The Delhi Half Marathon has been an annual running event for a little over a decade now. The marathon aims to bring together people in the city to promote fitness and a healthy way of living. But for a city that has been increasingly suffering under a cloud of polluted air, the idea of healthy running is kind of thrown out of the window. Airtel, which has been a long-time sponsor of the Delhi Half Marathon, is urging the government to take action to curb pollution levels in the city or it will back out from supporting the event next year. Airtel released a statement to the media regarding the upcoming Delhi Half Marathon and the alarming pollution levels in the city that can affect the participants. The telcos said that it has received a number of feedback and concern from people who feel that holding a marathon in a polluted city does more harm than good. Notably, the company said that it will no longer associate itself with the event from next year unless the government takes some active measures to lower air pollution in the city. The telcos also stated that the organisers of the Delhi Half Marathon, Procam, have ensured every year that the event is conducted "as per international standards, with all the necessary safety and guidelines in place." The organisers have also ensured that they are taking necessary measures to minimise the impact of air pollution on runners. "A team of professionals is being deployed by Procam before the race day to sprinkle salt mixed with effluent treated water across the entire track to ensure that the dust pollution is negated. Furthermore, no vehicles will be plying on the route of the marathon," Airtel's statement reads. While these are positive steps from the organisers to combat air pollution, the effectiveness of this will be very minimal, which is why Airtel is urging the government to take a more widespread action. In the past, there have been measures such as limiting the number of cars plying on the road on certain days via the Odd/Even method to bring down pollution levels. It interesting to see if Airtel's words are heeded by the authorities and whether the telcos will continue to sponsor the event moving forward. Airtel's statement in its entirety can be read below: "Bharti Airtel ('Airtel') has been a strong supporter of the Delhi Half Marathon over the last 10 years, given its positive impact on the city and it being a vibrant platform for all citizens to come together to celebrate the spirit of running. The organizers of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Procam have made sure that the event is consistently conducted as per international standards, with all necessary safety guidelines in place. Airtel is proud to have made this event an integral part of the city. However, as a responsible brand, Airtel is always conscious of any event/media property association. We have received a lot of feedback from our customers and citizens at large expressing concern on holding the marathon in view of the prevailing air pollution in the city. The marathon is an event that infuses the spirit of fitness and good health in Delhi citizens and we love that. We acknowledge it as a voluntary event and runners should take into consideration the environmental factors, including pollution and their health, while participating. For the upcoming edition we have discussed the air quality issue with the organizers, Procam and they have assured us that it is taking several measures to minimize the impact of air pollution on the runners. A team of professionals is being deployed by Procam before the race day to sprinkle salt mixed with effluent treated water across the entire track to ensure that the dust pollution is negated. Furthermore, no vehicles will be plying on the route of the marathon. Air pollution poses serious health risks and it is important that these concerns are addressed urgently and appropriately by the authorities for Airtel to continue associating with the event next year and beyond."
