Business en Sat Apr 30 17:26:17 IST 2022 world-bank-cuts-indias-economic-growth-forecast-to-75-pc-for-fy-23 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The World Bank, on Tuesday, cut India's economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.5 per cent as rising inflation, supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions taper recovery.</p> <p>This is the second time that the World Bank has revised its GDP growth forecast for India in the current fiscal 2022-23 (April 2022 to March 2023). In April, it had trimmed the forecast from 8.7 per cent to 8 per cent and now it is projected at 7.5 per cent.</p> <p>he GDP growth compares to an 8.7 per cent expansion in the previous 2021-22 fiscal.</p> <p>"In India, growth is forecast to edge down to 7.5 per cent in the fiscal year 2022/23, with headwinds from rising inflation, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical tensions offsetting buoyancy in the recovery of services consumption from the pandemic," the World Bank said in its latest issue of the 'Global Economic Prospects'.</p> <p>Growth, it said, will also be supported by fixed investment undertaken by the private sector and by the government, which has introduced incentives and reforms to improve the business climate. This forecast reflects a 1.2 percentage point downward revision of growth from the January projection, the bank added.</p> <p>"Growth is expected to slow further to 7.1 percent in 2023-24 back towards its longer-run potential," it noted.</p> <p>A rise in prices across all items from fuel to vegetables and cooking oil pushed WPI or wholesale price-based inflation to a record high of 15.08 per cent in April and retail inflation to a near eight-year high of 7.79 per cent.</p> <p>High inflation prompted the Reserve Bank to hold an unscheduled meeting to raise the benchmark interest rate by 40 basis points to 4.40 per cent last month and another hike is expected on Wednesday.</p> <p>Prior to the World Bank's action, global rating agencies too had slashed India's economic growth forecast. Last month, Moody's Investors Service trimmed the GDP projection to 8.8 per cent for the calendar year 2022 from 9.1 per cent earlier, citing high inflation.</p> <p>In March, Fitch had cut India's growth forecast to 8.5 per cent, from 10.3 per cent, while IMF has lowered the projection to 8.2 per cent from 9 per cent.</p> <p>Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pegged India's growth at 7.5 per cent, while RBI in April cut the forecast to 7.2 per cent from 7.8 per cent amid volatile crude oil prices and supply chain disruptions due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.</p> <p>According to the World Bank report, growth in India slowed in the first half of 2022 as activity was disrupted both by a surge in Covid-19 cases, accompanied by more-targeted mobility restrictions and by the war in Ukraine. The recovery is facing headwinds from rising inflation.</p> <p>The unemployment rate has declined to levels seen prior to the pandemic, but the labour force participation rate remains below pre-pandemic levels and workers have shifted to lower-paying jobs.</p> <p>In India, the focus of government spending has shifted toward infrastructure investment, labour regulations are being simplified, underperforming state-owned assets are being privatised, and the logistics sector is expected to be modernized and integrated, the bank said.</p> <p>World Bank president David Malpas, in his foreword to the report, said after multiple crises, long-term prosperity will depend on returning to faster growth and a more stable, rules-based policy environment.</p> <p>"There is good reason to expect that, once the war in Ukraine stops, efforts will redouble, including by the World Bank Group, to rebuild the Ukrainian economy and revive global growth."</p> <p>Global growth is expected to slow sharply from 5.7 per cent in 2021 to 2.9 per cent this year. "This also reflects a nearly one-third cut to our January 2022 forecast for this year of 4.1 per cent," he said.</p> <p>"The surge in energy and food prices, along with the supply and trade disruptions triggered by the war in Ukraine and the necessary interest-rate normalization now underway, account for most of the downgrade," Malpass added.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 07 20:21:21 IST 2022 uk-firms-begin-4-day-working-week-with-full-pay-pilot-scheme <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Thousands of workers across different sectors of the UK economy are participating in a major global study starting Monday by working for four instead of five days a week, while on full pay.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 4-Day Week UK Pilot Programme is aimed at measuring productivity and wellbeing of staff over six months until December as they work a day less on the understanding of delivering similar results.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Around 70 companies across banking, hospitality, care, and animation studios are signed up to take part in what is thought to be the world's biggest pilot scheme of its kind. It involves academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as experts at Boston College in the US as they coordinate the experiment in partnership with the think tank Autonomy and not-for-profit coalition 4 Day Week Global.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than 3,300 workers, based throughout the UK and representing more than 30 sectors, are receiving 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100 per cent productivity, the 4 Day Week Campaign said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Worldwide, over 150 companies and 7,000 employees across the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand have signed up to participate in the six-month coordinated trials of the four-day working week as part of the 2022 programme.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple dividend policy helping employees, companies, and the climate. Our research efforts will be digging into all of this,&quot; said Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College and lead researcher behind the pilot scheme.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The basis of this movement is that there's activity going on in many workplaces, particularly white-collar workplaces, that's low-productivity and that you can cut without harming the business. Sticking to a rigid, centuries-old, time-based system doesn't make sense,&quot; she explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sam Smith, co-founder of Pressure Drop Brewery in north London and one of the participating companies, said it felt &quot;like a good time&quot; for the firm to try different working practices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The pandemic's made us think a great deal about work and how people organise their lives,&quot; he told the BBC.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We're doing this to improve the lives of our staff and be part of a progressive change in the world that will improve people's mental health and wellbeing,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The employers and workers in the pilot will have access to the expertise, tools and resources such as workshops and mentoring that the researchers feel would be needed to run a smooth and successful trial until the end of this year.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 07 16:45:34 IST 2022 puma-launches-mobile-shopping-app-in-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>German sports brand Puma on Tuesday said it has launched mobile shopping app in India to further enhance digital offerings for consumers and provide quicker access to its products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;India is the first country to go live with the Puma app developed by the German sportswear giant,&quot; the company said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Puma, a leading sports brand in the country, has renewed its investment in India as a high priority market with this move, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Puma earned record revenue of Rs 2,044 crore in India during the financial year ending December 2021 at a 68.2 per cent jump over the previous fiscal. The brand also added 51 stores last year and has a total of 450 stores in the country so far,&quot; it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Puma CEO Bjorn Gulden said India is a very important market, and the local team here has done an outstanding job in establishing it as the Number 1 sports brand in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Given that India is a very digital-savvy market where e-commerce has high penetration, we felt it natural to launch the app here first. It will then be rolled out globally during the year, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Puma India and Southeast Asia Managing Director Abhishek Ganguly said with the launch of the app, the company will offer consumers a faster, seamless and convenient digital shopping experience.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We, at Puma, believe in consistently connecting our consumers with our products in an experiential manner. Puma was the first brand in India to realise the potential of e-commerce and launched its online shopping platform in 2016. Now, with this app, we are ready to take the shopping experience to the next level and engage with consumers more closely with the help of interactive features, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Puma shopping app will not only allow users to purchase their favourite sneakers, athleisure and accessories but is also equipped with features, such as virtual try-on and 3D animations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cricketer and Puma brand ambassador Virat Kohli took part in launching the app in India by making an official announcement across his social media handles.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 07 12:30:48 IST 2022 gadkari-sets-target-to-construct-60-kms-of-highway-per-day <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said his target is to construct 60 kilometres of highway per day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India's national highway construction slowed to 28.64 km a day in 2021-22 due to COVID-19 pandemic related disruptions and a longer-than-usual monsoon in some parts of the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;My ministry and my team is working hard, and even during COVID-19 pandemic time, our (highway) construction rate was 38 km per day and my ambition is to take it up to 60 km per day , it is a target,&quot; Gadkari said at an event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) are primarily responsible for the construction of national highways and expressways across the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The minister also said that logistics cost is a problem in India.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 07 11:43:36 IST 2022 rbi-likely-hike-repo-rate-up-to-50bps-tomorrow-experts <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>HDFC Bank, the country's largest private sector lender has raised its marginal cost of funds-based lending rate (MCLR) by 35 basis points. Several other banks, including the country's largest lender State Bank, have raised their lending rates over the last few weeks.</p> <p>Like it or not, lending rates are going to go up further as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tightens liquidity and raises its repo rate in a bid to tame high inflation.</p> <p>In a surprise move last month, RBI raised repo rate by 40 basis points in an out-of-turn MPC meet.</p> <p>On Wednesday, most economists see the central bank's monetary policy committee (MPC) raising the rate at which it lends commercial banks further; the expectation varies from 25 basis points to 50 basis points.</p> <p>Governor Shakti Shaktikanta Das had said in a recent TV interview that expectation of rate hike in the next MPC meet was a &quot;no brainer.&quot;</p> <p>For long, the RBI has focused on supporting growth at a time the Covid-19 pandemic had hit hard. But, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, supply-side bottlenecks and a surge in crude oil and other commodity prices have led to a sharp rise in inflation.</p> <p>Retail inflation in April touched an eight-year high of 7.79 per cent, which was well above RBI's upper end of the target band of 2-6 per cent. Inflation in March, too, had been above the upper end of the target at 6.95 per cent.</p> <p>Globally central banks are raising interest rates with inflation hitting multi-decade highs in countries like the US. This global monetary tightening and a strengthening US dollar will also weigh on RBI's actions.</p> <p>The rate hikes come even as GDP growth remains slow. Latest data showed GDP growth has slowed from 20.1 per cent in the April-June quarter to 4.1 per cent in the Jan-March quarter.</p> <p>It is &quot;not an easy job for the central banker,&quot; said Indranil Pan, chief economist at Yes Bank.</p> <p>&quot;We see the RBI extending its 40 bps repo hike of May with a 35 bps increase in June, followed by 25 bps each in August and September. By this time, we expect the global growth to have softened enough to pull down commodity prices and thus provide some comfort to the domestic inflation cycle too,&quot; he said.</p> <p>Shanti Ekambaram, group president - consumer banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank expects repo rate to be raised by 35-50 bps on Wednesday.</p> <p>&quot;It is likely that the RBI's stance will be 'neutral' while it will stay committed to bringing back inflation closer to the targeted levels through all possible instruments. Based on inflation data and external factors, including oil and commodity prices, expect a total of 100 to 150 bps increase in repo rate from the current 4.40 per cent,&quot; said Ekambaram.</p> <p>In the last MPC meeting in April, the RBI had raised its inflation forecast for 2022-23 to 5.7 per cent from 4.5 per cent. It is expected to further revise this forecast upwards this time around.</p> <p>&quot;Inflation management is tricky as the real repo rate is deeply negative at -3.4 per cent (4.4 per cent - headline CPI at 7.8 per cent) and -2.6 per cent assuming core inflation of 7%. Thus, to arrive at a neutral real rate of 1 per cent, RBI will have to substantially increase the repo rate and tighten liquidity,&quot; pointed Dhananjay Sinha, MD and head – strategist , JM Financial Institutional Securities.</p> <p>He sees RBI raising repo rate by 150 bps over the next 12-months, with a 40-50 bps hike on June 8.</p> <p>In recent weeks, the government has taken some steps to reign in prices. For instance, central excise duty on petrol and diesel was reduced by Rs 8 and Rs 6 per litre respectively.</p> <p>If this and other measures help cool inflation at least to some extent, it may open up some room for RBI to go slow on future rate hikes, say analysts.</p> <p>&quot;We expect that the RBI will hike the repo rate by another 35-40 basis points in the June meeting. However, we will not be surprised if they prefer to go slow on rate hikes given the government is also responding to the inflation risks. The recent announcement on fuel tax cuts and reduction of import duties on edible oils will provide some comfort to the RBI,&quot; said Pankaj Pathak, Fund Manager-Fixed Income, Quantum Asset Management.</p> <p>So, at least in the next few months, expect your EMIs to go up as lending rates rise. But, banks are also raising their deposit rates. That could offer some good news for savers amid volatile capital markets.</p> Tue Jun 07 18:34:59 IST 2022 work-from-home-is-here-to-stay--ciril <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As Work from Home (WFH) has become a reality post-Covid-19 pandemic, there is an increased demand for functional and flexible spaces that can accommodate workspace conveniently located in urban centres for easy access of the employees, according to real estate research agency CIRIL.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is not the only business that is looking for more resilience through flexible forms of real estate, property developers and landlords also are seeking a sustained model of creating a need-based ecosystem for future of work where hybrid models of working are becoming acceptable norms, CIRIL said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the prospect of more workforce and office workers taking up remote or flexible work practices, building occupancy rates may decrease in short term but a few segments such as co-working and flexible spaces are going to be the main demand driver in the commercial and real estate segment, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Developers and corporates have to work in tandem to address the needs of the hybrid work culture through augmentation of existing infrastructure. Smaller cities are becoming an attractive investment option for both customers and investors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The agency said there is a huge potential in infrastructure development and real estate sector, particularly in Tier II and Tier III cities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to CIRIL, though the WFH is increasingly becoming an acceptable mode of working, the downside of it is that there is a lack of organisational structure, team building activities, collaboration, interaction and motivation leading to employee burnout, loneliness and mental health issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This has led to exploring new models of hybrid and collaborative working environment that strikes the right balance between working place and time as well as fosters a healthy interpersonal relationship between employee and employers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Traditionally, the IT and ITeS sectors have been the first movers in experimenting with hybrid models a decade back and since then they had created a robust policy framework to support the workforce. Other sectors are gradually adapting to hybrid models as a post-pandemic strategy, it added.&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 06 17:19:30 IST 2022 can-musk-walk-away-from-the-twitter-deal <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk has said he may withdraw his bid to buy Twitter. He accused the social media platform of withholding data on fake accounts.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is not the first time Musk had suggested publicly his acquisition of Twitter may not happen. But the warning, delivered in a letter from Musk's lawyers to Twitter's chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, marked an escalation, a Reuters report reads. Musk had agreed to a deal to purchase Twitter in late April for $44 billion.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Tesla and Space X CEO was unsatisfied with Twitter's claims that around 5 per cent of the accounts on the social media platform are fake accounts or are bots. Musk wanted to conduct his own analysis in this regard and sought data from the company for the same. Lawyers for the Tesla and SpaceX CEO made the threat in a letter to Twitter dated Monday that the social platform included in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.</p> <p>Musk has said that the company is under-counting the number of fake or spam bots and requested data to conduct his own investigation. Experts say whether Musk has the right to demand access to such data would be decided by the court.</p> <p>The lawyers say in the letter that Twitter has offered only to provide details about the company's testing methods. But they contend that's tantamount to refusing Musk's data requests. Musk wants data so he can do his own verification of what he says are Twitter's lax methodologies.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>US securities regulators have pressed Musk about the delay in reporting his Twitter stock buys. Experts say that Musk's questioning of Twitter bots might be a means to end the takeover process, or to pressure Twitter into lowering the price. Musk hasn't bought the micro-blogging platform yet, only signed a deal to buy it. He could walk away from it but might need to part with a $1 billion breakup fee.