IMD issues red alert in Mumbai; schools and colleges to remain shut as precautionary measure
A fresh spell of rainfall is in store for Mumbai and its surrounding areas from 19 to 21 September with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issuing a red alert. All schools and colleges are shut in Mumbai and Thane in view of predicted heavy rainfall as a precautionary measure.
In view of heavy rainfall forecasts. As a precautionary measure, holiday is declared for all schools & junior colleges in Mumbai, Thane, Konkan region for today 19 Sep 2019. District collectors in other parts of Maharashtra to decide, based on local conditions. #rain
" ashish shelar (@ShelarAshish) September 18, 2019
Other than Mumbai, isolated places in Palghar, Thane, and Raigad districts are also expected to receive heavy to very heavy spells of rain, according to IMD forecasts.
The Met department on Wednesday forecast "extremely heavy rainfall" on Thursday in Mumbai and adjoining Raigad district. The IMD has issued a red rain alert, indicating "extremely heavy rainfall", for Mumbai and Raigad districts, said an IMD official.
This indicates precipitation of more than 204 mm in 24 hours starting Thursday morning, he said. However, Mumbai would receive heavy rainfall on Friday, but Raigad will continue to receive extremely heavy showers that day also, the official said.
IMD officials have said that the increase in rainfall is due to a wind system over west Madhya Pradesh moving to Maharashtra by 18 September.
Transport associations in Delhi, Noida to go on strike today over new MV Act
Transport associations in Delhi and Noida have called for a strike as a protest against the steep hike in penalties for road traffic violations under the newly amended Motor Vehicles Act.
Thirty-four associations of autos, taxis, private school buses, maxi cabs, OLA and Uber cabs, cluster buses under STA, Gramin Seva and large commercial vehicles have called for a strike on Thursday from morning 6 am to 10 pm.
The decision has been taken by the United Front of Transport Associations to highlight issues including hiked penalties, Section 44AE of Income Tax Act, Rs five lakh cap on payment of vehicular insurance by insurance companies and also legislations on the health insurance of drivers.
In a press conference, the Noida Transport United Front also called for a strike on Thursday alongside cab associations, CNG auto associations and bus operators. Around 50,000 transport vehicles are expected to stay off the roads.
"For 19 September all companies have been notified that cab services will be affected. We have listed some demands. The government is not ready to listen to our demands, so we have no other choice but to go on strike," stated Noida cabs association president Yogesh Verma.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh to fly in Tejas fighter jet in Bengaluru today
A Defence Ministry official on Wednesday said the minister is "taking a sortie" in order to boost the morale of officers who have been involved in the development of "indigenously-made Tejas".
"It will also boost the morale of IAF pilots who are flying these aircraft. The minister will be briefed by IAF officers before taking a sortie on Thursday," he added.
The IAF has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft. The naval version of the LCA is in the development stage.
Last Friday in Goa, Tejas had successfully carried out an "arrested landing", a key performance demonstrating its ability to land onboard an aircraft carrier, making it a major milestone in the development of the naval variant of the fighter jet.
"The minister will fly a sortie in the twin-seater version of Tejas on Thursday. He will be flying from HAL airport in Bengaluru," another official from the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
Singh would also be attending an exhibition of products of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bengaluru on Thursday, he had said.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to meet heads of PSU banks today
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a review meeting with public sector banks (PSBs) on Thursday to discuss various issues, including follow up on transmission of monetary policy rates. The government is set to ask PSBs to expeditiously introduce repo-rate linked products "to step up affordable credit", according to an agenda item of the meeting.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had earlier this month made it mandatory for banks to link all their fresh retail loans to an external benchmark effective October 1 and the central bank's repo rate being one such benchmark. Following the move, banks such as Punjab National Bank and Allahabad Bank announced linking their retail loans with the RBI's repo rate.
The finance ministry will also discuss ways in which PSBs can offer doorstep banking facility. Some PSBs offer doorstep banking for citizens over 70 years of age and differently-abled customers.
Additionally, the ministry will discuss how banks can help customers in tracking online loan applications for retail, MSME (micro, small and medium enterprise), housing, and vehicle loans, among others.
The finance ministry will ask the top management of banks to closely monitor "loans to MSMEs, small traders, SHG (self-help groups) and micro finance Institutions borrowers and collaboration of banks with non-banking financial companies for co-origination of loans".
Govt open to selling partial stake in Air India to foreign airline
The government is open to selling a partial stake in the debt-laden state-run carrier, Air India, to a foreign airline, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The report, which cites 'sources familiar with the matter', says that Rs 30,000 crore ($4.21 billion) of Air India debt is still left with a roughly equivalent amount of debt.
The move is likely to be controversial as, in July, 13 employee unions issued a strong statement against any move to privatise the airline. The unions were told that divestment of Air India was part of the government's plan.
Huawei Mate 30-series to launch today in Munich
Huawei is set to announce its next-gen flagship phones in the form of the Mate 30-series today at an event in Munich, Germany. The big cloud over the launch is the fact that the Mate 30-series will not be shipping with Google services due to the blanket ban of US companies not working with Huawei which includes Google. The Mate 30 series is expected to be powered by the Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC and have the Balong 5000 5G modem.
There are no plans for Joker sequel, says director Todd Phillips
Todd Phillips has said that there are no plans to develop a sequel to Joaquin Phoenix-starrer Joker as he always intended it to be a standalone story. His comments come days after he teased the possibility of a sequel, saying he is ready to do "anything Joaquin wants to do".
With inputs from agencies