The prevailing threat of a third Covid wave has led to postponement of Auto Expo 2022.
Accordingly, the motor show which was originally slated to have been held from February 2-9, 2022 at the India Expo Mart in Greater Noida has been postponed.
The organiser of the show - Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers - said the exact date for the next edition of 'Auto Expo - The Motor Show' would be finalised later this year.
"Safety of 'Exhibitors, Visitors' and all stakeholders involved and present at the Expo is the topmost priority for SIAM,"
"It is in this context that the Indian automobile industry and SIAM recognises the inherent risks in organising the Auto Expo due to the on-going Covid-19 Pandemic and the apprehensions of a possible third wave."
There is uncertainty, he said, around how Covid-19 would develop in the coming months and at the same time organising auto expo would need a lead time of preferably a year.
"The magnitude of the risk of spread of infection is extremely high in a B2C show like Auto Expo which is visited by large crowds and maintaining social distancing would be difficult."
"The exact date for the next edition of 'Auto Expo - The Motor Show' would be finalised later this year keeping in view the Covid situation and in alignment with the OICA calendar of global auto shows."
As the rich and famous brigade in India await the arrival of Tesla cars, the wait has just got longer owing to the import duty tussle between Elon Musk and the Indian government -- an issue that has kept away the most coveted electric car from entering the country for years.
Although a Blue Tesla Model 3 was recently spotted on the streets in Pune (brought from its Gigafactory in Shanghai, China), the long and painful journey has only started for Musk in India, where the only viable option for him to earn big is to manufacture/assemble the cars locally under the government's EV scheme.
With a $39,990 (around Rs 30 lakh) price tag, Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh.
The government may consider lowering import duty along with offering other sops to Tesla but for that, the EV major would have to invest in setting up a manufacturing facility in the country.
According to industry experts, import duties on fully imported cars to India is a great concern for Musk.
Currently, India levies 100 per cent tax on the imported cars of price more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh) inclusive of insurance and shipping expenses, and cars less than $40,000 are subject to 60 per cent import tax.
"Musk has also criticised the government policies for electric vehicles (EV), as they attract the same import tariffs as for petrol and diesel cars," Soumen Mandal, Research Analyst, IoT, Automotive & Devices Ecosystem at Counterpoint Research, told IANS.
"Without a relaxation on import duty, Tesla will remain premium for the Indian market but not ultra-premium," he added.
Musk recently said that he wants to launch cars in India but the country's import duties on EVs are "highest in the world by far".
"We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!" he posted on Twitter.
This is not the first time that the Tesla CEO has raised concern over import duties.
The EV company had urged the government to lower the import tax on EVs to 40 per cent from 100 per cent. Tesla also has plans to set up its manufacturing unit in Karnataka once the electric car maker gets success with imported cars.
Currently, the premium car market is about 7 per cent of the total car market.
The luxury brands like Mercedes, BMW entered the Indian market many years ago. Last year, Mercedes started to assemble the AMG models to make them a little affordable.
In 2020, Mercedes launched its electric car as a full import (EQC model) with a massive price of $136,000 (about Rs 1.01 crore) and Audi launched three electric SUVs with starting price of $133,000 (around Rs 99.99 lakh).
"During Tesla's ï¿½Battery Day' event last year, the EV maker announced to reduce the cost per kWh of the battery pack by 56 per cent with an ultimate target of making a $25,000 priced EV (nearly Rs 18.6 lakh) within three years," Mandal said.
"By the time Tesla starts its manufacturing in India, it could very well reach its $25,000 electric car goal which then leads to lower cost in India due to its cost-effective manufacturing," he added.
According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, Tesla's India plans are still unclear and unknown.
"Musk said he could be aiming for 20 million vehicles globally by 2030, replacing 1 per cent of the global fleet each year. Up to a tenth of that could come from India. But neither Tesla nor India will be ready in 2021 for any major ramp-up in EVs," Roy told IANS recently.
Tesla is overstretched with its global plans: it has its hands full with China.
Roy said he would expect Tesla to look at a three-pronged India strategy.
"It should create a base for software, testing and R&D, explore distribution tie-ups for charging networks and support for Model 3 buyers and evaluate tie-ups for initially assembling Model 3, while sourcing local suppliers for the body and components other than motor, battery and charger," he explained.
Kolkata, July 31 (IANS) Former Union minister and BJP Lok Sabha MP from Asansol, Babul Supriyo, on Saturday announced that he has decided to quit politics.
In a Facebook post in Bengali, the singer-turned-politician clarified that he is neither joining any other party, nor has he been contacted by any political party, adding that he has always been a "one team player".
