Naresh Goyal, wife deboard Jet; lenders take control

Naresh Goyal, wife deboard Jet; lenders take cockpit control

Giving up chairmanship after more than 26 years, embattled Jet Airways’ founder Naresh Goyal on Monday quit as a board member, with the lenders taking control of the cockpit and deciding to infuse Rs 1,500 crore immediately into the ailing airline.

Struggling to stay afloat amid a debt burden of over Rs 8,000 crore, the board of the country’s first private full service carrier also approved conversion of banks’ debt into equity and induction of nominee directors of the lenders, who would become majority stakeholders.

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Expressing happiness over the lenders’ decision, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India needs more airlines, “otherwise airfares would rise”.

“Banks have kept self interest in mind by trying to keep it as a going entity so that they can recover their dues,” he said in Delhi hours after the airline’s board cleared the debt resolution plan.

Bringing an end to weeks of uncertainty over the future of the cash-strapped carrier, the board has approved immediate fund infusion of up to Rs 1,500 crore by lenders as well as conversion of debt into equity.

Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita Goyal and Etihad Airways’ nominee director Kevin Knight have quit the board.

Gulf carrier Etihad, a strategic partner, holds 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways while Naresh Goyal has a shareholding of 51 per cent.

Goyal’s stake would come down to 25 per cent while that of Etihad would reduce to 12 per cent. The consortium of Indian lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), would become the majority shareholders of Jet Airways, the airline said in a statement.

The airline said two nominees of the promoter and one nominee of Etihad Airways would continue on the board, which would also see induction of two people nominated by the lenders.

SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said Naresh Goyal would be eligible to bid for the airline when the lenders auction it next month.

The board approved conversion of “Re 1 of lenders’ debt into equity by the issuance of 11.4 crore equity shares”, in accordance with RBI circular issued on February 12, 2018.

As per that circular, lenders have to start resolution process under the insolvency law if a borrower fails to repay in 180 days after the first default.

Shares of Jet Airways, which has been operating for over 25 years, zoomed 15.5 per cent on Monday after reports of Naresh Goyal’s exit poured in. The official announcement about the revamp came soon after the markets closed.

“The company will also engage with payment intermediaries for release of trapped cash. The airline will leverage the funding to partly clear pending dues towards lessors, vendors, creditors and employees in a phased manner.

“The move will see Jet Airways re-deploy several of its grounded aircraft back into its network, helping renew many of the routes it had temporarily suspended, which will help restore normalcy of operations,” it noted.

Financial crunch has forced the airline to ground more than 80 of its total 119 planes. At least 54 aircraft have been grounded due to non-payment of lease rentals.

An Interim Management Committee (IMC) has been constituted to oversee the overall financial and operational performance of the airline. The panel would be  under the overall supervision of the board of directors with the support of McKinsey & Co.

“As part of the resolution plan, the lenders will also begin the process of sale/issue of shares to new investors which is expected to be completed in the June quarter,” the statement said.

Naresh Goyal, who became chairman of the company in April 1992, said no sacrifice is too big for him to safeguard the interest of the airline and the families of its 22,000 employees. In a letter to employees, Goyal said the decision to step down from the board is not the end of the journey but the start of a brand new chapter.

Approval of the debt-recast plan will put the carrier on a “sounder and sustainable” financial footing, he said.

Against the backdrop of salary payments being delayed, the airline said the promoter and all stakeholders “remain fully committed to ensure deferred salaries and dues to external vendors and aircraft lessors are cleared on priority in the foreseeable future”.

SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said, “Today is indeed a sad day for Indian aviation”.

 “By launching a truly world class airline, Naresh and Anita Goyal made India proud. This is also a wake-up call for Indian policy makers. We urgently need to address structural challenges that make India’s airlines uncompetitive to airlines around the world,” Singh said

According to Jet Airways, the board unanimously and unequivocally lauded Goyal’s vision in giving birth to the iconic brand and also averred that he has always been way ahead of the times. The board also appreciated Goyal’s sterling role in IATA, resulting in the innumerable airline codeshare partnerships he built for the airline.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a grouping of around 290 airlines, including Jet Airways.

“The board also took particular and deeply grateful cognisance of the Chairman’s noble, large-hearted self-sacrifice in graciously stepping down from all that he held dear for the sake of the 22,000 employees of the company,” the statement said.

