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Karnataka sees liquor sale of Rs 45 cr on first day of opening of liquor shops


Impatient to end a nearly 40-day dry spell, a multitude of tipplers descended on liquor shops that reopened Monday in many parts of India. Liquor sale of Rs 45 crore was recorded on the first day of the opening of liquor shops in Karnataka, as per news agency ANI.


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Liquor sales of Rs 45 crores recorded on the first day of opening of liquor shops: Karnataka Excise Department#COVID19Lockdown

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As per the orders of the Karnataka Government, liquor shops started operating today across the state from 9 am to 7 pm with some restrictions. The government has taken the decision to open liquor shops in order to mobilise revenue. However, bars, pubs, restaurants remained closed.

As part of easing lockdown restricts, liquor shops reopened, including red zones but not in hotspots, declared as coronavirus containment zones.

On the other hand, the Maharashtra government expects a revenue of Rs 2,160 crore through excise duty by end of May. Nearly 3327 country liquor shops (total 4159), 1348 foreign liquor shops (1685) and 3463 beer shops (4947) have been reopened from Monday onwards across the state. Of these, in Mumbai alone, 241 country liquor (total 301), 328 foreign liquor (410), and 274 beer shops (342) will start functioning.

Extraordinary scenes of chaos were witnessed outside the government-run shops on Monday in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow and other cities. While in one shop the first customer was welcomed with a garland of marigolds, in another a customer broke a coconut to herald the end of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown dry spell.

As India entered the third phase of the lockdown and some curbs were eased, the cynosure of attention for those deprived their daily or weekly tipple was clearly the alcohol shops. Coronavirus being the great equaliser, they stood together, the affluent and the not so, united in their urgency to stock up on their favourite tipple, be it single malt and pricey beers and wine, or humbler IMFL and country liquor.




Following revenue shortfall, Maharashtra govt to axe its primary expenditure by 67%


Mumbai: Back to the wall, the Maharashtra Government on Monday decided to axe its planned expenditure by 67% cut in 2020-21 following the revenue shortfall and the precarious financial condition of the state owing to the pandemic.

In the total planned expenditure of Rs 1,12,000 crores, there will be a gaping hole of Rs 75,000 crores, leaving a paltry Rs 35,000 crore (33%) for various departments to spend on various schemes in 2020-21.

All new purchases, new construction, recruitment, introduction of new schemes and their implementation have been put on hold till further orders. The government has asked all departments to review their plans based on the availability of only 33% of funds.

The government has identified public health, medical education and drugs, food and civil supplies and relief and rehabilitation as priority expenditure heads. Priority would be also given to implementing centrally sponsored schemes, payment of salaries, pension and honorium. The department will need to take approval of the state finance department if it has to cut expenditure on a central government scheme.

Further, the departments have been asked to review implementation of various schemes in pipeline and defer or cancel a few, considering the financial constraints. The instructions are loud and clear: They should not undertake any new scheme or new head of expenditure till further orders.

Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta has directed all departments to strictly adhere to the austerity measures, as the financial squeeze is likely to last at least for three months due to the overwhelming coronavirus crisis. He said the revival of economy was a huge challenge despite the government taking a decision to cut the salaries of ministers and legislators and staggering the salaries of government employees.

The notification has comes at a time there is a revenue shortfall of Rs 1,40,000 crore in the revenue receipts, which were projected at Rs 3,47,000 crore in the annual budget 2020-21. This is around 40% of the expected revenue which is expected to leave a huge deficit in the state finances.

The departments have been told to spend on charged expenditure, including salaries of high court judges, debt repayment and interest payment. However, the departments should not go in for negative budgeting. Other departments have been prohibited from spending on repairs and maintenance of office equipment and their purchase.

The departments would not undertake new construction activity, nor give technical and administrative consent, float tenders and issue work orders till further orders. However, the departments have been allowed to continue with the ongoing works whose orders have been already issued. All departments have been permitted to undertake pre-monsoon works.

 
 
 



Sonia Gandhi slams Centre over railway fare, says Congress will pay for migrants train fare


Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday slammed the government over stranded migrants asked to pay for their train ride home amid nationwide coronavirus lockdown and said that the Congress party would pay the train fare for them.

"Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker and migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard," Congress President said in a statement.


