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Tata Group fires brandman Suhel Seth over sexual misconduct charges

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Mumbai: Brand consultant Suhel Seth has been fired by the Tata Group after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement sweeping the country.

The holding company of the group, Tata Sons, has finally decided to end its contract with Seth, after initially stating that it would examine the company’s association with the brand consultant.

The group sent out a statement on Monday, saying “Counselage’s (Suhel Seth’s firm) contract with Tata Sons will end on November 30, 2018.”

 

Seth worked with the group’s public relations team and is largely credited with salvaging the company’s image after its bitter fallout with former chairman Cyrus Mistry.

As soon as the allegations surfaced, a Tata spokesperson had said: “Tata Group is committed to promoting a safe workplace for women. We have noted the recent reports regarding Mr Seth in the media. We are looking into the issue and will decide on a further course of action in this regard.”

Seth has been accused of sexual harassment by six women, including model Diandra Soares, writer Ira Trivedi and filmmaker Natashja Rathore.

Soares recalled in a social media post how Seth had misbehaved with her at a party. “I was dancing on a couch & out of nowhere Suhel Seth shoves his f*****g tongue down my mouth. I immediately bit his tongue & bit it really really hard with all my might & anger.”

Journalist Mandakini Gehlot wrote: “Suhel reached out — I figured for a quick hug — and planted a big sloppy kiss on my mouth, I felt his tongue inside my mouth. I was so stunned and I said something like ‘Suhel, you can’t do that’.”

Filmmaker Natashja Rathore said: “You then threw yourself at me although I was clearly uncomfortable. You shoved your tongue down my throat even when I resisted — I whacked your head and said ‘behave yourself’. You put your hand into my kurta and grabbed my breast.”

The biggest scalp to go till now in the #MeToo movement is that of former junior foreign minister M J Akbar who has been accused by over a dozen women of sexual harassment.

Actors Alok Nath and director Sajid Khan are the other high-profile ‘predators’, with the television actor being accused of rape by writer Vinta Nanda. Sajid Khan flashed and now has been dropped as director of that rather inane franchise Houseful 4.

Actor Nana Patekar too is accused of harassment by Tanushree Dutta.


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Business

Cabinet clears setting up of centralised GST appellate authority

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New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of a centralised Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling (AAAR) under the goods and services tax that would decide on cases where there are divergent orders at the state level.

The setting up of a centralised AAAR would require amendments to the GST Acts. The centralised authority as an appellate body will only take up cases wherein the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) of two states have passed divergent orders.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and comprising state counterparts, in December decided to establish the centralised AAAR.

 

“The Cabinet has cleared the GST appellate authority,” a source said after the meeting of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In view of the confusion created by contradictory rulings given by different AARs on the same or similar issues, the industry had been demanding a centralised appellate authority that could reconcile the contradictory verdicts of different AARs.

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Urbanisation to be big driver of Indian economic growth: Kant

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Davos: Urbanisation will be a big driver of economic growth in India going forward, supported by favourable macroeconomic factors, accelerated infrastructure building and continuing reforms, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said.

Speaking here at an event on sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, he also said the Indian economy may even exceed the IMF growth forecast of 7.5 per cent for the country.

Kant said IMF has forecast 7.5 per cent growth for India despite a gloomy outlook for the global economy and this itself is good, though there are expectations that this estimate would be surpassed. He said India is giving a big push to urbanisation with more than 100 smart cities being developed.

 

The country is also using technology in a big way to change the way business and governance is done, he added. Besides a massive infrastructure building is happening, bank credit flow has rebounded and macroeconomic factors like inflation and fiscal deficit are also being supportive, Kant said.

DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek noted that states are competing with each other to attract investments and all political parties have adopted the economic reform process. He listed various reform initiatives undertaken in India, including on areas like ease of doing business, FDI, manufacturing and taxation.

They were speaking at Institutional investors’ breakfast roundtable, organised by the industry chamber CII and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Other participants included CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee and leaders from Indian and foreign companies.

On questions about some persisting issues in doing business including on tax and insolvency related issues, Abhishek said a lot of efforts have been put in to remove all bottlenecks and starting a business doesn’t take more than a day. Besides, special provisions have been made for startups and angel investors, he added.

Kant said efforts are also being made to remove all physical intervention and digitise the entire process of inter-ministerial and inter-department consultations to fast-track the decisions.

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India will surpass China, says Raghuram Rajan

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Davos: India will eventually surpass China in economic size and will be in a better position to create the infrastructure being promised by the Chinese side in South Asian countries, former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said.

Addressing a session on Strategic Outlook for South Asia, Dr Rajan said that the Indian economy would continue to grow while growth rate is slowing down in China.

“Historically, India had a bigger role in the region but China has now grown much bigger than India and has presented itself as a counter-balance to India in the region,” Dr Rajan said at the WEF Annual Meeting 2019.

 

“India will become bigger than China eventually as China would slow down and India would continue to grow. So India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region which China is promising today. But this competition is good for the region and it will benefit for sure,” he said.

The comments assume significance with China working on a lot of infrastructure projects across the region. In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a GDP of $2.59 trillion while China was the second large with a GDP of $12.23 trillion.

At the same session, Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Oli cited collaboration with China as well as India as reasons for the economic growth.

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