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Current Affairs - 11 November 2017

General Affairs 

200 years of 9 Gorkha Rifles: Celebrations honour the valour, sacrifice of regiment
  • The 9 Gorkha Rifles, one of the oldest and highly decorated regiments of the Indian Army commemorated its 200 years of selfless service and sacrifice to the nation.
    The 9 Gorkha Rifles is a Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army comprising Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin.
    The bicentenary celebrations were held from 8 November to 11 November at 39 Gorkha Training Centre, Varanasi Cantonment.
    A series of events were organised on the occasion with pomp and gaiety attended by large number of serving and retired officers, veterans and veer naris.
    Army Chief General Bipin Rawat graced the occasion by his benign presence on 9 November and 10 November, along with his wife Madhulika Rawat and senior officers, both serving and retired. Other 500 veterans, mainly from far flung areas in Nepal attended the celebrations along with their families.
    During the event, the General interacted extensively with veterans and laid a wreath at the war memorial to pay homage to martyrs of the regiment. He also released the First Day Cover to mark the occasion.
    A magnificent parade followed by felicitation of veer naris was conducted on the occasion.
    Other events included scintillating act on motorcycles by Daredevils, Combat Free Fall, Para Motor Flight and there was a mass band display as well.
    The regimental bonds were further strengthened due to the presence of 12 members of the family of veteran British Gorkha officers, who had arrived from the UK for the celebration.
    Various events conducted over the two days provided an excellent opportunity to cement the bond between the present generation and the veterans.

Medical admission scam that caused CJI Dipak Misra-led bench annul order passed by Justice Chelameswar
  • Over the past three days, a few unprecedented things have happened in the Supreme Court which appeared as conflict between the top two judges of the apex court. The case pertains to medical admission scam.
    The medical admission scam or simply MCI scam hit the national headline in September this year when the CBI arrested a retired judge of the Orissa High Court and five others for allowing private medical college register students despite a ban by the Supreme Court on the same.
    According to the CBI investigation, Justice IM Quddusi, a judge with the Orissa High Court between 2004 and 2010, and his alleged accomplice Bhawana Pandey helped the Prasad Education Trust that runs Lucknow-based Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences to enroll students in different courses.
    HOW SCAM WAS ENGINEERED?
    The Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences of Lucknow was among 46 colleges barred by the government from admitting students. These colleges were found to have sub-standard facilities and non-fulfillment of the required criteria.
    Justice Quddusi and Bhawana Pandey allegedly assured the Prasad Education Trust that they would ensure that their matter was settled in the Supreme Court. The CBI said that Quddusi and Pandey roped in a middleman identified as Biswanath Agrawala of Bhubaneswar.
    Besides, Justice Quddusi, Bhawana Pandey and Biswanath Agrawala, the CBI also arrested BP Yadav, Palash Yadav (both from Prasad Education Trust) and an alleged hawala operator Ramdev Saraswat.
    Agrawala claimed to have contacts with influential people. The CBI seized Rs 1 crore during searches from Agrawala soon after he got the money from Saraswat in Delhi's Chandni Chowk area. The CBI later recovered another Rs 90 lakh.
    WHEN SUPREME COURT ENTERED THE SCENE
    The Supreme Court came in the picture after the Prasad Institute challenged the government's decision to debar it from admitting students for medical courses. Some other medical colleges too had filed petitions in the Supreme Court.
    In August this year, a Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra directed the Centre to review its order to debar medical colleges it found having sub-standard facilities.
    On August 10, the government heard the arguments of the Prasad Institute. But, it refused to lift the restriction till 2018-19. It also asked the Medical Council of India (MCI) to encash its bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore.
    PRASAD INSTITUTE AND ORISSA HC JUDGE
    Following the government's decision to continue the restriction on admission in the debarred medical colleges, the Prasad Institute got in touch with Justice Quddusi and Pandey, who, according to the CBI, live in the same building in a south Delhi locality.
    The FIR registered by the CBI states that BP Yadav of the Prasad Education Trust contacted Justice Quddusi and Pandey through another person identified as Sudhir Giri of Venkateshswara Medical College of Meerut. The CBI FIR says they "entered into a criminal conspiracy for getting the matter settled."
    The CBI FIR further says that the Prasad Institute challenged the government order in the SC afresh. However, a few days later, on the advice of Justice Quddusi, the petitioner withdrew the plea from the Supreme Court and moved the Allahabad High Court.
    ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT IN PICTURE
    The Allahabad High Court provided temporary relief to the petitioner staying the debarment order. It also stayed encashment of bank guarantee by the MCI. The medical college regulator, in turn, challenged the Allahabad High Court order in the Supreme Court.
    Now, the Prasad Institute also filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. The CBI says that it is at this point of legal battle, Quddusi and Pandey roped in Agrawala. The CBI FIR states that Biswanath Agarwala was engaged to influence the judges of the Supreme Court. Most of the accused of the case are out on the bail as the CBI did not object in the court.
    FIGHT IN SUPREME COURT
    Meanwhile, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking setting up of an independent probe by an SIT headed by a retired chief justice of India. The petitioner, Kamini Jaiswal, contended that such a probe is urgently needed as it involved charges of corruption in the highest judicial bodies - the high courts and the Supreme Court.
    The petition was first put up on Wednesday before the bench of Justice J Chelameswar, who posted the matter for hearing on Friday, that is, today. But, petitioner's counsels Dushyant Dave and Prashant Bhushan again mentioned the matter yesterday once again before the bench of Justice Chelameswar, who now agreed to hear the matter.
    Admitting the petition, Justice Chelameswar passed an order to set up a constitution bench of five senior most judges of the Supreme Court for hearing the petition seeking probe by an SIT. The bench also issued notices to the Centre and MCI.
    The petitioner contended that CJI Dipak Misra should not be on the constitution bench as he was on the bench that dispensed with the case relating to Prasad Education Trust in the past. Justice Chelameswar, however, left the matter to be decided by the constitution bench itself on Monday.
    While Justice Chelameswar was about to pass the order, another draft order was delivered to him. The draft order was apparently issued by CJI Dipak Misra, who listed the same matter in another court.
    Justice Chelameswar interpreted the draft order differently. Citing Article 145(3), he observed that the matter relating to the SIT probe can be heard by a constitution bench without the CJI passing a specific order. As per existing practice and law, setting up a constitution bench is the administrative function of the CJI.
    The matter took another turn today when the CJI set up a seven-judge bench to hear the order passed by Justice Chelameswar bench in the matter of SIT probe. Two of the judges, however, recused themselves from the bench. The five-judge bench annulled the order passed by Justice Chelameswar.

