NEET 2019: Apply online fron Today at ntaneet.nic.in; Check for Documents required

The National Testing Agency has activated the online application submission link for the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) at ntaneet.nic.in. Earlier CBSE conducted the medical entrance exam. The applicants who clear NEET are eligible to seek admission to MBBS/BDS courses.

In 2018, 13 lakh students took the exam and a similar number of students are expected to appear for NEET 2019. Just like last year, this year too, NEET will be a single exam in the pen-and-paper mode as intimated by the NTA.

Here are a few important dates that you can circle on your calendar. The registrations for NEET are open till November 30, 2018. The admit cards will be available for download from April 15, 2019 onwards and the exam will be held on May 5.

NEET UG 2019: Important dates

  • Online submission of application forms: November 1 to November 30
  • Online fees: November 1 to December 1
  • Online correction of data in application form: January 14 to January 31
  • Admit card release: April 15
  • Exam date: May 5
  • Result date: June 5

Application fees: Rs 1400 for general category and Rs 750 for SC/ST/PwD/Transgender

Documents required for filling NEET 2019 application

The list of documents needed by the candidates includes:

  1. Class 10 marksheet
  2. Class 12 marksheet.
  3. Scanned copy of candidate’s passport sized photograph.
  4. Scanned copy of candidate’s signature.
  5. Valid ID proof like Aadhaar card or Voter ID card.
  6. NEET UG 2019: Exam pattern and syllabus

The NEET is a three-hour long exam which includes three sections – physics, chemistry and biology. Of the total 180 questions, 90 would be from biology and 45 each from physics and chemistry. The syllabus includes the whole of Class 11 and 12 standard NCERT textbooks in the respective subjects. Every correct answer would fetch you plus four marks while every incorrect answer results in a negative mark. Questions that are not attempted do not have any penalty marks.

Earlier, the Union HRD Ministry had decided to conduct NEET and JEE twice a year but have to roll back their decision the medical exam.

Adani Power’s Net Up by 22%

Adani Power (ADL) disclosed its consolidated net profit which rose by 22 percent amounting to 89 crore in the quarter ended September 30, 2018.

The company had earned net profit of Rs 316.88 crore during the same period a year ago, country’s largest private thermal power producer said in a regulatory filing.

Its total income rose to Rs 7,657.23 crore in the quarter under review from Rs 6,414.65 crore in July-September of 2017-18 fiscal.

ADL’s total expenses during the said quarter were at Rs 6,955.35 crore, higher from Rs 6,101.27 in the year-ago quarter.

In a separate statement, ADL said the finance cost for second quarter of 2018-19 fiscal was Rs 1,407 crore as compared to Rs 1,389 crore in the year-ago quarter.

“The increase in finance cost was primarily due to higher borrowing during the quarter, which was partially offset by gains on forex hedges”, it said.

It further said that the average Plant Load Factor (PLF) achieved during the second quarter of FY 2018-19 was 65 percent higher as compared to 63 percent achieved in the second quarter of FY 2017-18.

This growth was on account of better coal availability and strong demand from DISCOMs, the company said.

Commenting on the results, Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Power said, “We are pleased to note the progress in ensuring sustainable operations of the Mundra power plant, with the Hon’ble Supreme Court permitting the Gujarat Government to approach the CERC for implementation of recommendations made by the High Power Committee.

“We have also received other important Regulatory and judicial approvals for compensation claims of our projects at Tiroda and Kawai. With the quick ramp up of coal supplies under SHAKTI, we firmly believe that these developments will help the plants achieve cash flow certainty and improvement in long-term profitability. We remain committed to our goal of catering to India’s growing power demand and contributing significantly to its economic growth.”

Adani Power (APL), a part of the diversified Adani Group, is the largest private thermal power producer in India.

Delhi Air Pollution: Residents are breathing Lethal Cocktail of Pollutants

Residents of Delhi-NCR have been breathing-in a lethal cocktail of pollutants for a while and the situation has turned grave this year as well with Air Quality Index dipping to ‘severe’ levels in bordering Ghaziabad. However, we seem to be alarmingly nonchalant when it comes to understanding the severity of the situation as it makes us prone to irreversible damage with each breath we take.

