With high festive season demand pushing up air fares, aviation regulator DGCA has been asked by civil aviation ministry to examine if it could take some steps provide any relief to air travellers. I have asked DGCA to use its powers and look into the matter, although beyond a point, we cannot do anything, civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi said replying to a question on rise in air fares ahead of the festival season. Noting that there is a flexible mechanism that governs air fares, he said the regulator would examine the issue as it affected the travelling public. The fares of almost all major airlines have risen by an average of 10% due to the festive season.
Coal min for NLC board nod on disinvestment
The coal ministry has asked Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) to seek board approval for offloading 3.6% equity to meet the guideline for 10% public float, required of a Navratna company. The development comes on the heels of the finance ministry's request to the coal ministry for further disinvestment of NLC, which is under the latter's purview. "The ministry has written to NLC asking it to seek the approval of its board for further disinvestment of the firm," an official in the coal ministry said. Being a Navratna PSU, the company is required to have minimum 10% of its equity with public, while currently only 6.44% of its shares trade on the bourses. The ministry had stated earlier it was willing to disinvest further 3.56% of its shares to meet the criteria set for the Navratna companies.
Scheme to aid overseas Indian workers on cards
In a major initiative to support overseas Indian workers, the government will soon launch a scheme to provide resettlement expenses, insurance cover and pension benefits on their return to the country. Overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi said the diaspora community has been contributing significantly to the economy by sending billion of dollars in remittances and the government is launching the scheme to support them on their return. When a migrant worker returns to India, he is older and he has to start economic activity to support himself and his family. To support the workers, we have decided to launch the scheme, he said. However, he did not give the details of the scheme.
India top arms buyer in developing world: Report
India was the top weapons purchaser among the developing countries in 2010, acquiring armaments worth $5.8 billion, according to a US Congressional report. Taiwan ranked second with $2.7 billion arms purchases followed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Though Russia continued its dominance of the Indian arms market, the Congressional report said New Delhi had begun to diversify its weapons supply base, acquiring high technology systems from Israel, France as well as the US. The report said that the US ranked first in arms transfer agreements with developing countries followed closely by Russia which sold arms worth $7.8 billion. The value of all arms transfer agreements worldwide in 2010 was $40.4 billion.
EU lauds Indias decision to allow Pak WTO waiver
The European Union on Thursday welcomed India's decision to withdraw its objections to the World Trade Organisation waiver sought by the EU for granting duty-free access to certain goods from Pakistan. The EU described New Delhi's decision, announced on Wednesday following bilateral trade talks between India and Pakistan, as "very positive". The head of the EU delegation to Pakistan, ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said the decision was "relevant in light of the renewed floods in the province of Sindh". The WTO waiver granting unilateral trade concessions to Pakistan was originally sought by the EU to provide relief after devastating floods in Pakistan last year.