World
Nepal's deposed king has not paid electricity dues for 10 years
Kathmandu : Nepal's last monarch Gyanendra Shah has not paid his electricity dues for the last 10 years, the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority said on Wednesday.
 
Gyanendra, after vacating the Narayan Hiti Royal Palace here in 2008, has been living in Nagarjuna Palace, a royal property on the northern outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley. 
 
He has not been paying the electricity dues for the Nagarjuna Palace which he has been occupying since he left the Narayan Hiti royal palace, a Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) official said.
 
NEA assistant director Mukunda Man Chitrakar, who looks after auditing at the NEA, told media persons here that the staff at Nagarjuna Palace have repeatedly refused to acknowledge any letter sent by NEA raising the isue of unpaid power dues. 
 
The NEA, he said, has run up a loss of Rs.7 million in the last 10 years.
 
After the staff refused to receive NEA's letters, the electricity authority knocked the doors of Nirmal Niwas, another palace in Kathmandu in which Gyanendra used to live as former royal highness until the infamous royal massacre in Nepal in 2001. 
 
Sagar Raj Timilsina, Gyanendra's personal secretary, reportedly told the NEA officials that the liability comes under the Prime Minister's Office not the Nagarjuna Palace.
 
Until 2008, the PMO used to pay all the bills and tariffs incurred to the palaces belonging to the royals.
 
According to the Electricity Act, if a consumer fails to pay electricity bills for two months, his/her power connection will be cut and if any consumer continuously fails to pay bills for another six month, a ban will be placed on sale of his/her private properties like land and house for the next three generations.
 
Asked why had the NEA failed to cut the connection to the Nagarjuna Palace or impose a ban on selling of property as per the electricity act, Chitrakar said that since Gyanendra was a respected national and former head of the state, they did not initiate action against him.
 
"Instead of taking action against him, we decided to collect the tariff, if possible," he added.
 
The staff at Nagarjuna Palace told the NEA officials that all properties of the formal royals had been nationalised since 2008 after Gyanendra vacated the Narayan Hiti palace. 
 
"So, it is the duty of the government to pay the bills," the Nagarjuna Palace staff were reported to have told NEA officials.
 
Nepal has started to nationalise the properties of former royals after the Himalayan nation declared itself a republican state in 2008.
 
A dedicated Office of the Nepal Trust is handling the properties of the former royals, including Gyanendra, and bringing them under its ambit.
 
The Office of the Trust responded to a letter sent by the NEA that Nagarjuna Palace is being used by Gyanendra for his private purpose and is not owned by the government. 
 
This has paved the way for NEA to knock the door of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
 
"We are writing to PMO soon in this respect," Chitrakar 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.

User

Inflation, corporate profits key to India's growth story: Moody's
Mumbai : It will be advantage India during 2016 if inflation is kept under control and corporate profits revive, global credit rating agency Moody's said on Wednesday.
 
"India enters 2016 on the cusp of a cyclical growth recovery, with inflation under control and its economy benefitting from lower commodity prices," Moody's associate managing director Atsi Sheth said at a conference here.
 
With Baa3 positive rating, the country will be among the fastest growing economies this year if inflation is reined in and corporate profits rise.
 
The agency's Indian affiliate ICRA Ltd. expects consumption to increase from pay revision to central government's employees and pensioners, upturn in agriculture pick-up in rural demand.
 
"We believe these advantages will yield growth acceleration once corporate and bank balance sheets are repaired and private sector remains competitive," Sheth said at the day-long session on 'Financing India's Growth', organised by Moody's and ICRA.
 
Though the federal government is facing opposition in introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from April 1, it has initiated measures to spur investments in infrastructure, allow greater foreign direct investment (FDI) and implement inflation targeting.
 
"Inflation and corporate profit trends in 2016 will offer clues on these policy efforts creating conditions for sustainable growth over the next three-four years," Sheth asserted.
 
According to official data released on Tuesday, the annual retail inflation climbed to 5.61 percent in December from 5.41 percent in November.
 
As corporate profit taxes are a major source of state revenue, the agency hoped stronger profits from India Inc. would support the government's fiscal consolidation efforts.
 
"We believe the lagged impact of reforms, pay revision for government employees and pensioners and a cyclical upturn in agriculture and rural demand will provide a modest boost to economic activity in 2016," ICRA senior economist Aditi Nayar said at the outlook conference.
 
