The very announcement of Tata-SIA's full service domestic carrier Vistara's entry into the Indian market has put all other operators on their toes
Tata-SIA's full service domestic airline is aptly called, Vistara, to cover the vast territory in India. It expects to travel to neighbouring countries, when the 5/20 rules are expected to be revised. It plans to launch services during the festive season starting in October this year. Its first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in September.
As it stands now, Vistara hopes to obtain Air Operators Permit (AOP) from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) soon, after which some more formalities will have to be completed before actual passenger flights can start.
Vistara has Delhi as the designated hub from where initial services will cover Mumbai, Goa, Patna, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Hyderabad and Bangalore in its first year of operation. Other destinations that will be included, over the next four years, are Chennai, Pune, Kolkata and Kochi. This will naturally depend upon the volumes and traffic flows.
Vistara, being a full service airline, is expected to meet exacting demand of its passengers and they hope to commence operations with A 320-200. Eventually, they expect to have a fleet of 20 planes, including seven A320 neos by Vistara's fifth year of operation. By the end of 2014, however, they will be serving with five aircrafts to meet their needs.
During a meet with the press, the CEO of Vistara, Phee Teik Yeoh, stated that they shall treat every passenger as a "guest" and make the full service facility in all sectors to their comfort.
The official announcement of the arrival of Vistara in the airline scene witnessed other serious developments in the domestic market. The chief operating officer of SpiceJet, Sanjiv Kapoor, issued a reassurance to its employees that the airline was not headed the Kingfisher way. The public and its employees are aware that the airline's accumulated losses rose to Rs2,189 crore and debt was Rs1,736 crore. The next quarterly results are expected to be announced on 14th August.
GoAir joined IndiGo as the next airline in the country to reach "profitable" status, even if small. IndiGo, India's largest domestic airline has been operating at a profit and may soon go in for an initial public offering (IPO), though details are not yet made public. GoAir is reported to be looking for a foreign airline for foreign direct investment (FDI). "We are looking for a long term strategic partner," said its CEO Giorgio De Roni.
GoAir was established in 2005 and will be getting its 20th aircraft in October. It will by then be able to fulfil the need of 5/20 rule, currently in operation, and may seek permission to fly abroad with the appropriate authorities.
Another major move came from Jet Airways, soon after the Vistara announcement. Jet announced that they would be bring Jet Konnect under its own brand by the end of this year and they would be happy to be able to "serve a meal, post an additional crew member" to make the master brand acceptable to the travelling public. Jet Airways and Etihad Airways announced a strategic alliance in Mumbai with the latter having a 24% stake in the former. President and CEO of Etihad Airways, James Hogan is reported to have said, during the Mumbai meet, that "Jet's India operations will be a stronger threat to other domestic low cost carriers". Since 2009, however, Jet Airways has not reported a profit. They expect to go on cost-cutting measures and launch more international routes in order to return to profitability by 2017.
Thus, the very announcement of Vistara's entry into the Indian market has put all other operators on their toes. In the next few months, one may expect some sort of mutually beneficial route arrangements or even mergers among the low cost carriers in order to secure a good share of the market and reduce capex on buying or leasing new aircraft by utilising the existing seat capacity.
It is only hoped that Vistara does not have hiccups to actually launch its flights which, as it stands now, are scheduled for October, the festive season.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
Investigators found that children were being regularly pinned down or isolated and that their education was suffering as a result
Federal investigators have faulted two Virginia schools for pinning down and isolating disabled students improperly, saying the schools used the practices routinely as a "one-size fits all" response to disruptive behavior despite evidence they didn't work.
Rather than focusing on specific incidents, the investigators found a systematic breakdown in how educators at the schools employed restraints and seclusions. The school-wide scope of the findings signals that the federal education department's Office of Civil Rights expects schools to pay close attention to how they are implementing the potentially dangerous tactics.