&nbsp;</p> <p>Musk, on April 29 sold roughly $8.5 billion worth of shares in Tesla to help fund the purchase of Twitter. Musk, on May 13, said that his plan to buy Twitter is temporarily on hold. He said that he needs to pinpoint the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform. Shares of Twitter tumble, while shares of Tesla rebound sharply.&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the letter by Tesla's lawyers, this is a clear material breach of Twitter's obligations under the merger agreement and Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement.&nbsp;</p> <p>While Twitter remains unmoved at the initial price of $54.2 per share, the stock has fallen by over 25 per cent since early May. Tesla’s stock price has fallen dramatically by 35 per cent since April 4, the day Musk disclosed that he was Twitter’s largest stakeholder, cutting deeply into Musk's wealth --these could be reasons Musk is being mercurial regarding the Twitter deal.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>If Musk chooses to walk away, Twitter could sue him to force him to complete the acquisition on agreed terms. And while Musk waived his rights to look into the company, the agreement allows Musk to get out of the deal if Twitter causes a “material adverse effect.”</p> <p>The spam bot problem is something that has caught Musk's attention as his name is frequently mimicked by fake accounts conducting cryptocurrency scams.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>--With PTI inputs</p> Tue Jun 07 14:34:11 IST 2022 international-passenger-traffic-at-indian-airports-to-hit-80-85- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Credit ratings agency Icra on Monday revised upward its projection of international air passenger traffic at Indian airports at 80-85 per cent of the pre-pandemic volumes during this fiscal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The volume of such travellers has already touched 72 per cent of the pre-Covid level in May.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The steep recovery in international passengers' demand came on the back of resumption of scheduled flight operations in late March in the wake of easing of travel restrictions norms and resilient passenger demand, Icra said in a release.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Major destinations driving the international traffic demand are Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Commercial operations of international flights resumed on March 27 after a hiatus of two years amid COVID-19 pandemic. During that period international operations were limited to countries through special flights under the 'Vande Bharat Mission' and bilateral 'air transport bubble' agreements with several countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ramp-up is healthy with international passenger traffic reaching 63 per cent and 72 per cent of pre-Covid levels (similar period in 2019) in April and May, respectively, this year compared to the recovery of less than 50 per cent to that of pre-pandemic levels during FY22, the ratings agency said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Icra said it also expects the ramp-up in the overall passenger traffic to 96-97 per cent of the pre-Covid levels in FY23 on the back of a strong and sharp recovery in domestic passenger traffic and the resumption of international commercial operations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recovery in domestic passenger traffic was strong post-Omicron and has reached 98 per cent of pre-Covid levels in April and May, it said, adding, overall, passenger traffic has reached 93 per cent of pre-Covid levels in May.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Resumption of international commercial operations has accelerated the traffic recovery. Considering the healthy ramp-up in international traffic in the last two months, Icra expects international traffic to reach 80-85 per cent of the pre-Covid level in FY23 as against earlier estimates of 70-75 per cent,&quot; said Abhishek Lahoti, senior analyst, for corporate ratings at Icra.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, as expected, the recovery of domestic passenger traffic was sharp and much faster post-Omicron, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recovery trend in traffic was supported by the easing of travel restrictions norms and resilient demand, according to Lahoti who expects domestic air travel to recover back to pre-Covid levels in FY23 and the international traffic in FY24.</p> Mon Jun 06 17:06:08 IST 2022 booking-up-to-24-train-tickets-a-month-allowed-if-irctc-user-id- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>People can now book 24 train tickets in a month on the IRCTC website and app if their user ID is linked to Aadhaar, otherwise only 12 tickets can be bought, the Railways announced on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So far, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) allowed people to book six tickets a month if the account is not connected to Aadhar and 12 if it is linked.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;To facilitate passengers, Indian Railways has decided to increase the limit of booking maximum 6 tickets in a month to 12 tickets by a user ID which is not Aadhaar linked and the limit of booking maximum 12 tickets in a month to 24 tickets by a user ID which is Aadhaar linked and that one of the passengers in the ticket to be booked is verifiable through Aadhaar,&quot; the ministry said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Officials said this will be helpful for frequent travellers as well as those using the same account to book train tickets for family members.&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 06 15:50:59 IST 2022 modi-launches-new-series-of-coins-with-akam-design <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday launched a special series of coins that are also 'visually impaired friendly'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The coins of Re 1, Rs 2, 5, 10 and 20 denominations will have the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) design are not commemorative coins and will be part of circulation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;These new series of coins will remind people of the goal of amrit kal and motivate people to work towards the development of the country,&quot; Modi said while addressing the iconic week celebration of the Ministry of Finance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi also launched the 'Jan Samarth portal' -- a credit-linked portal of 12 government schemes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said each of these schemes will be displayed on the portal. &quot;This portal is going to make it easy so that citizens does not have to ask the same questions every time to avail himself a government programme&quot;.&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 06 13:16:57 IST 2022 global-wheat-prices-jump-after-india-export-ban-and-ukraine-war-fao <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The price of wheat has jumped in the international markets after India announced a ban on the export of the staple cereal and due to the reduced production prospects in Ukraine following the Russian invasion, the UN food agency has said.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Price Index averaged 157.4 points in May 2022, down 0.6 per cent from April.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a basket of commonly-traded food commodities, however, remained 22.8 per cent higher than in May 2021.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 173.4 points in May, up 3.7 points (2.2 per cent) from April and as much as 39.7 points (29.7 per cent) above its May 2021 value.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>International wheat prices rose for a fourth consecutive month, up 5.6 per cent in May, to average 56.2 per cent above their value last year and only 11 per cent below the record high reached in March 2008, it said on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The steep increase in wheat prices was in response to an export ban announced by India amidst concerns over crop conditions in several leading exporting countries, as well as reduced production prospects in Ukraine because of the war, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In contrast, international coarse grain prices declined by 2.1 per cent in May but remained 18.1 per cent above their value a year ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Slightly improved crop conditions in the United States of America, seasonal supplies in Argentina and the imminent start of Brazil's main maize harvest led maize prices to decline by 3.0 per cent, however, they remained 12.9 per cent above their level of May 2021, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>International rice prices increased for the fifth successive month in May.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Quotations strengthened in all the major market segments, but monthly increases were least pronounced (2.6 per cent) for the most widely traded Indica varieties, amid ample supplies, especially in India, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FAO Sugar Price Index declined by 1.1 percent from April, as a bumper crop in India buoyed global availability prospects.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The weakening of the Brazilian real against the US dollar, along with lower ethanol prices resulted in further downward pressure on world sugar prices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 120.3 points in May, down 1.3 points (1.1 per cent) from April, marking the first decline after sharp increases registered in the previous two months, the agency said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The recent monthly decline in international sugar price quotations was triggered by limited global import demand and good global availability prospects, mostly stemming from a bumper crop in India, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last month, India announced that it was banning wheat exports in a bid to check high prices amid concerns of wheat output being hit by the scorching heat wave.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wheat exports were allowed on the basis of permission granted by the Indian government to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of their governments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan had told the Ministerial Meeting on Global Food Security Call to Action' chaired by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken under the US Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of May that India is committed to ensuring that such adverse impact on food security is effectively mitigated and the vulnerable cushioned against sudden changes in the global market. In order to manage our own overall food security and support the needs of neighbouring and other vulnerable developing countries, we have announced some measures regarding wheat exports on 13 May 2022."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me make it clear that these measures allow for export on the basis of approvals to those countries who are required to meet their food security demands. This will be done on the request from the concerned governments. Such a policy will ensure that we will truly respond to those who are most in need, he added, emphasising that India will play its due role in advancing global food security.&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 06 12:44:40 IST 2022 need-to-make-indian-banks--currency-important-part-of-int-l-trad <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday stressed the need to make India's banks and currency an important part of the international trade and supply chain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Prime Minister also exhorted financial institutions to continuously encourage good financial and corporate governance practices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Inaugurating the iconic week celebrations by the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, Modi said India has developed various financial inclusion platforms and there is a need to create awareness about them for their optimum utilisation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;There should be an effort to extend these financial inclusion solutions globally.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi also launched the 'Jan Samarth portal', a credit-linked portal of 12 government schemes, to ensure ease in credit availability to youth, entrepreneurs and farmers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Jan Samarth portal will be an 'end-to-end delivery platform', and more people will come forward to avail loans, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In his address, the Prime Minister said: &quot;It is necessary to focus on how to make our domestic banks, currency an important part of international supply chain and trade&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi said people-centric governance and continuous effort toward good governance have been the hallmark of the government in the past 8 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also said that permanent dwelling, electricity, gas, water and free treatment have given poor respect they deserve.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 06 12:49:55 IST 2022 solar-energy-generation-of-cochin-international-airport-crosses- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) here achieved another milestone by generating over 25 crore units of green power from various solar PV installations at the airport till date, offsetting 1,60,000 metric tons of carbon emission.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>CIAL is the world's first airport fully powered by solar energy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the Airport Authority, the CIAL has achieved a cumulative production volume of 25 crore units of solar energy on Saturday apart from the 75 lakh units generated through its Small Hydro Electric Project at Arippara.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Managing Director of CIAL, S Suhas, said the development policy of the airport authority encompasses Total Sustainability Management (TSM) and attempts to explore every possible way to address climate change.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We try to explore every possible way to address climate change. CIAL which achieved power neutrality in 2015 now becomes a power surplus organisation, feeding approximately four crore units of excess power annually to the State grid,&quot; Suhas said in a release.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>CIAL, which started its solar initiatives in 2013 with a 100kWp Pilot Plant, now has a total installed solar capacity of 50 MWp.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2015, CIAL attained the status as World's first airport to be fully powered by solar energy with an installed capacity of 13.1MWp.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Together with its 4.5 MW Hydroelectric power project at Arippara, CIAL is now the second largest power producer in Kerala after KSEB, the airport authority said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said the agro-photovoltaic activities, utilising the vacant spaces between the solar panels in the solar plant, CIAL has so far produced approximately 90 metric tonnes of pesticide-free vegetables.&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 06 13:38:20 IST 2022 why-is-mercedes-benz-recalling-nearly-1-million-cars-worldwide <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>German car manufacturer Mercedes Benz is recalling nearly 1 million cars of different makes worldwide over a possible braking issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Reuters </i>reported on Saturday, units of the ML, GL (BR 164) and R-Class (BR 251) series produced between 2004 and 2015 were affected and these units were being recalled.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in Germany said in a recent release that worldwide, 993,407 vehicles of various series were being recalled. The Transport Authority stated “Corrosion on the brake booster can in the worst case lead to the connection between the brake pedal and the braking system being interrupted. As a consequence, the service brake can stop functioning,” <i>The Guardian </i>reported quoting the Transport Authority.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The car manufacturer too, confirming the recall, said in a release to <i>AFP</i> the move was based on analysis of isolated reports for certain vehicles. <i>Reuters</i> reported that the manufacturer had found that in some of those vehicles, the function of the brake booster could be affected by advanced corrosion in the joint area of the housing. “This could result in an increase in the brake pedal force needed to decelerate the vehicle and/or to a potentially increased stopping distance," <i>Reuters</i> quoted the manufacturer as saying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“In such a very rare case, it would not be possible to decelerate the vehicle via the service brake. Thus, the risk of a crash or injury would be increased,” <i>The Guardian</i> reported quoting the manufacturer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to <i>HT Auto</i>, the German manufacturer had issued a recall of similar models in the US in May over a similar issue. NHTSA—an agency under the US Department of Transportation for road safety—said in a release in May, “Mercedes-Benz USA will conduct a voluntary recall of approximately 292,287 ML-, GL- and R-Class vehicles produced during the 2006-2012 model year period for potentially corroded brake boosters. The corrosion could severely affect braking capability, increasing the risk of a crash.” NHTSA advised customers with affected vehicles to visit authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers for inspection.</p> Sun Jun 05 12:04:47 IST 2022 soon-currency-notes-may-have-watermarks-of-tagore-and-kalam <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Currency notes may soon have watermarks of Rabindranath Tagore and APJ Abdul Kalam along with M.K. Gandhi, say media reports.</p> <p>The Union finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are considering using the watermarks of the renowned author and Missile Man in a few denominations of notes.</p> <p>According to <i>The New Indian Express</i>, the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) and the RBI sent two sets of samples watermarks with Tagore, Gandhi and Kalam to IIT-Delhi Emeritus Professor Dilip T. Shahani, who will pick a set and sent it back. The final decision will be taken by the government, at the highest levels.</p> <p>According to the <i>TNIE</i> report, an internal RBI committee, sent a report in 2020, proposing that besides Gandhi, watermarks of Tagore and Kalam could be included in currency notes.</p> <p>A year later, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Pvt Ltd and SPMCIL’s Security Paper Mill was asked by the RBI to design watermark samples. These have been sent to Shahani to take a call.</p> Sun Jun 05 22:51:08 IST 2022 rbi-to-go-for-another-040-pc-hike-in-rates-at-next-weeks-policy-review-meet-report <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Reserve Bank is expected to go for another rate hike of 0.40 per cent at the scheduled review of the monetary policy next week, a foreign brokerage said on Friday.</p> <p>The central bank's rate setting panel will follow it up with a 0.35 per cent hike in rates at the next review in August, or make it into a 0.50 per cent hike next week and a 0.25 per cent increase in August, to make the total quantum of rate hikes at 0.75 per cent, the report by Bofa Securities said.</p> <p>On May 4, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hiked rates by 0.40 per cent, and Governor Shaktikanta Das has already called a rate hike at the forthcoming review as a "no brainer" given the pressure to maintain its core mandate of inflation in the targeted band of under 6 per cent.</p> <p>The report from the brokerage said it sees the headline inflation for May to come at 7.1 per cent due to a sharp increase in tomato prices.