Thursday, April 20, 2017


National Green Tribunal today slammed the Art of Living over its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar statement blaming the Centre and the green panel for damage to the Yamuna floodplains.
Describing the statement as shocking, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said, Art of Living founder has no sense of responsibility.
The observations came after petitioner informed the bench about Ravi Shankar’s recent statement blaming the government and the NGT for permitting his NGO to hold the World Culture Festival on the floodplains of river Yamuna.
The counsel appearing for the Art of Living, however, contested the findings of the expert panel and said that they have certain objections with regard to the findings of the expert committee and sought setting aside of the report.


International Monetary Fund in it’s latest update on Fiscal Monitor, April 2017 finds that the fiscal policy has a greater role to play in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth. In spite of the impact of demonetization , India returned to fiscal consolidation in the fiscal year 2016-17 largely due to the near-elimination of fuel subsidies and improved targeting of social benefits.
As per the Reports , in India, the headline deficit is expected to decline moderately in fiscal year 2017/18, with continued setback in reaching the medium-term deficit target.
A Greater Role for Fiscal Policy
The global economy is undergoing major transformations, including a productivity deceleration, technological change, and global economic integration. This creates new demands for public policies to smoothen the progress of these transformations, while cushioning the effect on those negatively affected. Fiscal policy has recently gained importance, both in public debate and in governments’ policy. A re-evaluation of fiscal policy is taking place, stressing its greater role in promoting sustainable and inclusive growth and smoothing the economic cycle. Simultaneously , the high uncertainty surrounding the outlook and high levels of public debt require a better understanding and managing of fiscal risks. Therefore, fiscal policy has the complex task of achieving more and better in a more inhibited environment.
Setting the Course for Fiscal Policy
In the past decade, the role of fiscal policy has been reassessed, reflecting specific circumstances, particularly the global financial crisis, as well as new academic research using macroeconomic and survey data. Fiscal policy is in general seen as an influential tool for promoting inclusive growth and can add to stabilizing the economy, predominantly during deep recessions and when monetary policy has become less effectual. At the same time, high debt levels, long-term demographic challenges, and elevated fiscal risks place a premium on sound public financial management. Particularly, policies should be anchored within a reliable medium term framework ensuring debt sustainability, manages risks effectively, and encourages countries to build buffers during upturns.
Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth While Coping with High Debt
In most countries, limited fiscal buffers will require policymakers to be selective in their budgetary choices. If additional resources are essential, they should be raised in a way that is the least harmful for growth, while keeping debt on a sustainable path.
Upgrading the Tax System to Boost Productivity
An important challenge facing policymakers today is how to raise total factor productivity, the key driver of living standards over the long term. Tackling this challenge calls for the application of all policy levers, and particularly growth-friendly fiscal policies. Upgrading a country’s tax system is important to boost productivity as it can reduce distortions that avert resources from going to where they are most productive. In sum, how governments tax matters for productivity. Improving the design of tax policies helps get rid of the distortions that are holding more productive firms back, generating a positive impact on aggregate productivity and growth.


   After box office success of Hind Ka Napak Ko Jawab, Saint Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan aka Dr MSG is all set to storm the screens again with his upcoming movie “Jattu Engineer”. For the same, today Saint Dr MSG released the first poster of the movie from his Twitter account. Whereas, movie is slated to release on 19th of May.
   Just like previous movies of MSG-series, the father-daughter duo, Saint Dr MSG and his daughter Honeypreet Insan has directed this movie. “Jattu Engineer” will be a comedy movie with some social messages knitted in humor and emotions. The storyline revolves around an underdeveloped village that is struck by poverty, unemployment, and drug menace and how a teacher transforms the fate of the villagers with his deep-dyed gumption to uplift the living standards of the village. The movie will also highlight the PM Narendra Modi’s dream project – Swachh Bharat Mission.
   The shooting of “Jattu Engineer” was completed in a short span of 15 days. Well, apart from this, the other upcoming movies like MSG Online Gurukul is in post-production phase and might be released by the end of year. And apart from acting and direction, Saint Dr MSG has performed 43 credits in the movie that include – DOP, script writing, song writing, set designing, art direction, dress designing, editing, choreography etc. The movie is based on sports to encourage the youth to participate more actively in games rather than drifting towards the drugs.


