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By CHAITALI DUTTA I took a Rs 15 lakh home loan at 8.5% interest rate five years back. Outstanding principal balance is Rs 13 lakh. I took a second loan of Rs 28 lakh a few months ago at 6.7%, of which Rs 19 lakh has been disbursed. Now I have some surplus money. Should I use it to prepay the first loan or the second loan? Here in your case, the old loan is at a higher interest rate. Make a bulk payment in that loan with the surplus amount available to you. I took a home loan 10 years ago. Now, I have some funds. Should I pay a part of it in one go or pay every quarter to keep some funds for emergencies? For example, if your family expenses are Rs 50,000 and your EMI is Rs 25,000, then your emergency fund corpus should be Rs 3-4.5 lakh. This amount may be spread out between your savings bank account balance\/ bank FD\/liquid fund. If you have an adequate emergency fund, then use the full surplus to pre-pay your loan in one go. However, if you do not have an adequate emergency fund, then your first priority would be to keep that surplus aside. Any amount above this should be used to reduce your liability. The Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) on bank deposits is now increased to Rs 5 lakh. Does the amount include all bank deposits, PPF, senior citizen schemes deposits, Sukanya Samriddhi, etc., or only bank deposits? The DICGC cover will include only the bank savings and current accounts, fixed deposits, recurring deposits held by the depositor in that bank in the same capacity and same right. It does not cover the central and state government-backed schemes. In such a situation, we suggest that you and your spouse have various accounts in the four capacities: individually- you and your spouse, joint with you as primary, joint with your spouse as primary. This way your deposits will be covered by DICGC to the extent of Rs 20 lakh. The writer is founder, AZUKE Personal Finance Advisory (www. azukefinance.com). Send your queries to [email protected]
State-owned Power Grid Corporation of India has commissioned a 765 kV double circuit Vindhyachal-Varanasi transmission line, an official statement said on Wednesday. With the commissioning of this link, the inter-regional power transfer capacity of the national grid has enhanced by 4,200 MW, taking the total capacity to 1,10,750 MW in the country, the Ministry of Power said in the statement. This has been done by its wholly-owned subsidiary PVTSL as per scheduled target, This transmission line corridor will provide strong connectivity between the northern region (NR) and western region (WR), and facilitate the reliable flow of power to industries and households in the northern region, western region and the entire country. According to the statement, the 190-km long transmission line transverses tough geographical areas and crosses four rivers namely Ganga, Gopad, Meyar and Sone. A portion of 92-km of this transmission line passes through Madhya Pradesh and the remaining 98-km passes through Uttar Pradesh. This project was acquired by Power Grid under Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB), it said. Recently, Power Grid through its subsidiary, Power Grid Jawaharpur Firozabad Transmission, commissioned a transmission system for evacuation of power from 2×660 MW Jawaharpur Thermal Power Project and constructed a 400 kV substation at Firozabad along with associated transmission lines. Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd presently has 1,72,154 ckm (cirkuit km) of transmission lines, 262 sub-stations and more than 4,46,940 MVA of transformation capacity.