"It says our default response to misbehavior can't be restraint and seclusion," said Angela Ciolfi, a lawyer with the Virginia Legal Aid Justice Center, which worked on the complaint that prompted the investigation.
ProPublica reported in June that students nationwide were restrained or secluded more than 267,000 times in the 2012 school year. Our analysis of federal data revealed that despite a near-consensus that the risky practices should be used rarely, some schools rely on them regularly — even daily — to control children.
Hundreds of students have been injured — some seriously — as a result.
The civil rights office's July 29 findings come at a time when federal action on the issue appears to be otherwise in a holding pattern. Congressional bills to limit the practices have stalled amid opposition from some school groups and Republicans.
The complaint that started the investigation was filed by a teenager who was sent to PACE East in Prince William County southwest of Washington, D.C., because of unruly behavior. The boy — referred to as M.C. in the complaint — had "significant" mental health problems that included depression and anxiety, said his lawyer, Bill Reichhardt. His family, who is Hispanic, spoke limited English.
Instead of providing the services the boy needed, Reichhardt said, PACE East staff often responded to relatively minor infractions — such as refusing to follow directions — with harsh measures such as physically restraining him.
"In many cases staff put their hands on him," Reichhardt said. "And that escalated very quickly."
One confrontation with staff was so volatile police were called in. The boy said an officer "busted his lip" while handling him, according to the original complaint.
Reichhardt said he noticed while looking into the boy's case that other students had encountered a similar pattern of routine restraints and seclusions — including at PACE East's sister school, PACE West. The two schools function as "last stops" before institutional care for district students with serious emotional and behavioral problems.
Staff got into the habit of regularly using the tactics as a way of controlling children's behavior, Reichhardt said. "That is extremely problematic and, in my opinion, dangerous."
The schools' records contained no evidence of injuries to children. But the decision said restraint and seclusion were "widespread" and "repeated" at the schools, with no indication that staff tried less restrictive alternatives first.
As much as 40 percent of the student body at PACE West experienced a restraint or seclusion in the 2012 school year, according to the federal decision, amounting to 219 uses. PACE East records showed 33 students were restrained or secluded 144 times that year.
Despite the frequent use of restraints and seclusion, the two schools and the district had reported zero instances of either practice to federal data collectors, investigators noted. The schools also failed to "consistently and adequately notify" parents when their children had been subjected them to the techniques.
Children missed out on academics while stuck for hours in a time-out area and more restrictive padded seclusion room, or while being placed in holds, investigators found.
The schools often failed to properly evaluate students' behavior and develop plans to prevent the sort of crises that often bring on restraints or seclusions, investigators found.
Furthermore, administrators and staff viewed school policies differently. The district's director of special education, for instance, told investigators a student screaming threats was not enough to justify restrictive techniques like restraint or seclusion; staff, however, said screaming was disruptive enough to warrant using them.
As a result, the federal investigators found, the schools denied students a proper education. The school district has agreed to a corrective plan in which the district will re-evaluate every student who had been restrained or secluded more than twice over two years. The district will provide additional educational or other types of services to any students who need it.
Prince William County Schools spokesman Phil Kavits said that the district does not agree with everything in the investigators' findings. He declined to offer specifics, and he said the district will make the changes requested.
"Our plan is to move forward by taking a look at a range of cases and ensure that we are indeed following the appropriate procedures," he said. "Our goal is to make sure we are giving students the proper educational and therapeutic services."
The boy at the center of the investigation settled his complaint with the school district and is receiving the services he needs, Reichhardt said.
Through a statement her lawyers translated, the mother of the boy said the decision will help other students who are mistreated — including those who neither speak English nor understand their rights. She said she was happy "knowing that other children will not have to go through what we did."
Read more about restraints and seclusions in public schools across the country, who’s fighting federal limits on the practices, and whether your state law says it’s ok to pin down kids in school.
