Australia reauthorizes Quantas and American Airlines on trans-Pacific routes

Newsroom24x7 Desk

american airlinesMelbourne : The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to re-authorize Qantas and American Airlines to continue to coordinate their operations on trans-Pacific routes for a further five years. Under the alliance, the airlines propose to continue coordination in respect of marketing and sales, freight, pricing, scheduling, distribution strategies including agency arrangements, yield and inventory management, frequent flyer programs, lounges, joint procurement, and product and service standards.

The ACCC stated that this alliance would result in continued public benefits for passengers travelling between Australia and the US through enhanced products and services including new frequencies and destinations, more online connections, better scheduling, greater loyalty program benefits and improved lounge access. The alliance is also likely to promote competition between other airlines that provide services on trans-Pacific routes. The alliance, in ACCC’s opinion, is unlikely to result in any significant public detriment, largely because the ACCC accepts that American Airlines would be unlikely to introduce its own trans-Pacific services in the absence of its alliance with Qantas.

The ACCC previously granted authorisation to Qantas and American Airlines on 29 September 2011. The ACCC also granted interim authorisation in July 2015 to facilitate the introduction of two new alliance services from December 2015. Now, with the alliance in place, American Airlines would begin a service operating between Sydney and Los Angeles, and Qantas will begin a service operating between Sydney and San Francisco.

Authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act (2010). Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment. ACCC is seeking submissions from interested parties in relation to its draft determination, before making a final decision. Submissions could be finalised by next month.

India bets on International Solar alliance in Paris

Newsroom24x7 Desk

solar panelsParis : Monday today will mark as a day of new page in the history of India-France collaborative efforts in the field of solar energy, as French President Francois Hollande and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch an international solar alliance aimed at eventually bringing clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all. The launch is scheduled to coincide and interweave with a summit of world leaders at the start of two weeks of talks. The event to commence in the outskirts of Paris aims to seek a new global deal on curbing climate change, with a special eye of focus on natural avenues and attempt to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy with support from nature’s plentifulness.

India is keen to make the most of this summit in terms of actively participating along with co-countries and strengthening energy buffers by promoting intensive solar and other renewable sources within the country. An Indian government statement on Sunday said there were well over 100 solar-rich countries in the tropics that could be members of the International Solar Alliance to develop clean and affordable solar energy, and Indian certainly is keen to feature among the top list of the participants. It said — Solar energy is a practical and efficient way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

The erstwhile 2009 Copenhagen Summit did not convert into effective results and had cast an unsuccessful shadow of failure in the minds of participating countries. Hence, viewing this Paris Summit as a bundle of hope and expecting to attempt reaching a global climate deal, United Nations is placing as much weight on the efforts of individual governments as on an overarching UN agreement.

The participating countries too have shown keenness and a majority of them, more than 180 nations, to be precise, have submitted their home-made national action plans, keeping in mind their own country-requirements, as well as their contribution towards a global cause. The efforts are genuine, the plans are in place, but the target of achievement — a goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times — seems a far cry, not impossible though, but a step by step trickle down result which can be anticipated, does put the scientific minds at unrest, for want of stronger commitments and faster reprise. Scientists opine that the cap (2 degrees Celsius) is the bare minimum goal, achieving which is critically essential to prevent the most devastating consequences of global warming.

India’s national plan focuses on solar energy, and, based on the climate of the country as a whole, India aims to achieve solar energy expansion, and believes the renewable energy platform in India would grow significantly in the times to come. Not leaving it to words, the target has been laid down in digits — India’s aim to reach a capacity of 100 gigawatts by 2022, and this target is under constant escalation over regular time period, to be scaled up further in future.

Firms such as Tata Power have already diversified long back into renewable energy resources and invested heavily in solar as a reliable source of power, and are optimistic of bringing lights into remote areas, across the board of income group, with a special objective to deliver power to some of India’s poorest people.

Bank Manager gets 2 years sentence for forgery

Newsroom24x7 Desk

cbiNew Delhi : The Special Judge for CBI cases, Tis Hazari Court, Delhi convicted S.M. Mitra, then Manager, United Bank of India, Delhi for offences of criminal conspiracy, forgery and criminal misconduct and sentenced him to two years rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs. 25,000/-. In a case of causing financial loss to the bank, as well as criminal misconduct within the rules of the public sector organization, the then Manager was slapped the fine along with jail sentence.

CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had registered a case in April 1995, against the accused S.M. Mitra, on grounds of conspiring a forgery with the help of few other accomplices from within the organization. Being the main conspirator, it was alleged that the accused had hatched a conspiracy to cheat United Bank of India, IC Hotel Branch, New Delhi and forged a fake telegraphic message purported to be issued by United Bank of India New Market Branch, Kolkata in lieu of payment of a huge sum equal to Rs.16,09,100/- to a non-existent firm – M/s. Northern Investment and Leasing Company. The bank had issued pay order for the said amount in favour of the forged entity. Soon, the amount was withdrawn and misappropriated by the accused person.