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This will be the Indian National Congress’ humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them: Sonia Gandhi, Congress President https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1257138658383032320 …

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Indian National Congress has taken a decision that every Pradesh Congress Committee shall bear the cost for the rail travel of every needy worker & migrant labourer and shall take necessary steps in this regard: Sonia Gandhi, Congress President (File pic)

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She further said that this will be Congress' humble contribution in service of our compatriots and to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with them.

She also equated the lockdown phase with that of post-partition and said, "Post the partition of 1947, this is the first time India witnessed a tragedy with such a massive human cost as thousands of migrant workers and labourers were forced to walk home several hundred kilometres on foot- without food, without medicines, without money, without transportation, without anything except for the desire to return to their families and loved ones."

The railways will charge state governments for ferrying people stranded due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown in its 'Shramik Special' trains, according to an order issued on Friday. The fare would include cost of sleeper class ticket, superfast charge of Rs 30 and Rs 20 for meals and water per passenger.

After more than a month of suspension of services, the railways on Friday, which is also International Labour Day, announced six "Shramik Special" trains for migrant workers, students and others who were stranded due to the lockdown.




Subramanian Swamy slams 'moronic' Modi government for charging migrant workers; says funds could have come from PM CARES


On Monday, Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy slammed the Modi government for charging migrant workers for railway tickets and said that the funds could have come from PM CARES.

Taking to Twitter, Subramanian Swamy wrote: "How moronic of the Government of India to charge steep rail fares from the half-starved migrant labourers! Indians stranded abroad were brought back free by Air India. If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead?"


Subramanian Swamy

@Swamy39
How moronic of the Government of India to charge steep rail fares from the half starved migrant labourers! Indians stranded abroad were brought back free by Air India. If Railways refuse to budge then why not make PM CARES pay instead?

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His remarks came amid the reports that the migrants were being charged for their travel by trains to their respective states. The railways has earlier said that it was charging the state governments for the Shramik special train tickets.

The railways also clarified that the Shramik Special trains are meant for "nominated people" identified and registered by state governments and the railways will not issue any tickets to any individual or entertain any request from any groups.

The railways has started to run the Shramik Special trains for transporting the labourers from May 1, almost 40 days after the passenger, mail and Express trains services were suspended. Till now the national transporter has run over a dozen of Shramik Special trains on the request of the state governments to ferry the migrant labourers.




After Facebook, Silver Lake to invest Rs 5,655 crore in Reliance Jio


Reliance Industries Limited (“Reliance Industries”) and Jio Platforms Limited (“Jio Platforms”) announced today that Silver Lake will invest ₹ 5,655.75 crore into Jio Platforms.

This investment values Jio Platforms at an equity value of ₹ 4.90 lakh crore and an enterprise value of ₹ 5.15 lakh crore and represents a 12.5% premium to the equity valuation of the Facebook investment announced on April 22, 2020.

Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, is a next-generation technology company building a Digital Society for India by bringing together Jio’s leading digital apps, digital ecosystems and India’s #1 high speed connectivity platform under one umbrella. Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, which provides connectivity platform to over 388 million subscribers, will continue to be a whollyowned subsidiary of Jio Platforms.

Jio’s vision is to enable a Digital India for 1.3 billion people and businesses throughout India, especially small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers. Jio has brought transformational changes in the Indian digital services space and propelled India on the path towards becoming a global technology leader and among the leading digital economies in the world.

In the wake of the severe economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, globally and especially within India, this partnership with one of the most renowned tech-investors globally, Silver Lake, has special significance. Comprehensive digitisation will be a vital component of the revitalisation of the Indian economy. It is our strong conviction that no one should be deprived of the tremendous new opportunities, including those for new employment and new businesses, embedded in India’s 360- degree digital transformation.

With approximately $40 billion in combined assets under management and committed capital and a singular focus on the world’s great tech and tech-enabled opportunities, Silver Lake is the global leader in large-scale technology investing. Its mission is to build and grow great companies by partnering with world-class management teams. Its investments have included Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant Financial, Alphabet’s Verily and Waymo units, Dell Technologies, Twitter and numerous other global technology leaders.

This investment by Silver Lake is further testament to the world-class digital platform that Jio has built, powered by leading technologies, such as Broadband connectivity, Smart Devices, Cloud and Edge Computing, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Augmented and Mixed Reality and Blockchain.

Commenting on the transaction with Silver Lake, Mr. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Ltd, said, “I am delighted to welcome Silver Lake as a valued partner in continuing to grow and transform the Indian digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians. Silver Lake has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. Silver Lake is one of the most respected voices in technology and finance. We are excited to leverage insights from their global technology relationships for the Indian Digital Society’s transformation.”