Beginning the Facebook post with 'Alvida' (goodbye), the two-time MP from Asansol wrote, "I listened to everybody - father, (mother), wife, daughter, a couple of dear friends .. after hearing everything, I say that I am not going to any other party - #TMC, #Congress, #CPIM, nowhere - Confirm, no one called me, I am not going anywhere. I am a one Team Player! Have always supported one team #MohunBagan - Have done only party -- BJP West Bengal .. That's it!. Lets go."
"If you want to do social work, you can do it without being in politics," Supriyo said, adding: "Over the past few days, I have repeatedly taken the decision to leave politics to Hon'ble Amit Shah and Hon'ble Naddaji and I am eternally grateful to them for inspiring me in every way."
"I will never forget their love and so I will never again show them the audacity to say the same thing again - especially when I have decided long ago what my 'I' wants to do. So to repeat the same thing again, somewhere they may think that I am 'bargaining' for a 'position'. That's not true at all," he said.
Surpiyo, who is having a rough time with the state BJP leadership and had lost the ministry recently, didn't hide his grudge in the post.
"The question is why I left politics? Does it have anything to do with leaving the ministry? Yes, there is -- there must be something! I don't want to panic, so it will be right as soon as he answers the question - it will give me peace too. There is a big difference between 2014 and 2019," he wrote.
"I was the only BJP ticket then (with due respect to Ahluwaliaji - GJM was BJP's ally in the Darjeeling seat), but today the BJP is the main opposition party in Bengal. There are many bright, young Turkish leaders in the party today as well as many old witty leaders," he said.
"Needless to say, the team led by them will go a long way from here. I have no hesitation in saying that it is clear that it is not a big deal to have an individual in the party today and it is my firm belief that accepting it will be the right decision," he added.
Keeping everyone guessing about his next move, Supriyo said, "I don't believe I went anywhere - I was with 'me' - so I'm going somewhere and I won't say that today. I did the same when I left my job at Standard Chartered Bank in 1992 and fled to Mumbai, I did it today!!!"
Surpiyo ended the post with the phrase -- "Lets Go".
Surpiyo, however, made it clear that his decision of quitting the party is the result of his differences with the state BJP leadership.
"Another thing. even before the vote, there were disagreements with the state leadership on some issues - it may have happened but some issues were coming out in public."
"Somewhere, I am responsible for it (I put up a Facebook post which falls into the category of party discipline) and somewhere else, other leaders are also very responsible, although I don't want to go into who is responsible today - but the disagreement and quarrel of senior leaders is hurting the party," he said.
"Even then, the knowledge of 'rocket science' is not needed to understand that it was not helping the morale of the party workers in any way. At the moment, it is completely unwelcome, so I am leaving with immense gratitude and love to the people of Asansol," he added.
India recorded 41,649 fresh Covid-19 cases with 593 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed on Saturday.
On Tuesday (July 27), India had registered 29,689 new Covid cases, less than the 30,000-mark in 132 days, and 415 deaths.
The total number of deaths has reached 4,23,810 as per the government data and active cases number 4,08,920.
According to the government, 37,291 people were discharged from hospitals and health centres in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured to 3,07,81,263 till date as the virus continued to infect less than one lakh people over the last 53 days.
According to the health ministry data, a total of 46,15,18,479 Covid vaccine doses have been administered in India so far, including 52,99,036 in the last 24 hours.
The total number of samples tested so far has reached 46,46,50,723 as on July 29, including 18,16,277 samples tested on Friday.
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has squashed Jeff Bezos-run Blue Origin's challenge to space agency NASA for picking Elon Musk-owned SpaceX for its prestigious $2.9 billion Moon lander programme.
Blue Origin and defence contractor Dynetics had filed a protest with the US GAO against NASA for awarding $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX for landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
The US space agency was expected to pick two lunar lander prototypes (including one of Blue Origin's) but funding cut from US Congress led the agency to select SpaceX over Blue Origin.
GAO on Friday rejected Blue Origin's protest, saying "there was no requirement for NASA to engage in discussions, amend, or cancel the announcement as a result of the amount of funding available for the programme," reports The Verge.
In a tweet, Musk responded to the news by tweeting "GAO" with a flexing bicep emoji.
Fresh from his trip to the edge of space, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos earlier this week even offered NASA a discount of up to $2 billion to give his space company Blue Origin the human lunar landing system (HLS) contract.
Escalating his space war with Musk, Bezos in an open letter to the NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that his company would close US space agency's near-term budgetary shortfall and producing a safe and sustainable lander that will return Americans to the surface of the Moon - this time to stay.
"We stand firm in our belief that there were fundamental issues with NASA's decision, but the GAO wasn't able to address them due to their limited jurisdiction," a Blue Origin spokesperson said in a statement.