In a bid to cut down on travel time of several long distance trains by up to three hours, the Indian Railways has announced a new timetable which will come into effect from November 1, 2017. As many as sixty-five trains under Northern Railway will run faster as the Indian Railways plans on speeding up trains and reducing the time of halt of trains at railway stations. The new time table has been introduced under the direction of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. Trains such as the Bhopal-Jodhpur Express will reach 95 minutes early while the Guwahati-Indore Special will complete its 2,330-km journey 115 minutes early and the 1929-km journey of the Ghazipur-Bandra Terminus Express will be completed 95 minutes earlier, the report said. In the new time table virtually every rail zone has trains which have been speeded up - for example, 51 express and 36 passenger trains running under the Southern Railway have been speeded up while in East Coast Railway (ECoR) 37 express and 19 local passenger trains will run faster. The Northern Railway timetable has three new trains for the sector - Tejas, Humsafar and Antyodaya Express. The Tejas Express, India's first semi-high speed, full-AC train will run six days a week between New Delhi and Chandigarh, and Lucknow and Anand Vihar. The Humsafar Express, completely three-tier AC sleeper train, will run between Sealdah and Jammu Tawi once a week and tri-weekly between Anand Vihar and Allahabad. The Antyodaya Express, featuring all unreserved or general coaches, will run between Darbhanga and Jalandhar, and Bilaspur and Ferozepur once a week. The railways has also reworked the timings of trains to ensure that passengers get maximum time in the city they are visiting and also able to avoid peak hour traffic at their destinations. Change in number of trains 115107/15108 Mathura-Chhapra express (tri-weekly) has been speeded up and converted into superfast with new number 22531/22532 w.e.f. 09.08.2017. 214155/14156 Kanpur-Udhampur express (bi-weelkly) has been speeded up and extended up to Allahabad with new number as 24155/24156 w.e.f. 10.06.2017. Now the train has renumbered as 22431/22432 w.e.f. 24.10.2017. 454003/54004 Kosikalan-Nizamuddin passenger has been converted into MEMU with new number 64569/64570 w.e.f. 08.10.2017. 522693/22694 Bangalore-New Delhi Rajdhani express (tri-weekly) has been merged in train number 22691/22692 (4 days) and made 22691/22692 daily. 611065/11066 Lokmany Tilak Term-Darbhanga Pawan express (tri-weekly) has been merged in train number 11061/11062 (4 days) and made 11061/11062 daily.
Railway tickets are likely to get cheaper as the government is trying to do away with MDR or merchant discount rates levied on e-tickets. MDR charges are applied on tickets that passengers book online through the IRCTC website. The MDR charges are imposed by banks on the merchant for providing debit and credit card services. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal mentioned that talks are underway with banks to resolve this issue of MDR. Goyal said, "Railways used to charge a service charge. Post demonetisation they removed that service charge and we saw digital transactions really shoot up. Now the only charge that is charges is the merchant discount rate (MDR). I am now engaged with bankers to see what we can do about that MDR also." Once the MDR charges are done away with, ticket prices would automatically fall for passengers booking though the online portal. Goyal, who spoke at the India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum on Thursday also mentioned that a million jobs can be created in the railways ecosystem in less than 12 months. He further added that if they use the amount of investment in the pipeline, they can create 2 to 2.5 lakh jobs in the existing projects alone. The minister further added that the government is trying to change the growth narrative by making it more technologically driven. Goyal further added that a change can only be brought about by empowering people and cutting through bureaucracy.
The country’s largest lender State Bank of India on Monday lowered the minimum average monthly balance (MAB) requirement in a savings account to Rs 3,000 from Rs 5,000 and also revised downwards penalties for not maintaning such a balance. The revised MAB requirement and charges will become applicable from October, the bank said in a statement. The public sector lender also decided to exempt pensioners, beneficiaries of social benefits from government and minors from the requirement of minimum balance in savings account. In April, the bank had re-introduced MAB and charges for non-maintenance of balance after a gap of five years. In metropolitan areas the minimum balance requirement was Rs 5,000. For urban and semi-urban branches, it was fixed at Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000, respectively, and for rural branches it was Rs 1,000. “We have decided to treat the metro and urban centres in the same category and the requirement of MAB in metro centres stands reduced to Rs 3,000,” the bank said. Last week, managing director for national banking group, Rajnish Kumar, had said the lender was reviewing the average monthly balance requirement. The lender also revised downwards the penalty for non-maintenance of MAB. “For non-maintenance of MAB, the charges have also been revised downwards ranging from 20-50 per cent across all population groups and categories,” the bank said. Now, the charges at semi-urban and rural centres range from Rs 20 to Rs 40 and at urban and metro centres from Rs 30 to Rs 50, the bank said. Earlier, in the metros, the bank was charging Rs 100 plus GST if the balance fell below 75 per cent of the MAB of Rs 5,000. If the shortfall was 50 per cent or less, the penalty charge was Rs 50 plus GST. Any shortfall in maintaining minimum average balance in rural areas was attracting a penalty in the range of Rs 20 to Rs 50 plus GST. The bank reiterated that basic savings bank deposit and PM’s Jan-Dhan accounts are not required to maintain the minimum balance. The lender has 42 crore savings bank accounts of which 13 crore belong to this category. “It has now been decided to exempt the pensioners, beneficiaries of social benefits from government and accounts of minors. The revision is likely to benefit another 5 crore account holders,” the bank said.