Bangalore, April 20th, 2017: Cricbuzz, the leading cricket information destination on web and mobile, has today announced that Harsha Bhogle’s videos have crossed the milestone figure of 100 million views across its platforms. Harsha’s videos – which include match previews, reviews and special blogs on players and teams among other things – have generated, on average, over five lakh views on a daily basis. These numbers are unprecedented in its genre and is a reflection of what viewers on a pathbreaking young platform genuinely want.
Cricbuzz roped in Harsha Bhogle as ‘Voice of Cricket’ in September 2016 and has produced over 150 videos with the esteemed commentator and cricket expert ever since. As a part of the association with Cricbuzz, Harsha provides live analysis of all major cricket matches, records video blogs and writes editorials on a weekly basis. While Harsha has been away from television commentary, Cricket fans have still enjoyed his valuable insights of India’s successful home Test season on Cricbuzz. Harsha’s experience has also added great quality and dynamism to Cricbuzz’s editorial content.
Thrilled by his debut on the digital platform, Harsha Bhogle said, “I must admit I wasn’t quite aware of how big CricBuzz was and, indeed, could become. I was taken in by the idea of working with a young, enthusiastic, committed team of cricket lovers and of getting a platform I needed. I now look forward to a long, exploratory journey with this wonderful young team.”
Cricbuzz conceptualised a 15-episode video series called ‘Your Memories My Stories’, in which Harsha relived the classic moments of Indian Cricket by narrating interesting anecdotes around it. The show, that was recorded in both Hindi and English, garnered over 17.5 million views. Season 2 of the show is expected to come out after the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
Speaking about the successful partnership with Harsha, Pankaj Chhaparwal, CEO of Cricbuzz, said, “Our goal has always been to deliver Cricket information in the most entertaining and uplifting manner and getting Harsha Bhogle, arguably Cricket’s best storyteller, on board has certainly been one of the high points for Cricbuzz in the last few months. We have great plans with Harsha going forward and I’m sure Cricbuzz users will have plenty to look forward to.”
During IPL 2017 and the following Champions Trophy, Harsha will be interviewing cricketers from various teams and cricket experts from around the world as a part of their digital series ‘Cricbuzz Unplugged’. This, in addition to his match analysis and video blogs on Cricbuzz, will be a treat for cricket fans in the coming months.


