Saturday, 01 February 2020 - Imphal Times

IT News

Imphal, Feb 1

Traffic along the Imphal-Saikul road has been severely disrupted as Peace and Development Coordinating Committee (PDCC) imposed 24-hour bandh along this road demanding action against PWD engineers who went hand-in- globe with contractor implementing work order for construction of a new Bridge at Yumnam Patlou in Imphal East district.

“When a VDF or constables or grade IV employees were suspended and panelized for accepting tips of Rs. 100, why the N. Biren Singh government is taking no action against the PWD engineers and the contractors who work hand-in-globe and steal public money amounting to lakh of rupees”, Thoudam Hemjit, General Secretary of PDCC told reporters.

Since early morning a large number of people came to the street at Pangei area and stopped all sort of vehicular movement. Shops and other business establishment remain closed and Saikul too remains cut off from Imphal due to the 24 hours bandh.

Hemjit further said that after government officials felt the need for construction of a new bridge as the 70 years old culvert was outdated on April 14, 2016, a work order for construction of a new bridge was issued.

However, for reason best known to the authority of the PWD the construction work was never seen taken up until 2017.

“On December 26, 2017 we called a bandh demanding immediate construction f the bridge”, Hemjit said and added and following the bandh there was an agreement reached between the PWD Engineer as the later assured to start construction.

“The construction did begin, but as it was done in complete violation of the work schedule we complain the matter to the PWD authority”, Hemjit said. He added that instead of constructing a new bridge as scheduled in the work order the contractor in understanding with the engineer repaired the bridge by expanding at both sides to look like new construction.

After the matter was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister on one Meeyamgi Numit day, the Chief Minister instructed the PWD authority to look into the matter and take action to the contractor’s concern. But the instruction was never honoured .

However, on Jan 18, 2020 the Executive Engineer of the PWD invited the PDCCC members to inspect the conditions of the pillar of the bridge. On Jan 20,2020 the contractor cemented the bridge in the presence of the Engineer. When asked the engineer replied that he and his department did not know about the cementing work.

It is an open secret that the EE and the Contractor are openly looting the public money and the government is not taking up any action against them.

Seems like corruption is banned for VDF, Constable and grade four employees only, Hemjit added.

Published in News

IT News

Imphal, Feb 1

The main road leading to one of the premier private Health service provider – the Shija Hospital and Research Institute has been blocked today since early morning. An eyewitness said that even Ambulance was told to take another road that is leading to the hospital which is never convenient as the road infrastructures leading to Shija Hospital are in the most deteriorating condition besides the length.

Imphal Times contacted the Imphal West DC office through telephone no 03852451188, to enquire about the reason for blocking the road. However, a lady employee working in the DC office, who picked the call said that she did not know why the road is being blocked and for what reason. She also stated that she had no idea whether the party blocking the road had taken permission from the district administration or not.

Shija Hospital is the hope of much critical illness and almost all people chose the hospital as they hope the hospital as severe. A patient who went for routine check up have to turn back to find another route to reach the hospital. The police station (Lamphel) which is close to the place where the road block were also not seen at the place.

Many costly cars were seen parked at the side where the road was blocked and many patients in need of treatment expressed frustration to Imphal Times on why the road is being closed and why should the district administration allow permission for such road blocked at that important route.  

Published in News

IT Correspondent
New Delhi, Feb 1

President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the mercy plea of Nirbhaya rape convict Vinay Sharma. He was one of the four men on death row in the Nirbhaya rape case. With this, there are no petitions pending in the President’s office in the case.  Yesterday, a Delhi court postponed the execution of death warrants of all four convicts in the case till further order.
Meanwhile, another one of the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya case, Akshay Thakur filed a mercy plea today. Director General (Prison) Sandeep Goel has said that the convict has filed a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind.
Thakur and three other convicts were to be hanged today, but a city court indefinitely postponed their hanging.

