India not involved in Palaly airport project, says Minister (GS-2) (Page-12) India is not involved in developing Sri Lanka's northern airport, a senior Minister has said, contradicting a statement by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). S. Earlier this week, Indian media reported that the AAI had signed an agreement with the Ministry of External Affairs, to prepare a detailed project report for the development of the airport in Palaly, located some 20 km north of Jaffna in the island's Tamil-majority Northern Province. However, Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Nirmal Siripala De Silva told Parliament on Tuesday that "there is no truth in that report.We have no intention to hand over the airport to India or any other country", according to local newspaper Daily Mirror. His statement, which came in response to a question from an Opposition lawmaker, not only countered what the AAl has said, but also contradicted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's recent remarks that Sri Lanka would develop the northern airport into a regional hub with Indian assistance. Colombo and New Delhi have been keen on beginning commercial operations from this airport, with flights to south Indian cities.
Mixed signals When contacted, Mr. De Silva said that as per the Cabinet paper, the contract of developing the airport was being awarded to the Sri Lankan Air Force. Queried on the divergence from his Prime Minister's remarks, he told The Hindu on Wednesday:"I am not aware of any discussion with India... as far as I am concerned, I am developing the airport" Addressing a public meeting last month, Mr. De Silva said that the Sri Lankan government planned to upgrade the airport in Palaly, with an LKR 1600 million (roughly $9.5 million) allocation. On the mixed signals from the Sri Lankan leaders, sources in Colombo said Mr. De Silva's remarks pertained to a more immediate effort aimed at swiftly commencing commercial operations, while the AAl's report was on a more "long-term" development plan with Indian assistance. A comprehensive upgradation would"happen in stages", said a source familiar with the ongoing negotiations
Residents of northern Sri Lanka, most of whom are Tamils, have strong cultural ties and familial connections with south India. In early 2014, the Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for direct flights from Palaly and Trincomalee (in the eastern province) to India. Such a service is seen as an easier option for tourists, pilgrims, and refugees, currently living in India, who wish to return home.At present, those travelling from Jaffna travel about 400 km south to Colombo, by bus or private transport, for over seven hours, in order to board a flight bound north again, to India. Earlier, the Sri Lankan Air force and a private operator ran commercial flights between Colombo's domestic airport in the southern suburb of Ratmalana and Jaffna, but the services were stopped due to technical and commercial reasons."We are hoping to resume operations in a month's time," Chief Airport Manager Aruna Rajapaksha told The Hindu. The last time flights operated between India and northern Sri Lanka was in the 1987-1990 period, when the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was in the island on a controversial war-time operation.Then, soldiers and, at times, mediapersons from India travelled to Jaffna and Trincomalee.
Rationalisation of CS schemes mooted (Page-13) (GS-3) Several Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are just boutique in nature with 'dubious outcomes, the 15th Finance Commission of the Union Government has noted while calling for urgent rationalisation of the CSSs. * The pruning of such schemes would give the State governments greater measure of flexibility in financing, Commission Chairman N.K. Singh said here on Wednesday. 'High costs incurred' "There are far too many of these boutique schemes with dubious outcomes in the States. Even the ones which are operational do not justify the high establishment cost being incurred on them," he told reporters The commission concluded its two-day consultations with the Maharashtra government, trade, industry leaders, economists and politicians.Among some core observations it made, the commission noted the general status of public financing in States remains 'stressed' owing to payments made towards the Seventh Pay Commission, loan waivers given to farmers and debt restructuring under the UDAY scheme. "The commission is looking at ways to restrict some of these schemes even as the Reserve Bank of India has pointed towards the stress on State finances as result," he said
Mergers in 2013 The proliferation of the CSSs was debatable until the Ninth Five-Year Plan, when the total number of schemes shot up to 360, accounting for about 60% of Central assistance. In 2013, the Planning Commission announced the merger of several CSSs, reducing the count to 66 These were further pruned to 27 following the report of a committee of CMs led by Shivrajsingh Chauhan recently State governments have already demanded an increased flow of untied fiscal resources in place of tied resources that come with CSS. Mr. Singh said Maharashtra was no different and has raised the need for larger devolution even though the 14th Finance Commission had recommended devolution of a significantly higher share of 42% of the divisble pool to States compared with the 32% recommended by the Thirteenth Finance Commission. ** "They have suggested a new formula for this while questioning the flow of devolution funds," he said.
Insolvency cases: SC to decide when to step in (GS-3) (Page-13) A. The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would have to lay down some laws on what stage the adjudicating authority, appellate authority and the apex court could interfere in insolvency resolution proceedings. A Bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Indu Malhotra made the remarks while hearing petitions filed by ArcelorMittal and NuMetal challenging each another's eligibility to bid for debt-ridden Essar Steel Limited, against which a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was initiated last year. "We have to lay down some laws here," the Bench said adding, "Ultimately the idea of the court is this huge financial debt is recovered. If it is possible to salvage the workers, we will do so." Pay dues first' During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, forVTB-backed NuMetal, said ArcelorMittal was not qualified to bid on account of Uttam Galva."If you are the promoters than you must pay the dues of the companies," Mr. Rohatgi said.
Graduate in Economics. Gold medal in Dissertation, Prepared various documents on Demonetisation and GST, Share-trading and many more