21:22 First make your children stone-pelters: Union Min Jitendra to separatists:
Lashing out at the separatists, Union minister Jitendra Singh said whether they were ready to make their children stone-pelters for their "cause".
Attacking the separatist leaders for giving a strike call on Sunday during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Chenani-Nashri tunnel, he said it become a "fashion" for them to give such calls.
Separatists had given a general strike call in protest against Modi's visit to the state to inaugurate the country's longest tunnel on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
In a joint statement, chairmen of rival factions of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik had said "There should be a complete shutdown on April 2 to protest the proposed visit of Modi. All rhetoric about development or construction of tunnels and roads are futile and will not succeed in luring us".
Singh said that giving such calls has become a fashion for separatists and also a culture and tradition in Kashmir politics that "the so-called mainstream political leaders when they are out of power, they start using the language of the separatists and semi-separatists."
"The politics of self interest is more important to them (separatists) than the public interest. They are doing it not for public interest," he told reporters.
Questioning their representative character, he said that without contesting elections, some of them are self-appointed representatives of the cause of Kashmir.
"Nowhere in the world, opposition to growth and development can be justified, whatever may be the cause and how holy it may be," Singh said.
"If the cause is so holy, instead of getting the poor neighbours to become stone-pelters, they should first set an example by making their own children stone-pelters and this applies equally to some of the mainstream politicians," he added.
20:30 India, Malaysia have built thriving economic ties: PM Modi:
India and Malaysia signed seven agreements during the state visit of Prime Minister Najib Razak to India.
Earlier, PM Narendra Modi and Razak held a one-on-one meeting ahead of the delegation-level talks.
Razak arrived in Chennai on Thursday on a six-day visit to India and reached New Delhi on Friday evening.
Welcoming the Malaysian PM, Modi said," Your contributions have been instrumental in forging wide ranging strategic partnership with India."
"We have built a thriving economic partnership. Infrastructure has been an area of fruitful partnership between us but we can do much more. We (India-Malaysia) are also converging efforts aimed at food security that are linked to well being of our farmers, "he said.
Modi further said, "I deeply appreciate our continuous cooperation with Malaysian Government in our joint anti terrorism efforts."
Praising Razak, Modi said, "Your own leadership in countering radicalisation and terrorism is an inspiration for the entire region."
"We live in a time and in a region where both conventional and non conventional security threats are constantly on the rise. We agreed that these challenges threaten stability, economic prosperity and require us and other countries of region to work together," Modi added.
Najib Razak, who met Rajinikanth in Chennai, said, "History binds us together. Indian languages, culture and food are popular in Malaysia. I'm fan of Indian films, especially after visit to Chennai."
He also said, "I would like to take this opportunity to place on record my deep admiration for the leadership of PM Modi."
"Defence and strategic partnership will be very important for us to fight global terrorism, militancy, extremism that includes fight against IS," he added.
19:56 Arrival to India was a moment of freedom : Dalai Lama:
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today said the warm-hearted welcome he received on his arrival at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh 58 years ago was a "moment of freedom" for him.
"The days prior to my arrival in India was filled with tension and the only concern was safety, but I experienced freedom when I was received warm heartedly by the people and officials and a new chapter began in my life," The Dalai Lama said recalling his escape from Tibet in 1959.
The spiritual leader was addressing the concluding function of platinum jubilee of 'The Assam Tribune' and golden jubilee of 'The Dainik Asom' group of newspapers. He was visibly moved on watching photographs related to his arrival in India. The photographs were published on the occasion of his visit in India.
An emotional Dalai Lama said that the picture of his mother and sister along with other events published in the newspaper had brought back memories of those days, especially the sufferings of thousands of Tibetans who escaped their homes and arrived in India as refugees.
"Pandit Nehru gave us shelter and received us as guests. I am the longest staying guest of the Indian government," he said.
After his arrival in India, he made several visits to European countries and "I realised that with our knowledge and culture, we can contribute to peace and help the world to become a better place.
"In those countries, there is material development, but people are not happy. Anxiety, stress and suspicion plague them and gradually I realised that we can help them with our traditions," the Nobel laureate said.
19:32 Will hang cow killers, says Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh:
"We will hang those who kill cows," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh declared today as no end seemed in sight to the row over enforcement of beef ban and crackdown on illegal slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh.
"Does such a thing happen in Chhattisgarh? I don't think it has happened in the last 15 years (of BJP rule). If it happens, we will hang those who dare do it," Singh told reporters in Raipur.
He was responding to queries by journalists whether his government would, like Yogi Adityanath's in UP, take a tough stand on cow slaughter.
