RBI Board Meets Today Under New Chief Amid Worries About Autonomy

RBI Board Meets Today Under New Chief Amid Worries About Autonomy

The RBI board will meet on Friday with much of the hostility of the past two months with the government having eased, and new worries emerging about the institution’s independence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a new ally at the Reserve Bank of India in Governor Shaktikanta Das, who may be more amenable to the government’s requests to ease lending restrictions on state-run banks and hand over more of its capital to the state. Das, 61, took office two days after Urjit Patel abruptly resigned as governor on Monday.

The 18-member board, which includes monetary policy makers, finance ministry representatives and industrialists, is expected to discuss a proposal by the government for closer supervision of the central bank. Such a move may erode investor confidence and have a bearing on the credit rating of one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies.

Easing lending restrictions on some of the nation’s weakest state-run banks will also be discussed. It was originally broached in October by the board then led by Patel. At a meeting in November, the central bank had agreed to form a panel to study its capital structure.

(Also Read: In His Own Tweets: What New RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das Thinks)

No Fireworks

“I don’t think there will be any fireworks,” Raghbendra Jha, an economics professor at the Australian National University, said, referring to the Patel-era tussle with the government over the institution’s autonomy. “Personal frictions between the main actors — now that doesn’t exist.”

That view was echoed by Swaminathan Gurumurthy, a nationalist and journalist appointed by the Modi government as an independent board member in August. He backed the new governor’s conciliatory approach to the government.

Inside the board, Gurumurthy offered resistance to Patel. Pressure from the government had prompted Viral Acharya, the deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, to caution the government of a market backlash should the central bank’s independence be undermined.

“I don’t know if the relationship is good or not, but we have to have stakeholders consultation,” said Das, who was PM Modi’s key lieutenant when he unveiled his controversial plan to invalidate 86 per cent of the currency notes in late 2016.. “The government is not just a stakeholder but also runs the country, economy and manages major policy decisions.”

That line of thought found endorsement from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The government having a view that’s different from the central bank’s is “not a confrontation,” Jaitley said on Thursday. “If the government of the day is not able to convey difficulties in the system it will be failing in its duty.”

Tight Leash

The central bank has so far kept a tight leash on liquidity, restricted some weak banks from lending and refused to bailout the shadow banking sector. The latter had been at the forefront of new lending in the past three years, which in turn fueled domestic consumption and economic growth.

PM Modi is keen to keep growth going ahead of a national election early next year and as recent data showed the economy’s expansion may be under threat. Gross domestic product growth in the three months to September slowed to 7.1 per cent from the 8.2 per cent pace seen in the previous quarter.

The new governor has said supporting growth is very much part of the RBI’s mandate, a sharp contrast from his predecessor who stuck to the central bank’s inflation-targeting mandate. Das’s comments stoked a rally in sovereign bonds, which extended gains for a third day Thursday on speculation the RBI will shift to a neutral policy stance from the current hawkish bias.

“With Das at the helm, we now think the RBI will call a halt to the tightening cycle,” Shilan Shah and Mark Williams, economists at Capital Economics, wrote in a note. “We no longer expect a rate increase at the next meeting in February.”


2018 Toyota Fortuner TRD Sportivo 2 Launched In Thailand

The Toyota Fortuner TRD Sportivo 2 is currently on sale in Thailand View Photos

The Toyota Fortuner TRD Sportivo 2 is currently on sale in Thailand

Toyota has revealed the updated version of the Fortuner TRD Sportivo edition for the Thailand market. Spruced with cosmetic upgrades, the model is now badged as the 2018 Toyota Fortuner TRD Sportivo 2 and comes with a host of changes including the new bumper and grille surrounds. The alloy wheel design is new as well, while the rear features mild changes to the tailgate on the SUV. The changes also translate in the cabin.

Elaborating on the cosmetic changes, the 2018 Toyota Fortuner TRD Sportivo 2 continues to use a black grille instead of chrome on the standard version, but the black accents have been replaced by dull grey accents. The lower section of the grille is now body coloured, while the bumper is now wider and lower and gets red highlights. There’s a splitter running at the bottom. The fog lamps have been redesigned as well and get brushed metal accents for a premium touch.


