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Pay salary or face legal action: Jet airways pilots send notice to CEO

Jet Airways pilots have sent a legal notice to the airline's CEO threatening legal action over unpaid salaries.

The notice states, "The payment of the salaries of my client's member pilots, has been grossly delayed, and the schedule of payments is getting later and later." The pilots have not been paid the salary of January, February and March months of 2019.

The advocate Jane Cox, in the notice, also mentioned the stress that the pilots are going through. The notice read, "This situation is leading to extreme stress, anxiety, and frustration amongst my client's member pilots - hardly an ideal situation for pilots in the cockpit. Monthly EMIs have to be met, school & college fees paid, along with medical bills of aging parents. Each month the pilots are left, as 

  • juggling to meet these monthly commitments; 
  • worried about the future months as the salary arrears just keep building.

It hardly needs to be stated that passenger safety - the prime concern of all in the industry - requires pilots who are flying stress-free and with a free mind."

The notice, in the end, called upon the airline management to pay the salaries outstanding for the months of January, February and March 2019 by April 14, 2019. If the airline failed to pay the salaries for these months, the pilots would then resort to legal methods.

Jet Airways' problems began when it embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan. It was the airline's ambitious plan to expand business on international routes. It ordered 22 wide-body aircraft for delivery over about 18 months, starting in 2006, depleting cash. However, it failed to compete with a low-cost airline like IndiGo and SpiceJet.

Vijay Mallya Appeal Against UK Extradition Rejected

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya's written appeal against an extradition order passed by a magistrate late last year has been rejected by a High Court judge in the United Kingdom. He will now face a verbal hearing on his appeal against the decision.

The Westminister Magistrate's Court had ruled against the 62-year-old businessman, who is wanted in India on charges of not paying back loans worth Rs. 9,000 crore, on December 9 last year. Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot had concluded that Vijay Mallya has a case to answer in the Indian courts over substantial "misrepresentations" of his financial dealings while he was heading the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid later signed off on the order.

The application for permission to appeal was refused by Justice William Davis on April 5. "The appellant has five business days to apply for verbal consideration. If a renewal application is made, it will be listed before a High Court judge."

Now that the written application has been rejected by Judge Davis, Mallya has the option of submitting for a "renewal". This particular process will lead to a brief oral hearing, during which Vijay Mallya's legal team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) - on behalf of the Indian government - will renew their respective claims to determine if the matter can proceed to a full hearing.

Vijay Mallya's fortunes have been sliding in recent times, with defense lawyers conveying his willingness to cut his spending to a comparatively lower amount of 29,500 pounds a month. The businessman's debtors -- who accuse him of willfully defaulting on loans taken by Kingfisher Airlines -- are now seeking to seize about 258,000 pounds stashed in his account. They allege that Vijay Mallya continues to lead a "lavish lifestyle" despite legal challenges.

Last heard, he was spending about 18,300 pounds a week. A court document released earlier this week revealed that the businessman's weekly expenditure on groceries came up to over 1,000 pounds a week, and he sees "no need to rein in his spending to reflect his reduced circumstances". 

The walls, however, continue to close in on him. A special court dealing with offenses under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) declared him a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act on January 5 -- paving the way for the authorities to attach his properties.

BJP manifesto promises reforms in civil services, police, judiciary

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its manifesto titled 'Sankalp Patra Lok Sabha 2019' released Monday gave a major thrust to reforms in civil services, judiciary and modernization of police forces.

The 'Sankalp Patra' focused on speedy implementation of reforms in the above civil law systems to deliver better public services.

Here is how BJP's vision document for the next 5 years vowed to encourage and promote good governance practices in civil services, judiciary, and police forces:

Civil Service and Governance Reforms:

  • The party focused on the idea to work with the guiding principle of "Minimum Government and Maximum Governance" to bring about the reform in the Civil Services.
  • The party vowed to ensure better implementation of policies and coordination by merging similar and complementary departments into sectoral ministries to enable policymakers frame and implement holistic and comprehensive policies smoothly. 
  • The party promises to implement the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan in a focused manner to build the capacity of members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and ensure effective delivery of schemes at the grassroots levels.

Modernization of Police Forces:

  • The party pledged to take forward the process of modernizing the Central Armed Police Forces to further increase their capacity and readiness as well as enable them to effectively combat internal security challenges.
  • The party ensured providing assistance to the states to upgrade their police forces through the 'Scheme for Modernisation of Police Forces'.
  • The party also vowed to expedite police reforms in the states so as to enable the state police forces to deal with new types of crimes such as cyber crimes as well as help them to be more sensitive to the citizens, especially the weak and vulnerable sections of the society.