-PTI | 26 March 2019 | Mumbai/New Delhi

Cash-strapped Jet Airways cuts more domestic flights

Cash-strapped Jet Airways cuts more domestic flights

After pulling out of Abu Dhabi, Manchester and Hong Kong over the past 48 hours, Cash-strapped Jet Airways on Thursday slashed its domestic schedule by cutting departures from Delhi to all metro cities, except Mumbai.

A look at the schedules from Delhi showed that, on Thursday, there were no domestic departures to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. The cash-strapped airline has also stopped accepting bookings for the Mumbai-Hong Kong flight beyond March 22. The Delhi-Hong Kong service was cancelled overnight.

The Naresh Goyal-led Jet is facing its worst financial crisis, with debt exceeding $1 billion. The carrier, which is struggling to stay aloft, has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, and aircraft lessors — resulting in some of them moving to terminate lease deals and take back their aircraft.

Critical period: The Naresh Goyal-led Jet Airways is facing its worst financial crisis, with debt exceeding $1 billio

Data available showed that the Manchester-Mumbai route, which was being operated by an Airbus A330-200, is shutting down indefinitely, indicating lessors had grounded the aircraft.

Domestic flights

On Thursday, Jet cancelled 73 of its 117 departures from Mumbai. Similarly, in Delhi it operated only 31 of the 106 published departures.

Of the 31 flights from Delhi, 20 were operated using Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Of these, 7 were to Mumbai, 3 to Amritsar, 2 to Kathmandu, 2 to Dehradun and one each to Pune, Dhaka, Kochi, Srinagar, Singapore and Bangkok. “Flights to Bhopal, Udaipur, Chandigarh, Jaipur, etc. were operated using the ATR 72-500 fleet,” an airline official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

From Bengaluru, Jet operated only 3 flights: one each to Mumbai, Delhi and Amsterdam. “We have cancelled 26 flights out of Bengaluru,” the official said.

At Chennai, 16 departures were cancelled. Of the four flights that operated, 3 were to Mumbai and one to Paris. From Hyderabad, two flights were operated to Mumbai, compared with the 6 departures it normally operates. In Kolkata, 8 out of 10 departures were cancelled, with just one each to Guwahati and Mumbai taking off.

Flights to airports like Mangalore, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhuj, Coimbatore were not being operated, data showed.

Jet’s services to Amsterdam, Paris and London have not been hit. All flights are available for booking through the entire schedule and are operating normally.

The airline is also operating 3 daily flights on the Mumbai-London Heathrow sector and one daily flight on the Delhi-London Heathrow route. These too are available for bookings. “Jet Airways owns 10 Boeing 777-300ER, so the impact on flights to Europe will be minimum,” another official said, declining to be identified.

Engineers’ union

“Amidst all the commotion, this message is to appreciate each one of you who is continuously complying with all the regulations, civil aviation requirements, manufacturer’s approved manuals, company rules and standard procedures, unfazed by the developments around you,” Amit Kelkar, Vice President, Jet Aircraft Maintenance Engineers’ Welfare Association (JAMEWA), wrote to the airline’s engineers.

“While the JAMEWA committee is in talks with the management on the issue of disbursal of our salaries, let’s all collectively live up to this challenge and continue to maintain our professionalism by delivering safe airplanes for our esteemed guests throughout the network, within India and across the globe, the way we have been always doing,” Mr. Kelkar wrote.

MUMBAI, MARCH 21, 2019

Pollachi sex scandal triggers outrage among politicians

Pollachi sex scandal triggers outrage among politicians

A Pollachi sex scandal, a case of alleged serial sexual assault and blackmail of scores of women by a gang, suspected to be politically influential in Pollachi, Tamilnadu triggered widespread political and social outrage on Monday. A leaked video of a victim pleading with her tormentors prompted political leaders, led by DMK president M.K. Stalin, to demand an independent and fair probe into the crime.

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Acting on a girl’s complaint, the Coimbatore Rural police had on February 25 arrested three youth. Subsequently, on March 5, they picked up K. Thirunavukkarasu, another accused. Mobile phones seized from them allegedly contained over 40 video clips of women being sexually abused. Based on the claims made by Thirunavukkarasu that politically influential persons were also involved in the crime, local units of opposition parties in Pollachi had recently staged a massive protest seeking action. The opposition alleged that ruling party men including those close to Deputy Speaker Pollachi V. Jayaraman were involved in the incident.

