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LIVE! Obama looking forward to meet Modi in Sept

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July 10, 2014

21:51  Obama looking forward to meet Modi in Sept:  
President Barack Obama is looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September, which will be a "valuable opportunity" to renew the strategic partnership and spur trade between the two countries, a senior US official said in New Delhi today.

US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns, who met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said there was huge potential for taking the ties further particularly in the area of trade where "we are just scratching the surface". 

"I look forward tomorrow to meeting Modi...I know that President Obama looks very much to PM Modi's visit to the White House at the end of September," he said. 

Modi will be travelling to Washington for his first summit meeting with Obama. 

"It is a very valuable opportunity to renew the strategic partnership between our two countries. It's an opportunity to renew our mutual determination to spur economic growth," said Burns. 

The visiting US official said Modi-led BJP has won a very a strong mandate to invigorate India's development and its rise on the world stage.
21:09  Veteran actress Zohra Sehgal passes away:  
NDTV Reports: Actress and former dancer Zohra Sehgal died at a hospital in New Delhi today. She was 102.

Sehgal, born on April 27, 1912, started her career as a dancer in choreographer Uday Shankar's troupe. From 1935 to 1943, she was a leading dancer with the troupe and performed across the world including in USA and Japan.

As an actress, Sehgal appeared in movies as varied as Bhaji on the Beach and Him Dil De Chuke Sanam. She last appeared in Saawariya, a 2007 release.

Zohra Sehgal received the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, among other awards
20:49  New twist in firing case against Rane's son; bizman intervenes:  
In a new twist to the case filed against Nitesh Rane, son of Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane, for opening fire at his NGO member Chintu Shaikh, a city businessman today intervened in the Bombay High Court alleging that the investigations were not done properly. 

A bench of Justice V M Kanade and P D Kode asked the businessman, Goldie Sud, to file an application within two weeks in support of his claim that he could throw light on the firing incident which occurred in 2010. 

Senior Counsel, Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for Rane opposed the intervention saying the businessman had nothing to do with the matter and his plea should not be entertained. 

However, the court said it would first hear the intervenor before deciding on his plea. Accordingly, the bench gave him two weeks time to file an application and adjourned the matter to July 24.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Rane seeking to quash a case of attempt to murder filed by CBI against him.        
The agency had in March this year filed a closure report in this case before a Magistrate saying that during the probe they had not found allegations of firing to be correct.
20:21  Germany asks top US spy to leave the country :  Germany took the dramatic step today of asking the top US intelligence official in Berlin to leave the country, following two reported cases of suspected US spying and the yearlong spat over eavesdropping by the National Security Agency. 

The move reflects growing impatience in Germany at what is perceived as US nonchalance about being caught spying on a close ally.
20:16  Canara Bank to women recruits: When was your last period?:  "When was the date of your last period?"It's a question usually reserved for the privacy of a doctor's office, but Canara Bank is apparently no less interested in intimate workings of a woman's body. 

Its women applicants were asked to give an account of their menstrual history, date of their last period and whether they were suffering from any breasts- or uterus- related ailments. 

According to a TOI report, candidates were also asked if they were pregnant, as pregnancy would be grounds for immediate disqualification.The bank applications were used as a recruitment drive to hire over 1,000 clerical employees across the country, including 300 for Kerala, according to Canara Bank Staff Union Central Committee member and BEFI state Secretary S S Anil Kumar.
18:42  Budget neglected interests of backward Bihar: CM:   Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today termed the union budget 'disappointing' as it neglected the interests of a backward state like Bihar.

Stating that the funds allocated for agriculture were like 'a drop in the ocean', Manjhi told reporters that there should have been arrangements for insurance and banking facilities for agricultural labourers.

The amount earmarked for power was meagre, while not much concern was expressed for promotion of education, he said.

Inadequate finance was announced for two central universities in Bihar, he said. Stating that Bihar projects were ignored, he said announcement of special category status for Bihar, reimbursement of Rs 1000 crore spent by the state from its limited resources for upkeep of National Highways three year back were expected. "But, people of Bihar received only disappointment," he said
18:38  Cong-NCP slams budget; says Maha was purposely ignored:   The Congress-NCP in Maharashtra today criticised the Union Budget saying that it reflected Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "limited vision" besides apathy towards the state.

