zoom New Zealand’s ports of Wellington and Picton have issued damage notifications while Wellington authorities said that both the port and wharf gates will remain closed for the next seven days in the aftermath of an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.5 which struck the upper South Island of New Zealand on November 14.According to Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), no ship or cargo operations will be permitted in the mentioned areas. When certain sections are cleared by engineers selective operations may be allowed to recommence during this period.Wellington has gantry crane issues, wharf subsidence and log pile collapses. Cook Strait cargo/pax ferries are all at anchor as terminals at Wellington and Picton have substantial damage.There are reports of damage to wharves and the inter-island ferry terminal as well, while the forestry and cruise berth at Shakespeare Bay has reported damage and subsidence.Engineering assessments are currently being undertaken, ISS added.Derek Nind, Chief Executive of CentrePort, situated in Wellington, said that CentrePort “sustained damage to buildings and the port and also some liquefaction and differential settlement in places.”Following New Zealand’s biggest earthquake in 150 years, ISS said that aftershocks are continuing in the upper South Island and Wellington region, some over a magnitude of 6.A tsunami warning was withdrawn early this morning, with unusual tidal surges and currents continuing throughout the day. ISS was involved in the evacuation of a number of ships to sea overnight after a tsunami warning was issued. These vessels have now returned back into the ports.Additionally, Inchcape Shipping Services said that Lyttelton/Christchurch port reopened at 1400 today and reports no structural damage.
Tourism industry leaders and the Nova Scotia government remain confident in the province’s tourism plan. “We have developed a solid business plan and marketing strategy in consultation with the tourism industry in Nova Scotia,” Rodney MacDonald, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage said today, Aug. 4. “It is customer-focused, research-based and built to work over time.” Despite a soft start to the tourism season this year, Mr. MacDonald said the province’s tourism efforts will continue to support products that customers want and will respond to. Like many other areas of Canada, Nova Scotia is facing a number of tourism challenges this year, including poor weather, high gas prices, and the fact that many Americans are still not travelling outside of the United States. Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are both reporting soft starts to the season. For Prince Edward Island, the first six months of this year were in line with last year’s difficult season. June and early July were a bit softer for New Brunswick. Nova Scotia had a strong tourism season in 2004, but experienced a five per cent drop in visitation from January through May this year. One of the factors was the cancellation of the Scotia Prince ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine. “We had some unique circumstances in the early part of the tourism season which we have been working with our industry partners to address,” said Mr. MacDonald. “In an effort to offset some of these challenges, we are taking steps to further strengthen our positioning in the market.” The province will roll out an enhanced mid-summer marketing campaign this month in Atlantic Canada, a market which represents more than half of all visitors to Nova Scotia, and launch an expanded late-summer campaign for the northeastern United States earlier than planned. “In Nova Scotia, the ability of industry and government to work together and respond quickly to factors impacting tourism is a valuable strength for the business of tourism,” said Nicolas Carson, general manager of the Prince George Hotel and chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, the provincial voice for the tourism industry. Charles Clerk, president of the Island Beach Company and chair of the Tourism Partnership Council, the industry-government partnership that plans Nova Scotia’s tourism marketing, research and product development, agrees. “Our relationship with government enables us to identify and provide timely input in response to visitation statistics,” said Mr. Clerk. “By working together, we have been able to further strengthen our tourism marketing efforts.” In addition to enhancing marketing efforts, Mr. MacDonald and two other cabinet ministers led a business and industry delegation to Portland, Maine, last week to promote the restoration of the ferry service to Yarmouth. Mr. MacDonald and senior department officials will also meet with the new president and chief executive officer of the Halifax International Airport Authority to discuss remaining runway construction work and ensure contingency plans are in place. “We are committed to working with our partners to continue attracting more visitors to the province and make sure their experience in Nova Scotia is the best it can possibly be,” said Mr. MacDonald. Tourism is a major economic engine in Nova Scotia, worth close to $1.3 billion in annual revenues and more than 33,000 direct and indirect jobs. This year’s $7.7-million tourism marketing campaign is the most extensive developed by Nova Scotia’s tourism industry.
