Morning News Bulletin: Track latest updates

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Updated: October 21, 2017 7:12:57 AM

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P Chidambaram takes a dig at EC for not announcing Guj poll dates, CM hits back

Congress leader P Chidambaram today took a swipe at the Election Commission for not announcing the schedule for the upcoming polls in Gujarat yet, saying wryly it has “authorised” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the dates at his “last rally” in the state. In a series of tweets dripping with sarcasm, the former finance and home minister also claimed that the Election Commission will be “recalled” from its “extended holiday” after the Gujarat government has announced all “concessions and freebies”. Modi is due to visit Gujarat on Sunday. “EC has authorised PM to announce date of Gujarat elections at his last rally (and kindly keep EC informed),” he tweeted.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar resigns

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who was appointed as the Solicitor General of India by the NDA government on June 7, 2014, today resigned from office citing “personal reasons”. Kumar, who held the post of country’s second highest law officer for over three years, has represented the Centre in the apex court in crucial cases including the pleas against demonetisation and rising pollution. He is the second law officer to quit after Mukul Rohatgi, who had resigned as the Attorney General in June this year. Kumar, a constitutional law expert, has assisted the apex court in deciding the issue whether a state government can grant pardon to the death row convicts in cases which are probed and prosecuted by central agencies like CBI.

Funds raised via equity to hit 13-year high at Rs 1.3 lakh cr in 2017; slew of IPOs, OFS in offing

Fund-raising via the equity route could cross Rs 1.3 lakh crore in 2017 with companies and financial institutions having mopped up close to Rs 1.07 lakh crore so far. This is the highest amount raised via equity in the last 13 years and almost twice the quantum of Rs 46,733 crore raised in 2016. In the next two months, more than half a dozen initial public offerings (IPOs) are tipped to hit the market. These include the IPO of New India Assurance which is expected to hit the market later this month. Among private sector companies, HDFC Life, Mahindra Logistics, Khadims and Shalby Hospitals are expected to hit the markets this year.

Hunger index for India: IFPRI joins less than honest analysis and prescriptions club; Surjit Bhalla explains

To continue with the (unfortunate) theme of my last several articles—the disappearance of honest debate in India. Disappearance is bad enough, but to replace it with fake news, and/or flaky analysis is deplorable. Just last week (goo.gl/Ajyz11), I had documented how researchers, and even a redoubtable institution like RBI and the MPC, were indulging in, at a minimum, very questionable, and non-reproducible, analysis of the effect of fiscal deficits on inflation (see goo.gl/obNxct). An ill-informed remedy can only aggravate a patient’s illness, not make her get well.

In festive season, home loans demand hit badly; these reasons really hurt borrowers

Demonetisation, implementation of the goods and services tax and RERA have taken the sheen off the demand for home loans, which typically sees a spike before the festive season, bankers said. However, demand for other retail loans such as two-wheeler loans and personal loans is strong, they added. “On home loans, there has been some impact of GST, demonetisation and RERA. As compared to last year, we are seeing a little less demand,” said PK Gupta, managing director, retail and digital banking, State Bank of India.

Smuggling in India: From cigarettes, gold to smartphones, here is all you need to know at a glance

Illicit trade dampens the economy, destabilises legitimate industries, restrains innovation and investments, reduces government revenues, and hampers the health and safety of consumers. Moreover, globally, it fuels transnational crime, corruption and terrorism. India is no exception to this. A report by KPMG-Ficci says smuggling in India takes place in various forms—misdeclaration, undervaluation, misuse of end-use, amongst others. The seizure value for misdeclared goods was Rs 1,187 crore in 2016, while that of undervalued goods was Rs 254 crore. The seizure value from misuse of end-use was Rs 2,780 crore, seeing a rise from Rs 953 crore in 2015—an increase of 190% y-o-y.

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