A normal monsoon in 2016 after two consecutive years of poor rainfall will boost agricultural output, restore purchasing power to the farm sector and generate an up-tick in rural demand.
 
ICRA believes private investment will be constrained by high levels of corporate groups, weak asset quality of state-run banks and structural issues plaguing sectors such as steel and power generation.
 
The government's capital outlay and expenditure is likely to moderate this year to absorb the pay revision burden and reduce fiscal deficit to 2.5 percent in the ensuing fiscal year (2016-17).
 
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.

User

Modi government announces new insurance policy for farmers
New Delhi : The central government on Wednesday announced a new crop insurance policy 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana' for farmers across the country, saying the "path-breaking scheme" will boost the farming sector.
 
Announcing the new insurance scheme for the farmers, union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said "it would minimise the atmosphere of uncertainty" for farmers.
 
"The new crop insurance scheme will not only act as 'Suraksha Kawach' (security shield) against the vagaries of nature but also safeguard farmers' interests," he said at a press conference.
 
Earlier, the new crop insurance policy was approved by the union cabinet in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
Talking about previous crop insurance policies for farmers, the home minister said they failed because of certain reasons and points of their failure have been taken into account before coming up with the new policy, He hoped it would be "accepted" by farmers of the country.
 
"This would be based on the concept of minimum premium and maximum cover (for the crops)," said
 
Singh was accompanied by union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs M. Venkaiah Naidu at the press conference.
 
Singh termed it "a historical decision" of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government, saying it would help increase purchasing power of the farmers and this, in turn, would shield the country's economy from any bad effects of global financial slowdown.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the agriculture minister said the new crop insurance scheme will provide "safety" to crops and it will be implemented from the upcoming Kharif season that generally begins in April.
 
"The new insurance policy will cover seeds, plants and post harvest damage," Radha Mohan said, adding that it will ensure speedy disposal of cases.
 
The minister said the damage claim would also be simplified as farmers would be allowed to send in pictures of the damaged crop through their mobile smartphones to the agencies concerned.
 
The use of technology will be encouraged to a great extent. Smartphones will be used to capture and upload data of crop cutting to reduce the delays in claim payment to farmers. Remote sensing will be used to reduce the number of crop cutting experiments.
 
Naidu said the farmers never have "level playing field" as they get affected with all sorts of natural calamities.
 
"This (the new scheme) will take care of them," he said.
 
Naidu also said it was due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constant effort that the government has come up such a "path breaking" scheme.
 
"From the day one he has been thinking of poor and vulnerable sections of the society," he added.
 
Under the 'Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana', 25 percent insurance funds of the total compensation for the damaged crop will be disbursed to the farmers' bank account directly.
 
The minister said that the burden of insurance amount would be funded by the central as well as the state government.
 
There will be a uniform premium of only 2 percent to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5 percent for all Rabi crops. In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be 5 percent only.
 
The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
 
There is no upper limit on government subsidy. Even if balance premium is 90 percent, it will be borne by the government.
 
Earlier, there was a provision of capping the premium rate which resulted in low claims being paid to farmers. This capping was done to limit government outgo on the premium subsidy. This capping has now been removed and farmers will get claim against full sum insured without any reduction.
 
The new crop insurance scheme is in line with 'One Nation - One Scheme' theme. It incorporates the best features of all previous schemes and at the same time, all previous shortcomings and weaknesses have been removed, Rajnath Singh 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.

User

COMMENTS

Subramani P K

1 year ago

Success of this scheme depends on fast disposal of claims by the insurance companies & honest claims by the insured. Strict vigilance to ensure proper & honest claims will be necessary otherwise this will also be like subsidies which is a drain on the tax payer's money.

MG Warrier

1 year ago

Earlier initiatives in certain states to introduce crop insurance did not take off for want of other linkages and half-hearted approach to the whole concept. This time around, Centre-state participation and overall awareness about the need to make farming a ‘bankable’ activity in its own right should make a difference. Centre and states should revisit all subsidies now being provided to farm sector, like interest subsidy, subsidised inputs and concessions in cost of electricity and ideally pool them and provide need-based subsidy to make individual farming activities economically viable.
Though going back to old practice of three components (A-Cash, B-Kind, provision of inputs and C- A consumption component in gross bank credit) may not be practical, human involvement in appraisal and supervision of credit cannot be substituted by technology while providing bank credit to farm sector.
M G Warrier, Mumbai

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)