The Nova Scotia Nursing Strategy has been successful in improving the recruitment, retention and work life of nurses across Nova Scotia. The Nursing Strategy is working, Health Minister Chris d’Entremont said today, May 8. Since the strategy was introduced in 2001 there are more nurses working in Nova Scotia. The Nursing Strategy has focused on four key areas to support registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and students. The four areas include: support for practising nurses through orientation, continuing education and the nursing grants program; support for student nurses through co-operative education and bursaries; enhanced recruitment strategies through job fairs, relocation allowances and the nursing re-entry program; workforce development through the practice environment collaboration program, aimed at improving work life issues for nurses. These key areas have been supported by the provincial nursing network. “Especially during this week, National Nursing Week (May 8-15), we realize the valuable contribution nurses make to our health-care system,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “Through the Nursing Strategy, we have succeeded in supporting, recruiting and retaining nurses across the province.” Since the strategy’s launch: To date, the Department of Health has invested more than $60 million in the Nursing Strategy and education related activities. “We have a strategy built for nurses, by nurses and we will continue to get their input as we move forward,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “Through the Nursing Strategy, we are helping to make Nova Scotia a place where nurses want to work.” The Nursing Strategy was developed by the provincial nursing network, a group made up of nurses, educators, and representatives of regulatory bodies, and union and nursing leaders that — with the province’s nursing policy advisor — to set a direction for nursing recruitment and retention. “The nursing strategy is definitely making a difference,” said Linda Hamilton, executive director of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia. “It has provided us with a focused and concerted approach to address key practice and professional issues in nursing.” there are 254 more registered nurses working in Nova Scotia 822 more nurses are employed in permanent versus casual positions Nova Scotia is retaining more than 80 per cent of its new graduates, about 90 per cent of whom have found full-time employment more than 270 student bursaries, each valued at $4,000, have been provided to fourth year nursing graduates more than 613 co-operative education seats have been made available, 100 of which were added to focus on focus on long-term care and rural areas there are 330 more nursing seats at St. Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University and Dalhousie University, including the Yarmouth campus nursing grants have been provided for nurses to further their education about 490 relocation allowances were provided for nurses to come to Nova Scotia 242 financial awards have been provided through the nursing re-entry program to help nurses re-enter the profession a report recommending the development of the rural and remote nursing workforce has been completed. Recommendations will be dealt with this year.
NEW WORK Local Area Office: 902- 758-3009 Fax: 902- 758-1776 -30- HANTS COUNTY: Trunk 2 Trunk 2 in Shubenacadie is closed due to a culvert wash out. Traffic is detoured at Densmore Road to Route 224 to Trunk 14 and Back to Trunk 2
Nova Scotians who have substantial experience working in the alarm and security trade will now have the option to gain recognition for those skills through a certification process. The Department of Labour and Workforce Development in partnership with industry and the Canadian Security Association, introduced a new provincial certificate of qualification examination, today, June 13. Tradespeople who have 9,000 hours or 4.5 years of hands-on experience working in the trade can write the certification exam without completing a full apprenticeship program. “We are taking steps to make it easier for Nova Scotia’s tradespeople to become certified,” Mark Parent, Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. “I encourage all skilled tradespeople working in the alarm and security industry to write this exam. The more certified journeypersons we have in this province, the more apprentices we can train.” To qualify, tradespeople will have to produce references from two individuals in the trade. “The alarm and security technician exam is a critical step toward raising the standard for the installation of electronic security systems in Nova Scotia,” said Dan Small, chair of the Canadian Security Association’s government relations committee in Nova Scotia. “These highly skilled certified journeypersons will help build a skilled workforce to meet Nova Scotia’s growing security needs.” The cost associated with applying for and writing the alarm and security technician exam will be reduced for the first 18 months at a fee of $130.97. The regular fee of $654.86 will be reinstated on November 30, 2009.