Justify Odd-Even, says NGT in big rap to Arvind Kejriwal govt 2 days before rollout
  • In a major rap to the Arvind Kejriwal government over its decision to implement the Odd-Even scheme in Delhi next week, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today questioned why the traffic scheme has been implemented when pollution control bodies have called it "ineffective".
    "The Odd-Even formula cannot be imposed like this. Nothing has been done from your end since the past one year," the green panel bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said in its review meeting of the Odd-Even order, which is scheduled to be implemented next week from November 13 to 17.
    "The Supreme Court never asked for the imposition of this scheme. The SC and NGT have suggested 100 measures to curb pollution, but you have always opted for Odd-Even. The Delhi government will have to justify the implementation of this scheme", the NGT said.
    "When the situation is improving, the government is trying to implement it. You should have done this earlier if you wanted to. This will now cause inconvenience to people", it said.
    ODD-EVEN DIDN'T BRING DOWN POLLUTION, CPCB TO NGT 
    On April 21 last year, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had told the NGT that there was no data to suggest that the odd-even scheme has led to a decline in vehicular pollution in Delhi-NCR. 
    The pollution monitoring body had said that there was no data to indicate that car rationing scheme has any impact on decrease in vehicular pollution and the fluctuations in PM10 (particulate matter) and PM2.5 is due to weather and change in wind patterns.
    The NGT asked the Delhi government to give an undertaking that it will roll out the Odd-Even scheme only when particulate matter levels are over 300. It also asked the Delhi government to prove whether the Odd-Even scheme has reduced pollution, "or else NGT will stay the imposition of the scheme".

