Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today welcomed Moody's Investors Service's first upgrade in nearly 14 years of its ratings on India's sovereign bonds, calling it a "belated recognition of the positive steps taken in last few years to strengthen the economy." Mr Jaitley also hit out at critics of the government's economic policies saying, "many who had doubts about India's reform process can now seriously introspect on their position."
The Arvind Kejriwal government scrapped its plan to implement the Odd-Even road rationing scheme from Monday that was meant to help lift the noxious blanket of smog that has enveloped Delhi for the last six days. The decision was announced after an emergency cabinet meeting within hours of the National Green Tribunal's scathing criticism of the government's efforts.
The Green Court had approved the Odd-Even Rule this morning but with a number of riders. The chief among them was a scrapping of exemptions for officials, VIPs, woman and two-wheelers. Pulling up the government for delayed implementation of the Odd-Even Rule, the court had said, "It seems you just want to reduce vehicles from roads... What is the basis of exemptions if you want to improve air quality".
The Delhi government had announced the relaunch of the Odd-Even Scheme -- under which cars with license plates ending in an odd number and even-number are allowed to ply on alternate days - last week after pollution levels in the city far outstripped Beijing and doctors said it was a public health emergency. The scheme was to be re-launched on Monday for five days.
Today, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the Delhi the government could not compromise on the safety of women. The government, he added, also did not have enough public transport alternatives to accommodate over 60 lakh two-wheeler riders.
"At the moment we are calling it off. We will again approach the NGT and will ask them to allow exemptions to women and two-wheelers," he added.
Sources said on Monday, the government would file an appeal in the Green Court to reconsider its "no exemption" for women and two-wheelers.
The other component in the decision to withdraw the plan was low pollution levels. The Central Pollution Control Board has told the Green Court that the level of Particulate Matter 10 is below 500 and Particulate Matter 2.5 is below 300.
The court had said the Odd-Even Rule should be implemented every time Particulate Matter 10 exceeds the level of 500 and PM 2.5 rises above 300 for 48 hours.
The CBI today began questioning a 16-year-old schoolboy accused of slitting the throat of Pradyuman Thakur, his junior at the Ryan International School in Gurgaon, to delay an exam. The agency, for the first time investigating a child for another child's murder, was yesterday granted custody of the Class 11 student for three days. Its application for custody said the teen had confessed in the presence of his father and independent witnesses.
At a large temple devoted to Lord Swaminarayan in central Gujarat, the head priest appealed recently to worshippers to vote for BJP in December's election. The 200-year-old Swaminarayan sect, one of the wealthiest and most powerful religious organizations in the country, is dominated by the Patidar community.
Lal Krishna Advani's 90th birthday has brought felicitations from across the board to the BJP veteran. It also brought a little barb from senior opposition leader Lalu Yadav -- for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Yadav's tweet this morning read: "Warm Birthday greetings to Advani Ji! Never mind if any disciple turns hostile. May God bless you more cheerful, healthy, long & successful life ahead!"
SHIMLA: The BJP chose not to name a chief ministerial candidate in the last six state elections, including in Uttar Pradesh, but made an exception in Himachal Pradesh, announcing that Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, will be chief minister if the party comes to power. The hill state votes tomorrow for a new government.
Former prime minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh today said the Centre's bullet train project is an "exercise in vanity", accusing the BJP-led government of "misplaced priorities." He said it should have focused on improving the existing passenger rail network.
Dr Singh was speaking to traders and businessman in Gujarat, where assembly elections will be held next month. Amid sharp criticism of the Centre's policies like last year's notes ban and the Goods and Services Tax or GST, the former Prime Minister also slammed the plan for a bullet train, to first run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, and for which the foundation stone was laid in September this year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
People in Delhi may have to pay four times the usual parking fees with a Supreme Court-appointed panel recommending emergency measures to tackle severe pollution levels. The decision to hike parking charges was taken at a meeting of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) to discourage people from using private vehicles over rising pollution in Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region).
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan's wife Gauri threw a star-studded Halloween party on Friday evening at the Taj Lands End in Mumbai. Celebs like Malaika Arora, Sussanne Khan, Manish Malhotra, Ileana D'Cruz, Arbaaz Khan, Sanjay Kapoor and others were present at the party, but it was Shah Rukh and Gauri's daughter Suhana, who stole limelight. Suhana, 17, looked every bit beautiful and made the spotlight follow her in a golden couture. Gauri looked stunning in a white dress by Givenchy. The Halloween party was hosted by London's famous night club Cirque Le Soir and was designed Gauri, the owner of Gauri Khan Designs. This was Cirque Le Soir's first stint in India.
Pakistan today opposed supply of armed drones by the US to India, warning that it could increase the chances of "military misadventures" leading to a conflict in the region.