We are at the beginning of a currency war, says Governor Urjit patel. RBI monetary policy

Senior VP& fund manager, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance, Kunal Shah

“The tone of policy statement is broadly neutral. I think what they have delivered is somewhat concluding the expected increase in inflation rather than the realised inflation because realised inflation has been running lower than forecast. So, maybe some expectation of MSP (minimum support price)-related increase in inflation, and they want to pre-emptively be cautious and deliver a rate hike, and that is what I think the market is expecting.

“Inflation continues to remain under control. Even today, the Reserve Bank of India has not revised its inflation forecast… I think even the RBI is comfortable with the projected inflation, but they are not comfortable with the unexpected rise in inflation… so they just gave a pre-emptive hike, otherwise they could have increased their inflation projections, which they have not done.”

RBI: GDP growth to be in the range of 7.5%-7.6% in first-half of the fiscal
As per the RBI, the growth would be in the range of 7.5-7.6 per cent in first half of the fiscal and 7.3-7.4 per cent in October-March 2018-19 period “with risks evenly balanced”.
The center has also projected the GDP growth for first quarter of the next financial year at 2019-20 at 7.5 per cent.
The monetary policy statement further said that increased FDI flows in recent months and continued buoyant domestic capital market conditions bode well for investment activity.

Is embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya finally saying goodbye to his defiant self? Kingfisher loan case

On Tuesday, just before a UK court extended his bail and set the next hearing on 12 September, Mallya once again made clear his willingness to settle with banks.

“I have made a comprehensive settlement with the Karnataka court. There are over Rs 14,000 crore assets placed before the court. I have requested the court to sell these assets under judicial supervision. Pay all the banks, creditors so that everyone is happy,” Mallya said.

Mallya owes an estimated Rs 13,000 crore to different banks, if one takes into account the accrued interest on the principal loan amount.

In June, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai had summoned Mallya to appear before it on 27 August, on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) plea seeking action against him under the fugitive economic offender’s ordinance in an over Rs 9,000 crore bank fraud case. It was the first time that action was initiated under the ordinance promulgated by the Narendra Modi government. If Mallya does not appear before the court, he risks being declared a fugitive economic offender, and properties linked to him will be confiscated.

Early this month, even as the Indian Parliament was preparing to pass the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, there was a dramatic change in Vijay Mallya’s approach to the Kingfisher loan default case. The liquor king finally seemed to say goodbye to his defiant self in the battle with banks and Indian investigators and appeared more cooperative.

Mallya sent feelers indicating his willingness to return to his homeland and face the law and settle with banks. Remember, this was the same man who openly challenged the investigators saying “By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money.”

Of course, the reason for this change wasn’t hard to understand, Mallya knows that his options are now limited with the new legislation coming to effect, which will ostracise an offender from any civil rights to make his case legally and gives the power to local authorities to attach his assets and initiate proceedings. Mallya has high chances of being declared as an economic offender.

The Vijay Mallya case is a classic example where banks acted carelessly in the credit assessment process and, certainly, too late in sensing the loan default and initiate the recovery process. Mallya was far ahead of the lenders in the whole episode including his meticulous timing to leave the country just before the banks moved the Supreme Court seeking his detention.

With Mallya now showing his willingness to settle all his dues, banks shouldn’t miss the opportunity for a second time. This is the right time for banks to push with all their might for the asset sales (what Mallya has offered to pledge) and collect the dues; the recoveries will help the state-run lenders, stuck in the case for at least six years, to recover at least part of their money. Mallya’s return from the UK and his prosecution in Indian courts still isn’t a near possibility, but banks now certainly have a chance to get their money back.

Bihar governor Satya Pal Malik writes to Nitish Kumar, calls for intensive probe. Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case

The governor has, however, praised the state government for its quick action in the Muzaffarpur incident and its decision to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the sources said.

The case relates to mental, physical and sexual exploitation of the girls residing at Balika Grih, Muzaffarpur.

Bihar governor Satya Pal Malik has shot off letters to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, terming the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur as “heart-rending” and suggested measures for preventing recurrence of such incidents in the future.

According to highly-placed sources, the governor has called for trial of cases relating to harassment of girls, boys and women living in such state-funded homes by fast track courts.

Malik has also written to Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Chief Justice of the Patna High Court Rajendra Menon in this regard.

He has also called for implementation of recommendations of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai in this regard, they said.

The governor has asked the chief minister, whom he called an “efficient administrator” and a popular leader known for taking initiative in such matters, to invite suggestions from the intelligentsia, the sources added.

The matter had come to light earlier in 2018 when the Bihar social welfare department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by TISS.

The audit report stated that many girls at the shelter home had complained of sexual abuse. A special investigation team was formed to probe the complaints.

The NGO running the shelter home in Muzaffarpur was blacklisted and the girls were shifted to shelter homes in Patna and Madhubani.

In his second letter to the chief minister, Malik has called for immediate and intensive probe into reports of mismanagement of other such short stay homes that have appeared in the media of late and a mechanism for their continued monitoring, they said.

Malik has also stressed the need for developing an institutional mechanism which ensures that social audit, by competent institutions, of these shelter homes takes place on a permanent basis, the sources said.

