New Delhi : Monday was supposed to be a good day for the government. It announced the Cabinet’s decision to raise the Centre’s contribution to the National Pension Scheme for its employees, and was expecting the UK’s decision on extradition of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya. But things changed after 5 pm when Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel’s resignation hit the RBI website.
Highly-placed sources in the government say that none of the senior ministers had any inkling of Patel’s resignation. Even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley came to know about it minutes before Patel quit.
The government will soon form a panel to search for a new RBI governor, an official said. RBI’s deputy governors, former government officials and top bankers and economists could be considered.
“The government acknowledges with deep sense of appreciation the services rendered by Dr Urjit Patel to this country both in his capacity as the Governor and the Deputy Governor of The RBI. It was a pleasure for me to deal with him and benefit from his scholarship. I wish Dr Patel all the very best and many more years of public service,” Jaitley tweeted, around an hour after Patel quit. Moments later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
While Patel cited ‘personal reasons’ for his exit, former officials who’ve worked alongside him and current officials involved with the events of the past few months acknowledge that the reasons were different.
“He did not thank the government in his statement, did he?” asked an official, when contacted by Business Standard. “We all know what has been happening in the past few months.”
Sources in the government say the resignation is all the more surprising after the last board meeting, which was a cordial affair by all accounts, and a resolution was reached on two contentious issues.
The central bank decided to refer the issue of RBI’s excess capital to a committee. The constituents of the committee and its terms of reference are still being discussed by the government and the RBI. The RBI also referred its prompt corrective action norms to its Board of Financial Supervision. The next Board Meeting is scheduled for December 14.
“It is sad and unfortunate,” said a former secretary to the government, who did not wish to be named as he still works with the government in another capacity. “I thought they could resolve their differences. (Former RBI governor) Raghuram Rajan had informed the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister that he will not seek an extension, as per convention. It is one thing to feel uncomfortable with an individual, and have a conflict with him. It is another to have him been pressured through the RBI board which has all your nominees. He must have felt that this creates a perpetual state of conflict and hence his position becomes untenable.”
WPI inflation at 8-month low of 3.80 pc in Dec on softening fuel, food prices
New Delhi: Inflation based on wholesale prices fell to a 8-month low of 3.80 per cent in December, 2018, on softening prices of fuel and some food items.
The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation stood at 4.64 per cent in November, 2018, and 3.58 per cent in December 2017. According to the government data released on Monday, deflation in food articles stood at 0.07 per cent in December, against 3.31 per cent in November.
Vegetables, too, saw deflation at 17.55 per cent in December, compared to 26.98 per cent in the previous month. Inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ basket in December slumped to 8.38 per cent, nearly half of 16.28 per cent in November.
This was on account of lowering of prices of petrol and diesel through December. Individually, in petrol and diesel inflation was 1.57 per cent and 8.61 per cent, respectively, and for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) it was 6.87 per cent during December.
Among food articles, potato prices became cheaper substantially with inflation at 48.68 per cent in December, as against 86.45 per cent in November.
Inflation in pulses stood at 2.11 per cent, while in ‘egg, meat and fish’ it was 4.55 per cent. Onion witnessed deflation of 63.83 per cent in December, compared to 47.60 per cent in November.
The 3.80 per cent inflation is the lowest in 8 months, and a lower inflation than this was last seen in April at 3.62 per cent. Data for retail or consumer price index-based inflation would be released later in the day.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) mainly takes into account retail inflation data while formulating monetary policy. In its fifth monetary policy review for the fiscal, last month, the Reserve Bank kept interest rates unchanged, but held out a promise to cut them if the upside risks to inflation do not materialise.
The central bank lowered retail inflation projection to 2.7-3.2 per cent for the second half of the current fiscal, citing normal monsoon and moderate food prices.
Air tickets, identity cards to become redundant; flyers can use facial recognition to enter airport
New Delhi: The hassle to show air tickets and identity cards at Airport will be over as air travellers can soon enter airport with facial recognition biometric facility.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) that operates the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), has successfully conducted the trial of facial recognition technology. During the first phase of the trial, employees of GHIAL were included. The second phase of the trial is expected to be launched by the end of this month, in which GHIAL will include common air fliers. And if the second phase of the trial is successful, GHIAL will implement facial recognition technology in Hyderabad airport from March onwards.
Three phases of facial recognition technology
First phase: GHIAL has installed facial recognition cameras in the Hyderabad. In the first phase, the imaging of passengers will be done through these cameras which will recognise the faces of the flyers.
Second phase: There would be a centralised registration system for passengers. Each passenger’s face will be attached with his/her photo identity like passport, Aadhaar, voting id, driving licence etc. The details of passengers along with his facial mapping will be scanned and stored by GHIAL through the centralised registration system at the Airport.
Third phase: The ID proof of the passengers along with their facial mapping will be stored at the e-boarding gate of the Airport.The data centres at Airlines will also have similar information. Whenever such passengers book tickets, the data system will alert the Hyderabad Airport authorities.
The moment you book a flight ticket originating from Hyderabad airport, your details will be shared by the data centre and the information will be given to all the concerned authorities.
When you reach the Hyderabad terminal gate, face recognition technology will identify you and all your details will be shared on the screen. The security personnel at the gate will access all your information via the system.
Similarly, your details can be accessed by the security personnel at the check-in counter, security check-in. Once the formalities are done, passengers will get an online boarding pass on their mobile phone.
Maruti all-new WagonR 2019 available for booking at Rs 11,000
New Delhi: Country’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India on Monday said that its all-new WagonR is available for booking starting.
Customers can book the 3rd generation WagonR at authorized dealer network across the country by paying Rs 11,000. They can also book the car online.
The New WagonR is powered by the advanced K-series engine offering high fuel efficiency and an unmatched driving experience, Maruti said. The car now comes with a new 1.2 L engine option that delivers powerful and impressive performance coupled with great fuel economy. Customers will also have the choice of 1.0 L engine for the all-new WagonR.
Maruti Suzuki’s acclaimed two pedal technology will also be offered in the new WagonR. The Auto Gear Shift (AGS) offers. Maruti said that for the first it is going to offer the most innovative SmartPlay Studio infotainment experience in the Big New WagonR.
The car will be available in Pearl Poolside Blue, Pearl Nutmeg Brown, Magma Grey, Pearl Autumn Orange, Silky Silver and Superior White Range of variants. The Petrol: 1.0 L engine will be available in Lxi, Vxi / Vxi AGS variants while the Petrol: 1.2 L will be available in Vxi, Vxi AGS, Zxi / Zxi AGS variants.
“The new WagonR gets bigger with enhanced comfort. The car’s sturdy and masculine look with true tall boy design makes for a strong road presence. The Big New WagonR not only embodies strong looks but is also stronger inside out,” Maruti said in a release.