</p> <p>While mentioning about measures like the excise duty cuts on fuel products, duty free imports of crude soyabean and sunflower oil and cut in ATF prices, the report said such moves will help avoid a runaway increase in inflation.</p> <p>However, it said the consumer price inflation will average 6.8 per cent—much above the RBI's tolerance limit of 6 per cent—in FY23.</p> <p>The central bank will itself do an upward revision of its estimate to 6.5 per cent in FY23 from the present 5.7 per cent, it added.</p> <p>"... we expect the RBI MPC to hike policy repo rate by 0.40 per cent in June and 0.35 per cent in August. We must highlight that for the sake standardised steps, the chances of delivering a 0.50+0.25 per cent hike combination is quite high too," the report said.</p> <p>The key thing is that RBI MPC exits ultra-accommodation by August and takes policy repo rate to the pre-pandemic level of 5.15 per cent, it said, adding that if inflation continues to be high after that, the RBI will take the repo rate to 5.65 per cent by end of FY23.</p> <p>The brokerage said it also sees another 0.50 per cent hike in the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) or the ratio of demand deposits parked by lenders with the RBI without any return, as the central bank moves to normalise liquidity conditions by withdrawing excess stock.</p> <p>It can be noted that the RBI had hiked the CRR by 0.50 per cent to 4 per cent on May 4 to suck out Rs 87,000 crore of liquidity from the system.</p> <p>On the growth front, the brokerage retained its estimate of a 7.4 per cent expansion in the real GDP for FY23, and added that the RBI will also maintain its 7.2 per cent estimate.</p> Fri Jun 03 22:43:29 IST 2022 how-bullet-from-ukraine-burnt-hole-india-pocket <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A gun powder-coated butterfly effect, if you will. As guns and tanks blazed across the steppes on February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine, it seared a deadly hole through the pockets of the average Indian. 100 days into the war in Ukraine, its impact on India, just like most parts of a globally connected economy, is near total.</p> <p>In those 100 days, a disquiet spring when the country was just about getting to stand on its feet after the Omicron wave has turned into a scorching summer of discontent. From basmati to biscuits and from flight tickets to fashion, price rise seems to have turned into the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Even a duty cut that brought fuel prices down by nearly Rs10 has not been able to salvage, yet.</p> <p>“The Ukraine war has a short to medium-term dampening effect on the Indian economy, both in the real and financial sectors”, said Anusree Paul, Associate Professor at BML Munjal University’s School of Management. “The magnitude has been amplified further due to the co-existence of the ongoing pandemic.”</p> <p>Ironically enough, the beginning of the war seemed to augur well for the Indian economy. India’s exports have been rising over the past few months and the improved forex rates seemed like a bonanza ( Dollar’s value against the rupee increased from Rs 74.6 the day war started to Rs 77.5 as of today). Sanctioned by the West, Russia was desperately offering oil at a discount, and it seemed India’s wheat surplus could reap a windfall by stepping into the vacuum left by cessation of exports by the two warring countries, who were the world’s leading producers of the food grain.</p> <p>But the best-laid plans got a rude jolt in reality — that cheaper oil is yet to materialise; except for a couple of private oil retailers who managed to order some. Oil from Russia anyway constitutes a minuscule percentage of India’s oil basket, which is primarily fulfilled from the nearer Persian Gulf countries.</p> <p>As for wheat, all those dreams of an export bonanza lay shattered after three months, as a hotter-than-ever summer devastated local crop yields. And as unscrupulous exporters started diverting domestic supplies towards the export market, a government wary of what this would eventually mean for domestic consumption was forced to step in and order an export ban. Ditto for sugar.</p> <p>Not that it could do anything much about global oil prices though. On February 24, the day the war started, crude oil price was at 85 dollars a barrel. Within a few days, it peaked at 127 dollars, with the rate as of today at a still-unbearable-high of 117 dollars.</p> <p>On the retail side, while the Modi government froze prices for a few months due to the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the hike after the polls saw petrol prices reach as high as Rs121 (in Andhra Pradesh). A benevolent excise duty cut of more than Rs.8 has not given citizens much of a breather; it remains to be seen whether it will have a domino effect in reducing all-round prices</p> <p>This is because an increase in fuel prices directly translates into an increase in transportation costs for anything from food grains and vegetables to commodities and finished products. “The high crude oil price has a spillover effect on all industries, inducing cost-push-inflation close to double digits”, explained Paul. “It (has) impacted the business cycle involving businesses and government through a multiplier effect.”</p> <p>On the macro level, while finance ministry is keeping a brave face over its ambitious budget plans of spending massively on infra projects to boost the economy, there are indications that expenditure may need to be cut down to meet with the new challenges of inflation, high oil import outgo and the nearly Rs.2 lakh crore govt decided to forego by the two duty cuts on fuel over the past six months.</p> <p>Duty cut or not, prices continue to skyrocket, and that’s worrisome for the Modi government; as coupled with shortages and Covid-impact, it could mean all-round bad news. Inflation peaked at 7.9% in April, the highest in eight years. Anything from wheat (prices up by 15% over 2021) to sugar (5%) to lentils (masoor dal prices up by 11.6%) have shot up.</p> <p>Edible oil is another area of grave concern — sunflower oil used to come from Ukraine and now costs the, er, sun. Indonesia recently banned exports of Palm Oil, while costs of vanaspati and mustard oil, favoured by large sections of ordinary Indians, have been spiralling up.</p> <p>Completing the vicious cycle has been the rise in prices of anything from steel to fertilisers. This has led to increase in prices of anything from cars and bikes to even, believe it or not, match boxes.</p> <p>“This has put a significant pressure on the pockets of middle and lower-income households as real income decreases in the short run,” pointed out Paul of BML. The big danger of this, and it is already happening, is that the middle and lower classes will cut down on their consumption, leading to another vicious cycle of slowdown in overall economic growth.</p> <p>International rating agency Moody’s, though, believes it is not all bad news. While it agrees that soaring oil and food prices will have a large impact, it still feels India’s growth story will continue. “The global economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine military conflict will push up inflation and interest rates in India, and create supply constraints”, Moody’s said in a note last fortnight, but added that, “several months into the conflict, fears over the impact have moderated.” Not sure the man on the streets in India will wholeheartedly agree.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jun 04 12:11:48 IST 2022 pakistan-economic-crisis-forex-reserves-below-10-billion-fuel-prices-hiked-again <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Despite a new government taking over in Islamabad, there is no end to Pakistan's economic woes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><i>Bloomberg</i> reported on Thursday</a> that the foreign exchange reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan had “decreased by $366 million in the week ended May 27 to stand at $9.72 billion”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This marks a drop of nearly 50 per cent from last August and is “enough to pay for less than two months of imports”, <i>Bloomberg</i> reported.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The publication warned the foreign exchange situation could spill over “into a fullblown economic crisis unless policy makers secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In recent weeks, Pakistan has been making efforts to meet the IMF's conditions for securing a loan of $3 billion. This includes raising fuel and electricity prices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail declared the prices of fuel products—such as petrol, diesel and light diesel—had been raised by Pakistani Rs 30. This is the second such increase in weeks. The latest increase takes the price of petrol to Pakistani Rs 209.86 and diesel to Pakistani Rs 204.15. One Indian rupee is equal to 2.54 Pakistani rupees at current rates. Ismail also announced power prices would be hiked by Rs 8 per unit from July 1.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ismail acknowledged the price hikes would worsen inflation, but defended his actions, blaming the previous Imran Khan government. “I have to reach an agreement with the IMF. [Former finance minister] Shaukat Tarin and Imran Khan had tied our hands by signing agreements with the IMF and then violated it... We cannot deviate much from earlier agreements that required Rs 30 petroleum levy and 17pc tax. I would not impose taxes in June, but subsidy would be withdrawn,” Ismail was quoted as saying by <i>Dawn</i>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Moody's downgrade</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Global rating agency Moody's Investor Service on Thursday downgraded Pakistan's outlook from stable to negative, citing “heightened external vulnerability” and uncertainty around securing external financing to meet the country's needs. Moody's said that while it was hopeful Pakistan would complete its IMF review and attract further external financing, if Pakistan failed to do so, then it could face a balance of payments crisis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Moody's assesses that Pakistan's external vulnerability risk has been amplified by rising inflation, which puts downward pressure on the current account, the currency and—already thin—foreign exchange reserves, especially in the context of heightened political and social risk,” Moody’s said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It added that the country's “weak institutions and governance strength” had added uncertainty around the future direction of macroeconomic policy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Trade deficit</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The <i>Bloomberg</i> report warned the trade deficit was another worry for Islamabad. “The shortage of dollars could worsen as the nation forecasts its trade deficit will widen to a record $45 billion in the year ending June,” <i>Bloomberg</i> reported.</p> Fri Jun 03 09:38:21 IST 2022 non-cash-payments-to-constitute-nearly-65pc-of-all-payments-in-india-by-2026 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Digital payments industry is all set to fly high in the coming years. The industry is expected to more than triple from $3 trillion in 2022 to $10 trillion by 2026 (excluding large B2B/ G2B payments).</p> <p>This was highlighted in a report titled, 'Digital payments in India: A $10 trillion opportunity' which was unveiled by the digital payments company PhonePe in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).</p> <p>Non-cash payments will constitute nearly 65 per cent of all payments in India by 2026, up from 40 per cent now. It is also expected that UPI adoption will surge from 35 per cent in FY2021 to 75 per cent in the next five years, and digital merchant payments is expected to grow from $ 0.3-0.4 trillion today to US$ 2.5-2.7 trillion by 2026, the report said.</p> <p>India’s digital payments market is at an inflection point, and as a result of this unprecedented growth, digital payments will constitute 2 out of 3 payment transactions by 2026, with contributions from across India.</p> <p>The report predicts that India will become a digital payment economy, and merchant payments will emerge as the most powerful driver of this growth, especially in the offline segment due to growing QR code deployments. It is expected that merchant payments will soon outpace person-to-person fund transfers.</p> <p>The report highlights how the digital payments ecosystem has been positively disrupted by the entry of multiple new players with diverse offerings driving payments at scale, and niche players offering financial services such as credit, wealth management and insurance. Leading global and Indian fintech players have been the key drivers of UPI adoption in India among end users, aided by merchants with user-friendly transaction interfaces and innovative offerings.</p> <p>According to the report, multiple factors have contributed towards the growth of digital payments in India such as rapid expansion of digital infrastructure, accelerated migration to digital led by UPI, shifting customer preferences for contactless payments driven by the pandemic, increased merchant acceptance of digital payments and tech disruptions and enablement by big tech and fintech players.</p> <p>According to the report, the UPI system has supercharged India’s transition to non-cash payments, especially in person-to-person (P2P) fund transfers and low value merchant (P2M) payments. UPI saw about nine times transaction volume increase in the past three years, from five billion transactions in FY2019 to about 46 billion transactions in FY2022, accounting for more than 60 per cent of non-cash transaction volumes in FY22.</p> <p>The online payment ecosystem has been led by an open and inter-operable architecture with direct payments linked to a bank account, without the need to top up wallets. The report observes that UPI transactions are approximately nine times that of credit and debit card transactions today in terms of volume.</p> <p>“We expect that merchant payments will soon outpace person-to-person fund transfers. At the same time we will increasingly see digital payments get embedded in all forms of commerce. We will also witness the progression from embedded payments to embedded finance. As more and more merchants begin to accept digital payments, it will unlock a significant change in access to credit for small merchants due to the creation of a digital transaction trail,” said Prateek Roongta, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group.</p> <p>The report also highlights the crucial role of fintech players in driving the off-take of QR code placement at merchant point of sale (POS). QR payments are accepted by more than 30 million merchants, a 12 times increase from just 2.5 million merchants accepting QR payments five years ago. However, the growth in total number of POS machines, approximately 6 million in FY22 (including one merchant having multiple POS machines), has remained stagnant in comparison. Meanwhile, QR code acceptance has also penetrated among 75 per cent business-to-consumer (B2C) merchants. This has driven merchant payments, increasing from about 12 per cent share in UPI volumes in 2018 to more than 45 per cent in 2021. The report also observes that India saw substantial startup funding with customer payments players witnessing investment flows to the tune of $ 1.4 billion in 2021.</p> <p>As per the report, in the future, digital payments will be driven by factors such as expanding merchant acceptance, infrastructure push and setting up of a financial services marketplace driving growth in underpenetrated regions, digitised value chains increasing digital payment adoption and IoT, 5G and CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) lending further impetus.</p> <p>“While tier 1-2 cities have witnessed high acceptance of digital payments, penetration in tier 3-6 cities shows headroom for growth. The next wave of growth will now come from the tier 3-6 locations, as evidenced in the past two years wherein tier 3-6 cities have contributed to nearly 60-70 per cent of new customers for PhonePe,”said Karthik Raghupathy, Head of Strategy, and Investor Relations, PhonePe.&nbsp;</p> Thu Jun 02 17:14:57 IST 2022 hiring-sees-positive-momentum-across-key-sectors <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There has been a positive momentum in hiring across sectors in India, especially in the travel and hospitality sector, which witnessed a 357 per cent growth in hiring sentiment this year, compared to May 2021.</p> <p>India showed promising signs of economic recovery in May 2022, with hiring across key sectors witnessing an upward Y-O-Y (year on year) trajectory and a stable sequential trend. As per the latest 'Naukri JobSpeak May 2022 Index', the surge in hiring activity showed positive momentum, recording more than 40 per cent Y-O-Y growth in May 2022.</p> <p>Retail, real estate and insurance were also among sectors that witnessed a significant Y-O-Y growth in May 2022. Sectors such as BFSI, education, auto, oil and gas, FMCG, and IT software services too showed growth in hiring.</p> <p>Increase in hiring numbers was seen across all key cities, with Delhi leading the charts. The demand for talent in metros and non-metros remained steady as all cities indicated a double-digit Y-O-Y growth in May 2022. Among the metros, Delhi registered the highest Y-O-Y growth, closely followed by Mumbai. Other metros, including Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad, also showed positive Y-O-Y growth.</p> <p>An optimistic hiring sentiment was observed across all tier-II cities, with Jaipur leading the growth in demand for talent. Other emerging cities, such as Coimbatore, Vadodara, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh also showed double digit Y-O-Y growth.</p> <p>The report showed that employers have shown their intent to hire freshers and across all experience levels. The demand for entry-level talent exhibited the steepest rise in May 2022 vs May 2021. A positive hiring sentiment was observed for other experience brackets also.</p> <p>“The recruitment landscape continues to stay resilient and is sustaining the momentum 2022 ushered in. The job market has shown stable sequential trends that is substantially ahead of last year baselines. The secular nature of trends, cutting across metros as well as non-metros, experienced professionals as well as freshers, is again a good indicator of this strong hiring sentiment,” remarked Pawan Goyal, chief business officer,</p> <p>However, going ahead it will be a mixed bag for the hiring momentum, and there may even be a few challenges. “The current inflation situation, some of the IPOs having gone a bit lackluster and our stock market sentiments lacking the bullishness have alarmed many employers in the core sectors of our economy. As a result, we think that the hiring in these sectors will see a dip of 5-10 per cent dip in Jun-Jul. IT services and technology companies continue their hiring efforts, given the strong demand from global markets. Though there is a spotlight on layoffs in the startups, the fact is that hiring pace as a whole has not cooled down,” Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR told THE WEEK.</p> <p>Mishra said e-commerce and supply chain companies continue to hire at a brisk pace given the sustained pace of online purchases and the upcoming festive season. “During the pandemic, many agencies downsized their manpower because of all the Covid restrictions and travel bans. Now that many countries have lifted the ban, fights started operating and travelers are welcomed with new packages, companies have started rehiring for roles that were laid off. The holiday season also added to the increase in demand for employees in this sector. We see a significant growth in hiring in sectors of tourism, travel, hospitality and entertainment.”</p> <p>HR experts believe that the overall hiring sentiment is undergoing a transformation post pandemic and is expected to improve further. “The ecosystem at large is undergoing a correction, and from an HR perspective, I see things from valuations to salaries to expectations getting much more realistic and that is good for everyone. Hiring is always a hot topic in the tech ecosystem. With all the current news of layoffs flowing in, we are glad of some of the decisions we made early on. In our organisation, we have chosen to remain lean and not hire by tags and badges. We have a rigorous three round interview process during which both the parties have enough time to figure out whether they are a good fit in the long run” said Neetha Thomas, vice president, human capital and administration, LogiNext.