govt debt kochi l thursday l August 11, 2022 l `9.00 l PAGES 16 l Late city EDITION CAG FLAGS CONCERNs OVER THE cENTRE’S DEBT SUSTAINABILITY The Centre’s debt sustainability indicator was negative in FY20 as opposed to FY16-FY19, CAG said in its latest report Cost of interest payment on the rise Cut burden, spend less on debt service Debt sustainability is the government’s ability to maintain a constant debt-to-GDP ratio over a period of time. The Centre’s debt was 52.30% of the GDP in FY20 against 49.33% in FY19. The CAG noted that in these two years, debt growth rate outgrew the nominal GDP growth rate. Also, the interest paid on debt has been consistently increasing over the years ■ ■ In FY16, the interest paid was at B4,57,270 crore which shot up to B6,55,371 crore in FY20 owing to ballooning debt CAG recommended that the Centre reduce its debt so that lesser funds are spent on interest payemnts and more of its non-debt receipts are available to meet expenditure priorities | P10 A155.33 lakh cr The Centre’s debt is projected to hit 60.2% of the gdp in Fy23 CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Tejashwi Yadav takes oath as deputy CM of the seven-party Mahagathbandhan govt; BJP stays away from the ceremony Nitish fires first 2024 shot after his eighth oath as CM Ra m a s h a n ka r @ Patna Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with his deputy Tejashwi Prasad Yadav after their swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Wednesday | PTI Jobs to youth in a month: Tejashwi Tejashwi touched Nitish’s feet after taking oath of office as the deputy CM. He later said the aspirations of the youth would be fulfilled as the govt would initiate the process of providing them jobs within a month Keep watching what happens, says CM Nitish Kumar did not see any big problems in running the new Grand Alliance govt to complete the 2020 mandate. “Dekhte jayiye aage hota hai kya” (Keep watching what happens in future), was his cryptic one-liner Shortly after taking oath as Bihar chief minister for the eighth time, Nitish Kumar on Wednesday fired his first salvo at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “The one who came to power in 2014 should worry about 2024 — whether or not they will be in power after that.” He added he would work for Opposition unity to defeat the ruling NDA at the Centre, giving credence to speculation that he could later shift to national politics, vacating his chair for RJD’s Tejashwi Prasad Yadav when the time arrives. For the record though, he claimed he was not a claimant to the post of PM and also did not harbour any such ambition. Sharad Yadav, former JD(U) head who is now with the RJD, did not rule out the possibility of Nitish emerging as the Opposition’s PM candidate for 2024. Within the JD (U), its parliamentary board chairman Upendra Kushwaha said, “Nitish Kumar has all the qualifications to become the PM. We are not staking any claim but he possesses all qualities for the post.” JD(U)’s national chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh echoed him. “It is too early to say anything as Nitish dumped the NDA to form a government with the seven-party Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) just a day ago. But it is also true that he can be a PM candidate if the Congress takes the lead,” remarked an analyst on condition of anonymity . The mood was upbeat in the grand alliance during the swear- ISAAC GOES ON OFFENSIVE, MOVES Govt lifts price HIGH COURT TO QUASH ED SUMMONS flight tickets cap on air fare from August 31 A RSH A D K H A N @ New Delhi IN a move that could possibly bring down air fares, the Union civil aviation ministry on Wednesday decided to remove the fare cap on domestic airlines with effect from August 31. “The decision has been taken after careful analysis of daily demand and prices of air turbine fuel. Stabilisation has set in and the sector is poised for growth,” said Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. The government had imposed lower and upper limits on domestic airfares in May 2020, according to which airlines can’t charge a passenger less than `2,900 (excluding GST) and more than `8,800 for domestic flights of less than 40 minutes. While upper caps were to protect passengers from being fleeced by greedy airlines, the lower limits were meant to protect the financially weaker carriers. The government’s decision could bring relief to flyers hit by high ticket prices, in the event of a price war now that the price restrictions have been lifted. However, it also means that if demand for a route is high, they will have to pay a premium. “Airlines will be able to offer lower pricing on routes where flight loads are lower. But flight routes covering metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, etc could witness a surge in pricing,” said Indiver Rastogi, president & group head (global business travel) at Thomas Cook (India) & SOTC. E x p r ess Ne ws Se rv i c e @Kochi/T’Puram Taking the battle to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) camp, former finance minister T M Thomas Isaac on Wednesday moved the Kerala High Court challenging the proceedings initiated against him by the agency in connection with the KIIFB transactions. The senior CPM leader also asked the ED to withdraw the summons sent to him. Isaac, who was asked to appear before it on Thursday, told the agency in an email that he will not be joining the interrogation. It is learnt that Isaac’s decision to move the HC and skip the interrogation was based on the CPM state secretariat’s assertion that the case be dealt with politically and legally . In his petition, Isaac told the HC that the ED has issued two summons to him under sections of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), the Income Tax Act and the Code of Civil Procedure asking for details of his role in the KIIFB with respect to issuing masala bonds. But the agency has not revealed the nature of the violation, if any, that he has to respond by way of oral submissions, he said. Neither of the summons reveals what the investigation is about, in relation