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DGCA to SC: Tickets booked before, during lockdown refundable

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Supreme Court. (File Photo: IANS)
Supreme Court. (File Photo: IANS)

,The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has informed the Supreme Court that people who had booked air tickets during the lockdown are entitled to immediate refunds.

The DGCA also clarified that in case of tickets booked prior to the lockdown up to May 24, the refund would be governed by the credit shell and incentive scheme.

The Centre had earlier introduced an incentive scheme by which 0.5 per cent interest will accrue on the original fare lying in the credit shell from the date of cancellation of the flight till June 30, 2020. Beyond this period, the passenger can avail 0.75 per cent interest every month till March 31, 2021.

In a supplementary affidavit, the DGCA clarified that the refunds were broadly divided into three categories.

The first category is of those who booked tickets prior to the lockdown for travel up to May 24 (as calibrated domestic operation recommenced from May 25, 2020), who will be governed by the proposed credit shell and incentive scheme.

In the second category, passengers who booked tickets during the lockdown will be entitled for immediate refund of fares by the respective airlines as the latter were not supposed to book such tickets.

In the third category are persons who booked tickets at any point in time, but for travel after May 24, to whom refunds will be governed by CAR (Civil Aviation Requirement) provisions.

Advocate Jose Abraham, representing petitioner Pravasi Legal Cell, said: “The present affidavit filed by the Union of India clarifies that the scheme for full refunds is applicable to all tickets booked prior to the lockdown, which was not clear earlier on. Tickets booked during the lockdown are also entitled to immediate refunds…. It is definitely a welcome stand as far as the petitioners are concerned.”

On September 9, the Centre had assured the Supreme Court that there was no catch in its proposal with regard to the refunds for tickets booked during the lockdown.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, told a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah that if the tickets were booked on March 15, before the lockdown, even then these would be fully refunded.

In the case of tickets booked through tour operators, the Centre clarified that if such operators had already paid the money to the airlines for tickets but the clients were yet to pay the operators, the tickets will remain in the name of the prospective passengers on cancellation and converted to credit shell. In case the prospective travellers utilise the credit shell, they will pay the money to the tour operator/agent and not the airlines.

The Centre had proposed that full refunds be given by airlines within 15 days for tickets booked during the lockdown. If any airline was in financial distress, a credit shell should be provided up to March 31, 2021 on the routes of passengers’ choice, it said. The full refunds were proposed for tickets booked with domestic and foreign airlines.

In an affidavit in the Supreme Court, DGCA OK Gupta said full refunds should be given immediately by domestic airlines if tickets were booked directly with it or through agents during the first lockdown period, that is, March 25 to April 14 for journeys to be undertaken in both first and second lockdown (March 25 to May 3) periods in all such cases.

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Business

CMS launches AI-automated ATM security software ‘Algo’

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SBI ATM. (File Photo IANS)
SBI ATM. (File Photo IANS)

Mumbai, Oct 14 (IANS) CMS Info Systems (CMS) has announced the launch of fully automated, Artificial Intelligence-powered ATM security software application ‘Algo’.

CMS Algo is an end-to-end security encrypted a fool-proof solution to prevent ATM frauds at the time of cash replenishment or maintenance, the company said in a statement.

The application is machine-agnostic and can operate on any ATM manufactured by any OEM.

Rajiv Kaul, Executive Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Whole-time Director of CMS Info Systems, said: “This application can run on any ATM across the world and helps in fraud prevention. The solution is cost-effective in the back-end and low cost in the front-end.”

“The biggest saving is the reduction of fraud, no requirement of a call centre, and restricted access to data and premises,” he said.

He noted that the company has deployed Algo on 52,000 ATMs in India.

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CCI okays Tube Investments’ stake buy in CG Power

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Competition Commission of India
Competition Commission of India

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the acquisition of shares in CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd by Tube Investments of India Ltd.

The proposed combination envisages acquisition of more than 50 per cent of the equity share capital of CG Power and Industrial Solutions Ltd (CG Power) by Tube Investments of India Ltd (TIIL).

TIIL is a listed entity and is part of Murugappa group. It has three business verticals including engineering, metal formed products and bicycles. It is engaged in the manufacture of a wide range of products for automotive, railway, construction, mining and agriculture industries.

Also a listed entity, CG Power has two major business units — power systems and industrial systems.

The power systems business unit focuses on power transmission, distribution, power solutions, setting up of integrated power systems among others.

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Uber hires Amazon veteran to lead mobility teams in Bengaluru

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Manikandan Thangarathnam
Manikandan Thangarathnam

Uber on Thursday announced it hired Amazon veteran Manikandan Thangarathnam as senior director to lead all rider and platform engineering teams in Bengaluru.

Uber said it is also hiring 85 more engineers in the country. This is in addition to hiring 140 engineers the ride-hailing service announced last month.

“As the world steps into a new normal, adaptability is going to be a key aspect to usher in growth. I look forward to leading the bright minds at Uber and innovating together for the world, one ride at a time,” said Mani.

At Amazon, Mani helped build several core platforms and products.

