first_imgAhoy there all seafarers!The shores of Lough Swilly is set to come alive with sails at SeaFest 2011 from 1-3 July, celebrating the region’s unique coastal environment.The weekend begins on Friday 1 July with the launch of MalinWaters, a new cross-border marine tourism initiative for the zone between the north of Ireland and western Scotland. It’s followed on the Saturday with a parade of sails and action in the Saldanha Cup, a traditional cruiser-racer sailing regatta that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the sinking of the frigate HMS Saldanha, with a course that takes on the wreck site of the ship near Ballymastocker Strand.Among the myriad family events taking place on shore, SeaFest will also feature an abundance of Donegal’s local food culture, such as fresh seafood from local waters, plus lamb, beef and pork from the county’s field, prepared by talented chefs from the region.For more details visit seafestloughswilly.com.Ends LOUGH SWILLY SET TO COME ALIVE WITH SEAFEST 2011 was last modified: May 26th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Lough Swillyseafestlast_img read more


first_imgUPDATED: A young boy is being treated at Letterkenny General Hospital following this afternoon’s incident close to the Aura Leisure Centre.The boy was injured when he was struck by a car as he crossed the road.It is understood the boy has suffered at least one fracture. Gardai are investigating the incident.  EMERGENCY SERVICES AT SCENE OF SERIOUS ACCIDENT was last modified: February 2nd, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:accidentauraGardaletterkennylast_img read more

Five keys for the Raiders against winless Bengals

first_imgOAKLAND — Jon Gruden knows something you don’t know.The Raiders could lose to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at the Coliseum. Yes, the 0-9 Bengals, front-runners for the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2020, pose a threat.Gruden is at his dismissive best if it’s suggested that an opponent with the 26th-ranked offense, 32nd-ranked defense and the second-worst negative point differential in the NFL is anything less than a … Click here if you’re unable to view the photo gallery on your mobile device.last_img

Yet Another Revolution in Human Evolution

first_imgby Dr Jerry BergmanAn artist’s rendering of Graecopithecus freybergi. (Velizar Simeonovsky)The CBC News headline “7.2-million-year-old pre-human fossils challenge evolutionary theory” [1] tells it all. Another headline at The Telegraph was more confident, exclaiming that “the history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa” as previously thought. [2] The source of these and many other reports was an article published in PLoS One that was far more modest than the frequent headlines that were very confident of the conclusions. [3]Yes, another challenge to human evolution! [4] This one would be, indeed, a major challenge—if true. In short, it would scream a revolution in paleontology, namely that “Researchers believe split between chimps and humans occurred in eastern Europe, not Africa” as widely accepted for decades by scientists. The conclusion is based on only two fossil fragments, a single skull fragment jawbone named Graecopithecus freybergi found in Greece and now stored in a German museum, and an upper premolar stored in a fossil collection in Bulgaria. It seems like the Piltdown fiasco all over again! The evolutionists have concluded their ages to be roughly 7.2 million years, and belong to a pre-human.The researcher’s conclusions were based mostly on their analysis of the teeth roots that were preserved in G. freybergi. The authors explain that the “great apes typically have two or three separate and diverging roots, the roots of Graecopithecus converge and are partially fused — a feature that is characteristic of modern humans, early humans and even several pre-humans, including Ardipithecus and Australopithecus.” [5]It seems like the Piltdown fiasco all over againThe researchers used computer tomography to examine the jaw’s teeth root’s interior, which they claim were in pristine condition, a fact that argues for a much younger age. Not unexpectedly, skepticism of the conclusions soon surfaced for good reasons. A main problem is ape-human divergence is widely believed to have occurred in Africa, not Europe. To explain the results, some experts even argue that G. freybergi separately co-evolved along with human evolution in Africa, a view called ‘convergent evolution’ (see Darwin Flubber in the Darwin Dictionary).A Few Problems with the RevolutionThe jawbone was discovered in 1944 by German troops in Athens during World War II. It is speculated that this provides evidence that apes and humans diverged fully 200,000 years earlier than the current theory, which postulates that the split occurred between five and seven million years ago.Other problems include Graecopithecus’ great age, very poor condition, and the fact that no limb bones were found. Thus, it cannot be determined if it was bipedal. Nor is there much evidence that the fossils found all belonged to the same person, or even the same tribe. To help answer these questions, excavation of the site has not yet occurred because the site’s land owner has since then built a swimming pool on the location where the fossil was found.In the end no doubt this find will be superseded by another and we may be back to Africa, or even Asia, as the birthplace of humans.[1] http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/7-2-million-year-old-pre-human-1.4124407[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/22/europe-birthplace-mankind-not-africa-scientists-find/[3] Jochen Fuss, Jochen, Nikolai Spassov, David R. Begun, and Madelaine Bohme. 2017. Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe. PLoS ONE 12(5): e0177127. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177127. May 22.[4] See http://crev.info/2017/05/human-evolution-textbook-rewritten/ for yet another example.[5] Ref 3.(Visited 600 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa’s brand reputation growing

