Tag: Commodities

No new Rs 1,000 notes are being printed: Shaktikanta Das

After reports surfaced of new Rs 1,000 and higher denomination notes coming into circulation, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das has refuted it.

Earlier on Wednesday, Das took to Twitter to issue a clarification on the aforementioned matter. “We have no plans of introducing new Rs 1,000 notes,” stated Das.

“The focus will be on increasing production and supply of Rs 500 and other notes of lower denomination,” Das further clarified. In a tweet that followed, Das assured India Economy News that the request to monitor the withdrawal of cash is being assessed.

“I request everyone to withdraw only the amount that is required, since excessive withdrawal of cash deprives cash for others,” Das urged. In December 2016, new Rs 500 notes were released for circulation, aiming to ease the situation post demonetisation, the initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in order to curb circulation of black money in the economy.

After circulation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes came to a standstill, rumours surfaced regarding a possibility of the introduction of completely new notes.

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Trump plans to deport Mexico immigrants, regardless of nationality

Buried deep in the Trump administration’s plans to round up undocumented immigrants is a provision certain to enrage Mexico – new authority for federal agents to deport anyone caught crossing the southern border to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico. Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.

President Trump wants them to do so from Mexico, communicating via video conference calls with U.S. immigration officials from facilities that Mexico would presumably be forced to build.

“This would say if you want to make a claim for asylum or whatever we’ll hear your case but you are going to wait in Mexico,” a DHS official said. “Those are details that are being worked out both within the department and between the US government and the government of Mexico … there are elements that still need to be worked out in detail.

Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Mexico later this week to meet with representatives of the Mexican government. It remains unclear if they will discuss this issue.

The new authority for immigration agents is among the dramatic, some would say untenable, tactics the Trump administration is preparing to deploy as it upends President Obama’s policies on illegal immigration.

A pair of memos signed by John Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, and publicly released on Tuesday outline the plans for what present and former government officials say will be a massive roundup of undocumented immigrants. Near final drafts of the memos had leaked over the weekend and had been first reported by McClatchy.

Officials disclosed that two former Senate aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions drafted the plan without input from career DHS policy staffers. The ideas aren’t new. Many of the approaches described in the memos come from a 1996 law that policy makers and law enforcement agents had disregarded as either unenforceable or absurd.

“Most of these provisions of law have been there for decades,” the DHS official said. “We are simply trying to execute what Congress has asked us to do.”

Among them was the Mexico part of the plan, for example, which calls for returning undocumented immigrants “to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived.” The memo goes on to point out how foisting the immigrants onto Mexico would benefit DHS’s budget, saying that it would, “save the Department’s detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens.”

However, former senior Mexican and American immigration officials said it could very well create new security problems along the border, as authorities in each country push unwanted migrants back and forth.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said that the proposal would violate U.S. law and international treaty obligations. Mexico is as likely to embrace the plan as it did the notion of paying for a wall. “I would expect Mexico to respond with an emphatic ‘No,'” said Gustavo Mohar, a former senior Mexican immigration and national security policy official.

Whether viable or not, the Trump administration’s deportation plans mark a dramatic departure from decades of policy and practice. Current and former immigration policy officials say that while the details of how the administration intends to carry out the plans remain unclear – if not insurmountable – the administration’s overall message to enforcement agents across the country is clear: the limits have been lifted.

President Obama attempted to focus enforcement efforts on immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes, and on those who were caught while or shortly after illegally entering the country. Still, his administration deported record numbers of immigrants, most of whom had only been accused of minor crimes and immigration violations.

The Trump administration says it, too, is focused on deporting criminals, but it has redefined crimes to include any activity that might bring a conviction, including entering the U.S. without permission. Effectively, that makes virtually everyone in the U.S. without a proper visa subject to roundup at their workplace or home.

“If you are present in the U.S. without being admitted or paroled or having overstayed your visa, the immigration laws of the U.S. subject you to removal,” the DHS official said. “Everyone who is in violation of the laws is theoretically subject to enforcement. The Department has limited resources and we will, to the extent that we can, focus on folks who have committed serious crimes.”

The only clear exception, according to the enforcement plan and the DHS briefing, is for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers.

“Anyone who complained about Obama as the deporter-in-chief,” said David Martin, formerly DHS’s principal deputy general counsel, “is unfortunately going to get a taste of what it’s like when someone is really gung-ho.”

Greg Chen, the policy director at AILA, said the Trump plan would “effectively unleash a massive deportation force with extremely broad authority to use detention as the default mechanism for anyone suspected of violating immigration law.”

The question looming over the proposals is how many of them, with all their legal and logistical obstacles, will the president actually be able to carry out.

The memos, for example, authorize the Border Patrol to hire 5,000 new agents, even though the force has never been able to fill the slots it has already been allotted. Some 60 percent of applicants to the Border H-1B visas Patrol fail the required polygraph, and those who pass take 18 months to get sent out into the field.