He led engineering efforts for the Amazon Appstore and was instrumental in bootstrapping the tech major’s Chennai office and building a vast team of engineers.

The Rider mobility team works on the challenge of enabling the next billion trips by building new services including high capacity vehicles (Uber bus), and car rentals, among others.

The company said the Marketplace team is building a highly-available and scalable self-serve gateway to configure, manage, and monitor Application Programming Interfaces (API) of every business domain at Uber.

Uber recently hired another Amazon veteran Jayaram Valliyur as senior director to lead its global finance technology team, spread across multiple geographies.

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OnePlus investing Rs 100 crore to boost retail footprint in India

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OnePlus to launch 2 Nord smartphones on Oct 26
OnePlus to launch 2 Nord smartphones on Oct 26

Smartphone maker OnePlus is committed to invest Rs 100 crore towards deeper market penetration by taking premium offline experience beyond metro cities and expanding its reach through new online and offline retail partnerships, a top company executive said on Thursday.

With over 5,000 offline stores including partnered stores across the country, the smartphone maker is planning to scale up to more than 8,000 stores in the coming quarters, Navnit Nakra, VP and Chief Strategy OnePlus India told IANS.

“At present, we have over 30 OnePlus experience stores across India and will be opening 14 new experience stores in the next six months.

“We’ll launch our biggest experience store globally, the OnePlus Nizam Palace in Hyderabad later this year. We are also working towards covering 100 cities through our service centre network in the next year,” Nakra informed.

The smartphone maker launched its India R&D centre in 2019 and is committed to achieve long-term growth in the country.

Currently, the company has 300 employees in the R&D team and hope to double that number in the coming months.

Nakra said that India continues to be a key market for OnePlus since the brand’s entry in 2014.

“We began our commitment to Make in India initiative in February 2018 and since then, we have been manufacturing our devices in the country. We have also commenced the manufacturing of the OnePlus TVs and OnePlus Nord in India,” Nakra told IANS.

By 2021, all OnePlus TVs will be manufactured locally in India.

“On our smart TV portfolio, we commenced the manufacturing of the Y series in India and by 2021, all OnePlus TVs will also be manufactured locally including the Q and the U series,” Nakra informed.

He said that 100 per cent of OnePlus smartphones are being manufactured in India including OnePlus 8 series, OnePlus Nord and the recently launched OnePlus 8T.

OnePlus has launched its new flagship 5G smartphone the ‘OnePlus 8T’ with 120Hz Fluid AMOLED display and quad-camera set up, in India.

The OnePlus 8T will be available in two colours, aquamarine green and lunar silver at Rs 45,999 (12GB RAM+ 256GB internal storage) and Rs 42,999 (8GB RAM+128GB internal storage).

“OnePlus is consistently exploring opportunities to fuel its growth and meet the needs of more users, by starting to strategically diversify into new product categories and new price points but, at the same time, not compromising on our OnePlus promise,” Nakra told IANS.

OnePlus Nord series is also likely to get new entrants this month, according to multiple reports.

The rumoured OnePlus Nord N10 5G and OnePlus Nord N100 are said to be launching as soon as the end of October, first in the US market.

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Sensex in red amid volatility on global cues

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Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). (File Photo: IANS)
Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). (File Photo: IANS)

Amid a largely volatile trade, the key Indian equity indices traded in negative on Thursday morning.

Weakness across Asian markets and fading hopes of a further stimulus in the US, weighed down on the investor sentiments, analysts said.

At 10.25 a.m., Sensex was trading at 40,643.97, lower by 150.77 points or 0.37 per cent from its previous close of 40,794.74.

It opened at 41,048.05 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 41,048.05 and a low of 40,541.13 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was trading at 11,953.30, lower by 17.75 points or 0.15 per cent from the previous close.

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US stocks drop as stimulus hopes wane

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New York Stock Exchange. (File Photo: IANS)
New York Stock Exchange. (File Photo: IANS)

Wall Street’s major averages finished lower on Wednesday as investors grew concerned over the uncertain fate of a US coronavirus stimulus deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 165.81 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 28,514.00. The S&P 500 fell 23.26 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 3,488.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 95.17 points, or 0.80 per cent, to 11,768.73, Xinhua news agency reported.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors declined, with consumer discretionary down 1.43 per cent, leading the laggards. Industrials closed up 0.54 per cent, the best-performing group.

US-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower, with six of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P US Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.

Investors continued to look for clues on new stimulus. An impasse among US lawmakers in Washington has somewhat dimmed hopes that more Covid-19 relief aid would come to fruition before the election.

“We have two sides that are very far apart in terms of arriving at some form of stimulus, and I do not think it is likely we see a breakthrough before the election,” Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note on Wednesday.

Looking ahead, analysts said markets will remain sensitive to news of fiscal support in the lead-up to the election.

Meanwhile, Wall Street pored through newly-released earnings reports.

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday delivered quarterly results that well exceeded consensus estimates. Its shares rose 0.2 per cent.

Bank of America shares fell more than 5 per cent after its earnings topped expectations and overall revenue missed estimates.

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