12:03 pm NEW DELHI: The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr Ahmed Al Banna, told an erudite audience at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) that the UAE government was working with its Indian counterparts to make air travel to the UAE cheaper for tourists and visitors. He told an audience of students, academics and journalists that there was a discrepancy between supply and demand for seats on flights from Indian airports to those in the UAE. The current number of 1,068 flights between the two countries with a weekly capacity of 168,000 seats does not meet the demand. Dr Al Banna stressed that Indians were now the second largest ethnic group of visitors to Dubai in terms of hotel room occupancy. This figure is set to grow with an increase of available seats on flights in both directions. Four years ago, he said, a business class seat from Delhi to Dubai cost approximately the equivalent in Indian rupees of US$1,000. Now it costs about US$2,000 because demand is rising but seat availability is still low By making a case in public for cheaper travel between India and the UAE to an audience of current and potential visitors to the Gulf, Dr Al Banna is setting the stage for fruitful negotiations on improving travel conditions in a bilateral air service agreement. Such negotiations are overdue and are expected to take place by mutual agreement. Under Indian rules, the open skies policy applies only to flights below 5,000 km radius. Since the Flying distance between India and the UAE is shorter than the said radius, UAE air carriers are at a disadvantage compared to European and American carriers which fly beyond the 5,000 km ceiling and enjoy the benefits of open skies in capacity and flight frequency. "Our airlines also need open skies," Dr Al Banna stressed. The UAE has progressively relaxed visa rules for Indians who wish to visit Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other locations for business, leisure or in transit stopovers. More steps are underway to increase two-way traffic air-traffic, he added.
01:03 pm NEW DELHI: The Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu directed Secretary and senior officials of DGCA to take stock of grounding of planes by Jet Airways, Advance Bookings, Cancellations, Refund and Safety issues. As per the direction of Minister, DGCA reviewed the performance of Jet Airways on Operational, Airworthiness & Passenger facilitation. Current availability of aircraft in the fleet for operation is 41 and accordingly scheduled for 603 domestic flights and 382 international flights have been drawn. However, it is a dynamic situation and there may be further attrition in the coming weeks. DGCA instructed the airline to comply with the relevant provisions of the applicable CARs for facilitation of Passengers regarding timely communication, compensation, refunds and providing alternate flights wherever applicable. The data is being monitored by DGCA on a regular basis. DGCA is ensuring that all aircraft in the fleet whether in operation or on the ground are maintained in accordance with the Approved Maintenance Programme (AMP). The operator was also directed to ensure that no Pilots/Cabin Crew/AMEs be rostered on duty who had reported stress of any nature. Additionally, all such staff should be current with all mandatory training requirements. Prabhu has directed all the concerned officials to continuously monitor the overall situation. He has also directed them to safeguard the public interest, to give paramount importance to public safety and to take necessary steps for passenger convenience. He instructed DGCA to: • maintain airworthiness of aircraft being used in a schedule, • avoid last minute cancellation or change in schedule so as to minimize passenger inconvenience, and • ensure that affected passengers are duly adjusted/refunded as per the relevant regulations.
05:03 pm NEW DELHI: The government has called an emergency meeting as Jet Airways, one of India's largest airlines, faces severe financial crisis. The debt-ridden carrier is struggling to find fund to pay its creditors and forced to cancel many services. The Maintenance Engineers' Union of the airline wrote to DGCA saying they haven't received salary for the last three months.
10:03 am SHARJAH: Gulftainer, a privately owned independent port operator, welcomed the M.V. Port Klang from Sunmarine Shipping Services on a maiden call at its gateway flagship Sharjah Container Terminal, SCT. The vessel is one of the shipping group’s fastest services between the Indian subcontinent and the UAE. The M.V. Port Klang offers the fastest direct express service between Sharjah’s Port Khalid and the Kandla, Hazira and Nhava Sheva ports in India with only three days’ transit time from the last port in India to Sharjah. The maiden vessel call at SCT was completed at an impressive 45 gross moves per hour. Peter Richards, Group CEO of Gulftainer, said, "We are delighted to welcome the M.V. Port Klang at SCT. Receiving one of the fastest ships on the Arabian Gulf India route - yet another achievement for Gulftainer – demonstrates SCT’s strategic position as a prominent gateway port for the region. This is a promising start to our new relationship with Sunmarine Shipping Services, and we look forward to building strong synergies between our two companies based on shared value and operational efficiencies." To mark the occasion, Stephen Barron, Sharjah Terminal Manager, presented a commemorative shield to Captain Mykola Chernikov, Master of the M.V. Port Klang, in the presence of senior management from Gulftainer and representatives of Sunmarine Shipping Services. With recent terminal upgrades, including the expansion of SCT’s full container storage yard by over 17 per cent and the ability to operate bigger vessels, Gulftainer continues to enhance its capabilities to meet the evolving needs and expectations of its customers. The company is committed to developing its port facilities in the UAE – SCT, Khorfakkan Container Terminal and Hamriya Port – to ensure fast and efficient service delivery to all terminal customers.