Commenting on the investment, Mr. Egon Durban, Silver Lake Co-CEO and Managing Partner, said, “Jio Platforms is one of the world’s most remarkable companies, led by an incredibly strong and entrepreneurial management team who are driving and actualizing a courageous vision. They have brought extraordinary engineering capabilities to bear on bringing the power of low-cost digital services to a mass consumer and small businesses population. The market potential they are addressing is enormous, and we are honored and pleased to have been invited to partner with Mukesh Ambani and the team at Reliance and Jio to help further the Jio mission.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals. Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Reliance Industries and AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal counsels.




Coronavirus Outbreak: HRD Ministry to announce fresh dates for NEET, JEE on May 5


In a relief for engineering and medical aspirants, the HRD ministry will announce fresh dates for competitive exams --JEE and NEET-- on May 5.

The exams were postponed due to nationwide lockdown announced to contain the COVID-19 spread.

"The fresh dates will be announced by HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' on May 5. This will put an end to uncertainty for the aspirants. The minister will also interact with students online the same day," a senior ministry official said.

While Joint Entrance Exam-Mains (JEE-MAINS) is conducted for admission to engineering colleges across the country, the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is held for medical colleges.

More than 15 lakh students across the country have registered for NEET this year, which is the gateway to medical colleges in India, whereas more than 9 lakh have registered for JEE Mains, the entrance exam for all other engineering colleges except IITs.

The JEE-Mains is considered as a qualifying exam for JEE-Advanced.

The HRD Ministry's National Testing Agency (NTA) had also given students an option to change their opted centres for the two tests as students have moved to different places since the lockdown.

Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Later, a nationwide lockdown was announced from March 25, which was extended till May 17.

There is however, no clarity yet on when the pending board exams for class 10 and 12 will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The board had announced that it will conduct pending exams in 29 subjects crucial for promotion and admission to higher education institutions.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,301 and the number of cases climbed to 39,980 in the country on Sunday, according to the Union health ministry.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 28,046, while 10,632 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.

The total number of cases include 111 foreign nationals.

 
 
 



Maharashtra approaches 13,000-mark with 687 cases on Sunday; Mumbai accounts for 21 out of 27 deaths


There were 687 fresh coronavirus cases and 27 deaths reported in Maharashtra on Sunday, taking the count to 12,974, with 548 deaths until now. Health experts have attributed the rise in numbers to aggressive testing.

Of the 27 fatalities reported on Sunday, 21 were from Mumbai, four from Pune and one each in Bhiwandi and Navi Mumbai.

Health experts said Mumbai has become the epicentre of the outbreak, with the highest number of cases and death and remains the state's biggest concern. “Of the 12,974 cases recorded in Maharashtra, 67 per cent were in Mumbai alone. The city accounted for 63 per cent of the 548 deaths in the state,” said an official.

According to the public health department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai recorded 441 new corona cases and 21 deaths on Sunday. The total number of cases in the city is 8,613, including 343 deaths, so far. The mortality rate in the city currently stands at 3.98 per cent.

Civic officials also attributed the giant jump to the number of cases being reported by private laboratories. “Of the 441 new cases, 94 cases were reported from Dharavi, which had the highest single-day toll so far, including two deaths. So far 1,804 have recovered and been discharged from various hospitals in the city,” said an official.

There were 12 men and nine women among the 21 deaths recorded on Sunday. Civic officials said 10 of the deceased had co-­morbiditeis like diabetes, hypertension and asthma, while in seven cases, there were age-related factors. While nine of the deceased were in the 40 to 60 years' age group, 11 were above 60.

“We have reported a few deaths in the below-40 age group but the majority in this category too had underlying conditions,” said Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The biggest worry for officials in Mumbai is to contain the disease before the arrival of the monsoon in June. Preparations must be made to deal with monsoon-related ailments so that local workers are not exhausted. “We need early containment of this pandemic, because we need to prepare ourselves for other seasonal outbreaks,” the official said.

Meanwhile, 20 Central public health teams from the ministry of health and family welfare are being sent to the 20 districts reporting the maximum number of Covid-19 cases in the country.