&nbsp;</p> Fri Jun 03 20:04:46 IST 2022 offset-your-carbon-emission-footprint-next-time-you-fly-within-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fly guilt-free about the carbon emissions of your flight the next time you fly. Domestic flyers are finally getting an option to neutralise the polluting carbon footprint of their flights.</p> <p>Already trending in the west, this is the first time such an option is being offered for domestic flights in India.</p> <p>A leading online travel portal MakeMyTrip will offer a voluntary opt-in to 'fly carbon neutral' to all domestic flight passengers from this weekend, which is also World Environment Day. Through this option, flyers booking on the site will get an option to fully, or partially, neutralise their per-passenger carbon footprint by paying up to Climes, a certified third party, which will distribute it to carbon removal projects that focus on increasing biodiversity through agroforestry as well as restoring degraded agricultural lands across the country.</p> <p>Flyers will also have the option of choosing which project they wish to support. This will be given as an e-link in their booked tickets.</p> <p>“Over the past few years, there is an increased awareness and sensitivity among travellers towards sustainable travel. We are looking forward to empowering travellers with options that allow them to make sustainable choices and do their bit for the environment even while travelling,” said Vipul Prakash, COO, MakeMyTrip.</p> <p>Carbon emissions and other personal behavioural changes to protect the environment have been particularly rising in popularity in many countries, particularly in Europe. Climate activist Greta Thunberg, when she had to fly to the United Nations to participate in a climate conference, made it clear that she had neutralised her carbon emissions.</p> <p>In India, Singapore Airlines has offered similar options for all its flights to and from India, since last year. Passengers get the option to contribute to environmental projects in Indonesia and Nepal, among other places.</p> <p>“Through this and other initiatives that focus on travelling responsibly, we hope to bring forth a behavioural change amongst travellers by helping them think sustainable-first when booking travel in the future,” added Prakash.<br> </p> Thu Jun 02 16:10:29 IST 2022 wef-2022--why-kerala-has-failed-to-attract-foreign-investment <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>While the Indian states that participated in the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland made great strides, Kerala did not even attend the conference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking advantage of the opportunity at the annual meeting attended by top business leaders around the world, Karnataka signed agreements for investment to the tune of Rs 60000 - 65000 crore. Maharashtra too garnered huge investments. Maharashtra has signed 23 MoUs and got investment of Rs 30,000 crore, Telangana got Rs 4,200 crore and Andhra Pradesh won Rs 1,600 crore. Most of the foreign investment to these states have come from the US, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia. The Abu Dhabi-based Lulu Group has signed agreements with several states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India sent a record delegation to the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting this year. Union ministers Piyush Goyal, Mansukh Mandavya and Hardeep Singh Puri and about 100 industry leaders were present at the conference, which was held from May 23 to 26. The conference that usually happens at the start of the year was held in May due to Covid pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Five Indian&nbsp; states made their presence felt at the meeting. States wanting to participate must represent the country with the approval of the Central Government. Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bomme and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy were present in Davos.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Tamil Nadu delegation was led by Industries Minister Thankam Thennarasu. Maharashtra was led by Minister and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya Thackeray. Industries Minister KT Rama Rao led the delegation from Telangana.</p> <p>In 2006, when Ommen Chandy was the Chief Minister of Kerala, he attended the Davos Conference. It was the first delegation from a state in India to attend the Davos meet. Since then, Kerala has not attended the Davos meet .</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Delegates from China and Russia stayed away from the conference, which was attended by about 300 world leaders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jun 02 13:34:25 IST 2022 abu-dhabi-s-hub71-looks-to-house-more-indian-startups <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is keen on housing more Indian startups in its 'Hub71' ecosystem after having already met with some successes, officials said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hub71 is designed as an ecosystem which can help startups across sectors in all its needs, from getting them access to venture funding to finding the right talent, the Abu Dhabi government media office (ADGMO) said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the last one year, the platform has attracted and supported startups at different stages of growth from sectors such as fintech, artificial intelligence, software development and healthtech from many countries, including India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At present, it has 100 startups from 25 countries from 18 sectors, which also include enterprises from robotics, big data analytics, mobility and logistics, the statement from the emirate said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Used car-focused Cars24 was the first Indian company to move into the space and is already the largest used car platform in the United Arab Emirates having a valuation of USD 1.84 billion and revenues of over USD 600 million, it said, adding that three more startups, whose founders are from India, have also set shop at the facility.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Giving a peek into its focus going forward, the statement said, &quot;We are also open to supporting visionary founders from India in securing opportunities that will boost their growth prospects in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and vice versa.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The three other startups with Indian founders include Arcab, Hafla and Funder AI, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Arcab, a mobility service that is transforming the commute to work using shared vans. The company works with 40-plus operators, including Europcar, Avis and Dubai Taxi corporation with over 3,000-plus buses in its supply pool.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hafla is the world's first Artificial Intelligence-based event ideation, recommendation and aggregated sourcing platform for venues, equipment, services, and catering, with a team of approximately 50 employees. Funder Al, a digital financing platform for SMEs and Salaried Personnel with a team of approximately 10 employees, is also part of our community, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Backed by Mubadala, which is like a sovereign wealth fund of UAE, Hub71 is aiming to fuel the country's aspirations of becoming an 'Entrepreneurial Nation' by 2031. The aggregate valuation of Hub71 startups is at AED (Emirati Dirham) 5.87 billion and it has created close to 1,000 jobs since its inception in 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Hub71's strong performance in 2021 exemplifies the enabling business environment that we have established in Abu Dhabi. We aim to position technology companies for growth, and our priority remains to enable a flexible and favourable business environment that supports creative ideas and scales solutions to address society's most pressing challenges,&quot; said Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, chairman of Hub71.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jun 02 11:38:47 IST 2022 air-india-offers-cash-incentive--reduces-eligibility-age-to-enco <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In an apparent bid to encourage a significant section of its employees to voluntarily retire, Air India on Wednesday reduced the eligibility age from 55 to 40 and announced cash incentive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Tata Group took control of Air India on January 27 after successfully winning the bid for the airline on October 8 last year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since April, the airline's chairman N Chandrasekaran has rejigged the top management of the airline, bringing in senior and middle-level executives who have worked in other companies of the Tata group such as Tata Steel and Vistara.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a communique sent to employees on Wednesday, the airline said that according to the existing regulations of Air India, permanent employees can avail voluntary retirement if they are of 55 years of age or more and they have worked in the carrier for 20 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As an additional benefit, the carrier is reducing the age eligibility from 55 years to 40 years for cabin crew members who are in grades &quot;S-3, S-5, S-7, E-0, E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4 and E-5&quot;, clerical and allied staff who are in grades &quot;S-2, S-5, S-6 and S-7&quot; and unskilled employees who are in grades &quot;S-1, S-2, S-3, S-4 and S-5&quot;, it noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;An ex-gratia amount will also be provided to the aforementioned employees, who apply for voluntary retirement from June 1, 2022 to July 31, 2022 as a one-time benefit,&quot; it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, employees who apply for voluntary retirement between June 1 and June 30 will also receive an additional incentive over and above the ex-gratia amount, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The acceptance of your application for the above benefits and the date of release shall be subject to management's discretion,&quot; it stated.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jun 02 11:07:36 IST 2022 sheryl-sandberg-long-time-facebook-no-2-exec-steps-down <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Sheryl Sandberg, the No. 2 executive at Facebook owner Meta, who helped turn its business from startup to digital advertising empire while also taking blame for some of its biggest missteps, is stepping down.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg has served as chief operating officer at the social media giant for 14 years. She joined from Google in 2008, four years before Facebook went public.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When I took this job in 2008, I hoped I would be in this role for five years. Fourteen years later, it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life, Sandberg wrote on her Facebook page Wednesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg has led Facebook&nbsp; now Meta's&nbsp; advertising business and was responsible for nurturing it from its infancy into an over $100 billion-a-year powerhouse. As the company's second most-recognised face&nbsp; after CEO Mark Zuckerberg&nbsp; Sandberg has also become a polarising figure amid revelations of how some of her business decisions for Facebook helped propagate misinformation and hate speech.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As one of the most prominent female executives in the tech industry, she was also often criticised for not doing enough both for women and for others harmed by Facebook's products. Her public-speaking expertise, her seemingly effortless ability to bridge the worlds of tech, business and politics served as a sharp contrast to Zuckerberg, especially in Facebook's early years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Zuckerberg has since been catching up, trained in part for the several congressional hearings he's been called to testify in to defend Facebook's practices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Neither Sandberg nor Zuckerberg gave any indication that Sandberg's resignation wasn't her decision. But she's also appeared somewhat sidelined in recent years, with other executives close to Zuckerberg, such as Chris Cox&nbsp; who returned in 2020 as chief product officer after a yearlong break from the company becoming more prominent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sheryl Sandberg had an enormous impact on Facebook, Meta, and the broader business world. She helped Facebook build a world-class ad-buying platform and develop groundbreaking ad formats," said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at Insider Intelligence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But she added that Facebook faced huge scandals under Sandberg's watch&nbsp; including the 2016 US presidential election, the Cambridge Analytica privacy debacle in 2018, and the 2021 riot at the US Capitol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And now, Meta is facing a slowdown in user growth and ad revenue that is now testing the business foundation that the company was built on, she said. "The company needs to find a new way forward, and perhaps this was the best time for Sandberg to depart.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg is leaving Meta in the fall and will continue to serve on the company's board.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Zuckerberg said in his own Facebook post that Javier Olivan, who currently oversees key functions at Meta's four main apps&nbsp; Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger&nbsp; will serve as Meta's new COO. But it will be a different job than the one Sandberg held for the past 14 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It will be a more traditional COO role where Javi will be focused internally and operationally, building on his strong track record of making our execution more efficient and rigorous, Zuckerberg wrote.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Sandberg has long been Zuckerberg's No. 2, even sitting next to him&nbsp; pre-pandemic, at least&nbsp; in the company's Menlo Park, California, headquarters, she also had a very public-facing job, meeting with lawmakers, holding focus groups and speaking out on issues such as women in the workplace and, most recently, abortion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I think Meta has reached the point where it makes sense for our product and business groups to be more closely integrated, rather than having all the business and operations functions organized separately from our products, Zuckerberg wrote.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg, who lost her husband Dave Goldberg suddenly in 2015, said she is not entirely sure what the future will bring.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women, she wrote, adding that she is also getting married this summer and that parenting their expanded family of five children will also be a part of this future.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg, now 52, first helped Google build what quickly became the internet's biggest—and most lucrative—advertising network. But she left that post to take on the challenge of transforming Facebook's freewheeling social network into a money-making business while also helping to mentor Zuckerberg, who was then 23 to her 38.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She proved to be exactly what the then-immature Zuckerberg and the company needed at the right time, helping to pave the way to Facebook's highly anticipated initial public offering of stock a decade ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Zuckerberg remained Facebook's visionary and controlling shareholder, Sandberg became engine of a business fuelled by a rapidly growing digital ad business that has become nearly as successful as the one that she helped cobbled together around Google's dominant search engine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Just like Google's ad empire, Facebook's business thrived on its ability to keep its users coming back for more of its free services while leveraging its social networking technology to learn more about people's interests, habits, and whereabouts -- a nosy model that has repeatedly entangled the company in debates about whether a right to personal privacy still exists in an increasingly digital age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As one of the top female executives in technology, Sandberg has at times has been held up as an inspiration for working women -- a role she seemed to embrace with a best-selling 2013 book titled Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Lead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But Lean In received immediate criticism. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called Sandberg a PowerPoint Pied Piper in Prada ankle boots, and critics suggested she is the wrong person to lead a women's movement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She addressed some of that criticism in a subsequent book that addressed the death of her husband, Dave Goldberg. In 2015 she became a symbol of heartbreaking grief when Goldberg died in an accident while working out on vacation, widowing her with two children as she continued to help run one of the world's best-known companies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In more recent years, Sandberg grew into a polarising figure amid revelations of how some of her business decisions for Facebook helped propagate misinformation and hate speech. Critics and a company whistleblower contend that the consequences have undermined democracy and caused severe emotional problems for teens, particularly girls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff, said Sandberg is as responsible as anyone for what Zuboff considers one of Big Tech's most insidious invention: the collection and organisation of data on social media users' behaviour and preferences. For years Facebook shared user data not just with advertisers but also with business partners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg did this, wrote Zuboff, through the artful manipulation of Facebook's culture of intimacy and sharing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Zuboff calls Sandberg the Typhoid Mary of surveillance capitalism, the term for profiting off the collection of data from social media users' online behaviour, preferences, shared data and relationships.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Sheryl Sandberg may fancy herself a feminist, but her decisions at Meta made social media platforms less safe for women, people of colour, and even threatened the American electoral system. Sandberg had the power to take action for fourteen years, yet consistently chose not to," said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, a gender justice advocacy organisation, which has been calling for Sandberg's resignation, in an emailed comment Wednesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandberg has had some public missteps at the company, including her attempt to deflect blame from Facebook for the Jan 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol. In an interview later that month that was streamed by Reuters, she said she thought the events of the day were largely organised on platforms that don't have our abilities to stop hate, don't have our standards and don't have our transparency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Internal documents revealed by whistleblower Frances Haugen later that year, however, showed that Facebook's own employees were concerned about the company's halting and often reversed response to rising extremism in the US that culminated in the events of Jan 6.