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100% Neem Coating of Urea improves Soil Health, boosts Yields and curbs Diversion: DACFW Study
Minister of State for Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya, while giving a written reply to a question on benefits of Neem Coated Urea in Rajya Sabha today, said that the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) conducted a study to determine the impact of Neem Coated Urea that clearly demonstrates the benefits of the of the scheme, as detailed ahead. Shri Mandaviya informed that the interim report prepared by Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Centre (ADRTC), Bengaluru has been submitted by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW). The brief findings of the study are as follows: · Improvement in soil health; · Reduction in costs with respect to plant protection chemicals; · Reduction in pest and disease attack; · An increase in yield of paddy, sugarcane, maize, soybean and tur/red gram to an extent of 5.79%, 17.5%, 7.14%, 7.4% and 16.88% respectively; · Diversion of highly subsidized urea towards non-agricultural purposes negligible among farmers after the introduction of the mandatory policy of production and distribution of only Neem coated urea. The Minister said that the availability of Urea during 2015-16 and in the current year is more than the requirement and sales. Further, some State Governments have reduced their requirement which was initially projected. There is no report of shortages received from any of the State Government. It is, therefore, perceived that Neem Coating of Urea has helped in curbing the diversion.
PM Narendra Modi booster shot propels Khadi sales; country takes to desi product with gusto
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time to time pitched for using khadi products. Recent figures have shown that PM Modi’s push has not gone in vain. So much so, that last year, the industry raked up Rs 50,000 crore in sales for the first time, according to The Times of India report. The data was released by Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC). The list of institutions willing to use these products is expanding too. Recently, it was learned that Khadi products like bed-sheets, dressing towels, surgeon gowns and herbal shampoos will soon make their way into government hospitals across the country. “We are expecting orders worth around Rs 150 crore from government hospitals under the Union Health Ministry spread across the country in the current financial year,” KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena told PTI. This is one of the several initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi government to revive the once-ailing village industry. Earlier, PM Modi had said the sale of khadi products had gone up by almost 125 percent since he urged the people to opt for the hand-woven cotton fabric. “I was told that khadi sales increased by almost 125 percent,” Modi said on the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on All India Radio, according to the IANS report. “I urged people to purchase khadi last time. I never said become khadiwadi but I said buy some khadi. There was an increase in khadi (sales),” he added. KVIC Chief Executive Officer Arun Kumar Jha told IANS PM Modi’s appeal had provided a much-needed fillip to khadi.
|903||PM reviews performance of key infrastructure sectors|
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, on Tuesday reviewed progress of key infrastructure sectors including roads, railways, airports, ports, digital, and coal. The review was attended by PMO, NITI Aayog and all infrastructure Ministries In a broad overview of the progress in the roads and railways sectors, the Prime Minister called for a consolidated approach to existing projects, and working towards their completion within strict timelines. _____ Road ¯¯¯¯¯ 1]The highest ever average daily construction rate of 130 km, 2] addition of 47,400 km of PMGSY roads in 2016-17. 3] 11,641 additional habitations have been connected with roads in the same period. 4]Over 4000 km of rural roads have been constructed using green technology in FY17. 5]The use of non-conventional materials such as waste plastic, cold mix, geo-textiles, fly ash, iron and copper slag is being pushed aggressively. The Prime Minister directed efficient and stringent monitoring of rural roads construction and their quality. For this, he emphasized on use of space technology in addition to the technologies already being used, such as the “Meri Sadak” App. He called for expeditious completion of vital links which will connect the remaining unconnected habitations at the earliest. The Prime Minister directed the use of new technologies in road construction also. He asked NITI Aayog to examine global standards in the application of technology for infrastructure creation, and their feasibility in India. 6]In the highways sector, over 26,000 km of 4 or 6 lane national highways have been built in FY17, and the pace is improving. _____ Rail ¯¯¯¯¯ In the railways sector, 1]953 km of new lines were laid in 2016-17, as against the target of 400 km. 2]Track electrification of over 2000 km 3] gauge conversion of over 1000 km was achieved in the same period. 4]More than 1500 unmanned level crossings have been eliminated in 2016-17. 5]Wi-Fi access was enabled in 115 railway stations, 34,000 bio-toilets added.
Big boost to Make in India in defence: Country’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant inaugurated
India’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant was today inaugurated here which will supply world class weapons to the armed forces in sync with the country’s defence indigenisation programme. The plant, a joint venture between India’s Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Systems, will produce four products — X95 carbine and assault rifle, Galil sniper rifle, Tavor assault rifle and Negev Light Machine Gun (LMG). The facility was thrown open by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The commissioning of the plant comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Israel during which a number of mega defence deals are likely to be sealed. India is the largest buyer of Israel’s military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapon systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains. Speaking on the occasion, Michel Ben-Baruch, Head of SIBAT, Israel Ministry of Defence said his country will continue to support transfer of technology to India for defence production.
|905||Modi govt’s Ujjwala scheme leaves women healthier, happier|
They are healthier, their homes are cleaner and they have more time to themselves, say most beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, the Centre’s flagship scheme to provide LPG connections to below-poverty-line households. A survey undertaken by financial consulting firm MicroSave in 12 districts of eastern, central and western Uttar Pradesh, revealed that nearly all of the beneficiaries of the scheme switched to cooking on gas as soon as the LPG cylinders were made available. For women, who are the chief beneficiaries of the scheme, the assessments revealed that cooking on gas stoves helped save at least 1-2 hours daily, which they used for leisure activities or other household pursuits. This was partly because cooking on gas was faster, and because it saved them the time and effort needed to go out to collect firewood. “They reported spending time chatting with their neighbours, resting, or even doing other household work,” said Manoj Sharma, Director, MicroSave Asia. Half way there Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016, at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, over 2.17 crore BPL families in 694 districts across the country have received LPG connections under the PMUY. The scheme intends to make available 5 crore LPG connections over 3 years to women in BPL families, with each household being provided a financial assistance of Rs. 1,600. The upfront payment required for an LPG connection is waived so as to make the scheme more attractive. The BPL families are identified in consultation with the governments of States and Union Territories. The survey also revealed that women found their houses to be cleaner now, in the absence of smoke emissions that would earlier come with using biomass and firewood, staining their utensils and roofs with soot. The lack of smoke had also reduced health problems in women, such as burning sensation in the eyes, coughing and even headaches.
Modi government plans a slew of rail links in Northeast to connect with neighbours
South Asia Satellite is one of several steps that the Narendra Modi government is pushing for effective regional integration with a slew of rail links being planned in the Northeast to connect with neighbours, and BBIN getting a boost following Bhutan’s intimation to remaining three countries to go ahead with the Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) while it settles internal contradictions before joining the initiative. Within days of the launch of South Asia Satellite that underscores the PM’s motto of ‘Saabka Sath, Saabka Vikash’, railways is launching faster trains to connect Itanagar with the rest of India besides starting several big and small rail links in the landlocked and hilly Northeast. These rail links will get connected across the border in Bangladesh as part of the sub-regional cooperation at a time when Pakistan continues to be intransigent on concluding SAARC Motor Vehicles and Rail .. Recently, the Centre has commissioned one of the longest rail connectivity projects in the Northeast that covers 420.90 km between Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Tripura which has minimal rail connectivity is also getting linked with the larger Northeastern rail network. “This provides a strong lead to BBIN, BIMSTEC and ASEAN connectivity initiatives as part of India's Act East Policy,” said an official familiar with the processes. “Railway system in Northeast India is getting improved. Logistics cost is getting reduced and timelines of goods is getting better. This is not only important for national infrastructure, but also crucial to strengthening the country's connectivity and competitiveness. Reflecting on PM's inclusive democracy, Northeastern states are now getting well integrated within the country,” explained Prabir De, one of the foremost experts on cross-border connectivity and chair of Asean-India Centre in Delh .. Meanwhile, implementation of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) MVA which was expected to slow down following Thimpu’s delay in ratifying the pact, has now received a boost with the Bhutan government officially conveying to the remaining three partners recently to go ahead with MVA. Bhutan would join the initiative once it settles internal contradictions, informed a person familiar with the matter. Both Houses of Bhutan’s Parliament discussed the matter last week and will take it up next w .. The remaining three partners – Bangladesh, India and Nepal -- will rework routes of MVA among themselves and each of them will amend protocols of the agreement separately to implement the sub-regional initiative that was put in place after the 2014 SAARC Summit in Kathmandu that could not conclude pan-South Asia MVA and the railways pact.
|907||Railways starts firing officers convicted of corruption|
In a first, the Indian Railways has quietly started terminating the services of officers who have been convicted in corruption cases. In the past six months, four senior officers from zonal railways across the country have been removed from service, signalling a new, tough stance that the government will no longer allow convicted officers to continue enjoying salaries and perks while they fight court cases against their conviction. A list of 30 officers has been prepared at all levels across India, including Joint Secretary grade, who stand convicted by the CBI for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, like taking bribes and possessing assets disproportionate to their income. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently remarked that strict action must be taken against all railway officers under the scanner of the CBI and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). For years, the Indian Railways has been topping the CVC list of corruption complaints against government officers. This year, the list saw a 67 per cent jump with Railways topping the list with 11,000 complaints in the total pool of 49,847 complaints across the government.
|908||Now, register vehicle, apply for licenses from home|
In the near future, citizens of the state will be able to register their vehicles and apply for licenses from the comfort of their homes. The state government will soon adopt the Union ministry's online system, the citizen-centric application Vahan 4.0 and Sarathi 4.0 aimed at simplifying the issuance process and going digital. Across the country, 85 road transport offices under Vahan 4.0 and 235 road transport offices under Sarathi 4.0 have been brought to the centralized platform, which includes Goa. Both these applications are upgradations of the existing systems - Vahan 2.0 and Sarathi 2.0 - at the state department's RTOs. The Union ministry had entrusted National Informatics Centre (NIC) the task of standardizing and deploying the softwares - Vahan for vehicle registration and Sarathi for driving licenses and compilation of data - in both the state and national register.
L&T bags its biggest defence order worth Rs 4,500 crore to supply self-propelled guns to Indian Army
Larsen & Toubro bagged its biggest defence order worth Rs. 4,500 crore to supply gun systems to the Indian army, the engineering company said in a statement on Friday. L&T will supply 100 units of 155mm/52 calibre Tracked Self-Propelled Gun systems to the Indian army over 42 months. “This is our biggest order and it gives us revenue visibility for the next three and a half years,” Jayant Patil, head of defence and aerospace at L&T, told ET.
I-T raids 22 locations over benami land deals linked to Lalu Prasad Yadav
The Income Tax department today conducted raids and surveys on at least 22 locations in Delhi and adjoining areas on charges of alleged benami deals worth Rs 1,000 crore linked to RJD chief Lalu Prasad and others. Officials said the department began raiding the premises of some prominent businessmen and real estate agents in Delhi, Gurgaon, Rewari and few others since early morning. The searches are also being conducted at the premises of the son of RJD MP P C Gupta and few other businessmen. While raids are being conducted at a dozen locations, ten other official premises are being surveyed by the I-T department, they said. "People and businessmen connected to the land deal involving Lalu Prasad and his family are being searched. There are allegations of benami deals worth about Rs 1,000 crore and subsequent tax evasion," a senior official said. A team of about 100 tax department officials and police personnel are conducting the raids, they said.
