Citizens' Issues
Indian businessman's custody extended in UAE
A UAE court has extended an Indian jeweller's custody after he failed to settle the outstanding amount of two dud cheques worth $9.2 million, a media report said on Friday.
 
M.M. Ramachandran, the owner of Dubai's Atlas Jewellery, had issued two cheques to a local bank. The bank later filed a complaint against the businessman after the cheques bounced and he failed to settle the outstanding dues.
 
Police arrested 73-year-old Ramachandran in August this year and he has been in detention since then.
 
On Thursday, Dubai court judge Ahmad Shiha refused to admit a request by Ramachandran's lawyer for an adjournment to settle the case.
 
"This is the third adjournment since September 29. Why has no settlement been reached yet? The decision will be at the end of the hearing," judge Shiha told the lawyer.
 
He ordered the businessman to remain in custody until a ruling is handed out on November 12.
 
However, a member of Ramachandran's defence team said a deal has been reached with an investor who has expressed his willingness to pay the defendant's outstanding amount.
 
Under the UAE law, a cheque bounce case is automatically dropped after the signee pays the cheque's amount or reaches a settlement with the beneficiary.
 
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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Is the government in India doing enough for overseas investors to consider India?
The efforts of centre and states, and regulators to bring more transparency, offer better governance, one stop clearance to investment proposals and rationalizing tax structure are quite significant, points out an SBI research note
 
While there is scepticism among overseas investors as to whether the government in India is doing enough to attract investment into Indian shores, SBI (State Bank of India), in a research note feels that many things have been done under reforms and these should not be ignored.
 
In spite of some challenges facing the World Economy, the efforts made by the Governments (Centre and States), and Regulators (RBI) to bring more transparency in system and procedures, good governance, one stop clearance to investment proposals and rationalizing tax structure so far are quite significant, points out the SBI research note.
 
In the banking sector, there is a plan to revamp public sector banks under ‘Indradhanush’. In the insurance sector, FDI (foreign direct investment) limit has been increased to 49%. Social Security Schemes, Jan Dhan to Jan Suraksha, have been added to the finance sector and the achievements are impressive. According to the government, 18.34 crore bank accounts have been opened under PMJDY and 15.98 crore Rupay cards issued; 8.59 crore Suraksha Bima policies, 2.81 crore Jeevan Jyoti Bima Policies and 7.68 lakh Atal Pension Policies have been issued.
 
Under ‘Ease of doing business’ the following proposals have been put in place:
 
(a) New  de-licensing  and  de-regulation  measures  for  reducing  complexity,  and  significantly  increasing speed and transparency. Process of applying for Industrial Licence made online on 24x7 basis through eBiz portal. Validity of Industrial license extended to three years.
 
(b)  Major components of Defence products’ list excluded from industrial licensing.
 
(c) Process of obtaining environmental clearances made online.
 
(d) Digitization and online processing of various activities relating to SEZ Developers and Units introduced in all Zones.
 
(e) Withdrawing excise and customs duty exemptions presently available to goods manufactured and supplied to Ministry of Defence by Ordinance Factory Board and Defence PSUs.
 
(f) Promoting the participation of private sector, particularly SMEs for Defence Manufacturing, Outsourcing and Vendor Development Guidelines for DPSUs and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) have also been formulated.
 
In the field of communication and information technology, the government’s new policies include:
 
(a) Digital India programme to make technology central to enabling change and transforming the country into a digitally empowered knowledge economy. It includes various schemes worth over Rs1 lakh crore like Digital Locker, e-education, e-health, e-sign and national scholarship portal. BharatNet in 11 states and Next Generation Network (NGN), are a part of Digital India campaign.
 
(b)  MyGov.in implemented as a platform for citizen engagement in Governance, through a “Discuss”, “Do” and “Disseminate” approach. The mobile app for MyGov would bring these features to users on a mobile phone.
 
With an aim to achieve “inclusive growth”, the Smart City Mission promotes integrated city planning, where the Government’s Policies such as Swachh Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation complement each other.
 
Deregulation of diesel prices was announced on 18th October, 2014. The saving in subsidy is available for funding anti-poverty and social sector scheme.
 
RBI has issued 2 banking licenses (Bandhan & IDFC), 11 Payment Bank and 10 Small Finance Bank (SFB) licences. The new banks will help in providing banking facilities to the unbanked sections of the people. The payment banks will reach customers mainly through their mobile phones, the cheapest technology available globally, rather than traditional bank branches.
 
Some of the recommendations of the Expert Committee to Revise and Strengthen the Monetary Policy Framework (Chairman: Dr. Urjit R. Patel) have been implemented including adoption of the new CPI (combined) as the key measure of inflation, explicit recognition of the glide path for disinflation, transition to a bi-monthly monetary policy cycle, progressive reduction in access to overnight liquidity under the LAF at the fixed repo rate and corresponding increase in access to liquidity through term repos and introduction of longer tenor term repos.
 
In order to tackle the NPAs (non-performing assets), RBI has provided a mechanism to bankers to recover bad loans. The RBI has allowed banks to acquire 51% or more stake in companies defaulting after restructuring their loans. Measures announced under the new scheme ‘Strategic Debt Restructuring’ (SDR) include allowing lenders to convert debt into equity within 30 days of review of companies’ accounts. In addition, lenders acquiring shares of listed companies under restructuring would be exempted from making open offers.
 