Millions of people residing in Delhi and nearby areas of Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad are coughing and going about their daily lives without understanding the deep impact this toxic air has on us and our loved ones. When you take in the polluted air of Delhi-NCR, you breathe-in heavy dust particles, pollen, dead skin cells, aerosols, bacteria, house dust mite allergens, cement dust, fly ash, tobacco smoke and soot among others.

Such a cocktail of hazardous pollutants in the air can, and will, make you sick, really sick.

Garbage and open defecation woes

The open garbage dumps across Delhi-NCR and open defecation all over the city makes it a breeding ground for disgusting and disease-causing bacteria, viruses and mould spores. If you can smell it, the molecules of these microbes are already in your nose!

Particulate Matter – Your life in danger

Now, let us understand what breathing this dust-filled air does to your body. Heavy dust with PM 10 can lead to silicosis, an illness that occurs when a person breathes this kind of dust for a long period. The fine silica particles can lead to scarring of lungs, leading to lung cancer.

It does not mean that fine Particulate Matter (PM) is less harmful. In fact, PM 2.5 is a type of pollutant that Delhi-NCR is particularly riddled with and is associated with a bigger impact on our health. Since the particles are minute and light, they tend to reach the lungs faster and have a deeper impact on lung function.

PM 2.5 is more dangerous for another reason, these particles are lighter and don’t settle down easily. Instead, PM 2.5 tends to circulate in the air freely and is a major trigger of ailments like asthma, bronchitis and even heart attack. It is for this reason that every year around Diwali, there is a spike in cases of deaths due to cardiovascular failure.

Lethal impact on vulnerable groups

The impact of Delhi’s air pollution is more damaging on children, elderly and pregnant women. School-going kids stand at an astounding risk of contracting respiratory diseases in this situation and pollutants can irreversibly damage their health. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, 6 lakh children die globally due to air pollution and India is high on the list with 1,00,000 children dying nationwide due to air pollution.

Bitter pill

The numbers are in our face, the pollution is in our lungs. If we don’t switch to greener modes of travel and power consumption, the day is not far when we would be gasping for painful breaths, wishing we had done something about the situation when we were warned and had the time…

 

A Shocker for Tata Auto Industry- JLR’s Profits Plummets

Tata Motors Ltd’s dismal Q2 results poses serious threats to the survival of the company. Even as its domestic entity is bouncing back, the deterioration in sales of its UK subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc (JLR) is now a festering wound.

Compared to a contraction in sales of 5.1% year-on-year in the June quarter, JLR’s sales fell by 14.7% in the September quarter. The “unanticipated surprise”, as the management phrased it, was China’s severe 43.8% drop in sales— a pathetic show given that the drop was 7.7% for the industry as a whole. Weaker consumer confidence and tariff uncertainties due to US-China trade tensions were blamed.

The story in the US and UK markets was equally woeful, though the reasons were different—lower demand for diesel vehicles, market cyclicality and Brexit-linked issues. Sales in these two regions contracted by 4.6% and 11.4%, respectively.

All this translated into weak cash flows as revenues were not sufficient to cover costs and drive profits. JLR’s Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) margin drop of 270 basis points year-on-year to 9.1% dragged down the consolidated margin of Tata Motors too down by 130 basis points to 9.9%. One hundred basis points equal one percentage points.

JLR’s sales weakness overshadowed the firm’s domestic operations which showed a good 33% year-on-year jump in net revenue for the September quarter.

Tata Motors’ decision to prune capex spends in JLR from £4.5 billion to £4 billion in FY19 and FY20, is a telling signal on the need for tight cost control and also a commentary on the growth outlook. Analysts say that while the firm has been proactive in launching new models, incumbents such as Daimler AG, BMW AG and Audi pose stiff competition.

JLR’s loss was a tad lower than that posted in the June quarter. But it dragged down the consolidated loss to ₹1,001 crore, far more than Bloomberg’s estimated loss of ₹874 crore.

Given these strong headwinds, the stock that trades at ₹178, is unlikely to offer any succour to investors soon. Any news on China’s intent to ease taxes on automobiles to arrest falling sales may see the stock light up momentarily. Otherwise, it is a painful road ahead for both the company and investors.