After investigating Kashmir terror financing, NIA to probe Naxal funding case of Jharkhand
  • A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team will leave for Jharkhand to investigate a Naxal funding case which dates back to August - when the brother and business partner of a top CPI (Maoist) leader were caught with over Rs 37 lakh in cash and gold.
    CPI (Maoist) leader Sudhakar's brother B Narayan and business partner Satyanarayan Reddy were arrested by Ranchi police in the Jharkhand capital. The Rs 25 lakh  cash and half a kilo of gold biscuits  they were carrying were meant for Sudhakar's family in Telangana. It was Narayan's PAN card and Reddy's Aadhaar card that gave the duo away.
    The NIA sleuths will investigate close associates of Sudhakar, as well as his properties.
    The agency will look into an inter-state module involving Jharkhand and Telangana. The Maoist trail to Telangana will be actively probed.
    The NIA team is waiting for official orders.
    Top sources said Sudhakar collected levies from his known associates in Palamau, Garhwa, Latehar, Lohardaga, Gumla and Simdega districts - collectively called the Koyal Sankh Zone - for his personal consumption. This, sources say, was part of a retirement plan.
    But officials believe Sudhakar wasn't operating from just two states.
    Sudhakar, sources believe, has also been extorting money from businessmen involved in mining, road construction and other activities in forested areas in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha.

Soon, NSA Ajit Doval to lead first boundary talks with China since Doklam standoff
  • The 20th round of Sino-India boundary talks will be held in New Delhi. This will be the first meeting between the special representatives of the two countries since the Doklam stand-off at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction.
    The talks would be led by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and state councillor Yang Jeichi. Although the dates have not been decided, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that the two sides are in touch.
    "We don't have any confirmed dates for the talks yet. Once we have any information, we will let you know", Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson said.
    Doval travelled to Beijing for the BRICS NSA meet in July this year where he met Yang Jeichi on the sidelines of the meeting.
    It was crucial as it started the process of de-escalation of tensions between India and China leading to the August 28 "Doklam Disengagement Understanding".