09:03 am NEW DELHI: As calls for withdrawing the Boeing 737 Max 8 getting large across the world, an official of DGCA has announced that the BOEING 737 Max 8 aircraft will be grounded in India by 4 pm today. The government of India had last night announced that the planes would be grounded "immediately" in the wake of concerns over passenger safety, a decision came soon after an Ethiopian Airline crashed, killing 157, including 4 Indians. The government's decision will affect the Indian carriers, especially SpiceJet, who has 13 jets of the above-said model.
12:03 pm SHARJAH: A delegation from India comprising of investors and experts in smart technology industries visited the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, SRTI Park, on Sunday. The visit was organised to identify investment opportunities and services provided by SRTI Park and to facilitate knowledge transfer, build relations and partnership between the park and the Indian business and tech communities. The delegation was briefed about the park, its future plans and its offerings such as services provided to the investors. During the visit current and future projects were showcased and illustrated how the park’s ecosystem fosters disruptive technologies especially companies focusing on research, development and technology transfer. Investors will be able to work within a safe investment environment with full ownership and tax exemptions as well as infrastructure and support facilities. The delegation was impressed by the benefits of establishing at the park including easy access to Sharjah University City. There are several universities in the emirate's ecosystem, with more than 47,000 students, 2,000 PhDs and 17 institutions, all of which creating reputation for themselves in the fields of research and development. The Indian delegation expressed their gratitude to the park for hosting them while praising the Emirate of Sharjah for the achievements it has made in the fields education, research and technology. SRTI Park is an initiative of the American University of Sharjah Enterprises, AUSE.
04:03 pm ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Airports has welcomed GoAir’s launch of four new flights between Kannur International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport, connecting the two cities with flights operating every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. GoAir’s inaugural flight from Kannur to Abu Dhabi was received with much fanfare today, as the Indian subcontinent remains one of the most popular destinations for travellers departing from AUH. In addition, Kannur itself is a popular leisure and business destination within the state of Kerala. Bryan Thompson, CEO Abu Dhabi Airports, commented: "India is a key travel market for Abu Dhabi International Airport, and we are always eager to strengthen our connectivity to the Indian Subcontinent, enhancing further our services extended to our dear customers." Maarten De Groof, Chief Commercial Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: "As one of our most promising new partners, we are pleased to welcome GoAir’s flights to Abu Dhabi. India has always been one of our largest and most important areas of operations, and we look forward to ensuring GoAir’s guests enjoy a comfortable and efficient experience throughout Abu Dhabi International Airport where we continue to deploy world-class smart travel solutions, attractive retail offerings, and relaxing lounge spaces." "This additional service to Abu Dhabi reflects the Capital’s status as a key destination and transit hub, and forms a part of our strategy to attract new airlines to our network," added De Groof. Mr. Jeh Wadia, Managing Director, GoAir, said: "This is a historic moment for GoAir as we enter the Middle East region with our maiden flight taking off from Kannur to Abu Dhabi, thereby strengthening the India – UAE relationship. GoAir is the world’s fastest growing airline and Abu Dhabi is our 4th international destination after Phuket, Male and Muscat, and 28th destination sequentially speaking. GoAir is delighted to partner with Abu Dhabi Airports."
