National Medical Commission Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the existing apex medical education regulator Medical Council of India (MCI) with a new body to ensure transparency.

    The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said.

    According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.

    The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, the official said.

    As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.

  • Dec 16, 04:12 PM (IST)

    Don't privatise Salem Steel Plant, Tamil Nadu CM tells Prime Minister
    Tamil Nadu government today again requested the Centre to drop the move to privatise the public sector Salem Steel Plant (SSP), saying the unit must be given a chance to make a turn-around.

    "I believe the reasons for the SSP's recent losses must be studied...and it must be given a chance to improve its efficiency to make a turn-around,"Chief Minister K Palaniswami said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The chief minister, who made a similar demand in April this year, said he was sure that SSP would transform once again into a profit making enterprise if given the chance.

    He pointed out that SSP's financial condition improved in the 2016-17 fiscal compared to 2015-16. (PTI)

  • Dec 16, 03:32 PM (IST)

    Ahmedabad: A policeman, with the help of CCTV footage, keeps a watch on the strong room premises where EVM machines are stored ahead of the counting of votes, in Ahmedabad on Monday. PTI

      Ahmedabad:  A policeman, with the help of CCTV footage, keeps a watch on the strong room premises where EVM machines are stored ahead of the counting of votes, in Ahmedabad on Monday. PTI
  • Dec 16, 03:30 PM (IST)

    GST Council makes inter-state e-way bill compulsory from Feb 1, 2018

    Ferrying goods across states may get quicker as the GST Council today decided to make rollout of all India electronic-way bill compulsory from February 1, two months ahead of the earlier plan, reports Moneycontrol News’ Shreya Nandi. “The rules for implementation of nationwide e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods on a compulsory basis will be notified with effect from February 1, 2018. This will bring uniformity across states for seamless inter-state movement of goods,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

    The decision comes after the Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, met earlier during the day via video conference, to decide upon the advancement of the implementation of e-way bill under the Goods & Services Tax (GST). Under GST rules, ferrying goods worth more than Rs 50,000 within or outside a state will require securing an electronic-way or e-way bill by prior online registration of the consignment.

    To generate an e-way bill, the supplier and transporter will have to upload details on the GST Network portal, after which a unique e-way bill number (EBN) will be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter on the common portal. The Council had decided that till such time as the national e-way Bill is ready, the states were authorised to continue their own separate e-way bill systems.

  • Dec 16, 03:17 PM (IST)

    Mizoram becomes 3rd power-surplus state in Northeast: PM Modi

    Mizoram had become the third power-surplus state in the north-east after Sikkim and Tripura, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, reports PTI. He also said the central schemes for the benefit of the north-east had gained momentum and that his government was committed to developing the region. "Today, we celebrate a significant milestone in the history of Mizoram with the completion and dedication of the 60-MW Tuirial hydropower project," the prime minister said.

    With the commissioning of the project, Mizoram became the third power-surplus state in the northeast, he added. The hydropower project would produce "251 million units" of electrical energy every year and boost the economic development of the state, Modi said. The Tuirial project, which was announced and cleared in 1998 by the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was the first major central project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram, the prime minister said.

  • Dec 16, 03:17 PM (IST)

  • Dec 16, 03:07 PM (IST)
  • Dec 16, 03:02 PM (IST)

    US says North Korean ICBM not yet a 'capable threat' against US

    US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that analysis continued on North Korea’s most recent missile test, but he did not believe its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) posed an imminent threat to the United States, reports Reuters. “It has not yet shown to be a capable threat against us right now... we’re still doing the forensics analysis,” Mattis said. Last month, North Korea said it had successfully tested a new type of ICBM that could reach all of the US mainland and South Korea and US-based experts said data from the November 29 test appeared to support that. Mattis did not elaborate on what was lacking in the test to show it was not a capable threat. 

  • Dec 16, 02:50 PM (IST)

    Final Republican tax bill slashes US corporate rate, voting next week

    Congressional Republicans on Friday unveiled the final version of their dramatic US tax overhaul - debt-financed cuts for businesses, the wealthy and some middle-class Americans - and picked up crucial support from two wavering senators ahead of planned votes by lawmakers early next week, reports Reuters. Passage of the biggest US tax rewrite since 1986 would provide Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump their first major legislative victory since he took office in January. Prospects for approval soared after Republican senators Marco Rubio and Bob Corker pledged support.

    Three Republican senators, enough to defeat the measure in a Senate that Trump’s party controls with a slim 52-48 majority, remained uncommitted: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Mike Lee. The final version hammered out between Senate and House of Representatives Republicans after each chamber previously passed competing versions contained no surprises. It would cut the corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35%, according to a summary distributed to reporters by congressional tax writers.

    The bill, the summary showed, would create a 20% business income tax deduction for owners of “pass-through” businesses, such as partnerships and sole proprietorships; allow for immediate write-off by corporations of new equipment costs; and eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax.

    Under a new territorial system, the bill would exempt US corporations from taxes on most of their future foreign profits. It also sets a one-time tax for companies to repatriate more than $2.6 trillion now held overseas, at rates of 15.5% for cash and cash-equivalents and 8% for illiquid assets. If passed by Congress, the changes would be in effect for 2018 taxes, with tax returns for 2017 unaffected.