To prove that the "Gujarat Model" is a success, Maharashtra is being deliberately ignored, Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant alleged.

"No provision has been made for development projects in the state. Even for IIM and AIIMs institutions in the state, there is no concrete proposal and funds mentioned," he said.

Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil described the budget as a "FDI budget" which aims to raise funds not from internal resources but from abroad specially in defence and insurance sector.
18:20  Maha CM on Pune: Appeal to people NOT to panic :  Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan on the Pune blast: Appeal to the people of Pune not to panic or believe in rumours.

Three persons, including a constable, were injured when an explosive device kept in a motorcycle in the parking lot of a police station went off in Pune today.

It was a "low intensity" blast and police is probing the case keeping in mind "all possibilities", including a terror angle, Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur said. 

"We are examining all possibilities," he said when asked if police suspected it to be a terror attack.

He said a scooter parked adjacent to the motorbike in which the device was placed too was damaged.

Ball bearings and nails have been recovered from the spot and sent for forensic examination, he said, adding the explosive use in the blast was yet to be identified.

18:08  Antony predicts dangerous times for India's security:  As we said earlier, former defence minster AK Antony warned the government that 49 percent FDI in defence was a dangerous thing and would compromise India's security. "I have been in the ministry for 10 years.  I know what will happen now," Antony said ominously. 
18:05  Jairam Ramesh's SMS to Arun Jaitely:  And here's a nice one: Jairam Ramesh sent a warm text message to Arun Jaitley, which in effect, congratulated him on his gesture of going up to Dr Manmohan Singh in Parliament and greeting him. Ramesh said it showed that the finance minister bore no ill will or animosity for the former PM. Jaitley responded with a thank you.  
18:02  What happened to two MPs who were not sitting properly:  JDU-MP Pavan Verma and BJP MP Kirti Azad were given a lesson in Parliamentary etiquette today. Verma was apparently sitting cross-legged in Parliament, while Azad's legs were on his seat. An official from the Watch and Ward department walked up to them and asked them to sit properly and maintain the decorum of Parliament. 
17:50  When Rahul refused to comfort Jaitley in Parliament :  Like we said, here's more.

BJP MP Kirti Azad went up to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi soon after Arun Jaitley finished presenting the Budget possibly to suggest to her and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi that it would be nice gesture if they could walk up to the ailing Arun Jaitley.

Sonia consulted Mallikarjun Kharge, who is leader of the oppostion in the Lok Sabha and Jyotiraditya Scindia. While Scindia walked up to Jaitley, Rahul was not keen on suggestion and walked away.

Sonia took notes while Jaitley was presenting the budget especially when he said that Rs 200 crore will be granted to the government of
Gujarat for erecting the Sardar Vallabhai Patel statue.

Sonia got a pen from Tariq Anwar and wrote that she was opposed to this element in the budget and gave the chit to Kharge, the Congress spokesperson to oppose the grant.

No, she was not opposed to Sardar Patel, she was incensed because the BJP had opposed Rs 100 crore given to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation by Dr Manmohan Singh in 1992. 
17:37  And hang on, there's more goss...
17:36  The inside story of what happened inside Parliament on budget day:  You watched the budget and read about it, but here are exclusive details we gleaned for you...

What you know is that finance minister Arun Jaitley asked for a five-minute break in the middle of reading out the union budget because his shoulders were hurting.

What you don't know is that Jaitley did not announce that he needed the break -- unprecedented in a budget speech -- on his own. He consulted home minister Rajnath Singh and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, who told him it wouldn't be a problem, but he should apologise for asking for the break, which he did. While this was happening, PM Narendra Modi was watching what was happening from his seat.

Apparently, a week ago, Jaitley told his close friends that it would be a challenge and a difficult task for him to present the budget for two-and-half hours -- standing. Jaitley told confidantes he had sprained his shoulders, which is why he was leaning on the podium as he stood to read his speech today.

When he couldn't bear the pain anymore, the finance minister took a quick decision and announced that his shoulders were hurting and he wanted to take a five-minute break.

Sushma Swaraj jumped up and got him a glass of hot water and medicines and Rajnath Singh comforted him.

But what was heartening to see, was Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia walk up to Jaitley and say comforting words to him. He also told Jaitley that he should sit and read his speech.

