What is a ‘smart city’ and how it will work

PM Modi had announced his vision to set up 100 smart cities across the country soon after his government was sworn into power mid 2014. Since then a race has been on among cities to land on the list that the ministry of urban development is compiling. The 100 smart cities mission intends to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure.

Basically, a ‘smart city’ is a city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions.

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Via – Times of India

 

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A look at India’s last five annual budgets

With the BSE Sensex gaining nearly 30 percent in 2014 and about 6 percent so far this year, investors are eagerly awaiting reforms in the budget, which is being billed as a “make-or-break” event for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Based on a new calculation method, India grew 7.5 percent year-on-year in the last quarter and is on track to expand 7.4 percent in the year through March 31, but experts say the revised growth numbers are at odds with evidence on the ground.

Here’s a look at budgets between 2010 and 2014 — the hits, the misses, and how they affected the common man.

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ViaReuters.com

IMF cuts global growth outlook, calls for accommodative policy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its forecast for global economic growth in 2015, and called for governments and central banks to pursue accommodative monetary policies and structural reforms to support growth.

Global growth is projected at 3.5 percent for 2015 and 3.7 percent for 2016, the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook report, lowering its forecast by 0.3 percentage points for both years.

New factors supporting growth, lower oil prices, but also depreciation of euro and yen, are more than offset by persistent negative forces, including the lingering legacies of the crisis and lower potential growth in many countries,” Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said in a statement.

The IMF advised advanced economies to maintain accommodative monetary policies to avoid increasing real interest rates as cheaper oil heightens the risk of deflation.

If policy rates could not be reduced further, the IMF recommended pursuing an accommodative policy “through other means”.

The United States was the lone bright spot in an otherwise gloomy report for major economies, with its projected growth raised to 3.6 percent from 3.1 percent for 2015.

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Via Reuters.

Seven Things You Need To Know About GST Bill

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha on 19 October 2014. This Bill has faced stringent opposition from states in the past, the main reason why the bill couldn’t be passed by the previous Congress government.

The Bill seeks to rationalise state and central indirect taxes into a harmonised tax structure. Currently, companies pay multiple taxes at the state and central levels, which raises the prices of their products, making them less competitive compared with imports from China and other low-cost locations. The hassle and time wasted in filing myriad taxes also deters entrepreneurs and foreign companies from investing in India.

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via huffingtonpost.in

E-kranti—Digital revolution on the anvil

The ₹113,000-crore ‘e-kranti’ project of the Narendra Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative is the world’s most ambitious broadband project that seeks to provide digital access to all citizens, from the rural and elderly to the poor. The ‘Digital India’ blueprint revolves round ‘nine pillars’ — broadband highway, e-governance, electronics manufacturing leading to ‘zero import’, universal phone access, electronic delivery of services, jobs, rural internet, information for all and ‘early harvest’ programmes.

The aim is to move governance online, and for that to happen, bridging the so-called digital divide is essential. The government  aims to expand its rural internet coverage to 250,000 villages by 2017, from the existing 130,000. In two years, 150,000 post offices will be transformed into multi-utility centres (providing a range of government services, banking for instance, and not just postal services). Some 250,000 government schools will get broadband and free WiFi and all schoolbooks will have e-versions.

The digital drive is also integral to the government’s plan to create 100 smart cities. Under the plan, all cities with a population of more than a million will get public WiFi hotspots. All government communication will move to a universal secure email client.

How black money racket runs in India – Hindustan Times

While there are no official estimates, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based think-tank, has estimated that Indians had parked $462 billion in overseas tax havens between 1948 and 2008.

Hindustan Times presents a lowdown on how deals thrive outside the financial system in a bustling cash economy, hoodwinking authorities by creating a web of transactions to obscure the source of slush funds.

Click Here to read complete story –  How black money racket runs in India – Hindustan Times.