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Haven't we had enough time to figure out how to manage discourse without enabling violence, one employee wrote on an internal message board at the height of the Jan 6 turmoil. We've been fuelling this fire for a long time and we shouldn't be surprised it's now out of control.&nbsp;</p> Thu Jun 02 09:43:14 IST 2022 use-market-corrections-to-invest-periodically-to-create-wealth-says-geojits-satish-menon <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Equity market investors have endured a roller-coaster ride, amid a surge in inflation, rising interest rates, continued sell-off by foreign institutional investors, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Since the October 2021 peak, benchmark indices have corrected more than 11 per cent.</p> <p>Satish Menon, executive director at Geojit Financial Services, feels stocks are now in oversold territory and therefore there may be pockets of opportunity for investors. In an interview with THE WEEK, he was positive on sectors like FMCG, agriculture, telecom and banks.</p> <p><b>Equity markets have corrected significantly from their highs. There is extreme volatility too. How do you see things panning out from here over three-six months?</b></p> <p>In the short to medium-term, we are positive because a good part of the inflationary pressure, tightening monetary policy and slowing economy has been factored in the market. Broad market’s price and valuation has corrected by 15 per cent to 20 per cent, stocks have taken a heavy beating, taking the stocks to oversold territory, thereby creating opportunity to capitalise from the upcoming rally.</p> <p><b>Inflation has surged globally, geopolitical tensions too are high, central banks are raising interest rates, and FIIs are pulling out huge amounts of money. In such a scenario, do you think equity markets are in for a long bear phase?</b></p> <p>The performance of equity will be polarised in the next one to two years. However, we expect defensives and value stocks to perform better than the broad market. Performance of growth stocks will be volatile though they have the opportunity in the short-term due to heavy correction. Investors should transform the DNA of their portfolio accordingly and have a conservative structure. A rationale investor will be able to generate alpha returns even in a volatile market with a proactive and structured portfolio.</p> <p><b>There was a surge in new investors during the pandemic. Now, they have been jolted by the market correction. What should investors do?</b></p> <p>People come to stock markets to create wealth, and I am of the view that long term wealth can be created by investors by buying stocks of good companies at good valuations and staying invested. New investors who came into the market with this objective need not be disheartened due to these corrections. History has proven that such corrections are much needed for the markets and can be used by investors to invest periodically to create wealth in the long term. If their choice of stocks is good, they can stay invested.</p> <p>The problem is for those new investors who are active traders, especially those who trade in F&amp;O, and most of them would have incurred a loss. Active trading is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is only suited to those investors who equip themselves with knowledge and have the time and aptitude to understand the trading nuances, which unfortunately, most of them lack. Such corrections can be used by them to reflect on their style of trading and then make a conscious decision, whether to continue active trading or move to disciplined and systematic style of investments.</p> <p><b>RBI surprised everyone by an out-of-turn repo rate hike in May. The indications are there will be another rate hike in the next monetary policy committee meeting. Overall, how much more rate hikes do you envisage in the current financial year?</b></p> <p>The market expects 25 bps to 35 bps rate hike in June policy, followed by a total hike of 75 bps to 100 bps in FY23, depending on economic data. The RBI rate hikes will be announced taking into consideration the global rate hikes, domestic and international inflation, and ways to strengthen the rupee in a volatile global currency market.</p> <p><b>Given the correction we have had in stocks, are there areas/sectors looking attractive now? Where would you invest right now or wait for the more clarity to emerge?</b></p> <p>I recommend investing in value stocks and secured sectors like FMCG, agri and telecom. I am also positive on banks, which are trading at below long-term average valuations. And importantly, business dynamics are improving, like credit growth and drop in non-performing assets (NPA). I am also positive on the manufacturing sector in India, led by progressive reforms. Based on this, capital goods and industrials are also expected to perform well, supported by high FDI inflows and growing domestic economy. Green energy initiatives are also upcoming areas of investment.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jun 01 21:56:44 IST 2022 global-chip-shortage-likely-to-last-through-2023--us-official <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The ongoing global crisis due to shortage in supply of semiconductor chips is likely to last at least through next year and perhaps longer, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The shortage of chips has affected production of cars and other consumer electronics products. Many automobile manufacturess across the globe stopped productiion of cars. Lack of semiconductor chips has been problematic for many other industries. The Covid-19 pandemic too has affected the supplies chains.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I do not unfortunately see the chip shortage abating in any meaningful way anytime in the next year,&quot; sai Raimondo afer her recent trip to Asia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Raimondo said she convened a dozen CEOs of chipmaking companies during her time in South Korea and they discussed ways to overcome the crisis. She sai, &quot;and they all agreed that ... deep into 2023, possibly early '24 before we see any real relief.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Warning that we live on borrowed time, Raimondo urged Congress to approve funding to stimulate domestic manufacturing of the computer chips that are key to a wide array of products, from smartphones to medical equipment to vacuum cleaners.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Every other country has subsidies on the table now, and if Congress doesn't act very quickly,&quot; key producers like Samsung, Intel and Micron &quot;are going to build in another country and that be that would be hugely problematic,&quot; she said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US Senate and the House of Representatives each have approved $52 billion bills—the CHIPS Act and the America COMPETES Act—that would invest in domestic chip research and manufacturing, but so far have failed to agree on the final form of the legislationm, says AFP</p> Wed Jun 01 13:37:59 IST 2022 1-94-lakh-flights-were-operated-in-six-years-under-udan-scheme-- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday inaugurated two flights from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh and said that under UDAN scheme, 1.94 lakh flights were operated in the last six years in which over one crore passengers travelled.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also said the flight movement in Madhya Pradesh has increased by 70 per cent in the last ten months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The newly-inaugurated flights include Delhi-Jabalpur-Bhopal-Gwalior (three days in a week) and Delhi-Jabalpur-Bilaspur-Bhopal (four days in a week).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking at a function held at the Dumna airport premises in Jabalpur, Scindia said that in the last ten months the flight movement in Madhya Pradesh has increased by 70 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From 554 flight movements ten months back, the flight movements have increased to 926 now, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the two new flights starting today, Jabalpur is now connected to eight cities and there are 160 flight movements per week against 94 earlier and connectivity to six cities when I took charge as civil aviation minister, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From Indore, there are 468 flight movements and connectivity to 20 cities against 308 flight movements and connectivity to 12 cities nine months back, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similarly, Bhopal has 200 flight movements and connectivity to 12 cities against 94 flights and connectivity to five cities nine months back, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Referring to Gwalior, his ancestral turf, Scindia said, Gwalior has 94 flight movements and connected to eight cities now as against 56 flights and connectivity to four cities nine months back&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the UDAN Scheme, in the last six years 1.94 lakh flights were operated in which over one crore passengers travelled. This became possible due to the subsidy provision so that the common man can also travel by air, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new terminal building (in Jabalpur) has modern facilities like aerobridge, new apron and increase in length of runway from present 2,000 metres to 2,800 metres to facilitate landing of big planes. It will be ready by next month, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier in the day, Scindia attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's virtual nationwide interaction with beneficiaries of Central Government Schemes at Manas Bhawan in Jabalpur.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Jun 01 08:28:55 IST 2022 gdp-figures-show-a-bumpy-road-ahead-for-indian-economy <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Growth momentum in the Indian economy remained slow, with the Q4 FY 2022 GDP growth slowing down by 4.1 per cent from the previous quarter, partly due to the temporary restrictions that were imposed to contain the spread of Omicron variant in January 2022. The near term growth also remains muted, with uncertainties emanating from the ongoing geopolitical conflicts, weakening global demand, limited scope for incremental government spending, and tightening financial conditions.</p> <p>What comes as a relief is that the GDP growth for the entire FY 2022 stood at 8.7 per cent. Most of the experts, however, have maintained their estimates of GDP growth for the entire FY 2023 between 7 to 7.3 per cent.</p> <p>As per a report by Kotak Institutional Equities, the year ahead looks tough and is clouded with uncertainties emanating from the geopolitical developments and consequent impact on commodity prices, especially crude oil. The report points out that the recent fiscal measures on excise duty and food import and export related measures should partly alleviate the eroding purchasing power of consumers. However, continued elevated input prices and the expected pass-through risks are impinging on growth.</p> <p>The report points out that going ahead, the key challenges would be weakness in consumption demand given the impact of cost-push inflation and weakness in broader labour market, delayed pickup in private sector investment given relatively weaker demand visibility along with increasing cost of borrowing, limited ability of central and state governments’ expenditure on public infrastructure, and weakening global growth.</p> <p>Similarly, experts at Emkay Global too have slashed the entire FY 2023 growth to 7 per cent due to sustained global uncertainties and tighter financial conditions. The Emkay Global report points out that the impact of geopolitical tensions and the magnitude of the energy supply shock are uncertain. This implies a protracted shortage of critical inputs, higher costs, shrinking corporate profitability and demand curbing global policies. This will exert pressure on India's domestic growth story, which is yet to be broad-based and still lacks the next lever of secular growth.</p> <p>The report observes that the growth plunged in manufacturing, partly due to supply chain disruptions and sequential easing in corporate profitability, driven by rising input costs.</p> <p>Anand Rathi Securities, however, pointed out that though growth slowed down further, India still is the fastest growing economy for the year and while India's GDP growth slowed down to 4.1 per cent in Q4 FY22, growth for FY22 accelerated to 8.7 per cent. According to the report, investment has been the main driver and net exports the main drag during the year as well as the quarter.</p> <p>“India's GDP growth during Q4 FY22 at 4.1 per cent and FY22 at 8.7 per cent were slightly behind our expectations. Investment has been the main driver of India's GDP growth during both the latest quarter and the last financial year. In contrast, consumption, both private and government, trailed investment. For the full year, industry has grown faster than services while for the latest quarter services has grown faster than industry. The speedier recovery of industrial activities and demand, coupled with protected recovery of high touch services led to this. On the other hand, net exports dragged down growth. Faster import versus export growth trimmed India’s GDP growth by an additional 200bps over the usual. Containment of government consumption also depressed growth. From 8.7 per cent growth in FY22, we expect the rate to come down to 7.5 per cent in FY 2023 due to factors such as monetary and fiscal tightening, higher interest rates, supply disruption and global slowdowns. Yet, as in FY22, India is likely to remain the fastest growing major economy in FY23 as well,” remarked Sujan Hajra, chief economist at Anand Rathi Securities.</p> <p>Experts have also noted that the downward revision in last fiscal’s GDP growth was expected due to the scare caused by omicron variant and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “The Indian economy in fiscal 2022 was only 1.5 per cent above the pre-pandemic level (fiscal 2020), compared with 1.8 per cent estimated earlier. But the good part is that estimates for both private consumption and fixed investment estimates are a touch higher than before. Peak impact of interest rate hikes on GDP will be felt only towards the end of this fiscal year. I see support to growth from a strong bounce-back in contact based services, which last fiscal was about 11.3 per cent lower than fiscal 2020 levels. But headwinds from slower global growth and higher oil prices have tilted the risks to our forecast of 7.3 per cent for the current fiscal downwards,” observed Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist, CRISIL.</p> <p>Experts say though there are challenges ahead and the economic outlook remains clouded, there are also certain positives to look out for. “Positive indicators such as high forex reserves, government’s continued focus on capital expenditure and improved agriculture growth owing to higher realisations in cultivation income which are expected to act as tailwinds that can support GDP growth and keep India one of the fastest growing major economy of the world in FY22-23. Slowdown in global growth, elevated energy prices, rising interest rate cycle and tightening of financial conditions will be key headwinds,” remarked Vivek Goel, co-founder and joint managing director, Tailwind Financial Services Limited.</p> <p>Many in India Inc are, however, upbeat and the GDP numbers seem to have enthused India Inc, despite the visible slowing down in the last quarter due to Omicron worries. The industry chamber FICCI called it an “indicator of inherent resilience”. Senior vice president of FICCI, Subrakant Panda, said, “India’s GDP growth of 8.7 per cent for financial year 22 versus contraction of 6.6 per cent previous fiscal comes despite two Covid waves during the year and persistent global supply chain disruptions. It is an indicator of inherent resilience and sustained economic recovery.”</p> <p>India’s GDP growth, along with growth in core sectors, have also come as a shot in the arm for the real estate sector. “(With) construction growth (11.5 per cent) and realty growth (4.2 per cent) reflecting sustainable housing demand and impetus to infrastructure projects, the ‘engine of recovery’ has been private consumption,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, vice chairman of the National Real Estate Council (Naredco) and MD, Hiranandani Group.</p> <p>“The real estate industry, which suffered a setback last year, is on its revival path recording a growth of 4.2 per cent in 2021-22 as against 2.2 per cent (last year),” said Vaibhav Jatia, managing director of Rhythm ResiTel, a Mumbai-based conglomerate which operates in realty and hospitality. “Similar growth numbers over the next few quarters will surely put the Indian economy back on its track,” he added.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>— With inputs from K. Sunil Thomas</b></p> Wed Jun 01 22:21:01 IST 2022 sri-lankas-cabinet-approves-proposal-to-amend-acts-to-increase-state-revenue <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Crisis-hit Sri Lanka's Cabinet has approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to amend several laws, including on inland revenue, VAT, telecommunications levies, betting and gaming, to raise the state revenue severely affected by the current economic crisis.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp; In 2019, the government had decided to reduce the rates of value-added tax, personal income tax, and corporate income tax, as well as to shrink the tax base on value-added tax and income tax, resulting in a significant drop in the state revenue, an official statement said.</p> <p>To increase the revenue, the Cabinet of ministers in a meeting held on Monday approved a proposal presented by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who is also the country's Finance Minister, to amend several Acts of Parliament on Inland Revenue, VAT, Telecommunications levies, betting and gaming.</p> <p>The island, facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, has tapped the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout. In April,&nbsp; the two sides convened their first round of talks at the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington.</p> <p>Sri Lanka is hoping for a Rapid Finance Instrument (RFI) facility as well as a larger Extended Fund Facility (EFF) from the international financial body to help it deal with its foreign currency shortages, which have triggered an economic crisis.</p> <p>In the last meeting, the IMF assured to help the country with an amount of $300 million to $600 million.</p> <p>On April 12, Sri Lanka suspended its debt servicing for the first time in its history. The economic crisis has also triggered political unrest with a protest occupying the entrance to the president's office demanding his resignation has been continuing for more than 50 days.</p> Tue May 31 14:43:55 IST 2022 sharechat-in-talks-with-google-others-to-close-300-million-funding <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Social media platform Sharechat's parent firm Mohalla Tech is in advanced stage discussions with Google, Temasek and other investors to close a $300 million funding round at a valuation of $5 billion, a source aware of the development said on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The deal is expected to close in June.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Mohalla Tech is in an advanced stage of discussion with Google, existing investor Temasek and other investors to close a $300 million funding round. The transaction is expected to value Sharechat at around $5 billion,” the source said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When contacted, Google and Temasek declined to offer any comment on the matter, terming it speculative information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“As a matter of policy, Temasek does not comment on market speculation and rumours,” a Temasek spokesperson said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The email query sent to Mohalla Tech did not elicit any reply.