CBI began investigation and took time to arrive at the nabbing of accused. Upon confirmed evidences, a chargesheet was filed in the Designated Court. The Trial Court found the accused guilty and convicted him.

Chouhan at the helm and a decade of progress in MP

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has touched an important milestone by completing 10 years in office today.

It goes to the credit of Chouhan that Madhya Pradesh has been accepted as a development model all over the country. The State has shed the BIMARU tag and emerged as the fastest developing State in the country.

Under the leadership of Chouhan , who has vigorously pursued the politics of economic growth and development, the state has taken big strides and registered maximum growth both in terms of agricultural production and gross domestic State Product. After showing consistency in terms of rate of growth in the period 2003-2005, There was an economic turnaround after Mr. Chouhan took over as chief minister and in the year 2010-11 the State’s GDP had touched the double digit figure at 10.2 per cent.

In recent years, there has been a massive increase in the total area under irrigation and the farm sector in Madhya Pradesh has witnessed phenomenal growth, which is the highest in the country. This has been possible due to the hard work of the farmers coupled with the pro-farmer policies initiated by the State government. Similarly, huge investment has also come in the industrial sector and the State is also being recognized as a higher education hub due to rapid expansion of educational infrastructure, especially catering to the engineering, para-medical, medical and IT sectors. The State government has also taken special steps to overhaul and spread the health delivery system in all parts of the state. What is particularly significant is that the State’s GDP has increased at the highest rate in the country and the growth rate of employment in Madhya Pradesh has been commendable.

Madhya Pradesh has taken a major leap forward in the Information technology sector with the laying of the foundation of the campus of IT giant Infosys at Indore. The state is producing about 1.5 lakh engineers each year and efforts should be made to provide employment to the qualified personnel within the state. At the foundation laying ceremony of the Infosys campus in February 2014, founder of Infosys N.R. Narayana Murthy had praised Madhya Pradesh and appreciated the available infrastructure. he had said on the occasion that the environment in the state is
conducive for investment. Indore is the only city where you have both Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management he said and went on to describe Indore as an ideal destination for investment in the IT and ITES (Information Technology Enabled Service) sectors.

The State Government has remained committed to ensuring all-round development of villages. Special initiatives are also being taken to make the cities clean and beautiful. In order to improve the law and order situation, 21, 000 new posts have been sanctioned for the police force. Nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads have been constructed in the State in last one decade and city-like facilities are being made available in villages under Mukhyamantri Peyjal Yojna, Mukhyamantri Aawas Yojna, Atal Jyoti Abhiyan and Panch Parmeshwar Yojna.

The MP government has enacted the Public Services Guarantee Act. It delivers dozens of services within a stipulated time frame.

Chouhan, who is the moving spirit behind the ambitious “Beti Bacho Abhiyan” (save girl child campaign)  has not missed a single opportunity to emphasise the need for giving full protection to the girlchild. He wants that the public mindset should change to empower girls and women. “Save the girl child” is now a national campaign.

The VYAPAM (Professional Examination Board ) scam linked with medical admissions and filling of several state government posts is now being investigated and pursued by the CBI. It will continue to cast its shadow on the image of the State government. This scam notwithstanding, what cannot be ignored is that the state government has demonstrated commitment to accountability. Steps also have been taken to root out corruption. For meeting this objective and speedy trial in corruption related cases, Madhya Pradesh Special Courts Act has been enforced. This Act also provides for confiscation of property of corrupt and its use in the social sector. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Indian Penal Code, 1860 are already there to try civil
servants accused of indulging in corrupt practices. But since administering justice under these laws was taking a long time the state government felt the need to enact a new law to ensure quick trial in corruption related cases.

Madhya Pradesh symbolises participatory governance and has enacted the Public Services Guarantee Act.

The Global Investors’ Summits, special Assembly Session that passed 70-point resolutions for growth and prosperity of the State, launch of the ambitious Atal Child Health and Nutrition Mission and celebration of the spirit of Sarva Dharma Sambhav – all state government initiatives -have left a positive and broad impact on Madhya Pradesh.

The State government has also taken special steps to overhaul and spread the health delivery system in all parts of the State.

On the governance front, the State Governance has remained focused on good governance and  development.The Governrment has promoted the spirit of democracy by building platforms where the people could participate in the decision-making process and emerge as true rulers. Chouhan says: “We promoted the spirit of democracy whereas people suffered anarchy when Congress was in power.”