CBI raids P Chidambaram and son Karti's residence in Chennai; Congress calls it political vendetta by BJP
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday morning raided residence of senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti. CBI is conducting searches at locations in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram and at 14 places in Chennai including Chidambaram's residence at Nungambakkam. The searches are in connection with alleged criminal misconduct in grant of FIPB approval. The agency raided at various location across country after the FIR pertaining to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approvals in INX media was registered on Monday. Meanwhile, KR Ramasamy, the Congress Legislative Party Leader in Tamil Nadu has accused BJP of behind the raids. "It is a case of political vendetta by BJP," Mr Ramasamy said.
|912||India to allow additional $18.2 bln in foreign purchases of govt debt|
India's central bank will allow foreign investors to buy an additional $18.2 billion in government bonds in stages over the next few years, as part of measures introduced on Tuesday to open up domestic markets. The long-anticipated change involves increasing the government debt limit for foreign investors to up to 5 percent of the current outstanding amount of bonds. The increase, to be carried out in stages until March 2018, will translate into 1.2 trillion rupees ($18.19 billion) in potential investment. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said foreign investors would also be allowed to buy into debt issued by the country's states for the first time, although only up to 2 percent of outstanding debt, or totalling 500 billion rupees by March 2018. The actions highlight the growing confidence India can withstand a likely increase in U.S. interest rates later this year, which is expected to lead to selling by foreign investors in most emerging markets.
|913||Centre issues model law to end APMC monopoly|
The central government on Monday issued its model of a law to replace the one of 2003 for the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act. Under the new model, buyers might not have to pay more than 1 per cent of the transacted value as mandi fee in case of fruit and vegetables and two per cent in case of other items. Agriculture is a state subject; the Centre can recommend what it wishes to see. The new model would open the door for multiple modes for sale and purchase of produce — private wholesale market ('mandis'), market yards operated by groups of individuals, licences to private entities for temporary bulk purchase directly from farmers. All towards the aim of ending the decades-old stranglehold of mandis in this regard.
India's black economy shrinking, still exceeds Thailand and Argentina's GDP
Pegging India's 'black economy' at over Rs 30 lakh crore or about 20% of total GDP, a new study says it has been contracting gradually over the years but still remains bigger than the overall economic size of countries like Thailand and Argentina. Besides, a crackdown on black money has made the cost of capital costlier in the black economy with the lending rates having risen to as high as 34%, from about 24% a year ago, as per the study by Ambit Capital Research. The study said that the crackdown has had some "unintended consequences" in form of an increase in preference for cash in its physical form and a notable decline in the usage of formal banking channels with record low deposit growth — which may keep the GDP growth rate flat this year.
|915||IWAI plans to spend Rs 2,000 crore on Odisha waterways|
With the Centre set to float a tender for development of 36 waterways in the country, the Odisha government said the Inland Waterways Authority of India has plans to spend Rs 2,000 crore in the state in the first phase. “For the first phase of waterways development, the IWAI has proposed to spend Rs 2,000 crore in Odisha,” transport and commerce minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi said. The Centre through IWAI planned to develop the waterways from Jionkhali in West Bengal to Talcher in Odisha, a 588 kilometre stretch, the minister said adding that the detailed project report was being prepared by technical consultants. Of the 588 KM waterways, called East Coast Canal, which will integrate with the Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers, work on a 201 KM stretch will be completed in the first phase. He said the state government had signed agreement with IWAI, Paradip Port and Dhamara Port for first phase work on June 30, 2014. As per the condition in the agreement, Majhi said the IWAI would develop and maintain the waterways besides ensuring smooth transportation of goods.
|916||Centre to invest Rs 15,000 crore to expand Panipat refinery|
The central government will invest Rs 15,000 crore to increase the capacity of Panipat refinery from existing 15 million tonnes (MT) to 25 mt to create huge employment opportunities, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said here today. Also, an ethanol plant would be set up at a cost of Rs 500 crore by the Indian Oil Corporation in Panipat to generate alternative fuel from agricultural residue which would boost agriculture sector, the Petroleum Minister said. He was speaking after distributing free LPG connections, under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), among the women belonging to BPL families here. He also appreciated the efforts of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who was present on the occasion, for announcing to make Haryana kerosene free by March 2017 and added that this model would be replicated in the entire country to make India kerosene free. The Union Minister said that the expansion of refinery would raise specifications of fuel quality from BS-4 to BS-6. “This would not only create employment opportunities for the people, but would also help in raising quality of fuel in the country by the year 2020,” he said. As per scientific research, he said that ethanol made from crop residue can produce fuel or energy up to 72 per cent.
|917||Govt issues more draft norms under Bankruptcy Code|
The government on Tuesday came out with another set of draft rules, including for liquidation of insolvent corporate persons, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. As part of implementing the Code, the government has already constituted the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), while the draft norms will be finalised after taking into consideration the views of the stakeholders. Notified by the government in May, the Code seeks to consolidate and amend laws relating to reorganisation as well as insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and
|918||Reforms cut risk, drive up highway construction: CRISIL|
Thanks to a healthy growth in traffic and reforms allowing developers to divest 100 per cent equity in projects two years after completion of construction, high-risk road projects in the sector came down by 13 per cent in FY16, compared to the previous year, an analysis showed. According to the analysis -– done by CRISIL on 85 under-construction and 104 operational build-operate-transfer (BOT) and annuity projects awarded by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), spanning 16,600 km -– refinancing of debt by low-cost, longer-tenure loans played a big role in credit
Big positive for Narendra Modi government: Powered by shipping, India’s exports show hints of recovery
Container shipping companies, which handle about 55 percent of the country’s merchandise trade, say exports volumes are picking up. The improvement they have witnessed on the ground is starting to show in official exports numbers, which in September rose at the fastest pace in almost two years, according to figures released by the Commerce Ministry. Data gathered in 17 ports by Maersk Line show overseas shipments grew 11 percent in the first half of the year, putting containerized trade on track to expand as much as 9 percent this year, five times the global pace forecast by the World Trade Organization. The data, along with government numbers released Friday, could be an early sign of a turnaround in trade, which has held back India’s economy and left growth dependent on government and private consumption. “The container industry is really the indicator of where the new markets are, the strength of the economy — you see the trends quickly,” said Franck Dedenis, the manager director of the shipping line’s South Asia unit. “This year we have seen strong growth for exports, so that’s a massive change.” While India accounts for a mere 6 percent of the global container business, the country is set to gain market share by growing at least 7-8 percent a year in the next five years, according to Maersk, which operates the world’s largest fleet
To restore credibility of GDP, inflation and IIP data, Modi government sets up five committees
The government has begun a mammoth exercise to overhaul the system of collecting key statistics on inflation, industrial production, consumption and employment to restore the credibility of official economic data, which took a severe beating after a new series of national accounts was released last year. In a wholesale clean-up attempt, five committees have been set up to review data for GDP estimates, provide for mechanisms to ensure “data integrity” and come up with industry-wise
|921||Cabinet gives in-principle nod to biggest divestment drive|
The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday gave an "in-principle" approval to strategic sales and disinvestment in a number of state-owned companies, kick-starting the process of valuing these entities and finding interested buyers. The public sector undertakings (PSUs) include loss-making and profit-making entities as well as assets such as factories and plants. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the decision during a media briefing after the Cabinet meeting. He, however, declined to reveal the names of the companies, saying these will now be
|922||NITI Aayog's vision document to focus on common man|
All the chapters of the 15-year vision document, which the NITI Aayog is planning to release in the next few months, will have a common theme of how it would change the life of the common Indian citizen, and how that change can be monitored. Officials said each theme of the vision document will underline the fact that how each programme or initiative that the Centre would take in the next 15 years impacts the life of the common man and how best it can be monitored so that outcome-based changes and course corrections can be undertaken. Officials said the document will also lay
Number of income tax payers in India soar; here’s all you need to know
Number of income tax payers in India soar; here’s all you need to know Number of income tax payers in India soar; here’s all you need to know Thanks to the increased transparency through digitisation and also efforts to get hold of the tax evaders, the number of income taxpayers seems to be finally growing in a significant manner after hovering around 3 crore for quite some time. By: The Financial Express | Updated: October 29, 2016 7:56 AM 2.5K SHARES Facebook Twitter Google Plus The govt also needs to look at increasing the Rs 10 lakh limit for application of the top tax rate of 30%. (Express Photo) The govt also needs to look at increasing the Rs 10 lakh limit for application of the top tax rate of 30%. (Express Photo) Thanks to the increased transparency through digitisation and also efforts to get hold of the tax evaders, the number of income taxpayers seems to be finally growing in a significant manner after hovering around 3 crore for quite some time. According to the latest income tax data released by the Central Board of Direct Taxes for FY13 (AY14) and FY14 (AY15), the number of income tax returns filed between FY12 and FY14 has increased by about 79 lakh to cross 3.91 crore. pg-9-grph-3 While the number of income tax returns filed by the firms went up from 8.59 lakh to 9.19 lakh, company returns increased from 5.81 lakh to 7.01 lakh—in the case of individuals, it has jumped from 2.89 cr for FY12 to 3.65 cr for FY14.
Road building projects: India built 2,979 km of highways in quarter; govt optimistic on achieving target
India built 2,979 km of highways during the April-September in the current fiscal year, or 16.5 km a day, up 21.7% over the corresponding period a year ago, thanks to a renewed focus on conventional government-funded engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) projects and a recent pick-up in the newly designed hybrid annuity model that greatly mitigates risk to private developers. Though construction is still far slower than needed to meet the target of 15,000 km (41 km a day) for all of 2015-16, government sources were still optimistic of meeting the target. The pace of construction, from about 20 km a day in April-July, fell largely due to the monsoon that slowed down activities on the ground. The sources said the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) constructed 985 km of roads during the first six months of the year while 1,994 km of highways were built by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), which carries out the task mostly through the state public works departments.
|925||Centre unveils faster-maturing pulses variety|
The central government unveiled a new, early maturing variety of arhar (red gram). It apparently gives a yield of 20 quintals, the same as many existing varieties but maturing in 120 days, instead of the usual 170-180 days. Called PUSA Arhar-16, it might even be issued for commercial use in January itself, so that farmers could plant by the next kharif season. The new variety gives an average yield of 20 quintals, which though is same as many existing varieties, but more crucially take lesser time to mature making it suitable for northern plains. It would give farmers ample time ...