On Monday, strongly denying any such links, Mr. Jayaraman told journalists in Chennai that as soon as he learnt of the incident last month, he had called the Coimbatore Rural Superintendent of Police R. Pandiarajan and urged him to take action to book whoever was involved in the sexual assault. “The Pollachi MP had also given a petition to the SP seeking action,” he said, showing photographs published in newspapers.

‘Political gain’

Mr. Jayaraman alleged that the DMK was using the incident for political gain in an election year. Later he submitted a complaint addressed to the DGP, seeking a probe into the campaign against him. The AIADMK’s Information Technology cell submitted a separate complaint to the police, seeking action against those spreading propaganda against the ruling party and its leaders.

In a related development, the AIADMK leadership expelled A. Nagaraj alias ‘Bar’ Nagaraj, the party’s Pollachi Ward 34 Amma Peravai office-bearer for “indulging in anti-party activities”. Nagaraj and three others were recently arrested on charges of assaulting the brother of a college girl who had complained about the accused blackmailing her after sexually abusing her and filming the act. These four were let out on bail (not the main accused).

Earlier in the day, Mr. Stalin and MDMK leader Vaiko threatened to organise protests if the government and the police failed to act immediately and bring to justice other members of the gang behind the crime. In a statement, Mr. Stalin said the video of the helpless girl crying was unbearable to watch and had shaken the State. “It is highly condemnable that the ruling AIADMK is protecting the culprits. The police have not taken adequate action even though the crimes against girls have been taking place for a long time,” he said.

Mr. Vaiko described the cries as “blood-curdling” and demanded an inquiry in a manner that did not subject the girls and their families to further difficulties and shame. “What is painful is the reports that the ruling AIADMK is trying to protect the culprits. Those who are behind the incident should be brought to book and if the government fails in its duty, we will organise protests,” he said.

PMK founder S. Ramadoss tweeted: “The truth that the Pollachi incident tells us is that there are animals who masquerade as human beings. Young girls should be wary of men who try to snare them in the name of love.” His son and youth wing leader said, the four men who were arrested “cannot be the only ones involved in a crime of this nature. The police should find out everyone involved in this network.”


Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating in India grounded

All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating in India grounded today: DGCA

All Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating in the country would be grounded by 4 p.m. on Wednesday as per the decision taken by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday night, a senior official of the aviation watchdog told PTI.

The decision comes days after a 737 MAX 8 aircraft of the Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa, killing 157 people, including four Indians. SpiceJet has around 12 such aircraft in its fleet. Jet Airways five, which have been grounded already.

A Jet Airways Boeing 737 on the tarmac at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. File photo

In a statement on Wednesday, SpiceJet said,” SpiceJet has suspended Boeing 737 Max operations following the DGCA’s decision to ground the aircraft. Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us and we will be working with the regulator and the manufacturer to attain normalcy in our operations. We are confident of accommodating the vast majority of our passengers and minimise inconvenience.”

The decision comes days after a 737 MAX 8 aircraft of the Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa, killing 157 people, including four Indians. SpiceJet has around 12 such aircraft in its fleet. Jet Airways five, which have been grounded already. In a statement on Wednesday, SpiceJet said,” SpiceJet has suspended Boeing 737 Max operations following the DGCA’s decision to ground the aircraft. Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us and we will be working with the regulator and the manufacturer to attain normalcy in our operations. We are confident of accommodating the vast majority of our passengers and minimise inconvenience.”

Second such crash

The Ethiopian Airlines incident on Sunday was the second such crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in less than five months. In October last, an aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed, killing over 180 people in Indonesia.

The European Union and many other countries across the world have already banned the use of the 737 Max 8 aircraft in their respective airspace.

-PTI, NEW DELHI , MARCH 13, 2019

NHAI road proposal from Gopalpur to Ratnapur rejected

NHAI 2,196 cr proposal for construction of road from Gopalpur to Ratnapur in Odisha rejected by Green panel

NHAI road project threatening olive ridley hits blind alley

Much to the relief of conservationists, a Central green panel has rejected the (NHAI’s) National Highway Authority of India’s Rs 2,196 crore proposal for the construction of 240.12 km road stretching from Gopalpur Port to Ratnapur in Odisha on the ground that it will threaten the habitat of endangered olive ridley turtles, migratory birds, and disturb the flow of at least 13 rivers, and affect floodplains. The proposal also involved felling of around 24,596 trees.