Researchers have discovered three supermassive black holes from as many galaxies merging together to form a triple active galactic nucleus, a compact region at the centre of a newly discovered galaxy that has a much-higher-than-normal luminosity, the Department of Science and Technology said on Friday. This rare occurrence in the nearby universe indicates that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple accreting supermassive black holes and increases the possibility of detecting such rare occurrences. Supermassive black holes are difficult to detect because they do not emit any light. But they can reveal their presence by interacting with their surroundings, the DST said. When the dust and gas from the surroundings fall onto a supermassive black hole, some of the mass is swallowed by the black hole, but some of it is converted into energy and emitted as electromagnetic radiation that makes the black hole appear very luminous. They are called active galactic nuclei (AGN) and release huge amounts of ionised particles and energy into the galaxy and its environment. Both of these ultimately contribute to the growth of the medium around the galaxy and ultimately the evolution of the galaxy itself, it said. A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics consisting of Jyoti Yadav, Mousumi Das, and Sudhanshu Barway along with Francoise Combes of College de France, Chaire Galaxies et Cosmologie, Paris, while studying a known interacting galaxy pair, NGC7733, and NGC7734, detected unusual emissions from the centre of NGC7734 and a large, bright clump along the northern arm of NGC7733. Their investigations showed that the clump is moving with a different velocity compared to the galaxy NGC7733 itself. The scientists meant that this clump was not a part of NGC7733; rather, it was a small separate galaxy behind the arm. They named this galaxy NGC7733N, the DST said. This study, published as a letter in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, used data from the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard the first Indian space observatory ASTROSAT, the European integral field optical telescope called MUSE mounted on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and infrared images from the optical telescope (IRSF) in South Africa. The UV and H-alpha images also supported the presence of the third galaxy by revealing star formation along with the tidal tails which could have formed from the merger of NGC7733N with the larger galaxy. Each of the galaxies hosts an active supermassive black hole in their nucleus and hence form a very rare triple AGN system. According to the researchers, a major factor impacting galaxy evolution is galaxy interactions which happen when galaxies move close to each other and exert tremendous gravitational forces on each other. During such galaxy interactions, the respective supermassive black holes can get near each other. The dual black holes start consuming gas from their surroundings and become dual AGN. The IIA team explains that if two galaxies collide, their black holes will also come closer by transferring the kinetic energy to the surrounding gas. The distance between the blackholes decreases with time until the separation is around a parsec (3.26 light-years). The two black holes are then unable to lose any further kinetic energy in order to get even closer and merge. This is known as the final parsec problem. The presence of a third black hole can solve this problem. The dual merging blackholes can transfer their energy to the third blackhole and merge with each other, the DST said. Many AGN pairs have been detected in the past, but triple AGN are extremely rare, and only a handful has been detected before using X-ray observations. However, the IIA team expects such triple AGN systems to be more common in small merging groups of galaxies. Although this study focuses only on one system, results suggest that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple supermassive black holes, it added.
The Big Lie has been exposed. For the last seven years, Mr Narendra Modi and his ministers have vociferously denounced the Congress governments (and all other previous governments including, ironically, Atal Bihari Vajpayee It was as if India had attained Independence only in May 2014. On August 23, 2021, the Finance Minister released a list of assets that were proposed to be However, she failed to disclose when those assets were built. The answer is, during the maligned By a stroke of the pen, Mr Modi and his Finance Minister have threatened to reduce India They are exulting in the estimate that the government will collect a They also boast that the heavily depreciated asset will be This is the crux of the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP). Objectives, Criteria absent The policy of disinvestment and privatisation has evolved over the years. All governments since 1991 have fine-tuned the policy. Revenue was only one of the goals of privatisation. Other objectives were enhanced capital investment, infusion of modern technology, expansion of markets for products, creation of jobs etc. Certain criteria were also set for choosing the units that will be privatised. Among them were: 1. PSUs in a strategic sector will not be privatised g., nuclear energy, defence production, Railways, strategic ports. 2. Chronically loss-making units could be privatised. 3. A PSU having a minimal market share for its products could be privatised. 