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mohalla Tech had raised $266 million in December 2021 at a valuation of $3.7 billion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company's short-video platform Sharechat claims to have an active user base of around 180 million.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In February, the company merged Times Group's short video platform MX Takatak with its Moj platform, claiming that Moj and MX TakaTak will create the largest short-video platform for Indians, whereby the combined platform will have 100 million creators, over 300 million monthly active users (MAU), and nearly 250 billion monthly video views.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The business of Sharchat, Moj, Chingari and other short-video platforms zoomed after the government banned Chinese competitors like Tiktok and Helo.</p> Tue May 31 12:42:35 IST 2022 economy-grows-at-87-in-fy22-q4-gdp-slows-to-41 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Indian economy grew at its slowest pace in a year during January-March, pulling down the GDP growth in the full fiscal 2021-22 to 8.7 per cent as Russia's invasion of Ukraine added a new inflation hurdle to the recovery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 4.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2021-22, according to data released by the statistics ministry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This was lower than the 4.8 per cent growth the Chinese economy saw in the quarter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the full year (April 2021 to March 2022), India's economic growth of 8.7 per cent was lower than the 8.9 per cent the ministry had projected three months back.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The economy had contracted by 6.6 per cent in the 2020-21 financial year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, the virus-related curbs and then the war in Ukraine added to higher commodity prices and supply squeeze.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Economists said the outlook for the current fiscal year remains clouded as global crude oil prices have hardened back to USD 120 per barrel after increased sanctions on Russian oil.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Momentum in the services sector will be one of the key drivers apart from the government's focus on enhancing public capital expenditure.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>High inflation had led to the Reserve Bank raising the benchmark interest rate by 40 basis points in an unscheduled review. It is expected to take similar measures when the Monetary Policy Committee meets for the bimonthly review on June 8.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Government's Chief Economic Adviser V Anantha Nageswaran ruled out the risk of stagflation in India as the country is better placed than other nations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stagflationary risk to India is quite low compared to other countries, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stagflation is the phase when both inflation and unemployment rates are high with moderation in GDP growth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During Q4, private consumption expenditure grew by 7.9 per cent, reflecting some impact of pent up demand. There was also a revival in contact-intensive services in the last quarter which has helped the GDP print reach respectable levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The GDP had grown by 2.5 per cent in the January-March quarter in the previous year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Separately, the eight core infrastructure industries grew by 8.5 per year-on-year in April 2022, a six-month high. Except crude oil and steel, all other infrastructure industries recorded positive growth during the month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Crude oil output has been weak for quite some time and has been in contraction now for 53 months. This means the country's dependence on global crude oil will be even higher, which is on the boil leading to imported inflation and its associated consequences for the economy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rumki Majumdar, Economist, Deloitte India, said the difference between the real and nominal GDP suggests that inflation has been a persistent problem, and the economy has been fighting the challenge of rising prices for a long time now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Government's intervention in the form of duty cuts on imports, subsidies on fertilisers and cooking gas, duty cuts on fuels to protect consumers and businesses from high inflation is likely to impact the fiscal deficit in the coming quarters.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), India's real GDP grew to Rs 147.36 lakh crore from Rs 135.58 lakh crore in 2020-21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gross value added (GVA) growth during the fiscal ending March 2022 was at 8.1 per cent as against a contraction of 4.8 per cent in the preceding year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The GVA growth in the manufacturing sector accelerated to 9.9 per cent during the year as against a contraction of 0.6 per cent earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>GVA growth in both mining and construction was 11.5 per cent. These two large segments of the economy had contracted in the COVID-hit 2020-21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, agriculture sector growth decelerated to 3 per cent from 3.3 per cent in FY21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Electricity, gas, water supply and other utility services segment grew by 7.5 per cent during 2021-22. The segment had contracted by 3.6 per cent in the previous fiscal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>GVA growth in services sector -- trade, hotel, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting -- was 11.1 per cent during 2021-22 as against a contraction of 20.2 per cent in the previous year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Financial, real estate and professional services grew by 4.2 per cent in the year over 2.2 per cent earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Public administration, defence and other services posted 12.6 per cent growth against (-)5.5 per cent in 2020-21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Real GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in the year 2021-22 is estimated to attain a level of Rs 147.36 lakh crore, as against the First Revised Estimate of Rs 135.58 lakh crore for the year 2020-21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The growth in GDP during 2021-22 is estimated at 8.7 percent as compared to a contraction of 6.6 percent in 2020-21,&quot; the NSO said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, nominal GDP or GDP at Current Prices in 2021-22 was estimated at Rs 236.65 lakh crore, as against Rs 198.01 lakh crore in 2020-21, showing a growth of 19.5 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the NSO data, per capita income (based on net national income) during 2021-22 was Rs 1.5 lakh per annum at current prices, up from 1,26,855 in 2020-21, showing a growth of 18.3 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, at constant prices, per capita annual income works out to be Rs 91,481, up 7.5 per cent from Rs 85,110 in FY21.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gross fixed capital formation was estimated at Rs 47.84 lakh crore in 2021-22, up from Rs 41.31 lakh crore in the preceding year.</p> Tue May 31 21:25:49 IST 2022 safety-hazard-dgca-imposes-rs-10-lakh-fine-on-spicejet-for-faulty-training-of-max-aircraft-pilots <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The aviation regulator DGCA has imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on SpiceJet for training its Boeing 737 Max aircraft's pilots on a faulty simulator as it could have adversely impacted flight safety, sources said on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had last month barred 90 SpiceJet pilots from operating the Max aircraft after it found them being trained on a simulator that had its stick shaker on the co-pilot's side inoperative.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stick shaker warns pilots whenever it detects that the plane has stalled mid-air.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After barring the pilots, the regulator issued a show-cause notice to the airline in April, the sources told PTI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The response sent by the airline was not found satisfactory, they mentioned.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The training being imparted by the airline could have adversely affected flight safety and hence was nullified," one of the sources said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Therefore, the DGCA has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on SpiceJet for using a faulty simulator to train their Max aircraft's pilots, the sources said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The airline did not respond to PTI's request for a statement on this matter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The DGCA grounded Boeing 737 Max planes in India on March 13, 2019, three days after an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max aircraft crashed near Addis Ababa, killing 157 people including four Indians.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ban on the planes was lifted in August last year after the DGCA was satisfied with US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing's necessary software rectifications in the aircraft.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Proper pilot training on the simulator was also among the conditions set by the DGCA for lifting the ban on the Max planes after a span of 27 months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>SpiceJet is the only Indian airline that has the Max aircraft in its fleet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Akasa Air, the new airline backed by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and aviation veterans Aditya Ghosh and Vinay Dube, had in November last year signed a deal with Boeing to purchase 72 Max planes. Akasa Air has not received any of these planes as yet.</p> Mon May 30 20:40:57 IST 2022 mann-ki-baat-indian-startups-creating-wealth-even-during-pandemic-says-modi <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Noting that the number of unicorns in India has reached the 100 mark this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that even in the phase of the Covid pandemic, Indian startups have been creating wealth and value with entrepreneurs emerging from smaller cities and towns as well.</p> <p>In his monthly 'Mann Ki Baat' radio broadcast, the prime minister said that on the fifth of this month, the number of unicorns in India reached the 100 mark.</p> <p>“The total valuation of these unicorns is more than $330 billion, that is, more than Rs 25 lakh crore. Certainly, this is a matter of pride for every Indian,” he said.</p> <p>“You will also be surprised to know that out of our total unicorns, 44 came up last year. Not only that, 14 more unicorns were formed anew in 3-4 months this year. This means that even in this phase of the global pandemic, our startups have been creating wealth and value,” he said.</p> <p>Modi also pointed out that the average annual growth rate of Indian unicorns is more than those of the US, UK and many other countries.</p> <p>Analysts also say that in the coming years, there will be a sharp spike in these numbers, he added.</p> <p>Noting that the unicorns are diversifying, Modi said they are operating in many fields like ecommerce, fintech, edtech and biotech.</p> <p>“Another thing, which I consider more important, is that the world of startups is reflecting the spirit of New India. Today, India's startup ecosystem is not limited to just big cities; entrepreneurs are emerging from smaller cities and towns as well. This shows that in India, the one who has an innovative idea can create wealth,” he said.</p> <p>Modi also stressed the importance of right mentoring when it comes to the world of startups.</p> <p>“A good mentor can take a startup to new heights… can guide the founders in every way toward the right decision. I am proud that there are many such mentors in India who have dedicated themselves to promote startups,” he said.</p> <p>“It is a matter of great happiness for us that today a complete support system is evolving in the country for startups. I am sure that in the times to come, we will get to see a new flight of progress in the startup world of India,” the prime minister said.</p> <p>In his broadcast, Modi also said that India is a rich treasure house of many languages, scripts and dialects.</p> <p>“Varied attire, cuisine and culture in different regions is our hallmark. As a nation, this diversity strengthens us and keeps us united,” he said.</p> <p>Highlighting examples of diversity, Modi narrated the journey of Kalpana, who has recently passed her class 10 examination in Karnataka.</p> <p>The very special thing about Kalpana's success is that she did not know Kannada language till some time ago, but she not only learned it in three months, but also proved it by scoring 92 marks.</p> <p>He also cited the example of Shripati Tudu, who hails from Purulia in West Bengal and is a professor of Santhali language at the Sidho-Kaano-Birsa University, Purulia.</p> <p>Tudu has prepared a version of the country's Constitution in his native 'Ol Chiki' script for the Santhali community, the prime minister narrated. “This is a living example of the spirit of 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'. You will also find information about many such efforts furthering this spirit on the website of 'Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat',” he said.</p> <p>Modi also noted that on June 21, the 8th 'International Yoga Day' would be marked across the globe.</p> <p>“This time the theme of Yoga Day is yoga for Humanity. I would urge all of you to celebrate 'Yoga Day' with great enthusiasm. Also take precautions related to corona. By the way, the situation now is looking better than earlier across the whole world. On account of more and more vaccination coverage, people now are going out more than ever; therefore, a lot of preparations are also being seen all over the world for Yoga Day,” he said.</p> <p>“The corona pandemic has made all of us realise the overarching importance of health in our lives and yoga being a great medium in ensuring the same. People are experiencing how much physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being is receiving a boost through yoga,” he said.&nbsp;</p> Sun May 29 13:38:14 IST 2022 exhicon-buys-fifty-one-percent-stake-in-al-yanabia-uae <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>EXHICON Impex FZE LLC,( An EXHICON Group Company) today announced in Dubai, acquisition of fifty-one percent stake in Dubai based Al Yanabia Technical Services LLC, Terms of the agreement and capital infused for the acquisition were not disclosed.</p> <p>Founded in 2004 in Dubai, Al Yanabia provides HVAC, Air Filtration Systems, Engraving &amp; Omantation, Floor &amp; Wall Tiling, False Ceiling and Light Partition Installation, Plumbing and Sanitary Contracting, Fit-Outs and Interior services for domestic, industrial and commercial markets in GCC countries. The Company’s investment in equipment infrastructure and skilled technical workforce has made Al Yanabia providing unmatched service quality to it’s customer base.</p> <p>Al Nabawiya is in the midst of accelerated growth of its capabilities to provide solutions across a range of essential infrastructure and manpower for end to end services to it’s customers,” said <b>Shaikh Jehangir</b>, founder of Yanabia.</p> <p><b>Shaikh Jehangir </b>further said “We would like to thank EXHICON group to create significant value for our existing and newer businesses. We look forward to work together with EXHICON to further accelerate our growth and transformation into a full fledged Interior and fit out company.”</p> <p><b>M Q Syed</b>, Managing Director at EXHICON Group, commented: "We are excited to partner with Al Yanabia which has proved its operational excellence and positioned the Company as a market leader in contracting business in UAE. Going forward, Al Yanabia has a unique growth opportunity in existing and new markets with EXHICON on board."</p> <p><b>Padma Mishra “Insi”</b>, Group Director at EXHICON, added: “The diverse and highly re-occurring nature of Al Yanabia customer base illustrates the differentiated service quality that the Company is able to provide to its clients. With a proven management team and a superior customer value proposition, Al Yanabia has an exciting opportunity to continue its strong growth trajectory in the growing GCC market with EXHICON.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>U. Nadkar</b>, Founder of ‘Creative Focus’ by EXHICON, said “Al Yanabia will be part of EXHICON’s growing portfolio of end to end solutions for Exhibition Interiors, Retail and Commercial Fit outs in GCC. He added “The amalgamation of Al Yanabia with Creative Focus by EXHICON will further enhance our growth in the GCC market”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The acquisition is second in the last six months and the first in UAE by EXHICON Group. The group entered UAE with the Interiors, General Trading, Healthcare and Exhibition businesses in the year 2019.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>About EXHICON Group</b></p> <p>The EXHICON Group&nbsp;established in&nbsp;1997&nbsp;with a mere capital of&nbsp;Rs 2300&nbsp;is the only organization in&nbsp;Asia&nbsp;that serves with the full array of products and services for&nbsp;TradeFairs and Events&nbsp;Sector. From Media to Integrated Marketing Solutions, From Temporary to Permanent Event Infrastructure from Management to Organising.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Group in &nbsp;2010 started successfully diversifying into Hospitality, F&amp;B, Non Chemical FMCG, International Trading and very recently in&nbsp;Healthcare and&nbsp;now has full fledged overseas operations in&nbsp;India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Dubai and Switzerland&nbsp;in addition to having a marketing &amp; Selling Network in over 50 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We, The Pioneers: India’s first 360 Degree Exhibition Company, India’s Pioneer Trade Show Media, India’s Pioneer Exhibition on Events, India’s first Multicity Event Venue Company.<br> </p> <p>For The Records: World’s Biggest Performance Stage Executors</p> <p>PR Contact<br> </p> <p>Abul Fazal: +91999616338,</p> Sat Jun 04 10:46:14 IST 2022 concept-of-term-policy-is-not-as-tricky-as-it-sounds--know-why <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Term policy essentially means the length of time that the policy is issued for. Or the length of time of the validity of the policy until its maturation. This could be anything between 5 years to 20 years or, in certain cases, longer.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Therefore term policy is an insurance policy which is issued for a specific number of years. An annual premium needs to be paid during this period to keep the policy active. At maturity, the insurance company pays back a sum of money, which is the total of the premium paid plus interest and bonuses. Therefore in a way, it's a kind of forced investment. While the returns are not very high, the sum assured plus additions amount to a decent sum of money.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The greatest advantage of a<b><i>&nbsp;</i></b>term policy<b><i>&nbsp;</i></b>is that the life of the policyholder is insured for a certain sum, and if the policyholder dies after paying even one premium, the entire sum assured is payable to his heirs or nominees.