P Sreedharan, Secretary General quickly wrote a note to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asking for permission to read the Budget seated. Sreedharan took the paper with the Speaker's OK and got Arun Jaitley to sign it as well.

As house adjourned for five minutes, BJP leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goel, Nirmala Sitharam rushed to Jaitley's seat and asked after his health.

There was sympathy for Jaitley even from the Trinamool Congress MPs, who just two days ago, were involved in a bitter squabble in Parliament.  TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee, who was interrupting Jaitley as he read out the budget, fell silent. Banerjee it seems, remembered that Jaitley was a fellow lawyer.  
17:11  How is the Rupee being used in the budget? :  See this infographic for how the Rupee is being utilised in the budget.
17:02  The number of injured in the Pune blast has gone up to three. 
17:01  Govt to borrow Rs 6 lakh crore in FY15:  The government will in the current fiscal borrow Rs 6 lakh crore, up from Rs 5.63 lakh crore last year, as it repays past liabilities and uses debt to bridge revenue shortfall. However, the net borrowings will be Rs 4,61,204 crore, after considering repayments of past loans and interests. This is nearly Rs 7,700 crore lower than Rs 4,68,901 crore in 2013-14, according to Budget 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament.
16:40  Jaitley: Wish I could do more for common tax payer :  Arun Jaitley on the budget: "I wish I could do lot more for common tax payer. Taxation issues were complicated by the UPA."
16:24  Blueprint for the defence industry:  The Narendra Modi government needs to set up a national committee to resolve turf battles between various government agencies and reconcile competing interests of small and medium enterprises and industry majors. Read
16:21  Pak journalist Hamid Mir in London for treatment meets Malala:   Journalist and Geo News anchor, analyst and author Hamid Mir is in  London for medical treatment and check-ups and is likely to return to Pakistan in a month. Mir (47) was seriously wounded in a targeted shooting in southern port city of Karachi in April this year.

Mir arrived in London on Friday evening for pre-arranged medical appointments. He has appointments at the Cromwell Hospital in London and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where Malala Yousufzai was treated.

Mir will also be treated for the bladder injury which he sustained during the firing. He is unable to sit properly due to severe pain in his left leg. An orthopaedic surgeon at the Cromwell Hospital will treat him for leg injury. Its understood that senior surgeons at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham will remove the remaining bullets from Hamid Mir's body.

Read more

Pic: Malala with her parents and Hamid Mir on the extreme right.
16:07  Pune police confirm explosion was caused by a bomb blast :  Update on the explosion in Pune.'s Vicky Nanjappa reports that the Pune police have found ball bearings and nails which were part of the bomb. The bomb exploded outside the Faraskhana police station, close to the famous Dagduseth Ganapati temple police station, injuring three people. The police are not ruling out a terror angle and said that it could be the job of a local gang. An alert has been sounded across the city to report suspicious objects. The bomb today was placed on a motorcycle and may have been connected to a timer.
15:53  Look who's taking the credit for the budget announcement of an IIM in Mumbai: Aaditya Thackeray: Thank u @arunjaitley ji for accepting my request of establishing IIM in Maharashtra, made to @smritiirani. Will benefit youth in Maharashtra
15:41  Why family Jaitley wore yellow on budget day :  Yellow was the colour for the Jaitley family when Finance Minister Arun Jaitely presented his maiden budget in Lok Sabha today. While 61-year-old Jaitley wore a yellow Jawahar jacket over his usual off-white kurta pyjama, his wife Sangeeta and their daughter, who were watching the budget presentation from the Speaker's gallery, too came wearing yellow-coloured suits.

According to Hindu mythology, Thursday is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Brihaspati, the Guru of Gods, and devotees adorn yellow coloured clothes and offer yellow flowers to propitiate god Vishnu and Brihaspati.

Pic: Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning.
15:06  Budget is visionless, missionless and actionless: Mamata:  TMC chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee posts her reaction to the union budget...

"We heard about a strong and vibrant India before the government came to power. We thought that it will be delivered to provide good governance.

But from the beginning, we are getting disappointed. Only one positive sign of the new government is established in two budgets that they have become a government of the FDI, by the FDI and for the FDI.

Already, there is FDI in the retail. Now FDI is increased to 49% in Defence, and Insurance Sectors. In addition, disinvestment in banking sector is up to 49%.