4. A PSU will be privatised if it will promote competition; it will not be privatised if it may lead to a monopoly. These criteria have been thrown out of the window and no alternative criteria have been announced. Surprisingly, Railways has been removed as a strategic sector. It is now classified as a non-core asset even while market economies such as the UK, France, Italy and Germany have retained railways (or the bulk of the country Road to Monopolies There is genuine concern that the NMP will lead to monopolies (or, at best, duopolies) in key sectors such as ports, airports, solar power, telecom, natural gas pipeline, petroleum pipeline and warehousing. India is relatively a newcomer to the private-sector led economy in industry and services. Such economies will inevitably reach a point when monopolies will emerge. The United States can teach us many lessons in this regard. Presently, the US Congress and government are deliberating on laws and other measures to contain the monopolistic and unfair trade practices of Google, Facebook and Amazon. South Korea has cracked down on its chaebols. China is taking action against some of its technology companies that had become On the other hand, the NMP promises to take the country in the opposite direction! Apart from the glaring absence of criteria in the choice of PSUs that have been brought under the NMP, it is not clear what the objectives are. Consider the objective of collecting a What is not disclosed is the annual revenue currently yielded by the chosen assets. The revenue There is also no clarity on jobs and reservation. Will the present number of jobs in the Once monetised, the PSU will cease to be a price-stabiliser in the market. If there are one or two or even three private players in the sector, there is bound to be price-fixing and cartelisation. We have found this to be true even in a so-called competitive market in cement. The United Kingdom was shaken to find this true in the banking industry. My apprehension is that prices will rise in many sectors. Finally, the process reflects the conspiratorial manner in which Mr Modi There was no draft paper on NMP. There was no consultation with the stakeholders, especially the employees and the trade unions. There was no discussion in Parliament and there never will be. The policy was hatched in secrecy and announced suddenly. The media was sufficiently tutored by the government and the captains of the private sector to hail the leader and the policy. Get ready for the Grand Bargain Closing Down Sale. Get ready to welcome the monopolists.
By Nisha Kaur Uberoi Mathew George The Competition Commission of India (CCI) passed yet another order against an automobile manufacturer over its business practices involving dealers, as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd was hit with a penalty of Rs 200 crore. The CCI decision came after an investigation by the director-general concluded that India The policy, along with dealership agreements, was held by the CCI to be facilitating a mechanism for resale price maintenance between Maruti operating in the upstream market and its dealers operating in the downstream market. The conduct was found to be in violation of Section 3(4)(e) of the Competition Act, 2002; the CCI imposed the Rs 200 crore penalty after factoring in auto sector recovery post-pandemic, while issuing cease-and-desist orders. Previously, the CCI had found Hyundai Motor India Ltd to be operating a mechanism involving resale price maintenance on dealers, which effectively introduced a price floor for the sale of cars by Hyundai dealers. The CCI had imposed a penalty of Rs 87 crore amounting to 0.3% of the average turnover for the last three financial years against Hyundai at the time. In that instance, Hyundai was also found to have placed restrictions on dealers to use Hyundai co-branded lubricants through tying in arrangements in the aftersales market. Interestingly, the anonymous Investigations are also ongoing in the two-wheeler market and commercial vehicle segment against Honda Motorcycles and Tata Motors, respectively, for similar vertical restraints placed on dealers. Nonetheless, the Maruti decision is important, considering that the Hyundai decision was overruled by the appellate authority While the Hyundai decision remains uncertain, the Maruti decision reinforces the CCI Resale price maintenance agreements have been treated differently across jurisdictions. Some note the benefits in the market, as these incentivise a dealer to actively engage in non-price competition in an effort at improving their offerings and not On the other hand, the case against such arrangements that is endorsed by the CCI is that it chills intra-brand price competition and that would broadly affect any existing larger inter-brand competition. The CCI has largely relied on direct evidence comprising incriminating e-mails and evidence of penalties imposed against non-compliant dealers for enforcement of the discount control policy, to confirm the practice of resale price maintenance and contravention by Maruti. Maruti The CCI disagreed with Maruti The CCI did not view the conduct as a hub-and-spoke cartel, though there was transmission of information between competing dealers through Maruti. Vertical restraints are not a per se offence under the Competition Act. However, in Maruti In Maruti and Hyundai, the CCI has penalised the top two players who enjoy a market share of nearly 75% in the passenger car segment. The CCI concluded that a broad reduction in intra-brand competition would result in higher prices, depriving consumers of advantages that they would have otherwise reaped had the restrictions put in place and enforced by Maruti were not there. The CCI has not found any noteworthy pro-competitive effects to offset the appreciable adverse effect on competition caused by the discount control policies. Such policies are generally geared towards fostering market discipline for operating a wider dealership network, with no self-preferencing, as company-run dealerships also adhere to them. Therefore, the decision shows the CCI ranking price over non-price competition metrics. Lately, the CCI has also prioritised the interests of smaller market participants in the downstream market that deal with non-negotiable conditions imposed by upstream market players. Despite the focus on the auto sector It will apply to industry on a sector-agnostic basis. The message from the CCI is loud and clear It2% and amongst the all-time lowest levied by the CCI. Uberoi is national head (competition law practice), and George is senior associate, Trilegal
