Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday described the three-year rule of Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the state as a 'rule of destruction and demolitions'.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief slammed the Jagan government on the occasion marking three years since demolition of Praja Vedika in Amaravati capital city.
Naidu said that Jagan Reddy demolished Praja Vedika immediately after coming to power so as to indicate future destruction across the state. The demolition of Praja Vedika was the first demolition carried out by Jagan Mohan Reddy after taking over as Chief Minister.
Praja Vedika was the meeting hall constructed adjacent to the residence of then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
Naidu said that the CM had clearly indicated how his destructive rule would be by razing to the ground public property that was worth crores of Rupees. "There was destruction all along but no construction in the past three years," he said.
Chandrababu Naidu accused the Chief Minister of demolishing the development of Andhra Pradesh, overall economic standards and all the democratic institutions in the state. "Jagan had demolished the shelter and livelihoods of Dalits, future of youth, Polavaram and Amaravati projects," he said.
Naidu deplored that Jagan Reddy derived sadistic pleasure from demolishing Praja Vedika. By doing so, he had done severe injustice to the people of the state. He alleged that not a single project was developed nor a single building was constructed in three years.
The TDP chief pointed out that the Chief Minister was running his administration from the same buildings constructed during the previous TDP rule. This was enough to say that Jagan Reddy was not capable of doing anything. At least now, the CM should realise how construction was more difficult than destruction, the TDP leader added.
As the Maharashtra political crisis continued for the fourth day, the rebel group led by Minister Eknath Shinde has submitted a list of his 37 MLAs to Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly Narhari Zirwal.
The list, submitted late on Thursday, has also attached two resolutions stating -- Shinde continues to be the chief of Shiv Sena Legislative Party, and MLA Bharat Gogavale has been appointed new Chief Whip. The group claimed the support of 40 MLAs plus a dozen independents and smaller parties on Friday (June 24).
The development came shoulder-to-shoulder with the Shiv Sena in Mumbai submitting a list of 12 MLAs, including Shinde, to Zirwal, demanding their disqualification late on Wednesday.
Party MP Arvind Sawant said that the disqualification has been sought for flouting the Sena's Whip to attend a meeting of party legislators held on Wednesday.
Those who did not attend that meeting included: Eknath Shinde, Tanaji Sawant, Prakash Surve, Sandipan Bhumre, Bharat Gogavale, Balaji Kinikar, Anil Babar, Lata Sonwane, Yamini Jadhav, Sanjay Shirsat, Mahesh Shinde and Abdul Sattar.
The development came after the party on Tuesday removed Shinde as the Shiv Sena Legislative Party Leader and replaced him with Ajay Chaudhri, which the Deputy Speaker has accepted, but the rebels group has cried foul.
Dismissing the Sena move, Shinde said in Guwahati on Friday that the move was 'illegal' and intended to scare the legislators.
"We are not frightened by all this. We know what they are doing and we also are aware of the laws and procedures... Let them send any number of letters or notices, we are not bothered," declared Shinde, speaking to the media.
Sena MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut said on Friday that now the legal battle has begun with the plea to the Deputy Speaker Zirwal to disqualify the 12 legislators as democracy runs on majority figures "which can change anytime".
"So far, the support claimed by the rebels is only on paper... They have not yet come to Mumbai and the numbers will change after they return... Those who have gone will have to repent," Raut cautioned.
Meanwhile, Shinde is taking a meeting of his group in the Guwahati hotel where they have pitched a tent, with more Sena legislators trickling in and unconfirmed reports of around four Sena MPs also jumping into his boat.
In Mumbai, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Nationalist Congress Party-Congress have thrown their full weight behind Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and help him fight the crisis till the end.
Earlier, in a bid to mollify the rebels, Thackeray offered to quit as Chief Minister and also as party chief, and on Thursday (June 23) expressed willingness to leave the MVA provided the mutineers returned to Mumbai "in 24 hours" (by Friday evening) to hammer out their differences with the party leadership - but the Shinde group has spurned the overtures.
Hyderabad Police were busy making elaborate security arrangements for the July 2-3 national executive of the BJP and the public meeting to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party's top leadership.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, several central ministers, state chief ministers, BJP national president J.P. Nadda and other top leaders will attend the national executive to be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) in Hitec City.