The Trump plan calls for the expansion of a George W. Bush-era program, known as 287g, which allows DHS to deputize state and local police as immigration agents. It was touted after 9/11 as a critical “force-multiplier.” But by 2010, some of the country’s largest police departments were refusing to participate because they believed it would shatter the trust between their officers and the communities they were sworn to protect. Meanwhile, participating agencies, which foot the bill for the program, were suddenly saddled with new debts and hounded by accusations of racial profiling and other abuse, forcing the Obama administration to suspend expansion of the program.

Until now, the enforcement of summary deportation laws, known as “expedited removal,” have been limited to those apprehended within 14 days of illegally entering the country and within 100 miles of Canada or Mexico. The memos signed by Kelly would allow use of those laws anywhere in the country against anyone who entered illegally within the past two years.

Lucas Guttentag, a former DHS adviser and Stanford law professor, said this would “unleash chaos,” violate due process, and meet challenges in court, similar to those that scuttled the administration’s travel ban.

There would also be aggressive challenges, lawyers said, to plans that would allow immigration agents to deport unaccompanied minor children who crossed the border illegally, rather than uniting them with parents or other relatives in the U.S.

The reason for discussing unaccompanied minors is ” that they have been abandoned by their parents or legal guardians,” the DHS official said. If it is “determined that there is a parent or guardian in the U.S. that they can be handed over to, then DHS needs to take a hard look over whether that person is actually” an unaccompanied minor.

“There will be a renewed focus on ensuring that folks don’t abuse the system,” the DHS official added.

They also expect legal opposition to a proposal that would strip undocumented immigrants of existing privacy protections, allowing personal information such as asylum cases or immigration violations to be publicly disclosed.

“We want to ensure that our privacy policies are consistent with the law,” the DHS official said. “The Privacy Act applies by statute to citizens” and green card holders. “The President has asked us to align our laws with what congress has directed.”

“The Trump people have clearly bought into the model of harsh enforcement. They apparently think, ‘we’ll be tough, and a lot of people will leave on their own,'” said Martin, an immigration law professor at the University of Virginia. “They believe they’ll win in the court of public opinion. I’m not sure about that. A lot of Americans know hard-working undocumented immigrants. The kind of enforcement Trump’s people are talking about will visibly create many more sympathetic cases than unsympathetic ones.”

Some of the provisions explicitly acknowledge that it could take years before DHS has the manpower and money to pull off what the president has ordered. Immigration enforcement agents, however, have already begun filling the policy void by launching raids and deportations, including some that advocates worry are meant to test the limits. Meanwhile panic has taken hold in many immigrant communities.

“The level of fear is more than anything we’ve ever seen,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. She said the plan’s sweep, “sent a chill to my bones,” because it threatens to do irreparable harm to millions of families. She added, “This all seems aimed at changing who we are as a nation.”

Reliance Industries hits over 7-year high as Jio promises to end freebies

Reliance Industries (RIL) hit an over seven-year high of Rs 1,172, up 8% on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), recording its sharpest rally in intra-day trade in past 21 months.

The stock hit its highest level since June 2009. Earlier, on May 16, 2014, it rallied 8.7% during intra-day trade. On the BSE, the stock hit high of Rs 1,187 on November 1, 2010, during intra-day trade.

In past two trading sessions, the stock surged 9% from Rs 1,075 on February 20, 2017 after Reliance Jio Infocomm (“Jio”), a subsidiary of RIL, announced that its tariff plans will become applicable from April 1, 2017.

The new offerings will no longer be free but Jio has priced its services attractively to retain its 100 million customers, who have signed up since September 5, when the services were first offered. Jio is seeking to retain them through special prime memberships at a one-time fee of Rs 99 and Rs 303 a month for unlimited voice, data and content. CLICK HERE TO READ FULL REPORT.

“Consolidation within incumbents effectively improves their financial position and allows them to match JIO on pricing for longer, and this would be negative for JIO as it would India Company News bring down the industry ARPUs (average revenue per users) and lower margins. However, if JIO sticks to its stated or ARPUs where the actual base pack starts at Rs 499, it would be positive for JIO in the long term,” analysts at JP Morgan said in report dated January 31, 2017.

In brokerage view, JIO’s investment case depends on higher paying ARPU subs. 50 million subscribers paying Rs 400 APRU would likely be far more profitable than 100 million subs paying Rs 200 per month. RJio needs the higher paying ARPU subs as only they would be able to pay for more of the services that RJio plans to offer eventually.

At 10:13 am; the stock was up 7% at Rs 1,165, the top gainer from Nifty 50 and S&P BSE Sensex. The trading volumes on the counter jumped more than five-fold with a combined 10.23 million shares changed hands on the BSE and NSE.

