Newsletter Sept 13, 2018




Triggering a political firestorm in India, fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya said in London Wednesday that he had “met the Finance Minister” before leaving India in 2016 and “repeated my offer to settle with the banks”. Mallya’s claim was immediately dismissed as “factually false” by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Mallya, however, sought to downplay his comments later, saying it was “not fair” to create a controversy over a “totally innocent statement” and that he had only “happened to meet” the Finance Minister.

Responding to the claim, Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post: “Since 2014, I have never given him any appointment to meet me and the question of his having met me does not arise. However, since he was a Member of Rajya Sabha and he occasionally attended the House, he misused that privilege on one occasion while I was walking out of the House to go to my room. He paced up to catch up with me and while walking, uttered a sentence that ‘I am making an offer of settlement’.”

Jaitley wrote that since he was aware of Mallya’s past “bluff offers”, he did not allow him to proceed with the conversation and curtly told him “there was no point talking to me and he must make offers to his bankers.” Jaitley said he “did not even receive the papers that he was holding in his hand”.

Within hours of Jaitley’s response, Mallya confirmed that he had met Jaitley in Parliament and that it was not a “formal meeting”.

The Opposition, however, hit out at the Governmen..

“Given Vijay Mallya’s extremely serious allegations in London today, the PM should immediately order an independent probe into the matter. Arun Jaitley should step down as Finance Minister while this probe is underway,” Congress president Rahul Gandhi posted on Twitter.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Mallya’s statement has put the Government in the dock. “It is not the Finance Minister alone, we cannot be sure what other facts are being hidden even now. The fundamental point is how he got away despite ‘lookout notices’? he said.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: “PM Modi meets Neerav Modi before he flees the country. FM meets Vijay Mallya before he flees India. What transpired in these meetings? People want to know.”



Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Wednesday came out in defence of the Centre’s decision to procure only 36 Rafale fighter jets against the original proposal of 126 aircraft, saying there had been similar “emergency” acquisitions in the past.

Addressing a seminar on the IAF’s restructuring, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said: “Whenever the government felt the air power element of the defence forces is likely to be in a disadvantageous position, it has gone in for emergency purchases of the aircraft under the umbrella of the inter-governmental agreement. The history is that the government had undertaken emergency purchase of fighter aircraft on several occasions in the past.”

Dhanoa said India procured two squadrons of MiG 23 MF jets after Pakistan received the first lot of F-16 aircraft in 1983. In 1985, he said, two squadrons of Mirage 2000 were procured from France, and later two squadrons of MiG 29 were purchased from the then Soviet Union.

The IAF chief said the force currently had 31 squadrons of fighter jets against the sanctioned strength of 42.

Another IAF officer, Air Marshal SBP Sinha, who was part of the Rafale cost negotiation committee, said we had got the latest weapons, sensors, a better price and delivery terms from Dassault.

Air Marshall Sinha explained the costs saying for the first time performance-based logistics (PBL), which is to maintain the planes for five years at two separate bases (Ambala and Hashimara), was part of the upfront costs. Normally maintenance and spares are negotiated separately after the contract of the plane is finalised

The Congress said it was “most distressing, disgusting and deplorable” that the government was using the air force chief to defend the deal. “I do not know where your 56-inch chest has gone…. Your defence minister I will deal with, your finance minister I will deal with, your Prime Minister I will deal with, but I will not engage with the service chief whom we respect,” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.



 The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the house arrest of five activists arrested in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case for another five days.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra deferred to September 17 the hearing on the plea filed by five intellectuals, after it was informed that senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the petitioners, was busy in another court.

Acting on a petition filed by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociologist Satish Deshpande and Commonwealth human rights initiative senior adviser Maja Daruwala, the top court had on August 29 had restrained the police from taking them into their custody and ordered their house arrest.





 A new White House tell-all from journalist Bob Woodward, the election season’s most-talked-about political book, officially went on sale on Tuesday as several former aides of President Donald Trump sought to distance themselves from the depiction of a chaotic West Wing.

Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter and onetime economic adviser Gary Cohn both pushed back against “Fear,” which portrays a White House mired in dysfunction, with aides disparaging the Republican President and working to prevent him from making disastrous decisions.

While neither former staffer directly denied details in the book, Porter said in a statement that the book offers a “selective and often misleading portrait.” And Cohn said that the “book does not accurately portray my experience at the White House.”

Speaking to reporters in the White House on Tuesday, Trump praised his former aides’ supportive statements and again labeled the book “fiction.” Woodward, a longtime Washington Post reporter, has staunchly defended his work in an extensive media tour.

The book reached stores on Tuesday and has been No. 1 on Amazon since details first began emerging a week ago.

Among the revelations: Cohn once removed a document from the president’s desk that would have ended a trade deal with South Korea. Porter said suggesting materials from Trump’s desk were “stolen” to prevent him from taking action “misunderstands how the White House document review process works.”



