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Niti Aayog working on proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy: Kumar

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New Delhi: Government think tank Niti Aayog is working on a proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy in order to extend the benefits to people using piped natural gas and biofuels for cooking purposes, a top official said today.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said subsidy should be applicable for all fuels that are used for cooking.
At present, the government extends subsidy to users of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
“Niti Aayog is working on a proposal to replace LPG subsidy with cooking subsidy. LPG is a specific product, a subsidy should be for larger set of all products/ fuels which are used for cooking.
“(For) all fuels which are used for cooking, subsidy should be applicable. Because if there are some cities where PNG (Piped Natural Gas) is used, then it is only logical that the subsidy be extended to them also,” Kumar told PTI in an interview.
Kumar’s comments also come against the backdrop of apprehensions in certain quarters that subsidy only for LPG users is inhibiting the adoption of clean and cheap fuels such as biofuels in rural areas and PNG in urban areas.
The changes pertaining to cooking subsidy are likely to be incorporated in the draft National Energy Policy 2030. The draft was made public last year.
After inter-ministerial consultations, the policy would be taken up by the Cabinet.
All LPG consumers have to buy fuel at market price. However, the government subsidises 12 cylinders of 14.2 kilogram each per household in a year by directly transferring the subsidy amount to the users’ bank accounts.
Replying to queries about rising trade tensions, Kumar said the whole economy has got used to open economy framework and that the trade war, which was started by the US, would add to the turbulence.
“We are watching the situation very carefully but to say that we are worried at this time, I think will not be correct.
“We are not worried simply because there is enough space for our exports to be increases. Because trade war is not directed against India not so far,” Kumar said.
However, the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman that if the trade war between the US and China leads to greater turbulence, then India should be prepared for that.
There is looming threat of intensified trade war with the US imposing tariffs on products from various countries, including China, Russia and India. Some of the nations have responded back by slapping tariffs on American products.
Noting that India’s macro conditions are very good very strong, Kumar said,
“I think, despite some sluggishness in private investments, we will surely grow at 7-7.5 per cent this fiscal year”.
He said oil prices have risen but now are stable and are not rising anymore. “… when you look at six months future, prices have slightly declined, not rising that’s a big comfort,” he added.
“I think the worst is over. Also inflation, we have seen that core inflation is higher than headline inflation. Fuel and food are not contributing to inflation, so this will also tend to weaken as supplies improve,” he said.
Kumar, who himself is a noted economist, admitted that a little cause of worry was that out merchandise trade exports were not rising and that invisible trade exports have not performed well.
“So, I think it is on external account that we need to do much better and there we will have a focused approach,” he said.


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WPI inflation at 8-month low of 3.80 pc in Dec on softening fuel, food prices

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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.

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Air tickets, identity cards to become redundant; flyers can use facial recognition to enter airport

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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.

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Maruti all-new WagonR 2019 available for booking at Rs 11,000

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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.

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