Slaughter of cow, buffalo, bull, bullock, calf, and possession of their meat is banned in Chhattisgarh. Transport, export to other states for slaughter is also banned. These offences attract same punishment of 7 years jail and fine up to Rs 50,000.
On Friday, the Gujarat government amended the states Animal Preservation Bill to entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a minimum of 10 years for cow slaughter after it was passed in the assembly in the absence of the Opposition Congress and with the visitors gallery packed with saffron-clad Hindu priests.
19:27 Optimism drives markets to new highs:
Deepak Korgaonkar & Puneet Wadhwa/ Business Standard report: Several stocks and indices, including the Nifty, and the small-cap and mid-cap index, climbed to record highs in 2016-17 (the financial year ended on Friday), on hopes of a turnaround in the economy and earnings.
The benchmark Nifty on the National Stock Exchange and the Sensex on the BSE rose 19 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, aided by strong domestic and foreign inflows.
The broader market outpaced the benchmarks. On the BSE, the S&P small-cap index surged 37 per cent and the mid-cap one by 33 per cent. It was the second-best performance for these indices in seven years. In FY15, the small and mid-cap indices had rallied 53 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, as against a 25 per cent rise the benchmark index. In FY10, both indices had zoomed about 130 per cent, as against a 81 per cent rise in the Sensex.
A strong inflow of over Rs 1 lakh crore collectively by foreign portfolio investors (Rs 55,680 crore) and domestic mutual funds (Rs 51,293 crore) in the year led the rally. During the year, the 50-share Nifty surpassed its previous high, made in March 2015, while the Sensex missed clocking a new high by just one per cent.
18:58 Campuses should be free of physical & mental violence: Prez at IIM-C:
Addressing the 52nd annual convocation of IIM Calcutta, President Pranab Mukherjee today said that university campuses should be free from not only physical violence, but mental violence.
"I am ready to accept argument, but cannot accept intolerance," the President said.
"India is a land of tolerance. We accept, absorb, adopt and embrace. We don't reject anybody," he said.
He further added, "India is always tolerant. Let 100 ideas blossom in universities and let there be debate, not confrontation."
On Friday, at the inaugural ceremony of the 'Namami Brahmaputra' festival in Guwahati, Mukherjee said that he does not agree when people label Indians as intolerant.
18:53 BREAKING: Islamic State's second-in-command killed, reports Reuters quoting Iraq state-run TV.
17:37 Just In: Centre releases Rs 1,712.1 crore relief fund to Tamil Nadu for drought and cyclone while Rs 1,235.52 crore to Karnataka for drought.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak meets PM Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
16:56 Naqvi offers 'chadar' on behalf of PM Modi at Ajmer dargah:
A 'chaadar' was today offered at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said the service of the Sufi saint to humanity will continue to inspire generations.
Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi offered the 'chaadar' on behalf of the PM and read out his message in which Modi greeted the followers of the saint in India and abroad on the occasion of the 805th annual Urs.
"Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is a symbol of India's great spiritual tradition," the Prime Minister said in his message.
He said the service of Garib Nawaz to humanity will continue to inspire generations. Chishti, a great 6th century Sufi saint, is also known as Gharib Nawaz (patron of the poor).
Speaking on the occasion, Naqvi said that the country is an example of social and communal harmony for the entire world and the life of 'Garib Nawaz' inspires all to strengthen it.
"This unity can defeat the forces which are engaged in a conspiracy to create divide and conflict in the society," he said.
16:26 No service charge on train e-ticket till June 30:
Passengers will continue to get benefits of service charge exemption on train tickets booked online till June 30.
In order to help passengers and incentivise payments made through digital modes for booking of reserved tickets, service charge on online booking of train tickets was withdrawn for the tickets booked from November 23, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
The exemption facility effective till March 31 this year has been extended further to June 30, said a senior railway ministry official.
Railways received instructions from the Ministry of Information and Technology advising the public transporter to extend the incentives at least till June 30.
The service charges on booking train tickets online through IRCTC ranges from Rs 20 to 40 per ticket.
The government waived the service charges after demonetisation in November last year to encourage digital modes of booking.
Approximately, an amount of Rs 184 crore has not been realised from passengers on account of service charge and service tax thereon on reserved tickets booked online from November 23, 2016 to February 28, 2017, according to railways data.
15:59 A Delhi court sends Unitech ltd promoters Ajay Chandra and Sanjya Chandra to police custody till April 3 in alleged fraud case related to real estate project.
15:37 For BJP, cow is 'mummy' in UP, but 'yummy' in Northeast: Owaisi :
All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party president Asaduddin Owaisi has slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for its contradictory stand on cow slaughter.
