Citizens' Issues
Narayana Murthy for supporting Modi
Assessing the first year of the NDA government, Infosys co-founder N.R.Narayana Murthy said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be supported in his endeavours.
 
"We have a PM who is enthusiastic and working hard. People, all parties, the opposition should rally behind him. I think a lot of good things have happened but it's still early to say. Therefore, we must all be with the PM and support him," Murthy said here delivering the sixth annual lecture of the Competition Commission of India.
 
"We should all rally behind him. I mean individuals, political parties, those in opposition, bureaucrats at state level and central level, corporate houses, academic institutions everyone. If we provide support, then I think we can move fast," he added.
 
He said every bureaucrat must reflect on what he or she did so as to reduce the friction between government and business.
 
Equally important for business is a "corruption-free judiciary" which is also updated and holds the knowledge of the global best practices in legal matters, Murthy said.
 
"And if we continue to do things with the sense of efficiency, then I'm sure we will make some progress," he added.
 
On the government's taxation policies, he said these should be "transparent, stable, easy to communicate, easy to understand and comply with and one that creates confidence about the government among tax payers and therefore collect maximum tax". 
 
"Such a tax policy should have three fundamental principles - equity, certainty by not imposing taxes in an arbitrary manner and by not levying taxes in retrospective manner and by transparent method," he added.

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Punjab to act against online marketing of cigarettes
Punjab on Thursday became the first state in the country to initiate criminal proceeding against companies marketing cigarettes online despite a ban on it.
 
Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani sought people's cooperation with the police in registering first information reports (FIRs) against e-commerce companies on the basis of the bills sent by companies.
 
To implement the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act effectively, all state drug inspectors have been directed to lodge complaints against the illegal sale of e-cigarettes.
 
The district police chiefs have been directed to ensure promptness in initiating legal action against such companies, a government statement said.

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Ajay Singh now SpiceJet chief, firm garners Rs.300-crore funding
Budget passenger carrier SpiceJet on Thursday said one of its founders, Ajay Singh, has been appointed as chairman and that the low-cost carrier (LCC) has managed to garner Rs.300 crore funding.
 
According to the company, in a meeting held on Thursday its board of directors appointed Ajay Singh and his wife Shiwani Singh as directors. 
 
Harsha Vardhana Singh, who is an adjunct professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, New York, has been given the charge of an independent director.
 
Till now Ajay Singh was functioning as a director of the company after buying out the stake of the erstwhile promoter Kalanithi Maran and KAL Airways earlier in the year.
 
On February 24, the airline's ownership was transferred to Ajay Singh from erstwhile promoter Kalanithi Maran and KAL Airways.
 
On January 29, Maran sold his majority stake to Ajay Singh. 
 
Earlier on January 15, the airline's board approved the plans to allow Maran together with KAL Airways to off-load their stake in the company to Ajay Singh after regulatory clearances.
 
Maran, together with KAL Airways, held 58.4 percent stake in SpiceJet, while Ajay Singh had a 4.5 percent stake. Maran acquired SpiceJet for close to Rs.750 crore.
 
In December 2014, Maran made it clear that no fresh bailout package could be put together for the airline in which nearly $400 million or Rs.2,500 crore has been invested since 2010.
 
This is Ajay Singh's second innings with the airlines which he co-founded with Bhupendra Kansagra in 2005. However, he sold his stake along with Kansagra and assets buyout specialist Wilbur Ross in 2010 to Sun Group's Maran.
 
"The board also took on record mobilization of additional funding of Rs.300 crore through various sources," the company was quoted in a statement.
 
Under the company's revival plan fresh funds were infused into the airline after the takeover was completed. 
 
The infusion of funds worth Rs.1,500 crore was expected in a staggered manner till April.
 
Some estimates place the infused amount at Rs.500 crore that was invested in the airline in the first tranche.
 
The airline plans to raise funds up to Rs.1,500 crore through issue of securities.
 
"(Board) also took on record company’s efforts to increase its fleet size to 45-50 aircraft by the financial year ending March 2016," the statement added.
 
The airline's fleet size late last year stood at 55 before a financial crises lead it to truncate it. Currently, the fleet size stands at 35 which comprises 20 Boeing aircraft and 15 Bombardier Q400s.
 
In April, the airline leased out three Boeing-737s from a Czech company on a short-term wet-lease to meet the summer rush.
 
The company has also increased the number of its flights to 270 in the current summer schedule from 210 operated during the winter period.

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