Coronavirus update: 68 more CRPF jawans have test positive for COVID-19 in Delhi


On Saturday, 68 more CRPF jawans have tested positive for COVID-19. All these jawans are attached to battalion having camp in East Delhi. Total positive cases in this battalion have reached 122 and overall figure of COVID-19 cases in CRPF is 127, including 1 recovered and 1 death, reported news agency ANI.


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@ANI
Test results of 68 more jawans have shown them COVID-19 positive. All jawans are attached to a battalion having camp in East Delhi. Total positive cases in this battalion have reached 122 and overall figure of COVID-19 cases in CRPF is 127, including 1 recovered and 1 death: CRPF

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The reasons for such massive spike in cases in one battalion were discussed in a meeting chaired by Directorate General (DG) CRPF AP Maheshwari. In the meeting, Maheshwari also pointed out the laxness of officials in handling the coronavirus situation in the 31st battalion of CRPF.

Officials were informed in the meeting that the battalion had kept more jawans than its prescribed capacity in barracks and also had an insufficient number of toilets, which led to a compromise in social distancing, as mentioned in consolidated guidelines of lockdown issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.




Delhi court grants bail to bookie Sanjeev Chawla in match-fixing case involving Hansie Cronje


New Delhi: A Delhi court has granted bail to Sanjeev Chawla, an alleged bookie and key accused in one of the cricket's biggest match-fixing scandals that involved former South African captain Hansie Cronje.

Special Judge Ashutosh Kumar granted the relief to Chawla on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties of the like amount on April 30. The court said the accused was in custody for the last 76 days and the probe was already complete in the case. The court, however, directed him to give his voice sample and handwriting specimen to the investigating officer in the case.

According to police, Chawla, who was extradited from London in February, was involved in fixing of five matches. Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, was also involved, police had told the court.

Chawla was alleged to have played a central role in conspiring with Cronje to fix a South African tour to India in February-March, 2000. The British court documents say that Chawla is a Delhi-born businessman who moved to the United Kingdom on a business visa in 1996 but continued to make trips to India.




More dangerous than Trump? Elon Musk's tweets have cost Tesla a mind-boggling $14 bn


Multi-billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk on Friday fired off a series of weird tweets, mentioning he is selling "almost all" his physical belongings and devoting himself to Mars and Earth.

Tesla's market valuation was worth around $141 billion before the first tweet and it reached around $133 billion later and kept falling further.


Elon Musk

@elonmusk
Tesla stock price is too high imo

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Elon Musk

@elonmusk
Now give people back their FREEDOM

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Elon Musk

@elonmusk
And the rocket's red glare, 
the bombs bursting in air

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"I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house," Musk said in one tweet.

He also mentioned that his girlfriend, songwriter and producer Grimes, is mad at him.


Elon Musk

@elonmusk
I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house.

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Facing follow-up questions from his followers, the Tesla CEO told one user that this supposed sale of everything he owns is not because he needs the cash but because he is devoting himself to Mars and Earth as well as possession just weigh people down.

Responding to Musk, a user tweeted, "Heading to Tibet to become a monk too? Btw, where are all those ventilators you promised California?"

Another user posted to him: "It is frustrating cause I have almost all my savings invested in Tesla and I'm not some rich guy. He doesn't recognize this also hurts the small folks. I wish he'd just delete twitter at this point."

Some users even mentioned that they are happy to know that Musk and his musician girlfriend who recently confirmed she is carrying the child of Musk expected this month are together.

"This is the best news I've heard so far. This means you're still together, despite speculation to contrary. Maybe that is what this is about," mentioned another user.

In another tweet, Musk said he thinks the stock price of Tesla is "too high" -- a tweet that was followed by a sharp drop in the share price of the company. Tesla's stock went down a massive 9.3 per cent with his tweet.

Earlier, Tesla stock stumbled more than 10 per cent and its valuation reduced by nearly $9 billion after Musk's tweets Â- in reminiscence of his controversial tweets in Augist 2018 when he posted about Tesla "going private" at $420 a share. That tweet cost him his role as Tesla Chairman.

The August 2018 tweet resulted in Musk and Tesla reaching a settlement of fraud charges with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in September that year.

The settlement included $40 million in penalties, split between the company and Musk, and the removal of Musk as chairman of the Tesla board.

Terms of the deal also required Tesla to impose controls to oversee Musk's social-media communications. It was unclear Friday whether such controls have been in place, and Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Musk is supposed to seek pre-approval if his tweets include anything regarding the company's securities, including his acquisition or disposition of shares, nonpublic legal or regulatory findings or decisions.





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