Foxconn to reportedly set up new Indian manufacturing facility in Navi Mumbai
Foxconn, the coveted hardware manufacturer, might have winded up its India operations from Tamil Nadu a couple years ago but it is insistently looking to set up factories and begin production once again. The company is now ready to join the wildly successful roster of ‘Make In India’ companies with its first manufacturing factory in Maharashtra, reports ETtech. This facility will be set up in Navi Mumbai and be separate from the $5 million MoU signed by the company with the Maharashtra Government in mid-2015. Sources privy to the development report that Foxconn’s greenfield facility will require an initial investment in the range of $20 to $30 million to start with the manufacturing of smartphones before moving on to other products. A senior Foxconn official with knowledge of the setup said,
India rises to second spot on global business optimism index: Report
India improved its ranking by one spot in a global index of business optimism, with policy reforms and Goods and Services tax (GST) expected to become a reality soon, says a survey. According to the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report, India was ranked second on the optimism index during the third quarter (July-September 2016). Indonesia took the top spot, with the Philippines coming in third. India was ranked third during the April-June period after being on top for two consecutive quarters. “The improvement in the optimism ranking in the recent past clearly reflects that the reform agenda of the government and its efforts on improving the climate for doing business are having an impact,” Grant Thornton India LLP Partner – India Leadership Team Harish H V said. High business optimism was also complimented by the rise of employment expectations. India regained its top position on this parameter, from second position in the April-June period, while profitability expectations also moved up.
|928||Inflation down in October, bolsters hopes of a rate cut by RBI|
Inflation fell in November on both the consumer price index (CPI) and the wholesale price index (WPI), giving room to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)-chaired panel to cut the policy rate further to improve the growth rate. While CPI inflation was down to 4.2% in October, the lowest in the new series launched since November 2014, against 4.31% in the September, the WPI rate of price rise declined to a four-month low of 3.39% compared to 3.57%, official data released on Tuesday showed. The inflation on both the indices decreased as the rate of price in food items declined. It .
|929||Surge in iron ore output|
Domestic iron ore output has grown 25 per cent in the first half of 2016 following the Centre's focus on stepping up mineral production and lowering import. According to market analysts, the move can put pressure on domestic prices with international rates remaining steady at around $50 per tonne. According to mines ministry data, iron ore production in the first half of the year stood at 84 million tonnes (mt) compared with 66.85mt in the same period a year ago. "While domestic production has increased, imports have gone down. Exports have also increased," secretary in the ministry of mines Balvinder Kumar said on the sidelines of a CII summit.
|930||SBI cuts deposit rates below 7%|
The gross domestic product (GDP) growth accelerated slightly in the July-September quarter, compared to the growth recorded in the previous quarter, but economists and policy planners said growth will suffer a setback in the second half of the year because of the impact of demonetisation. This also puts pressure on the government’s monetary policy committee (MPC) to cut the policy rate at the review meeting next week, amid the post-demonetisation weakening of demand and investment activity. GDP rose 7.3% in the quarter ended September, higher than the 7.1% in the .
|931||Q2 agricultural growth fastest in 2 years|
Agricultural growth as measured in Gross Value Added (GVA) at constant prices was the highest in two years this July-September quarter, second (Q2) of four in this financial year. The rate of rise was 3.3 per cent, on the back of a record kharif harvest, aided by a good monsoon. If production during the ongoing rabi season matches the target and demonetisation doesn’t have a big impact on farmers, then, says P K Joshi, South Asia director at the International Food Policy Research Institute, we could have a growth rate exceeding four per cent in agriculture and allied
|932||Oct surplus helps govt pare fiscal deficit|
The Centre’s fiscal deficit for the seven-month period of April-October stood at Rs 4.23 lakh crore, or 79.3 per cent of the full-year target, official data showed on Wednesday. This is on the back of a rise in indirect taxes and non-debt capital receipts, especially divestment. With the availability of July-September quarter’s gross domestic product data, it has now emerged that April-September fiscal deficit stood at 6.3 per cent of the GDP, compared with a full-year target of 3.5 per cent. Additionally, October was a good month for the Centre’s
|933||Infra sector growth jumps to 6-month high of 6.6% in Oct|
Infrastructure sector recorded a growth rate of 6.6% in October — the highest in last six months — on the back of impressive performance by steel and refinery products. However, the growth rate of power generation, fertiliser production and cement output fell considerably on year-on-year (Y-O-Y) basis. Coal production continued to fall for the third straight month. The growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — was 3.8% in October 2015. It was 5% in
|934||Fresh bonds to soak up cash|
The government today sharply raised the ceiling on the market stabilisation scheme (MSS) to Rs 6 lakh crore from Rs 30,000 crore to mop up additional liquidity from the banking system following demonetisation. MSS, launched in 2004, is an instrument that allows the Reserve Bank to manage liquidity through the issue of both bills and dated securities. However, these securities are not issued to meet government's expenditure. Since the government announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, the banking system has been awash with liquidity arising out of the huge deposits from the public. Latest reports say that deposits of Rs 10 lakh crore have come into the system, and more deposits are expected to flow in the coming days ahead of the December-30 deadline. × The central bank had last week imposed an incremental cash reserve ratio (CRR) of 100 per cent as a temporary measure. This was applicable for the increase in deposits between September 16 and November 11, 2016 and led to around Rs 3.4 lakh crore of deposits being impounded by the RBI. CRR is the portion of deposits that banks are required to park with the Reserve Bank. The current rate of CRR is 4 per cent. "In order to facilitate liquidity management operations by the RBI in the current scenario, the government has, on the recommendation of the RBI, decided to revise the ceiling for issue of securities under the MSS to Rs 6 lakh crore," a statement said. Economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said the RBI would operate within that limit according to requirement, not as if the entire quantum of MSS would be utilised overnight. According to Das, the instruments that the RBI will use will depend on its judgement based on the liquidity situation prevailing and the maturity could range. "Whatever liabilities come in this year we should be able to absorb it in the budget provisions for interest payment, which is there already in the budget," he told reporters in the capital. Das said the interest burden of MSS will depend on the tenure of the bonds, whether it is 14-days or 28-days or 364-day t-bill.
For The First Time In Over 100 Years, India’s Economy Surpasses That Of United Kingdom
Rapid growth in India over the past 25 years and decline in the United kingdom (UK) following the Brexit vote has resulted in India surpassing UK’s economy. At current exchange rates (16 December), UK’s 2016 GDP of GBP 1.87 trillion converts to $2.29 trillion, whereas India’s GDP of Rs 153 trillion converts to $2.30 trillion. While some may conclude that the sorpasso is a result of fluctuation in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote, which is partially true, it is important to note that future prospects of an economy have a direct bearing on the value of its currency in the international market. Therefore, it should be concluded that the Indian economy enjoys better growth prospects. As the Indian economy continues to grow at 7 to 8 per cent per annum, compared to UK’s growth rate of 1 to 2 per cent, the gap is expected to widen. India’s per capita GDP still remains less than one-fifth that of the UK.
Demonetisation: Business takes a hit but poor back move; GDP growth estimates cut from 7.8% to 6.4%
We embarked on an exhaustive on-the-ground analysis of demonetisation’s impact on the economy — Over 512 meetings were held across 58 key urban/semi-urban/rural stops (covering ~7000kms) by a 33-member team to discuss key developments, emerging themes/trends and expected recovery time. In this report, we discuss key takeaways across sectors and stakeholders. Our analysis suggests that North/ East/Central India were more impacted than South/South-western parts—also, rural regions were more affected than urban areas. Similarly, the unorganised space was hit more than the organised segment and the discretionary sector suffered more than staples. Also, traders, retailers and wholesalers were affected more than the manufacturers. While the liquidity crunch did lead to disarray, the situation is expected to mend as currency gets replenished. Nevertheless, despite hardships, we observed massive acceptance of the move from the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ population — Many felt that this move would help check corruption and black money. Moreover, we also observed wide acceptability/movement of transactions to formal banking channels — if properly directed, this may boost the Indian economy both structurally and on the fiscal front in the long term.
|937||Industrial output rises to 5.7 per cent despite demonetisation|
Industrial output growth surprisingly rose to a 13-month high of 5.7% in November while retail inflation slowed to a 25-month low in December led by a sharp decline in vegetable prices, triggering hopes of a cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) when it reviews monetary policy in February. The November industrial output data should bring cheer to policymakers as the numbers released on Thursday showed the demonetisation drive did not make any significant impact on industrial growth. The surprise decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has hurt several sectors and dented demand. The industrial output data has remained volatile and economists have often called for a revision of the data to better reflect the reality and minimise the sharp volatility. According to the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), industrial output grew an annual 5.7% in November compared to a decline of 3.4% in the year earlier period. The sector had declined 1.8% in October. Growth in November was helped by the favourable base effect and the performance of manufacturing, capital goods and consumer durables sectors. Between April and November, industrial output growth rose 0.4% compared to 3.8% expansion in the year ago period, reflecting the sluggishness still persisting in the sector.
Contrary to fears of slowdown, factory output grows 5.7% in November
Industrial production in November grew by 5.7 per cent compared to a contraction of 3.4 per cent in the same month a year ago, contrary to expectations of a slowdown due to demonetisation. Factory output measured in terms of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) got a push in November 2016 due to better performance of manufacturing, mining and electricity sectors coupled with larger offtake of capital goods, considered a barometer of investment. Following demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes announced on November 8, 2016, it was feared that cash crunch will hit all sectors. According to data released by the Central Statistics Office today, IIP for the month of October last year was revised slightly upwards to a contraction of 1.8 per cent from provisional estimates of (-) 1.9 per cent released last month. As per the data, IIP growth during April-November period this fiscal remained almost flat at 0.4 per cent compared to 3.8 per cent a year ago. Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index, grew at 5.5 per cent in November compared to a decline in output by 4.6 per cent earlier. However, during the April-November period the sector recorded a contraction of 0.3 per cent compared to a growth of 3.9 per cent.
|939||Govt. nod for Reforms to boost Made-ups Sector|
The Cabinet has approved reforms, including simplification of labour laws, to boost employment generation and exports in the Made-ups Sector. The reforms are part of the Rs. 6,006 crore for the apparel package with the objective of creating large scale direct and indirect employment of up to 11 lakh persons over the next three years in the made-ups sector. The reforms include providing production incentive through enhanced Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) subsidy of additional 10 per cent for Made-ups similar to what is provided to garments based on the additional production and employment after a period of three years. It has also been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMPRPY) Scheme (for apparel) to made-ups sector for providing additional 3.67 per cent share of Employer's contribution in addition to 8.33 per cent already covered under Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) for all new employees enrolling in EPFO for the first three years of their employment as a special incentive to Made-ups sector The cabinet also decided to extend Rebate of State Levies (ROSL) (for apparel) Scheme to made-ups sector for enhanced Duty Drawback on exports of Made-ups.
|940||Meet the Man Leading Modi’s Outreach to India’s Huge Diaspora|
In a tiny, second floor office at the bustling New Delhi headquarters of India’s ruling political party, Vijay Chauthaiwale plots how Prime Minister Narendra Modi can sell India to a diaspora greater in number than Australia’s population. A long-time Modi confidante, Chauthaiwale, 53, was hand-picked by Amit Shah, the president of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, to lead the organization’s foreign affairs department. He has since driven the prime minister’s efforts to reach roughly 28 million expatriates and people of Indian origin around the world, helping plan glitzy events at venues such as Wembley Stadium.