After the end of the national executive on July 3, the Prime Minister and others will address a public meeting to be organised by the BJP at Parade Grounds in Secunderabad.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand said the city police will make ample deployment of forces. Quick Response Teams will be pressed into service and additional reinforcements have also been put on standby. "Anti-sabotage precautions along with access control constitute the cornerstone of any security arrangement for the protection of VVIPs. Law & order, traffic officials were instructed to make all security plans in strict adherence to the SPG's Blue Book," said Anand.
Deployment of snipers, anti-sabotage checks, roof-top watch, mufti parties, route map, trial runs and multi-layer security arrangements are being made in the city limits. Only valid pass holders will be allowed to participate in the public meeting and all the attendees will be frisked. There will be elaborate measures in place to deal with any spontaneous protests.
The commissioner held a coordination meeting with senior police officers, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSSPDCL), Roads and Buildings (R&B),Fire services, army officials and the representatives of BJP to review security arrangements.
The meeting discussed details of the PM's visit, his arrival, stay, attendance, and departure and contingency plans in case of emergencies.
Anand advised the BJP representatives to set up coordination committees to liaison with the officials of all departments, SPG and asked them not to make any last-minute changes to the programme. The traffic branch pointed out the need for the Cantonment officials to allot adequate parking grounds for the vehicles carrying public from various districts of Telangana for the public meeting. The TSCPDCL asked the BJP leadership to organise sufficient generators
The Medical and Health Department has also been asked to position specialist medical teams, ambulances along with equipment at the venues. To ensure Covid-19 protocols, all the pass holders will undergo RT-PCR tests before the scheduled programme. It has been decided to nominate one senior official from each department to quickly address any issue from the control center that would be set up at the venue.
As the suspense over the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) fate continued, a power struggle erupted between the Shiv Sena and rebels group to wrest control over the party, here on Wednesday.
Sena's chief whip Sunil Prabhu shot off a letter to all party MLAs to attend a meeting convened by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray -- who's down with Covid-19 infection, on Wednesday evening.
"If you fail to attend the meeting, it will be presumed that you voluntarily intend to leave the party and your membership is liable to be cancelled as per the laws and further action will be initiated, which must be noted," said Prabhu.
Hitting back, the rebel group leader, Minister Eknath Shinde has termed the meeting called by the Chief Minister through the Whip as 'illegal'.
Shinde -- who claims to enjoy the support of around 45 MLAs, further said from Guwahati that a Sena MLA Bharat Gogavale has been appointed as the new Chief Whip of the party.
The developments came after Prabhu sent the letter through social media, e-mail and messages to all the 55 MLAs -- including those in the rebel group, for the meeting at 5 p.m.
Large developers in the renewable energy sector have enough options to boost returns even as challenges mount and will fight aggressively in the various auctions scheduled in 2022, a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said on Wednesday.
Falling costs of solar modules, which in turn brought down tariffs, fuelled the growth of India's renewable energy growth story.
However, turmoil in global supply chains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war has pushed up costs. Further, renewable energy developers face higher financing costs as surging inflation has forced central banks to tighten monetary policy, pushing up interest rates.
The challenges, though, are unlikely to have a lasting impact on India's renewable energy story. "We believe India will be able to continue its renewable energy capacity addition trajectory because current supply chain challenges will ease in the short-to-medium term, and the industry has enough cushion to absorb these downside risks," says the report's co-author Shantanu Srivastava, Energy Finance Analyst, IEEFA.
"Central and state nodal agencies should proceed with their pipeline of renewable energy auctions, given that interest from the large companies in the sector should continue, even in these unprecedented times," says co-author and guest contributor at IEEFA Ankur Saboo, an infrastructure finance specialist.
The report highlights various options that large renewable energy companies have to enhance their return on equity, which would help them tackle the challenges.
According to Srivastava and Saboo, large renewable energy developers can lean on bond markets to refinance debt at lower rates and take advantage of a non-amortisation period on debt repayments.
This leads to the front loading of equity returns.
Further, margins on in-house engineering, procurement and construction provide a kicker to returns.
The sale of stakes in operational projects to strategic investors such as global oil and gas majors and financial investors like infrastructure investment trusts is another avenue developers have used to increase returns.