Blomidon Provincial Park will be home to a younger, stronger forest after unhealthy white spruce trees are cut down to make room for more diverse and longer-living trees. Nearly five acres of dead or dying white spruce will be cut as part of an ecological restoration project that begins the end of this month. In total, there are about 32 acres potentially affected. Downing the trees is a necessary first step to restore some of the area’s natural beauty and establish a more natural mix of trees. The project will also help reduce the immediate risk of forest fires and falling limbs or trees resulting from the breakdown of older white spruce. “This project will help restore the ecological balance and ensure public safety,” said Minister of Natural Resources Carolyn Bolivar-Getson. “We may not see the benefits of this work for several years but, in the end, it will provide a more diversified, healthy forest for the camping area of the park.” The white spruce live for a short time and, as they age, are more subject to infestations by bark beetles. At Blomidon, the white spruce developed on abandoned pasture land and did not develop into a natural forest. Not all of the trees will be removed from the site. Where possible, felled white spruce trees will be left on the forest floor where they will decompose, providing nutrients to the soil and habitat for wildlife. To help ensure the new forest is more diverse, and better represents the naturally occurring vegetation, the Department of Natural Resources will help natural regeneration by planting trees and shrubs. Much of the restoration work is expected to take place before the provincial park opens for the season on May 15, and will be completed after the park closes in the fall.
Film Nova Scotia is proud to support local filmmaker Noah Pink and cinematographer Christopher Porter in their upcoming debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Pink’s 44-minute film ZedCrew has been selected to screen in the 42nd Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, a launching pad for many high profile directors. The Cannes International Film Festival, now in its 63rd year, is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Since its inception, the Directors’ Fortnight has screened the first films of several high-profile directors, including Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Frances Ford Coppola. Mr. Pink is the only Nova Scotian director to screen at the event in many years. “We are thrilled with the success ZedCrew is achieving,” said Ann MacKenzie, president and CEO of Film Nova Scotia. “We strive to raise the awareness of our local talent on the international stage, and we couldn’t be more proud of the profile Noah will receive at the Cannes Film Festival.” Mr. Pink accessed Film Nova Scotia funding to help cover the costs associated with getting the film ready for the festival. Originally shot on digital camera, the film had to be transferred to a 35 mm format and have French subtitles added. He will be attending the festival with Mr. Porter, who worked with him throughout the film’s production. “I am extremely grateful for the support and funding that Film Nova Scotia provided,” said Mr. Pink. “Every filmmaker dreams of the opportunity to screen at a high-profile event like Cannes, and I look forward to the festival and future opportunities it will provide.” Another Nova Scotian will also be participating at the festival. Emerging filmmaker Daniel Boos won the 2010 Cannes Film Festival Youth Competition, earning an all-inclusive stay within the professional cinema milieu during the festival. Mr. Boos won the competition after impressing the jury members from the Consulate General of France in the Atlantic Provinces, the Atlantic Film Festival and the Alliance Francaise of Halifax with a demo reel of his work. He is an alumnus of the Film Nova Scotia-supported Centre for Art Tapes Scholarship Program, where he produced the short film So far Apart, which was a highlight on his demo reel. Film Nova Scotia is a provincial Crown agency reporting to the minister of Economic and Rural Development. The corporation provides a wide range of programs and services to build the capacity and competitiveness of the province’s film, television and new media industry. The industry is the fourth largest in Canada, it employs 3,000 people and regularly exceeds $100 million in economic activity annually.
Nova Scotians are getting better value for their tax dollars as the province improves the quality of how it procures fleet and transportation, information technology devices and office supplies. An ongoing review of spending and purchases across government departments, Nova Scotia school boards and the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation identified potential savings of up to $11 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year. “Nova Scotians expect government to make smart, efficient purchases, to save money where possible, while improving the quality of goods and services for Nova Scotia families,” said Deputy Premier Frank Corbett. “A better and improved procurement process will support Nova Scotia’s business community and encourage sustainable economic development.” The province has identified savings in how it buys vehicles, heavy equipment, parts, bulk fuel, office supplies and information technology. Requests for proposals will be issued this month in the following business areas, which will bring significant savings: printers office supplies laptops and desktops IT contingent labour heavy and light duty vehicles heavy equipment parts bulk fuel a new fleet-card management tool will be used to record accurate spending and create fuel and maintenance discounts “We are excited to be working with the province to create savings and efficiencies for our purchases, which will have a lasting impact on our operations,” says Ambrose White, superintendent for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. “The savings we experience through this process will go directly toward students and programs, and help to improve the quality of goods and services we deliver.” These savings are being identified through the Strategic Procurement Project, which should bring more savings across government and the public sector when complete in February 2013.The province spends about $1 billion annually on goods and services. Regional models will become part of procurement to ensure all companies across Nova Scotia can compete for government business. This project is the latest of a number of strategies by government to live within its means. Others include ending excessive end-of-year spending, holding the line on overall spending, reducing debt-servicing costs, shared services and implementing the change and innovation fund. For more information about these business areas and to see the request for proposals, visit http://business.novascotia.ca/en/home/default.aspx or www.gov.ns.ca/tenders/home.aspx.