first_imgSouth Africa’s brand reputation is improving slowly but steadily.(Image: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Iggy Sathekge  Brand SA director: stakeholder management +27 11 483 0122 RELATED ARTICLES • Driving a new vision for Africa• Building a thriving African brand • Supporting SA’s sports stars • SA is Africa’s top nation brand • MTN: Africa’s most valuable brandSource: Southafrica.infoSouth Africa moved up one spot to 36th out of 50 countries measured in the latest release of the prestigious Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brand Index, confirming the steady improvement in the country’s brand reputation.The index is based on an annual online survey conducted among respondents from 20 “panel” countries in which the 50 competing nations are ranked along six dimensions: tourism, culture, people, exports, governance, and investment/immigration.  This information is presented in the form of a hexagon.South Africa was one of six countries surveyed in the Africa/Middle East region. The others were Egypt; Iran; Nigeria; Saudi Arabia; and the United Arab Emirates.‘Sign of sustainability’“A nation’s overall reputation rank tends to be stable over time,” Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola commented. “Thus, the last four nation brand index studies – with 200 measurements each – only produced two year-on-year changes greater than five.”Both these changes, Matola noted, were the result of “defining moments” for the countries concerned: Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president in US history moved the country up six positions in 2009, while post-revolution volatility brought Egypt down six positions in 2011.“Moving up gradually in the rankings is a sign of sustainability, and to do this while the world is in turmoil is a positive sign,” Matola said.Shift towards emerging powersThere was also a subtle shift in this year’s index which boded well for the future, Matola added: a generational analysis showed traditional leaders and Western powers faring worse among the younger generation than their peers.There was a corresponding shift in favourability towards the new emerging powers among the younger generation of survey respondents – representing future tourists, investors and consumers.South Africa, too, showed a marginally higher positivity among the younger generation. Simon Anholt, the man behind the nation brand index, said that this “can only be good news for South Africa, suggesting that it now has somewhat more in common with the ‘rising stars’ of the developing world than with the fading heroes of the post-industrial economies.”Matola also noted that while South Africa did not progress beyond the quarterfinals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, its reputation for sporting excellence had helped lift its culture ranking to 16th position.Focusing on SA’s key differentiatorsWhile expressing satisfaction with South Africa’s ranking, Matola pointed out that different branding indices tended to come to different conclusions. What mattered most for a nation brand was its “key differentiators”.For Brand South Africa, this meant continuing to focus on positioning the country more as a business destination and an attractive emerging market on the African continent.In this regard, productivity played a vital role, Matola said, as it was a core factor in driving economic growth.Thus, while the Anholt index showed a drop of two places in South Africa’s governance ranking, due to of a perceived “cooling” towards this aspect among South Africans themselves, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, also published this week, showed South Africa holding steady at fifth place out of 53 countries.“The lesson is that nation brand building takes time, and holding steady or possibly gradually edging upwards in an index is the sustainable way forward,” Matola said.Fieldwork for the 2011 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brand Index was conducted in July.last_img read more