Finally, the selling of carbon credits to developed economies is increasingly considered a viable source of additional income for developers, further enhancing their returns.
The report analyses how these measures can help a solar power project and a hybrid wind-solar power project enhance their equity returns. It finds that refinancing at a 100 basis point lower rate of interest can help add two per cent to a hybrid wind-solar power project's equity internal rate of return.
Following the fractured verdict in the October 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections, both the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi and Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party have been grappling with the 'numbers game' to secure their respective positions for the past 30 months.
In the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the mid-way mark is 144, while the current strength is 287 as one Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke of Mumbai, passed away recently.
Besides the MVA-BJP, there is a significant 29-strong group of MLAs who are independents or from smaller parties who have become important for both the ruling and opposition side.
The MVA strength is: Shiv Sena (55), NCP (53) and Congress (44), and with the support of smaller parties and independents, the ruling alliance commands around 169 legislators.
The BJP has 106, plus the support of smaller parties and independents giving a strength of around 114.
The rest five are unattached to either group ostensibly to keep their 'political bargaining power' evergreen, as was witnessed in this months' biennial elections to both Rajya Sabha and Maharashtra Legislative Council.
In the ongoing crisis that has gripped the state, Shiv Sena's senior Minister Eknath Shinde has pitched tent in Surat, Gujarat -- ruled by the BJP -- and the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Shinde has reportedly gone away with an estimated dozen to two dozen legislators, which has posed a question mark on the MVA's very survival, though the Sena moved quickly to open up back-channel communication with a majority of the potential disgruntled rebels.
Given the BJP's past track record of toppling governments in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and other states earlier, the sudden yet un-declared 'Operation Lotus' has pushed the MVA government on the brink.
Battling the Shinde conflagration on one side, the MVA allies have also tried to herd and secure their respective legislators besides their supporting smaller parties and independents.
The MVA allies have kept a brave face and maintained that there's no immediate threat to the government, as indicated by Sena's Sanjay Raut and Congress' Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan and others.
Meanwhile, Shinde is likely to visit Ahmedabad later this evening to meet BJP President J.P. Nadda, Amit Shah, while Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis is also going there.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Africa reached 11,731,495 as of Monday evening, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.
The Africa CDC, the specialised healthcare agency of the African Union, added the toll from the pandemic across the continent stands at 253,772, Xinhua news agency reported.
Nearly 11,108,885 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease so far, according to the Africa CDC data.
South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt are among the countries with the most cases in the continent, according to the agency.
South Africa has recorded the most Covid-19 cases in Africa with 3,984,646 cases, while the northern African country Morocco reported 1,185,990 cases as of Monday evening, it said.
In terms of the caseload, southern Africa is the most affected region, followed by the northern and eastern parts of the continent, while central Africa is the least affected region in the continent, according to the Africa CDC.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police along with the Army have neutralised seven terrorists, including two Pakistani nationals in three anti-terror operations in Kupwara, Kulgam and Pulwama districts in less than 24 hours, officials said on Monday.
One terrorist was killed in an ongoing gunfight with the security forces in the Chatpora area of South Kashmir's Pulwama district on Monday.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police along with the Army have neutralised four terrorists during a gunfight that started on Sunday at Lolab in North Kashmir's Kupwara district, officials said.
"Two more terrorists including terrorist Showkat got neutralised (total 04). Incriminating materials, arms, and ammunition were recovered. Search going on," police said in a tweet.
Earlier, police said the Kupwara Police along with Army launched a joint anti-terrorist operation on Sunday on the disclosure of an arrested terrorist Showkat Ahmad Sheikh in the forests of Chandigam Lolab area of Kupwara.
During the search of a hideout, the hiding terrorists started firing indiscriminately upon the joint search party which was retaliated effectively leading to an encounter.
Two terrorists were killed in a separate encounter at DH Pora in South Kashmir's Kulgam district on Sunday.
There have been a series of encounters between the terrorists and security forces in Kashmir over the last few months in which many terrorists and their commanders have been eliminated.
Most of the operations have been jointly conducted by the police and the Army on the basis of specific intelligence inputs.
Lt. General Anil Puri, Additional Secretary, Department of Military Affairs, on Sunday said that reform was long pending in the defence recruitment process, and vandalism and protesters have no place in the Army.