Meanwhile, RIL is back into number two position in overall market capitalization (m-cap) ranking with m-cap of Rs 377,423 crore. The market valuation of RIL increased by Rs 24,410 crore from Rs 353,013 crore on Monday, the BSE data shows.

Modi urges US to keep an open mind on H-1B visas for skilled Indians

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the United States on Tuesday to keep an open mind on admitting skilled Indian workers, in comments that pushed back against Republican President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric on jobs.

Modi’s comments reflected concern that India’s $150 billion IT services industry would suffer if the United States curbs the visas, known as H-1B, it relies on to send its software experts to the United States on project work.

“The prime minister referred to the role of skilled Indian talent in enriching the American economy and society,” Modi’s office said in a statement after he met a bipartisan delegation of 26 members of the U.S. Congress.

“He urged developing a reflective, balanced and far-sighted perspective on movement of skilled professionals.”

Indian nationals are by far the largest group of recipients of the 65,000 H-1B visas issued each year to new applicants under a cap mandated by Congress. Exemptions on the H-1B cap are available to up to 20,000 further applicants who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree.

The actual number of Indian nationals working in the United States under the H-1B programme is significantly higher, however, because many visas are rolled over.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, India Business News who was born in India, also met Modi on Tuesday. He told the Economic Times earlier that his own career had been made possible by “an enlightened immigration policy”.

Initial confidence that Asia’s third-largest economy would benefit from Trump’s election victory has given way to concern that his isolationist rhetoric and hostility to free trade would hurt India’s hi-tech and outsourcing industry.

The sector, led by Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd, employs 3.5 million people and is lobbying against proposed U.S. visa curbs – including increases on salaries that H-1B visa holders must earn.

Part of the delegation led by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, met Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister in charge of electronics and IT.

Goodlatte, speaking at the meeting with Prasad, declined to answer a question on visa restrictions, saying it was up to the president to reassess his policies on immigration.

A senior Indian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said India hoped to resolve the visa issue with the United States but declined to be drawn on the details.

The government supported a move by NASSCOM, India’s high-tech industry association, to lobby U.S. lawmakers and companies to urge the administration not to crack down on allowing its skilled workers into the United States, the source said.

Good news! RBI may lift weekly cash withdrawal limit by February end

With the cash crunch situation easing, the Reserve Bank might do away with the weekly withdrawal limits from banks as well as ATMs by the end of next month, bankers said.

The RBI had recently raised the ATM withdrawal limit to Rs 10,000 a day but maintained the weekly cap at Rs 24,000 for saving account and Rs 1 lakh for current account holders.

“I think the restrictions on withdrawal by RBI should be completely lifted by February-end or by first half of March as cash situation is easing gradually,” Bank of Maharashtra executive director R K Gupta told PTI.

It is entirely RBI’s decision and the central bank would decide after making holistic assessment of the situation, he said.

According to SBI’s research report Ecowrap, “By the end of February, 78-88 per cent of the currency could be back in the system under the best case scenario in terms of an optimal currency distribution (more small denomination notes),” the report said, adding that “it seems within next 2 months things would be pretty close to normal.”

Another senior public sector bank official said the situation is easing and it is a matter of weeks when the curb on withdrawal gets eased.

“My hunch is that it should happen before end Indian Economy News of the current fiscal,” the official said, adding, RBI has been progressively easing the curb.

The RBI had earlier increased the daily withdrawal limit from ATMs to Rs 4,500 from Rs 2,500 effective January 1, just a day after 50-day demonetisation period ended.

Meanwhile, RBI Governor Urjit Patel could not set a time frame before the Standing Committee on Finance for return of normalcy in the banking system even as the central bank asserted that Rs 9.2 lakh crore or 60 per cent of demonetised currency has been replaced.

In a surprise move on November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced demonetisation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Following the decision, the RBI had put restrictions on withdrawal of cash from ATMs as well as from banks to deal with shortage of new high denomination currency notes. This led to long queues at ATMs and bank branches.

All over the country, the banks had to deal with huge rush of people who thronged their branches to deposit junked notes. The deadline for depositing old notes with banks ended on December 30.

Mexican Prez cancels trip to Washington after he refuses to pay for wall

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto today cancelled his planned trip to the US after President Donald Trump tweeted that he should cancel his visit if Mexico is “unwilling to pay” for the massive border wall being build to stop illegal migrants from entering America.

“We informed the White House this morning that I will not attend the working meeting scheduled for next Tuesday” with Trump in Washington, Pena Nieto said on Twitter.

His decision came hours after Trump tweeted that “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.” Trump’s Mexican counterpart condemned the US decision to build a border wall and repeated that Mexico would not pay for the wall despite Trump’s assertions that it would.

Pena Nieto was scheduled to be in Washington on January 31.