|941||Rural wage growth defies demonetisation, rises to 7.3%: Nomura|
Defying demonetisation, nominal rural agricultural wages growth rose to 7.3% in November on year-on-year basis, largely owing to hike in minimum wages announced by the government in September last year, financial services major Nomura said in a report. Interestingly, the report said that the steady wage growth suggests a likely release "of pent up demand after remonetisation". "Nominal rural agricultural wages growth rose to 7.3% year-on-year in November 2016 (the month demonetisation was announced) from 6.9% in October, remaining well above the previous 12-month average of 4.8%," Nomura said in the report. "We expected rural wage growth to moderate in November as we thought demonetisation would hurt the more cash-reliant rural economy (two-wheeler sales did indeed decline by 5.9% year-on-year in November and by 22% in December)," it added.
|942||Currency-GDP ratio to reach 9% by March: Nomura|
Money in circulation is rising again in India post-demonetisation period and at the current rate, currency-to-GDP ratio will reach about 9 per cent by March -- sufficient to stabilise economic activity, says a report. According to Japanese financial services major Nomura, from 11.8 per cent of GDP on November 4, 2016 (pre- demonetisation), currency in circulation dropped to all-time low of 5.9 per cent on January 6; since then, it has risen for two straight weeks to 6.5 per cent as of January 20. "This suggests that remonetisation is progressing well, as deposits of old notes into banks (currency outflow) has stopped (the window to deposit old notes ended on December 30), while the Reserve Bank is printing new notes (currency inflow) for circulation," Nomura said in a research note. It believes that at the current pace, the currency-to-GDP ratio will rise to around 9 per cent by March-end. "In our view, this will be sufficient to stabilise activity since some part of the earlier cash was hoarded and partly due to a larger digital footprint," it added.
|943||CSO revises GDP growth for 2015-16 upwards to 7.9%|
Government has marginally revised upwards gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2015-16 to 7.9 per cent from the earlier estimate of 7.6 per cent after factoring in latest data on agriculture and industrial production. "Real GDP or GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for 2015-16 and 2014-15 stands at Rs 113.58 lakh crore and Rs 105.23 lakh crore, respectively, showing growth of 7.9 per cent during 2015-16 and 7.2 per cent during 2014-15," stated the Central Statistics Office (CSO) while releasing the revised data on Tuesday. However, the figure for 2014-15 has remained unchanged at 7.2 per cent in the second revision of the national accounts for the financial year. The estimates of GDP and other aggregates for 2012-13 to 2014-15 have also undergone revision due to use of latest available data on agricultural production and industrial production. Last year, CSO had estimated GDP growth rate for 2015-16 and 2014-15 at 7.6 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively. CSO said the Gross Value Added (GVA) at constant (2011-12) basic prices grew at 7.8 per cent in 2015-16 as against 6.9 per cent in 2014-15.
|944||Eight core industries grow by 5.6% in December|
Eight core industries register a growth of 5.6% in December 2016 on the back of healthy output recorded by refinery products and steel. The growth rate of eight infrastructure sectors -- coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity -- was 2.9% in December 2015. It stood at 4.9% in November 2016. The core sectors, which contribute 38% to the total industrial production, expanded 5% in April - December 2016 compared to 2.6% growth in the same period last financial year, according to data released by the commerce and industry ministry today. Refinery products and steel production jumped 6.4% and 14.9%, respectively during the month under review. However, crude oil, fertliser, natural gas and cement output reported contraction. Coal output declined by 4.4% in December 2016 from 5.3% in the same month previous year. Similarly, electricity generation too dipped by 6% as compared to 8.8% in December 2015.
|945||Stock markets react positively to Budget 2017|
Stock markets seemed to give a resounding thumbs-up to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's Budget 2017+ . Both the Sensex and the Nifty rose steadily as Jaitley's speech progressed in the Lok Sabha, and registered gains of around 1 percent by the time he finished. When Jaitley took his seat after finishing his speech, the Sensex was more than 300 points up and the Nifty was up by 80. Both indices seemed to show no signs of slowing their rise. The Sensex and Nifty had opened in the green, and had flattened into a tight band around Tuesday's closing. The rupee too has added of positivity to Budget 2017 day+ , appreciating 24 paise, to Rs 67.63 to the dollar. The 30-stock BSE benchmark Sensex had lost 226 points in the two trading days before the Budget speech.
|946||Record wheat, foodgrain output likely in 2016-17|
Wheat production in the ongoing crop season is expected to be at an all-time high of 96.6 million tonnes (mt) on the back of good southwest monsoon, favourable weather and record acreage, the second advanced estimate for foodgrain production showed. The previous wheat production high was in 2013-14 at 95.85 mt; that was also a normal monsoon year. Wheat produced in 2016-17 (July to June) will be marketed in 2017-18 (April to March). The estimate released on Wednesday also showed that overall foodgrain production, including kharif harvest, in 2016-17 was expected to be a record 271.98 mt, showing that demonetisation didn’t have a big impact on rabi crops. If the production numbers turn out to be correct, agriculture and allied sector growth in 2016-17 could reach more than 5 per cent. The Central Statistics Office (CSO)’s had pegged growth at 4.1 per cent in the first advanced estimate of 2016-17. Agri growth in previous financial year was at 1.2 per cent.
|947||Record 272 mt of food grains to be produced in 2016-17|
India's food grains production in 2016/17 is expected to rise by 8.1 per cent from a year ago to a record high 271.98 million tonnes as good monsoon rains improved yields, the country's farm ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The country's production of wheat is likely to rise by 4.7 per cent from a year ago to 96.64 million tonnes, while pulses production will rise to 22.14 million tonnes, it said.
|948||January retail inflation falls to lowest in 2 years|
The Consumer Price Index-(CPI) based inflation for the month of January 2017 plunged to 3.17 per cent, the lowest in at least two years, primarily due to a marginal increase in food prices. The retail inflation was 3.41 per cent in December and 5.69 per cent in January last year. The Consumer Food Price Inflation (CFPI) for the month of January was 0.53 per cent, compared with 1.37 per cent in December and 6.85 per cent in January last year. Year-on-year prices of vegetables and pulses fell to 15.6 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively, last month. Inflation in January is well below the central bank’s target of 4 (+/-2) per cent. The low inflation for January “was brought about mainly by a decline in food price inflation to 0.53 per cent, aided by negative growth rates in both vegetables and pulses,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist with Care Ratings. He added that ‘curiously’ non-food components such as clothing and footwear, housing, fuel and light showed higher price increases. “Clearly, the non-food components have registered an increase and going ahead would tend to be upward moving. Higher global commodity prices will get ingrained in these components while food items will be unaffected,” Sabnavis noted. “For the next two months, we expect the CPI inflation rate to move towards 3.5-3.6 per cent range,” he added
Big monetary gain for Modi: Plugging LPG subsidy leaks leads to Rs 21,000 crore savings
As many as 3.3 crore fake, ghost and duplicate LPG connections have been blocked, leading to saving of Rs 21,000 crore in subsidies, said Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. “When we assumed office (in 2014), we had a system of misdirected subsidies, rich and upper middle class were entitled to LPG subsidies. There were many duplicate connections and the subsidised LPG was diverted to commercial and industrial segments,” he said, addressing the Asia LPG Summit organised by World LPG Association here. As a result poorest of the poor never had access to LPG. In 2014, almost half of Indian households didn’t have LPG connections. Pradhan said the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG was launched in 2014 wherein subsidy was directly paid into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. “This made the process transparent and plugged the subsidy leakages which was otherwise being misused through ghost accounts,” he said. The scheme is benefiting over 176 million consumers and over Rs 40,000 crore or USD 6.5 billion of subsidy has been transferred directly to the beneficiaries bank accounts in the last two years.
Labour reforms: How Narendra Modi govt is looking to empower companies with up to 300 workers
The Modi government is fast-tracking the legislative part of labour reforms, long held up due to political reasons. Even though it hasn’t yet got the Opposition to agree to the agenda, at least one of the two important Bills in this regard will be pressed in the ongoing Budget session. If things go as per the Centre’s plan, establishments employing up to 300 will soon have the right to lay off workers without government approval and outsiders — read professional politicians — will be barred from leading trade unions in the organised sector. Currently, only smaller units employing up to 100 people can lay off workers sans government nod. Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya told FE: “We are going ahead… The drafts of both the wage code and the industrial relations (IR) code have been prepared. Presentations to different ministries have been made and a tripartite committee meeting has been held. In the second leg of the Budget session, we will definitely introduce the wage code. Although we are simultaneously working on the IR code, it may come up only in the next session.”
|951||RBI working on green finance framework|
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is working on a framework for standardising green bond issuances and financing issues, to align India with other nations that already has such rules, according to sources. The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) held a meeting on Monday to provide their inputs to the central bank to develop the framework. Sources said RBI has just started the process and no concrete step has been taken. Some domestic institutions — like the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), Exim Bank, YES Bank, Axis Bank — have their own exacting standards for green financing. The Reserve Bank asked IBA representatives to collate these standards and pass it on to the central bank. “It will take some time before such standard come in to existence,” said a banker. Green financing, or financing for sustainable and renewable projects, has assumed huge significance globally and reputed investors do not extend their loans for a project if a portion of it is not certified as green, said bankers. India is late in the game. Such standards and guidelines exist even in countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia. Developed countries are way ahead in these aspects, while China has done some impressive work on green finance. China has managed to pursue a lot of serious investors to invest in the country, boosting its green credentials. While some banks and other institutions had raised green bonds recently, estimated at more than $2.5 billion, the definition of these bonds and the end-use varies with the issuer.
|952||Card, Aadhaar-enabled payments at all PDS, fertiliser depots soon|
In a major push for cashless transactions, point-of-sale (PoS) machines for credit/debit cards as well as Aadhaar-based transactions will be installed at all fair price shops and fertiliser depots over the next few months. In an interview to PTI, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said over 170,000 PoS machines have already been installed at public distribution system (PDS) shops and more will be done in the next few months. “Both the department of food and civil supplies and the department of fertilisers have a programme to install PoS machines at all PDS shops and fertiliser depots,” he said. “Also, they will be made Aadhaar-enabled,” he added. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has committed to support banks through the financial inclusion fund for deployment of up to two PoS devices per village, to cover 100,000 villages of tier 5 and 6 areas. When asked about the impact of digital payments on cost savings, he said, “the time is too short to undertake an assessment of that and I think we should give the system a fair time, may be a year or so, to see how much gain we have had.” He said there is a move towards digitisation, as can be witnessed in the number of people who have downloaded the BHIM and Unified Payments Interface apps and those of other service providers.
|953||Exports from SEZs touch Rs 2.36 lakh cr during Apr-Sep|
Exports from special economic zones (SEZs) have touched Rs 2.36 lakh crore during April-September period of the current financial year, Parliament was informed today. States which have contributed maximum in the exports include Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telengana and Uttar Pradesh. During this period, 16.88 lakh jobs were generated and Rs 4.06 lakh crore were invested, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. Replying to a separate question, she said as per the available data, no import of fireworks has taken place from China or any country during the last three years and the current fiscal (up to September 2016). "However, there have been cases of illegal imports of fireworks. Customs authorities and the DRI have made several seizures of illegally imported foreign origin firecrackers...," she added.