Before launching the new recruitment scheme, two years of study was undertaken to decide on the lowering of age, he said.
"We want to bring youthfulness and experience with this reform. Today, a large number of jawans are in their 30s and officers are getting command much later than in the past," said Additional Secretary while addressing media here on the Agnipath scheme.
He said, "We have been planning this since 1984 and now have come up with this idea. The reservation for retired army personnel was pre-planned."
Lt. Gen. Anil Puri said that the 'Agniveers' would get the same allowance in areas like Siachen and other places which are applicable to the regular soldiers serving at present. There will be no discrimination against them in the service conditions, he added.
"Agniveers' will get a compensation for Rs 1 crore if he sacrifices his life in service of the nation," he added further.
Talking about the apprehension about the training for Agniveers, he said that all cadets trained in one year only. Youth will be skilled for multiple avenues after their exit, he added.
Lt. General Puri also clarified that all recruitments will be through Agnipath scheme only.
On the ongoing agitation, he said that vandalism has no space in the Army.
"All individuals, who want to join as Agniveers, will have to pledge that they had no involvement in the agitation and protests. They will have to write a pledge for not being involved in the protests which will be verified by the police," he said.
Singapore has emerged as the fastest internet speed hub in the world with a median internet speed of 207.61 Megabits per second (Mbps).
According to an analysis by niche news publisher BanklessTimes.com, Chile and Thailand follow Singapore closely with 200.01 and 189.64 Mbps, respectively.
At the eighth position is the US with 151.21 Mbps speed.
Hong Kong, Denmark, China, and Macau took the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh positions, respectively.
"Of the top eight countries with the fastest internet speed in the fixed broadband category, China is the most improved one, having stepped up three positions," said Jonathan Merry, CEO, BanklessTimes.
The global median download speed in the fixed broadband category currently is 63.46 Mbps.
"On the other hand, the median upload internet speed for the same category globally is 27.06 Mbps. Lastly, the median latency globally is 10 Mbps," said the report.
While Singapore came first in the fixed broadband internet category, it dropped to the 22nd position in the mobile internet category with a median of 64.05 Mbps.
The UAE and Qatar led in this category with 134.48 Mbps and 129.36 Mbps, respectively.
The median download speed for the category is 30.75 Mbps with an upload speed of 8.78 Mbps, and the median latency is 29ms, the report noted.
Meanwhile, India dropped four spots in rank globally for overall median fixed broadband speeds -- from 72nd to 76th spot in the month of April.
Overall median fixed download speeds in India saw a slight decrease from 48.15 Mbps in March to 48.09 Mbps in April, according to Ookla, the global leader in network intelligence and connectivity insights.
However, India recorded 14.19 Mbps median mobile download speeds which is better than 13.67 Mbps in March.
The US stock market has officially entered a bear market as the June BofA Fund Manager Survey (FMS) signals deeper investor misery.
The survey finds that inflation will nonetheless remain high relative to history so by far and away the most popular description of what the economic backdrop will be in the next 12 months is "stagflation", 83 per cent (up from 77 per cent), highest level since June 2008.
The survey shows all time low in global growth optimism (net minus 73 per cent), stagflation fear highest since June 2008, profit outlook worse since September 2008 (Lehman), CIOs telling CEOs to play safe (44 per cent want stronger balance sheets vs 30 per cent desire for capex and 18 per cent for buybacks).
Optimism on global growth has fallen to a new low. Net percentage of FMS investors expecting a stronger economy fell to minus 73 per cent, lowest since 1994.
Investors now seem convinced inflation will be lower in the next year, more investors than at any time since GFC/Lehman expect inflation rates to decline.
As per the BofA survey, global profit expectations fell to net minus 72 per cent (from 66 per cent), the weakest since September 2008. The survey notes that the big lows in global profit expectations all occurred at other Wall St crisis moments (LTCM, Dotcom bubble burst, Lehman bankruptcy and Covid).
Investors are now telling companies to "play it safe". Investors want companies to strengthen their balance sheets (at 44 per cent up from 41 per cent, highest since January 2021) rather than increase spending on capex or return cash to shareholders via buybacks.
Relative to the past 10 years investors are long cash, commodities, and healthcare and are very underweight equities, tech, the Eurozone, and EM.