Flipboard, Now Rocking with Rolling Stone Magazine

first_imgaudrey watters 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… One of our favorite iPad apps here at ReadWriteWeb just got a little more awesome today, as Flipboard now includes a special version of Rolling Stone. You can add the music magazine to list of other publications, blogs, photos and feeds you can view via the Flipboard app.A confession: I am a long-time Rolling Stone subscriber. A long time. It’s the one magazine I still receive in the mail. Go ahead and judge me. It’s okay. I read it for the articles. Or something.No, I read it for the photos. I read it for the gossip. I read it for the reviews. I read it for the experience of paging through a magazine (which, for those of you who haven’t picked up a copy in a while, is now smaller and glossier). And, no doubt, I read it because I snagged one of those insanely cheap “5 year renewal” sorts of deals. Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#New Media#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting As it stands, some of my favorite features of the magazine are missing: the page at the back with the charts, the collection of snapshots from various parties. And with all the praises heaped upon the iPad and Flipboard reading experiences, it’s hard not to look at the pages recreated here and miss the striking photography that accompanies the print version of the magazine. I’ll probably re-subscribe – don’t worry Rolling Stone. Just stick Johnny Depp’s face on one of your little subscription renewal postcards. That gets me every time.Hey, I’m a fan. So I’m pleased to see Rolling Stone on Flipboard. If nothing else, its inclusion in the iPad app will give a better reading experience for the magazine’s breaking news and interviews, particularly since the print version won’t show up for weeks.last_img read more

Sustaining Momentum for “Cash for Caulkers”

first_imgBack in October, a government report called Recovery Through Retrofit highlighted the benefits and barriers to making weatherization a more robust component of the energy efficiency industry.By mid-November, the White House was developing a stimulus plan, now known as Cash for Caulkers, that would, as GBA noted in an earlier post, help demystify weatherization for homeowners, help contractors market a new set of government incentives to weatherize, and create a rush to retrofit that, if things go as hoped, would replicate the enthusiasm that greeted the Cash for Clunkers program for used cars.The Cash for Caulkers concept got another boost this week when President Obama, during address at the Brookings Institution, talked further about creating incentives – mainly through a stimulus-funded rebate program – for homeowners to retrofit their way to greater energy efficiency.Balancing the practical and visionaryUnderpinning this and all other stimulus plans, of course, is the ongoing, increasingly pressing need to create long-term jobs and boost the economy. Stimulus programs so far have been working moderately well, although some, notably the expansion of the Weatherization Assistance Program, have rolled out more slowly than expected. And even though it’s not certain Cash for Caulkers would be greeted as enthusiastically by consumers as Cash for Clunkers, the White House and many Democrats in Congress are looking for a program that embraces their economic and ecological goals but also produces results relatively quickly.It’s a tall order. As noted in a story by the Associated Press, a White House-led jobs forum on December 3 – which included more than 120 labor, industry, and local officials – featured remarks by Obama in which he acknowledged the “tension” between projects that can put people to work quickly, which tend to require upkeep and repair work, and the more “visionary” projects that require planning and time to implement but don’t produce jobs as fast.Support for Cash for Caulkers concepts nonetheless appears to be gaining steam outside Washington, at least in some sectors. Bloomberg News posted a story on Wednesday noting that a Cash for Caulkers program likely would increase sales of Dow Chemical’s foam insulation, sealants, tapes, and adhesives, and would likewise boost sales at home-improvement retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, told Bloomberg he proposed $20 billion in energy efficiency rebates over two years in an October 29 memo to Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. The rebates would put 600,000 to 850,000 Americans to work retrofitting 5 million homes and saving $3.3 billion in energy costs, Welch said.Political caulkingBeyond putting together a workable and swiftly acting program, though, the White House and Congress have some political maneuvering to do to get a law passed. During a bipartisan meeting on Wednesday to discuss job-creation proposals, Obama and Congressional Republican leaders disagreed openly about the administration’s desire to spend more money for stimulus programs designed to reduce unemployment. And in an op-ed piece published in the Washington Post, the House Republican Leader, John Boehner, who attended the meeting on Wednesday, said the White House plans amounted to a “job-killing agenda” – a phrase used frequently by Republicans on the Hill.But the current administration long ago became accustomed – though not indifferent – to starkly adversarial politics in Congress, and the White House message on a prospective Cash for Caulkers program remained intact.“I’ve called on Congress to provide temporary incentives for consumers to buy the materials needed to retrofit their homes for greater energy efficiency,” the President said in remarks after the meeting. “This program will spur hiring and spending, promote energy conservation, and help Americans put more money in their pockets by saving on their energy bills. I’ve also proposed that we extend proven initiatives that promote energy efficiency and clean energy jobs.”Democrats, meanwhile, appear likely to tack a $70 billion jobs bill onto the defense appropriations bill moving through the House of Representatives, the Post noted in another piece posted on Friday. Specifics about the package, however, were not yet available.last_img read more