Business Affairs

23rd GST Council meet: Here's what got cheaper, and by how much
  • In the biggest GST rejig yet, the GST Council slashed tax rates on over 200 items, from chewing gum to chocolates, to beauty products, wigs and wrist watches, on Friday in a bid to provide relief to consumers and businesses amid economic slowdown.
    In the 23rd GST Council meeting, as many as 178 items of daily use were moved from the higher tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent, while a uniform 5 per cent tax was prescribed for all restaurants, both air- conditioned and non-AC, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the GST Council meeting here.
    Below is the list of recommendations made by the GST Council.
    Pruning of 28% tax slab
    a) GST rate cut from 28% to 18%
    1. Wire, cables, insulated conductors, electrical insulators, electrical plugs, switches, sockets, fuses, relays, electrical connectors
    2. Electrical boards, panels, consoles, cabinets etc for electric control or distribution
    3. Particle/fibre boards and ply wood. Article of wood, wooden frame, paving block
    4. Furniture, mattress, bedding and similar furnishing
    5. Trunk, suitcase, vanity cases, brief cases, travelling bags and other hand bags, cases
    6. Detergents, washing and cleaning preparations
    7. Liquid or cream for washing the skin
    8. Shampoos; Hair cream, Hair dyes (natural, herbal or synthetic) and similar other goods; henna powder or paste, not mixed with any other ingredient;
    9. Pre-shave, shaving or after-shave preparations, personal deodorants, bath preparations, perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations, room deodorisers
    10. Perfumes and toilet waters
    11. Beauty or make-up preparations
    12. Fans, pumps, compressors
    13. Lamp and light fitting
    14. Primary cell and primary batteries
    15. Sanitary ware and parts thereof of all kind
    16. Articles of plastic, floor covering, baths, shower, sinks, washbasins, seats, sanitary ware of plastic
    17. Slabs of marbles and granite
    18. Goods of marble and granite such as tiles
    19. Ceramic tiles of all kinds
    20. Miscellaneous articles such as vacuum flasks, lighters,
    21. Wrist watches, clocks, watch movement, watch cases, straps, parts
    22. Article of apparel & clothing accessories of leather, guts, furskin, artificial fur and other articles such as saddlery and harness for any animal
    23. Articles of cutlery, stoves, cookers and similar non electric domestic appliances
    24. Razor and razor blades
    25. Multi-functional printers, cartridges
    26. Office or desk equipment
    27. Door, windows and frames of aluminium.
    28. Articles of plaster such as board, sheet,
    29. Articles of cement or concrete or stone and artificial stone,
    30. Articles of asphalt or slate,
    31. Articles of mica
    32. Ceramic flooring blocks, pipes, conduit, pipe fitting
    33. Wall paper and wall covering
    34. Glass of all kinds and articles thereof such as mirror, safety glass, sheets, glassware
    35. Electrical, electronic weighing machinery
    36. Fire extinguishers and fire extinguishing charge
    37. Fork lifts, lifting and handling equipment,
    38. Bull dozers, excavators, loaders, road rollers,
    39. Earth moving and levelling machinery,
    40. Escalators,
    41. Cooling towers, pressure vessels, reactors
    42. Crankshaft for sewing machine, tailor's dummies, bearing housings, gears and gearing; ball or roller screws; gaskets
    43. Electrical apparatus for radio and television broadcasting
    44. Sound recording or reproducing apparatus
    45. Signalling, safety or traffic control equipment for transports
    46. Physical exercise equipment, festival and carnival equipment, swings, shooting galleries, roundabouts, gymnastic and athletic equipment
    47. All musical instruments and their parts
    48. Artificial flowers, foliage and artificial fruits
    49. Explosive, anti-knocking preparation, fireworks
    50. Cocoa butter, fat, oil powder,
    51. Extract, essence ad concentrates of coffee, miscellaneous food preparations
    52. Chocolates, Chewing gum / bubble gum
    53. Malt extract and food preparations of flour, groats, meal, starch or malt extract
    54. Waffles and wafers coated with chocolate or containing chocolate
    55. Rubber tubes and miscellaneous articles of rubber
    56. Goggles, binoculars, telescope,
    57. Cinematographic cameras and projectors, image projector,
    58. Microscope, specified laboratory equipment, specified scientific equipment such as for meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, geology
    59. Solvent, thinners, hydraulic fluids, anti-freezing preparation
    b) GST rate cut from 28% to 12%
    1. Wet grinders consisting of stone as grinder
    2. Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles
    3. Other changes of GST rates on goods:
    Other changes in GST rates
    a) GST rate cut from 18% to 12%
    i. Condensed milk
    ii. Refined sugar and sugar cubes
    iii. Pasta
    iv. Curry paste, mayonnaise and salad dressings, mixed condiments and mixed seasoning
    v. Diabetic food
    vi. Medicinal grade oxygen
    vii. Printing ink
    viii. Hand bags and shopping bags of jute and cotton
    ix. Hats (knitted or crocheted)
    x. Parts of specified agricultural, horticultural, forestry, harvesting or threshing machinery
    xi. Specified parts of sewing machine
    xii. Spectacles frames
    xiii. Furniture wholly made of bamboo or cane
    b) GST rate cut from 18% to 5%
    i. Puffed rice chikki, peanut chikki, sesame chikki, revdi, tilrevdi, khaza, kazuali, groundnut sweets gatta, kuliya
    ii. Flour of potatoes put up in unit container bearing a brand name
    iii. Chutney powder
    iv. Fly ash
    v. Sulphur recovered in refining of crude
    vi. Fly ash aggregate with 90% or more fly ash content
    c) GST rate cut from 12% to 5%
    i. Desiccated coconut
    ii. Narrow woven fabric including cotton newar [with no refund of unutilised input tax credit]
    iii. Idli, dosa batter
    iv. Finished leather, chamois and composition leather
    v. Coir cordage and ropes, jute twine, coir products
    vi. Fishing net and fishing hooks
    vii. Worn clothing
    viii. Fly ash brick
    d) GST rate cut from 5% to nil
    i. Guar meal
    ii. Hop cone (other than grounded, powdered or in pellet form)
    iii. Certain dried vegetables such as sweet potatoes, maniac
    iv. Unworked coconut shell
    v. Fish frozen or dried (not put up in unit container bearing a brand name)
    vi. Khandsari sugar
    e) Miscellaneous
    i. GST rates on aircraft engines from 28%/18% to 5%, aircraft tyres from 28% to 5% and aircraft seats from 28% to 5%.
    ii. GST rate on bangles of lac/shellac from 3% GST rate to Nil.