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council will meet in Lucknow on September 17 to sort out the vexatious issue of whether and how to compensate states for any revenue shortfall beyond June 2022, when the current such mechanism is designed to end. According to sources, the all-powerful Centre-state council will also deliberate on the ways to boost revenues, amid a realisation that the average GST rate being much lower than the rate of assorted taxes that were replaced by the comprehensive indirect tax, is one reason why GST hasnt yielded the projected revenue growth. The Lucknow session, which will be the first physical meeting of the Council after a gap of nearly one-and-a-half years, will also take a call on whether GST concessions for various Covid medicines and related medical equipment, which are to be valid till September 30, should be extended. The sources said the Council will likely debate on the streamlining of GST rates correcting and inverted duty structures. Tightening of anti-evasion measures is also on the agenda as such initiatives, including the steps taken to bust the rackets cornering undue tax credits, have indeed borne fruit (despite the economic turmoil, GST revenues crossed the Rs 1-lakh-crore mark for several months in a row till August 2021 (except in June). The Union finance ministry will present various possible scenarios to state finance ministers regarding the compensation mechanism wit the pros and cons of each. Opposition-ruled states have been demanding that the assured compensation mechanism be continued for another five years from June 2022. I join with other states in the notion that the period of compensation should extend, The Union government officials are of the view that dependence on the cess or borrowings to bridge the revenue shortfall might not be the right way forward. Union revenue secretary Tarun Bajaj has recently said that out-of-the-box thinking is needed to boost revenues. It will take two-three years to repay the Rs 1.1 lakh crore already borrowed by the Centre in FY21 to bridge the shortfall in the designated cess funds and another about Rs 1.58 lakh crore is to be borrowed in FY22, to compensate states for the shortfall in assured GST revenues. These loans are to be repaid via cess proceeds. The cesses on demerit goods are being used for compensating states for revenue shortfall against the guaranteed annual growth of 14%. An extension of assured compensation mechanism might lead to fresh borrowings, creating additional liabilities requiring imposition of cess for much longer periods, hike in cess rates and\/or imposition of cesses on more goods. The basic issue is the structural infirmities of GST as introduced in July 2017. Auto fuels, alcohol for human consumption and assorted other items were kept out of the regime. While the weighted average rate was significantly below the revenue-neutral rate estimated of 15.3% to start with, a series of rate cuts by the GST Council, including those aimed at boosting consumption and faltering economic growth, and the failure in plugging revenue leakages, widened the gap. The weighted average GST rate at present is seen at around 11.5%. Earlier, the fitment panel of the Council had recommended continuation of the process of correcting inverted rate structures that dented the government revenue. The proposal to correct the inversions in regard to GST rates on footwear, ready made garments and fabrics and their inputs such as man-made fibres and yarns, would likely be taken up. Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal had earlier suggested to harmonise tax rates and exemptions so that opportunities of evasions are eliminated and tax credit chain simplified. Badal had also said discussions in the GST Council should take place on floor and band of rates within which states might be allowed to fix their respective SGST rates after June 2022. On May 26, a group of ministers (GoM), led by Odisha finance minister Niranjan Pujari, was set up to examine the feasibility of levying GST on products such as pan masala and gutkha on the basis of the installed manufacturing capacity, rather than actual production\/sales to check tax evasion. The GST Council will also review the GST collection. The gross GST collections came in at Rs 1.12 lakh crore in August (largely July transactions), up 30% on year but down 3.8% on month, signalling an ongoing economic recovery but suggesting that activities aren GST collections, after posting above Rs 1-lakh-crore mark for eight months in a row, had dropped below Rs 1 lakh crore in June 2021 due to the second wave of Covid-19. Closer monitoring against fake-billing, deep data analytics using data from multiple sources including GST, income tax and customs IT systems and effective tax administration have also contributed to the steady increase in tax revenue over last few months. GST authorities have booked about 8,000 cases involving fake ITC of over Rs 35,000 crore in FY21 alone.