POLICE LOG for October 3 Incident At Dog Park Texting Leads To

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — Here are highlights from the Wilmington Police Log for Wednesday, October 3, 2018:Equipment was reported stolen from Koch Membrane on Main Street. (1:09pm)Police received report of a male and female fighting in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts on Ballardvale Street. Male got into his vehicle and left, but then returned. Police advised both of their 209A rights. Both claimed there was no issue. (2:23pm)A caller reported her dog was in an altercation at the Town Dog Park. Dog had small puncture wound. Caller obtained license plate number of dog’s owner, who refused to give any information. Caller requested a follow-up from the Animal Control Officer. (4:23pm)A 2-vehicle crash took place on Lowell Street. Both drivers refused medical attention. One vehicle towed. One driver was cited for texting, following too closely, and speeding. (6:41pm)Police called to Yentile Farm after dog was seen on soccer field. Dog’s owner was advised of park rules. (7:48pm)3 motorcycles were involved in a crash on Chestnut Street. No injuries noted. 2 motorcycles towed. (10:42pm)(DISCLAIMER: This information is public information.  An arrest does not constitute a conviction.  Any arrested person is innocent until proven guilty.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email [email protected] this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedPOLICE LOG for August 18: 2 Vehicles With Same License Plate; Statue Missing From Wildwood CemeteryIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for August 19: Fist Fight At Planet Fitness; Hawk Stuck Inside Building; Gas Line StruckIn “Police Log”POLICE LOG for July 18: Cat Gets Stuck In Wall After Plastering Project; Baby Raccoons Get Stuck In ChimneyIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Union Budget 201213 Summary