"BJP's hypocrisy is that in Uttar Pradesh cow is mummy, but in the Northeast it's yummy, "the Hyderabad MP said in reference to Nagaland BJP chief Visasolie Lhoungu's comment that the BJP would not ban cow slaughter in the state if it comes to power.
Since coming to power in UP, Adityanath has ordered strict enforcement of the state's existing ban on slaughter. The Uttar Pradesh government has also taken strict action against abbatoirs operating illegally and without a license.
Lhoungu had said that the ban on cow slaughter like the one in UP won't take effect in Nagaland if his party comes to power next year.
He also added that the reality in Nagaland is very different and party's central leaders are aware of that.
15:13 Centre's FY17 stake sales were Rs 46,247 cr:
Arup Roychoudhury/Business Standard reports: The Narendra Modi government divested equity for Rs 46,247 crore in state-owned entities in 2016-17.
This is more than the Union Budget's revised estimate for the year of Rs 45,500 crore, though well below the original estimate of Rs 56,500 crore. And, the highest ever from stake sales for any year. The target for 2017-18 is Rs 72,500 crore.
Data from the department of investment and public asset management show of the Rs 46,247 crore for the year, nearly Rs 19,000 crore or 41 per cent came from share buybacks by seven public sector units. Namely, National Aluminium, Coal India, National Mineral Development Corporation, MOIL, Bharat Electronics, NHPC and Nevyeli Lignite.
While buyback is not stake sale in the accurate sense, it is still divestment; the Centre offloads part of its stake back to the PSu concerned. In July last year, Dipam issued guidelines for state-owned companies that state every PSU with a net worth of at least Rs 2,000 crore and cash and bank balances of Rs 1,000 crore must exercise the option of share buyback. It also has guidelines for dividends and bonuses to the shareholders -- principally, the government itself.
The normal offer-for sale on the stock exchanges -- for NHPC, Hindustan Copper, NBCC, MOIL and BEL -- fetched the exchequer Rs 7,475 crore. The OFS for employees in six companies fetched nearly Rs 530 crore. "This is the highest ever that employees have paid to buy stake in their own PSUs. This shows the Centre has been able to involve employees in the process of stake sale and made them own a part of their company," said a Dipam official.
The Centre also garnered Rs 8,500 crore by offloading two tranches of its Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE) exchange-traded fund, launched in March 2014. An ETF is a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund but trades like a stock on an exchange. The advantage is that it provides diversification to investors and is cheaper than investing in a fund.
14:52 30% of driving licences are bogus: Gadkari:
Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari today said that 30 per cent of the driving licences in the country are bogus.
"Thirty per cent of the driving licences in the country are bogus. Now onwards the driving licences will be electronically registered under umbrella of e-governance," Gadkari said in Nagpur.
He was addressing the grand finale of 'Smart India Hackathon 2017'.
The minister also said it will be made mandatory for Regional Transport Office to issue licence within three days of a person clearing the driving test.
"Information of the licence holder will be available across the nation and he/she will not be able to register bogus licences anywhere. Now any person, small or big, will not get the licence without clearing the driving test," said Gadkari.
The senior BJP leader also informed that 28 driving examination centres have been opened and 2,000 more will come up.
"If the RTO does not issue the driving licence within three days of the test, then action will be taken against the RTO. This will facilitate transparency and corruption free work.
"Similarly, cameras will be installed at traffic signals which will reduce the need for physical presence of policemen", he said.
"Engineers are responsible for 50 percent of the road accident deaths. The wrong designs of road engineering is a matter of concern," he added.
The Cabinet yesterday approved the amendments in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
14:28 Army convoy attacked in Srinagar, 3 soldiers injured :
Three soldiers were injured when terrorists opened fire on an army convoy near a hospital on Parimpora-Panthachowk bypass road in Srinagar.
The terrorists opened fire on the convoy near SKIMS Hospital Bemina at around 1.15 pm, a police official said.
He said the last vehicle of the convoy was hit by the bullets and the troops retaliated.
The area has been cordoned off and combing operations started to track down the terrorists, the official said.
13:08 ED crackdown on shell companies, searches over 100 locations in 16 states:
The Enforcement Directorate today launched a country-wide operation and conducted searches at 100 locations in sixteen states as part of its crackdown on shell companies.
Officials said multiple teams of the ED today visited these locations and raided the premises of about 300 shell firms in prominent places like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Patna, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Bengaluru among others.
They said the action is being carried out under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act to check instances of money laundering and illegal foreign exchange
The action is part of the mandate given to the ED under a Special Task Force that was recently created by the government on the directions of the Prime Ministers Office.