After defining its priorities, the State government has prioritised its initiatives and worked towards the development of economic infrastructure, especially sectors like power, road, health, education, industry and agriculture. The chief minister’s vision has been to see Madhya Pradesh as a developed, prosperous and a powerful State.

The State Government has adopted an investor friendly policy for allotment of land to private investors. Under the new dispensation introduced in Madhya Pradesh, the state revenue department has the mandate to transfer land, both within and outside the Audyogik Vikas Kendras, to the department of Commerce and Industry and to the department of Information Technology for setting up
IT parks. Now the government is creating a land-bank and all relevant details about land available for allotment have been put on the website of state commissioner Land Records. For State departments, other than Commerce and Industry and Information Technology department, a separate Integrated Land Allotment System is being developed. After scrutiny of proposals, the concerned
departments refer the land allotment cases to the district collectors, who invite objections before carrying out the allotment formalities.

For the benefit of investors and to speed up infrastructure development the State Government has chosen to follow the Swiss Challenge route,which helps to identify new projects for private and public sector investment.  By adopting the Swiss Challenge method, the Madhya Pradesh government invites the private and public sectors to bring in technology and investment on a long term-basis through a transparent and open procedure. Under the Swiss Challenge method private sector has to identify projects and these are then offered through a transparent competitive bidding process. The new method will especially fill the gap in terms of the infrastructure for basic facilities and the social sector. The Madhya Pradesh cabinet has also decided to form a separate Information technology cadre to spread the use of information technology to streamline and digitize the working
of all government departments.

The people of Madhya Pradesh immediately identified themselves with chief minister Chouhan’s ambitious campaign– “Aao Banayen Apna Madhya Pradesh” (Come let us build our Madhya Pradesh). the 2013 and 2014 State Asembly and Lok Sabha election results that overwhelmingly went in favour of the ruling BJP are ample testimony to Chouhan’s popularity. BJP’s defeat in the just concluded Ratlam-Jhabua by-election is another story. It is being described by political observers as a direct impact of the Assembly elections in Bihar where the BJP was trounced and the falling graph of the BJP led NDA government at the centre.

The State Government has fulfilled chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s vision of meeting the target of guaranteeing round-the-clock power supply in rural areas as well as to the non-agricultural consumers. During the financial year 2013-14, more than crore units of power was supplied in the state and Short-term electricity purchase did not account for even a single unit to meet this target. In 2003, 4600 MW of power was being generated in the state. The state was generating 14000 MW electricity by March 2014 and in 2018 the State’s power generation capacity would rise to 20,000 MW. There was 25 per cent gap between demand and supply of electricity in 2004. Now the state has surplus power.

Under the Atal Jyoti Abhiyan all households in the districts have started receiving power round-the-clock and farmers for 8 hours. 24-hour power supply to villagers is benefiting the farmers and boosting the rural economy. 24×7 power supply is a historic revolution and development of Madhya Pradesh in the words of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has now become a “turnaround story”, which is quite necessary for India’s development. Marking the inauguration of the the Atal Jyoti Abhiyan, he had said that best works of infrastructure development, rural development etc. have been undertaken in Madhya Pradesh.

The World Bank has praised the Chief Minister’s positive development vision and described it as most suitable for sustainable development. Top world bank officials were appreciative of Chouhan’s approach to development when in 2012, he became the first Chief Minister of any Indian state to make a presentation and open a development dialogue and informed the World Bank officials about development projects in water resources, water supply in urban and rural areas, establishment of public service centres, renewable energy projects, women and child development, higher education projects and Narmada-Malwa Lift Irrigation and Water Supply Projects.

The State Government led by Chouhan is focussing maximum attention topwards improving human development indices and remarkable progress is visible in key sectors like water resources, power generation, roads, agriculture, storage capacity building, horticulture, surface connectivity and health.

Also there is special emphasis on expansion of Madhya Pradesh Water Sector Restructuring Project. The government is aslo pursuing the ambition plan of providing piped water supply to all urban cities in coming ten years. This project will cost 300 million US dollar and the state plans to meet the project liability of 200 million US dollar from its own resources.

The State Government is also pursuing vigorously mega urban development projects like urban roads and metro rail projects. Other projects getting focussed attention are rural road development  project for improving road connectivity in rural areas. The Government is also establishing a network of Public Service Delivery Centres and equipping them with adequate IT enabled infrastructure. Several solar, wind, small irrigation and bio-mass energy projects were also in the pipeline. In addition, hundreds of million US dollar projects for women and child development and
higher education infrastructure building and vocational courses are also in the realm of priority.The State government is treating as very important the Narmada-Malwa Drinking Water Project. It will provide irrigation and drinking water in 3000 villages and 70 towns in the region. This project will not only generate 1000 MW power but also ensure irrigation on 16.8 lakh acre command area. (Sponsored feature)