Police reforms:

  • The party promised effective policing and peaceful law and development by changing and transforming the present police force according to the challenges of the 21st century.
  • The party pledged to formulate a 'Model Police Act' in consultation with the states to have a pro-people citizen friendly police to help take the Indian policing at par with its contemporaries anywhere in the world.
  • The party said that it will set up a Police University at par with world-class Technology, Science and Medical Institutions in the country and encourage the states to establish similar institutions of excellence.

Judicial Reforms:

  • The party vowed to work towards simplifying procedural laws, encouraging mediation and strengthening judicial and court management system to increase accessibility.
  • The party promised to make India the hub of arbitration services where it will increase the number of Alternative Dispute Resolution forums to ensure avenues for quick disposal of matters.

Indian Oil stops fuel supply to Jet Airways

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Friday (April 05) stopped fuel supply to the struggling carrier Jet Airways for non-payment.

The public sector oil marketing firm stopped supplying fuel to the cash-starved carrier from 12 noon Friday, sources told.

Response to a query sent to Jet Airways on this issue was awaited.

Jet Airways, in which SBI-led consortium of lenders is set to take management control under a debt-recast plan, has drastically curtailed operations with a fleet of 26 planes.

On March 25, Jet Airways board had approved a resolution plan formulated by SBI-led domestic lenders, under which had agreed to infuse an emergency funding of Rs 1,500 crore into the airline, and convert the same into equity worth 50.1 percent for a notional value of just Re 1 each share.

The airline, however, has not yet received the much-needed funds.

RBI cuts repo rate by 25 bps to 6%, maintains neutral stance of monetary policy

In line with market expectations, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday lowered repo rate by 25 basis points to 6 percent and maintained the neutral stance of monetary policy, in its first bi-monthly rate review of the financial year 2019-2020. Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) stands adjusted to 5.75 percent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate to 6.25 percent.

Here're the key takeaways from the RBI policy meet:

Loan EMI likely to come down

The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, reduced the repo rate for the second consecutive time by 25 basis points to 6.0 percent from 6.25 percent with immediate effect. This is good news for borrower as EMIs are likely to go down for retail borrowers assuming that banks pass on the benefits of the lowered rates to the end consumers.

As the central bank lowers the key policy rates, it is likely that banks will follow suit and reduce their marginal cost of funds based lending rates (MCLR). The MCLR is an internal benchmark below which banks cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI. Recently, several banks have lowered their MCLRs in select tenors by 5-15 basis points in the past month, including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, YES Bank and Union Bank of India.

GDP growth forecast lowered to 7.2%

The RBI has cut India's GDP growth projection for 2019-20 to 7.2%, from 7.4% forecasted in February policy meet, because of declaration in domestic economic activity due to due to a slowdown in consumption, both public and private. Adding to it, a slower pace of global economic growth in the back of soft demand and contracting manufacturing activity may also hurt India's growth prospects.

Inflation target lowered to 2.4% in Q4

The monetary policy committee (MPC) lowered retail inflation to 2.4 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018-19, which was pegged at 2.8 percent in the last policy meeting, citing a normal monsoon. The RBI said that CPI inflation excluding food and fuel in February was lower than expected, which has imparted some downward bias to headline inflation. As a result, CPI projection has been revised downwards to 2.4 percent in Q4FY19, 2.9-3 percent in H1FY20 and 3.5-3.8 percent in H2FY20, with risks broadly balanced.

Economy facing headwinds amid global uncertainty

The RBI has noted that there are some signs of domestic investment activity weakening as reflected in a slowdown in production and imports of capital goods. The moderation of growth in the global economy might impact India's exports. On the positive side, however, higher financial flows to the commercial sector augur well for the economic activity. Private consumption, which has remained resilient, is also expected to get a fillip from public spending in rural areas and an increase in disposable incomes of households due to tax benefits. Business expectations continue to be optimistic. Taking into consideration the above factors, GDP growth for 2019-20 is projected at 7.2 percent - in the range of 6.8-7.1 percent in H1:2019-20 and 7.3-7.4 percent in H2 - with risks evenly balanced.

Tepid credit growth

Credit flows to micro and small as well as medium industries remained tepid, though they improved for large industries, the RBI said in its monetary policy statement. Capacity utilization (CU) in the manufacturing sector, however, as measured by the Reserve Bank's order books, inventory and capacity utilization survey (OBICUS), improved to 75.9 percent in Q3 from 74.8 percent in Q2. 

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