“Public Interest Is Our Priority”, Says Government; RBI’s Autonomy Will Remain Same

Clearing the air of uncertainty swirling around RBI and Centre, the government averred that the two directions issued to RBI in accordance with Section 7 are in the public interest only and will not hamper the autonomy of the monetary regulatory authority of India.

The government issued two specific directions to RBI and made a reference to Section 7 of the RBI Act, under which it can give directions to the central bank to take certain actions “in the public interest”. One is on opening a special liquidity window for NBFCs and the other is to relax the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) norms for at least three banks of the 11 in the PCA list.

It is also learnt that in its communication with the RBI, the government sought the central bank’s views on the formula for calculation of its reserves and the consequent surplus transfer to the Centre to partly address the issue of liquidity shortage in financial markets.

The Finance Ministry statement follows its note to RBI Governor Urjit Patel citing its special powers over RBI under Section 7. “The autonomy for the Central Bank, within the framework of the RBI Act, is an essential and accepted governance requirement. Governments in India have nurtured and respected this. Both the Government and the Central Bank, in their functioning, have to be guided by public interest and the requirements of the Indian economy,” said the statement.

The BSE Sensex, in the green during early trade, made significant gains after the Ministry announcement to close 550 points or 1.6 per cent higher at 34,442 on Wednesday. The RBI board is set to meet on November 19, 2018.

The Ministry statement made no reference to Section 7 of the RBI Act, which has never been invoked before. Section 7(1) of the RBI Act states: “The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest.” This is seen as impinging upon the RBI’s autonomy and undermining the authority of the Governor.

The Ministry said that in its consultations, it places assessment on issues and presents possible solutions.

“For the purpose, extensive consultations on several issues take place between the Government and the RBI from time to time. This is equally true of all other regulators. Government of India has never made public the subject matter of those consultations,” it said.

“Only the final decisions taken are communicated. The Government, through these consultations, places its assessment on issues and suggests possible solutions. The Government will continue to do so,” it said.

Indian Railways reduces fares and discontinues Flexi-fares in some trains

In a relief to passengers, the Railways has dispensed with flexi-fares in 15 trains completely. The scheme will no longer be applicable in 32 trains during lean periods, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said Wednesday, adding that flexi fares have also been reduced from 1.5 to 1.4 times the base ticket in 101 trains.

“As a gift to passengers this festive season, Railways has decided to reduce Flexi Fares from 1.5 to 1.4 times the base ticket fare, and to completely remove Flexi Fares from trains with less than 50 per cent occupancy,” the minister tweeted. “Win-Win Situation: The reduction of Flexi Fares is going to benefit both the passengers that can now avail tickets at cheaper rates, as well the Railways that will see a surge in demand and occupancy,” he said.

The decision was taken after a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report in July had flagged the dipping occupancy level since the scheme was introduced in September 2016 and had recommended rationalisation of flexi-fare.

On September 9, 2016, the railways had introduced flexi-fare for premier trains: 44 Rajdhani, 52 Duronto and 46 Shatabdi Express trains, PTI reported. Under this, the base fare increases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for first AC and economy class.

Aircel-Maxis case: Court extends P Chidambaram’s Interim Protection till Nov 26

A Delhi court Thursday extended interim protection from arrest to Congress leader P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till November 26 in the Aircel Maxis money laundering case filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The Patiala House Court has fixed the next date of hearing on November 26.

The court had on October 8 extended till November 1 the interim protection to Chidambaram and his son, and scheduled the hearing for today. The ED had yesterday opposed Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea and sought custodial interrogation of the former union minister in the money laundering case, alleging that he was not cooperating in the probe and therefore grant of anticipatory bail at this stage would be highly detrimental to the investigation.

The agency said that the investigation pertaining to FIPB approval alleged to be fraudulently granted by Chidambaram has got several dimensions having wide ramifications for which investigation has been concluded to some extent and with regard to certain issues was still going on, reported sources.