  • Dec 16, 02:40 PM (IST)

    Allahabad: President Ram Nath Kovind along with his wife Savita Kovind, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, visit Triveni Sangam at Allahabad on Saturday. PTI

      Allahabad:  President Ram Nath Kovind along with his wife Savita Kovind, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, visit Triveni Sangam at Allahabad on Saturday. PTI
  • Dec 16, 02:39 PM (IST)

    Allahabad: President Ram Nath Kovind, his wife Savita Kovind, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor Ram Naik offer prayer and perform rituals at Bade Hanuman Ji temple near Sangam, in Allahabad on Saturday. PTI

      Allahabad:  President Ram Nath Kovind, his wife Savita Kovind, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor Ram Naik offer prayer and perform rituals at Bade Hanuman Ji temple near Sangam, in Allahabad on Saturday. PTI
  • Dec 16, 02:37 PM (IST)

    Allahabad: President Ram Nath Kovind, his wife Savita Kovind, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor Ram Naik offer prayer and perform rituals at Bade Hanuman Ji temple near Sangam, in Allahabad on Saturday. PTI

      Allahabad:  President Ram Nath Kovind, his wife Savita Kovind, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor Ram Naik offer prayer and perform rituals at Bade Hanuman Ji temple near Sangam, in Allahabad on Saturday. PTI
  • Dec 16, 02:35 PM (IST)

    New Delhi: Congress' Central Election Authority (CEA) chairman Mullappally Ramachandran hands over Rahul Gandhi the certificate of his elevation to the top post during a grand event held at the lawns of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in presence of his mother and predecessor Sonia Gandhi, in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

      New Delhi:  Congress' Central Election Authority (CEA) chairman Mullappally Ramachandran hands over Rahul Gandhi the certificate of his elevation to the top post during a grand event held at the lawns of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in presence of his mother and predecessor Sonia Gandhi, in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI
  • Dec 16, 02:28 PM (IST)

  • Dec 16, 02:28 PM (IST)

  • Dec 16, 02:27 PM (IST)

  • Dec 16, 02:26 PM (IST)

    Wall Street closes at records with tax overhaul in sight

    Wall Street’s three major indexes climbed to record closing highs on Friday with broad-based gains as a long-awaited bill to cut corporate tax rates looked like it would win enough support from lawmakers to pass, reports Reuters. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 143.08 points, or 0.58%, to 24,651.74, the S&P 500 gained 23.8 points, or 0.9%, to 2,675.81 and the Nasdaq Composite added 80.06 points, or 1.17%, to 6,936.58. The S&P 500 and the Dow closed higher for the fourth week in a row, while the Nasdaq saw its first weekly gain out of three.

  • Dec 16, 02:04 PM (IST)

    Govt ignored warnings over GST rollout, says sources

    The Indian government ignored several warnings from private companies that the complex technology required for a nationwide Goods & Services Tax (GST) to work smoothly was not ready for launch, several people who worked on the project told Reuters. Weeks before the July 1 start of India’s biggest tax overhaul in decades, the government declared itself ready and chided industry experts who said more time was needed to prepare for the changes.

    However, more than 10 tax and IT consultants who worked on the project said that behind the scenes the government was ignoring warnings for more testing of the complex system even as it was pushing through late changes. While sources said Infosys, which built the GST technological network, made “basic errors”, they said government officials have not accepted any responsibility for the glitches in the GST roll out.

    The government is still making changes to tax rates, filing deadlines, and other features, making it difficult to stabilise the system, they said. “At that time, the powers in New Delhi were mocking industry, saying ‘the government’s ready, but industry’s not.'” said the director of a financial planning firm involved in developing the GST network. “Now people are laughingly asking, ‘so who was really not ready?'” he said.

    Sources said they had warned government officials in the run up to the launch that a key part of the GST technology, allowing users to connect to the GST network, was not working smoothly. There were other technical flaws that resulted in incorrect tax assessments, they said. One technology officer involved in the GST rollout said his company had to deal with a “revolving door” of government requests in the run up to the launch. The director of the financial planning firm said the government was “adamant” on introducing GST on July 1. “Obviously, it led to chaos,” he said.

    A person working for an audit firm said in one example, a test adopted by GSTN did not reflect real-world conditions. “GSTN in the month of April and May gave 100 companies an invoice to upload and see whether it was getting uploaded or not,” he said. “You can’t really test the system by taking one invoice as a sample,” he said. “GSTN told companies it would do more testing with a larger number of transactions. That never happened.”

  • Dec 16, 01:50 PM (IST)

    Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017: Re-polling to be conducted at six polling stations in Gujarat’s Vadgam, Viramgam, Daskroi and Savli on Sunday. Counting of votes to be done through counting of slips in voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in 10 polling stations in Visnagar, Becharaji, Modasa, Vejalpur, Vatva, Jamalpur-Khadia, Savli and Sankheda as Presiding officers didn't clear from the Control units the votes cast during mock poll.

  • Dec 16, 01:07 PM (IST)

    Hardik Patel accuses BJP of EVM tampering in Gujarat Assembly polls

    Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel has accused the BJP in a series of tweets of tampering with electronic voter machines (EVMs) in the recently held Gujarat Assembly elections. He alleges that had the BJP not tampered with the EVMs it would not have won even 82 seats

  • Dec 16, 12:58 PM (IST)
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