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This kind of term policy can be used to plan for certain expenses at some time in the future. Say, for example, the higher education of a child or the marriage of a daughter. These planned events can be part of the plan for a term policy. Say the daughter's marriage is 10 years away in the future. A term policy which matures after 10 years will give a sum of money which can then be used for this expense. This prevents a burden on the family finances from happening. Since the term policy is for a fixed number of years, the money will be available at that time. Unless, of course, the death of the policyholder takes place for some reason. In such an event, the sum assured will be paid immediately to the heirs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This kind of policy can also be used to buy real estate or an apartment. A definite plan can be made since it is a kind of saving with life protection benefits thrown in. A fixed-term policy maturing at a certain time in the future can be used to buy the dream horse. If the planning is right, this is extremely useful.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The benefit of term life insurance is that the premiums are lower, and if taken at an early age, it is extremely beneficial. A longer-term policy can be taken, which will give a high return at the end of the term. Simply put, a term insurance plan can serve 2 purposes. Family protection in the event of the breadwinner's untimely death and as a forced savings plan with returns. Calculating roughly what you intend to spend on your daughter's marriage after 10 years, factoring in inflation, you need to find out how much the sum assured will give that return. That is easy using the&nbsp;<a href=""></a><a href=""><b><u>term plan premium calculator</u></b></a>&nbsp;<b><i>.</i></b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This calculator will tell you how much premium you will need to pay for a particular sum assured. It will also roughly calculate how much of a return you will get at the end of the term.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The added advantage of term policy is that you can add on riders who can take care of critical illness situations. In the event of a critical illness, the policy will pay out a lump sum to take care of the emergency. There is also the provision for a supplementary income in case of a critical illness which leads to disability.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A term policy is also very convenient to take. The minimum entry age is 18 years. The premium can be paid monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually, depending upon the financial position of the policyholder.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, before deciding on a term policy, a few things must be considered. What is your financial position? Remember that the premium must be paid every year. Failure means that the policy will lapse. Therefore it is critical to see what sort of premium you're comfortable with. Remember that the savings in paying for the premium are long-term investments. Keeping that in mind, getting a term policy is easy. Normally insurance companies say that the ideal term policy should be at least 15 times the policyholder's annual income. This is not necessarily important in deciding on a term policy. But there is a sound reason behind this calculation. It takes into account inflation. However, take the policy with which you are comfortable. It might be a good idea to take 2 policies of various amounts instead of one large policy. This way, in case of financial stringency, at least one policy can be kept alive. Losing a term policy means a loss of money. Therefore knowing that the premium will have to be paid for X number of years, financial planning is essential.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are term plans which return money at intervals from the premiums paid. This amount which is paid is generally known as a Money Back Policy. However, the money which the insurance company will be paying back at intervals is deducted from the final maturity amount. However, should there be a need for an amount of money at specific intervals, then this kind of policy is useful.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then there are policies which offer a monthly payback. These are useful if a monthly payout is required. Essentially a term policy is a life insurance policy for a certain fixed period of time, for which the insured has to pay a fixed annual premium. Should the insured live beyond the policy's maturity date, the insurance company will pay back a sum of money, including the premium paid plus interest and bonus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Therefore it is actually an ideal way to protect dependents from financial crises in case of sudden death and is a forced saving which bears fruit in the future. At different points in life, money is required for various things. A&nbsp;<a href=""></a><a href=""><b><u>term policy</u></b></a>&nbsp;can make that happen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Jun 04 14:47:12 IST 2022 us-surpasses-china-as-indias-biggest-trading-partner-in-fy22-at-dollar11942-bn <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The US surpassed China to become India's top trading partner in 2021-22, reflecting strengthening economic ties between the two countries.</p> <p>According to the data of the commerce ministry, in 2021-22, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at $ 119.42 billion as against $ 80.51 billion in 2020-21.</p> <p>Exports to the US increased to $ 76.11 billion in 2021-22 from $ 51.62 billion in previous fiscal year, while imports rose to $ 43.31 billion as compared to about $ 29 billion in 2020-21.</p> <p>During 2021-22, India's two-way commerce with China aggregated at $ 115.42 billion as compared to $ 86.4 billion in 2020-21, the data showed.</p> <p>Exports to China marginally increased to $ 21.25 billion last fiscal year from $ 21.18 billion in 2020-21, while imports jumped to $ 94.16 billion from about $ 65.21 billion in 2020-21. Trade gap rose to $ 72.91 billion in 2021-22 from $ 44 billion in&nbsp; previous fiscal year.</p> <p>Trade experts believe that the trend of increasing bilateral trade with the US will continue in the coming years also as New Delhi and Washington are engaged in further strengthening the economic ties.</p> <p>Federation of Indian Export Organisations Vice President Khalid Khan said India is emerging as a trusted trading partner and global firms are reducing their dependence only on China for their supplies and are diversifying business into other countries like India.</p> <p>"In the coming years, the bilateral trade between India and the US will continue to grow. India has joined a US-led initiative to set up an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and this move would help boost economic ties further," Khan said.</p> <p>Rakesh Mohan Joshi, Director of the Indian Institute of Plantation Management (IIPM), Bangalore, too said that India is home to 1.39 billion people with the world's third largest consumer market and the fastest growing market economy with unparalleled demographic dividend provides enormous opportunities for the US and Indian firms for technology transfer, manufacturing, trade and investment.</p> <p>"Major export items from India to the US include petroleum polished diamonds, pharmaceutical products, jewellery, light oils and petroleum, frozen shrimp, made ups etc. whereas major imports from the US include petroleum, rough diamonds, liquified natural gas, gold, coal, waste and scrap, almonds etc," Joshi said.</p> <p>America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.</p> <p>In 2021-22, India had a trade surplus of $ 32.8 billion with the US.</p> <p>The data showed that China was India's top trading partner from 2013-14 till 2017-18 and also in 2020-21. Before China, the UAE was the country's largest trading partner.</p> <p>In 2021-22, the UAE with $ 72.9 billion, was the third largest trading partner of India. It was followed by Saudi Arabia ($ 42,85 billion), Iraq ($ 34.33 billion) and Singapore ($ 30 billion).</p> Sun May 29 12:34:25 IST 2022 aadhaar-has-adequate-safety-features-uidai-withdraws-photocopy-advisory <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The UIDAI on Sunday <a title="Don't share Aadhaar photocopy, use masked version: UIDAI" href="">withdrew an advisory</a> it had issued warning people against sharing photocopies of their Aadhaar card.</p> <p>The advisory had been issued on Friday, but was widely reported about on Sunday. The advisory had asked people not to share Aadhaar copies and asked them to adopt 'masked Aadhaar' numbers. The advisory had stated unlicensed private entities like hotels or cinema halls were not allowed to obtain Aadhaar details.</p> <p>Commentators had panned the advisory, noting that for years, multiple private agencies were allowed to collect Aadhaar data. The advisory had also reignited debate on safety of Aadhaar.</p> <p>The UIDAI on Sunday state the advisory was issued by its Bengaluru regional office in “the context of an attempt to misuse a photoshopped Aadhaar card. The release advised the people to not to share photocopy of their Aadhaar with any organization because it can be misused. Alternatively, a masked Aadhaar which displays only the last 4 digits of Aadhaar number, can be used. However, in view of the possibility of the misinterpretation of the Press Release, the same stands withdrawn with immediate effect.”</p> <p>UIDAI stated “UIDAI-issued Aadhaar card holders are only advised to exercise normal prudence in using and sharing their UIDAI Aadhaar numbers. Aadhaar Identity Authentication ecosystem has provided adequate features for protecting and safeguarding the identity and privacy of the Aadhaar holder.”</p> Sun May 29 15:35:40 IST 2022 tata-motors-set-to-acquire-fords-manufacturing-plant-in-sanand-gujarat <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, a subsidiary of Tata Motors, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gujarat Government to acquire US automobile giant Ford’s manufacturing plant in Sanand. The potential deal will include the vehicle manufacturing plant in Sanand, land and buildings, machinery and equipment, and the transfer of all eligible employees of Ford India’s Sanand vehicle manufacturing operations.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>Ford Motor Co had announced in September 2021 that it would shut down its manufacturing plants in India, having accumulated more than $2 billion of operating losses over the past 10 years. And demand for new vehicles had been much weaker than forecast.</p> <p>Ford has two facilities in the country, the vehicle manufacturing plant in Sanand and the engine and vehicle assembly plant in Chennai. The potential deal with Tata Motors is only for the plant in Sanand.</p> <p>In recent years, Tata Motors has seen strong growth and market share gains in the passenger vehicle business. In the year ending March 2022, Tata Motors’ total domestic sales surged 49 per cent from a year ago to 6,92,554 units. Its passenger vehicle sales accelerated 67 per cent from a year ago to 3,70,372 units.&nbsp;</p> <p>Its share in the domestic PV market rose to 13.4 per cent at the end of the March 2022 quarter, from 4.8 per cent in the 2019-2020 financial year. Against this backdrop, there was a need for Tata Motors to augment its production capacity. Currently, it manufactures passenger vehicles at Pimpri, Pune and Rajnangaon in Maharashtra and Sanand in Gujarat.&nbsp;</p> <p>Given Ford’s Sanand plant is adjacent to Tata Motors’ existing plant there, the transition is expected to be smooth and will help the company accelerate the enhancement of its passenger vehicle and electric vehicle manufacturing capacity.</p> <p>“Tata Motors has a strong presence in Gujarat for more than a decade with its own manufacturing facility at Sanand. Rising customer preference for passenger and electric vehicles made by Tata Motors has led to a multi-fold growth for the company over the past few years. This potential transaction will support the expansion of capacity, thus securing future growth and opportunity to further strengthen our position in the passenger and electric vehicles space,” said Shailesh Chandra, MD, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Motors Electric Mobility.</p> <p>Tata Motors will invest in new machinery and equipment, which is necessary to commission and make the unit ready to produce its vehicles. With this proposed investment, it will establish an installed capacity of 300,000 units per year, which would be scalable to more than 400,000 units. This is expected to take a few months, the company said.&nbsp;</p> <p>Tata Passenger Electric Mobility and Ford India are expected to sign definitive agreements for the deal over the next few weeks. Tata Motors shares surged over 3 per cent on Monday and were trading at Rs 442.70 in the afternoon trade. The wider BSE Sensex was up by 1.8 per cent.</p> Mon May 30 15:30:26 IST 2022 hitesh-thawani-speaks-about-entrepreneurship-its-not-that-every-business-goes-100-percentage-right <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Hitesh Thawani is the founder of a Dubai-based pet boutique called Precious Paws. Through his valuable insights and years of experience, he not only founded this company but is taking it to new heights. Not only that but Precious Paw was also awarded for its unique Thai-theme-based spa.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We got a chance to get in touch with Hitesh Thawani and ask a few questions. His answers will stun you. So, keep reading!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What motivates you to keep going every day?</b></p> <p>A promise that I made to myself is to deliver the best as an entrepreneur to society and also to give this business a roaring success. However, my passion for pets is what drives me and gets me up every morning early. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new and get better at what I do.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Why did you choose to open a pet boutique and not any other business?</b></p> <p>After being a pet parent and seeing my rising fondness for them, I came across this idea. I thought that starting my own business would give me a chance to be in complete control of everything, right from the store concept, branding, and interior design, right down to the employee hiring process. This way, I can give the best to these small pets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What according to you, are the top three habits of a serious entrepreneur?</b></p> <p>Being the first one in and the last one out means you should know everything that is happening in your workplace. Secondly, have strong work ethics as that has a lot to do with how far your business will go. And lastly, communicate well with your employees. You are hiring their services and not them, so keep up with the compassion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Is there any point in time when you feel like quitting? How did you overcome that?</b></p> <p>Thinking about quitting is not something new to entrepreneurs. The question is how to overcome that thought and keep going. There is always something exciting happening every day, and if you can find ways to enjoy what you do every day, then it becomes easier to keep going.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What piece of advice would you share with budding entrepreneurs?</b></p> <p>First of all, never think that your product or service will be successful just because you are passionate about it. You need to believe in your idea and have a plan on how to make it successful, but also be ready for failure. It’s not that every business goes 100% right and there will always be a point where you will have to take a step back and review what went wrong.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What factors do you think contributed to the success of your company?</b></p> <p>I believe that it's the novelty or theme boutique and the ruthless persistence and razor focus put in by the employees of Precious Paws that has brought it to this level of success.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are strongly convinced that these words from Hitesh Thawani would have served as a great inspiration to you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Jun 02 17:20:54 IST 2022 flexible-outsourced-offices-are-emerging-as-a-prudent-option <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>Kunal Walia, CEO and Founder, Simpliwork Offices, discerns a clear shift in the relationship most companies have with centralized workspaces. India’s largest player in the outsourced office segment aims to double its inventory to six million sq. ft. by the end of 2023.</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2021, the outsourced office and flex providers in India sold over 55,000 seats, up from 36,000 seats in 2020. The numbers are expected to double in 2022. Buoyed by the growth, leading operators are keen to capitalise on the window of opportunity and aggressively expand their portfolio across key markets, namely Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Chennai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The pandemic has redefined how companies look at workspaces. New format offices are seen reinterpreting the traditional work space to a more dynamic, cultural hub. Which, in turn, is contributing to organizational goals in a cost-effective, efficient and hassle-free manner,” says Kunal Walia, CEO and Founder, Simpliwork Offices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the top player in the outsourced office segment in India, in terms of revenues, Simpliwork has delivered India’s largest flex office (6oo,ooo sq. ft.) in Hyderabad and the second-largest flex office (450,000 sq. ft.) in Gurgaon, amidst the pandemic. “Global MNCs and Fortune 500 companies have made a definite shift towards outsourced offices in the last two years,” avers Walia. Start-ups too are contributing significantly to the demand for outsourced offices, he adds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With 70+ centers currently operational, Simpliwork has aggressive expansion plans on the cards. The Bengaluru-based company aims to double its inventory to six million sq. ft. by the end of 2023. “We will continue to focus on the metros. Apart from Noida, we may consider Kolkata, very opportunistically. We will also consider Tier II cities with captive demand,” informs Walia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Focus on flexibility</b></p> <p>At present, flexibility is the buzzword in the office space industry. While corporates may retain an office location that serves as headquarters, workplaces have become location agnostic. “There is a clear shift in the relationship most companies have with a centralized workspace.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With a distributed network across key locations in different cities, flexible and outsourced offices have emerged as a partner of choice for small and large businesses alike,” reasons the entrepreneur, who believes that since good spaces are limited, corporates are eager to lease them quickly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Flexible outsourced offices are emerging as a prudent option due to several reasons. These include benefits like shorter tenures, low capital investment, flexible team structures, operational cost re-assessment, facility management, ready to move-in arrangements, efficient solutions for legal, IT and other requirements, high standards of sanitization and social-distancing norms, wellness and security, and low maintenance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The hybrid work model, along with the emergence of start-ups and boutique firms have also led to an increase in demand for flex outsourced offices,” notes Walia. In fact, the new format office sector has become a key component of commercial real estate (CRE) strategy, thus drawing major investments from corporates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Embracing the hybrid model</b></p> <p>As a significant proportion of the workforce in India returns to the workplace, the hybrid model is likely to become the norm. There are several advantages to this, says the serial entrepreneur. “Including democratising access to opportunities and making newer opportunities available to a larger cross-section of people; providing access to a global talent pool without the hassles of relocation; the flexibility afforded to employees that directly translates to productivity and job satisfaction; and the reduced need for corporate real estate,” he elaborates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After a protracted work-from-home arrangement, most employees too are looking forward to recreating a sense of belonging to the workplace community. The physical and mental strain of maintaining a virtual connection with team members, while being deprived of physical proximity in collaborative tasks, has certainly reversed the initial enthusiasm vis-à-vis working from home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts agree that there is a need for employees to bond, have access to mentors, form friendships, and share in a workplace experience, especially in the case of those in the earlier stages of their careers. In order to retain talent, companies will need to step up with strategies and technologies to enrich and elevate jobs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Building, empowering, and managing the remote workforce will be one of the greatest challenges enterprises will face going forward. There will also need to be a heightened emphasis on the attractiveness of workplaces,” asserts Walia.