|954||Apple Set to Begin Making iPhones in India by April’s End|
Apple Inc. will begin assembling iPhones in India by the end of April, a regional minister says, heightening its focus on the world’s fastest-growing major smartphone market as growth slows elsewhere. The U.S. company has tapped Taiwan’s Wistron Corp. to put together its phones in the tech capital of Bangalore in Karnataka, said Priyank Kharge, the state’s information technology minister. Apple executives met with him in January and confirmed the timeline, he said in an interview. The start of iPhone assembly in India comes after months of speculation on Apple’s plan for the market, which is led by rival Samsung Electronics Co. It signals a renewed focus on the country, where it just scrapes into the top 10, as growth begins to slow in China and other more mature markets. The Cupertino, California-based company is said to have put forward a long list of demands in negotiations with India’s federal government, including a 15-year tax holiday to import components and equipment. “Apple’s iPhones will be made in Bangalore and all devices will be targeted at the domestic market,” said Kharge, IT minister for Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital. Kharge said the state will help Apple if it decides to turn to other contract manufacturers in the region. “We did not discuss any other incentives,” he said. Apple didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said on an earnings call this week that India is “the place to be.” He visited the country for the first time last May as he sought government approval for Apple to open its own stores -- a step the company deems critical to growing the iPhone user base across the country. Over the long run however, Apple needs to meet requirements that single-brand retailers source 30 percent of components from within India. Manufacturing locally will help with that. Making iPhones locally could also score brownie points with the national government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants companies to make products in the country as part of his “Make in India” policy, aimed at reaping the benefits that come from manufacturing facilities and jobs. The company shipped 2.5 million iPhones into the country in 2016. While that was its best year ever in terms of revenues and sales, it only ranked 10th among vendors in the December quarter according to Counterpoint Research. Apple accounts for less than 2 percent of shipments in India, where an estimated 750 million smartphones will be sold by 2020.
|955||India Opens Coal-Mining Market for First Time in Four Decades|
India plans to allow non-state mining companies to mine and sell coal for the first time in more than four decades, federal coal secretary Susheel Kumar said. The nation’s coal ministry will auction four mines to both state-run and private companies during the year starting April 1, Kumar told reporters in New Delhi. The winning bidders will have the freedom to sell the coal, a privilege currently limited to a handful of state-run companies. The step may allow miners an opportunity to benefit from one of the world’s biggest coal markets, yet the offer has to be good enough to compensate for regulatory challenges, according to analysts. A broader implementation of the plan could threaten the monopoly of Coal India Ltd., which controls more than 80 percent of the nation’s production. “India remains a large market for coal,” said Debasish Mishra, a partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu LLP in Mumbai. “Still, challenges, such as regulatory hurdles, difficulties in acquiring land, delays in getting environmental and other clearances and lack of transportation infrastructure, remain. There have to be adequate incentives to offset these.” The government will have to offer mines with reserves of more than 1 billion metric tons to enable scale of operation and use of technology and allow investors complete pricing freedom, Mishra said.
|956||iPhone SE to be assembled in India|
Apple is looking to produce lower-cost iPhone SE at its upcoming facility in Bengaluru as it looks to gain a price advantage in the market in which it has been a fringe player so far. While the plant in Bengaluru, owned by partner Wistron, is already being upgraded to support assembly of Apple’s iPhones, the Cupertino company continues to engage in talks with the central government over full-scale manufacturing of its flagship devices in the country. For this, Apple is seeking a 15-year tax exemption from the government to make India a hub for exporting the devices rather than just producing devices for the local market, according to officials at the commerce ministry. Apple is facing a challenge of rising input costs in China, apart from the government increasingly cracking down on foreign companies. Wistron, which will assemble iPhones in Bengaluru, is one among the few original design manufacturers Apple employs to build its iPhones. The company has previously won contracts abroad to manufacture lower-cost iPhone 5c, 5s, and SE devices, while larger partners such as Foxconn have handled production of flagship iPhone models.
|957||Bumper output estimates pull down cereal prices in India|
As cereal prices slump in India on estimates of bumper production, the threat of adverse climatic conditions has pushed up their prices in global markets. Prices of cereals, led by wheat, have reported up to 11 per cent declines in local markets since January. The government’s second advanced estimates a fortnight ago put India’s grain output at a record 271.98 million tonnes in 2016-17, up from 251.57 million tonnes in 2015-16. According to the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), wheat prices in the Rajkot spot market have declined by 11.03 per cent since January to Rs 1,600 a quintal and barley prices in Delhi declined by 5.71 per cent to Rs 1,858.35 a quintal. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in its latest report forecast a 1.8 per cent decline in the global production of wheat at 744.5 million tonnes in 2017.
|958||FDI in services sector up 77.6% in 9 mths of FY'17|
Foreign investments in the services sector increased 77.6 per cent to $ 7.55 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal, helped by government steps to improve ease of doing business. The sector, which includes banking, insurance, R&D, outsourcing, courier and technology testing, had received foreign direct investment (FDI) worth $ 4.25 billion during the April-December period of last fiscal, 2015-16, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The sector contributes over 60 per cent to India's GDP and accounts for 17 per cent of total foreign investment inflows. The other sectors where inflows have recorded growth during the nine month period of 2016-17 are: telecom ($ 5.54 billion), trading ($ 2 billion), computer software and hardware ($ 1.81 billion) and automobile ($ 1.45 billion). In step FDI growth in important sectors like services, overall foreign inflows in the country increased 22 per cent to $ 35.84 billion during April-December 2016-17. The Commerce and Industry Ministry is also considering relaxing FDI norms in certain sectors including retail to further boost inflows.
|959||Farm sector projected to grow at 5% in Q4|
The agricultural and allied sector growth is officially projected at almost five per cent during the fourth quarter of the current financial year and could be revised higher, when the first provisional figures come in May-end. Though agriculture growth at 4.98 per cent in the fourth quarter was lower than six per cent in the third quarter, it is still among the highest in recent times. During 2016-17, the agriculture and allied activities are expected to grow at 4.4 per cent, according to the recent data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). However, with the final rabi estimates not out yet, the government seems to have adopted a cautious approach in the fourth quarter. A positive base effect, as compared to the negative 2.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2015-16, will also impact the 2016-17 January-March quarter. An uncertain weather during the harvest time might also have added to that. The gross domestic product (GDP) estimates for the third quarter did take into account the initial rabi harvest projections, which projected a bumper crop, but in the absence of the final estimates, the CSO seems to have played it safe.
|960||30% of area sown under rabi crops gets PM insurance cover|
More than 19 million hectares have come under the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) during the current rabi season, covering around 30 per cent of the total sown area of 64.5 million hectares. According to preliminary estimates by insurance companies and state agencies till Friday, the total sum insured for the winter crops has jumped almost 50 per cent to Rs 68,230 crore, compared to the earlier season. Around 16.4 million farmers have been brought under the ambit of the Prime Minister’s crop insurance and weather-based crop insurance schemes as against 17.5 million farmers in the previous rabi season. “The number of farmers who have been covered under the PMFBY this rabi season is expected to move up sharply after details from centres come in and final numbers are compiled,” a senior official said. He said together with the kharif season, around 53 million farmers have been covered under the PMFBY in the first two seasons of 2016-17. Till the last rabi season, the Centre used to run three different crop insurance schemes, namely National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS), modified National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (MNAIS), and Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme.
|961||India’s unemployment rate sees sharp decline: Report|
Contrary to market perception, India’s unemployment rate halved from 9.5 per cent in August 2016 to 4.8 per cent in February this year and among major states, a sharp decline was registered in Uttar Pradesh. According to the SBI Ecoflash, during August 2016 to February 2017, unemployment rate in Uttar Pradesh registered the maximum decline from 17.1 per cent to 2.9 per cent, followed by Madhya Pradesh (10 per cent to 2.7 per cent), Jharkhand (9.5 per cent to 3.1 per cent), Odisha (10.2 per cent to 2.9 per cent) and Bihar (13 per cent to 3.7 per cent).
At 7%, Q3 GDP growth beats note ban blues, manufacturing biggest surprise
Gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter (Q3) of financial year 2016-17 (FY17) grew at 7 per cent, allaying fears of any major effect of demonetisation though it was the lowest expansion in four quarters. Private final consumption expenditure, denoting demand, rose at double the rate (10 per cent) in Q3, against five per cent in Q2. The Q3 numbers not only made India the fastest-growing large economy in the world but also helped the Central Statistics Office (CSO) retain its earlier projection (in first advance estimates) for full-year GDP growth at 7.1 per cent in the second advance estimates released on Tuesday. CSO stuck to its projection despite the fact that GDP growth for 2015-16 was revised to 7.9 per cent from earlier 7.6 per cent after release of the first advance data. Investment continued to show weakness for the entire financial year even though it was shown to rise against contraction in earlier data. First advance estimates did not take into account the impact of demonetisation, while the second one factored it in terms of latest available data. The higher-than-expected growth in the third quarter was driven primarily by manufacturing, agriculture and government-boosted expenditure.
Domestic, global logistics companies look to India for increased investment
While Goods and Services Tax (GST) continues to remain in a state where several loose ends still need to be tied up, logistics companies -- both domestic and global -- are not just bullish about the sector but are actively making investment plans for the coming fiscal as well. "For us, I do not see investments getting hampered if GST gets delayed. GST can only add to our current investment plans. As of now, in a growing logistics market like India, higher investments are much a need of the business to improve earnings and streamline operations," said Abhishek Chakraborty, executive director at DTDC Express. The Bengaluru-based company has 60-65 per cent of its total revenue coming from the express business where it competes with giants like Blue Dart and Fedex. Apart from that, DTDC is into supply chain and e-commerce as well. "We plan to invest about Rs 20-25 crore through internal accruals of which a part will go into technology, hardware and increasing head count. Also, over the next one-two years, we expect to make more serious efforts to raise capital through either our subsidiaries or internally, and may even go to third parties for funds," said Chakraborty without divulging the amount it plans to raise. The company is expected to close the current financial year with a topline of Rs 1,050 crore.
|964||GDP surprises, grows 7% in Oct-Dec; full year estimates at 7.1%|
The Indian economy grew at a surprisingly fast 7 percent in October-December 2016, from 7.4 percent in the previous quarter and 7.2 percent expansion in third quarter 2015-16, government data showed on Tuesday. The data, put out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), also projected that Indian’s “real” or inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) will likely to grow at 7.1 percent in 2016-17, 0.8 percentage points slower than the previous year’s 7.9 percent expansion. While the projections have surprised many experts, the CSO has actually forecast a greater slide in gross value added (GVA), suggesting that deceleration is sharper than what the headline GDP growth numbers suggest. The CSO data shows that growth in GVA, which is GDP minus net taxes, will slow down to 6.7 percent in 2016-17 or 1.1 percentage points lower than 7.8 percent GVA growth in 2015-16. GVA serves as a more realistic proxy to measure changes in the aggregate value of goods and services produced in the economy. The demonetisation effect and the resultant slowdown in household spending and corporate investment may well be hiding in the steeper fall in GVA growth estimates compared to GDP. Higher indirect tax collections in 2016-17 may also partly explain the more bullish GDP growth forecasts compared to GVA. The government’s GVA growth estimates are even more bearish than the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which expects the GVA to grow 6.9 percent in 2016-17.