01:03 pm The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley said that the Government is committed to facilitate trade and industry in the country so that the momentum of the growth continues to move up. He asked the captains of Indian industry to comply with the recent recommendations of the GST Council with regard to the reduction of rates of various items and pass on the benefits to the consumers at large. The Finance Minister was speaking when a delegation of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) called on him in his office in New Delhi. Jaitley said that the process of reforms in case of direct and indirect taxes will continue in order to facilitate and further expedite the process of ease of doing business in the country. He said that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has brought a change in the credit culture in the country and is helping the Banking Sector in making fast recoveries. "GST is now on the track and is in process of fast settling down. The thrust of the Government is to lower the tax rate and widen the tax base and keep the revenue collections moving-up. The indirect tax collections will further increase in future", Jaitley said. "India continues to be the sweet spot as far as the Foreign Direct Investment is concerned and is the fastest growing economy in the world", he added. To continue with the process of Direct Tax reforms President, FICCI requested the Finance Minister to consider lowering of the Corporate Tax Rate to 25% for all companies irrespective of their turnover. A rationalisation of the Corporate Tax Rate would make the Indian Corporate Sector globally competitive.
01:03 pm NEW DELHI: United States of America has given a 60-day withdrawal notice to India on the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits extended by the US. Since the review initiated by the US in April 2018 on India's GSP benefits, India and the US have been discussing various trade issues of bilateral interest for a suitable resolution on mutually acceptable terms. GSP benefits are envisaged to be non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory benefits extended by developed countries to developing countries. In India's case, the GSP concessions extended by the US amounted to duty reduction of only USD 190 million per annum. The US had initiated the review on the basis of representations by the US medical devices and dairy industries but subsequently included numerous other issues on a self-initiated basis. These included issues related to market access for various agriculture and animal husbandry products, relaxation/easing of procedures related to issues like telecom testing/conformity assessment and tariff reduction on ICT products. The Department of Commerce engaged with various Government of India departments concerned with these issues, and India was able to offer a very meaningful way forward on almost all the US requests. In a few instances, specific US requests were not found reasonable and doable at this time by the departments concerned, in light of public welfare concerns reflective of India's developing country status and its national interest. India was ready to address US concerns regarding medical devices in principle, by putting in place a suitable trade margin approach in a reasonable time frame to balance concerns about fair pricing for the consumers and adequate remuneration for the suppliers. On the issue of dairy market access, India has clarified that while our certification requirement, that the source animal had never been fed animal-derived blood meal, is non-negotiable given the cultural and religious sentiment, the requested simplified dairy certification procedure, without diluting this requirement, could be considered. Acceptability of US market access requests related to products like alfalfa hay, cherries and pork was conveyed. On reduction of our IT duties, India's duties are moderate and not import stopping. Any MFN duty reduction would almost entirely benefit third countries. Accordingly, India conveyed a willingness to extend duty concessions on specific items in which there is a clear US interest. On telecom testing, India was willing to consider discussions for a Mutual Recognition Agreement. Due to various initiatives resulting in an enhanced purchase of US goods like oil and natural gas and coal the US trade deficit with India has substantially reduced in calendar years 2017 and 2018. The reduction is estimated to be over USD 4 Billion in 2018, with further reduction expected in future years on account of factors like the growing demand for energy and civilian aircraft in India. This reduction has happened in the face of a rising overall US trade deficit, including with some other major economies. India is also a thriving market for US services and e-commerce companies like Amazon, Uber, Google and Facebook with billions of dollars of revenue. The issue of Indian tariffs being high has been raised from time to time. It is pertinent that India’s tariffs are within its bound rates under WTO commitments, and are on the average well below these bound rates. India’s trade-weighted average tariffs are 7.6%, which is comparable with the most open developing economies, and some developed economies. On developmental considerations, there may be a few tariff peaks, which is true for almost all economies. India was agreeable to a very meaningful mutually acceptable package on the above lines to be agreed to at this time while keeping remaining issues under discussion in the future.
12:02 pm Getting hacked is one of the biggest nightmares anyone can ever have. Hacking is a very general phenomenon nowadays as we see professionals and government websites get hacked. Even Billionaires cannot escape from these hackers. Recently Amazon Founder and CEO-Jeff Bezos's personal account got hacked revealing some below the belt selfies. Mark Johnson, CEO of Sovereign Intelligence says “Personal details of these ultra-wealthy people are like gold mine for Hackers. As they can use that information to get almost anything from them which includes mostly money.” He even said, “Billionaires and CEO’s give huge importance to their company’s security but they ignore even basic security features for themselves.” Times have changed when security used to be Bodyguards and Home Security, As more and more personal and financial data is stored online. The importance of security has shifted more online as compared to offline. Many Software companies and Startups have more relied on other Intelligence Agencies for their Security because third-party observers/agencies are seen to provide better security protection against hackers. This Incident proves that no matter who you are, your online data is at risk. Its always better to secure your passwords and be updated with the latest security features.