Chidambaram had filed the plea for protection from arrest in the ED case on May 30 this year after which he got relief from the court on various occasions. The agency on October 25 had filed chargesheet against Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, accusing him of conspiring with foreign investors to clear their venture.

US Contemplating Waivers for Iran Oil Importers

Wiping out the apprehensions of United States of America’s allies regarding sanctions over Iran’s trade, US national security adviser John Bolton avowed on Wednesday, the pro- trade intentions of US.

“Trump administration does not intend to harm oil importing countries which hold a major stake in Iran. Therefore, to avert the chaos US is planning to give waivers some of the major oil importers of Iran” added Bolton.

The United States is preparing to impose the new sanctions on Iran’s oil industry after Washington withdrew from a nuclear deal between Tehran and other global powers earlier this year, but is also considering offering waivers to some allies that rely on Iranian supplies.

“We want to achieve maximum pressure but we don’t want to harm friends and allies either,” Bolton said in a talk at the Hamilton Society.

Bolton said the administration understands that a number of countries, some close geographically to Iran which he visited last week, and others “may not be able to go all the way, all the way to zero immediately.” It was a more conciliatory tone about the sanctions from Bolton, a proponent of being tough on Iran and winding down its crude exports to zero.

Still, Bolton said that consequences can already be seen in Iran including the collapse of the rial, its currency. “I think it’s important that we not relax in the effort,” he said.

In a presidential memorandum addressed to secretaries of State, Treasury and Energy, Trump said he determined there was sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products elsewhere than Iran to permit a reduction in purchases from the Islamic Republic.

Under the law, the U.S. president must periodically issue a “determination” on whether there is sufficient supply in the market from non-Iranian sources for countries to significantly cut their Iranian purchases.

The administration’s renewed sanctions are set to come into effect on Nov. 5.

Under U.S. law, Washington can sanction the financial institutions of foreign countries that fail to significantly reduce their purchases of Iranian oil and petroleum products.

The purpose of the law, which came into effect during the Obama administration, was to put pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear program by forcing its major oil customers to reduce their purchases.

Three of Iran’s five largest buyers of crude – China, India and Turkey – have resisted calls by Washington to end their oil purchases outright.

This week South Korea asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “maximum flexibility” on its request for a waiver to prevent companies there from being hit by the sanctions. Other countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, depend on some imports from Iran.

The administration has said it is considering waivers on a case-by-case basis.

Collision Between RAW and Fugitives? Centre to Initiate an Enquiry

Disgruntled over his transfer to Port Blair, AK Bassi on Monday moved to court where he insinuated at the collusion between RAW’s head of the Research and Analysis Wing’s West Asia operations, Samant Goel and the two absconding two Dubai-based brothers named as suspects in an ongoing bribery investigation.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Deputy Superintendent of Police Ajay Kumar Bassi apprised the Apex court, that the agency had intercepted a conversation between RAW’s Goel and banker Somesh Prasad, warning the Dubai-based fugitive not to return to India ‘at any cost’.

In addition, Bassi’s pleadings say that the arrest of Prasad’s brother, Manoj Prasad, on 18 October, sparked off a series of phone conversations between him, Goel, and Rakesh Asthana — the CBI second-in-command at the heart of the still-unfolding crisis in the agency.

Bassi was among two officers involved in investigating Asthana when the government sent both the CBI second-in-command and his boss, Alok Verma, on leave. His Supreme Court plea — which claims he is being persecuted by the agency for investigating Asthana — does not allege Goel received payoffs.

However, Bassi’s plea suggests Goel maintained an inappropriate relationship the Prasad brothers, despite knowing they were the subjects of a criminal investigation.

RAW chief Anil Dhasmana had been pushing for Goel’s elevation to the top job, bypassing two more-senior officials. K Illango, the second-in-command at RAW, has extensive experience in both Kashmir and Sri Lanka, and R Kumar is an offensive-operations expert considered among the most able professionals to have ever worked in the organisation.

However, one RAW official said, “Once it became clear that the Prasad brothers were sought in criminal proceedings, it was simply unacceptable for Goel to have maintained the relationship. RAW cannot and ought not to offer deals to Indian nationals sought by Indian authorities for crimes against the Indian state.”