Image may contain: 3 people, screen and indoor
Professor Rohit talk  based on the book Blood Red River published in June 2016 by Hachette. It interrogates the typical narrative of development conflict, that of a rapacious industry that is unwilling to share the gains of development with people affected by projects and, instead, prone to paying off politicians, bureaucrats and police officers to achieve ‘compliance’ with the law of the land on land acquisition and environment. While many conflicts observed by the speaker fit the narrative, he argues that there are two important relationships that run contrary to this narrative of development conflict. One is the nature of the conflict between members of the development elite – industrialists who stand to gain from industrialization. These industrialists, driven by their egos, business imperatives, and even family feuds, target their fellow industrialists with methods foul and fair. They often adopt the violent methods of insurgents while at the same time laying the blame on them. Such operations are usually outsourced to contractors who are also backed by pliant politicians, bureaucrats and members of the police force.
The second conflict is between global and national elites. This is a more subtle conflict that is carried out through a series of actions of bodies like the Federal Reserve of the USA, the IMF, and the World Bank, that protect the recession prone economies of the advanced economies through activities like monetary expansion, without considering the possible consequences on the emerging economies. This leads to the national elite getting tethered to the rise and ebb of the global commodities cycle, making them appear visionary and blundering in turn, without any real cause for either opinion. 
Further, many dichotomies of development are in fact, spurious. One of these dichotomies relates to the conflict between the welfare of the poor and the protection of the environment – forests, rivers, and wildlife. Many people feel outraged that environmentalists want to protect the environment against industrialization. ‘Think of the many poor people who could benefit,’ they argue. However, the day to day life of  adivasis (dalits and other lower castes) described in the book shows that the adivasi spends half their working day on the field and half in the forest foraging for fruits, fodder and wood. Therefore, the depletion of the environment directly takes away half their livelihoods. The acquisition of agricultural land takes away the other half. Moreover, the increasing capital intensity of mining and industrial production, overall, results in there being nothing to substitute the loss of livelihood. The speaker will posit potential solutions to these problems both at the level of national and international policy making. These solutions will highlight structural aspects of the world economy that offer hope for inclusive development. 
Rohit Prasad is Professor of Economics at MDI Gurgaon. He has a Ph.D. in Economic Theory from SUNY Stony Brook, USA where he was taught Game Theory by the Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Aumann. His thesis written under the supervision of Pradeep Dubey, leading professor at SUNY-Stony Brook, provides a framework to address questions related to the optimal fiscal and monetary policy choices of a government in a free market. After his Ph.D. he worked in the software industry in USA and India in senior management positions before joining MDI Gurgaon. His last position was Vice President at Xansa, then a USD 700 million firm. His research interests include the economics of ICT¸ and sustainable development. His papers have been published at leading international journals including Telecommunications Policy and Netnomics. He writes a fortnightly column based on game theory called ‘Game Sutra’ in the Mint.  His book, The Dynamics of Spectrum Management co-authored with Dr. V. Sridhar was published by the Oxford University Press in 2014. He is the author of a popular book on entrepreneurship, Startup Sutra and a travelogue that explores development conflict in India, Blood Red River, both published by Hachette. He recently served on a high powered committee of the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India to make recommendations on spectrum allocation and pricing in India, and on two Expert Panels for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, to study the value of 2G spectrum. He has provided expert testimony for a major telecom operator on spectrum related judicial proceedings.


30 Audi A3’s to be won marking the single largest customer initiative
New Delhi, April 20, 2017: Launching yet another path breaking customer initiative, Kalyan Jewellers, India’s most trusted and leading jewellery brand, has unveiled a unique global campaign with 30 Audi A3’s on offer. Such an initiative is an industry first, wherein customers across India and the GCC will get an opportunity to win 30 Audi A3’s on their purchase at any Kalyan Jewellers showrooms. The Kalyan Jewellers-Audi campaign marks the single largest customer centric initiative and will run from April 10, 2017 until June 9, 2017 across the India, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.  
Announcing the onset of the campaign, T.S. Kalyanaraman, Chairman & Managing Director, Kalyan Jewellers said, “We have always focused on providing a compelling shopping experience that enables the customer to extract enhanced value from their purchase and fulfill their aspirations. Kalyan Jewellers has nearly doubled its retail presence in the India and the GCC to a total of 105 showrooms in a short span and we owe this success to our loyal the customers. They are the cornerstones of all our achievements and this initiative is a reiteration of the same. The Kalyan Jewellers – Audi campaign is great opportunity for our customers to win 30 luxury AUDI A3’s while buying their favourite Kalyan Jewellery.”
Customers can participate in the promotion by making a minimum purchase across any Kalyan Jewellers showroom across India and GCC. Those who buy gold jewellery will receive one coupon, whereas those buying diamond jewellery will receive two coupons. For purchase of gold jewellery worth Rs 25,000, customers are entitled to get one gold coin free along with five raffle coupons. Those buying diamond jewellery for Rs 25,000 will receive 2 free gold coins and 10 raffle coupons.
This promotion is valid globally across all Kalyan Jewellers outlets except those in the states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The campaign will have 15 winners from India, 8 from UAE, 4 from Qatar and 3 from Kuwait. Winners will be chosen through mega raffle draws, which will be held on 14th of June 2017.