NASA said the GAO ruling allows the agency and SpaceX to come up with a timeline for landing humans on the Moon.
The moon lander contract is part of NASA's Artemis programme, which aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 as a stepping stone to the first human mission to Mars.
Two Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officers lost their lives during rescue and relief operations in Himachal Pradesh, which is witnessing flash floods and landslides due to heavy rainfall.
The BRO lost an engineer and a project officer during relief and rescue operation in the state.
In Lahaul and Spiti Valley, the strategic Manali - Sarchu road was closed for traffic at various places due to multiple landslides. "BRO's Project Deepak located at Shimla immediately despatched its trained Engineering Task Force with personnel and equipment to undertake the rescue and road clearing operations," BRO said in a statement.
On July 29, on one such stretch near Sarchu ahead of Baralachala pass on Manali Leh road, a number of civilians, including women and children, were stranded and facing problems due to lack of oxygen in inclement high-altitude conditions.
The BRO team cleared the landslide, amid a series of other landslides, near Kenlung Sarai located at an altitude of 14,480 ft and rescued the people.
However, Naik Reetesh Kumar Pal of Project Deepak, who was part of the rescue efforts, lost his life. The road was, later, opened for traffic.
In another incident on July 27, 2021, a separate Engineer Task Force of BRO was deployed for clearance of Kiler-Tandi road which was blocked due to heavy landslides. Two passenger vehicles were stranded in the area.
The team, which had already cleared two landslides enroute, carried out a late night clearance operation to save lives of civilians stranded in the slide zone.
During the operation, some members of the team, six civilians and a vehicle were washed away by a sudden flash flood. Junior Engineer Rahul Kumar lost his life in the incident, while others were rescued by the BRO personnel.
The BRO personnel, later, cleared the landslide, rescued the stranded passengers and moved them to safer locations.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will announce results for class 12 on Friday, according to officials.
"The result will be announced at 2 PM today," a senior board official said.
The board exams were cancelled this year in view of the aggressive second wave of COVID-19, and the result will be announced on basis of an alternate assessment policy by the board.
Mumbai, July 28 (IANS) In a huge setback, a Mumbai court on Wednesday refused to grant bail to businessman Raj Kundra and his associate Ryan Thorpe in a case pertaining to the alleged production and distribution of porn films.
Accordingly, Kundra -- who was arrested on July 19 by the Mumbai Police -- will remain in judicial custody till August 10, as granted by the court on Tuesday.
Kundra, through Senior Advocate Abad Ponda, has filed a separate petition in the Bombay High Court challenging his arrest, which he contended was "illegal", and pressed for quashing all orders of the Metropolitan Magistrate Court remanding him to police and then judicial custody.
However, on Tuesday, Justice A.S. Gadkari refused to grant any interim relief before hearing the police version in the matter and the next hearing has been scheduled for Thursday (July 29).
Kundra is the husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and last week the police raided their Juhu home and also recorded her statement, even as the case sent shockwaves through Bollywood.
New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The Centre on Tuesday appointed former Special Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Rakesh Asthana, as the new Commissioner of Delhi Police.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said in an order, "Consequent upon the appointment of Rakesh Adthana, IPS, (GJ:84) Director General, BSF, as Commissioner of Police, Delhi, the competent authority has approved that S.S. Deswal, IPS (Hy:84), Director General of ITBP, shall hold the additional charge of the post of DF, BSF, vice Asthana, till the appointment and joining of the regular incumbent or until further orders, whichever is earlier."
The order further stated that accordingly, it is requested to relieve Asthana immediately to enable him to join as Commissioner of Police, Delhi.
Asthana will be in charge of Delhi Police for a period of one year, till July 31, 2022. His date of retirement was July 31, which has been extended by one year "as a special case in the public interest".
The government had given additional charge of Delhi Police to Balaji Srivastava after the retirement of S.N. Shrivastava on June 30.
Asthana, a 1984 batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, was holding the posts of Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) and chief of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
In October 2018, the battle between then CBI Director Alok Verma and Special Director Asthana became public, forcing the government to intervene in the matter and transfer both the officers from the agency.
Asthana as the Director-General of NCB has been at the forefront of drug seizures and has directed an investigation into the influx of cocaine and synthetic drugs in the Mumbai film industry.
He also led the NCB in its probe into the drugs angle in Bollywood that emerged following the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput last year.
As the Director-General of BSF, Asthana has pushed the force to make the borders more secure by unraveling tunnels used by Pakistan-based terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab.
Bengaluru, July 27 (IANS) The BJP, facing daunting task of finding a suitable replacement for the four-and-a-half decade unquestionable leadership of Yediyurappa in Karnataka, is mulling various options, according to party insiders. The options include establishing a leadership to consolidate Scheduled Caste, other backward communities and Vokkaliga votes for the party along with keeping the Lingayat vote bank intact.