GST Council cuts tax rate on 178 items; all restaurants to be taxed at 5%
  • The GST Council, which held its 23rd meeting in Guwahati on Friday reduced the tax rate on 178 items from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. GSTCouncil also brought all AC and non-AC restaurants in the 5 per cent GST bracket without the input tax credit (ITC). Only 50 items, mostly demerit, sin and luxury goods will be in the 28 per cent tax bracket.
    All members of the GST Council felt that input tax credit (ITC) to restaurants is not passed on customers. Goods and Service Tax (GST) was being charged on existing rates which put additional tax burden on restaurant goers. Thus, we decided that restaurant industry will not get the benefit of ITC, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. 
    Rates for all AC and non-AC restaurants will be 5 per cent. "Since they did not pass on the ITC benefit to customers, they will not be eligible for the benefit themselves," Jaitley added. Restaurants in hotels will cost the same, except in starred hotels which charge Rs 7,500 or more. The rate for restaurants in starred hotel will remain 18 per cent. Outdoor catering will be taxed at 18 per cent along with ITC, the Finance Minister added.
    Taxpayers with turnover up to Rs 1 crore will have to file invoices once every quarter, whereas those with turnover above Rs 1 crore will have to file their invoices every month, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said in a press conference after the GST Council meet.
    Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that tax payers with zero tax liability will now have it much easier. The GST Council has decided in today's meeting that filing of return for GSTR-3B will continue till march 2018. All taxpayers will have to file only GSTR-1 in the current year.
    If there is a nil GST return to be filed, then the fine for late filing instead of Rs 200 per day will be Rs 20. For other taxpayers, it will Rs 50 per day instead of Rs 200. "At the same, we do not want people to be late as on the last day we get the data for IGST. Delayed filing might eat into states getting their share," Adhia said.
    "Meanwhile, invoice matching will not be given up. Pending invoices for July to September will be filed by December," said the Finance Secretary. Additionally, GSTR-3B will be made simpler by making it more interactive, Adhia added.
    Annual turnover eligibility for composition scheme will be increased to Rs 2 crore from the present limit of Rupees 1 crore under the law. Thereafter, eligibility for composition will be increased to Rs 1.5 Crore per annum, the Finance Ministry said in a release.
    There will be a uniform rate of tax at 1 per cent under composition scheme for manufacturers and traders and no change for composition scheme for restaurant, the release added. Also, supply of services by composition taxpayer upto Rs 5 lakh per annum will be allowed by exempting the same.
    While replying to a question on the revenue loss on account of GST, the Finance Minister said, "a lot of transitional credit is still blocked. I don't think a final word on the basis of first three months can be said."
    Tax on diabetic food, pasta, curry paste, mayonnaise and salad dressings, mixed condiments and mixed seasoning, condensed milk, spectacles frames was brought down to 12 per cent from existing 18 per cent.
    Meanwhile, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said aggregate revenue loss for Centre due to GST stood at Rs 60,000 crore and revenue loss for states is at Rs 30,000 crore.
    "Lower 18 per cent GST will be levied on chewing gums, chocolates, after shave, deodorant, washing power, detergent, marble," Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi had earlier said. The all-powerful council pruned the list of items attracting the top 28 per cent tax rate to just 50 from 227 previously, Modi told reporters here. In effect, the council cut rates on 178 items.
    Tax on pasta, jute bags and has been brough down from 18 per cent to 12 per cent.
    "There were 228 items in the 28 per cent slab. The fitment committee had recommended that it should be pruned to 62 items. But the GST Council has further pruned 12 more items," Modi said. He said all types of chewing gum, chocolates, preparation for facial make-up, shaving and after-shave items, shampoo, deodorants, washing powder detergent and granite and marble will attract lower 18 per cent tax rate.
    "There was unanimity that in 28 per cent category there should be only sin and demerit goods. So, today the GST Council took a historic decision, that in the 28 per cent slab there will be only 50 items and the remaining items have been brought down to 18 per cent," he said.
    Paints and cement have been retained in the 28 per cent tax bracket. "Luxury goods like washing machines and air conditioners have been retained at 28 per cent," Modi said. The decision taken by the GST Council will have a revenue implication of Rs 20,000 crore annually. "There is consensus that slowly 28 per cent slab should be brought to 18 per cent. But it will take some time because it has a big revenue implication," he said.
    All taxpayers can file GSTR-4 till December 24. Forms for GSTR-5, GSTR-5A, GSTR-6 will be released on December 11, December 15, and December 31 respectively.
    The tax cut was expected as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier this week had hinted at bringing down the number of products in 28 per cent GST slab. While speaking at India Today Conclave, the Finance Minister said that some of the items should never have been in the 28 per cent slab. "We have been gradually bringing them down. The whole idea is, as your revenue collections neutralise we must prune it and that is the pattern in which the Council has so far been functioning. I see that as a future guide as far as the Council is concerned," Jaitley had said. The GST Council in the last 3-4 meetings has slashed rates on over 100 items. According to the reports, the Council may reduce taxes on certain common use items such as handmade furniture, plastic products and daily use items like shampoo. There have been demands for lowering tax on wooden furniture as it is mostly handmade by unorganised sector artisans, with the middle class as the primary consumers. Other items in the same tax basket include shower baths, sinks, wash basins, bidets, lavatory pans, seats and covers, flushing cisterns and similar sanitary ware of plastics.
    Earlier in October, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had advocated for a complete overhaul of the tax rates under the GST regime. In an interview to PTI, Revenue Secretary said: "There is a complete overhauling that is required. It is possible that some items in the same chapter are divided. There is a need for harmonisation of items chapter wise and wherever we find there is a big burden on small and medium businesses and on common man, if we bring them down, there will be a better compliance."
    Ever since the new tax regime came into being, the Council has reworked various provisions to make it more industry friendly. The turnover threshold for composition scheme, under which businesses can pay taxes at a nominal rate, has been hiked to Rs 1 crore, from Rs 75 lakh earlier. Items likely to see slash in tax rates are those used in every households, including sanitary ware, suitcase, wall paper, plywood, stationery articles, watch, play instruments, among others, said Modi, who heads a five-member GoM to monitor technology-related implementation issues of the GST. The objective behind lowering taxes is to give more relief to the small businessmen and consumers.
    Govt to deploy skill trainers to help traders file returns
    Meanwhile, the government has decided to deploy thousands of skill trainers who will help small businesses as well as individuals in fling returns as per the Central government's new guidelines. The Central Board of Excise and Custom's (CBEC) over 4,500 GST seva kendras will also help these people.
    The step has been taken to help small traders after the government faced criticism for the multi-stage system that needs to be followed to file returns.
    Instead of monthly returns, the Centre and the states could soon make it must to file returns quarterly. Under the government's composition scheme - apart from exemption from the filing of details such as invoices, and rebate on card or an electronic wallet payments - those with annual turnover of Rs 1.5 crore would have to just pay 1% tax flat.