The agency has recently attached assets worth crores of such firms in the last over a week's time.
Shell companies are defined as those firms which are set up by nominal paid-up capital, high reserves and surplus on account of receipt of high share premium, investment in unlisted companies, no dividend income, high cash in hand, private companies as majority shareholders, low turnover and operating income, nominal expenses, nominal statutory payments and stock in trade and minimum fixed asset.
12:22 SBI to begin FY18 as banking behemoth:
Abhijit Lele/Business Standard reports: State Bank of India will start the new financial year with a Rs 33.5-lakh crore balance sheet, on merger of five associate banks and Bharatiya Mahila Bank with itself. The merged entity will find itself among the top 50 global lenders.
The five associate banks -- State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Travancore -- will now work as a combined entity from April 1. The integrated entity will have 270,000 people on roll, with a network of 24,000 branches and 59,000 ATMs. The existing customers of subsidiary banks will have access to the SBI global network, which has a presence in all time zones.
The merger would lead to a synergy in operations and lower SBI's cost of funds, which in turn would lead to savings of over Rs 1,000 crore in the first year.
Branch rationalisation consequent to the merger would be spread over in FY18. The first quarterly result for the combined entity would be filed in the June quarter.
11:48 Indian economy expected to grow at 7.2 pc in 2017: FM:
Emerging markets face newer challenges in the form of inward looking policies of protectionism and increased geopolitical tension, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today as he pegged India's GDP growth at 7.7 per cent in 2018.
Speaking at the second annual meeting of the New Development Bank in New Delhi, Jaitley said global growth is moving upwards and is expected to improve further in 2017-18.
"Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.2 per cent in 2017 and at the rate of 7.7 per cent in 2018," he said.
Jaitley said emerging market economies face newer challenges in the form of inward looking policies of protectionism of some economies, global financial condition, policies of the United States and increased geopolitical
He said India has sought USD 2 billion loans for various projects from the NDB, which is set up by the emerging nations India, China, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.
"India has huge unmet infrastructure funding needs. USD 646 billion is required in next 5 years (for financing infrastructure)," Jaitley said.
He said growth in emerging and developing countries is picking up and news from economies of BRICS countries is "encouraging".
"I hope that NDB will emerge as a development bank and help in funding of emerging economies," Jaitley added.
11:11 Sylvester Stallone quits 'Expendables' franchise:
Action star Sylvester Stallone has reportedly decided to leave "The Expendables" franchise after creative differences with producer Avi Lerner.
Stallone reportedly would have received up to $20 million, the biggest upfront payday in his career, if he's signed up for the fourth film.
But the 70-year-old actor couldn't see eye to eye with the producer on many things including a new director, the script, and the selection of the CGI house to handle visual effects, reported Deadline.
Although Stallone has let go of his lead role in "The Expendables", it will still be a busy years for him.
The actor joins "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" which is due to release on May 5.
In 2015, he got rave reviews for reprising his iconic role as Rocky Balboa in "Creed".
11:09 Anti-Romeo squad in UP shaves man's head in presence of cops:
An anti-Romeo squad shaved the head of a man in the presence of policemen who had caught him with a female friend in a public park in Shahjahanpur.
Following the incident, senior police officials suspended the three constables who were present at the site.
"Three constables namely, Suhail Ahmed, Laiek Ahmed and Sonu Pal have been accused of involvement in the incident. Prima facie it appears that they were present there and failed to stop those who were shaving the head of the victim. I have ordered their suspension on this ground, Shahjahanpur SSP, K B Singh said.
In the video, the constables are seen standing near the squatted victim as a man shaves his head.
Reportedly, the constables found the victim who was with his female friend outside a public park. They asked the woman to leave and called a barber and asked him to shave the mans head.
The incident comes after the Uttar Pradesh government directed the police to ensure that no inhumane measure was adopted by the squads, including shaving of heads, blackening of faces or murga pose (sit-ups while holding ears).
10:26 Liberalised visa regime rolls out from today:
Archis Mohan/Business Standard reports: A liberalised and simplified visa regime comes into force from Saturday, April 1, which the government hopes would make travel to India, particularly for business, tourism and medical purposes, easier.
The union cabinet had approved the changes in India's visa regime at its meeting on November 30, with the objective of making India an attractive destination for foreign direct investment and portfolio investment, and also boost earnings from tourism, medical tourism and exports.
With effect from today, e-visa stands sub divided into three categories - e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa.
The e-visa facility has been extended to nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports, from the earlier 16 airports. Entry will also be allowed at three seaports - Cochin, Goa and Mangalore - to tap the potential of cruise tourism from abroad. The service will also be provided soon from Mumbai and Chennai seaports.