|965||GST adoption could raise India's GDP to over 8%: IMF|
The adoption of the GST could help raise India's medium-term GDP growth to over eight per cent and create a single national market for enhancing the efficiency of the movement of goods and services, the IMF said on Wednesday. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also expressed concerns over the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST). "Although some uncertainties remain around the design and pace of implementation of the GST, its adoption is poised to help raise India's medium-term GDP growth to above eight per cent as it will create a single national market and enhance the efficiency of intra-Indian movement of goods and services," the IMF said in its annual country report on India. The IMF said larger than expected gains from the GST and further structural reforms could lead to significantly stronger growth, while a sustained period of continued low global energy prices would also be beneficial to India.
|966||Five-year map to raise pulses output|
The central government has prepared a five-year schedule to push annual pulses production to over 24 million tonnes by 2020-21. This could make the country self-sufficient. Production in 2016-17, also the first year of this plan, is expected to be a record at over 22 mt, around 0.9 mt more than targeted. According to a senior official, the five-year map has been framed in consultation with top agricultural scientists and others. A number of states are being encouraged to bring more rainfed areas under cultivation. Also, improving the yield in eastern India by bringing inter-cropping with cereals, oilseeds and commercial crops. The Centre is also encouraging cultivation of arhar (red gram) on farm bunds and has increased its minimum support price. To ensure earnings to growers, it had also decided to procure a little over two mt for a buffer stock.
|967||Govt clears foreign investments worth Rs 12,200 crore|
An inter-ministerial body on Tuesday approved 15 foreign investment proposals, including those relating to Apollo Hospitals, Hindustan Aeronautics, Dr Reddy's, and Vodafone, worth Rs 12,200 crore. "15 of 24 FDI proposals were approved while three were rejected," sources said. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), headed by economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das, deferred six proposals, including that of Gland Pharma. These proposals were deferred for further consultation and want of more information, sources added. Among the proposals approved, Twinstar Technologies will alone bring foreign capital of Rs 9,000 crore into the country. Besides, proposal of Apollo Hospitals worth Rs 750 crore and that of public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics worth Rs 170 crore for helicopter manufacturing also got green signal from FIPB.
|968||Gold imports shrink 32.7 per cent to USD 19.74 bn in April-Jan|
India's gold imports fell by about 32.7 per cent to USD 19.74 billion during the April-January period of this fiscal, which is expected to keep a lid on the current account deficit. Total imports of the precious metal in the corresponding period of 2015-16 stood at USD 29.31 billion. According to industry experts, softening prices of the precious metal in the domestic and world markets could be the reason for the dip in imports. Cash crunch in the system in the wake of demonetisation also impacted the inbound shipments. Gold imports dipped by about 30 per cent to USD 2.04 billion in January as against USD USD 2.91 billion in the same month last year, according to the commerce ministry data. The contraction in imports helped in narrowing the trade deficit to USD 86.38 billion in April-January period as against USD 107.74 billion in the same period previous year.
Private Equity inflows in realty touch 9-year high at Rs 39,900 crore in 2016
Private equity investments in the real estate sector increased by 26 per cent during 2016 and touched a nine-year high of nearly Rs 40,000 crore, according to property consultant Cushman & Wakefield. Mumbai saw the highest share of inflow at 32 per cent of the total private equity investments in real estate (PERE). “PERE inflows in 2016 were seen at their highest in nine years at Rs 399 billion (USD 5.97 billion), registering a 26 per cent increase from Rs 316.7 billion (USD 4.8 billion) in 2015,” the consultant said in a statement. The number of deals closed during the year also rose only 5 per cent with 119 deals. Average deal size increased to Rs 3.4 billion (USD 50 million) from Rs 2.8 billion (USD 43 million) 2015, signalling increased confidence amongst investors to make larger investments into the Indian real estate sector. Residential assets remained the most preferred asset class with over 52 per cent of (Rs 208 billion/USD 3.1 billion) of the total PERE witnessed in this asset class during the year. Private equity inflows into the housing sector rose by only 5 per cent during 2016. Domestic funds were most active investors in housing and accounted for almost 80 per cent of the total investments. Investments in commercial office assets were Rs 57 billion (USD 0.85 billion), lower than that of last year, as a few large deals for office portfolios initiated in 2016 are still in active discussion and likely to close this year.
|970||SBI merger with five associate banks from 1 April|
The government on Thursday said that 1 April will be the record date for the merger of State Bank of India (SBI) with five of its associate banks. The associate banks are State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and State Bank of Patiala (SBP). In a gazette notification dated 22 February and released on Thursday, the government said that all shares of these associate banks would cease to exist as individual entities and would stand transferred to SBI. ALSO READ | SBI merger: Five things to watch out for After the merger, SBI is set to be among the top 50 large banks of the world. SBI was ranked 52 in the world in terms of assets in 2015, according to Bloomberg, and a merger will see it break into the top 50. In the case of SBP and SBH, which are not listed on the stock exchanges, the notification said that the entire share capital would, without any further act, deed or instrument, stand cancelled. Also, the share certificates representing
|971||After SBI, 5 more public sector banks look to merge|
The Cabinet’s approval for State Bank of India’s (SBI) merger with its associate banks has given way to other public sector banks (PSB) to follow a similar path. Banks like Punjab National Bank (PNB), Canara Bank, Union Bank of India (UBI), Bank of India (BOI) and Bank of Baroda (BOB) have submitted their lists to the Government proposing merger with other smaller PSBs. They also proposed to cut workforce by 10% after the merger but sources told Zee Business that the Government has flatly denied this move. Not only will the banks have a higher asset strength but also increase in capital base which would enable the banks to give out bigger loans. Here’s the complete list inclusive of asset and staff strengths the banks will have after the merger between its associates.
|972||After Kharif, India set to reap record rabi crops: NCAER|
A good monsoon in 2016 helped in achieving record Kharif crops output, and India is set to replicate the performance in Rabi or winter sown crops too, said a study by economic think-tank NCAER. As per the NCAER's report on the short-term agricultural outlook for the 2017 Rabi season, Gross Value Added (GVA) in agriculture and allied sector registered a significant 3.3 per cent year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2016-17 as compared to 1.8 per cent growth in the previous quarter
|973||Narendra Modi govt set to unleash major labour reforms push|
The Modi government will unleash the next set of reforms necessary for improving the ease of doing business by pressing for the passage of the twin codes on wages and industrial relations that form the crux of its agenda for reducing labour market rigidities. Official sources told FE that both the codes, which have already undergone legal vetting, would be taken to the Cabniet soon for approval and once it is secured, placed in Parliament, most likely in the second half of the budget session. Among the major proposals are introducing fixed-term employment – which was made applicable in the textile and garment industries last year – in all the sectors, allowing units employing up to 300 people to retrench/lay off workers and/or close down without government approval, making trade unions with negotiating powers more representative, barring outsiders from being office-bearers of unions in the organised sector and reducing such persons’ role in union activities in the unoranised sector. Also, an industrial strike would be defined afresh by including concerted casual leave by 50% of more workers while the provision for prior notice of strike would be extended to “all activities similar to existing public utility services”. The extension of fixed-term employment to all sectors would help generate fresh jobs and thus, could be a win-win for both the workers and employers, analysts said.
|974||Arid land yields a bounty of succulent fruits|
Over the past decade, the total horticultural land under cultivation of fruits such as pomegranate, mango and date palm has doubled in Kutch and its fruit production has trebled. And why is this a surprise? Because this semi-arid region in Kutch has, through 10 years of toil, transformed the landscape and set an innovative example in desert horticulture. Adversity, they say, can bring unexpected opportunity. It stands true for Kutch, whose agriculture story saw massive changes after the devastating 2001 Bhuj earthquake. “Kutch has large parcels of land-holdings, which makes agriculture more like a business for farmers. After the Bhuj earthquake, agriculture became the primary tool to help people rebuild their lives. Farmers in this region are progressive, and apart from the help got from the government, they scouted for techniques to improve their agriculture,” says Hanudha Gadhavi, Kutch field officer of the Gujarat Green Revolution Company (GGRC). Drip by drip GGRC, which came into being in 2005, is an implementing agency for micro-irrigation schemes on behalf of the State and the Centre. Drip-irrigation is one of the main reasons for the immense boost to horticulture in Kutch. It helped allay the biggest challenge — water scarcity. In an area which has saline underground water and traditional irrigation methods lead to water wastage and uneven distribution, drip-irrigation scores on both points. Additionally, the government gave a 50 per cent subsidy on drip-irrigation.
|975||India Likely to Sell Axis, ITC, Larsen Shares Through ETF|
India’s government is likely to sell part of the stakes it holds in Axis Bank Ltd., ITC Ltd. and Larsen & Toubro Ltd. through an exchange-traded fund this year, people familiar with the matter said. Shares of the three companies fell. The new ETF would be larger than the Central Public Sector Enterprises ETF, a fund unveiled in 2014 that’s made up of the government’s shares in state-owned companies, the people said, asking not to be identified as a final decision regarding size and timing of the latest sales hasn’t been made yet. While it’s the fourth occasion India will be using an ETF to sell shares it holds to maintain public spending without increasing the fiscal deficit, it’s the first time that a fund will house equity in private-sector companies, rather than state-controlled enterprises. DS Malik, a spokesman for India’s finance ministry, wasn’t available for a comment when contacted by phone Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has budgeted to raise 725 billion rupees ($11 billion) from such share sales in the fiscal year beginning April 1 as it aims to shrink Asia’s widest budget deficit. India has met or beaten its so-called disinvestment target only five times since 1998, data show. Axis Bank shares closed 0.6 percent lower in Mumbai on Wednesday, erasing earlier gains of as much as 2.9 percent. ITC, a hotels-to-tobacco conglomerate, fell 2.8 percent, its biggest drop in almost two months. Larsen, the largest Indian engineering firm, lost 1.2 percent. The Indian government holds about 11.5 percent of Axis Bank, 11.1 percent of ITC and 6.6 percent of Larsen through Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The government’s first share sale through the CPSE ETF in March 2014 generated 43 billion rupees, while a second tranche in January raised at least 45 billion rupees. It garnered 92 billion rupees in its third offerin
As affluence rises, consumption in India set to hit $4 tn mark by 2025: BCG
Consumption of goods and services in India is set to reach $4 trillion by 2025 as rising affluence drives changes in consumer behaviour and spending pattern, according to a paper released on Wednesday by market research firm Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) Center for Customer Insight (CCI), reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. In terms of spending, the two top consumer categories — elite and affluent — will become the largest combined segment by 2025, accounting for 40% of consumption compared with 27% in 2016. Urban and affluent Indians are fuelling most of the growth, states the report. Moreover, by 2025, wealthy urbanites will be responsible for one-third of total consumption. The share of the next billion who have an annual gross salary in the range of $2,3000-7,7000 and strugglers with annual gross salary of less than $2,3000 will shrink from 49% in 2016 to 36% in 2025. Also, in terms of consumption expenditures, emerging cities — those with a population of less than 1 million — will be the fastest growing. Fuelled by rising affluence, expenditure in these cities are rising by nearly 14% a year, while consumer spending in India’s biggest cities is increasing at about 12% a year. “India’s consumer market is poised for fundamental change. As the consumer market continues to grow and evolve, companies will need to shed conventional wisdom, try multiple business models simultaneously, and be prepared for rapid change internally to adapt to changing consumer needs and behaviours,” said Nimisha Jain, a BCG partner and co-author of the report.
