The odd-even scheme is not returning to Delhi on Monday, the Delhi government said today, expressing its inability to enforce the measure after the National Green Tribunal ordered the withdrawal of exemptions given to women and two-wheelers. The government said it will move the NGT on Monday requesting a review of its order and if the exemptions are granted, the scheme’s implementation “will be considered”. After a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot announced that the measure, which was to be implemented between November 13 and 17, was being “called off” as the number of buses were inadequate and women’s safety could not be compromised.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today began his three-day tour of north Gujarat ahead of the assembly polls next month, and visited two of the most famous temples in the state- Ambaji temple and Akshardham temple. His visit to the temples triggered a war of words between the BJP and the opposition Congress, with the ruling party alleging that he is visiting temples just to garner votes, while the Congress hit back, saying the BJP does not have a “patent” on devotion.
Well, as my father would always say, democracy is a battle of ideas and there is an idea of azadi and we cannot just wish it away. I don’t know how many people can really describe what it means for them. A 14-year-old cannot describe what azadi is but he too takes to the streets to shout slogans of azadi. The only way is to have a dialogue, which I am happy is happening for the first time with a representative (Dineshwar Sharma) of the Government of India. Unlike previous interlocutors, he has been given cabinet secretary’s rank. We have a PM at this time who is very powerful, who has a mandate and if and when he decides, I think he will be able to change the discourse and make history by resolving this issue once and for all.
Rhetoric, bluff and bluster have their limits. At some point of time, the law of diminishing returns will apply, and the truth will be revealed. A year after demonetisation, every justification trotted out for that decision has been rebutted and ridiculed. Let me begin with the justification that was disarmingly simple and had gained considerable traction: ending the counterfeiting of currency. One year later we are told that out of the Rs 15,28,000 crore (by value, of demonetised currency notes) that was returned to the RBI, there was only Rs 41 crore, by value, of fake currency! That represented 0.0027% of the value of the demonetised notes. Before you express shock at the paltry amount, read this too: ‘The counterfeit versions have improved from easily identifiable in the beginning to highest quality in recent times’, according to officials who track fake Indian currency notes (FICN).
What is it that makes the railway system antiquated? It is the mindset of the people who are opposing the bullet train that has kept India backward. Whoever suggested there is shortage of funds for safety? There are sufficient funds, there is no shortage. We are investing `1.35 lakh crore this year in the Railways. Whatever measures are needed for safety, these will be implemented on a war footing. The last modern train technology that came to India was the Rajdhani; that was in 1969. Even then a number of people opposed it. Even the chairman of the railway board opposed it; such things keep India backward.Shinkansen (bullet train) technology was introduced in Japan 53 years ago. So as it is, we are already 53 years late in India. By the time it is set up, it will be 58 years. So it’s a shame that the political leadership, the officials and, I would say, even the thinking class of India, which includes the media, have forced the country to remain deprived.
Reliance Infrastructure on Saturday reported a 4.7% year-on-year decline in Q2FY18 net profit to Rs 543.81 crore. Total income rose 5% y-o-y to Rs 7,621 crore. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was up 6% y-o-y to Rs 2,256 crore. As on September 30, 2017, the consolidated net worth of the company stood at Rs 23,734 crore, the company said in a statement. During the quarter, the company’s RInfra infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) fund received approval from Sebi for its proposed initial public offer. The issue size is Rs 2,500 crore. RInfra’s order book stood at Rs 5,635 crore at the end of the second quarter. The company said it has bid for projects worth Rs 50,000 crore across power, transport and civil infrastructure.