FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 APRIL 2019 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR NO MODI WAVE IN ANDHRA PRADESH, SAYS TDP LEADER P6 SENSEX 38,684.72 -192.42 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with possibility of thunderstorm. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 40 and 20 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P8 NIFTY 11,598.00 -45.95 ` vs $ 69.17 -76 PAISE Min. 26% Max: 38.2° (+5) SUN RISES 06:06 hrs MOON RISES 06:51 hrs Min: 18.7°C (0) SUN SETS 18:41 hrs MOON SETS 18:43 hrs GOLD 30,460.00 +75.00 THUMBNAILS New Chief Justice: West Bengal governor KN Tripathi administered the oath of office to Justice Thottathil Bhaskaran Nair Radhakrishnan as the CJ of Calcutta High Court on Thursday. CJ said: “The Bar and the Bench have to be in consonance to sustain people’s faith in judiciary.’’ Rahul files papers in Wayanad: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has assets worth over Rs 15.88 crore, according to the affidavit filed by him while filing his nomination for Wayanad LS seat. In the 2014 elections, he had declared the value of his total assets as Rs 9.4 crore. P10 PM Modi wins UAE’s highest civilian award: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has conferred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi "The Order of Zayed", its highest civilian award, for giving a “big boost" to strategic ties between the two countries. At a media briefing in New Delhi Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India greatly appreciated the honour bestowed on P7 the PM by the UAE. W ith a view to give a boost to the sluggish economy before the ensuing elections, the Reserve Bank today cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points for the second time in as many months, a move that may translate into lower EMIs for home and other loans. The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by the RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, decided to cut the repo rate to a one-year low of 6 per cent and the reverse repo rate to 5.75 per cent on prospects of benign inflation. Four of the six members of the MPC voted in favour of the rate cut. Two of them were in favour of status quo. The RBI decision confirms that the domestic economy is impacted by the global economic slowdown headwinds. The RBI move will reduce the cost of funds for lenders/banks but whether the benefits will be transmitted to retail borrower remains uncertain as bankers, immediately after the bi-monthly policy statement, declined to make any commitment to pass on the benefits to the borrower. In the aftermath of the previous policy, a few banks lowered their rates by barely 5 to 10 basis points. Mr Das said the central bank would insist on commercial lenders to extend the benefits to borrower. The HIGHLIGHTS Short-term lending rate (repo) reduced by 25 bps to 6 pc This is second back-to-back rate cut RBI maintains neutral stance on the monetary policy Four out of six MPC members voted in favour of rate cut GDP growth projection lowered to 7.2 pc for 2019-20 RBI revises downward retail inflation estimate to 2.4 pc in Q4 FY19 MPC notes output gap remains negative and domestic economy facing headwinds Next monetary policy statement on 6 June MPC maintained "neutral" policy stance with five members in support and one opposing the move. The sluggishness in the economy also prompted the MPC to lower GDP growth forecast for FY 2019-20 to 7.2 per cent from 7.4 per cent that was projected in the February policy review. The Centre Statistical Office or CSO had also revised its advance GDP forecast to 7 per cent from 7.2 per cent for the just ended 2018-19. It had also cut the GAV or gross value added growth to 6.8 per cent from 6.9 per cent. The MPC, according to the Governor, noted: "With the output gap remaining negative and domestic economy facing headwinds, especially on the global front the need is to strengthen domestic growth impulses by spurring investment which remained sluggish. Against this backdrop the MPC decided to lower the repo rate." The minutes of discussion at the MPC meeting are likely to be released by 18 April. He also underlined concern about signs of domestic investment weakening as has been reflected in slowdown in production activity and imports of capital goods. Considering the benign policy tone, analysts and bankers expect another repo rate cut in 2019 ~ if not in June then in August ~ when the new government will be in place and the full Budget for the current FY is presented to the new Parliament. Considering all upside and downside factors such as the latest Skymet forecast of below average monsoon in the months ahead, the MPC pointed out that the consumer price index inflation or CPI in February touched a four-month high of 2.6 per cent due to uptick in prices of items excluding food and fuel and weaker momentum of deflation in the food group. The Governor, however, contested the Skymet forecast and cited monsoon prediction released by Australia that claims the monsoon as normal or slightly above average. The inflation depends on a myriad factors, he added. Considering a normal monsoon, MCP's projection of CPI for H1 2019-20 is 2.9 per cent to 3 per cent and for H2 at 3.3 per cent to 3.8 per cent. For Q4 (JanuaryMarch 2018-19) CPI