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  • 8 Goa Congress MLAs Likely To Join BJP Today: Sources


    Barely two months after the Congress looked to have staved off a defection bid, eight of its 11 MLAs led by top leaders Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo will join the ruling BJP later today, sources said. They met the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, besides Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. If eight MLAs break away as a group — two thirds of the party strength, that is — they can avoid disqualification under the anti-defection law. 

    This morning, the MLAs' meeting with the Speaker sparked speculations as the assembly is not in session. State BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade then told news agency PTI that they are joining the party.

    Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo were at the centre of the switchover speculation in July, and the Congress had even asked the speaker to disqualify them under the anti-defection law.


    Mr Kamat, a former chief minister, had said he was "shocked and stunned" at the allegations of leading a division. Even Michael Lobo, whom the Congress removed as Leader of Opposition, had claimed there was "no talk of any division". Mr Lobo had switched from the BJP to Congress just before the elections earlier this year.

    The Congress was singed in a similar fashion in 2019, when two-thirds of its assembly strength — 10 of 15 MLAs — defected to the BJP, which is why the party this year made its candidates take a loyalty vow.

    Yet, the latest defection wasn't entirely unexpected, even though in July the Congress managed to keep at least seven of its MLAs with it. There was no final move by the four others, who included — besides Mr Lobo and Mr Kamat —  Kedar Naik and Delilah Lobo, Mr Lobo's wife. 

    Senior leader Mukul Wasnik had been deputed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to handle the crisis, and he appeared to have stopped it.

    Or not quite, going by today's developments.

    The latest reports of defection come when the Congress is holding a Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March), led by Rahul Gandhi, while the BJP has been taking jibes: "Unite your party first."

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  • ₹ 2,000 Notes To Be Scrapped, Exchange Them By This Date, Will Remain Legal Tender

    The central bank has said it will withdraw ₹ 2,000 notes from circulation and people can exchange or deposit them in their bank accounts by September 30. The Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) 19 regional offices and other banks will start taking ₹ 2,000 notes for exchange with lower denomination one from May 23. They will remain legal tender, the RBI said. 


    The RBI has told all banks to stop issuing ₹ 2,000 notes immediately.


    The RBI started printing the ₹ 2,000 note in November 2016 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped high-value ₹ 1,000 and ₹ 500 notes overnight.




    "The objective of introducing ₹ 2,000 banknotes was met once banknotes in other denominations became available in adequate quantities. Therefore, printing of ₹ 2000 banknotes was stopped in 2018- 19," the RBI said in a statement.


    "In order to ensure operational convenience and to avoid disruption of regular activities of bank branches, exchange of ₹ 2,000 banknotes into banknotes of other denominations can be made up to a limit of ₹ 20,000 at a time at any bank starting from May 23, 2023," the RBI said.


    The central bank said people can deposit or exchange for lower denomination notes till September 30.


    The central bank said this note is not commonly used for transactions. The RBI had undertaken a similar withdrawal of notes from circulation in 2013-2014.

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  • India's #forex reserves increase by $1.153 billion to $585.895 billion during week ended October 13, according to RBI data.

    After multiple weeks of decline, India's forex reserves increased by $1.153 billion to $585.895 billion during the week ended Oct. 13, according to the RBI data. In the previous reporting week, the overall reserves had dropped by $2.166 billion to $584.742 billion.

    In October 2021, the country's forex kitty reached an all-time high of $645 billion. The reserves took a hit as the central bank deployed the reserves to defend the rupee amid pressures caused majorly by global developments since last year. For the week ended Oct. 13, the foreign currency assets, a major component of the reserves, decreased by $178 million to $519.351 billion, according to the Weekly Statistical Supplement released by the RBI. Expressed in dollar terms, the foreign currency assets include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-U.S. units like the euro, pound and yen held in the foreign exchange reserves.

    Gold reserves were up by $1.268 billion to $43.575 billion during the week, the RBI said. The Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) were up by $72 million to $17.995 billion, the apex bank said. India's reserve position with the IMF was down by $8 million to $4.975 billion in the reporting week, the apex bank data showed.

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