NGT slams Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

National Green Tribunal today slammed the Art of Living over its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar statement blaming the Centre and the green panel for damage to the Yamuna floodplains. 

Describing the statement as shocking, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said, Art of Living founder has no sense of responsibility. 

The observations came after petitioner informed the bench about Ravi Shankar's recent statement blaming the government and the NGT for permitting his NGO to hold the World Culture Festival on the floodplains of river Yamuna. 

The counsel appearing for the Art of Living, however, contested the findings of the expert panel and said that they have certain objections with regard to the findings of the expert committee and sought setting aside of the report.


Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and indoor
Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors: J P Nadda
“Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society and is driven by many interconnected factors. Single, isolated interventions have limited impact and coordinated action is required to minimize the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.” This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare at at the ‘Inter-Ministerial Consultation on AMR containment’, here today. Shri J P Nadda also announced the finalization of India’s comprehensive and multi-sectoral National Action Plan at the function. Shri Ram Vila Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Anil Madhav Dave, Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Smt. Anupriya Patel, MoS (Health & Family Welfare) were also present. The Ministers later signed a ‘Delhi Declaration’ for collectively strategizing to contain AMR. It pledges to adopt a holistic and collaborative approach towards prevention and containment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in India. It calls on all stakeholders including UN, WHO, FAO and other UN agencies, civil society organizations etc., to support the development and implementation of the national and state action plans on AMR.
Shri J P Nadda said that under the guidance of the Hon. Prime Minister who has stressed on the need to converge actions across ministries and departments and not work in silos, so as to not have segmented outcome: “We are working in the direction of pulling out malaise of AMR from the root. Health Ministry is at the receiving end as there are various layers and every layer needs to be addressed”.


Finland’s center-right government is planning to give authorities new powers to monitor citizens online in a fast-track legislative move aimed at countering threats like terrorism and spying. The draft law, presented on Wednesday, would allow the Finnish intelligence service to monitor citizens’ data communications beyond Finnish borders if there is a suspicion of a “serious threat” against national security. Currently, the service is allowed to gather information only on an individual crime suspect inside Finnish borders. The new plan requires changes to the constitutional law on privacy protection and the government wants to push it through in an accelerated procedure.


President Donald Trump has ordered the National Security Council to lead a 90-day, interagency review of the Iran nuclear deal, in accordance with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s letter to Congress from Tuesday night. The review will evaluate whether the suspension of sanctions on Iran under the agreement “are in the vital interest of our national security” and “to make sure that they’re living up to their agreement,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. When asked if Trump thinks that Iran is “cheating” on the deal, Spicer said: “If he didn’t, if he thought that everything was fine, he would have allowed this to move forward. I think he’s doing the prudent thing by asking for a review of the current deal.”


During a question-and-answer session on foreign policy, US House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said that the US could use force on North Korea amid growing tensions in the region. “Of course, we don’t want to have military options employed, but we must keep all options on the table,” Ryan told an audience at the Policy Exchange think tank in London. The comment comes as the Trump administration is ramping up its rhetoric against North Korea and Iran.


More than 20 people are feared to have been killed in the avalanche triggered by torrential rains in the central Colombian city of Manizales. While the official death toll climbed to 14, city’s mayor Octavio Cardona estimated that as much as 20 people could have lost their lives in the calamity. A total of 22 people are still unaccounted for. The severe floods have caused serious damage to residential neighborhoods, with some 75 homes having collapsed as a result, and prompted mass evacuation of 400 households, the mayor wrote on Twitter. On April 1, over 300 people died in mudslides and flash flooding in the southern Columbian city of Mocoa, and scores of people are still missing.

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland i...