Amid intense competition in the telecom sector, BSNL or Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited is offering up to 500 MBs or megabytes of mobile data to new prepaid customers. In a limited-period promotional scheme, BSNL is offering "500/350 MBs of mobile data for new connections under prepaid mobile services", it said on its website - bsnl.co.in. Called "welcome offer", the promotional scheme will be applicable for all prepaid plans, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) further said. Explaining the calling and data benefit under the offer, BSNL said: "Promotional Welcome offer of free 500 MB data (to be used in the first 30 days) and unlimited On-Net calls for first 3 days in East Zone and 350 MB free data in other Zones (to be used in first 30 days) for each new connection including MNP port in customers on Pan India basis for 90 days from 29.08.2017." BSNL offers services in several telecom circles across the country. These include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. BSNL Rs. 249 recharge Under another limited-period promotional scheme, BSNL is offering unlimited local and STD on-net calls - BSNL-to-BSNL calls -with 1 GB data per day for 28 days at Rs. 249. BSNL's promotional STV or special tariff voucher or Rs. 249 is available from September 15, 2017 to October 25, 2017, according to its website. BSNL is also offering low calling rates under STVs, called "Rate Cutter Voice STVs", priced at Rs. 8 and Rs. 19, it added. The promotional STVs of Rs. 8 and Rs. 19, it said, started with effect from September 4, 2017 "till further orders". BSNL Rs. 8 recharge BSNL said its STV of Rs. 8 will lower the BSNL-to-BSNL call rate to 15 paise per minute for 30 days from the date of recharge. On-net calls refer to calls made from home network (BSNL in this case) to another connection within the home network. BSNL Rs. 19 recharge At Rs.19, the same rates - 15 paise per minute for calls on BSNL network and 35 paise for other networks - can be enjoyed for a validity of 90 days, BSNL added. Highly competitive pricing of mobile data and the facility of free voice calling by new entrant Reliance Jio has forced incumbent players to announce new plans or revise existing offers to protect their market share, say some analysts. Many incumbent telecom companies have come up with new packs and plans for their prepaid and postpaid customers alike to tackle the competition. Reliance Jio offers many recharge options to its prepaid customers. Two of its recharge plans - Rs.399 and Rs. 349 - look to address the needs of different customers and to increase the company's overall blended ARPU (Average Revenue per User), say telecom analysts. Jio's Rs. 349 recharge pack comes with 20 GBs of 4G speed data with a validity of 56 days without any daily limit, according to Reliance Jio's website - jio.com. Reliance Jio's Rs. 349 pack comes with 1 GB of 4G data per day for 84 days along with free voice calls, SMS (short message service) and access to MyJio app services.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the economy is on a "downhill path" because of the "adventure" of demonetisation undertaken last year which was not required at all, either technically or economically. Manmohan Singh, a renowned economist considered to be the architect of the reforms of early 1990s, said demonetisation has not been successful in any civilised country, except some of the Latin American nation. "I don't think demonetisation was at all required ... I don't think it was technically, economically necessary to launch this adventure," he said at the Indian School of Business (ISB) Leadership Summit here when asked if the note ban decision was the right one. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on November 8 last year scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes. He said the process involved withdrawing almost 86 per cent of the currency from circulation and "there was bound to be fallout which we are all seeing." Manmohan Singh made a speech before answering a few questions at the event. "The economy has slowed down as I had projected a few months ago as a result of demonetisation and also the fact that demonetisation has been accompanied by the GST, which is a good thing that we have done in the long term. But in the short term, there are glitches that need to be resolved. Therefore, the economy has experienced a downhill path," he said. He said the GDP growth was much higher in the last quarter of 2016-17 than the first quarter of this financial year. There are certain things that need to be done immediately, the former PM said. "When we were in office, investment rate in the economy was 35-37 per cent but now it is less than 30 per cent. Private investment in particular is not growing," he said. He added that India needs much more investment in public sector "but we cannot rely exclusively on public sector realise our development initiatives. We must also simultaneously work on a foreign exchange situation." Manmohan Singh, who had served as the country's finance minister over two decades back, said growth cannot take place at a high rate if banking system is not performing its task of providing money to entrepreneurs and to others who need to invest in our economy. Responding to a question on healthcare, he said it is one area where the country is not spending enough and not giving the required emphasis on preventive healthcare. Although private sector has a role to play, the public health problems require strong leadership and this is one area where markets are important but not the final solution, he said. Asked what he felt would be the role of the government in forseable future and its interactions with the private sector, Singh said, "government in our country cannot be wished away.." He said public sector spending is only 30 per cent of the GDP, which is not too big compared to many other nations. Infrastructure, public healthcare, agriculture are the areas where the government will remain important, he said.Responding to a question on globalisation, Manmohan Singh said it is here to stay. Despite what US President Donald Trump said in his election campaign, the American public opinion will prevail, he said. "Also, I feel in Europe too there is today recognition of multilateral trading system. China today has become a great champion of globalization," he said.