Priyanka Chopra changes name to Priyanka Chopra Jonas on social media

Priyanka Chopra has changed her name on Instagram to Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Priyanka Chopra has changed her name on Instagram to Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas continue to melt millions of hearts around the globe with their adorable photos from their dreamy Jodhpur wedding. The stunning couple married on December 1 and 2, and solemnised their relationship with two ceremonies, keeping in mind each other’s faiths.

Priyanka has now changed her name on her Instagram handle, to Priyanka Chopra Jonas. There were several hints that she might, as before her wedding, Sky is Pink crew had surprised her with a cake, that had PCJ on it.


HEATH NOTES: The fitness tracker that can tell if you’re getting depressed

An electronic body tracker could help doctors diagnose depression and anxiety disorders.

The device is made up of headset, wrist bands and an ankle bracelet, monitors heart rate, level of sweating, respiration and diameter of pupils. The data is collected and analysed by computers.

It is estimated one Briton in six suffers from anxiety or depressive disorder at some point. Some remain undiagnosed due to patients’ failure to recognise and report symptoms. However, physical symptoms can be used to indicate potential problems early.

The device (pictured) is made up of headset, wrist bands and an ankle bracelet, monitors heart rate, level of sweating, respiration and diameter of pupils

The device (pictured) is made up of headset, wrist bands and an ankle bracelet, monitors heart rate, level of sweating, respiration and diameter of pupils


Study In UK: Apply For 2019 Commonwealth Master’s, Ph.D Scholarship

Study In UK: Apply For 2019 Commonwealth Master's, Ph.D Scholarship

Study Abroad, Study In UK:2019 Commonwealth Scholarship

New Delhi: 

Indian nationals who wish to pursue Master’s and Doctoral programme at any UK University listed with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) can apply for ‘2019 Commonwealth Scholarship In The United Kingdom’. The scholarships are offered by the CSC UK for Master’s and Ph.D enrollment commencing from September/ October, 2019. Candidates can apply till January 17, 2019 through MHRD portal. Candidates should also apply through Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s Electronic Application System before December 19.

Study In UK: Scholarship Options For Students From India

‘The applicant must not be registered for a Ph.D, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university or India university or elsewhere before September/ October 2019,’ reads the official notice released by the MHRD. Applicants must have obtained the qualifying degree before October 2019, which is Bachelor’s degree for Master’s programme and Master’s degree for Ph.D enrollment.

The scholarship will be available for the given themes: science and technology for development; strengthening health systems and capacity; promoting global prosperity; strengthening global peace; security and governance; strengthening resilience and response to crises; access, inclusion and opportunity.

The duration of the Master’s course will be one year and the doctoral programme will be of 3-4 years duration.


Bihar Board Releases Answer Key For Simultala Awasiya Vidyalya Entrance Exam

Bihar Board Releases Answer Key For Simultala Awasiya Vidyalya Entrance Exam

Bihar Board Releases Answer Key For Simultala Awasiya Vidyalya Entrance Exam

New Delhi: 

Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) has released the answer key for the Preliminary Entrance Exam conducted for admission to Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya. The entrance exam for admission to class 6 was conducted on December 3, 2018. The answer key link will remain active on the website till December 10, 2018 in which time students will also be able to submit their objections, if any.

The answer key has been released for all question paper booklets (A, B, C, and D). In case of any objection, either on the questions or answer key, students can follow the steps given below to submit their objection:

Step one: Go to Bihar Board’s official website: www.biharboard.online.com.

Step two: Click on the ‘Objection Panel for Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya, Simultala, Jamui Entrance (Preliminary) Examination 2019’ link.

Step three: Submit objection on the question paper or answer key on the objection panel.

Students should submit their objections by December 10. Any request for submission of objection after the last date will not be entertained by the board.

Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya is an initiative by the Bihar Government to make quality education available to students from underprivileged background. The school has produced many toppers in the past years. In 2018 too, all three state board toppers in the matric exam were from the Simultala Awasiya Vidyalaya.


National Testing Agency To Release JEE Main Admit Card In 10 Days

National Testing Agency To Release JEE Main Admit Card In 10 Days

JEE Main January 2019 admit card will be released on December 17, 2018

New Delhi: 

While the National Testing Agency (NTA) will wrap the online application process for NEET exam for undergraduate courses, it will immediately gear up for the JEE Main 2019 (I) exam. JEE Main (I) exam will begin from January 6, 2019 and conclude on January 20, 2019. The admit cards for the JEE Main January 2019 exam will be released on December 17, 2018. JEE Main exam, starting from 2019, will be conducted twice in a year – once in January and again in April.

The JEE Main (I) admit cards would be released on the official website and will be available for download through the Candidate’s account created at the time of registration.

In case any candidate is unable to download their JEE Main Admit Card from the website, the candidate should approach NTA Help Line between 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from December 17, 2018 to December 23, 2018.

Candidates are advised to download their admit cards before December 23 and go through the particulars mentioned and in case of any discrepancy bring it to the Agency’s notice immediately.

JEE Main January 2019

Apart from the fact that instead of CBSE, now JEE Main is being conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA), another change has been the shift to computer-based mode for the examination. Until last year JEE Main was conducted in both computer-based and offline mode but starting 2019, JEE Main will be conducted only in computer-based mode.

Earlier, when the exam was being conducted in offline mode too, more candidates appeared for the offline exam in comparison to the computer-based test. In 2018, out of over 12 lakh students who had appeared for the JEE Main exam, more than 10 lakh had appeared for the exam in offline mode and about 2.19 lakh students had appeared for the exam in computer-based mode.

National Testing Agency, on its part, also made provisions for students to practice for the exam in computer-based mode by establishing a countrywide network of Test Practice Centers (TPCs).


Information Technology Ministry Launches National Challenge For School Students

Information Technology Ministry Launches National Challenge For School Students

IT Ministry, yesterday, launched a National Challenge for school students

New Delhi: Ministry of Electronics and IT, yesterday, launched a National Challenge for Youths, “Ideate for India – Creative Solutions using Technology”. The Challenge launched by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & IT, Law & Justice will provide a platform to school students to become solution creators for the problems they see around them and their communities.

The challenge aims to encourage school students to create new indigenous technologies to solve local problems in their community by re-imagining solutions. The Challenge has been designed and launched by the National e-Governance Division, Ministry of Electronics and IT in collaboration with Intel India, with support from the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSE&L), Ministry of Human Resource Development.

Minister for Electronics and IT also tweeted about the launch event.

The Department of School Education and Literacy will help reach out to State Education Departments, NVS, KVS and CBSE authorities to popularize the competition in schools across the country.

Elaborating the purpose of the challenge Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The National Challenge is well thought out and aims at conversion of dreams of children into ideas leading to the development of working solutions. I am hopeful that the top 360 ideas i.e. 10 top ideas from each of the 36 States and Union Territories will reflect possible and practical solutions towards solving local citizen centric problems covering welfare issues like agriculture, quality health, quality education, women safety, child safety, assistance to divyang, etc”.

The National Challenge is open to students of classes 6 – 12 and is expected to reach out to at least 1 million youth over the next 3 months.

The 11 core areas in which students can share their ideas- healthcare services, education services, digital services, environment, women safety, traffic, infrastructure, agriculture, social welfare, disability and tourism.

The Challenge requires students to access online videos and understand how to identify problems and share a 90 second video explaining the problem and their proposed solution.
From the submissions received, around 360 students, 10 students from each state and Union Territory, will be selected by a panel of experts to attend 5 regional Boot Camps organized in North, South, East, West and North Eastern regions of the country (1 in each region).

At the regional boot camps, students will get trained by technology experts and mentors to gain a first level/basic understanding of skills such as design thinking, ideation – idea generation, making, do-it-yourself concepts, collaboration etc. with real time hands-on working sessions on basic electronics, robotics, 3D printing and introduction to IOT/Artificial Intelligence.