At the legislature party meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening, the party is said to be keen on these factors, before finalizing a candidate for the CM post.
Sources explain, if a Lingayat candidate is chosen for the top post, there will be three or more than three deputy chief ministers to give representation to SC, OBC and Vokkaliga communities. If a candidate, other than Lingayat, is given a chance, Yediyurappa's son B.Y. Vijayendra may be considered for the post of deputy chief minister, they added.
In this case, the party will keep one deputy chief minister post only to assuage Lingayat vote bank. In case, the party opts for a candidate other than Lingayat, three or more deputy chief minister posts will be created to accommodate other community leaders.
Former minister for Tourism C.P. Yogeshwar, former minister for family welfare B. Sriramulu, senior BJP leader V. Sunilkumar's names are said to be in the race of deputy chief ministers, sources said.
The party is also contemplating installing senior leader Aravind Limbavali as the party president. Limbavali, a Dalit leader from north Karnataka has managed to win elections in Bengaluru. The party is thinking that, if a Dalit is being made the party chief and other communities are represented in chief minister and deputy chief minister posts, it could deliver a solid punch to the vote bank of main the opposition party, Congress in the state.
The party is considering Murugesh Nirani, Aravind Bellad, Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal, Basavaraj Bommai under Lingayat quota. Vishveshara Hegde Kageri, Union minister Pralhad Joshi, B.L. Santhosh and C.T. Ravi are also considered for the top post.
Aravind Bellad is a second generation leader in the state BJP. His father Chandrakanth Bellad also served in the party and retired without getting any post. His contributions to the party are well remembered.
Aravind Bellad, a foreign-educated, soft-spoken leader from the strong Panchamasali sub-sect of the Lingayat community has emerged as a main contender for the CM post. He had visited New Delhi several times.
Murugesh Nirani, an industrialist and Panchamasali leader, had taken up trips to Mumbai, Ahmedabad and New Delhi, also being considered for the CM's post. Though facing legal battles, he is said to be having good connections with Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Basavanagouda Patil Yatnal, a firebrand leader from the state had left the party once but rejoined later. He was union minister in the cabinet of Late PM Atal Bhari Vajapayee. He is the one who raised corruption charges against Yediyurappa and his son Vjayendra. He also led a movement for reservation for Panchamasali sub-sect and questioned Yediyurappa's commitment in this regard. It is said that all this is being done as per instruction of top leaders from New Delhi.
Basavaraj Bommai, a senior and mature leader managed good relations with Yediyurappa and rivals as well. He joined BJP from Janata Parivar in 2008, though being a blue-eyed boy of Yediyurappa, his ability to defend the party is appreciated by all.
Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, one of the most senior leaders, is known as a soft-spoken, efficient and honest leader. As an education minister, his work has been widely appreciated and he manages to have a good rapport with juniors as well as senior leaders. Though, being a staunch Hindutva proponent, the party is thinking about whether he will be able to win elections for the party.
Pralhad Joshi, the Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mining, though maintains that he is not interested in state politics, is seen as an efficient leader who could fill in the vacuum created by Yediyurappa.
B.L. Santhosh's name has also cropped up for the top post in Karnataka. Starting as RSS leader, he went on to become National Organising Secretary. He is said to be the man behind the action against Yediyurappa. It remains to be seen if he could be the man behind the making of a new CM or he could himself be the man for the post.
C.T. Ravi, presently, National General Secretary is a second generation leader who came to the forefront with Dattamala Abhiyan in Karnataka. A staunch follower of the party's ideology, he was snubbed by Yediyurappa but is in the good books of Santhosh.
With so many contenders and permutations at play, the central observers will have a tough challenge at hand at Tuesday's legislature party meeting in Bengaluru.
A UK court on Monday declared fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, the chairman of now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, as "bankrupt".
The UK court order comes as a massive boost for the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) to initiate freezing of assets owned by Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines, both in India and abroad, to repay its debt.
Mallya is wanted in India for Rs 9,000 crore loan defraud.
"As at 15.42 (UK time), I adjudicate Dr Mallya bankrupt," Chief Insolvencies and Companies Court Judge Michael Briggs said during a virtual hearing of the Chancery Division of the London High Court.
The consortium of banks led by SBI had argued for the bankruptcy order to be granted in their favour.
The Indian banks were represented by the law firm TLT LLP and barrister Marcia Shekerdemian.
Mallya is currently out on bail in the UK while a "confidential" legal matter, believed to be related to an asylum application, is being resolved in connection with the unrelated extradition proceedings.