All these will adversely affect the people of the country.

In our State 'Kanyashree' project was launched for the first time with a provision of about 1000 crore. It is really shocking to see that an important scheme for girl child 'Beti Bachao, Beti Parao' has been announced with only a meager 100 crore for all states and UTs together. Is it not a mockery?

Again 100 crore has been allocated for the start-up companies for the rural youth. As against about 55 crore of rural youth population in the country, only 100 crore is highly insulting to them.

Even though, West Bengal has tremendous potential for textiles sector, it does not find place among the six new textiles clusters announced in the budget.

West Bengal, even being the largest fruits and vegetables producers in the country, has been denied for Horticulture University announced in the budget.

Even in 100 days' work scheme, where the poor people are involved, not a single paise has been increased in allocation. On the other hand, prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene along with prices of fruits and vegetable and other essential commodities are increasing day by day.

The budget is visionless, missionless and actionless from the angle of the common people. It is not going to stimulate growth and development of the poor.In both the budgets, it is noticeable that Bengal and so many other states are getting deprived.

The new government has just started functioning with a political vendetta. It is the morning that shows the day."
15:02  The explosion outside the Faraskhana police station, is close to the famous Dagduseth Ganapati temple in Pune. Reports put the number of injured to two. 
14:54  Low intensity explosion in Pune, two hurt :   Just in: News of a low intensity explosion near the Faraskhana police station in Pune. Two people have been injured. The nature of the explosion is being investigated by the police. Details awaited.
14:48  Pope vs pope:   And as we near the finals of the World Cup, this funny that's doing the rounds of the internet. Here's what Pope Francis and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI are thinking about. Pope Francis is from Argentina, while Pope Benedict is from Germany. 
Pope Francis (right) meets with Pope emeritus Benedict XVI - See more at:
Pope Francis (right) meets with Pope emeritus Benedict XVI - See more at:
Pope Francis (right) meets with Pope emeritus Benedict XVI - See more at:
Pope Francis (right) meets with Pope emeritus Benedict XVI - See more at:
14:27   Mkts give thumbs up to Budget; Sensex soars 434 points:  In highly volatile trade, the BSE benchmark Sensex today erased initial losses and jumped over 434 points after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his maiden Union Budget announced steps to strengthen investor confidence, improve fiscal situation and boost growth.

All the sectoral indices, led by realty, power and metal sectors, were trading in the green on emergence of buying driven by budgetary proposals.

After slumping over 300 points at around noon, the 30-share benchmark Sensex was trading higher by 434.23 points, or 1.71 per cent, at 25,879.04. Intra-day, the index has swung nearly 665 points as investors resorted to alternative bouts of buying and selling.

The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty regained 7,700 point mark by surging 125.15 points, or 1.65 per cent to 7,710.15 point after shuttling between 7,713.45 and 7,479.05.
14:23  Will Antony's warning ring true?:  AK Antony, who was the defence minister in the UPA government says, "49% FDI in defence is a threat to national security, it is dangerous."

As part of military modernisation drive, the government today allocated Rs 2.29 lakh crore for the Defence Ministry in the Budget, marking an increase of around 12.5 per cent from the last fiscal as it raised the FDI limit in the defence sector up to 49 per cent from 26 per cent now.

The Ministry was allocated Rs 2,03,672 crore in 2013-14 and was provided Rs 2,24,000 crore in the interim budget presented by the UPA government in February this year.

"There can be no compromise with the defence of the country. I, therefore, propose to allocate an amount of Rs 2.29 lakh crore for the current financial year," Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said, presenting the general budget.

For the modernisation of the armed forces, the Finance Minister allocated an additional Rs 5,000 crore above the Rs 89587.95 crore provided for the acquisition of new weapon systems for the Ministry in the interim budget last year.
14:20  "UPA's budget also would have been the same, just need to replace Jaitley ji with Chidambaram ji, rest is same," adds Arvind Kejriwal.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge says, "There are no welfare measures, they have only given relief to corporates."
14:18  When Singhvi and Kejriwal went to the same Hindi teacher :  Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Arvind Kejriwal must have shared the same Hindi tuition teacher.

This Kejriwal's reaction to the budget: Khoda pahad,nikli choohiya.