Asked if the US president was being protectionist, the former Prime Minister said, "I am quite confident the US president's current thinking will not last more than a year or so."
Making pension settlement monitoring well within one’s hand’s reach, the government of India will soon launch a mobile application for soon-to-retire central government employees. Not just superannuating officials, even retired employees will able to avail this service. According to an official release by the Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Ministry, one can assess his or her superannuation funds as well as record complaints through the pension calculator. The application will let a superannuating central government official monitor the progress of his or her pension settlement and allow retired officials to check details of their pension amounts through the pension calculator as well register grievances and get updates on orders issued by the department. A pensioners’ portal powered by the ministry is already functional with all of the aforementioned services. The app will be launched by Jitendra Singh, who is the Minister of State for Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). The launch event will also felicitate 17 pensioners with ‘Anubhav Awards’. The awards will be conferred for their outstanding contributions towards ‘Anubhav’ – a platform for retiring employees to share their work experience with the government. The ministry is also scheduling workshops for 300 central government pensioners on pre-retirement counselling with the objective being awareness about post-retirement entitlements and aid post-retirement planning. Interactive sessions that will cover topics like a road map to retirement, medical facilities for pensioners, re-engagement of retired people for voluntary social activities, Income Tax and other benefits for senior citizens, as well as investment and financial planning for retired people and the importance of writing a will, is part of the plan.
Flight operations at the Mumbai airport remain have slowly resumed on Wednesday morning after 56 flights were diverted as heavy rains continue to lash the metropolis. The skidding of a SpiceJet aircraft on the main runway (09/27) last night compounded the problem further as it forced the private airport operator to shift operations to the secondary runway, which can carry out limited operations. The SpiceJet Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 183 people overshot a wet runway while landing at the airport in rain-hit Mumbai and got stuck in the mud, officials said yesterday, adding that all passengers were safely evacuated. There was no smoke or fire emanating from the Boeing aircraft, said the officials. Meanwhile, late on Tuesday night as torrential downpour continued over Mumbai, Jet Airways announced it had suspended temporarily all incoming and outgoing flights. Earlier evening operations at Mumbai Airport were affected for nearly 30 minutes owing to poor visibility leading to diversion of four incoming flights and go-arounds for seven others. As many as 56 flights have been diverted to different airports till this morning as the main runway was out of use due to the SpiceJet aircraft stuck there, an airport official said. Partial operation is being carried out from the secondary runway (14/32 ) but due to the tailwinds, flight departures and arrivals are quite slow. "Current visibility is 1600 mts with winds of 12 knots. RWY 14 is being used for arrivals while RWY 32 is being used for departures. The disabled aircraft recovery kit from Air India is at site and preparation of pavement underneath the aircraft is in progress," a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson said. Mumbai airport, the country's second busiest airport, handles 930 flights per day with an average of 48 movements per hour.
