THRISSUR l FRIDAY l AUGUST 30, 2019 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l CITY EDITION GOVT TO SWEETEN AIR INDIA DEAL BY TWEAKING TERMS After its earlier bid to woo investors for the carrier failed, the govt now plans to dilute disinvestment terms and conditions ‘NEW EXPRESSION OF INTEREST WILL BE A HIT’ BIDDING PROCESS TO START IN OCTOBER In the first attempt to divest AI in May 2018, the government wanted to retain 24% stake, which could have been one of the primary reasons for not getting potential buyers. Sources said now the govt will put 95% stake up for sale and retain 5% for employees stock option. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri claimed the new EoI will be a hit with investors ■ ■ In February, the government had approved setting up of Air India Assets Holding Company to transfer H29,464 crore worth loans of the national carrier and its four subsidiaries The government is set to fast-track the process and a meeting headed by Home Minister Amit Shah will set the ball rolling 160 NO. OF QUERIES ABOUT AIR INDIA SALE PROCESS EARLIER, BUT ZERO BIDS CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI RBI diagnosis out: Slowdown cyclical, problems structural Central bank identifies downturn in manufacturing, trade, hotels, transport, construction and agriculture sectors; Indian economy needs investments E1.96 lakh cr RBI’s contingency fund in FY19 slipped from I2.32 lakh crore in FY18, after the I52,000 crore excess payout to the govt E71,542.93 cr The banking sector reported 6,801 frauds involving I71,542.93 crore in FY19, RBI said S U N I T H A N AT T I The recent deceleration could be in the nature of a soft patch mutating into a cyclical downswing, rather than a deep structural slowdown... There are still structural issues in land, labour, agricultural marketing and the like - RBI Squeeze on 2,000 notes While the currency in circulation has jumped 17% to I21.1 lakh crore as of March this year, I2,000 notes seem to have shrunk both in value and volume. The value of the notes shrank from I6,72,600 crore in FY18 to I6,58,200 crore in FY19 | P13 SC collegium recommends 4 for apex court E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi DAYS after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his nod to increasing the number of judges in the Supreme Court, the collegium is learnt to have made recommendations to the Centre for filling up the posts. The collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has suggested the names of four sitting chief justices of high courts— three to fill up the new posts and another one for Justice Abhay Sapre who retired on August 27. The names will now be sent to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice. Those now recommended for elevation are justices Hrishikesh Roy, Ravinder Bhat, V Ramasubramanian and Krishna Murari. AFTER months of whistling in the dark, India finally diagnosed the nature of its economic slowdown, but with a twist. Typically downturns are either cy, clical or structural, but RBI believes that we are seeing a bit of both. It’s a cyclical slowdown, but with deep structural problems that need urgent reforms, it concluded in its annual report released Thursday . But by its own admission, this ‘precise diagnosis’ was rather difficult to arrive at, as the conditions weren’t really ‘easy to disentangle’. “The key question that confronts the Indian economy as it looks ahead to the rest of 2019-20 is: are we dealing with a soft patch, or a cyclical downswing, or a structural slowdown?,” the banking regulator wondered. Should there be counter-cyclical monetary and fiscal policy actions? Or deep-seated reforms? Policy responses are dependent on the answers, but RBI gave away little. “Proximate answers could perhaps be found in the lessons of the experience of 2018-19, with which it could be feasible to assess the outlook for 2019-20 and the challenges that lie ahead,” it said. The government’s fiscal policy appears exhausted — which is to say fiscal stimulus is ruled out — leaving the central bank to do the heavy lifting via its monetary policy . While admitting that our golden growth years are turning leaden, RBI was convinced that a broad-based cyclical downtur n was underway across manufacturing, trade, construction, agriculture and real estate. “The recent deceleration could be in the nature of a soft patch mutating into a cyclical downswing, rather than a deep structural slowdown. Nonetheless, there are still structural issues in land, labour, agricultural marketing and the like, which need to be addressed,” it said. Indian economy needs investments and consumption demand, but it’s getting neither. As if poking on a sore spot, the central bank further noted that investment rate crashed from 40 to 32 per cent in past seven years and that its revival along with consumption demand should be our ‘highest priority CONTINUED ON: P13 .’ Each time a gold carrier ‘cleared’ Customs, 4 inspectors made `1 L E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Kochi EVERY TIME a carrier came out with the smuggled gold without being checked by the Customs, the four inspectors got `1 lakh in bribe. That is what the officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) found to their shock during the interrogation of three more inspectors who were arrested on Thursday in connection with the seizure of 11.035 kg of gold worth `4.05 crore at the Kannur International Airport on August 19. For that single deal, the four officers together got richer by `4 lakh as there were four carriers involved in the smuggling. The DRI arrested Rohit Kumar Sharma and Krishan Kumar (both New Delhi) and Sakendra Paswan (Jharkhand) on Thursday, a day after arresting Rahul Pandit, the kingpin. “Pandit facilitated the gold smugglers who arrived from the Gulf every week. He used to charge `1 lakh for one carrier and share the amount with the three others,” an officer said. Interestingly, Pandit was stay- 11.035 kg of gold worth E4.05 crore was smuggled in at the Kannur International Airport on August 19 A4 lakh four Customs inspectors made from that single deal ing in an apartment in Kozhikode owned by a person who was involved in gold-smuggling activities. “Pandit was the main person aiding the gold-smuggling gang. The four had been hand in glove with a Kozhikode-based racket which owned jewellery shops in north Kerala. Pandit used to get carriers’ details and images from the racketeers through WhatsApp and pass them to these officers. The carriers arrived at the airport when one of the arrested inspectors was present,” said an ● More on P6 officer. EXPRESS READ Witness identifies Fr Kottoor in court IUML comes out in support of Tharoor Orthodox wing files plea against govt 5 more members of IS module identified T’Puram: Raju aka Adakka Raju, a witness in the Sr Abhaya case, told the CBI special court he had seen two people at the convent on the night of murder and identified Fr Thomas Kottoor as one of them. P4 Kozhikode: IUML state secretary M K Muneer, MLA, has come out in the open supporting Shashi Tharoor, MP, in the controversy over the latter praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. P4 Kochi: The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and a few parishes under it have filed a contempt-ofcourt petition before the Supreme Court against the state government on Thursday. P6 Kochi: The National Investigation Agency has identified five more persons who were part of an Islamic State module which was plotting terror attacks in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. P6 Judge blows whistle on graft in HC, faces wrath EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Patna/New Delhi He cut his teeth in fodder scam Justice Rakesh Kumar has a reputation of being an upright judge. He served as the standing counsel for CBI for 12 years and handled the big-ticket fodder scam cases A day after a senior judge remarked in a verdict that the judiciary in the Patna High Court was mired in corruption, a 11-judge bench led by the chief justice on Thursday stayed the order and also withdrew all judicial work from him. Justice Rakesh Kumar, in his 20-page order on Wednesday, had urged the CJI and SC collegium to take cognisance of “corrupt practices plaguing the judicial system at all levels in Bihar”. The order was passed while hearing the bail plea of retired IAS officer K P Ramaiah accused of corruption. The HC, as well as the SC, had rejected his request for protection from arrest because of the serious allegations against him. Ramaiah later had to surrender before a lower court and was granted bail the same day by the in-charge vigilance judge. Justice Kumar questioned the manner in which the bail was given and added instances of cor- ruption were common even in the Patna HC. He cited the example of four judicial officers who had many allegations against them but were let off with mild punishments. Accusing the Bihar judiciary of nepotism, Justice Kumar in his order had said, “After my elevation as judge, I started to notice that senior judges were buttering the Chief Justice... to get their favourites or members of their caste elevated as a judge or do some favour to corrupt judicial officers.”
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