10:16 DMK's Stalin joins protesting farmers at Jantar Mantar:
DMK President Stalin joined Tamil Nadu farmers today who are protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Farmers belonging to the Cauvery belt in Tamil Nadu are protesting here demanding a drought relief package of Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre, farm loan waiver and setting up of Cauvery Management Board.
Yesterday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi met the farmers who are are protesting in New Delhi for the 18th day in a row.
Gandhi accused the Modi-led government of being anti-poor and anti-farmer which, he alleged, only panders to the demands of a select group of industrialists.
09:52 Trump discloses financial details of wealthy staffers:
US President Donald Trump released details of the personal finances of his staffers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka, confirming that he has surrounded himself with some very affluent advisers.
The White House disclosed Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs president and now head of the White House National Economic Council, had assets worth at least $230 million, but possibly much more. Little information was given on several of his assets and only indicated they were worth more than $1 million.
Cohn had income ranging from $48 million to nearly $77 million in the year preceding his engagement in the White House, though it could be much higher.
Jared Kushners 54-page report which included most of the assets and income of his wife Ivanka Trump - included scores of assets worth six- and seven-figures.
09:41 PM Narendra Modi welcomes Malaysian PM Najib Razak at Rashtrapati Bhawan for a ceremonial reception
09:07 China bans burqas, beards in Muslim province:
China banned burqas, veils and abnormal beards in a Muslim province claiming that it is a crackdown on religious extremism.
As per the Independent, the measures also forced people to watch state television, follow decades of ethnic and religious discrimination against Xinjiang's 10 million-strong ethic Uyghur population.
The new regulation, which will come to force from today, will dissuade women, who fully cover their faces and bodies, from entering the airports, railway stations and other public places and report about them to police.
Apart from this, they also prohibit the abnormal growing of beards and it would be forbidden to reject or refuse radio, television and other public facilities and services.
The regulation restrains marrying using religious not legal procedures and using the name of Halal to meddle in the secular life of others.
The document also bans not allowing children to attend regular school, not abiding by family planning policies and deliberately damaging legal documents.
08:52 After Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh to have anti-Romeo squads:
After Uttar Pradesh, now the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Madhya Pradesh is all set to launch a campaign to check 'majnoo-type' behaviour from men in the state.
"We will reform 'majnoo' type of persons. They don't know how to respect... They are not good for the civilised society... A campaign will be launched against Majnoos," Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.
To ensure that women and girls are safe, police should keep a vigil and create a safe environment for them, he went on to add.
Chouhan said that women are no less than anyone in terms of courage, valour and in their duties and therefore one-third posts in police department are reserved for them.
"Police should create such an atmosphere so that women are able to move around independently without any fear. It should take stern measures against criminal elements," Chouhan commented.
08:20 PM Modi's power-packed weekend takes him from Delhi to Kashmir:
A busy yet highly industrious weekend awaits Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a smorgasbord of activities on his plate ranging from infrastructure, justice and diplomacy to spirituality and technology.
On April 1, Prime Minister Modi will be hosting his visiting Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak for bilateral talks at Delhis Hyderabad House.
The very next day he will dedicate to the nation, Indias longest road tunnel, the strategically crucial Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, which will significantly improve connectivity between Jammu and Srinagar.
After a visit to the state-of-the-art tunnel, he will also address a public meeting at Udhampur, sources state.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Modi will be at Allahabad to attend the closing celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Allahabad high court.
This weekend comes in the midst of the Chaitra Navratra -- a nine-day period of fasting and spiritual importance for the prime minister.
Prime Minister Modi will take time out to address some of Indias sharpest young tech brains, who are taking part in the final round of the Smart India Hackathon that will take place over two days from 8 am on Saturday to 8 pm on Sunday.
00:02 Meeting with Chinese President Xi 'very important': Trump:
Ahead of his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, US President Donald Trump today described it as a "very important" one.
In an interaction with reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with the National Manufacturers Association, Trump said Xi would soon come for a "big meeting at Mar-a-Lago" residence in Florida which he called "the southern White House, which it actually is".
"It was originally built as the southern White House a lot of people do not know (that)... strange how it got there," he said.
On the meeting, he said "It is going to be something that is very important, very special, I look very much forward to meeting him and the delegation. And we will see what happens".
Trump is scheduled to meet Xi at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on April 6 and 7, which has attracted global attention since Trump had vowed to unleash a trade war with China for what he said was unfair Chinese trade practices.
He even went on to call Beijing a "currency manipulator", but has toned down his rhetoric after becoming the president in January.