In conclusion, it is felt that overseas investors would do well to study the reforms in place and start business in right earnest rather than wait for the next set of favourable measures in government policy.
 

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‘Every inch of the Konkan Railway line, a part of our psyche’
Bojji Rajaram, one of the founding engineers of the Konkan Railway project, later its managing director and now retired, speaks on Konkan Railway, as it completed 25 years this October.
 
How do you look back at 25 years of Konkan Railway? When you travel by it today, when you pass those stretches of land which you had worked hard on.
 
“Every inch, nook and corner of the 760-km Konkan Railway network system had become part of our psyche. Trials and tribulations marked our lives in construction and no less even in running in the initial years trains like Rajdhani. The formation of tracks was not as mature as it has become now. Then there was the challenge of relocating surplus engineers, making rules for cross discipline cadres, keeping the morale high. This all rushes back as we travel and meet old loving colleagues and friends. A feeling of fulfilment for service to nation, well done, brings tears of joy finally, when one sees happy staff and their children now becoming engineers!” this is how 70-year-old Bojji Rajaram, one of the first engineers to start the Konkan Railway project from scratch, later its managing director and now retired, has to say about the project as it completed 25 years this October.
 
The construction and working methods followed were innovative like you sent engineering survey teams on bikes, set up impromptu offices. The project was ready in seven years. What was the secret?
 
Simple rule is to make the responsibility and authority centre the same. Empowering, at executive level, with a higher degree of trust both in the engineer and the contractor with transparency is important. Contractors are not all thieves, but equal partners and be dealt with respect but dealt very firmly when not up-to the mark. Conviction in what one is doing and courage to stand up for own staff as well as contractor is the hallmark of a good engineer leader of team. The leader and the team should consider audit and vigilance as enabling functions and combine these roles too in own executive functioning. They should stop treating them as adversaries. I used to welcome with open arms to help us do better. The needless fear and conditioned adverse relationship many tend to develop saps energy of the organisation.
 
What do you think is lacking in today's infra projects that keep missing deadlines? The administrative processes of tendering, lowest- bidder etc is delaying everything.
 
Back-seat driving without accountability has destroyed today’s focus on timely completion of projects within budget. Team is what one has to build, with shared values and goals. But if each one thinks he has to somehow spend time without getting in to trouble in the posting, which most probably the officer took for own convenience, then project is doomed. Risk allocation in drafting contracts plays an important part. Rly engineers tend to cover up own lack of professional competence, loading entire risk on contractor.  Many engineer administrators, think award of tender is the solution to an engineering problem, Administrators who tend to load all risk on contractors and everyone else, should change in to risk managers with engineering competence sharing risk too. Matter of courage.
 
That is why to break the administrative culture and to bring back the engineer within to work with own hands, offices for engineers I removed. More web-like flat organisation structure eliminating pyramid command control model was tried. Knowledge took central place and fear banished. The inner full prowess of every individual unleashed. The final story of Pernem tunnel completion, that had been abandoned practically by every international consultant and own Indian stalwarts, symbolises success of this approach; to achieve the impossible.
 
Konkan Railway has been adopting unique finance account systems and has now raised Rs250 crore without help of railway ministry. Can this be replicated on Indian Railways?
 
Yes. Each division on Indian Railways should exactly follow the same commercial account system to report financial results. Then it becomes much better for performance assessment and quality of output from expenditure incurred. Accountability will be better enforced by management at zonal and Board will get much better clarity. It is opaque today.
 
Your inventions of skybus metro and anti-collision device have been world highlights in transport sector, but have remained on paper.
 
The herd mentality to block the unusual or out-of-the-way behaviour/thinking is natural self-survival instinct.

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COMMENTS

Suvam Sarkar

1 year ago

Konkan Railways have to restart Panaji Sky Bus Metro project to decongest Panji City. if Panaji Sky Bus Metro will built it will also be a tourist attraction like Mumbai monorail.

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

2 years ago

To the architect of Konkan Railway, E. Sreedharan, I had written a letter, that all the tracks alignments, tunnels and bridges of Konkan Railway be constructed in such a way that its double tracking will be easy. Even then Railway Minister George Fernandes in his speech has stated that as soon as Konkan Railway line starts, its double tracking will have to be started, by considering the heavy traffic that will exist on this route. If my suggestion was seriously taken by E Sreedharan then, Konkan Railway would not have faced double tracking difficulty that is is facing now. Out of 760 kms of its track, only 300 kms will be double tracked, since is is not possible to construct additional tunnels and bridges along side of existing track.

Mahesh Krishnamurthy

2 years ago

I remember the day Konkan Railways project was announced by Sri.George Fernandes and the speed with which it was completed. I salute the people involved in the project.
The Bengalooru Namma Metro was vision of Kannada Cine Artist Late.Sri Shankar Nag(Malgudi Days Fame),who wanted the Metro to be introduced way back in 1980's and which is yet to be completed.
As rightly pointed by Sri Bojji Rajaram it is the back seat driving which is rotting our system.
The link about the Late.Sri Shankar Nag.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankar_Nag

VISWANATHAN K N

2 years ago

Loved it

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