Plan and Policy

Plan & Policy

‘Subtle corruption’ robbing Indian villagers of roads: Study

Subtle corruption in India has increased the chances that roads meant to connect isolated areas to the rest of the country would never be built, even though the government had paid for them, a study has found.

Researchers at Princeton University in the US and the Paris School of Economics in France used an innovative technique to examine the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) — a nationwide plan launched in 2000 to provide good all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages.

Onion price up at Rs 50-60/kg; will cool down soon, says govt

Retail onion price has risen to Rs 50-60/kg in some parts of the country but the government said it is a “temporary phase” and the rates will cool down by the month-end with improved arrival of the kharif crop. Onion is being sold at over Rs 50/kg in the national capital, Mumbai and Kolkata. In Chennai, the price is ruling at Rs 45/kg, as per official data. A similar trend prevails in small cities as well. “It’s a temporary phase. Traders are taking advantage of the temporary ups and downs,” agriculture secretary SK Pattanayak said.

FinMin rejects railways’ demand for 10% rise in outlay

The finance ministry may keep the plan outlay of Indian Railways at current level in the budget as the government is resorting to borrowing in the face of lower revenue collection.

The finance ministry is learnt to have rejected 8-10 per cent increase in plan outlay sought by the public sector transporter, which has been on a spending-spree to build new rail lines and upgrade existing ones.

I-T sleuths raid Joyalukkas stores

As part of increasing the scrutiny on jeweller community across the country, income tax (I-T) raids were held in over 125 locations of south-based jewellery cha­ins, including Joyalukkas, on Wednesday. Income tax officials conducted raids at all the stores, offices and residential premises of Joyalukkas in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, An­d­­hra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, New Delhi, West Bengal and Maharashtra. Residential pre­mises of some of the key employees were included in the raids.

US freezes aid, Pakistan dismisses economic fears -- for now

Washington's freeze on billions in military assistance to Pakistan will have limited impact, thanks to its friendship with China and diminishing importance of aid to the economy, observers say -- but there could be trouble if the US calls in its debts.

Exasperated by what it considers Islamabad's neglect in cracking down on militancy, Donald Trump's administration last week announced a suspension of the aid, which also also goes towards Afghanistan coalition funding.

Sivan K named new Isro chairman

The government on Wednesday appointed renowned scientist Sivan K as the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to replace of A S Kiran Kumar. The appointments committee of the cabinet approved his appointment as secretary, department of space and chairman of Space Commission for a tenure of three years, an order issued by the personnel ministry said.

UIDAI introduces 'Virtual ID' to address privacy concerns

In a bid to address privacy concerns, the Unique Identification Authority of India or UIDAI on Wednesday introduced a new concept of 'Virtual ID', which Aadhaar-card holder can generate from its website and give for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID.

This will give the users the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.

Rlys raises freight rates after CIL’s price hike

In a double whammy to power consumers, the Indian Railways has revised freight rates for coal between 10-20 per cent after Coal India on Tuesday announced up to 10 per cent increase in the fuel price in keeping with the rising cost.

The simultaneous increase in coal price and its transportation charge could spell trouble for debt-ridden power distribution companies as it could raise the cost of power by up to 30 paisa per unit and translate into higher electricity tariff for consumers. It will also raise fuel cost for steel, cement and power units.

Foreign carriers can now buy up to 49% in Air India

Clearing the decks for foreign airlines like Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa to pick up a maximum of 49 per cent equity stake in Air India, the Union cabinet on Wednesday decided to bring the state-owned carrier at par with domestic airlines on matters of foreign direct investment (FDI). The move would broad-base investor participation in the bidding for Air India and fetch a better deal for the government.