first_imgThe Union Budget 2012-13 identifies five objectives to be addressed effectively in the ensuing fiscal year.- Budget identifies five objectives relating to growth, investment, supply bottlenecks, governance, and removing malnutrition- Amendment to FRBM Act introduced as part of Finance Bill- Central subsidies to be kept under 2 per cent of GDP; to be further brought down to 1.75 per         cent of GDP over the next 3 years- Rs 30,000 crore to be raised through disinvestment- Efforts to reach broad-based consensus on FDI in multi-brand retail- Investment in 12th plan in infrastructure to go upto Rs 50,00,000 crore; half of this is expected from private sector- Target for agricultural credit raised to Rs 5,75,000 crore- National Urban Health Mission is being launched- UID-Aadhar to get adequate funds for enrolment of Rs 40 crore persons- A number of measures proposed to deter generation and use of unaccounted money- White paper on black money to be laid in current session of Parliament- Tax proposals mark progress in the direction of movement towards DTC and GST- Income tax exemption limit raised from Rs 1,80,000 to Rs 2,00,000; upper limit of 20 per cent tax slab raised from Rs 8 lakh TO Rs 10 lakh- General Anti Avoidance Rule being introduced to counter aggressive tax avoidance- Standard rate of excise duty raised from 10 per cent to 12 per cent; service tax rates raised from 10 per cent to 12 per cent; no change in peak customs duty of 10 per cent on non-agricultural goods- Fiscal deficit targeted at 5.1 per cent of GDP, as against 5.9 per cent in revised estimates for 2011-12- Central Government debt at 45.5 per cent of GDP as compared to Thirteenth Finance Commission target of 50.5 per centThe Union Budget 2012-13 presented by the Finance Minister ShriPranab Mukherjee in Lok Sabha today identifies five objectives to be addressed effectively in the ensuing fiscal year.   They include focus on domestic demand driven growth recovery; create conditions for  rapid revival of high growth in private investment;  address  supply bottlenecks  in agriculture, energy and transport sectors  particularly in coal, power, national highways , railways and civil aviation; intervene decisively  to address the problem of malnutrition  especially in the 200 high-burden districts and  expedite coordinated implementation of decisions being taken to improve delivery systems , governance, and transparency;  and address the problem of black money and corruption in public life.ShriPranab Mukherjee said that India’s GDP growth in 2012-13 is expected to be 7.6 per cent +/-0.25 per cent.  He said that in 2011-12, India’s GDP is estimated to grow at 6.9 per cent after having grown at the rate of 8.4 per cent in each of the two preceding years. He said though the global crisis had affected India, it still remains among the front runners in economic growth.  Shri Mukherjee said the slowdown is primarily due to deceleration in industrial growth.  Stating that the headline inflation remained high for most part of the year, the Finance Minister expressed hope that it will moderate further in the next few months and remain stable thereafter.Mukherjee laid emphasis on striking a balance between fiscal consolidations and strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals.  He announced introduction of amendments to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 (FRBM Act) as part of the Finance Bill 2012.  He said that concept of “Effective Revenue Deficit” and “Medium Term Expenditure Framework” statements are two important features of Amendment to FRBM Act in the direction of expenditure reforms. This statement shall set forth a three year rolling targets for expenditure indicators.The Finance Minister called for a need to have a close look at the growth of revenue expenditure, particularly, on subsidies.  He announced that from 2012-13 while subsidies related to food and for administering the Food Security Act will be fully provided for,  all other subsidies would be funded to the extent that they can be borne by the economy without any adverse implications.  He said that the Government will endeavor to restrict the expenditure on central subsidies under 2 per cent of GDP in 2012-13and over the next three years, it would be further brought down to 1.75 per cent of GDP.Shri Mukherjee said that based on recommendations of the Task Force headed by Shri Nandan Nilekani, a mobile-based Fertilizer Management System has been designed to provide end-to-end information on movement of fertilizers and subsidies which will be rolled out nation-wide during 2012.  He said that transfer of subsidy to the retailer and eventually to the farmers will be implemented in subsequent phases which will benefit 12 crore farmer families.On the tax reforms, the Finance Minister said that the Direct Taxes Code (DTC) Bill will be enacted at the earliest after expeditious examination of the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.  He said drafting of model legislation for Centre and State Goods and Services Tax (GST) in concert with States is under progress.  He added that the GST network will be set up as a National Information Utility and will become operational by August 2012.On the disinvestment policy, Mukherjee said that the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) are being given a level playing field vis-à-vis private sector with regard to practices like buy-backs and listing at stock exchange. Stating that while in 2011-12, the Government will raise about Rs.14,000crore  from disinvestment as against a target of  Rs.40,000 crore,  the Finance Minister proposed to raise  Rs.30,000 crore through disinvestment in  2012-13.  He said at least 51 per cent ownership and management of CPSEs will remain with the Government.Calling for strengthening investment environment, Mukherjee said that efforts are on to arrive at a broad-based consensus in respect of decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail up to 51 per cent.  He proposed to introduce a new scheme called Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme to allow for income tax deduction of 50 per cent to new retail investors who invest up to Rs.50,000 directly in equities and whose annual income is below Rs.10 lakh.  The scheme will have a lock-in period of 3 years.  Regarding capital markets, the Finance Minister proposed to allow Qualified Foreign Investors (QFIs) to access Indian Corporate Bond market.  He also proposed simplifying the process of Initial Public Offer (IPO).Pranab Mukherjee said that the Government is committed to protect the financial health of Public Sector Banks and Financial Institutions.    He proposed to provide Rs. 15,888 crore for capitalization of Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks and other financial institutions including NABARD.  