UID/Aadhaar
Bill to give statutory status to Aadhaar introduced in Lok Sabha
New Delhi : Despite opposition from the Congress and the Biju Janata Dal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha.
 
The bill to provide Aadhaar statutory backing and make it the mainstay of the government's direct benefit transfer (DBT) programme for subsidies was tabled in the house as a money bill.
 
Objecting to the presentation of the bill as a money bill, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Congress is ready to cooperate on the bill, but it should not come as a money bill. To avoid Rajya Sabha they are bringing this bill as a money bill."
 
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab also objected to the legislation and sought clarification from the minister.
 
"The bill was brought by the UPA government and then it was referred to the standing committee. Lots of recommendations were also made but I don't know the status of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. There are many contentious issues related to Aadhaar number and so the matter was also referred to the Supreme Court," he said.
 
Responding to the queries raised by the members, Jaitley said, "The bill is substantially different from what was brought by the UPA and it is up to the Speaker to decide. The substance of the bill is that whoever gets subsidies will have to produce Aadhaar."
 
The bill seeks to provide for "good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services", from public funds, to the citizens through assigning of unique identity numbers to them.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Smaller cities to spearhead smartphone growth in India: IDC
New Delhi : With the growing appeal and penetration of smartphones, tier 2 and 3 cities will spearhead the next wave of growth for the Indian smartphone market, the latest report from the International Data Corporation (IDC) has predicted.
 
According to the “Monthly City Level Smartphone Tracker” report released on Thursday, the leading 30 cities of India make up approximately 51 percent of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2015.
 
While New Delhi generated the maximum demand, Mumbai followed it closely in that period. 
 
Twenty five major tier 2 and 3 cities currently make up around 21.3 percent of the Indian smartphone market, said the report, adding that most of the demand in smaller cities is for 3G models but with increasing 4G smartphone portfolio across all brands, the demand for 4G smartphones is expected to grow exponentially.
 
“The smartphone consumers in tier 2 and 3 cities are becoming more aware and demanding. The 4G revolution is promising to trigger the next wave of smartphone growth with 4G enabled devices already overtaking 3G devices as the largest smartphone category,” said Jaideep Mehta, managing director, IDC South Asia.
 
There is a clear trend of migration from feature phones to low-end smartphones in smaller cities and towns, making these markets the next growth engine for the smartphone industry.
 
“With the first time mobile phone users coming on a smartphone, it will be their only connected device which meets all of their internet and entertainment needs” added Swapnil Bhatnagar, research director, IDC India.
 
Chinese vendors like Lenovo, Motorola and Xiaomi are gaining market share in these cities “due to their superior positioning as quality brands, with a value for money proposition,” Swapnil noted.
 
The top five cities of India make up nearly 60 percent of the online smartphone sales in India, the report added. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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January service sector index hits 3-month low
New Delhi : India's services sector activity fell to a three-month low amidst subdued growth in new orders, a key macro-economic data showed on Thursday.
 
The Nikkei Business Activity index fell to a three-month low of 51.4 in February, from 54.3 in January, adding to expectations of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India following the union budget for 2016-17 maintaining the fiscal deficit targets for this fiscal and the next, earlier this week.
 
An index reading of above 50 indicates an overall increase in the economic activity, below 50 an overall decrease.
 
The survey said although new services orders continued to rise in February, the rate of expansion eased to the weakest since November 2015, as firms faced strong competition for new work during the month.
 
Instead, the Nikkei India Composite PMI Output index, which tracks both manufacturing and services sectors, fell to 51.2 in February, from January's 11-month high of 53.3.
 
"India's economic growth softened during February, with slowdown evident across both manufacturing and service sectors," said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit, which compiles the survey.
 
"Demand conditions in the country appear to be weak, as indicated by lacklustre increase in new orders," De Lima said.
 
"Although PMI data still signal expansion in output and incoming new work, recent figures are considerably low by historical standards," she added.
 
Survey respondents' confidence on the 12-month outlook for business activity remained positive, although sentiment waned since January.
 
On the possibility of a Reserve Bank rate cut, De Lima said falling price pressures and global economic challenges may open up room for a dovish policy.
 
"One centrepiece of the latest survey result is evidence of fading inflationary pressures which combined with a stuttering recovery and an increasingly challenging global backdrop open up room for a rate cut," De Lima said.
 
At its sixth and the fiscal's final bi-monthly monetary policy review last month, the RBI kept its key lending rate unchanged at 6.75 percent.
 
"The Reserve Bank continues to be accommodative even as it leaves the policy rate unchanged in this review, while awaiting further data on inflation," RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said in his policy statement.
 
India's consumer price indexed (CPI), or retail, inflation has been rising. As per data released last month, annual retail inflation moved up further to 5.69 percent in January, from 5.61 percent in the month before.
 
A seasonal softening in food prices and a sharp drop in fuel costs caused India's annual wholesale rate of inflation to decline marginally to (-)0.90 percent for January from (-)0.73 percent for the month before, official data showed last month.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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