Assam NRC turns Jorhat’s oldest bookstore owner into a ‘foreigner’ overnight

Of the 4 million who didn’t make it to NRC, 2.48 lakh have been marked as ‘D’ voters. The Supreme Court has asked Assam government not to take any coercive action on those who are found to be without proper documents as required under recent National Register of Citizens. NRC, a product of Assam Accord, is expected to solve the fear of Bangladeshi immigrants that has been prevalent in the state for quite some time now. The Centre proposed in 1999 an updated NRC in Assam to solve the problem of “illegal immigration” and two pilot projects were conducted in Dhubri and Barpeta districts. But breaking out of a riot in Barpeta grounded the project. In 2005, when All Assam Student Union opposed the prime minister’s visit to the state, tripartite talk between AASU, State government, and the Centre resulted in a decision to prepare a model for the NRC process, which was delayed yet again by over 5 years by the state government. It was only when Abhijeet Sharma of Assam Public Works (APW), an NGO, filed a writ petition in 2009 that the SC’s direct intervention led to the start of NRC process in 2014. Firstpost will run a multi-part series where we will attempt to uncover the stories of those residents of Assam who have not been covered under the final draft of NRC which will decide if they continue to live in the state that they call ‘home’.

Parliament Want to make judiciary accessible to small businesses, says law minister

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad  says Govt working to improve judicial infrastructure, 

Responding to questions on overburdening the already congested judicial infrastructure, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the overall number of courts will be increased to 21,153 by the next year. He also claimed that 2819 new court halls were built under the BJP rule. “We are doing our best for judicial infrastructure,” he added.

On judicial appointments, Prasad said that the NDA government increased the number of posts in high courts and lower judiciary. He said that in high courts alone, the government has introduced 173 new posts. He also rued about the failure to introduce NJAC in appointment of judges.

“We wanted to bring a National Judicial Commission, but the Supreme Court quashed it. What is the remedy for that,” he asked the Chair.

“We can simply put everything on Supreme Court. We are the lawmakers, judges are interpreters. We have to find a solution,” he said.

TRAI CHIEF RS SHARMA CANNOT BE PROSECUTED FOR DISCLOSING HIS AADHAAR CARD DETAILS

The TRAI chairman, RS Sharma’s controversial Aadhaar challenge has now been followed by a UIDAI warning against the disclosure of Aadhaar numbers, terming it as an act that is ‘not in accordance with the law’. The challenge led to others also similarly posting their Aadhaar numbers online and issuing similar challenges. While the point the TRAI chief was trying to prove, that the knowing Aadhaar number can do him no harm, remains unproven, his act has triggered a serious law and order problem.

The first question that arises is whether the TRAI chief himself violated the law by disclosing his own number. The second is on how to deal with people who have come to believe that disclosing their sensitive personal data can do them no harm.

What the Aadhaar Act says

To answer these questions, the relevant provisions under the Aadhaar Act itself need to be looked at. The most relevant provision is Section 29(2), which states that identity information (which includes Aadhaar numbers) may be shared ‘only in accordance with the provisions of this Act and in such manner as may be specified by regulations’. This is supplemented by Section 29(4), which further states that no Aadhaar number/core biometric information collected or created under the Aadhaar Act can be ‘published, displayed or posted publicly, except for the purposes as may be specified by regulations’.

Violation of these provision attracts a penalty of 1-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 25,000 under Section 42. Section 37, further punishes the intentional dissemination of any identity information that was collected in the course of enrolment or authentication with 3 years or a fine of Rs 10,000.

Does the Aadhaar Act punish publishing your own data?

Technically, the sharing of the TRAI chief’s own Aadhaar numbers is not ‘in accordance with the provisions of the Aadhaar Act’, nor has it been shared for the ‘purposes as may be specified in the regulations’. However, traditionally, no privacy law puts a bar on what information people choose to disclose about themselves. This is a choice that the people are allowed to make and forms the basis of the use of consent in data protection laws.

To read into these provisions that the Aadhaar Act prohibits a person from publishing his own Aadhaar number is thus a bit of a stretch. In fact, to place a bar on a person revealing his own sensitive personal information, could well include a bar on that person publishing his own photographs. Consider Section 29 of the Aadhaar Act above, which places a bar on the sharing of core biometric information as well. A person sharing a picture which reveals his fingerprints, or which allows the generation of face recognition data on par with, could similarly be considered to be a violation of the law.

Aadhaar regulations don’t discuss publishing your own data

There is further support to this from the Aadhaar (Sharing of Information) Regulations, 2016, which does not discuss persons publishing their own data. The only reference is to publication by persons/entities other than the Aadhaar number holders. Regulation 6(1) specifically states that ‘The Aadhaar number of an individual shall not be published, displayed or posted publicly by any person or entity or agency’. This makes it clear that the reference is to the publishing of the Aadhaar number of an individual by (another) person, and not the individual himself.

TV Executive Producer Gets 7 Years in Prison For Raping Actor

A television executive producer was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment for raping an actor who worked on the sets of a serial on Wednesday. The accused Mukesh Mishra, 33, was the television producer of the series Ek Veer Ki Ardaas…Veera. 

The incident happened in December 2012 in the sets. The victim told the court that Mukesh had asked her to come to the sets in Jogeshwari at 07:30 am on December 2, 2012. He had told her that a bus would come to pick her up but instead, he turned up. She further went on to say that after reaching the sets, she went to the make-up room where he locked the door and raped her. He even threatened her to kill her daughter after which she resisted. She disclosed the harassment to her husband, who is a journalist and a small-time director, without revealing much. Her husband then took the matter to her producer who sacked the accused.

It was only in 2013 that the victim decided to lodge a complaint after she was threatened with her reputation being destroyed. It was then that she told her husband about the rape. The victim disclosed that she did not take the matter ahead earlier since she was afraid of her career being ruined and her daughter’s safety.