He added that a Central Know Your Customer (KYC) depositary will be developed in 2012-13 to avoid multiplicity of registration and data upkeep.The Finance Minister informed that out of 73,000 identified habitations that were to be covered under “Swabhimaan” campaign for providing banking facilities by March 2012, about 70,000 habitations have been covered while the rest are likely to be covered by March 31, 2012.    He added that as a next step Ultra Small Branches are being set up at these habitations.  In 2012-13, Swabhimaan campaign will be extended to more habitations.Emphasizing on infrastructure and industrial development, Shri Mukherjee said that during the 12th Plan, infrastructure investment will go up to Rs.50 lakh crorewith half of this expected from private sector. Stating that in 2011-12 tax free bonds for Rs.30,000 crore were announced for financing infrastructure projects, he proposed to double it to raise Rs.60,000 crore in 2012-13.  The Minister proposed to allow External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) to part finance Rupee debt of existing power projects.The Finance Minister ShriPranab Mukherjee announced a  target of covering  8,800 km. under NHDP next year and increase in allocation of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry  by   14 per cent to Rs.25,360 crore in 2012-13.  He proposed to permit ECB for working capital requirements of the Airline Industry for a period of one year, subject to a total ceiling  of US dollar  1 billion to address the immediate financial concerns of the Civil Aviation Sector.   He added that a proposal to allow foreign airlines to participate up to 49 per cent in the equity of an air transport undertaking is under active consideration.Expressing concern over shortage in housing sector, the Finance Minister proposed various measures to address the shortage of housing for low income groups in major cities and towns including ECB for low cost housing projects and setting up of a Credit Guarantee Trust Fund.Regarding textile sector, the Finance Minister announced setting up of two more mega clusters, one to cover Prakasam and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh and other for Godda and neighboring districts in Jharkhand in addition to 4 mega handloom clusters already operationalized.  He also proposed setting up of three Weavers Service Centres, one each in Mizoram, Nagaland and Jharkhand.  The Minister proposed a Rs.500 crore pilot scheme in twelfth plan for promotion and application of Geo-textiles in the North East. A powerloom Mega Cluster will be set up in Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra.The Finance Minister proposed to set up a Rs.5000 crore India Opportunities Venture Fund with SIDBI to enhance availability of equity to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.Stating that agriculture will continue to be a priority for Government, Mukherjee proposed  an increase  by 18 per cent to Rs. 20,208 crore in the total Plan Outlay for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation in 2012-13. He said that the outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is being increased to Rs. 9217 crore in 2012-13.Underlining importance of timely access to affordable credit for farmers, the Finance Minister proposed to raise the target for  agricultural credit to Rs.5,75,000 crore, which represents an increase of Rs. 1,00,000 crore over the target for the current year. He said that a short term RRB Credit  Refinance Fund is being set up to enhance the capacity of Regional Rural Banks to disburse short term crop loans to the small and marginal farmers. He added that Kisan Credit Card Scheme will be modified to make it a smart card which can be used at ATMs.The Financed Minister said that in order to have a better out reach of the food processing sector, a new centrally sponsored scheme titled National Mission on Food Processing will be started in cooperation with the States in 2012-13.The Finance Minister proposed an increase of 18 per cent to  Rs.37,113crore for Scheduled Castes Sub Plan and  an increase of 17.6 per cent to Rs.21,710 crore for Tribal Sub Plan during 2012-13.Regarding food security, Shri Mukherjee said that National Food Security Bill 2011 is before Parliamentary Standing Committee.   He said a multi-sectoral programme to address maternal and child malnutrition in selected 200 high burdened districts is being rolled out during 2012-13.  He further said that an allocation of Rs.15,850 crore has been made for ICDS scheme which is an increase of 58% and Rs.11,937 crore for  National Programme of Mid-Day Meals in schools for the year 2012-13.  He added that an allocation of Rs.750 crore is proposed for Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls, SABLA.The allocation for rural drinking water and sanitation is proposed to be increased by over 27 per cent to Rs. 14,000 crore and for PradhanMantri Road Sadak Yojana by 20 per cent to Rs. 24,000 crore in 2012-13.  He proposed to enhance the allocation under Rural Infrastructure Development Fund to Rs. 20,000 crore with Rs.5,000 crore exclusively earmarked for .creating warehousing facilities.The Finance Minister proposed an  increase in  allocation by 21.7 per cent  for Right to Education – SarvaShikshaAbhiyan to Rs.25,555 crore and by 29 per cent  for Rashtriya MadhyamikShiksha Abhiyan to Rs. 3,124 crore,   He proposed to set up a Credit Guarantee Fund to ensure better flow of funds to students.Regarding health sector he proposed an increase in allocation for NRHM to Rs.20,822 crore in 2012-13.  He also said that National Urban Health Mission is being launched.The Finance Minister said that Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has had a positive impact.  He proposed an allocation of Rs.3915 crore for National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) which represents an increase of 34 per cent. He proposed to provide Rs.200 crore to enlarge the corpus to Rs.300 crore of the Women’s SHG’s Development Fund.  He said the fund will also support the objectives of Aajeevika i.e.  NRLM and will empower women SHGs to access bank credit. He also proposed to establish a Bharat Livelihoods Foundation of India through Aajeevika which will support and scale up civil society initiatives and interventions particularly in the tribal regions covering around 170 districts.Allocation under National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) is proposed to be raised by 37 per cent to Rs. 8447 crore.  Under the Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme and Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme for BPL beneficiaries, the monthly pension amount per person is being raised from Rs. 200 to Rs.300.The Finance Minister announced a provision of Rs.1,93,407crore for Defence Services including Rs.79,579 crore for capital expenditure.  