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Saturday,08-May-2021

Business

Air India no longer accepting withdrawal of resignations

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Air-India

Air India has informed employees that it is no longer accepting withdrawals of resignations and several cabin crew employees are being relieved as the national carrier has said implicitly “it does not have the financial ability to pay”.

It is also learnt that a number of cabin crew were terminated on Thursday night by Air India.

A letter reviewed by IANS from Air India’s personnel department to a pilot makes the company’s stand clear. An employee had resigned due to non-payment of salaries but thereafter withdrew the resignation.

Air India personnel department said in the letter that this request for withdrawal of resignation cannot be acceded to. “Having considered your request, please be informed that the Company is no longer accepting any withdrawal of resignation”, Air India said.

It said this is in consonance with the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case Air India Express and Others versus Capt Gurdarshan Kaur Sandhu where the apex court was pleased to settle the law in relation to withdrawal of resignations so far as pilots were concerned.

“The court while examining the purpose of notice period, held that given the nature of pilot’s job requiring long training periods and costs would fall in the exception and the general laws on withdrawal of resignation would not apply to him,” Air India said.

“You would further appreciate that the company is already severely strained financially. Further the global pandemic Covid-19 has resulted in extraordinary and exceptional circumstances by gravely reducing the commercial functioning of the company leading to redundancies,” it said.

“The current operations are a small fraction of the pre-Covid levels and are unlikely to increase in the near foreseeable future. The company is incurring huge net losses and does not have the financial ability to pay,” Air India said.

Business

Big relief to jewellers on mandatory hallmarking

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Jewellery

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court passed an interim order on May 7 which stops Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) from taking any coercive action on jewellers across India or impose penalty on those who may not comply with BIA (BIS Act, 2016) regulations, Section 29(2) on mandatory hallmarking due to the lack of adequate infrastructure in terms of assaying and hallmarking centres.

The Court ruled: “The contention is that the new regulation making it compulsory to hallmark gold jewellery before it is stored or sold, which has to come into force w.e.f. 1st June 2021, is likely to result in great hardships to lakhs of jewellers in India and their number is stated to be 5 lakhs.”

The writ petition was filed by All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC), which is the industry’s apex domestic Council that ensures promotion, protection and progress of jewellers. GJC was represented in court by counsel, Rohan Shah.

Ashish Pethe, Chairman, All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) stated, “Courts have seen the hardship of the jewellers. The order stated that further contention is that in proportion to such multitude of jewellers in India – the percentage of hallmarking centres available in India, is just about 34% of the 733 districts in the country and that there are at least 488 districts in the country, which do not have any hallmarking centres. It is further submitted that there are about 6,000 crore pieces of jewellery, which still need to be hallmarked.”

Nitin Khandelwal, Past Chairman, GJC, said, “Courts have been reasonable and strict with BIS as further contention is that if there is any breach of the said mandate of law as provided under Sections 14 and 15 of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016 (BIS Act), there is a penalty in offence as provided under Section 29 of the BIS Act, 2016 punishable with maximum imprisonment of one year. It is also submitted that within the time available, it could not be possible for all the jewellers and for every piece of jewellery presently available to be hallmarked before these provisions of law come into force.”

Saiyam Mehra, Vice Chairman, GJC, commented, “It is further submitted that there are also other problems arising out of the present COVID restrictions, which prevent a person to travel from one district to another district and that there are several districts, which do not have any hallmarking centres yet. And the court has in the meanwhile, directed that no coercive action shall be taken against the jewellers under Section 29(2) of the BIS Act, 2016, till next date of hearing on 14th June 2021. This is a big relief to the jewellers who shall now be fully protected from any actions from BIS even though they may wish to still go ahead with mandatory hallmarking.”

Dinesh Jain, Director, GJC who represented GJC in the writ petition filed, commented, “The writ has been admitted on merit and notice has been issued to BIS and all respondents. BIS is wise enough to know what to do in such a situation and we are sure that BIS shall not proceed with mandatory hallmarking without doing their homework properly. GJC is fully supporting Hallmarking and pray in the writ petition that a ‘High Level Committee’ be constituted by Honourable court to streamline and resolve all issues for the benefit of Consumers, Jewellers and core objective of BIS.”

All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) represents over 5,00,000 players comprising manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, laboratories, gemmologists, designers, and allied services to the domestic Gems & Jewellery industry.

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Business

RBI extends restrictions on Millath Co-op Bank by 3 months

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Reserve-Bank-of-India

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the restrictions on Karnataka-based Millath Co-operative Bank by three months, till August 8, 2021.

As per RBI’s directions, the co-operative bank shall not, without prior approval of RBI in writing grant or renew any loans and advances, make any investment, incur any liability including borrowal of funds and acceptance of fresh deposits, disburse or agree to disburse any payment whether in discharge of its liabilities and obligations or otherwise.

The bank would also not enter into any compromise or arrangement and sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of its properties or assets.

Further, the central also imposed a withdrawal limit of Rs 1,000 from every savings or current account or any other deposit account.

The restrictions were first imposed in May, 2019 and have been extended thereafter. It was last extended till May 7, 2021.

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Business

RIL to fly in Israeli experts for detection of Covid cases

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Covid

Reliance Industries (RIL) has sought permission to fly a team of experts from Israel to India to train and install a rapid Covid-19 identification solution, a source who spoke on assurance of anonymity said.

Reliance signed the deal in January this year with Breath of Health (BOH) to distribute the firm’s swift Covid-19 breath testing system. The system developed by Israeli medical technology company identifies coronavirus carriers and patients in the early stages of the disease by exhalation and the results will be available within seconds. A mail sent to RIL remained unanswered.

Reliance signed a $15 million deal with Israeli company Breath of Health (BOH) to distribute the company’s swift Covid-19 breath testing system in India.

According to the agreement, RIL will purchase hundreds of systems from the Israeli company in a deal valued at $15 million and will use them to conduct millions of tests a month at a cost of $ 10 million per month

BOH is said to have developed a breath test system that identifies Covid-19 at a success rate of over 95 per cent.

Business portal Calcalist reported that B.O.H developed a breath test system that identifies Covid-19 at a success rate of over 95 per cent. Preliminary results from clinical trials it is conducting with Israeli hospitals Hadassah Medical Center and the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer have shown a success rate of 98% compared to the standard PCR test authorized by global medical organizations.

The development of B.O.H’s system began two years ago and was initially meant to provide early detection for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and lung disease. The company’s scientists decided to focus on adapting the system to detect Covid-19 following the outbreak of the pandemic, recognizing that it could be a crucial tool in the fight against the virus until the arrival of the vaccines, the report said.

B.O.H CEO Arie Laor said that the company had operated under the radar to date in order to focus on its clinical trials and the development of its system. Laor added that the agreement will help to accelerate the trials and that he is expecting results to be announced in the coming weeks.

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