Even if Nifty gives up some gains on Wednesday, it may push higher over the coming days
We had mentioned on Monday that the Indian market will log further gains. The indices continued to make gains on Tuesday with S&P BSE Sensex logging in the highest percentage gain since 6 June 2014, while NSE's CNX Nifty recorded the highest gains since 30 June 2014. After moving in a narrow range up to 2.00pm, both the benchmarks shot up.
BSE's 30-share Sensex opened at 25,704 while the NSE's 50-share Nifty opened at 7,689. The indices hit a low at 25,646 and 7,655. During the last hour of the trading, Sensex hit a high of 25,905 and closed at 25,881 (up 362 points or 1.42%) while Nifty hit a high of 7,736 and closed at 7,727 (up 101 points or 1.33%). NSE recorded a much lower volume of 64.79 crore shares. India VIX fell 3.78% to close at 13.4675.
Except for Consumption (0.01%) all the other indices closed in the green. The top five gainers were CPSE (2.66%), Finance (2.18%), PSE (2.12%), Auto (1.84%) and Energy (1.59%).
Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, 44 ended in the green. The top five gainers were Tata Motors (5.99%), Gail (5.55%), HDFC (5.30%), ONGC (3.38%) and BPCL (3.15%). The top five losers were Bharti Airtel (1.46%), Tata Power (1.16%), Maruti (0.32%), Hindalco (0.24%) and Hero MotoCorp (0.23%).
Of the 1,596 companies on the NSE, 853 companies closed in the green, 655 companies closed in the red while 88 companies closed flat.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Monday that India will be tested by capital outflows when interest rates start picking up in industrial countries.
Rainfall forecast for India has been lowered to 87% of the long-period average from 93% earlier due to a slow start to the season, the earth sciences minister said today. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, said there was no evidence of a drought this year and that the August-September monsoon rains were seen at 95% of the long-period average.
According to data released by the government, India's industrial production during June was at 3.4% while retail inflation in July based on the combined consumer price index (CPI) for rural and urban India was at 7.96% compared with 7.46% a month ago.
GAIL has bid for licenses to retail CNG and piped cooking gas in 14 cities including Bengaluru and Pune. The stock was the top gainer (6.02%) in the Sensex 30 pack.
Celkon Mobiles has tied up with Bharti Airtel to launch Millennium Dazzle Q44 phone.
Priced at Rs6,449, the phone will come with a free (Airtel) data pack of 500MB on 3G for two months. Bharti Airtel (1.67%) was the top loser in the Sensex 30 stock.
Eicher Motors (7.94%) was the top gainer in ‘A’ group on the BSE. It hit its 52-week high at Rs9,350 on the BSE. It posted good June 2014 quarter result. The net profit for June 2014 quarter is Rs133.24 crore as compared to Rs52.62 crore for the quarter ended June 2013. Sales increased from Rs381.82 crore for June 2013 quarter to Rs746.19 crore for the quarter June 2014.
Bhushan Steel (9.98%) was the top loser in ‘A’ group on the BSE. Today again it hit a new 52-week low on the BSE. It has been among the major losers on the bourses after its vice-chairman and managing director Neeraj Singal was involved in the bribery scandal involving Syndicate Bank. Now the lenders are going to have a meeting with the company on August 18 to decide on the future course of action.
US indices closed Monday in the green.
US President Barack Obama on Monday gave full US support for Iraq's president to form a new government hours after embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected stepping aside for a successor. Iraq on Monday named Haidar al-Abadi as the new prime minister to end the eight-year rule of Maliki.
Except for Shanghai Composite (0.14%), Straits Times (0.09%) and Taiwan Weighted (0.11%) all the other trading Asian indices closed in the green. Jakarta Composite (0.37%) was the top gainer.
Singapore's gross domestic product rose an annualized 0.1% in the three months through June from the previous quarter, when it climbed a revised 1.8%, the trade ministry said in a statement today.
European indices were trading lower while US Futures were trading marginally higher.