... and this is Singhvi's reaction:  Khoda pahaad nikla chuha

14:15  Shashi Tharoor on the union budget: "No sense of direction or measures to improve the situation of inflation. I'll have to study figures in detail."
14:14  Why Uma Bharti is happy today:  Water Resources minister Uma Bharti must be beaming at this : Rs 2,037 crore set aside for Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called 'Namami Gange'.

Bharti has been tasked with cleaning up the Ganga.
14:11  TMC: NDA is selling the country like the UPA :  Madhu Kishwar: Sonia courtiers like Roy so consumed by hatred of Mdoi that they can't even bring themselves to hear budget speech but want right to damn it.

Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Leader of the TMC in the LS: Just like the UPA, the NDA too has also chalked out a plan to sell the country.
13:57  'Budget will benefit only Adani and Ambani':  More reactions: All proposals already existed and were just presented in a new way. This will only benefit Adani and Ambani, not the common man, says Nawab Malik (NCP). 

13:55  Cong: All those campaign promises and then...:   The eloquent Abhishek Manu Singhvi on the NDA budget: Nation expected much more. All these campaign promises and then "khoda pahaad nikala chuha?"
13:36  LIVE! Cong on budget: High on rhetoric, short on deliver; no vision:  Back to the budget for a moment: First reactions from the Congress. Spokesperson Manish Tewari calls it, "High on rhetoric, short on delivery. No vision and no roadmap."

Sonia Gandhi also trashes the budget saying most UPA schemes have been copied. "There is nothing for the social sector," she says.
13:31  Alright, on to other stories: World Cup 2014: Germany highlight the madness of St George as they continue to prosper while England stagnate . Read
13:28  Insurance scrips trade mixed after FDI cap hike announcement:  Shares of companies that run insurance business saw mixed trend at the BSE after finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday proposed raising the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

Max India was down 1.93 per cent and Reliance Capital shares were trading 1.32 per cent lower on the BSE. Shares of Religare Enterprises was down 1.96 per cent while HDFC was quoting almost flat. On the other hand, shares of Aditya Birla Nuvo was up 2.03 per cent and Bajaj Finserv gained 1.28 per cent.
13:26  Yogendra Yadav, the sane voice in AAP tweets: Too many pilot projects and new schemes, most with meager allocations. Welcome steps to support museums.
13:18  What's cheap, what's not in FM Arun Jaitley's budget.  Read
13:15  Arun Jaitley ends his budget speech, Parliament is adjourned till tomorrow. 
13:14   PSU banks stock down after Budget announcement:  Shares of public sector banks declined by as much as 4.3 per cent after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the lenders would require Rs 2.40 lakh crore capital by 2018 to meet global Basel III norms.

SBI was trading 2 per cent lower, while Indian Bank dropped 4.31 per cent on the BSE. Similarly, Oriental Bank of Commerce was down 3.66 per cent, Andhra Bank tanked 3.57 per cent, Indian Overseas Bank (3.49 per cent), Bank of India (3.19 per cent), Allahabad Bank (2.53 per cent), Union Bank of India (2.50 per cent) State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (1.49 per cent), United Bank of India (1.34 per cent) and Bank of Baroda (1.13 per cent).

Proposing to provide greater autonomy to public sector banks, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said these lenders would require Rs 2.40 lakh crore capital by 2018 to meet global Basel III norms.
13:00  LIVE! Sonia's Rae Bareli benefits from Jaitley's budget :  Sonia Gandhi's constituency, Rae Bareli, to benefit from Jaitley's budget: Rs 200 cr provided for 6 more textile clusters in Rae Bareily, Lucknow, Surat, Bhagalpur, Mysore and Tamil Nadu.
12:52  Rahul Gandhi is jotting down notes as Jaitley continues with his speech. 
12:51  First reactions: Mayank Gandhi (AAP) tweets: What a listless budget! Hopes dashed.
12:46  Tax exemption limit raised by Rs 50,000:   Everybody listening in to the FM's budget is going to pay rapt attention now. Jaitley has now moved on to -- TAXES.