Published in News

When Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, president of Hindu Mahasabha, said that Consuming cow urine and cow dung will stop the effect of infectious Coronavirus, few of the most prestigious news agency IANS, ANI picks the story and many mainstream media houses run by Corporate houses carried the news. In February 2017, Hindustan Times, one of the largest circulated newspaper in India published a story of one Bihar State Assembly MLA urinating in public and that too at the premises of a District Magistrate office. Interestingly that was the time when the government of India under the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been boosting the “Swaach Bharat Mission”. When Bollywood star Deepika Padukone
 Joined students at JNU who at that time was protesting against the CAA and NRC, she was the center of attraction of all media. Discussion after discussion continues for weeks and even today to her presence even as she didn’t speak a word. Photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi praying blessing from her mother Heeraben Modi, not only was the headline of many media houses in the country but went viral on social media sites on the internet.
Coming back here in the state of Manipur, almost all newspaper hits headline when CAF and PD Minister Karam Shyam cycled to attend office. MLA Nashir when walking till state Assembly from his quarter at a time when Manipur was facing fuel scarcity after the prolonged economic blockade was published as a headline at one of the leading newspapers published here. When the then works Minister K. Ranjit Singh lifted a hammer and check the quality of government construction, newspapers of Manipur carried the news as a headline.
The other day when three of us were on our way to Bishnupur, my friend , who is also the Resident Editor of this newspaper saw a helpless cat lying in a confused state in the middle of the Tiddim road near Malom. He immediately stopped his car and picked up the cat which happened to be pregnant and handed over to some people living in a makeshift camp on the roadside. Nobody notices and it was not in the news. Many rickshaw pullers or predestine or Auto drivers or say any common people on emergency were seen urinating particularly at the wall of the Electricity department. Some concerned citizens sometimes stopped them and advise them to urinate at the appropriate place. No media, or persons having a smartphone with a camera took notice of that because the person trying to clean at his own risk was a common man. If suppose the person advising them happened to be a bureaucrat, the scene may certainly go viral in social media prompting the media houses to pick up the story.
With the advancement of Information technology, competition among media houses is at its height. There are rumours among the intellectual circle that media people these days makes the story to increase TRP rating to make sure that they make more revenue.
The classical theory of news – “When a dog bites a person it is no news but when a man bites a dog it is news” still is practical even though some media critics have different opinions.
Prime Minister Narendra, Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, president of Hindu Mahasabha, Deepika Padukone, MLAs , MPs , Bureaucrats etc. are all public figures and they are celebrity people. Good or bad anything they did or spoke is news for media persons.
People across the country know many urinated and spoil the environment, but no such are being picked up by media houses as a story. But when an MLA from Bihar urinated at the office premises of a District administration, it was a piece of hot news. Many people are riding a bicycle, but when Minister K Shyam rode it is a News for media people, similarly when MLA Nashir walked to attend Assembly session it was also a piece of news. 
Sometimes it is shocking to learn some people criticizing media reports of these high people saying that media has no right to infringe their private life.
The answer fro Imphal Times to them is that public figures and those top officials should be very careful in their private life too. If the kind of action he or she is indulging in is illegal even though he or she presumed it as personal life, we in the media have every reason to publish it. 