The head of the World Health Organizations European branch says he agrees with the top US infectious diseases expert that a third dose of coronavirus vaccines can help protect the people most vulnerable, and it shouldnt be seen as a luxury booster. Dr. Hans Kluge cited deeply worrying levels of high transmission, saying 33 countries among the 53 in the WHO Europe region have reported an increase in case counts of 10 percent or more over the past two weeks. Kluge said he spoke this month with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. governments top infectious diseases expert, and said they shared the same conviction that a third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster, taking away from someone who is still waiting for a first jab. Its basically a way to keep the people safe – the most vulnerable, said Kluge, quickly adding that wealthy countries with excess vaccine doses need to share them with countries lacking them. At WHO headquarters in Geneva, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and other top officials have called for a moratorium on booster shots, saying doses should first be shared to help vaccinate vulnerable populations in countries that are lacking them.
Coronavirus Case and Fatality Rate in India, Coronavirus Third Wave Today September 1 Highlights: Covid-19 vaccination has picked up pace ahead of the possible third wave in the country. According to provisional data, India on Tuesday administered over 1.25 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the highest so far in a single day. This is the second time in five days that the country has crossed the 1-crore milestone in vaccination. With the record inoculation, Indias cumulative Covid-19 vaccine coverage also crossed 65 crore. As many as 50 crore have been administered with the first dose. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya lauded the entire country for the achievement of more than 1 crore doses being administered for the second day within a span of five days. In the month of August, India administered a record 18.12 crore doses, compared to 13.45 crore in July. The daily average of vaccination also has also increased to 58.46 lakh from 43.41 lakh in July. India took 85 days to administered 10 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. It then took 45 days to cross the 20-crore mark and 29 more days to touch 30 crore. The country took 24 days to reach 40 crore and then 20 more days to cross 50 crore vaccinations on August 6. It took 19 more days to go past the 60-crore mark on August 25, according to data from Union Health Ministry. As the Covid-19 situation improves in the country, several states\/UTs including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Jammu Kashmir have allowed educational institutes to reopen. Schools and colleges will reopen in Delhi from today. However, some states are still witnessing an upward trend in the number of Coronavirus infections. Kerala has been the main concern. The southern state has been reporting more than half of India Kerala has reimposed night curfew and lockdown on Sundays to limit the Covid spread. Also, the state government will screen visitors from nations with C.1.2 Covid-19 variant cases. The variant, first found in the UK, is now spreading rapidly. With the upcoming festival season and state\/UT governments allowing more and more activities, any laxity in adhering to Covid protocol will make it difficult to check Coronavirus infections. India reported 41,965 new Coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, taking its overall Covid-19 tally to 3,28,10,845, while active cases have increased to 3,78,181, according to data from the Union health ministry data on Wednesday. The death toll also climbed to 4,39,020 with 460 more fatalities in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases in the country has increased to 3,78,181 and now comprise 1.15% of Indias total infections, the ministry said. Active cases have increased by 7,541 in a span of 24 hours. Here are the latest and verified Covid updates from India and around the globe:
From the Great Wall to the picturesque Kashmir valley, Asias tourist destinations are looking to domestic visitors to get them through the COVID-19 pandemics second year. With international travel heavily restricted, foreign tourists cant enter many countries and locals cant get out. In the metropolis of Hong Kong, glamping and staycations have replaced trips abroad for at least some of its 7.4 million residents. Across the Asia-Pacific region, international tourist arrivals were down 95% in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period before the pandemic in 2019, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. New variants of the virus loom a constant threat to any recovery in even domestic tourism. Warnings of a possible third wave in India worry Imraan Ali, whose houseboat on Kashmirs Dal Lake is his only source of income. INDIA CAUTIOUS AS OUTBREAK RECEDES Tourists are returning to the valleys and mountains in Kashmir, as infections in the Himalayan region and nationwide come down after a deadly second wave earlier this year. The India is reporting about 30,000 new coronavirus cases a day, down from a peak of 400,000 in May but still enough for many countries to restrict travelers from India. Nihaarika Rishabh said she and her husband were relieved to finally get away from their home in the city of Agra for their honeymoon, after their wedding was postponed during the second wave. The vacation in Kashmir has helped calm their nerves after months of the pandemic, she said. Ali, the houseboat owner, is happy that the number of visitors has gone up. BANGKOKS BUSTLE GOES QUIET Erawan Shrine in the center of Bangkok once bustled with foreign tourists and locals making offerings day and night. Today, it is eerily quiet. Only a handful of people buy incense or flowers from the vendors who set up stalls outside. As Thailand battles a punishing COVID-19 surge with nearly 20,000 new cases every day, people who depend on tourism struggle in what was one of the most-visited cities in the world, with 20 million visitors in the year before the pandemic. Suthipong Pheunphiphop, the president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, urged the government to commit to its plan to reopen the country to foreign tourists in October. Currently, the streets are all but empty in Bangkoks Siam Square shopping district. Passavee Kraidejudompaisarn, the third-generation owner of a popular noodle shop, wiped away tears as she talked about her fears of losing the family business. Previously, the 60-year-old restaurant would be filled with locals and foreign tourists, bringing in about USD 2,000 a day. Now, she said, she earns a little more than USD 2 on some days. CHINESE STAY IN CHINA Strict virus control measures have allowed China to return to relatively normal life. The number of tourists visiting Beijing in June and July tripled compared to the same period last year, while revenue quadrupled, according to Trip.com, Chinas largest online travel booking platform. I personally feel very safe, But even China is not immune to the delta variant. Outbreaks in July and August prompted authorities to suspended flights and trains to affected cities. Parks and museums reduced the number of visitors to 60% of capacity, down from 75% previously. Phil Ma felt the resulting dent on tourism at his cafe in a traditional The alley outside his cafe was quiet, in contrast to the line that formed for a cup of coffee during a major holiday in May. GLAMPING IN HONG KONG The difficulty of traveling abroad has made glamping or glamourous camping, popular in Hong Kong. Berina Tam and Vincy Lee went with We Camp, a campsite located in Yuen Long, a rural area in the north of Hong Kong. Many glamping sites provide clean beds, showering facilities and barbeque sites for campers to grill kebabs and chicken wings. The typical charge is $65 per person a night. Bill Lau, the founder of Hong Kong travel platform Holimood, said that glamping offers an alternative for those who find camping too primitive. If we are trying to recreate the experience of travelling, it must be an overnight experience.
Indian Tobacco Association on Thursday said it has urged the government to include tobacco under the tax rebate scheme RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products) with an aim to encourage exports from the sector. The government on August 17 announced rates of tax refunds under the export promotion scheme RoDTEP for 8,555 products, such as marine goods, yarn, dairy items. The association said that India is well-positioned to become a major player in the global tobacco market if it can harness the emerging opportunities through price competitiveness. However, steep increases in the cost of cultivation, transportation, and logistics have adversely impacted the price competitiveness of Indian tobacco, it said in a statement. As there is no level playing field in the international market, Indias exports of unprocessed tobacco have fallen sharply, it claimed. Indian Tobacco Association appeals to the government to include tobacco in the RoDTEP scheme and encourage exports through aggressive promotion schemes, it said. The global competitiveness of the Indian tobacco industry has also been severely affected due to factors like subsidies being provided to tobacco in countries like Zimbabwe, Tanzania, the EU, and the US.