Legislative changes introduced today, April 10, will increase employer involvement in apprenticeship, and make it easier for apprentices to complete their training and get jobs in Nova Scotia. Amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act and the Community Colleges Act will lay the groundwork to establish an industry-led apprenticeship agency, make it easier for apprentices to have out-of-province experience recognized, and ensure apprentices are getting the training they need. “We need to change the way the apprenticeship system works in Nova Scotia if we want our businesses and apprentices to succeed,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. “These changes will help us to build on our partnerships with industry, employers, apprentices and trainers so our trades can continue to grow and our workforce can take full advantage of opportunities.” Amendments to the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act allow the new agency to be created. It will be led by industry and employers, and will work to improve employer involvement and expand opportunities for apprentices. “This is a great day for the industry and apprentices,” said Heather Cruickshanks co-owner, L.E. Cruickshanks Sheet Metal Ltd. in Halifax, and a member of the industry implementation team. “These changes will allow for better communication between industry, apprentices and training providers. “The system worked for some and not for others, so we simply gave it a tune-up. This is a win-win situation. Industry will have input on the training and delivery, and the apprentices will get the training they require for employment.” Apprentices who live in Nova Scotia but need to work in other provinces to gain practical experience in their trade will now be able to keep their apprenticeship registration in Nova Scotia. This change will make it easier for apprentices to have their out-of-province training recognized and help apprentices complete their apprenticeship without interruption. “I think the changes will make it easier for apprentices,” said Devon Connors, a fourth-year apprentice. “With industry involved, the training, testing and what industry really needs us to know, will line up and we will learn what we need for our trade.” Changes will also allow the province to issue cease and desist orders when someone is working without a certificate to practice in compulsory trades. Changes to the Community Colleges Act will encourage more industry influence in trades training and ensure pre-apprentices get the skills and training they need. These changes are the result of a series of consultations over the last few years with apprentices, employers, industry members and trainers to identify ways to improve Nova Scotia’s apprenticeship system. Recommendations include developing a new agency to give industry a greater voice in apprenticeship, with more authority, leadership and decision-making power. Recent changes to modernize apprenticeship also include more flexibility and authority for industry to set trade-specific ratios, harmonizing apprenticeship programming and standards across the Atlantic provinces, and a $2.6-million investment to expand apprenticeship training and program development.
Government is supporting three sustainable transportation projects in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Kings South MLA Keith Irving, on behalf of Energy Minister Michel Samson, announced support at an event today, Sept. 21 at Eaves Hollow Trail Head in Kentville. Greater promotion of Kentville’s existing active sustainable transportation, a new T-trail in Windsor and design of a new ring trail are all funded through the province’s sustainable transportation grant program, Connect2. “Projects like these promote active living and help make our communities more vibrant and more livable,” said Mr. Irving. “All three of these important projects are community driven by dedicated staff and volunteers, and government is pleased to come to the table as a partner.” Government is providing $20,000 to the Town of Kentville to promote existing active transportation resources in the town and encourage use of the local rails-to-trails system. The project includes signage at trail heads and greenspaces, as well as directional signs on the main roads. “Kentville is home to many great walking and cycling trails that take you from one end of town to the other, and many points in between,” said Kentville Mayor Dave Corkum. “Ensuring people know where our recreation facilities are, and how to easily move between them, allows us to make the most of our resources and promote them to residents and visitors alike.” Mr. Irving also announced a $24,000 grant to the Town of Windsor to begin the first phase of the Tregothic Rail Trail Connection, a new T-shaped trail that connects communities with schools, recreation facilities, the local hospital and more. “This trail project will serve people of all ages in our Town and provides connectivity to schools, playgrounds and communities, all within safe walking distance,” said Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley. “Government’s support for such healthy and vibrant endeavours is very much appreciated.” Government is also providing a $10,000 grant to the town of Berwick for the design of a new trail that circles the town. The trail will connect people to the fitness and sport complex, the community health centre, school, and many other points. “The Town of Berwick and surrounding areas have several recreation trails, but few with destinations,” said Mayor Don Clarke. “Designing and building this ring trail will connect people to important places within our community – and to one another.” Connect2, launched in May, aims to create and promote active transportation options for trips of two kilometres or less between community hubs in rural and urban parts of the province. More projects will be announced in the coming weeks, and all will be completed by March 10, 2016. For more information, visit novascotia.ca/sustainabletransportation/ .