Published in Editorial

New Delhi, Feb. 1

The Government says that based on first Advance Estimates, India’s GDP growth for 2019-20 would be recorded at 5 per cent. This suggests an uptick in GDP growth in second half of 2019-20. The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2019-20 in Parliament yesterday, which states that the deceleration in GDP growth can be understood within the framework of a slowing cycle of growth. The financial sector has acted as a drag on the real sector.
The Survey says that the uptick in second half of 2019-20 would be mainly due to ten positive factors like picking up of NIFTY for the first time this year, an upbeat secondary market, higher FDI flows, build-up of demand pressure, positive outlook for rural consumption, rebound of industrial activity, steady improvement in manufacturing, growth in merchandize exports, higher build-up of foreign exchange reserves and positive growth rate of GST revenue collection.
The Survey says, on a net assessment of both the downside/upside risks, India’s GDP growth is expected to grow in the range of 6.0 to 6.5 per cent in 2020-21 and it asks the Government to use its strong mandate to deliver expeditiously on reforms, which will enable the economy to strongly rebound in 2020-21.
The Survey points out that the year 2019 was a difficult year for the global economy with world output growth estimated to grow at its slowest pace of 2.9 per cent since the global financial crisis of 2009, declining from a subdued 3.6 per cent in 2018 and 3.8 per cent in 2017. Uncertainties, although declining, are still elevated due to protectionist tendencies of China and USA and rising USA-Iran geo-political tensions. Amidst a weak environment for global manufacturing, trade and demand, the Indian economy slowed down with GDP growth moderating to 4.8 per cent in first half of 2019-20, lower than 6.2 per cent in second half of 2018-19. A sharp decline in real fixed investment induced by a sluggish growth of real consumption has weighed down GDP growth from 2nd half of 2018-19 to 1st half of 2019-20.
Real consumption growth, however, has recovered in Q2 of 2019-20, cushioned by a significant growth in government final consumption. At the same time, India’s external sector gained further stability in 1st half of 2019-20, with a narrowing of Current Account Deficit (CAD) as percentage of GDP from 2.1 in 2018-19 to 1.5 in 1st half of 2019-20, impressive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), rebounding of portfolio flows and accretion of foreign exchange reserves. Imports have contracted more sharply than exports in 1st half of 2019-20, with easing of crude prices, which has mainly driven the narrowing of CAD.
On the supply side, agricultural growth, though weak, is moderately higher in 1st half of 2019-20 than in 2nd half of 2018-19. Headline inflation rose from 3.3 per cent in 1st half of 2019-20 to 7.4 per cent in December 2019 on the back of temporary increase in food inflation, which is expected to decline by year end. Rise in CPI-core and WPI inflation in December 2019 suggests building of demand pressure.
In an attempt to boost demand, 2019-20 has witnessed significant easing of monetary policy with the repo rate having been cut by RBI by 110 basis points. Having duly recognized the financial stresses built up in the economy, the government has taken significant steps this year towards speeding up the insolvency resolution process under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and easing of credit, particularly for the stressed real estate and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) sectors. At the same time, impact of critical measures taken to boost investment, particularly under the National Infrastructure Pipeline, present green shoots for growth in H2 of 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Given India’s record of growth with macroeconomic stability over the last five years (annual average growth rate of 7.5 per cent), the economy is poised for a rebound towards the US$ 5 trillion goal by 2024-25. The net FDI and Net Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) in first eight months of 2019-20 stood at US$ 24.4 billion and US$ 12.6 billion respectively, more than the inflows received in the corresponding period 2018-19.
In 1st half of 2019-20, CPI (Headline) inflation was estimated at 3.3 per cent, slightly higher than that in 2nd half of the previous year. There has been a further uptick in headline inflation in the month of December 2019 to 7.35 per cent contributed mainly by supply side factors. The food prices spiked following unseasonable rainfall and a flood-like situation in many parts of the country, which affected agricultural crop production. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation, on the other hand, declined sharply from 3.2 per cent in April 2019 to 2.6 per cent in December 2019, reflecting weakening of demand pressure in the economy.
 As per the latest available data on employment, there has been an increase in the share of formal employment, as captured by ‘Regular wage/salaried’, from 17.9 per cent in 2011-12 to 22.8 per cent in 2017-18. This 5 per cent points increase in the share of ‘Regular wage/Salaried’ group has been on account of 5 percentage points decrease in the share of casual workers, which reflects formalization in the economy. As a result, in absolute terms, there was a significant jump of around 2.62 crore new jobs over this period in the usual status category with 1.21 crore in rural areas and 1.39 crore in urban areas.
In 2019-20, Centre’s fiscal deficit was budgeted at Rs. 7.04 lakh crore (3.3 per cent of GDP), as compared to Rs. 6.49 lakh crore (3.4 per cent of GDP) in 2018-19.  Good and Services Tax (GST) collections, the biggest component of indirect taxes, grew by 4.1 per cent for the Centre during April-November  2019. However, the uptick in growth of cumulative GST collections for the Centre started in October 2019 and has sustained its momentum in November December 2019 as well.
The growth of  bank credit which was picking up in 1st half of 2018-19, started decelerating in 2nd half of  2018-19 and further in 1st half  of 2019-20.  The deceleration was witnessed across all major segments of non-food credit, save personal loans which continued to grow at a steady and robust pace. The deceleration in credit growth was most in the services sector. Credit growth to industry also witnessed a significant decline in recent months, both for MSME sector as well as large industries. Agriculture and allied activities benefitted from a higher growth of credit.
Despite muted growth of services exports, the trade balance on the services account continued to be positive in 2019-20. The trade surplus on services account has been estimated at US$ 40.5 billion in 1st half of 2019-20, as compared to US$ 38.9 billion in 2018-19.
Lower Current Account Deficit (CAD) reflects reduced external indebtedness of the country making domestic economic policy increasingly independent of external influence. The CAD, which was 2.1 per cent of GDP in 2018-19, has improved to 1.5 per cent in H1 of 2019-20 on the back of significant reduction in trade deficit. In the first eight months of  2019-20, both gross and net FDI flows to the country have been more than the flows received in corresponding period of 2018-19. Net FPI inflow in 1st half of 2019-20 was also robust at US$ 7.3 billion as against an outflow of US$ 7.9 billion in 1st  half of 2018-19.
The drop in fixed investment by households from 14.3 per cent to 10.5 per cent explains most of the decline in overall fixed investment between  2009-14 to 2014-19. Fixed investment in the public sector marginally decreased from 7.2 per cent of GDP to 7.1 per cent during the two periods. However, the stagnation in private corporate investment at approximately 11.5 per cent of GDP between 2011-12 to 2017-18 has a critical role to play in explaining the slowing cycle of growth and, in particular, the recent deceleration of GDP and consumption.