|977||Field survey for annual employment data to begin soon|
The Statistics Ministry will soon start field survey to bring out annual employment data as the basic spadework has been completed. However, the ministry has not given any timeline to bring out new employment data covering wide spectrum of industries and sectors, but it could be launched in 2019. “The basic preparatory work has been completed for the rural and urban employment data. The field work on the survey would start soon. This data would be released every year,” a senior official said. The official further said that it takes about 18 months to firm up the data and prepare it for official release. “Thus, it is not certain when the data would be available for release. But, at least it should take 18 months after field survey begins.” At present, the employment data is brought out by the Statistics Ministry’s wing National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) on quinquennial basis. Besides, Labour Bureau also bring out employment data on quarterly basis covering eight broad sector. The government had decided to start this quarterly employment survey after the financial crisis of 2008 to assess the impact of slowdown.
80 per cent of informal economy will come under formal sector: J P Nadda
"More than 80 per cent of informal economic activities, especially in the retail sector, will be brought into formal economy through digitalisation and cash-less transactions, Union minister J P Nadda said today. It will increase the number of tax payers with availability of adequate funds for development, the Union Health Minister said at ‘Digidhan Mela’ here. He said 27 crore savings bank accounts were opened under Jan Dhan Yojana with a deposit of Rs 63,800 crore and that this amount could be used for economic development. Himachal Pradesh Information Technology, Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes said that the state government was promoting computerisation in every department and advocating cash-less system for government transactions."
|979||UDAY states see Rs 11,989-cr drop in interest cost|
The interest cost of states participating in Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme has come down by around Rs 11,989 crore for April-December of 2016-17 over the year-ago period. "As per the information available, the interest cost of states participating in UDAY has reduced by Rs 11,989 crore, approximately for the first nine months of the current financial year compared to the financial year (2015-16)," Power Minister Piyush Goyal said in a reply to the Rajya Sabha. So, the question of UDAY -- the scheme designed to nurse debt-laden electricity distribution companies back to health -- opening up another window of fresh debts does not arise, he added. Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) aims to reduce the interest burden, cost of power and energy losses in state-owned distribution utilities with an objective of achieving their sustainable operational and financial turnaround.
GST rollout from July 1: Cabinet clears the decks by okaying 4 draft Bills
Clearing the way for a July 1 roll-out, the Union Cabinet on Monday approved four Bills on a national goods and services tax (GST). The decision comes two working days after the GST Council cleared these — Central GST (CGST), Union Territory GST (UTGST), Integrated GST (IGST) and the Compensation Bill. These are now set to be introduced in Parliament within this week, most likely as money Bills and so, not needing approval of the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance does not have a majority. “It is expected that implementation of the GST will lead to an increase in the gross domestic product by one to two per cent, leading to more employment and productivity,” went an official statement. The GST will subsume various indirect levies of the Centre and states — service tax, excise duty, octroi and value-added tax, among others, and create an input tax credit chain for refunds. This would pave the way for a common national market. States will have to get the state GST Bills passed by their respective assemblies. Jammu & Kashmir will need to pass all in its state assembly, on account of special powers on taxation under the Constitution.
GST to bad bank: Modi revisits economic reform agenda after landslide win
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fresh from his landslide election victory in Uttar Pradesh, now has a chance to advance his economic reform agenda. Voters in Uttar Pradesh handed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the biggest majority for any party in the state since 1977, effectively giving their blessing to his shock decision last November to scrap 86 percent of the cash in circulation. The so-called demonetisation sought to wipe out 'black cash' - untaxed wealth and proceeds of corruption. While it caused huge disruption to daily and business life, voters backed Modi's pitch that the undeserving rich would suffer most. Armed with a new mandate as a champion of the poor, Modi still faces a struggle to implement reforms to boost growth and jobs in Asia's third-largest economy, say experts.
|982||Iron ore production in Odisha has reached all-time high of 94 mt|
Iron ore production in Odisha has reached a record high in this financial year, with the combined output by both merchant and captive miners touching 94.19 million tonne (as on March 10, 2017). The ore production is at a decadal high, bettering the state's own production rate of 80.8 million tonne (mt) in 2015-16. With-pan India iron ore output by the end of this year, it pegged at 180 mt, Odisha is poised to retain its slot as the highest producer, accounting for over 50 per cent of the output. The dispatch of iron ore permitted by the state government is 111.1 mt and if achieved, this could be the best ever despatch rate ever. By the end of February this year, the iron ore despatches were already in upwards of 90 mt. "The extension of lease validity and increased level of mechanisation at some key operating mines had led to the spike in production. We are confident that Odisha's iron ore production will be over 100 mt by the end of this financial year", said a state government official. Odisha is the largest iron ore producing state and its ore production went up nearly 50 per cent in 2015-16 from 47 mt to 80.86 mt. This came on the back of the state government's swift orders to extend the validity of mining leases after the enactment of the amended Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act.
|983||Maharashtra to grow at 9.4% in 2016-17: Economic Survey|
Achhe din for the BJP-led government in Maharashtra are here. According to the Economic Survey for 2016-17 presented in the state legislature, the gross state domestic product (GSDP) for 2016-17 is expected to grow by 9.4 per cent compared to 8.5 per cent in 2015-16. The surge in growth is largely due to a 12.5 per cent growth in agriculture, 10.2 per cent in electricity gas, water supply and other utility services and 10.8 per cent in services. The state economy will grow faster than the Indian economy, which is expected to grow by 7.1 per cent in 2016-17. State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said he hoped Maharashtra would achieve double-digit growth in the coming years and it would continue to retain its pre-eminent position in the national economy due to skillful fusion of technology, social structure, infrastructure backed by natural and human resources along with an organised method of production. However, the rise in debt stock continues to be a matter of concern as it is estimated to be Rs 3.56 lakh crore in 2016-17 against Rs 3.20 lakh crore a year earlier. This is 15.7 per cent of the GSDP, within the limit of 22.1 per cent laid down by the 14th Finance Commission. The state’s interest payments will be Rs 28,220 crore against Rs 26,217 crore.
Stage set for July 1 rollout: GST Council caps cess on luxury goods at 15%
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Thursday cleared a proposal to cap the cess on luxury cars and aerated drinks at 15 per cent over the peak rate of 28 per cent. The ceiling for the cess on “sin” goods would be much higher. An official said for paan masala, the cap would be 135 per cent. On tobacco and cigarettes, the cap would be 290 per cent, or Rs 4,170 per 1,000 cigarette sticks. A call is yet to be taken on whether or not a cess would be imposed on bidis. The cess on coal and lignite (environment cess) would have an upper limit at Rs 400 per tonne, the official said. However, the actual cess would be much lower — equal to the current indirect taxes on these goods. The cap would give headroom to the authorities to increase the cess in the future. After the meeting of the Council in New Delhi on Thursday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley explained at present, luxury cars were taxed at 40 per cent. After the GST is rolled out, luxury cars would be taxed at 28 per cent, and a cess of 12 per cent more would be charged.
Narendra Modi govt gives big boost to gas production in India, clears CBM pricing, Lubrizol India stake sale
In what will boost the gas production in the country, the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved the marketing and pricing freedom to coal bed methane (CBM) contractors to sell CBM in the domestic market. CBM is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds. If any buyer is not identified, the contractors can sell the CBM to its any affiliate. Royalty and other dues to the government, however, shall be payable on the basis of Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell notified prices or selling prices, whichever is higher. The policy is expected to incentivise the CBM operation in the country. As on March 2016, CBM production from the country’s four blocks stood at 1.64 mmscmd. Around 33 CBM blocks have been awarded in four rounds of CBM bidding, covering 64 % of the total available coal bearing area of 26,000 sqkm across 12 states. These blocks are seen to have about 62.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf), out of which, 9.9 tcf had been established as gas-in-place.
UP gets another AMRUT gift from Modi: Projects worth Rs 4,239 crore for urban development
The Centre has approved projects worth Rs 4,239 crore for improving urban infrastructure during next the three years in Uttar Pradesh under AMRUT scheme. The latest approvals take total expenditure in the state to Rs 11,421 crore, the highest among all states, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) with a central assistance of Rs 4,922 crore for the five-year mission period.
|987||Centre to develop logistics parks in 35 clusters|
As many as 35 clusters, accounting for half the total freight movement, have been identified for building logistics parks to improve the existing transportation and warehousing scenario in the country. Of the total number of proposed logistics parks, 15 would be developed across states including Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The proposed parks would reduce transportation cost by 10 per cent for the industries in the 35 clusters, thereby enabling freight movement on higher sized trucks and rail, Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari told Business Standard. Locations for development of Multimodal Logistics Parks have been prioritized based on the level of production and consumption activity in a particular city, as measured by the total freight flows from a city, the quality of road and rail connectivity to the city and the importance of the city in the international trade, he said. Country's first multimodal logistics park would come up in the next two years. "Given the scale of the investment and the complexities involved, the timelines are challenging. However, we are confident of achieving this timeline," Gadkari said.