The NHAI had proposed the construction of new National Highway 516-A passing near the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary — country’s second largest mangrove forests after Sunderban — and further dividing Balukhand Konark Wildlife Sanctuary and Chilika (Nalaban) Wildlife Sanctuary in the State.

It is an important bird area and winter home for migratory birds from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions during their onward and return migration along the east coast. Balukhand Konark is a nesting site for Olive Ridley sea turtles.

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for projects related to infrastructure development under the Union Environment Ministry in a meeting in January asked the NHAI to explore alternate route which does not affect the wildlife and wetlands.

Sources in the Ministry said the proposal involved construction of 2/4 laning with paved shoulder starting from  Gopalpur Port in Ganjam district and passing through Satapada, Konark, Astarang, Naugaon, Paradip Port to end at Ratanpur.

The NHAI had proposed acquiring 996 hactres, including 33.6 forest land, for the purpose which involved felling of 24,596 trees. However, the fact that at least 13 stream crossings namely Rushikulya river, Chilika Lake, Kushabhadra river, Kadua river, Prachi, Baradianadi, Borwan, Saunlia, Harhua, Gobari river, NuaNai river, Devi river and Mahanadi river were to be effected did not go down well with the EAC.

However, justifying the proposed highway with new alignment, the NHAI at the meeting of the EAC said it “has been envisaged through an area which shall have the advantage of simultaneous development as well as shall result in a shorter distance to travel.

“The junctions with existing road will be planned in the form of interchanges and flyover to ensure uninterrupted flow of traffic diversion. The proposed road would act as the prime artery for the economic flow to this region,” said the project proponent.

It also pointed out that it will “enhance economic development, provide employment opportunities to locals, strengthen tourist development, ensure road safety, and provide better transportation facilities and other facilities such as wayside amenities. Vehicle operating cost will also be reduced due to improved road quality.”

However, the EAC members were not impressed as they also noted that the pillars for the highways will also pass through Rushikulya and Devi river mouths which are home to tens of thousands  of olive ridley.

-12 March 2019 | Microstat

Tata Industrial Park Gopalpur has 1800 cr of new proposal

Tata Industrial Park Gopalpur has 1800 cr of new proposal

Ltd (TSSEZ) is in advanced talks with two chemicals and a 100 per cent export oriented unit to set up facilities at the Tata Industrial Park Gopalpur off the coast of south 

TSSEZ is the developer for the park sprawling over 2900 acres. The is split into Special Economic Zone (SEZ) notified over 1235 acres and the residual stretch of land designated as the domestic tariff area (DTA).

“The two chemicals industries that we are talking to are eying the DTA area. For the SEZ, we have one 100 per cent export oriented company keen to set up their facility. Investments are gaining steam at our Gopalpur and we have Rs 1800 crore of proposals. Gopalpur is slowly emerging as an industrial destination of consequence”, said Ashish Mathur, managing director, TSSEZ Ltd.

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He said, has the potential to emerge as the future chemicals hub. “Traditionally, chemicals industries are concentrated in the western zone. Now, those industries are looking eastwards. has ample raw materials and intermediate products along with the logistics advantage and it can drive the next wave of manufacturing growth”.

After a phase of rut, TSSEZ has succeeded in reviving flow of investments to the Gopalpur industrial park. At the Make in Odisha conclave staged in November 2018, Tata Global Beverages pledged Rs 100 crore investment on a tea packaging unit at the Gopalpur park, generating employment for approximately 650 people when the plant reaches full capacity. The tea packaging plant, which will be operated by a third party operator nominated by TGBL, will cater to the company’s Indian market. The packaging facility is scheduled to be operational by 2020. TGBL is a global beverage business firm. Its brands have presence in over 40 countries. The company has significant interests in tea, coffee and water and is the world’s second largest tea company.

More recently, Hyderabad-based Gemini Edibles & Fats India Pvt Ltd, famed for its Freedom brand of oils, has proposed to install a refined vegetable oil manufacturing unit within the Gopalpur industrial park, developed by Ltd, a fully owned Tata Steel subsidiary. The investment is estimated at Rs 300 crore and the plant will be equipped with a capacity of 396,000 tonnes per annum. To finance the project, the company will bank on Rs 150 crore of equity and a matching term loan. The facility will be spread over 25 acres within the DTA of the industrial park.

