Pune, Western Maharashtra emerge as air pollution hotspots in India

Air pollution, particularly levels of Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide, rose sharply in towns and cities in Western Maharashtra in 2016, according to data from the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme of India. Though 2016 saw a worsening of air quality across the country, the deterioration was marked and noticeable in Western Maharashtra. Arranged by the levels of Sulfur Dioxide in the air, the top four cities in India belongs to Western Maharashtra, as does six of the top seven. Similarly, for Nitrogen Dioxide, the top three were in Western…

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Modi denies demonetization was a failure

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denied that the withdrawal of high-value currency notes was a failure. Speaking in the lower house of Parliament today, Modi said demonetization has created a money trail that can be used to ‘bring everyone into the mainstream’ of taxation. “You know how it used to be in the old days.. Income tax officials would go on raids and you know what would happen then. I don’t need to give historical details,” said Modi. “With demonetization, there is a clear trail — what came from where,…

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BUDGET 2016-17: RAILWAY PROPOSALS

The Budget of 2017-18 was the first to integrate the railway budget in it. The following are the main points relating to the railways, contained in the budget. For passenger safety, a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (National Rail Safety Fund) will be created with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years. Unmanned level crossings on regular rail lines will be eliminated by 2020. In the next 3 years, rail throughput is proposed to be enhanced by 10%. This will be done through modernisation and…

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BUDGET 2017-18: Proposals on REAL ESTATE SECTOR

The Union Budget 2017-18 has introduced measures to give a fillip to the weak real estate sector in India. The following are some of the measures. Under the scheme for profit-linked income tax deduction for promotion of affordable housing, carpet area instead of built up area of 30 and 60 Sq.mtr. will be counted for making the deduction. This will extend the benefit to those with bigger houses. The 30 square meter limit will apply only in case of municipal limits of 4 metropolitan cities while for the rest of…

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BUDGET provisions ON DIGITAL PAYMENTS, CASHLESS ECONOMY

The Union Budget 2017-18 have come up with several steps to promote cashless economy and digital payment systems to bring down tax evasion. The following are the steps announced in the budget in this regard. Under scheme of presumptive income for small and medium tax payers whose turnover is upto 2 crores, the present, 8% of their turnover which is counted as presumptive income is reduced to 6% in respect of turnover which is by non-cash means. This is applicable to small business owners who don’t keep accounts and pay…

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Zero Income Tax up to Rs 4.5 lakh– BUDGET LIVE

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said he is slashing Income Tax paid by individuals by as much as 50% in some slabs. In the starting slab of 2.5-5.0 lakh per year, the income tax rate has been brought down from 10% of income above Rs 2.5 lakh to 5% of income above Rs 2.5 lakh. “If exemption under 80 c (for investments made in mutual funds and insurance up to 1.5 lakh) is utilized, tax will be zero for people with an income up to 4.5 lakhs,” Jaitley said as part…

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Facebook biggest beneficiary of Reliance Jio free data

It’s common knowledge that Reliance Jio’s free data service has massively increased Internet usage in India, but a new report throws light on what categories have been benefited and which have not. The biggest beneficiary of the free data offer from Reliance Jio is — yes, you guessed it right — social media, which technically means Facebook for most people in India. According to a study by Smartapp, there has been an increase of 467% in usage of social media apps due to Jio’s preview services, now in their fifth…

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Kerala government doctor goes behind the veil to teach Muslim women

A government doctor in Kerala has come under criticism on social media for taking a Polio vaccination awareness class for women from behind a veil. According to local media reports, nearly 100 women participated in the thinly veiled awareness drive conducted by a medical superintendent of the government hospital at Nileswaram in Kasargode district in North Kerala. The area has a high proportion of Muslims, which may have prompted the organizers to hang a curtain between the stage and the audience. Given that curtains are lifted before most stage programs in Kerala, Sunday’s…

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Siddhu on joining Congress: No party is good or bad!

Navjot Singh Siddhu, the cricketer turned politician and a vehement critic of the Indian National Congress for several years, justified his decision to join the party saying that no party, by itself, is good or bad. “No party is good or bad. The same party can be run by bad people, the same party can be run by good people,” he said. He said he was willing to forget past issues in the interest of the people. “They’ve been criticizing me. Nitishji has been critizing Laluji. They’ve formed a government….

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TRUMP THREAT: TCS not worried, says we’re not the villains

Tata Consultancy Services, the largest Indian-owned outsourcing company, said it is able to manage with 75% less new visas this year as it has changed its business and recruitment models in recent years. It also said that outsourcing was key to protecting US jobs, and is not the villain as portrayed. The statement from Rajesh Gopinathan, the new chief executive officer of the company, was in response to investor concerns that the pro-local jobs stance of incoming US President Donald Trump would severely disrupt the business models of companies like…

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Katju says SP will defeat BJP in UP Elections; Demonetization, Akhilesh to aid

Former Supreme Court judge and a keen observer of Indian politics, Markandey Katju has predicted a win for the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. BJP, which is seen as a strong contender by many, would be negatively impacted due to the impact of demonetization and the clean image projected by SP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, which is also seen as a likely contender, will also fail as it will not be able to attract the required Muslim votes,…

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Is Bangalore safe for women? Ask me, I’m a Bengaluru hudugi

It’s amusing to see men from Bangalore share posts on Facebook about how Bangalore is a safe city. And that, what happened on New years’ was just alcohol-induced. Firstly, dear men of Bangalore, hold that thought. Would you care to ask a woman how she feels, before you post another status on Facebook? I’m a Bangalorean, I was born here, and lived here all my life. I am as Bangalorean as  and I can tell you this: I do not feel safe in the city. Not a decade ago, not…

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Supreme Court to consider banning charge-sheeted candidates from polls

The Supreme Court has today agreed to hear a petition that seeks to ban anyone who has been charge-sheeted in a criminal case from contesting elections in India. BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among one of the most prolific filers of public interest litigation in India, is among those who had filed such petitions seeking disqualification of such candidates in elections. The petitioners alleged that the current law — which prohibits only convicted people from standing for elections — is being misused by criminal politicians. Charge sheets are filed…

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UP POLLS: BSP gives most number of seats to Upper Castes; Muslims second

Bahujan Samaj Party has allocated the highest block of candidacies for the upcoming elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly to upper caste Hindus, followed by Muslims. Announcing the details, party supremo Mayawati said a total of 113 seats — amounting to 28% of the total 403 seats — have been given to candidates belonging to upper caste Hindus. Out of these, 66 were allocated to Brahmins — coming to around 16.4% of the total seats. Brahmins comprise about 5% of UP’s population. 36 seats went to Rajputs and Kshtriyas,…

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Mayawati warns Muslims: Akhilesh vs Mulayalam will bring BJP to power

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kumari Mayawati has warned Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh against continuing to vote for Samajwadi Party, claiming that the current fight between SP leader Mulayam Singh and his son Akhilesh would split their votes in two. “I urge you not to let your vote get divided between Akhilesh and Mulayalam groups. If you do that, the benefit will directly go to the BJP,” Mayawati said today. To drive home the point, Mayawati said she has allocated 97 candidates out of the total 403 candidates to the Muslim community,…

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Hindu fighting for Muslim rights alleges religious discrimination by orthodox Muslims

Sreeja Neyyattinkara, one of the state secretaries of Welfare Party in Kerala, has set off a storm among Dalit and Minority activist circles in Kerala by heavily criticizing some orthodox practices among the Muslims of the state. The criticism has come as a surprise as the Welfare Party is largely comprised of Muslim supporters and activists, and was floated five years ago to build a national coalition of minorities and Dalits. Sreeja’s outburst came after she was stopped from visiting her Muslim friend — who had lost her husband — by the…

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Mark Zuckerberg goes from ‘Atheist’ to ‘It’s Complicated’

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and reportedly the fifth richest person in the world, no longer wants to be identified as an ‘atheist’, he said on the social network he created. “No,” he said, when asked if he was (still) an atheist. “I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.” Perhaps in keeping with his newfound appreciation for religion, Zuckerberg, who used to list himself as ‘atheist’ on his Facebook profile, no longer does…

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Nokia files more patent infringement suits against Apple

Nokia has filed further complaints alleging that Apple products infringe a number of Nokia patents, expanding its litigation originally announced on December 21. Across actions in 11 countries, there are now 40 patents in suit, which cover technologies such as display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding, the company said. Cases have now been filed in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, Munich, Helsinki, London, Turin, Stockholm and Barcelona. The network equipment maker now has patent infringement suits against Apple in Barcelona, Tokyo, Texas and several other places including one with the…

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COLUMN: Why it’s hypocritical for Rahul Gandhi to accuse Narendra Modi of taking money from corporates

One of the interesting aspects of the current accusations and counter accusations around the alleged funding of BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign by corporate houses is the sheer hypocrisy of it. Let’s see why. According to third-party figures, an estimated Rs 23,000 cr was spent by candidates and political parties on the 2014 general election. Assuming that about 40% of this was spent by the BJP and its candidates, the saffron party’s tally comes to around Rs 9,200. The Indian National Congress and its candidates are likely to have spent about Rs…

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Mining baron Sekhar Reddy arrested after Income Tax raids

Sand miner Shekar Reddy has been arrested, two weeks after the seizure of crores of rupees and gold in an income tax raid. The arrest has come hours after Income Tax officials conducted a raid on Tamil Nadu’s top bureaucrat chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao at his home. It was speculated that Rao’s home was raided on the basis of information obtained from the earlier raid. Income Tax raids has unearthed Rs 130 crore in cash including Rs 34 crore in new currencies and 177 kg of gold from…

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