PM Modi hits back at critics, bank employees threaten strike, Google’s new smartphones: Top stories
Prime Minister Narendra Modi defends his government’s management of the economy, RBI lowers growth forecast to 6.7%, Arvind Kejriwal says he is an elected chief minister, not a terrorist. Here are the top stories to keep you up to date.india Updated: Oct 05, 2017 08:05 IST
Modi hits back at critics over economic slowdown, says won’t jeopardise India’s future
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday strongly defended his government’s management of the economy, pledging to reverse a downturn in economic growth. The Prime Minister, in a speech at an event organised by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India, admitted that economic growth has slowed, but added that his government is “committed to reversing the trend”. Modi highlighted the country’s hard-won macroeconomic stability – it is no longer part of the so-called Fragile Five, or countries that stood to lose the most in 2013 from the US Federal Reserve’s decision to end its fiscal stimulus – listed his government’s reformist initiatives (87 reforms across 21 sectors), and pointed to recent data that shows the emergence of green shoots in the economy. Read the story here.
Rahul Gandhi in Amethi: If Modi can’t help youth and farmers, he should say so; Cong will do it in 6 months
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday stepped up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying if the PM was not able to provide jobs to youths and help farmers he should make way for the Congress. Addressing a chaupal (meeting) of farmers at Kathaura village on the first day of his three-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Amethi on Wednesday, he said: “Modi should not waste India’s time. He should begin providing jobs to the youth. There are two main issues in India, the issue of farmers and that of providing employment. Others are smaller issues. If Modiji is not able to do it, he should tell the Congress to take over and we will do this work in six months.” Read the story here.
Demonetisation: Bank employees, yet to be paid for overtime, threaten strike
Unions representing employees of government-run banks have threatened to launch a strike and head to courts if their employers don’t clear overtime dues from the time they worked long hours to handle the demonetisation rush. The Union government’s November 8 decision to scrap bank notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination wiped out 86% of the currency in circulation, triggering a countrywide rush as millions ended up in banks to exchange their notes for legal tender. In some cases, staffers worked 14 hours at a stretch and their leaves were cancelled as the system struggled to deal with the unprecedented chaos. A majority of those employees who put in extra hours were yet to get additional pay and overtime, almost 11 months since they worked the extra hours. Read the story here.
US secy of state Tillerson affirms support to Trump, denies he wanted to quit
US secretary of state Rex Tillerson has affirmed support for President Donald Trump and denied he had wanted to resign, according to reports that had earlier said he had also called the president a “moron”. NBC news reported early Wednesday the secretary of state was about to resign after Trump’s speech last July at the annual gathering of Boy Scouts of American, which Tillerson had once headed. A few days prior to that, Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” after a meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, the news outlet had reported, and had added that vice-president Mike Pence had persuaded to change his mind. Read the story here.
Can hold assembly, Lok Sabha elections simultaneously after Sept 2018: EC
The Election Commission would be ready to hold assembly and Lok Sabha elections simultaneously after September next year, election commissioner OP Rawat said on Wednesday, a move that could cut poll costs by hundreds of crores. The BJP-led government at the Centre has been aggressively pushing for the system of simultaneous parliamentary and assembly polls that was prevalent in India till 1967. “We told the government what we have and what we need. We told the government about the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other related things that we need and how much money will be required for the same,” Rawat said. Read the story here.
RBI lowers growth forecast to 6.7%, holds repo rate citing risk to inflation
Home and auto loan rates are unlikely to change, after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left its key policy rate unchanged on Wednesday, citing higher risks to inflation. The central bank slashed its growth forecast and raised its inflation forecast. Economists said rate cuts in the near term are unlikely as RBI waits for the growth and inflation situation to evolve. On Wednesday, the six-member monetary policy committee left the repurchase (repo) rate – the rate at which RBI lends money to banks against bonds – unchanged at 6%. India’s economic growth decelerated to 5.7% in the quarter ended June, the slowest pace in three years. Read the story here.
I am an elected CM, not a terrorist: Kejriwal slams LG Baijal in Delhi Assembly
“I am an elected chief minister, not a terrorist,” Arvind Kejriwal said on while dramatically hitting out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal for “opposing” a Bill to regularise guest teachers in Delhi. At a day-long session of the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal launched a broadside against the LG, BJP and the bureaucracy, alleging a nexus between them, which prompted a walk-out by the opposition. “Hum Delhi ke maalik hai (we are Delhi’s masters), not the bureaucracy,” he asserted at one point, which was greeted with loud cheers and table thumping by the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs. He was taking part in a discussion on a Bill introduced in the Assembly to regularise the employment of around 15,000 guest teachers (working on contractual basis) in Delhi government-run schools. Read the story here.
Out of luck and luxury, Honeypreet braces for bitter pill in custody
Given to a life of luxury, jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s ‘adopted daughter’ Honeypreet Insan now stares at tough times in police custody. Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja and described herself as ‘Papa’s Angel’, travelled to different places with the dera head and knew people in the corridors of power. She did not find much time to sleep on her first night in the custody at the Chandimandir police station as her interrogation went on till 1am following which she was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, as she complained of chest pain, officials said. She was at the hospital till 3am and then taken back. Her questioning started at 6pm, hours she was arrested from the Patiala-Zirakpur highway on Tuesday. Read the story here.
Fake Delhi cop robs BMW X5, gets caught as car shuts down during getaway
A former Indian Navy officer dressed up as a policeman to carjack a BMW sports utility vehicle from near the airport but was caught as the vehicle engine stopped a few kilometres later, with the keys left behind with the driver. Bharat Singh, 49, who was a petty officer with the navy till 2001, told police he wanted the high-end SUV for personal use. Singh hailed down the SUV to seek a lift around 11:45 am on Tuesday. After getting in, he robbed the car by pointing a knife at the driver, Khem Chand, who was to return to Agra after dropping the car owner at the airport, officials said on Wednesday. Read the story here.
Catalan head says already feels like the president of a free country
Catalonia will move on Monday to declare independence from Spain following October 1’s banned referendum as the European Union nation nears a rupture that threatens the foundations of its young democracy. Mireia Boya, a Catalan lawmaker from the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, said on Twitter that a declaration of independence would follow a parliamentary session on Monday to evaluate the results of the vote to break away. “We know that there may be disbarments, arrests ... But we are prepared, and in no case will it be stopped,” she said. Read the story here.
UK’s Theresa May says sorry for poor election, vows social reforms
British Prime Minister Theresa May apologised to her party Wednesday for a disastrous election result and promised economic help for struggling families, as she tried to restore momentum to a divided government. In a Conservative Party conference speech full of idealistic language but interrupted by a prankster, May said the election campaign had been “too scripted, too presidential.” “I led the campaign, and I am sorry,” she said. In a bid to appeal to middle- and lower-income voters, May promised to put a price cap on energy bills and to get government back into the business of building public housing. Read the story here.
Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL smartphones launched: Price, specifications, features
Google on Wednesday took the wraps off its new smartphones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Unveiled at an event in San Francisco, the new smartphones are successors to last year’s Pixel series, branded as the “made by Google phones.” The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be initially available in India, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, US and other select markets. The base variant of the Pixel 2 starts at $649 (Rs 42,000 approximately) whereas the Pixel 2 XL base model is priced at $849 (Rs 55,256). Google last month acquired HTC’s smartphone team that worked on the company’s Pixel devices. Read the story here.