is estimated at 2.4 per cent. The most significant takeaway from today's policy was the RBI Governor's response to the recent Supreme Court verdict that quashed the "12 February" circular of the central bank which made it mandatory for lenders/banks to initiate debt recovery process under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code against borrower who failed to service their borrowings of Rs 2,000 crore and above. Mr Das said the central bank respects the SC verdict but at the same time spoke of issuing a fresh circular to facilitate speedy debt recovery. The Governor's contention is that the SC has not struck section 35(A) (a) of Banking Regulation Act or BRA that empowers RBI to issue such directives. "The validity of the relevant section remains which means the central bank's power to issue a modified circular is not hurt." He, however, declined to state when the fresh circular will be issued and its likely framework. President sends EC note on Kalyan to govt; Cong wants Guv sacked Ex-J’khand minister seeks SC nod for campaign, in jail SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 4 APRIL SEE ALSO P 11 NEW DELHI, 4 APRIL President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday reportedly sent to the home ministry the Election Commission note to him on alleged violation of the model code of conduct by Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh over his purported remark on the PM’s comeback in the election even as the Congress demanded that the Governor be sacked. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed this was the first time in the history of India that a governor openly campaigned for a prime minister. He alleged Singh “tarnished” the established traditions and accepted norms of the office of governor. “He has no right to stay on the post of governor even for a minute,” Surjewala told reporters here, adding the Congress moved the President the day Singh made the comments in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Asked whether the party has sought time from President Ram Nath Kovind to press their demand, Surjewala said, “We have (already) requested his Secretariat to give us time so that we personally meet him and urge upon him to remove Kalyan Singh Ji as Governor.” He said the President was on a trip abroad and returned just Thursday. Addressing BJP workers at his Aligarh residence on March 23, Singh had reportedly said, “All of us are BJP workers and we want the party to win. We want Modiji to become the prime minister. It is necessary that Modiji becomes the prime minister again”. Singh made these remarks to placate some agitated BJP members who had gathered outside his house over ticket distribution.The EC had examined Singh’s remarks in the light of model code of conduct as holding a constitutional post makes him“apolitical”.The poll panel had concluded that Singh's remarks supporting the return of Modi as Prime Minister were violative of the model code. SNS & PTI Former Jharhand minister and Congress leaderYogendra Sao, out on bail, was sent back to jail by the Supreme Court onThursday which trashed his plea seeking to campaign in his home state for the Lok Sabha polls. Sao became a minister in the Hemant Soren-led UPA government in Jharkhand in 2013 and was made an accused in over a dozen cases of rioting and instigation of violence. He sought permission from the apex court to campaign for the party in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in the Jharkhand. The BJP-led state government simultaneously moved the apex court seeking cancellation of the bail to Sao and his MLA wife Nirmala Devi claim- ing that they both violated the bail conditions imposed by the top court. Both Sao and Devi were granted bail on December 15, 2017, by the top court and directed to stay in Bhopal as a bail condition. They were allowed to visit Jharkhand only for court hearings under police protection after intimating Bhopal superintendent of police. A bench of Justices S A Bobde, S Abdul Nazeer and Indira Banerjee rejected their plea allowing them to visit Jharkhand for a month for electioneering saying that they were influential persons and do not deserve any indulgence. “You both have failed the trust we reposed upon you. We are disappointed by your conduct.You don't deserve any indulgence,” said the (SEE P6) miffed bench. ‘Not anti-nat’l or enemies, only adversaries’ n PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 APRIL Veteran BJP leader L K Advani said on Thursday that his party has never regarded those who disagreed with it politically as “anti-national” or “enemies” but only as adversaries, remarks which come at a time when top BJP leaders have used anti-national barbs against rivals on the issue of national security. Advani, who has been replaced by party president Amit Shah in Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, wrote a blog 'Nation First, Party Next, Self Last' ahead of the party's foundation day on April 6, in which he said, “The essence of Indian democracy is respect for diversity and freedom of expression.” In the blog, written almost five years after he posted the last piece on its web page, the 91-year-old leader said, “Right from its inception, the BJP has never regarded those who disagree with us politically as our 'enemies', but only as our adversaries.” “Similarly, in our conception of Indian nationalism, we have never regarded those who disagree with us politically as 'anti-national'. The party has been committed to freedom of choice of every citizen at personal as well as political level,” he added. His comments assume significance as top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, have been attacking Opposition parties with anti-national barbs in the aftermath of Balakot air strikes. Advani is one of the BJP founders and its longest-serving president. He has been elected from Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat six times since 1991. Reacting to Advani's blog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Advani Ji perfectly sums up the true essence of BJP most notably the guid, ing Mantra of Nation First, Party Next, Self Last.' Proud to be a BJP Karyakarta and proud that greats like LK Advani Ji have strengthened it.” While he did not offer any direct comment on his party's decision to not field him in the polls, Advani conveyed his “most sincere gratitude” to the people of Gandhinagar. Defence of democracy and democratic traditions, both within the party and in the larger national setting, has been the “proud hallmark” of the BJP he said adding, there, fore, the BJP has always been in the forefront of demanding protection of independence, integrity, fairness and robustness of all our democratic institutions, including the media. P15 SILVER 37,400.00 00.00 RBI cuts key interest rate to boost sluggish economy STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, 4 APRIL MARADONA IN HOT WATER OVER COMMENTS P9 Loans to be cheaper if lenders pass on benefits; 4 out of 6 MPC members vote for rate cut Max. 83% TEMPERATURE INDIA FUELLED HASINA’S DECISION TO OUST YUNUS BJP SUPPORTERS ARE ‘MODIJI KI SENA’ Rupee loses 76 p vs dollar MUMBAI, 4 APRIL Halting its three-day rise, the rupee plunged 76 paise today to close at 69.17 against the US dollar after the RBI cut key interest rate but kept its monetary policy stance "neutral". In its first bi-monthly policy review for this financial year, the central bank slashed the policy rate by 0.25 per cent for the second time in a row, following which the rupee and sovereign bond prices tumbled. At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the domestic currency opened lower at 68.56 per dollar and fell further to touch the day's low of 69.21. It finally settled at 69.17, down 76 paise over its previous close. The rupee had surged by 33 paise to 68.41 against the US dollar yesterday. “Rupee and sovereign bond tumbled after participants perceived the policy as less dovish than expected...the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond was up 6 basis points to 7.34 per cent,” said Mr V K Sharma, head PCG and capital markets strategy, HDFC PTI Securities. BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 69.67 +0.36 EC to take final call on Modi biopic today PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 4 APRIL The Election Commission said it will take a final call on the release of a Hindi biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, as Opposition raised the pitch for deferring the release of the film by citing poll code violation. We have sought comments from the producer of the movie and also from BJP's general secretary...that also has been received. The file is under examination and it has been listed for tomorrow (before the EC), Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena told reporters here on Thursday. The Commission will take a final call tomorrow, he said. The official said the EC's decision, based on the directives of Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, will be a response to the complaint raised by the Congress in this regard. Saxena said the Commission has already told the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to take a call on the issue as it had “no role” in the issue. The EC officials said as Lavasa and Chandra were travelling to south India, the decision could not be taken earlier. The release of the biopic titled “PM Narendra Modi” has been pushed indefinitely, its producer Sandip Singh said onThursday.The film was scheduled to be screened across the country on Friday. Sources in the CBFC said the film was yet to get a clearance. The biopic was originally set to release on April 12, but its producers had advanced it by a week, claiming “public demand”. The film, fronted by Vivek Oberoi and directed by “Mary Kom” maker Omung Kumar, was in the news with various political parties saying that releasing it less than a week before the general elections begin was a violation of the model code of conduct. The Congress made a formal complaint to the Election Commission over the release of the film. Opposition parties, including the Congress, said the film would give undue advantage to the BJP in electioneering and its release should be deferred till the elections are over. The seven-phased Lok Sabha polls begin on April 11 and end on May 19. The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on April 8 a Congress leader's plea seeking post-poll release of the biopic as the party alleged that it was designed to “manipulate, influence and impress viewers and voters”.
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