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Newsletter. Issue 07. March 29, 2014


Newsline Canada
News Clips From India
Reunion 2012
The Liberation of Goa
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India News Clips
Facts and figures for India’s 2014 general election
By Shashank Chouhan | March 5, 2014

Voting for the 2014 general election will begin on April 7, the Election Commission said on Wednesday.

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — will be eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.

Voting will be held in nine stages, which will be staggered until May 12, and results are due to be announced on May 16. Elections to state assemblies in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will be held simultaneously.

Around 930,000 polling stations will be set up for the month-long election using electronic voting machines, first introduced in 2004.

About 23 million eligible voters have been enrolled in the 18 to 19 age group, nearly 3 percent of India’s voters.

Of India’s 814.5 million eligible voters, 28,314 identify themselves as transgender and their gender is listed as “other”. There are 11,844 non-resident Indians registered to vote in the election this year.

Since introducing photo voter ID cards and electoral rolls in 2009, 98 percent of India’s eligible voters have the former, 96 percent have the latter.

Electronic voting machine security includes: transported under armed escort and stored in strong rooms, with a double lock system and guarded 247 by armed police, and CCTV coverage. Also, parties/candidates allowed to keep a watch on them.

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Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan calls Narendra Modi a 'dictator'
By PTI | 25 Mar, 2014,

Solapur: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today slammed BJP's Prime Ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi and dubbed him as a "dictator".  The BJP has nominated Modi as its candidate for Prime Minister's post, but the Gujarat CM has so far behaved as a "hukumshah" (dictator), he said.

Chavan was addressing a joint Congress-NCP campaign rally here in southern Maharashtra.  The Congress leader said Modi coming to power at the Centre would be "harmful" for the ...

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Strange weather: how a bad monsoon could be good for India
By Reuters Staff | March 7, 2014 | By Mayank Bhardwaj and Jo Winterbottom

A bad monsoon in India is the one that fails to deliver enough rain … most of the time. This year, a lack of rainclouds could be the silver lining that the government needs. India has no place left to store more grain, and can ill afford a hefty payout to farmers for the truckloads of produce that another monsoon could produce.

The annual four-month monsoon rains begin around June 1. More than half of the country’s arable land relies on the monsoon to grow the crops that help feed the world’s second-biggest country by population and put India’s rice and sugar on the global market.

But India’s last drought was five years ago. Food stocks have swelled so much since then that government warehouses, which house the grain sold at very low prices to the poor, are overflowing. Much is wasted, rotting or eaten by rats. The last thing that the government needs is another big crop yield.

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As BRICS economies grow up, 10 upstarts emerge: Report
By AFP | 25 Mar, 2014,

PARIS: Indonesia, Bangladesh and Ethiopia are among 10 countries set to take over as emerging economies from the powerful BRICS nations as they struggle with growing pains, a French credit body said on Tuesday.

"After 10 years of frenetic growth" the big five emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- the BRICS -- "are slowing down sharply," the French trade credit and insurance group Coface said.

In a report entitled "Coface identifies 10 emerging countries hot on the heels of the BRICS," the organisation said that average economic growth by the BRICS this year would be 3.2 percentage points less than the average in the last 10 years.

But "at the same time, other emerging countries are accelerating their development," it said.

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Tony Fernandes: Entire Indian aviation industry has tried to block AirAsia
By ET Now | 25 Mar, 2014, 02.38AM IST | From Economic Times

Getting a flying licence in India has been tough: AirAsia
"In any country that we have gone, we have never experienced an industry that has ganged up against us," AirAsia's Tony Fernandes said.

By: Uttkarsh Chaturvedi

AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes said Indian carriers have ganged up to try and block his India venture and that he's shocked by the intensity of their antagonism. "I have never experienced this in my life, where the entire aviation industry has tried to block us. We have been sued and taken to court by every person I know," Fernandes told ET NOW on the sidelines of a Credit Suisse conference in Hong Kong. The time taken to obtain a flying licence also seems to have unsettled Fernandes, who had been looking to start operations in India by the end of December last year. For that reason, he doesn't want to put a date on when the airline will start flying.

"Right now, the key is to get the licence and until I get a licence I can't say when we are going to really start," Fernandes said. True to form, he couldn't resist the occasion to get in a few plugs for AirAsia India, his joint venture with the Tata Group. "It's been incredibly tough and I think it will be exciting for the Indian consumer as it is very clear that many players don't want us to start, which means we must be quite good," said Fernandes, an inveterate Twitter user who celebrated the delivery of AirAsia India's first plane in India on Saturday in typically exuberant fashion.

IndiGo, India's largest carrier by market share, and other airlines had written to the aviation regulator opposing AirAsia's application. IndiGo's primary objection was that AirAsia was getting into India by using foreign direct investment rules that were primarily aimed at giving a lifeline to debt-laden domestic carriers, rather than establishing new ventures.

The Federation of Indian Airlines also opposed the move, saying AirAsia's entry would disturb the industry's equilibrium. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA), the regulator, rejected both objections in February. The AirAsia chief admitted that there could be some heartburn due to the Tatas having entered into two aviation joint ventures, a low-fare operation with AirAsia and a full-service one with Singapore Airlines. "I think there will be some cannibalisation and it is really for the Tatas to decide. They have to define their model (with SIA) clearly, otherwise there will be cannibalisation," he said.

However, AirAsia India will make a mark once it starts operations as the country doesn't have any truly low-fare carriers, he said. "I don't think there is any low-cost carrier in India; look at the fares charged by IndiGo and Spice-Jet," he said. "Their average fares are very high, and I don't think the common man has benefited from the revolution. There is no low-cost carrier here in India. Air Deccan was the last one, but it had an unsustainable model."

He added, referring to the arrival of the carrier's first Airbus A320 in Chennai, "I am proud to see the aircraft on Indian soil. I think it will be exciting for the Indian consumer."

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