New Rs. 200 notes entered the banking system today. The central bank, while announcing the move on Thursday, said that the Rs. 200 notes will act as a "missing link" and make it easier for people to transact in lower denomination currency, thereby bringing greater efficiency into the system. The bright yellow coloured Rs. 200 notes was launched just a day after the finance minister gave go-ahead to the Reserve Bank of India or RBI to issue the new currency bill. This is the fourth new note to be announced since November, when the Narendra Modi government announced a ban on Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes to choke tax evaders. Following the demonetisation of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 notes last November, the central bank had introduced Rs. 2,000 notes and new Rs. 500 notes. The phasing out of the high-value notes led to severe cash shortage in the economy and put pressure on low value notes. "The Reserve Bank of India will issue on August 25, 2017 Rs. 200 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (new) Series, bearing signature of Urjit R Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India from select RBI offices, and some banks," RBI said in a press release. As per the new policy on theme-based currency notes, the Rs. 200 bill bears motif of Sanchi Stupa to depict India's cultural heritage. India has currency denominations of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 2,000. As such, in the lower end of the denomination series, Rs. 200 has been the missing link. The RBI had recently introduced Rs. 50 note with a new look and additional security features. "To achieve the optimal system of currency that would minimise the number of denominations while increasing the probability of proffering exact change, especially at the lower end of denominations, there is a logical need to introduce the missing denomination of Rs. 200, which will make the present currency system more efficient," RBI said. Among prominent features, the Rs. 200 banknote will carry portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre and the denominational numeral "200" with rupee symbol in colour changing ink - green to blue - on the bottom right on the obverse (front) side of the note, RBI said. For visually impaired, the front side of the note will have intaglio or raised printing of Mahatma Gandhi portrait, Ashoka Pillar emblem, raised identification mark 'H' with micro-text Rs. 200, four angular bleed lines with two circles in between the lines both on the right and left sides. The reverse side of the note will carry a Swachh Bharat logo with slogan and the Sanchi Stupa motif, RBI said. The new note will be in a dimension of 66mmX146mm. RBI said the introduction of a new currency denomination and design is done keeping in consideration various factors like ease of transactions for the common man, replacement of soiled banknotes, inflation and the need for combating counterfeiting.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue the first-ever Rs 200 denomination banknotes tomorrow. The currency note is expected to address liquidity issue and also reduce the burden on the Rs 100 note. "The Reserve Bank of India will issue on August 25, Rs 200 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series, bearing signature of Dr. Urjit R. Patel, RBI Governor," RBI said in a release. "The new denomination has Motif of Sanchi Stupa on the reverse. The base colour of the note is Bright Yellow. The note has other designs, geometric patterns aligning with the overall colour scheme, both at the obverse and reverse," RBI said. The circulation of the new note is likely to bridge the shortage of small currency denomenation notes that have faced a shortage after introduction of Rs 2000 note and demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. RBI also expects the new note to be very popular as there is no other denomination between Rs 100 and Rs 500 notes.
1. The new note will be released inder Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series, bearing signature of RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R. Patel. 2. See through register with denominational numeral 200. Latent image with denominational numeral 200 3.Denominational numeral २०० in Devnagari
4. Portrait of Mahatma Gandhi at the centre 5. Micro letters 'RBI', 'भारत', 'India' and '200' 6. Windowed security thread with inscriptions 'भारत' and RBI with colour shift. Colour of the thread changes from green to blue when the note is tilted 7. Guarantee Clause, Governor's signature with Promise Clause and RBI emblem towards right of Mahatma Gandhi portrait 8. Denominational numeral with Rupee Symbol, Rs 200 in colour changing ink (green to blue) on bottom right 9. Ashoka Pillar emblem on the right 10. Mahatma Gandhi portrait and electrotype (200) watermarks
11. Number panel with numerals growing from small to big on the top left side and bottom right side 12. For visually impaired: Intaglio or raised printing of Mahatma Gandhi portrait, Ashoka Pillar emblem, raised Identification mark H with micro-text ₹200, four angular bleed lines with two circles in between the lines both on the right and left sides On the reverse:
13. Year of printing of the note on the left 14. Swachh Bharat logo with slogan 15. Language panel 16. Motif of Sanchi Stupa 17. Denominational numeral २०० in Devnagari 18. Dimension of the banknote will be 66 mm x 146 mm