Published in News

IT News
Mumbai, 1 February 2020

Over 31 lakh cheques worth nearly Rs 23,000 crore remained uncleared across the country following two day strike by 10 lakh employees of public sector banks all over the country, which began on Friday and continued on Saturday.

With this strike, banks would remain closed till Sunday and the banks will open only on Monday, February 3.

No transactions including deposits and withdrawals could take place since most of the bank branches remained closed. Resultantly cash deposit, withdrawal, cheque clearances, instrument issuance and loan disbursement were affected.

The impact of the strike was seen most in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnatak, Bihar and Kerala since a a grid for clearance of cheques in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi remained non-functional AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

Many banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), had informed customers in advance that operations may be impacted to some extent due to the strike. However private sector lenders including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank were operational.

The bank employees have struck work since their demand for pay hike is pending since November 2017. The meeting in this regard held on 13 January this year also remained inconclusive. Earlier the employees were given a hike of 15 per cent, For the period 1 November 2012 to 31 October 2017.

During discussions, the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) on Thursday improved its offer, but this was not acceptable to the unions. IBA in a statement said that despite the revised offer of up to 19 per cent hike, including performance linked incentive, made by it during the meeting  the unions decided to go ahead with the all-India bank strike.

There are several demands to hold the strike including the merger of special allowance with basic pay, updation of pension, improvement in the family pension system, five-day banking, allocation of staff welfare fund based on operating profits and exemption from income tax on retiral benefits without a ceiling.

All the government schemes such as Jan Dhan, Mudra, Adhar Linkage, Social Sector, Insurance Scheme, Social Sector Pension Schemes, Digital India, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana etc. are centred around banking. These schemes have drastically increased the workload at the counter. On the other side banks have not filled in vacancies arising out of death, resignation, retirements and promotion, UFBU maintained.