Personal income tax exemption raised to Rs 2.5 lakh for those below 60 years and to Rs 3 lakh for senior citizens from the earlier Rs 2 lakh.
12:31  Rupa Subramanya tweets: Budget 2014 is a breath of fresh air if only for fact that I've not heard any schemes named after the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. Progress.
12:27  Please help us decipher BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi's tweet: Meenakashi Lekhi @M_Lekhi  mp#pwppWopprpldCupqqpqaqp1qp0s qa
12:23  LIVE! Look, ma, I'm awake! Rahul Gandhi listens in to the budget speech:   Bright eyed and bushy tailed Rahul Gandhi during the budget speech. Yesterday, video footage of Rahul apparently dozing off in the Lok Sabha during a debate on price rise went viral on the social media.

The Congress vice president was seen in a television shot with closed eyes and his head tilting to the right.

The shot, picked up from Lok Sabha TV, went viral on social media accompanied by carping comments.

While Congress promptly denied that Rahul was sleeping, Bharatiya Janata Party taunted it by saying this is what the party was doing on price rise for the last 10 years."It is not true. I totally and categorically deny all aspersions,' Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said lamenting that the matter has been sensationalised and wondered whether it behoves to raise such issues.He said that for the last seven weeks the government has played "petty and vindictive' politics.
12:17  Jaitely complained of back pain during budget speech:  Speaker Sumitra Mahajan gave a five-minute break as Jaitley appeared exhausted after a 40-minute fast-paced speech. When the House reassembled, the Speaker said the break was given since he felt "slightly unwell". She then allowed him to resume the budget presentation while being seated. Lok Sabha sources said the 61-year-old Minister also felt back pain and was once seen leaning on the lectern. Earlier, during his speech he was seen frequently drinking water. This is probably for the first time that the Budget speech was broken.
12:12  The changing colours of Madhu Kishwar. She tweets: "This is out & out Modi budget. Instead of saying,"I propose to do XYZ", more appropriate 4 Jaitley to say,"I have been instructed to ...."
11:57  LIVE! In a first, Speaker allows FM to read out budget speech seated:  Toilets and drinking water for all girl schools, promises the finance minister in his budget. PM Narendra Modi reading the budget booklet.   

House takes a five minute break, unprecedented, during the budget speech. Arun Jaitley asked for the break which was granted by the speaker.

Speaker allows Jaitley to remain seated while reading out his speech, unprecedented!  Jaitley said he had cramps, and the speaker said he could read out his speech seated.
11:41  AIADMK MPs to meet today :  Forty-eight AIADMK MPs will meet for the first time after the Lok Sabha polls at the Parliament annexe. At the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, the ADMK has been given a spacious room as it's party's office inside the Parliament building, which is a major achievement for a regional party. The room which is next to the library will be commissioned in December by AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha after the renovation. 
11:32  Currency notes in Braille for the visually impaired, says FM:   Arun Jaitley announces the introduction of currency notes with braille in a phased manner, to empower the blind.
11:24  Boost to tourism: E-visas will be allowed in nine airports, says FM:  E-visas will be allowed at nine airports, says Jaitley. The electronic visa facility or e-visa is in its final stage of development and is expected to be introduced this year. The External Affairs Ministry, the National Security Advisor and all the related agencies have unanimously supported the introduction of electronic travel authorisation. 
11:13  Remember the budget that ended licence raj?:  As finance minister Arun Jaitley reads out his budget, here's a look back at the budget in 1991, which was delivered by Manmohan Singh as finance minister (and guided by the prime minister, Narasimha Rao). It was the moment that the "Licence Raj" began to be dismantled, enabling much more rapid economic growth in India in the subsequent two decades, and dramatic reductions in poverty.

In 2014, following the decisive election of Narendra Modi as prime minister, expectations grew that India would again see liberalising economic reforms.

The Economist's 1991 report on the budget. Read
11:07  "Poor people should benefit, if they won't benefit the rich people won't benefit": Rahul Bajaj, Rajya Sabha MP on the Budget 2014 expectations.
11:04  Hemant Morparia's take on the announcement of bullet trains in the rail budget. The more things change, the more they remain the same. 
11:03  Finance minister Arun Jaitley presents his maiden budget in Parliament. Read the live updates here.
11:01  Don't expect fireworks from FM on fiscal deficit:  Real fiscal consolidation and reducing the subsidy burden are the two most critical issues the markets will watch for in finance minister Arun Jaitley's Budget.However, to slay the dragon called fiscal deficit, the government either needs to augment its revenues or cut expenditure.Economists believe Jaitley does not have any room left to cut either expenditure or subsidies.