 President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said on Wednesday that his country had found the two Russians that Britain accuses of trying to use a rare nerve agent to kill a former Soviet spy, and identified them as civilians who had done nothing criminal.

He also said he would like the men, who Britain says are Russian military intelligence officers, to come forward to tell their story.

Putin’s statement, made at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, was far from an admission of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal and his daughter Julia in Salisbury, England, on March 4. But it does amount to an abrupt shift from Russia’s previous position that it had no idea who the two suspects named by Britain were, and that they may have been invented to blacken Russia’s name.

“We of course checked who these people are. We know who they are, we found them,” Putin said at the economic forum. “They are civilians, of course.”





The 19-day-old indefinite fast by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convener Hardik Patel ended on Wednesday without the Gujarat Government taking note of the agitation but with the promise by the Patel community leaders to fight for the demands he had raised.

The 24-year-old leader’s fast was considered a major success in bridging gaps between six major rival groups of the Patidar community as the leaders of all six groups jointly appealed to him to end his fast and he “agreed to respect their wishes”.

The leaders of all six groups were present and offered lime and coconut juice to Hardik to break his fast at 3.15 pm yesterday.


The Kerala police on Wednesday summoned Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun following a meeting to review the progress made in the case. The Roman Catholic Bishop has been asked to appear before the police on Sep 19.

On Tuesday, the Kerala nun had written to the Vatican seeking an urgent intervention and demanded the Bishop’s removal as the head of the Jalandhar diocese. The nun further questioned why the church was “closing its eyes to the truth” when she gathered courage to bring forth her sufferings to the public.

The 46-year-old nun alleged that she was sexually assaulted 13 times from 2014 and 2016. However, the Bishop has refuted the allegations and accused ‘anti-church elements’ of falsely implicating him. “The nun is lying, made up the case against me because I had ordered action against her. Police have no evidence against me that’s why they have not arrested me,” said Mulakkal.

Reacting to the support to the complainant by other nuns, Mulakkal said: “I feel there are people who are against the church, they’re using these sisters. This is a conspiracy and several people are taking advantage of the situation, they are putting sisters at the forefront,” the bishop said.


At Parliament Street: 2,000, at Jantar Mantar: 1,000 and at the Boat Club: 100. These are the maximum number of protesters that should be allowed at demonstrations in Delhi, according to draft guidelines prepared by the Delhi Police.

The guidelines, to regulate protests in Delhi, also propose no demonstrations after “tragic incidents” at the Boat Club, where protests were stopped after a massive farmers rally in 1993.

The guidelines were drafted after the Supreme Court, while ruling against a total ban on protests at Jantar Mantar and Boat Club, had given police two months to “devise proper mechanisms” to allow protests at designated locations.


In a setback for Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the Supreme Court has decided to review its own judgment letting him off with a ₹1000 fine in a 30-year-old fatal road rage case.

The judgment of May 15, written by a Bench led by Justice J. Chelameswar (now retired), reasoned that the crime was 30 years old and there was no former enmity between Mr. Sidhu and his victim, Gurnam Singh. It had even said that roadside brawls were a “very common sight in this country”.

Aggrieved by the judgment, Singh’s family decided to return to the Supreme Court for a rare remedy — a review of its own judgment, that too, through an open court hearing.

A Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul decided there was merit in the family’s plea. Incidentally, Justice Kaul was part of the Bench led by Justice Chelameswar which had authored the May 15 judgment.


At a time when fuel prices are scaling new highs, official data from petroleum ministry show that for every one rupee increase in petrol and diesel prices, states earn an additional revenue of around Rs 30 billion on annualised basis.

States’ revenues are a product of taxes applied on the base price of the unit of fuel and the overall consumption of the fuel. The central government, which imposes a fixed excise duty irrespective of the landed price of fuels, has its petroleum sale revenues unchanged. But states, who impose a mix of ad valorem value-added tax (VAT) and a fixed cess over the base price, certainly see an increase in revenue as the base price rises.

Among the states, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Assam would be the biggest beneficiaries of the rise in fuel prices, since their ad valorem component of state taxes is highest among all states.

For every rupee rise in base fuel price, Telangana earns 35 paise more on petrol and 27 paise more on diesel. Tamil Nadu earns 34 paise and 25 paise, while Assam earns 33 paise and 24 paise on every one rupee rise in petrol and diesel, respectively.

Though Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) effectively taxes petrol and diesel the highest among all states, their ad valorem component at 25 per cent is lower than these states. It imposes an additional levy of Rs 9 per litre on petrol, which is a fixed tax per unit sold.


India has 18% of the world’s population but 32% of the global burden of respiratory diseases. Respiratory disease burden in India is second only to that of ischaemic heart disease, found a state-level analysis of the Global Burden of Disease data. Chronic respiratory diseases were responsible for 10.9% of the total deaths and 6.4% of the total DALYs (a globally recognised disease burden estimate calculated on the basis of the number of productive life years cut short by disease) in India in 2016. The corresponding figures for 1990 were 9.6% and 4.5%, respectively.