The Gopalpur industrial park houses a manufacturing unit for aerial targets installed by Sure Safety Solutions in technical collaboration with UK-based Meggitt Defence. In its capacity as the anchor investor, Tata Steel has put up a ferro chrome facility with an annual capacity of 55,000 tonnes per annum at a cost of Rs 541 crore.

-March 12, 2019/Microstat

Lok Sabha Election to be held from April 11 to May 19

17th General Election to be held in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19; counting on May 23

PM Modi wishes the best to Election Commission and seeks blessings of people

Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and will be held over seven phases followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission has announced on 10 March, 2019.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the model code of conduct would come into immediate effect from March 10 and 10 lakh polling stations would be set up this time as against about 9 lakh in 2014.

Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora addressing media to announce the dates for the General Elections 2019.Announcing the schedule for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission said the ‘voter verifiable paper audit trail’ (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time. The first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23 and fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19. Counting of votes for all seven phases would be done on May 23, the EC said. Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in J&K would vote in three phases due to security reasons, the ECI said.

Among other things, the model code of conduct bars the government from announcing any policy move that may impact voters’ decision. The ECI said all political advertisements on social media will need pre-certification.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given best wishes to the Election Commission, all those officials and security personnel who will be on the field, across the length and breadth of India assuring smooth elections. India is very proud of the ECI for assiduously organizing elections for several years, he said.

PM Shri Modi said, “The festival of democracy, Elections are here. I urge my fellow Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with their active participation. I hope this election witnesses a historic turnout. I particularly call upon first time voters to vote in record numbers.

Photo: Twitter/@PIB_India

The PM further said, “Guided by ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, NDA seeks your blessings again. We spent the last five years fulfilling basic necessities that were left unfulfilled for 70 long years. Now, time has come to build on that and create a strong, prosperous & secure India. #PhirEkBaarModiSarkar”.

Assembly polls

Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha will be held simultaneously with the respective Lok Sabha constituencies.

President’s rule to continue in J&K

On J&K, the ECI said security situation is being monitored. Regarding holding elections ECI has sought info from the State administration. EC has assessed the ground situation and preparedness for the polls, also considering recent developments, sought comments from MHA and also visited the State, had meeting with all political parties and administration officials, based on the findings and availability of forces, EC has decided to announce only the parliamentary elections in the State, decision on holding Assembly elections to be taken soon, he says. So, Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir not to be held along with Lok Sabha polls.

-MARCH 10, 2019

USA move to withdraw GSP status will have minimal impact

USA move to withdraw Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status will have minimal impact, says India

The Indian government on Tuesday downplayed the effect of the decision by the USA government to withdraw trade concessions granted to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), with Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan saying that the impact would amount to $190 million on total export amount of $5.6 billion to the US.

US move to withdraw GSP 

The US Trade Representative office on Tuesday morning (IST) said that it had decided to withdraw the GSP status for India and Turkey at the direction of US President Donald Trump following India’s “failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors”.

Image result for India“The withdrawal of GSP benefits to India will have a minimal and moderate impact,” Mr. Wadhawan said at a press conference. “The total GSP benefits amount to about $190 million on overall exports of $5.6 billion between the two countries.”

‘Additional requests not acceptable’

“We had worked out a meaningful package that covered the US’ concerns but they made additional requests which were not acceptable at this time,” he added. “The GSP system is envisaged as a non-reciprocal benefit to developing countries.”

Mr. Wadhawan added that India was still in talks with the US on the higher import duties that country charges on steel and aluminium, and said that India was still reviewing whether it would impose retaliatory tariffs or not. The government had in the middle of last year decided the list of items on which it would impose retaliatory tariffs, but has since then postponed the deadline of implementation six times. The latest deadline is April 1, 2019.

By US statute, the changes to the GSP status cannot take effect until at least 60 days after the notifications to the US Congress and the government of India, and will be enacted by a Presidential Proclamation.