What that basically means is do not expect miracles from the budget. Read
10:55   The BSE Sensex and Nifty were choppy ahead of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's first Budget announcement due at 11 am, reports NDTV.

The Sensex opened higher, but gains were short-lived, while the Nifty failed to hold above the key 7,600 levels. The Economic Survey, unveiled on Wednesday, called for tough measures to shore up public finances and reduce inflation, reinforcing hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government will deliver a non-populist, prudent Budget today.
10:10   Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reaches Parliament where he will present his first Budget at 11 am. 
09:35  FM to brief Union Cabinet at 10.30 am :  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley meets President Pranab Mukherjee over the presentation of today's Budget. At 10.30 he will brief the Union Cabinet before heading for the Parliament.  
09:22  Beaming Jaitley poses for shutterbugs outside North Block:  Man of the day Arun Jaitley is seen outside North Block along with Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman ahead of the Budget.

The FM has now reached Rashtrapati Bhavan where he will meet President Pranab Mukherjee.

Photograph: ANI/Twitter 
09:01  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reaches the finance ministry in North Block. 
08:49  FM Jaitley heads to North Block :  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley leaves for his office at North Block. At 9 am he head for Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and at 10 am he is expected to brief the Union Cabinet on the Budget.  

He will present the first Union Budget of the Narendra Modi government at 11 am in the Parliament.
08:30  Coming soon to India: Swedish furniture retailer IKEA :  Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is expected to open its first outlet in India at Hyderabad and the Telangana government has promised to fast-track all necessary clearances as the new state seeks to attract investments.

After a meeting with top IKEA executives, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao was quoted as saying all necessary clearances will be given through a single window to expedite the process of opening the store in the city.

A high-level team from the company represented by Juvenico Maeztu, Ikea Indian arm Chief Executive Officer, and Preet Dhupar, Chief Financial Officer, met Rao at Secretariat in Hyderabad yesterday, a state government press release said.
03:28  Women united in fear:  

When the sun rises, Adele will spend the day running for her life. Rasha, meanwhile, says she will spend it praying and waiting for death.


Read more on CNN

00:31  North Korea fires missiles into the sea:  

North Korea fired two short-range missiles off the coast of the Korean Peninsula early Wednesday, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. North Korea did not declare a no-fly zone prior to the launch, the official said. No damage or injures were reported.


The projectiles, assumed to be short-range ballistic missiles, flew more than 310 miles (almost 500 kilometers), the official said. The official said the missiles were launched from North Korea's western Hwanghae Province and flew northeast toward the water.


Read more on CNN

00:27  Ukraine conflict: Russia charges pilot over deaths:  

Russia has charged a female Ukrainian army pilot with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists. Nadiya Savchenko, 33, was reportedly fighting in a volunteer battalion against pro-Russian separatists near Luhansk in east Ukraine.


Last month she took part in an attack on a rebel checkpoint where two Russian TV journalists were fatally wounded. Ukraine has accused Russia of abducting her and has demanded she be released and allowed home.


Ukrainian government forces are currently battling rebels in the east and have recaptured several large towns in recent days. More than 1,000 people, both civilians and combatants, are believed to have been killed since the uprising began in April.


Read more on BBC

00:25  Top headlines at this hour:  

44 Palestinians killed as Israel bombs Hamas targets in Gaza

1 killed, 6 injured in attack at Faizabad court complex

BJP mounts another attack against the beleaguered Gandhi family

BJP slams Congress for questioning Amit Shah's appointment

6 things we learnt from Parliament today

Zinta gives cops 4 photos of bruised hand to back assault claim

Germany's entry into WC final foils Modi-Merkel meet

Siesta time! Rahul caught snoozing in Parliament

Exclusive Jaitley's wife: 'Don't expect miracles from the Budget'

26/11 trial adjourned for the fifth time in three months

National Herald case: Sonia calls I-T notice political witch hunt

Tandoor case: Judge recuses from hearing Sharma's parole plea

SC restrains states from granting remissions to life convicts

Shoe-covering machines for foreign tourists visiting Taj Mahal

JD-U, RJD, Cong demand BJP leader's ouster over cash controversy

Trinamool MP attacks BJP in Lok Sabha

Sheila Dikshit uses Governor card to quash criminal case against her


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