For more information or to complete the survey visit www.novascotia.ca/cannabis. Copies of the survey will also be available at Access Nova Scotia Centres starting Oct. 12. They can be mailed in or dropped off at those locations once they have been completed. Cannabis will be legal in Canada by July 2018 and Nova Scotians are being asked to share their thoughts. An online survey was launched today, Oct. 6 and runs to Oct. 27. The province is asking for input on key issues including the legal age to purchase and use recreational cannabis, where it can be purchased, and where it can be used. “As the federal government moves toward legalizing cannabis, our top priority is to protect the health and safety of Nova Scotians,” said Justice Minister Mark Furey. “We want to hear from Nova Scotians as we develop a well-regulated legal market that encourages responsible use and minimizes organized crime.” Within the federal legal framework, each province and territory is responsible for making decisions and creating rules and laws around the sale and use of recreational cannabis within its borders. While the federal legislation sets limits, such as minimum age or maximum possession limits, the prov¬inces and territories can add additional restrictions. The online survey asks for feedback on the following: age 19 as the legal age of purchase and use the sale of cannabis through a Crown corporation like the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation where recreational cannabis can be used drug-impaired driving
Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pressurise Pakistan to undertake a thorough probe into the destruction of the centuries-old Guru Nanak Palace in Narowal. He has also offered his government’s help to get the property in Pakistan’s Punjab rebuilt, if the Centre could secure Islamabad’s permission for the same. Amarinder Singh wrote to Modi requesting him to take up the matter with the government of Pakistan asking for “a probe in the wanton destruction of the property in question and to bring to justice all the guilty persons associated with this unfortunate act”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC Calling for urgent steps to restore the remaining structure through scientific conservation and restoration, the Chief Minister also sought to impress upon the government of Pakistan the need to preserve all such monuments that have an association with Sikh heritage in an institutionalised manner so that such incidents do not recur in future. “If the government of India arranges permission from the Pakistan government, the Punjab government (India) would rebuild the historic property,” he said in a press statement. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations Amarinder Singh strongly condemned the shocking incident, which he said hurt the sentiments of Sikhs around the world. In his letter to the Prime Minister, he wrote: “The building, which some media reports cite to be around four centuries old and has been visited by a large number of Sikh pilgrims, has been rapaciously pillaged and destroyed.” He said the incident had caused great consternation in his state and it was almost ironic that it had happened at a time when the two countries were poised to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru.
New Delhi: The Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has registered a case on the complaint of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India asking them to probe fraudulent racket.According to police, the case was registered on June 11 on the complaint from MHA. The complaint had come to police with the subject regarding cyber fraud received from Finance Secretary. “Sir I am directed to enclose a copy of note dated 31.10.2018 along with enclosures received from Finance Secretary addressed to Home Secretary relating to fraud racket operated by the culprits to dupe innocent people,” the complainant told the police. Also Read – Chinese national held with 6.4 kg sandalwoodAn email received to the ministry there was an enquiry regarding a letter in which Revenue Secretary has been shown as the signatory of this letter. “It seems that fraudulent racket run by somebody to dupe people of their hard earned money,” the complainant wrote. A case under sections 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating),471 (Using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record]), 120 B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code has been registered and further investigation is going on to get clues in the case. In another case, the EOW has booked three-person including director of a company for cheating. The complainant in the case has also alleged that bank officials help the suspects in the case.
Bhubaneswar: Mexico eked out a hard-fought 4-3 win over Uzbekistan to finish seventh in the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament here Wednesday. In the match between THE two lowest-ranked sides of the tournament, Mexico (world no. 39) scored through Maximiliano Mendez (29th minute), Alexander Palma (30th), Yamil Mendez (54th) and Roberto Garcia (59th). Gaybullo Khaytboev (41st), Okhunjon Mirzakarimov (42nd) and Ruslan Satlikov were the goal-scorers for world no. 43 Uzbekistan. The Uzbeks finished eighth and last, failing to log a single point in the tournament.