Axis Bank to raise $1.8 billion from LIC, Bain Capital
  • Private sector lender Axis Bank on Friday said it will raise equity and equity-linked capital of Rs 11,626 crore by selling shares and warrants to a group of marquee investors including Bain Capital and country's largest insurer and Axis Bank's promoter Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
    In a filing with stock exchanges Axis Bank said, "entities affiliated to Bain Capital propose to invest Rs 6,854 crore and LIC has proposed to invest Rs 1,583 crore. The bank proposes to raise Rs 9,063 crore through issuance of equity and the remaining Rs 2,563 crore through issue of warrants."
    Axis Bank said its board had approved the sale of up to 172.63 million shares at 525 rupees each, and 45.36 million convertible warrants at 565 rupees each on a preferential basis. Axis Bank received approval for the capital raise from its Board of Directors on November 10, 2017.
    Ahead of the news Axis shares had closed 0.8 percent higher at 544.80 rupees in a Mumbai market that gained 0.1 percent. The stock is up 21 percent so far in 2017, underperforming a 40 percent rise in the banking sector index and a 26 percent gain in the main market index.
    The fundraising "will bolster the capital adequacy of the bank, thereby providing growth capital for the core business ... and its subsidiaries," the Mumbai-based lender said in a statement on Friday, after securing its board's approval for the deal.
    The capital raising comes after the lender, India's third-biggest among private sector banks and seventh-biggest overall by assets, saw its bad loans surge in the second quarter to Sept.30 after a central bank audit.
    While 21 state-run lenders account for bulk of India's record $146 billion soured loans, some of the private sector lenders have also seen defaults rising in the recent quarters.
    Despite the rise in bad loans Axis Bank's capital adequacy ratio stood at 16.32 percent of assets at the end of September.
    The bank will raise 90.63 billion rupees from the share sale and 25.63 billion rupees from the sale of warrants.
    Affiliates of Bain Capital will invest 68.54 billion rupees in the bank, while LIC, which is owned by the Indian government and already owns a stake in Axis, will invest 15.83 billion rupees.
    The bank will put the fund-raising plan to a shareholders' vote on Dec. 8, it said.
    Axis Bank's investment banking arm Axis Capital advised it on the deal, while JP Morgan advised Bain Capital.