The strike call has been given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, including All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW). Unions claimed that about 10 lakh staff and officers of public sector banks and some private sector banks are participating in strike.


Published in News
Saturday, 01 February 2020 15:29

Evacuees return from Wuhan

IT News
Mumbai/Delhi: 324 passengers, comprising 211 students and 110 working professionals and three minors, who returned from China’s Wuhan province, the epicentre of deadly coronavirus, by Air India’s special flight, landed at Delhi airport on Saturday morning.

AI’s special flight which had left Delhi airport at 1.17 PM on Friday, returned at 7.30 AM on Saturday. The rescue team comprised five doctors from Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, one paramedical staff, five cockpit crew members, and 15 cabin crew members, an Air India spokesperson said.

Another special flight to evacuate Indians from Wuhan, was in the process of departing from the Delhi airport on Saturday, with a different set of crew and same doctors' team at the time of filing this report. The rescue team is again headed by Capt Amitabh Singh, Director Operation, Air India.

The evacuees who returned from Wuhan, were taken to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Chhawla Camp in south-west Delhi, that houses ITBP headquarters. They will be kept in isolation for 14 days at the camp for medical observation. ITBP has created a 600-bedded facility at an unoccupied residential unit reserved for its personnel. A team of 25 doctors, 15 from Safdarjung hospital and 10 from ITBP is at the facility. Besides special arrangements have been made to host children and women at the facility.

The Indian Army too has created similar facility near Manesar, Gurgaon, Haryana, where the students can be monitored for any signs of infection for a duration of two weeks by a qualified team of doctors and staff members. If any person is suspected to be infected, that individual will be shifted to the isolation ward at the Base Hospital in Delhi Cantt. The building complex has operational kitchens and bathrooms apart from modern amenities like Wi-Fi.

The stranded people include 27 Indian students pursuing M.B.B.S degree course, in Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Hubei. They hail from Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and J & K. The 7 students from Maharashtra hail from Pune, Pimpri –Chinchwad, Latur, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nanded.

In a related development, the family of 22 year old Manir Hossain, from Tripura claimed that their son Manir died due to coronavirus in Malaysia. Hailing from Purthal Rajnagar in South Tripura, Manir had gone to Malaysia two years back for job. His parents have contacted Sepahijala administration to bring his mortal remains to India. However Tripura officials have denied to have any knowledge of Manir been died due to coronavirus saying that there had been no communication from Malaysian authorities. Still Manir’s medical history will bee checked, they have said. 

At Mumbai airport, authorities have began making passengers coming from China and Hong Kong to undergo thermal scanning before they enter immigration. A team is “conducting universal thermal screening for all passengers of flights coming directly from China and Hongkong. For other international arriving flights, only the self declared passengers are screened using thermal camera,” the airport officials said and added that “In case the passenger has symptoms of Coronavirus infection, he/she is being quarantined and sent to designated hospital. Thermal scanners use heat sensors and can spot people with high temperature levels.

IndiGo and Air India have suspended some flights to China and Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific has suspended some flights to mainland China but is operating to Hong Kong. “Rwandair”

has suspended flights from its capital Kigali to Guangzhou.

The union Shipping Ministry has also advised all ports to scan people disembarking from ships to prevent spreading of the coronavirus through sea route. "India has already issued advisories and put processes in place on coronavirus. The situation is monitored closely at the top level," Satinder Pal Singh, joint secretary in the shipping ministry said during the Annual Shipping Conclave, organised by the Bengal Chamber in Kolkata on Friday.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has banned export of all varieties of personal protection equipment including clothing and masks used to protect the wearer from air borne particles and/or any other respiratory masks or any other personal protective clothing (including coveralls and N95 masks) with immediate effect till further orders, DGFT said in a notification.

While World Health Organisation has declared global emergency to fight against the coronavirus, the death toll in China due to the out break of the disease has risen to 259 with total confirmed cases surging to 11,791 amid stepped up efforts by a number of countries to evacuate their nationals from Hubei province, officials said on Saturday.

Published in News

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.