Pollution was the biggest contributor to the respiratory disease burden. About 33.6% of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) could be attributed to ambient air pollution, 25.8% to household air pollution and 21% to smoking. The National Health Policy of India 2017 recommends that premature mortality from non-communicable diseases, including chronic respiratory diseases, should be reduced by 25% by 2025.

Cardiovascular diseases, on the other hand, contributed to 28.1% of total deaths and 14.1% of total DALYs in India in 2016, compared with 15.2% and 6.9%, respectively, in 1990. The prevalence of ischaemic heart disease in 2016 was the highest in Kerala followed by Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.


 Apple yesterday launched three new iPhones — the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR — with different price points and aimed at different users. Also, Apple finally brought in dual SIM considering markets like India and packed its eSIM technology into the new phones.

In India, the iPhone Xs will be priced Rs 99,900 onwards and the iPhone Xs Max will be priced from Rs 1,09,900 going on sale in India from September 28. Apple iPhone Xr will start at Rs 76,900 and go on pre-orders from October 19.

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are upgrades on the iPhone X launched last year. However, both sport the new A12 Bionic processor, the first 7nm chip in the industry with a neural engine and a 6-core CPU. Apple claims the new process will help apps launch 30 per cent faster. The machine learning capabilities will be nine times faster, but using a tenth of the power as before. So you can expect developers to use machine learning features more in the their apps from now.

Plus, the phones now have a better dual camera at the back, which while improving optics also uses the processing power of the new chipset to offer better images with features like Smart HDR.

The Apple iPhone XR is meant to be a more affordable iPhone for countries like India. However, this new model will achieve its lower price point by offering a 6.1-inch LCD screen with liquid Retina display in place of the OLED and aluminum body instead of stainless steel and by offering single 12MP single camera at the back.

Apple Watch is going to the next level with an upgrade to the screen size in the same body. The ceramic back of the watch will also have electrodes now allowing device to offer ECG. Powered by a new S4 processor, this will be the first over-the-counter device to offer ECG. The watch will also map low heart rate now as well as murmurs that need attention.



 Indian hockey’s most famous face over the last decade — and arguably among the most popular — Sardar Singh called time on his long and illustrious career on Wednesday.

The former India captain announced his retirement from international hockey. Having represented India for 12 years, Sardar said he had played “enough hockey” and it was time to move on.

Sardar’s announcement came after Hockey India announced the 25-member core group for the national camp, which did not include the 32-year-old’s name. Sardar refused to comment whether the snub was the reason behind his decision.

Sardar, who made his international debut in 2006, became the captain in 2008 — the youngest in the history of Indian hockey. He held that position for eight long years. At the peak of his popularity, he was being considered as one of the greatest Indian hockey players ever.

But just like many top players before him, Sardar also overstayed his welcome.

His retirement had become a publicised issue over the last two years, with many expecting him to quit after making his second appearance at the Olympics — in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.



India continued to be at the numero uno position but England grabbed the fourth spot in the ICC Test team rankings after completing a 4-1 series victory at The Oval. India captain Virat Kohli finished as the No. 1 ranked batsman in the latest ICC players’ rankings for Test batsmen. Kohli had started the series 27 points behind Steve Smith and finished one point ahead of his closest rival. England opener Alastair Cook signed off from international cricket on a remarkable note, moving into the top-10 of the ICC players’ rankings for Test batsmen after a Player of the match performance in the fifth Test.


Sensex 37,718 (+305), Nifty 11,370 (+83), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 33,345

Nasdaq 7,954 (-18) Dow 25,999 (+28), S&P 2,889 (+1)

US$-Rs. 72.17 GBP-Rs. 94.00, Euro-Rs. 83.75, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.64, Can$-Rs. 55.35, Aus$- Rs. 51.47

GBP 0.76 /US$, Euro 0.86 /US$, Jap.Yen 111.38 /US$, Aus$ 1.40 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 82.92 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 4.14 /US$,

Pak Re 123.08 /US$, Phil Peso 53.94 /US$, Russian Rouble 69.19 /US$, NZ$ 1.53 /US$, Thai Baht 32.72 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.92 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,279

Dollar Index 94.76 Brent Crude 79.37 BDI 1439

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,205 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3014 / 2926, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 39,900


To deny, to believe, and to doubt absolutely — this is for man what running is for a horse. – Blaise Pascal


Mrs. Grednik, who was a little on the chubby side, was at her weight-watchers meeting .”My husband insists I come to these meetings because he would rather have a woman with a trim figure.” she lamented to the woman next to her.

“Well,” the lady replied, “what’s wrong with that?”

“He likes to do it while I’m stuck at these damn meetings.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar