Citizens' Issues
Coast Guard foils possible terror bid on New Year night

In an operation on the night of 31 December, Coast Guard intercepted a boat from Pakistan 365 km off the coast of Gujarat


The coast guard successfully intercepted a possible Pakistani boat laden with explosives, in a midnight operation in the Arabian Sea. A Defence Ministry release said that intelligence had suggested an illicit transaction in the high seas and the Coast Guard conducted a co-ordinated operation to foil the bid.
The boat was said to have sailed from Keti Bunder near Karachi and a Coast Guard Dornier plane along with sea-based assets, located the boat and warned the crew to co-operate. The crew were reportedly four in number.
Despite warning announcements from the Coast Guard, the boat sped off, leading to a chase by the Coast Guard. After warning fire, the boat stopped but the crew refused to comply with instructions or co-operate.
Finally, the crew hid in the bowels of the boat and set it on fire. The fire caused huge explosions and sunk the boat. The Coast Guard continued search operations to look for survivors, but the weather and the rough seas made survivors a near impossibility.
The Coast Guard has stepped up and maintained a high alert patrol in the area after reports of serious threats emanating from the sea.
In another unrelated foiled terror bid in Kashmir, security forces successfully detected and defused an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) of 8 kilograms in Kulgam.


India's factory output growth is at 2 year high

The HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Index that measures factory output showed significant growth for the month of December amid slowdowns in most developing economies


The HSBC Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) came in at 54.5 for the month of December, as compared to 53.3 last month. A figure of above 50 signifies growth in output. December's growth is the highest in 2 years.


Prices for inputs were seen to have slumped as inflation fell and commodity prices cooled considerably.


"With the disinflationary trend gaining ground, the RBI is expected to find space for some rate cuts in 2015,” HSBC's Chief India Economist said according to reports.


The current numbers will give succour to the manufacturing environment as the coming year is hoped to be a year of rapid reforms. The markets and investors have been betting on an uptick in growth in the coming year.


The growth in factory orders was also ascribed to a larger number of foreign orders which is another welcome sign for the sector.


Real Estate prices to go up in Mumbai as CM Fadnavis hikes ready reckoner rates

Laden with successive quarters of unsold inventory, a sluggish Mumbai property market will now become more expensive, with the Maharashtra government's latest rate hikes


Ready reckoner rates for localities across Mumbai have been hiked by the Fadnavis government, between 15% and 40%. 
Expensive localities like Worli and the commercial hub of Bandra Kurla Complex will bear the steepest hikes around 40%.
The average hikes though are around 17%. Developers have shown their displeasure against these hikes because the real estate market in Mumbai is already suffering very low turnover. 
The slow sales are exacerbated by the Reserve Bank of India's hawkish stance on rates, making borrowing expensive. The latest move will impact prices for various reasons.
The Ready reckoner rates are used as a benchmark to calculate stamp duty, registration, TDR, Fungible FSI etc. A steep hike, as we have just witnessed, will adversely affect sales because these costs make up a good chunk of the house cost.
However, the rates will only affect some costs and will in fact make the circle rates more in line with the market rates in most circles.
While developers are not pleased with the hike, even others have been surprised by the extent of the hike. The Maharashtra state budget has long been in deficit with massive borrowings. This move will have a subsidiary benefit of reducing the amount of black money involved in each transaction, once the RR rates come to parity with market rates.


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