Mentoring will be provided by experts at these camps to ensure that ideas mature as prototypes. The experts will select top 50 students who will be invited and felicitated at a National Level Event to showcase their prototypes implemented in communities and will be declared Tech Creation Champions.


JNU Postpones Online Entrance Test; NTA To Take Charge Of Exam

JNU Postpones Online Entrance Test; NTA To Take Charge Of Exam

JNUEE 2019 Exam Update

New Delhi: For its maiden online entrance test, JNU authorities have roped in the National Testing Agency (NTA) to conduct the exam. In another step which will definitely be helpful for the candidates especially belonging to remote areas, the authorities have also decided to double the number of centres. Mock test centres will also be introduced to make candidates familiar with the online tests. In its 148th academic council meeting, the varsity authority also announced that in 2019-2020 admissions nearly 1080 M.Phil and Ph.D seats will be offered for enrollment. Last year 720 research seats were on offer for admission.

Meanwhile the JNU Entrance Exam otherwise referred to as JNUEE, which was supposed to be held on December 27-30, has been postponed. ‘…keeping in view the difficulties of students to write the examination in December,’ the varsity has decided to conduct the online test in May 2019.

JNU is the first Central University to have collaborated with the NTA, which is in its maiden year of authority as well. In October, the varsity had said that it is in the process of hiring a private vendor for managing the centres where the exams will be conducted.

This mammoth online exercise, to churn out the brightest lots, will be the biggest deciding factor this year as the students’ union has been vehemently opposing its implementation. It ‘negates a comprehensive evaluation of analytical, writing and other skills which are so very necessary, particularly in humanities and social sciences,’ JNUSU President had said. A 12-member committee was formed in March this year to deliberate on the change in the mode of exam.

Last year more than 1 lakh candidates had appeared for the test.

So far, NTA has successfully conducted the National Eligibility Test.

(With Inputs From Agencies)


Here’s the one photo Walmart’s CEO keeps on his phone to stoke ‘healthy paranoia’ in race against Amazon

Walmart's Doug McMillon keeps a list of the top 10 retailers over the decades to remind him you have to innovate and adapt constantly.

Becky Quick | CNBC
Walmart’s Doug McMillon keeps a list of the top 10 retailers over the decades to remind him you have to innovate and adapt constantly.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon keeps a photo on his phone that lists the top 10 retailers in the U.S. over the past few decades to remind him how so many companies come and go. Walmart wants to keep its No. 1 spot, which it’s held since the 1990s when it overtook Sears.

“After learning from so many people … we know that retailers come and go,” McMillon told CNBC’s Becky Quick Thursday, after he spoke in Washington, D.C., at the Business Roundtable CEO Innovation Summit. “Businesses grow and they don’t change enough and they decline over time. Retailers do that on a bit of a faster cycle.”

McMillon added Walmart has a “healthy paranoia” to stay ahead of rivals. Today, the retailer is seen as neck and neck with Amazon, which is starting to invest more in real estate and open stores while building out a bigger platform for food and apparel online. In fact, the e-commerce giant is expected to overtake Walmart as the No. 1 apparel retailer in the U.S. by the end of this year, according to Morgan Stanley.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on the future of the retail industry

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on the future of the retail industry   6:55 PM ET Thu, 6 Dec 2018 | 08:36

Walmart, in turn, is fighting back by acquiring digital brands and remodeling its stores — two key parts of its growth strategy. Thursday it announced its plans to acquire Art.com to bolster its home decor business, following recent acquisitions of lingerie brand Bare Necessities and plus-size clothing retailer Eloquii. It’s said it could one day own as many as 40 e-commerce businesses, while Amazon has taken a different approach to growth. Instead, it continues to partner with established brands like Nike and J.Crew to sell their merchandise on Amazon.

“You see the rise and fall of Sears and others,” McMillon said. “It’s just a reminder that this can happen to us too.”