He said the allocation is based on present needs and any further requirement would be met.Addressing Governance related issues, Mukherjee said adequate funds are proposed to be allocated to complete enrolments of another 40 crore persons under UID Mission. Outlining the steps taken by the Government to address the issue of black money, the Minister proposed to lay a White Paper on Black Money in the  current session of Parliament.In the Budget Estimates for 2012-13, the Gross Tax Receipts are estimated at Rs.10, 77,612 crore which is an increase of 15.6 per cent over the Budget Estimates and 19.5 per cent over the revised estimates for 2011-12.  After devolution to States, the net tax to the Centre in 2012-13 is estimated at Rs. 7,71,071crore. The Non Tax Revenue Receipts are estimated at Rs.1,64,614 crore and Non-debt Capital Receipts  at Rs.41,650 crore.  The total expenditure for 2012-13 is budgeted at Rs.14,90,925 crore.  Of this Rs.5,21,025 crore is the Plan Expenditure while Rs.9,69,900 crore is budgeted as Non Plan Expenditure.The tax proposals are guided by the need to move towards the Direct Tax Code (DTC) in the case of direct taxes and Goods & Services Tax (GST) in the case of indirect taxes.Individual income upto Rs.2 lakh will be free from income tax; income upto Rs.1.8 lakh was exempt in 2011-12. Income above Rs.5 lakh and upto Rs.10 lakh now carries tax at the rate of 20 per cent; the 20% tax slab was from Rs.5 lakh to Rs.8 lakh in 2011-12. A deduction of upto Rs.10,000 is now available for interest from savings bank accounts. Within the existing limit for deduction allowed for health insurance, a deduction of upto  Rs.5000 is being allowed for preventive health check-up.  Senior citizens not having income from business will now not need to pay advance tax.While no changes have been made in corporate taxes, the budget proposes a number of measures to promote investment in specific sectors.  In order to provide low cost funds to some stressed infrastructure sectors, withholding tax on interest payments on external borrowings (ECBs) is being reduced from 20 percent to 5 per cent for 3 years.  These sectors are – power, airlines, roads and bridges, ports and shipyards, affordable housing, fertilizer, and dam.Investment linked deduction of capital expenditure in some businesses is proposed to be provided at 150 per cent as against the current rate of 100 per cent.  These sectors include cold chain facility, warehouses forstoring food-grains, hospitals, fertilizers and affordable housing.   Bee keeping, container freight and warehousing for storage of sugar will now also be eligible for investment linked deduction. The budget also proposes weighted deduction for R&D expenditure, agri-extension services and expenditure on skill development in the manufacturing sector.For small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the turnover limit for compulsory tax audit of accounts as well as for presumptive taxation is proposed to be raised from Rs. 60 lakh to Rs. 1 crore. In order to augment funds for SMEs, sale of residential property will be exempt from capital gains tax, if the proceeds are used for purchase of plant and machinery, etc.A General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) is being introduced in order to counter aggressive tax avoidance. Securities transaction tax (STT) is being reduced by 20 per cent on cash delivery transactions, from 0.125% to 0.1%. Alternative Minimum Tax is proposed to be levied from all persons, other than companies, claiming profit linked deductions.The Finance Minister has proposed a series of measures to deter the generation and use of unaccounted money. In the case of assets held abroad, compulsory reporting is being introduced and assessment upto 16 years will now be allowed to be re-opened. Tax will be collected at source on trading in coal, lignite and iron ore; purchase of bullion or jewellery above Rs. 2 lakh in cash; and transfer of immovable property (other than agricultural land) above a specified threshold. Unexplained money, credits, investments, expenditures etc. will be taxed at the highest rate of 30 per cent irrespective of the slab of income.The Finance Minister has made an effort to widen the service tax base, strengthen its enforcement and bring it as close as possible to the central excise. A common simplified registration form and a common return are being introduced for central excise and service tax.All services will now attract service tax, except those in the negative list. The negative list has 17 heads and includes specified services provided by the government or local authorities, and services in the fields of education, renting of residential dwellings, entertainment and amusement, public transportation, agriculture and animal husbandry. A number of other services including health care, and services provided by charities, independent journalist, sport persons, performing artists in folk and classical arts, etc are exempt from service tax. Film industry also gets tax exemption on copyrights relating to recording of cinematographic films.Service tax rate is being increased from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, with consequential change in rates for services that have individual tax rates. The standard rate of excise duty for non-petroleum goods is also being raised from 10 per cent to 12 per cent. No change is proposed in peak rate of customs duty of 10 per cent on non-agricultural goods.The Budget offers relief to different sectors of economy, especially those under stress.  Import of equipment for fertilizer projects are being fully exempted from basic customs duty of 5 per cent for 3 years.  Basic customs duty is also being lowered for a number of equipment used in agriculture and related areas. In the realm of infrastructure, customs relief is being given to power, coal and railways sectors.  While steam coal gets full customs duty exemption for 2 years (with the concessional counter-veiling duty of 1 per cent), natural gas, LNG and certain uranium fuel get full duty exemption this year. Different levels of duty concessions are being provided to help mining, railways, roads, civil aviation, manufacturing, health and nutrition and environment. So as to help modernization of the textile industry, a number of equipment are being fully exempted from basic customs duty, and lower customs duty is being proposed for some other items used by the textile industry.Customs duty is being raised for gold bars and coins of certain categories, platinum and gold ore.  Customs duty is to be imposed on coloured gem stones.  Excise duty on certain categories of cigarettes and bidis, pan masala and chewing tobacco is being increased. Customs duty is being increased on completely built large cars/ SUVs/ MUVs of value exceeding $40,000.Silver jewellery will now be fully exempt from excise duty. Unbranded precious metal jewellery will attract excise duty on the lines of branded jewellery. Operations are being simplified and measures taken to minimize impact of this provision on small artisans and goldsmiths.While direct tax proposals in the Budget will result in a net revenue loss of Rs.4,500crore, indirect taxes will result in a net revenue gain of Rs.45,940 crore. Thus, the tax proposals will lead to a net gain of Rs.41,440crore.last_img read more