NEW DELHI: , MARCH 05, 2019

USA plans to end India’s preferential trade treatment

USA plans to end India’s preferential trade treatment

USA President Donald Trump has said he intends to end preferential trade terms for India under the U.S.’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. The program, which sets zero tariffs for certain goods from a set of 120 developing countries in order to foster trade and economic development, accounts for some $5.6 billion of India’s exports to the U.S, making India the largest GSP beneficiary.U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Attorneys General at the White House in Washington on March 4, 2019.

The Trump administration, which periodically reviews GSP eligibility launched a review last April of India’s compliance with GSP market eligibility criteria. “I am taking this step because, after intensive engagement between the United States and the Government of India, I have determined that India has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India…” Mr. Trump said in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate, shared with reporters.

U.S.-India trade ties were hurt after India unveiled new rules on e-commerce that restrict the way Inc and Walmart Inc-backed Flipkart do business

“India has implemented a wide array of trade barriers that create serious negative effects on United States commerce.  Despite intensive engagement, India has failed to take the necessary steps to meet the GSP criterion,” the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said on its website.

India’s new e-commerce rules, price controls on medical devices and tariffs on ICT products are among the issues that have caused trade frictions between the two countries. Mr. Trump has repeatedly taken shots at India’s tariffs, which he views as unreasonable.

One of the discretionary criteria the President must (as per the GSP statute) take into account while determining GSP eligibility is the “extent to which such country has assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets and basic commodity resources and the extent to which it has assured the United States it will refrain from engaging in unreasonable export practices.”

60-day notice period

A mandatory 60 days must now pass after notice has been given to the beneficiary countries and to Congress during which time there is, at least technically, the possibility of negotiation. After the 60-day notice period, a beneficiary country can be taken off of the GSP list by Presidential proclamation.

Notably, Mr. Trump’s letter to the two Congressional leaders also says, ‘I will continue to assess whether the Government of India is providing equitable and reasonable access to its markets, in accordance with the GSP eligibility criteria.”

It is not likely though that it will be re-negotiation of India’s place under the system, a source familiar with the  told The Hindu.

Turkey to also lose GSP benefits

A separate letter was sent to Congressional leaders by Mr. Trump saying he intended to withdraw Turkey from the list of GSP beneficiaries. However, the reasons were different: Mr. Trump said Turkey was no longer at a level of economic development that warranted preferential treatment. “ In particular, in the four and a half decades since Turkey’s designation as a GSP beneficiary developing country, Turkey’s economy has grown and diversified,” the letter said.

 –WASHINGTON , MARCH 05, 2019 

Indo-Russian Rifles dedicated to the Nation at Amethi

PM dedicates the Joint Venture Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt. Ltd. to the Nation at Amethi

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Kauhar, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh today. He dedicated to the nation, the Joint Venture of Indo-Russian Rifles Pvt Ltd, for Kalashnikov Assault Rifle Production. He also laid the Foundation Stone and dedicated various development projects in Amethi.

In his special message on the occasion, which was read out by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “the new joint venture will manufacture world famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series and eventually will reach full localization of production. Thus, the Indian defence-industrial sector will have the opportunity to fulfill the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies.”

Image result for Indo-Russian Rifles inaugurated

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister thanked President Putin for this partnership. He said lakhs of rifles will be made from this facility in Amethi, and will strengthen our security forces.

He also said that this development has been long delayed. He said that this delay in the production of modern rifles for our soldiers, actually amounts to an injustice to the jawans. He recalled that despite projecting a requirement for bullet-proof jackets in 2009, no such jackets were procured till 2014. This requirement has now been fulfilled by the Union Government, he added. He said that earlier, such delays had also been happening in procurement of other important armaments. In this context, he also mentioned the Rafale fighter planes, and said these will start joining the Air Force within a few months, as a result of the efforts of the Union Government.

He also mentioned other development projects in Amethi, which were facing various bottlenecks in operationalization. He said those bottlenecks were being removed, so that the projects could be operationalized, and provide employment to people. He said the implementation of schemes such as PM Awas Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya Yojana and construction of toilets, in Amethi, is now bringing ease of living to the people.

The Prime Minister said that the Union Government is empowering the poor, and helping them come out of poverty. He said similarly, the farmers are being empowered. In this context, he mentioned the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. He said this scheme will ensure that 7.5 lakh crore rupees reach farmers over the next ten years.

– 03 MARCH 2019/ PIB/ New Delhi