to which his response is sought, Isaac submitted. The summons, therefore, does not conform to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in this regard. Hence, the summons is illegal and beyond the jurisdiction of the scope of inquiry contemplated under the FEMA. All actions of KIIFB were performed ● More on P4 legally he said. , Digital lending now on RBI’s leash to protect borrowers U m a K a n n a n @ Bengaluru TAKING a grim view of the rising number of frauds reported on loan apps, exorbitant interest rates and unethical recovery practices, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday issued guidelines to tighten the rules of lending in the digital space. The central bank said loan disbursals as well as repaym e n t s c a n o n ly b e executed via the bank accounts of borrowers and regulated entities (banks and NBFCs). There should not be any pass-through or pool account of the lending service providers, it clarified. Under the new set of regulations, fees paid to lending apps should be borne by the regulat- ed entities and not the borrower. The central bank also prohibited any automatic increase in credit limit without explicit consent of the borrower. Issuing a detailed set of guidelines for digital lending, the RBI flagged the concerns related to unbridled engagement of third parties, mis-selling, breach of data privacy, among others. “RBI is not trying to stifle fintech innovation. However, certain guardrails are needed to protect consumer interest. In the past, unchecked innovation has led to disastrous results like fake apps. The onus of compliance is on regulated entities as always,” said Kunal Varma, Co-Founder and CEO, Freo, a consumer credit-led neobank. The regulatory framework is based on the prin-ciple that lending business can be carried out only by entities that are either regulated by the RBI or entities permitted to do so under any other law — Reserve Bank E L E V A T ED RA I L L I N E Chengannur to Pampa by train, in 40 min AN ELEVATED rail line that can take Sabarimala pilgrims from Chengannur to Pampa in around 40 minutes. With the railway ministry giving green signal for the 75km project’s final location survey a has, sle-free journey through the scenic forest could become a reality in a few years. Metroman E Sreedharan told TNIE that the railway ministry had approved the project proposal and gave permission for the final location survey costing `1.88 crore in May. He said the rail line along the south bank of Pampa river is viable and PROJECT DETAILS Chengannur railway station to Pampa 75km 4 yrs Distance B12,036cost cr Expected Expected time A n u K u r u v i l l a @Kochi will not need large-scale land acquisition. Precious flora and fauna on the forest route can be saved because the elevated pillars will be located mostly on the river puramboke. Sreedharan had presented the project, a brainchild of Fr M K Varghese Corepiscopa, to the railway ministry in April. Fr Varghese saidthe nod for the survey was given quickly due to Sreedharan’s intervention. The state government too had given approval for the project proposal. Sreedharan said it would be a double line project, with overhead traction and an advanced signalling system so that trains can run at three-minute intervals when needed. “The rolling stock will be exactly the same as proposed for the Delhi Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) with eight coaches. Each train can carry 960 persons,” said ● More on P4 Sreedharan. ing-in ceremony RJD workers dis. tributed sweets outside Raj Bhavan till the event was on. The wide smiles plastered on the faces of RJD, JD(U), Congress, Left parties and HAM laeader said it all. There was no BJP representation at the ceremony, which its leader Sushil Kumar Modi attributed to not getting a formal invite. Sushil Modi later created a flutter by claiming Nitish wanted the vice-president’s post, adding he was ready to let the BJP head the NDA government in Bihar as quid pro quo. But when the BJP turned it down, he walked out of the NDA, alleged Sushil Modi. But Rajiv Ranjan Singh dismissed the claim, poking Sushil Modi instead, recalling how the BJP ‘punished’ him for P8 his proximity with Nitish. express read 1st govt organ transplant facility in Kozhikode Kozhikode: The country’s first exclusive organ transplant super speciality hospital in the government sector is all set to come up in Kozhikode. It is expected to offer services for less than 40% charged by private hospitals. P4 Ordinance: Spl assembly session from Aug 22 T’Puram: The cabinet has decided to recommend to the governor that a special session of the assembly be convened from August 22, primarily to enact legislation replacing the ordinances it had issued earlier. P4 Pocso court trashes CBI chargesheet in Walayar sisters’ death E x p r e s s Ne w s Se r v i c e @ Palakkad The Pocso court in Palakkad has trashed the CBI investigation on the death of two scheduled caste girls near Walayar. Rejecting its chargesheet, the court directed the agency to reinvestigate the case. The decision came while hearing a plea by the girls’ mother. Echoing the findings of the state crime branch that probed the case earlier, the CBI chargesheet stated that the death of the two minor girls, who were found hanging in their house at Attappalam after being sexually abused in 2017, was a case of suicide. The CBI chargesheet said two accused, Valiya Madhu and Cheriya Madhu, were close relatives of the girls. Another accused, Shibu, was a close friend of the family It said the girls suffered heinous . sexual abuse and constant harassment from even those who should have been protecting them. The duo couldn’t bear the trauma, and committed suicide, it said. The girls’ mother approached the court seeking reinvestigation into the case after rejecting the CBI findings. Earlier in October 2019, a special Pocso court had acquitted all the accused citing the prosecution’s failure to produce sufficient ● More on P4 evidence. It had triggered a public uproar. 16 pages, including 4 pages of kochi Express
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