BEML optimistic about bullet train project

first_imgKolkata: State-run BEML Ltd, the leading manufacturer of Rail and Metro coaches, remains focused on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project as “some indigenisation” is expected, an official said on Friday. “Whatever I understand, a total of 240 coaches would be inducted by 2023 (for the project). Of this, some numbers would be assembled (in India). Initially, I believe it is better to absorb the technology. Some particular indigenisation will happen and that has not been decided,” said the company’s Chairman and Managing Director D.K. Hota. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Train Project, popularly referred to as Bullet Train, is an endeavour to bring economic growth and prosperity with the Indian Railways adopting the most modern technologies.”As and when the opportunity comes and particularly, when it comes to us contractually, we would invest. There are various Japanese companies which would primarily be there and we would be talking to them,” he said on the sidelines of a programme “Rail connect east, 2018”. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe programme was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in partnership with the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and Indian Railways.According to him, BEML has tied up with Japanese company Hitachi. Another public sector undertakings, BHEL Ltd, has tied up with Kawasaki.Hota said: “The government is extremely serious (on the high speed train project) and a lot of ground work has happened. Whatever part (of the project) comes out for bidding, we would bid and try to get order. “We have to be in sync with the government plans… We have the capacity to absorb the technology,” he said.The state-run company also sees opportunities in various metro projects and intends to become a turnkey player.”Some of the metro corporations are looking at totally lease base model as resources are becoming a constraint. We are also looking at options where we will not only be a rolling stock supplier but also aspiring to form consortium with construction companies to become a turnkey player. This will help metro rail corporations to do infrastructure projects much faster,” Hota said.According to him, the company manufactured 1,200-1,300 metro coaches, which is about 47 per cent of the coaches manufactured in the country.”At the moment, we are making 150 coaches for the Bengaluru Metro… We will be sending 72 metro cars to Kolkata Metro,” he said.There has been a proliferation of metros in various cities. Each metro corporation has its own standards, he said.”Attempts are now being made to standardise (different standards). There would be some meetings soon,” he added.last_img read more