Nottingham: Opener Shikhar Dhawan is not letting his injury get the better of him as he strives to recover fast and get back to playing for India in the ongoing World Cup. Dhawan posted a video of him sweating it out at the gym with a plastered thumb. Along with the video, the 33-year old shared a message thanking his fans for their best wishes. “You can make these situations your nightmare or use it (as) an opportunity to bounce back. Thank you for all the recovery messages from everyone,” Dhawan wrote alongside the video. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevDhawan was seen doing leg exercises as India get ready to take on Pakistan in a marquee clash in Manchester on Sunday. Dhawan suffered the injury after being hit by a Pat Cummins delivery during his 109-ball 117 knock against Australia. Rishabh Pant, who was initially ignored for Dinesh Karthik when the 15-member squad was picked, has been named as standby and is expected to fly in to England as cover. “Shikhar will be in a plaster for a couple of weeks, we’ll assess and see. Hopefully he’ll be available for the later half and the semi-finals. He’s motivated, we wanted to keep him back,” Kohli had said after their New Zealand tie was called off on Thursday due to rain and a wet outfield. Dhawan was back to his sublime best against Australia when he struck his 17th ODI hundred, a crisp 117 off 109 balls.
Noida (UP): As many as 474 people were arrested in Noida and Greater Noida Saturday night for allegedly consuming alcohol at public places and drunk driving during a three-hour anti-liquor drive, police said.Of the total arrests, 241 were made in city areas, while 233 in rural areas, they said.”The arrests were made under a three-hour anti-liquor campaign across the district that began at 7.30 pm,” Gautam Buddh Nagar Senior Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Krishna said. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe ‘Operation Clean-6’ drive was carried out against people consuming liquor at public spaces, those drinking outside liquor shops in violation of rules, he said. “Breath analyser test was carried out at various places and 15 people were booked for drunk driving also,” Krishna said.As many as 52 check points were created across the district, including Noida and Greater Noida city areas, where the arrests were made, the SSP said. He said those arrested have been booked under the Indian Penal Code section 290 (public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for) and section 34 of the Police Act (punishment for certain offences on roads).
New Delhi: Total bad loans of commercial banks declined by Rs 1.02 lakh crore to Rs 9.34 lakh crore in the 2018-19 fiscal on the back of steps taken by the government, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Tuesday. The government has instituted a comprehensive 4R’s strategy for recognition of non-performing assets (NPAs) transparently, resolution and recovery of value from stressed assets, recapitalising of public sector banks (PSBs) and reforms in PSBs so as to reduce their bad loans, Sitharaman said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepAmong others, change in credit culture with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) fundamentally changing the creditor-borrower relationship, taking away control of defaulting companies, debarring wilful defaulters from taking part in resolution process as well as raising funds from markets are the steps that have been employed, the minister said. “Enabled by these steps, as per RBI data on global operations, the NPAs of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs), after reaching a peak of Rs 10,36,187 crore as on March 31, 2018, have declined by Rs 1,02,562 crore to Rs 9,33,625 crore as on March 31, 2019 (provisional data for the fiscal ended March 2019,” Sitharaman said. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsDuring 2018-19, the maximum number of frauds, involving Rs 1 lakh and above, were reported by ICICI Bank at 374 followed by Kotak Mahindra Bank (338), HDFC Bank (273), State Bank of India (273), Axis Bank (195) and American Express Banking Corporation (190), the minister said further. “Comprehensive measures have been taken to prevent frauds including directions to banks to examine all NPA accounts above Rs 50 crore from the angle of possible fraud, initiation of criminal proceedings, enactment of Fugitive Economic Offenders Act 2018, creation of Central Fraud Registry, empowering heads of Public Sector Banks to request for issue of Look Out Circular,” she said. Establishment of the National Financial Reporting Authority, straight-through processing between Core Banking System and SWIFT and instituting in PSBs the system of obtaining certified copies of passport of promoters/ directors of companies availing of loans exceeding Rs 50 crore are the other measures. Sitharaman said that the SCBs effected record recovery of Rs 4,01,424 crore over the last four financial years, including record recovery of Rs 1,56,746 crore during 2018-19 ( provisional data for 2018-19, as reported by RBI on July 9, 2019). The minister also