|988||All four GST Bills passed in Lok Sabha with amendments|
All four bills related to GST was on Wednesday passed in Lok Sabha with voice votes. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who tabled the bills on Monday, briefed the BJP MPs about GST’s impact at the party’s parliamentary board meeting on Tuesday. The Central GST, Integrated GST, Union Territory GST and the Compensation Law will be discussed in the House for around six hours. The BJP is hoping to build consensus and roll-out the GST by July 1. Highlights: 8:54 pm: All four bills related to GST passed in Lok Sabha 8:41 pm: The CGST and Integrated GST (ICGST) Bill with amendments passed in Lok Sabha 8:31 pm Voting on GST underway. Clause by clause voting on GST bill. 8:11 pm Jaitley ends speech 8:09 pm Laws may change depending upon the political party in power. GST Council will thus protect the federal structure of the government: Jaitley 8:08 pm I have no illusions that smaller taxes like entry taxes will go after GST rollout: Jaitley
Demonetisation to permanently erode cash worth Rs 1.7 lakh crore: SBI research
Demonetisation exercise by the government may permanently erode about Rs 1.7 lakh crore worth cash from the system translating into liquidity, according to a report by SBI Research. This would be equivalent to about 1.1% of GDP. It may be difficult to ascribe a reason. “ Our estimates indicate that there would be a permanent liquidity injection of least Rs 1.7 lakh crore or about 1.1% of GDP post demonetization” said S K Ghosh , group chief economic advisor at SBI “ This data is a eflection of the extent of formalization of the economy post demonetization.“ After the December 30, 2016 deadline of depositing banned Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes with the banks, cash withdrawal has been declining rapidly from a peak of Rs 52800 crore for the week ended January 13,’17 to Rs 32500 crore during the week ended March 24’17. Even in the span of one week between March 7 and March24, cash withdrawal has declined by Rs 2000 crore, the SBI report said. R
Undisclosed Income Of 5,400 Crore Detected Post-Demonetisation: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
The Income Tax department carried out over 1,100 searches and surveys immediately after demonetisation and detected undisclosed income of over Rs. 5,400 crore, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Rajya Sabha today. He added that more follow-up action was taken and 18 lakh people were identified whose tax profiles were not in line with the cash deposits made by them in the demonetisation period and online responses were sought. Mr Jaitley gave these details during the Question Hour, where he claimed that no other government had taken so much action against black money as the present regime. He said the Reserve Bank was verifying the exact amount that was deposited during the demonetisation period and the precise figure would be presented before the nation. He also said that there is no official estimation of black money parked abroad but added that information is received from different channels and action including criminal proceedings where required is taken accordingly. Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agarwal had raised the matter related to action against black money and said people had been promised that they would get Rs. 15 lakh in their accounts. In his reply, Mr Jaitley said, "Post-demonetisation, during the period November 9, 2016 to January 10, 2017, more than 1,100 searches and surveys were conducted by the Income Tax Department, apart from issuing more than 5,100 verification notices in the cases of suspicious high value cash deposits or related activities." These actions led to seizure of valuables of more than Rs. 610 crore which includes cash of Rs. 513 crore, he said. "Seizure in cash in new currency was about Rs. 110 crore. The undisclosed income detected in these actions was more than Rs. 5400 crore," Mr Jaitley said. He said that the IT Department had undertaken "Operation Clean Money" to leverage Technology and data analytics for verification of deposits during the demonetisation period. Under this about 18 lakh persons have been identified whose tax profiles were prima facie not in line with the cash deposits made by them in the demonetisation period.
|991||India Considers Private Banks to Plug $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Gap|
India is considering turning to the private sector to help plug a chronic shortage of capital for infrastructure projects. The Reserve Bank of India is proposing Asia’s third-largest economy offer licenses to private companies to set up infrastructure banks. That could help finance $1.5 trillion in roads, ports, power and other projects over the next 10 years and bridge a gap that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s says is shaving off almost 5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. “Specialized banks could cater to the wholesale and long-term financing needs of the growing economy and possibly fill the gap in long-term financing,” the RBI said in a discussion paper released from Mumbai on April 7. With commercial banks saddled with huge nonperforming loans and credit growth languishing at decade lows, lenders have been reticent to invest in projects that involve a long waiting period before returns kick in. That bodes ill for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government which is trying to spark investment, including clearing a backlog of billions of dollars of stalled projects. Governments around the world are searching for ways to finance public projects. State-backed lending, led by the China Development Bank, drove infrastructure construction in China last year along with funds raised by local governments through bond sales. Canada is hoping to attract pension funds and global money managers to a new infrastructure bank it plans to set up this year with C$35 billion ($26 billion) in funding, and U.S. President Donald Trump has promised $1 trillion in spending. India appears to be considering a different approach. According to the RBI’s paper, the banks would source their funds from wholesale and long-term deposits, bond issuance, borrowing and asset securitization, rather than retail deposits. The paper doesn’t mention whether the central bank or government would back the new banks.
|992||Nitin Gadkari keen to achieve 40 km a day road construction target|
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that efforts are being made to further improve the road construction target to 40 km a day from the current 23 km per day. The minister said that 8,144 km of roads were constructed last financial year. His ministry, Gadkari said, on an average has recorded road construction of 23 km a day as against two km a day when the UPA government was in power. "I had fixed the target of 40 km per day but I was not able to achieve that but... I am hopeful of achieving this target," he said while addressing a national conference on the steel sector. The minister further said he intends to complete infrastructure work worth Rs 25 lakh crore in five years. Gadkari said all these initiatives would give a huge boost to the steel and cement sectors. Till March 31, the ministry has already alloted projects worth Rs 5.5 lakh crore in roads and ports sectors, he added. The government has decided to increase the length of national highways from the existing 96,000 km to two lakh km.
|993||Services growth at 5-month high: PMI|
The services sector expanded for a second consecutive month in March, indicating that the predominant sector of the economy has recovered from the demonetisation setback, a private survey released on Thursday has shown. The widely tracked Nikkei Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for services rose to a five-month high of 51.5 points in March, compared to 50.3 in the previous month. A reading above 50 signifies expansion, while one below that shows contraction. “India’s private sector economy stayed on an upward trajectory during March, benefiting from an upswing in demand and output,” Pollyanna De Lima, economist at IHS Markit and the author of the report, said. “The country’s rapid recovery from the demonetisation-related downturn was accompanied by job creation and softer inflationary pressures,” De Lima added.
Parliament passes four GST bills after Rajya Sabha makes no changes
The Parliament on Thursday passed four GST-related bills, paving the way for the new indirect tax to be implemented nationwide. The bills were supported by the Rajya Sabha without any amendments, and follows after the Lower House passed them last week. They will now be presented before the President for his consent, following which, states will pass another legislation, readying the country for a uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST). The four bills are the Central Goods and Services Tax Bill (CGST), the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill (IGST) the Goods and Services Tax (Compensation to States) Bill and the Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Bill (UTGST). The CGST will give powers to the Centre to charge a tax after levies of excise, service tax and additional customs duty is subsumed. The IGST will be a tax to be levied by the Centre on inter-state movement of goods and services. Besides, GST compensation law allows for imposition of cess on certain luxury goods like tobacco, high-end cars and aerated drinks to create a fund for compensating states for any loss of revenue in the first five years after implementing the new indirect tax.
|995||India's states to compete for foreign cash as bond market opens up|
India's states are gearing up to sell up to $7.6 billion in debt to foreign investors for the first time, stepping up competition for funds that could force the country's spendthrift provinces to clean up their books and tighten spending controls. India's states pay the second-highest government yields in Asian emerging markets after Indonesia: around 8.16 percent for a 10-year bond, much higher than central government debt and nearly two and three times the yield on Philippines and Thai paper. That is expected to be a big draw for overseas funds, which have already poured nearly $8 billion into Indian central government debt so far this year, attracted to economic fundamentals that have been relatively better than emerging market peers. The arrival of foreigners could force a major change in the state government bond market, where yields vary little across the states despite different fiscal positions, and put governments under pressure to curb wasteful spending. Some states are prone to expensive pre-election giveaways: everything from spice grinders and fans to laptops and subsidised or free rice and vegetables. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has told investors that all states benefit from identical sovereign guarantees. But foreign investors, unlike domestic investors who tend to treat state debt equally, say some states will be more appealing than others, at least in the short term.
|996||Govt releases highest ever LPG connections in 2016-17|
Pushed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -led government's flagship programme Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), oil marketing companies released the highest ever number of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections in 2016-17, adding 32.5 million connections in the year. The connections released includes 20 million under PMUY scheme, while 12.5 million connections were released outside PMUY. Under PMUY, women of BPL families especially residing in rural areas have been given LPG connections. This increase in connections resulted in a jump in the LPG coverage and as of April 1 this year, the national LPG coverage is estimated to be 72.8 per cent with 198.8 million active consumers. The scheme was launched on May 1 at Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, with a target of providing connections to 50-million below-poverty-line families in three years, with government support of Rs 1,600 per connection. For the three years, the government had allocated Rs 8,000 crore; the connections are issued in the name of the women in those families.
Faster clearances, monitoring help infra projects stay on course in Q4
The Centre has finally managed to break the chokehold of stalled infrastructure projects, by giving faster clearances and closely monitoring these at the highest level. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) data released on Monday, only 24 projects under implementation were stalled as of March. The investment in these projects was Rs 25,700 crore — the lowest in any quarter since December 2008. In the March 2016 quarter, it was Rs 92,000 crore. The previous United Progressive Alliance government had been haunted by the piling up of stalled
|998||Factory activity at 5-month high in March on strong demand: PMI|
Activity in the country's manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace in five months in March as output and new orders accelerated, according to a private survey that also showed price pressures eased. The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 52.5 in March, from 50.7 in February. This is the third month in a row that it has been above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. Output and new orders sub-indexes rose to their highest since October 2016, suggesting the world's fastest growing major economy has largely recovered from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock decision in November to ban high-value currency notes. The move caused huge disruptions to daily life and businesses in the largely cash-based economy. The survey also showed encouraging signs on the inflation front, which has come squarely back on the central bank's radar in recent months.
|999||Alstom, Bombardier tap India as urban railway export center|
Drawn to India by an explosion in metro-rail projects, Alstom SA and Bombardier Inc are now poised to use the nation known for being the world's back-office as a manufacturing export hub. The French and Canadian multinationals set up manufacturing and engineering operations between 2008 and 2010 to tap into India's rapidly-growing urban transportation market and will now export to Australia, the West Asia and other part of Asia from these facilities, company officials said. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates total investments in subway projects will reach $230 billion in Asia over the next 15 years. Alstom and Bombardier want to exploit India's large pool of engineers and cheap skilled labour that have helped turn the nation into a key center for auto companies including Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. New export avenues such as metro rail systems are critical to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promised economic rejuvenation. Shipments from Asia's third-largest economy must grow about 15 per cent a year to ensure the pace of expansion needed to create sufficient jobs, according to Modi's top economic adviser Arvind Subramanian.
|1000||Merchandise exports grow for 7th straight month|
Merchandise exports grow for 7th straight month Merchandise exports jumped as high as 27.6% in March from a year before, growing for a seventh straight month even in the aftermath of demonetisation In a comfort for policymakers, non-petroleum and non-bullion exports in March rose an impressive 26%. (Reuters) Merchandise exports jumped as high as 27.6% in March from a year before — growing for a seventh straight month even in the aftermath of demonetisation — thanks to a rebound in the outbound shipments of engineering goods, petroleum products and garments, apart from a favourable base. With this, exports in the last fiscal grew 4.7% to $274.64 billion — a much-needed rise after two successive years of decline. Imports, too, jumped 45.3% in March — aided by a jump in the purchases of petroleum products (101%), gold (329%) and electronic goods (32%) — with merchandise trade deficit touching $10.44 billion. Despite the latest jump, imports in the last fiscal eased 0.2% to $380.36 billion. In a comfort for policymakers, non-petroleum and non-bullion exports in March rose an impressive 26%. Even non-oil imports in March jumped a massive 33.21%, suggesting the growing appetite of the economy. Interestingly, exports of meat, poultry and dairy products grew almost 17% to $429.8 million despite a crackdown on illegal abattoirs in Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for a bulk of the country’s beef exports.