Industrial output grows at 3.8 per cent in September
  • India's industrial output grew 3.8 per cent in September from a year earlier, the data from Central Statistics Office of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed today. Many economists had earlier forecast 4.2 per cent growth in output compared with an upwardly revised 4.5 per cent year-on-year increase in August.
    The IIP (Indices of Industrial Production) is compiled using data received from 14 government agencies including the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, and Department of Fertilisers. Industrial output grew 2.5 per cent in the first half of this fiscal compared to 5.8 per cent a year before.
    The government data suggests the General Index for September stands at 122.7, which is 3.8 per cent higher as compared to September 2016. The cumulative growth for the period April-September 2017 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 2.5 per cent.
    The IIP for the mining, manufacturing and electricity sectors for September stand at 94.6, 125.1 and 150.5, respectively, with the corresponding growth rates of 7.9 per cent, 3.4 per cent and 3.4 per cent as compared to September 2016. The cumulative growth in these three sectors during April-September 2017 over the corresponding period of 2016 has been 3.9 per cent, 1.9 per cent and 5.7 per cent, respectively.
    In terms of industries, 11 out of the 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during September 2017 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. The industry group 'Manufacture of pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemical and botanical products' has shown the highest positive growth of 26.4 per cent followed by 13.2 per cent in 'Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products' and 13.1 per cent in 'Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers'.
    Some important items showing high positive growth during the current month over the same month in previous year include 'separators including decanter centrifuge' (117.4%), 'bodies of trucks, lorries and trailers' (94.5%), and steroids and hormonal preparations (including anti-fungal preparations).

    7th Pay Commission: Central government employees on 3-day dharna over delayed minimum pay hike
    • Several trade unions have convened to stage a three-day strike in front of the Parliament to show their discontent over the delay in implementing the increase in minimum salaries of central government employees under the 7th Pay Commission. Employee unions are also miffed over no action being taken against their 12-point charter to the government covering minimum salary, social security and more.
      Central government employees have been insisting on increasing minimum salary under the pay panel from Rs 18,000 to Rs 26,000. The 7th Pay Commission had recommended a fitment factor of 2.57, which took the minimum wages of union government staff from Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000. Employee groups have been calling for the fitment factor to be increased to 3.68.
      The central trade unions that have called the three-day dharna include All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), according to a Times Now report.
      The government implemented the changes suggested by the 7th Pay Commission regarding pay and pension back in June 2016, whereas the modifications in the allowance structure for central government employees were brought into effect from July earlier this year.
      The protesting central trade unions will now be looking up to the National Anomaly Committee (NAC) for resolving their qualms over minimum salaries. The NAC was formed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resolve anomalies in pay structure under the 7th Pay Commission and suggest remedies.
      The NAC was expected to look into the matter of minimum pay hike back in October, but could not as Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election were declared, according to reports. Now the central government employees are expecting the next development in this direction to come in January after poll results are declared in these two states.
      As per reports, government is likely to increase the fitment factor from 2.57 to 3, taking the fitment factor from the present Rs 18,000 to Rs 21,000. A concrete decision might come in the month of April next year.

    General Awareness

    Chennai included in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network for Contribution in Music

    • Chennai has been included in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s) Creative Cities Network for its rich musical tradition.
      More Information on Chennai’s inclusion in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network
      Chennai is the third Indian city to be included in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. Jaipur and Varanasi have already featured in the network for their contributions to music and folk arts.
      • Few months ago, Union Culture Ministry had submitted a dossier to nominate Chennai for the Creative Cities Network.
      • Chennai is one of the 64 cities designated as UNESCO Creative Cities last month. Other cities that were designated last month include Cairo (Egypt), Cape Town (South Africa), Manchester (UK), and Milan (Italy).
      • Chennai is home to some of India’s greatest music composers and playback singers. Every year, renowned artists from different places in India come to Chennai to perform during its music season in December and January.
      • On being included in the network, Chennai will now hold cultural events for four years to highlight its musical tradition. These events will be monitored by the UNESCO.
      About UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network:
      The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
      • Currently 180 cities across 72 countries are a part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.
      • These cities have a rich tradition in either/any of the seven fields of creativity viz. Gastronomy, music, crafts and folk art, media arts, design, film and literature.
      • The cities which have been included in the Creative Cities Network work with a common objective i.e. to place creativity and cultural industries at the centre of their development plans at the local level and cooperate actively at the international level.

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