informed the Upper House that other steps under the banking reform process such as a board-approved loan policies in public sector banks, use of third party data sources for comprehensive due diligence across data sources have been put in place to check frauds. Strict monitoring in cases of high-value loans, deployment of specialised monitoring agencies for loans above Rs 250 crore and online end-to-end one-time settlements (OTSs) platforms have been set up to ensure timely and better realisation in such settlements have been effected. In reply to a separate question on defaults in loan of Rs 25 crore and more in PSBs, Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur said that as on March 31, 2019, there were 1,938 unique borrowers with funded amount outstanding of more than Rs 25 crore who had defaulted on their loans (as per RBI data). However, he said the list of such borrowers cannot be made public as the RBI Act, 1934, prohibits from disclosing credit information. “Section 45E provides that credit information submitted by a bank shall be treated as confidential and not be published or otherwise disclosed,” Thakur said. Meanwhile, private sector lender Federal Bank on Tuesday registered a 46 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs 384.21 crore for first quarter of the current fiscal as bad loans eased. The bank’s net profit in the corresponding three months to June in 2018-19 stood at Rs 262.71 crore.
Darjeeling: Tremors rocked parts of North East India, North Bengal and the neighboring Bhutan. The epicenter of the earthquake was detected in the Kurung Kumey district of Arunachal Pradesh. Two more aftershocks were witnessed in the region.According to the Indian Meteorological Department, the first tremor was felt at 2:52 pm on Friday in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, the tremors of which were felt in Itanagar, Guwahati, other parts of Assam and Dimapur in Nagaland. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersThe quake measured 5.6 on the Richter scale with a depth of 10 km. The epicenter was located at 27.7 degree North 92.8 degree East. The next aftershock occurred at 3:04 pm, with a magnitude of 3.8 having a depth of 10 km. There was another aftershock recorded at 3:21 pm, measuring 4.9 with a depth of 95 km. Tremors were also felt in Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, along with parts of North Bengal including Siliguri, which triggered panic among local residents. There was, however, no report of any casualty or damages resulting from the tremors, each of which lasted for a few seconds. According to seismologists, the northeastern region comes under Zone 5 on the seismic map, making the states susceptible to earthquakes.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said infant mortality rate in the state has come down from 32 to 25 per 1,000 live births. “In #Bangla, we have reduced infant mortality rate (IMR) from 32 to 25 per 1,000 live births,” Banerjee said in a tweet, on the occasion of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) Day. The chief minister said ORS are a cost-effective method of health intervention. “Acute diarrhoeal diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality in infants,” Banerjee added.
New Delhi: Following the visit of Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan to India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is likely to visit Dhaka on 20-21 August.This will be Jaishankar’s maiden visit to Dhaka after taking over as External Affairs Ministry. Though the visit of EAM is taken to be a ‘courtesy’ visit, a new paradigm of relationship might be worked out. It’s also expected that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina might visit New Delhi in October for attending a meeting of a multilateral economic forum. After this, both PM Modi and Hasina might find an opportunity to meet at the sidelines of the UNGA meeting. It’s customary that newly appointed EAM pays a courtesy visit to neighbouring countries first. Jaishankar has already visited Nepal and Bhutan after becoming EAM. Now, he will pay a courtesy visit to Dhaka to meet the leadership of Bangladesh. Apart from meeting with Foreign Minister Abdul Momen, EAM might meet the PM during his stay. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’It will be the first meeting between two leaders of two closely related neighbour after the general election of India and Bangladesh. Both the countries are keenly watching the first meeting between two Home minister where some contentious issues might come up for discussion for the first time. Despite being described as ‘courtesy meeting’, diplomats of both sided are working hard to finalise the agenda of the meeting. Bangladesh High commissioner to India Syed Moazzem Ali has recently met EAM and handed over an official invitation to him for visiting Dhaka in suitable time. The EAM has already accepted the invitation, sources confirmed. Recently, the EAM had a meeting with High Commissioners and Ambassadors of the neighbouring countries to discuss an ambitious plan of implementing Act East Policy jointly with Japan.