Breaking: Nitish Kumar quits as the chief minister of Bihar

Amid differences with alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned as the chief minister of Bihar, citing inability to work because of the strains within the coalition.
“I have resigned for the sake of Bihar. Given the changing circumstances in the state, it has become impossible for the alliance to work. I never demanded that anyone in the government should quit. But if there have been allegations, it is imperative for the person concerned to make a statement and come out clean,” Kumar said.
The development follows the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s firm stand earlier in the day that his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav would not resign.
Prasad’s RJD is in the government in the state in alliance with Kumar’s JD(U) and the Congress Party. After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently lodged a first information report (FIR) against Tejashwi Yadav in the land-for-hotels case, there had been demands for read more

Drinking alcohol may improve your memory, claims study

Drinking alcohol just after learning something new may help better retain the information in our memory, a study has claimed.
Researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK gave 88 social drinkers a word-learning task.
Participants were then split in two groups at random and told either to drink as much as they liked (the average was four units) or not to drink at all.
The next day, they all did the same task again – and those who had drunk alcohol remembered more of what they had learned.
The researchers stressed that this limited positive effect should be considered alongside the well-established negative effects of excessive alcohol on memory and mental and physical health.
“Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more,” said Celia Morgan, professor at the University of Exeter.
“The causes of this effect are not fully understood, but the leading explanation is that alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory,” said READ MORE

18 people die of tuberculosis every day, says NGO’s study, govt denies data

India’s richest municipal corporation has denied nonprofit Praja Foundation’s assessment–made from the corporation’s own data–that 18 people die of tuberculosis every day, even as Praja Foundation claims the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has no way of knowing if the assessment is wrong because it cannot access its own death-related data ever since it moved to a new software.

The assessment, released two weeks back, was based on data accessed through Right to Information (RTI) filings from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which refutes its conclusions saying the data has been put together “unscientifically.”

Praja Foundation alleges that the BMC switched to a new software in December 2015, whose design prevents it from accessing its own data on mortality, leaving it with no way of knowing if Praja Foundation’s estimate is incorrect.

What the report said

In its The State of Health of Mumbai report, Praja Foundation assessed that 6,472 Mumbaikars died of tuberculosis during 2016-17–nearly 18 people read more

Gujarat floods: PM Modi announces Rs 500-cr relief fund, death toll at 60

Even as low pressure continues to cause heavy rains and flooding in several regions of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who conducted an aerial survey on Tuesday, announced a Rs 500-crore central assistance to the state disaster relief fund (SDRF).

PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of the Banaskantha district, the most affected region in the state, forcing the Indian Air Force (IAF), the national disaster relief force (NDRF) and other state agencies conduct rescue operations.

In the past 24 hours, districts of Banaskantha, Patan and Sabarkantha in North Gujarat have seen at least 12 talukas receive over 200 mm of rainfall, as per the state emergency operations centre. At least three IAF helicopters were pressed into service for airlifting locals and the distribution of food packets in Banaskantha, apart from the Indian Army rescuing stranded people using boats.

North Gujarat has, so far, seen over 500,000 food packets being distributed in the affected areas.

Followed by the air survey, PM Modi was apprised of the rainfall and flooding situation across Gujarat by the state government officials in a meeting attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and READ MORE

Gold Flakes pack of 10 costs Rs 150: ITC raises cigarette price due to GST

ITC has raised prices of select cigarette brands to pass on the 6-7 per cent hike in the additional cess on cigarettes.
Sameer Deshmukh, a research analyst with Reliance Securities, said the price hikes were 6-15 per cent across brands with the average hike coinciding with the 6-7 per cent rise in effective taxes under the goods and services tax.
An ITC statement said prices of its Classic and Gold Flake brands had been increased to Rs 150 for a pack of 10. The price of Wills has been raised to Rs 94 for a pack of 10. Wills Flake is now priced at Rs 66.
The GST Council at its meeting on July 17 increased the compensation cess by Rs 485-792 per thousand cigarettes. A 31 per cent increase in the ad valorem component of the cess was levied under the ‘others’ category.
“Prices of select brands have been revised. There is adequate availability of stocks in the market,” an ITC spokesperson said.
The company clarified the price hike would be immediate. “In respect of cigarettes manufactured or packed prior to July 18 and are yet to be sold to consumers, the maximum retail price stands revised,” the notice READ MORE

India should target inflation at 4-5%, says US expert

Indian policymakers would do well to target keeping annual retail inflation in the country in the range of 4-5 per cent without aiming to lower this rate significantly, according to an American expert.

“India should target inflation at 4-5 per cent,” Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics at Harvard University in the US told BTVi in an interview.

“Many people in the advanced economies are saying we should have been at 4 per cent (inflation rate), and not be at 2 per cent, which was a mistake. There is a debate on,” he said referring to the prolonged phase of low inflation coupled with low growth being experienced by Western economies.

“I think that if a lot of countries were starting from scratch, I bet they would opt for a 3 per cent target,” he added.

Noting “there is no rush to come down to a lower inflation target, the American economist said it is “predictability” that is important in keeping down inflationary expectations.”In economic theory, which who knows if its true…historically it has been seen that if you are predictable, that’s what READ MORE

Nifty makes history, hits 10,000: The bull run decoded

It’s been a dream run for the world markets and specifically the Indian markets since the last seven months, especially post the Union Budget on 1st February 2017.  India seems to have all the ingredients for a multi-year bull run since the elections of 2014 – whether it’s the strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the various policy measures taken up by the government from time to time, the excellent and unprecedented PR exercise internationally that possibly has projected India as the most favoured destination.
The pushing through of GST Bill, which was in the works for more than a decade, could be the single biggest achievement of the government as it needed a lot of prodding and ‘buy in’ by the various stakeholders, most of them occupying the opposition benches. The ability of the Mr. Modi to take risks and travel in unchartered territory also seems to have worked well with the public at large. The demonetisation hardships were converted into an advantage by the ruling party shows that they have a PR solution for every adversity.
The global liquidity normally finds it way into the outperforming emerging markets and India seemed to be a like a ‘text book solution’ for absorbing a part of this. Interestingly the new found domestic liquidity which lately realized that there are hardly any other asset classes providing the returns the equity markets are, have started pouring in larger quantum into the hitherto forbidden asset class. The mutual funds have made it easier for the lower end of the pyramid to partake in the India growth story instead of parking their funds in chit funds read more