Nation
Government approves Rafale deal
The government on Wednesday approved the deal with France for purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, sources said.
 
The deal was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
 
The government, however, chose to stay mum over the issue with no official words coming from the government or defence ministry.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, asked about the deal at the briefing on cabinet decisions, dodged the question and said the matter was not listed in the cabinet. 
 
The sources said the an inter-governmental agreement, which could not be signed during French President Francois Hollande's visit in January, is likely to be signed on Friday by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
 
According to sources, the deal will cost 7.87 billion euros, after tough negotiation from the Indian side which led to delay in finalisation of the deal, which includes weapons and spares apart from 36 jets in flyaway condition. 
 
This also includes air-to-air Meteor missiles. 
 
The deal also has a 50% offset clause, which will bring investments to India. 
 
A team from France was present in the national capital since last few weeks and hectic negotiations were on for conclusion of the deal.
 
According to sources, the Prime Minister's Office has pushed for concluding the deal early, after more than year-long negotiations, during which the price was a major sticking point.
 
In 2012, India decided to ink a deal for 126 Rafale jets.
 
As the deal could not work out, another deal for purchasing 36 Rafale combat jets in fly-away condition was inked during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to France in April last year.
 
Both the sides also agreed to conclude an inter-governmental agreement for supply of the aircraft after which a negotiating team was constituted.
 
Drian arrives on Thursday evening along with CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA and top government officials.
 
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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'Railways to decide passenger fares, accounting with FM'
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said that the government will ensure functional autonomy of the Railways and its distinct identity even after the merger of railway and general budgets.
 
"These decisions (railway and freight fares etc) will continue to be taken by the Railways. But the accounts of Railways will be presented to parliament by the Finance Minister," Jaitley told reporters.
 
Asserting that the functional autonomy of Railways will be maintained, Jaitley said: "The government will also ensure a separate discussion on Railways (expenditure) during the budget session every year."
 
It will ensure "detailed parliamentary scrutiny and accountability" vis-a-vis the expenses made under Railways is continued.
 
He said the presentation of statement of accounts will be consolidated and efforts will be made to ensure that there is horizontal merger of the two accounts.
 
Describing the merger move as "historic" and one "matching global benchmark", Prabhu also asserted that his ministry will maintain its distinct entity as a "commercial enterprise" even after the merger of budgets.
 
"It will help raise capital expenditure in the Railways, which will enhance the rail connectivity in the country. The distinct identity of the Railways will be maintained. Our effort to leverage extra budgetary resources will also continue," Prabhu said.
 
The financial powers of Divisional Railway Managers will continue, he said, adding in addition the Railways will also not pay dividends to the central exchequer.
 
Till now, the Railways has been paying about Rs10,000 crore as dividend annually.
 
The first Report of the Railway Convention Committee (2014), appointed to review the rate of dividend payable by the Railway Undertaking to the general revenue, had also favoured against payment of dividend, officials said.
 
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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Mahindra recalls new generation Scorpio, NuvoSport
Automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra on Wednesday announced proactive inspection of a fluid hose on all new generation Scorpio and NuvoSport vehicles, manufactured till June 2016.
 
"The inspection and subsequent rectification will be carried out free of cost for all new generation Scorpio and NuvoSport customers, who will be individually contacted by the company," the company said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.
 
"As an endeavor to ensure a hassle free experience for its customers, the company is proactively carrying out this activity. This action is also in compliance with SIAM's voluntary code on vehicle recall."
 
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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