“Mexico does not believe in walls Donald Trump. I’ve said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall,” Pena Nieto had said in a video statement posted to Twitter.

“I regret and reject the decision of the US to build the wall,” he had said.

Pena Nieto had said he would wait for a final report from his top officials who arrived here yesterday to meet with the Trump administration, and previous meetings with Mexican legislators, before deciding which steps he would take next.

Trump also tweeted that the US has a $60 billion trade deficit with Mexico.

“It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost,” Trump, who has been in office for just six days, said.

Earlier, Trump had signed two executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations.

In a speech on Monday, Pena Nieto had said his government is prepared to negotiate with the US if Mexico’s national sovereignty is respected. He laid out economic integration and respect for the rights of migrants and the money they send home as his nation’s key negotiating points.

Trump has suggested some of the $25 billion in annual remittances that migrants return home would be retained to pay for the border wall.

Relief to Tata Sons as NCLT rejects Mistry firms’ contempt plea

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Wednesday dismissed a contempt petition filed by two Cyrus Mistry family companies against Tata Sons and its directors, alleging violation of NCLT directives in taking steps to remove him from the board of Tata Sons.

The Bench, however, gave liberty to the Mistry family companies to file an affidavit within three days on the issue of Tata Sons holding extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on February 6.

Pronouncing the operative part of the order, a division Bench of NCLT said, “The contempt petition is dismissed.” The Bench was of the view that the action of Tata Sons did not amount to contempt of court.

In their petition, Cyrus Investments and Sterling Investment had also sought injunction against the Tata Sons barring them from “convening or holding of the EGM scheduled for February 6, 2017, or any other date or from transacting any business thereat.”

Though the contempt plea was dismissed, the Bench gave liberty to Mistry family companies to file an affidavit within three days on the issue of Tata Sons holding EGM on February 6.

Tata Sons was also asked to file a rejoinder, if any, three days thereafter.

NCLT kept this matter for hearing on January 31 and February 1 when the main petition filed earlier by the two Mistry companies against Tata Sons would be heard.

The earlier petition had challenged India company news Mistry’s removal as the chairman of Tata Sons alleging bad practices, oppression and mismanagement in the holding company.

NCLT, on December 22 last year, had refused interim relief and posted the main petition for hearing on January 31 and February 1. Today, the tribunal clubbed the issue of holding EGM of February 6 along with the hearing of the main petition.

Meanwhile, the Mistry companies filed a contempt plea with NCLT against Tata Sons alleging that the respondents “committed a breach” of an NCLT order of December 22 by giving a special notice on January 3, 2017, for removal of Mistry as a director of the board of Tata Sons, “in clear violation of the order”.

It sought punishment for Ratan Tata, other directors of Tata Sons and trustees of Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Sir Dorabjee Trust – N A Soonawala, R K Krishnakumar and R Venkatramana – under the Contempt of Court Act, which provides for simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine of Rs 2,000 or both.

Last October, Tata Sons removed Mistry as its Chairman, nearly four years after he took over the reins of the over $100 billion salt-to-software conglomerate.

A Sundaram, counsel for Mistry’s family companies, had argued that removal of Mistry as a director of Tata Sons could have waited.

He contended that by calling an EGM to remove Mistry as a director of the company, Tata Sons and others had committed direct violation of the December 22 tribunal order and its action amounted to “wilful disobedience” of NCLT’s order in an earlier petition filed by Mistry’s family owned companies against Tata Sons.

Sundaram further argued that the move to remove Mistry was against the spirit of the NCLT order which had earlier stated that the respondents will not “initiate any action or proceedings over this subject matter pending disposal of the company petition.

The contempt petition contended that the move of Tata Sons to call an EGM on February 6 to remove Mistry as a director violates the undertaking given by its lawyers to NCLT, which heard an earlier petition filed by the investment firms on December 22.

The lawyers had assured the Tribunal that no further action would be taken in this matter until the petition was finally heard and disposed of, said the contempt petition.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for Tata Sons, said the respondents – Tata Sons and its directors – had not committed any contempt of NCLT by calling an EGM to remove Mistry.

Singhvi had argued that Tata Sons had not given any specific undertaking to the tribunal earlier that Mistry would not be removed as director from the company. Hence, there was no contempt committed by Tata Sons and others.

The Tata Sons’ lawyer further argued that there was nothing implicit in the order of NCLT of December 22 that Mistry would not be removed.

He had said that Tata Sons had no option but to remove Mistry from the board because he violated his fiduciary duty to the shareholders by leaking confidential information, which was damaging to Tata companies.

He argued that Tata Sons was seeking Mistry’s removal as a director as he was acting in a manner detrimental to the company.

However, the NCLT dismissed the contempt petition of Mistry’s family owned companies, saying it does not amount to contempt of court.