</p> Fri Jun 03 17:08:29 IST 2022 india-headed-towards-another-power-crisis-july-august-warns-report <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A lower pre-monsoon coal stock at thermal power plants in India is suggestive of another power crisis in July-August, independent research organisation CREA has said.</p> <p>The current coal stock stands at 13.5 million tonnes at pithead power stations and 20.7MT cumulatively at all power plants across the country.</p> <p>“The data compiled from official sources suggest that the coal power plants are in no position to address even a minor spike in the power demand and there is a need to plan for coal transportation well in advance,” Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air's (CREA) latest report, <i>Failure to load: India's power crisis is a coal management crisis</i>, said.</p> <p>The Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) has predicted a peak power demand of 214 GW in August. In addition, the average energy demand could also increase to more than what it is in the month of May to 1,33,426 million units (MUs).</p> <p>“The onset of the southwest monsoon will further hamper mining and transportation of coal from mines to power stations... If coal stocks are not replenished to adequate levels before monsoon, the country might be heading towards yet another power crisis in July-August 2022,” CREA said.</p> <p>It also said the recent power crisis in the country was not due to coal production but “distribution and official apathy”.</p> <p>“It is evident from the data that coal transportation and management was not sufficient to keep up with the increased demand from the power sector... The trends show that thermal power stations were not adequately stocked despite adequate coal mining,” it said.</p> <p>India saw a record coal production of 777.26 million tonnes (MT) in the financial year 2021-22 against 716.08 MT in FY21, an increase of 8.54 per cent.</p> <p>The country had a total mineable capacity of over 1,500 MT in FY 21-22 while the total production stood at 777.26 MT, approximately just half of its production capacity. Therefore, if there was a real coal shortage, coal companies had the option of simply increasing the production, Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at CREA, said.</p> <p>“The current situation is not something that started in the recent past... Coal stock at power stations has been reducing consistently since May 2020, barring a few months in between. The primary reason for the power crisis last year was the inaction of power plant operators to stock adequate coal before the onset of the southwest monsoon. The timing is crucial as the monsoon floods coal mines, hampering their production and transport to power stations,” the report stated.&nbsp;</p> Sun May 29 15:10:39 IST 2022 dont-share-aadhaar-photocopy-use-masked-version-uidai <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Centre has issued a new advisory calling on citizens not to share copies of their Aadhaar cards.</p> <p>In a notification issued on Friday, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has advised “Do not share photocopy of your Aadhaar with any organisations because it can be misused.”</p> <p>It said that people have the alternative of using a 'masked' Aadhaar that displays only the last four digits of the 12-digit number. The UIDAI advisory explained how the masked Aadhaar could be obtained. The UIDAI website explains “Mask Aadhaar option allows you to mask your Aadhaar number in your downloaded e-Aadhaar. Masked Aadhaar number implies replacing of first 8 digits of Aadhaar number with some characters like ‘xxxx-xxxx’ while only last 4 digits of the Aadhaar Number are visible.”</p> <p>It called on people to avoid using public computers at internet cafes or kiosks to download their e-Aadhaar. UIDAI reminded that only organisations with a valid user licence could ask people for their Aadhaar to establish identity.</p> <p>The UIDAI advisory said unlicensed private entities like hotels and cinema halls were not permitted to collect or keep copies of Aadhaar cards, noting it was an offence under the Aadhaar Act, 2016. It called on people to verify whether private entities seeking Aadhaar details had user licences from UIDAI.</p> Sun May 29 12:07:13 IST 2022 _a-good-monsoon-and-fuel-duty-cuts-should-help-us-get-going <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>He may have one of the best-known homespun business surnames in the country, but Sanjiv Bajaj has notched up enough success in his chosen area of financial services to have come into his own over the years. The 52-year-old chairman and managing director of Bajaj Finserv, one of the biggest non-banking financial companies (NBFC) in India recently spoke to THE WEEK soon after taking over as the president of the premier business chamber in the country, the CII. Excerpts from an exclusive interview:&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Price rise/inflation has waylaid all the best laid plans. What is your outlook for the Indian economy now?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Right now, we saw two quarters with reasonably strong growth &amp; a number of sectors have already started the private investment cycle. What has played spoilsport has been the uncertainties of the war which has had an economic impact, and also inflation on the ground. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This inflation is hurting the common man because of the increase in food and fuel prices. We are hoping the monsoon turns out to be good, because then the food prices will start trending downwards. That leaves only fuel —duty cuts will (lead to) money in the pockets of the common man, which then will lead to consumption (revival). That should help us get going.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Inflation is adding to rural distress, adding on to the woes of Covid. What do you think the government can do, and how can industry help, because this directly affects consumption.</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For farm-related income generation, I think a good monsoon should help.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The non-farm sector will need some continued support from the government. Just creating higher efficiencies between farm and fork, (from) purchasing, better logistics and technologies, better warehousing…will bring in better efficiencies. Which means there will be a greater amount of (disposable) money available in the system.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>How does hiking interest rates impact industries and their growth plans?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I believe what you are seeing is a normalisation of rates. Rates are still very low and still very attractive for new investment. For the last four-five years, we have not seen much of an investment cycle by the private sector. As a result, capacities have continued to get used up. And now the private sector is in a situation to invest and grow.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Uncertainties of war and supply chain constraints are a bottle-neck, but I believe that if the domestic cycle increases, (it will help) because we have a very large domestic consumption economy. We have that advantage that many others don’t have.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>There’s a lot of clamour for tax standardisation, particularly like including fuel under GST. Also for power. What are your thoughts on this?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>GST council has been a great success…and even in the current political climate, it shows that as a country we are able to work together.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There will be a significant improvement in ‘ease of doing business’, if we can solve the issues of land, energy and labour. They become three big barriers for entry or (for existing players) expansion. And these issues are concurrent between centre and state governments. Like the GST Council if a similar council is set up between centre and states to take necessary action. This will significantly improve the ease of doing business in the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At CII, we will be coming out this year on an ‘Index on the cost of doing business’ where we will measure the states. This will allow states to (figure out) where they are more competitive. This will help them prioritise where to improve and what kind of business to attract.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What can the industry do when it comes to climate goals. Standing where we are after Glasgow and all the decisions made there on, what else can India do, or is that too much to ask for? Can we set a target, perhaps look at a carbon tax? Is there a suggestion from the industry?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sustainability is one of our core themes last year and this year as well — there are a number of areas in this that CII is working on, putting together an entire mission on Net zero, and breaking it up into the various activities that need to be done.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One is to get industries to get greener over a period of time. When we change existing factories, large companies know what to do, but how do you help these small and medium-sized factories? There's a whole initiative that needs to be discussed around that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Second is that the drive towards net zero is going to bring&nbsp; new technologies and innovation of new business opportunities. Also, learn from the likes of Nordic countries who’ve been at it for years, and see and learn from them, and adapt them for our purposes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Third is the availability of green finance. We need to channelise those, so that in the years from now we build the building blocks and allow the cycle to build its own momentum.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The transition from traditional energy to green energy also needs to be properly planned between government and industry so that the drive towards new energy, we also understand the challenges and the time it takes to build new capacities. So (we should ensure that we) don’t get caught like some of the western nations are facing now, they let go of conventional energy and are not built enough on the renewable side that they don’t have any energy left!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Do you think meeting climate goals put our businesses at a disadvantage?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let’s put it this way — just because we don’t know what can be the negatives of climate change, we are assuming that the efforts to become greener is going to hurt us. Look at what it does to crops when temperatures go up the way it has in the last 2-3 weeks! What does that do to production, to starvation?&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We need to take it seriously. It doesn’t mean we need to panic, but we need to take it seriously. Initially it will be a cost for many industries, but over a period of time, this can end up being more beneficial. Because we will innovate and find more efficient ways to do things.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>If there is one thing you would like to ask the government, what would that be?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I honestly believe India’s time has come. I don’t have one thing to ask. I only want the government and industry trusting each other and working together. And this government has already started doing that.&nbsp;</p> Sat May 28 16:53:35 IST 2022 centre-to-develop-framework-to-check-fake-reviews-on-e-commerce- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The government on Saturday said it will develop a framework to keep a check on fake reviews posted on e-commerce websites to protect consumer interest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The consumer affairs ministry along with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) held a virtual meeting on Friday with stakeholders, including e-commerce entities, to discuss the magnitude of fake reviews on their platforms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fake reviews mislead consumers into buying online products and services.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to an official statement, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) will develop these frameworks after studying the present mechanism being followed by the e-commerce entities in India and best practices available globally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Consumer forums, law universities, lawyers, FICCI, CII and consumer rights activists, among others, participated in the meeting to discuss the magnitude of the problem and roadmap ahead for fake reviews on websites.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since e-commerce involves a virtual shopping experience without any opportunity to physically view or examine the product, consumers heavily rely on reviews posted on platforms to see the opinion and experience of users who have already purchased the good or service.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Traceability by ensuring the authenticity of the reviewer and the associated liability of the platform are the two key issues here. Also e-commerce players must disclose as to how they choose the 'most relevant reviews' for display in a fair and transparent manner,&quot; Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All stakeholders agreed that the issue deserves to be monitored closely and appropriate framework governing the fake reviews should be developed for protection of consumer interest, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stakeholders from e-commerce companies claimed they have frameworks in place by which they monitor fake reviews and would be pleased to take part in developing a legal framework on the issue, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nidhi Khare, additional secretary and Anupam Mishra, joint secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs also attended the meeting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Manisha Kapoor, CEO, ASCI highlighted the categories of fake and misleading reviews and their impact on consumer interest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The issues discussed in the meeting included how paid reviews, unverifiable reviews and absence of disclosure in case of incentivised reviews make it challenging for consumers to recognise genuine reviews.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Sat May 28 12:09:50 IST 2022 is-the-current-phase-of-layoffs-at-start-ups-temporary <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The current phase of layoffs and fund crunch at start-ups in India is expected to be a temporary phase and, in fact, there could be a sudden spurge in talent demand as the situation eases. Experts with whom THE WEEK spoke to feel that with the growth expected in the Indian economy over the next few quarters, start-ups are also expected to see an uptick in their business. The hiring is expected to surpass the layoffs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts believe that startups that are forward looking and can adapt to dynamic markets are much more effective in scaling up without laying off. While job security itself is subject to internal environmental factors such as success of the start-up itself, from an overall employment perspective the current spree of layoffs and dearth in funding looks to be temporary at best. This is because as the start-up ecosystem in India matures, they would not need to resort to such measures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Currently, the trend right now is a valuation game, and cost optimisation follows the fund raising. In the near term we will see sudden upsurge in talent demand, and in terms of job opportunities start-up hirings are taking place with the same or more momentum than the current layoffs so this should not be an issue in the long term. The dearth in funding is also something that is not going to persist or impact the ecosystem in the long term as immediate environmental factors subside,” said C.S. Murali, chairman of the Entrepreneurship Cell, SID, at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts do agree that while companies hired aggressively at the start of the pandemic they were unable to later manage their workforce capital, leading to bloated spending and cash burn, and the current inflationary environment is adding to the dearth in funding. The answer for some start-ups was to lay off people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Indian startups are now looking at going lean, streamlining operations, consolidating departments and restructuring team sizes to more effectively use capital. However, these are tendencies more from start-ups that aren’t successful in managing their runway and have to tread carefully to grow the business. During a funding crunch, enterprises tend to offer more security, as they have exit packages and can always adjust resources in other departments,” said Murali.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Market analysts point out that high recruitment followed by layoffs is cyclical in nature, as is the nature of the economy. “Today's layoffs will lead to a scorching pace of growth in the near future. So, I would not be too worried about it as it is a course correction occurring right now. I would call it right-sizing and not downsizing. This will last a few quarters, and in a post pandemic world, growth will be back in many sectors of the economy which will fuel demand. This will lead to more revenue growth and hence more recruitment to manage the growth. One has to be patient and wait it out and also add more skills during the downturn. I am very optimistic that the situation will stabilise in next one year as start-ups will focus on profitability and be realistic about hyper growth,” pointed out Prof Dwarika Prasad Uniyal, pro-vice-chancellor (development and leadership) and founding dean, School of Economics and Finance, RV University.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Market analysts further believe that a boom in the investments for Indian start-ups, has inevitably concluded into a mid-term consolidation phase. The slowing down of the economy has further squelched the investment momentum. Other than the start-up that have progressed to sound revenue footings, it is going to be a long winter to draw new investments but it will eventually improve.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The real challenge, as can be construed from the listing of few major start-ups, is that inspite of being funded in the private market for so long, some of the marquee names still do not have a sustainable visibility to the path to profit. If the listed start-ups cannot generate sustainable profits, the rationale goes, what are the odds that work-in-progress startups will be able to generate the green bucks,” said Alok Shende of Mumbai based Ascentius Consulting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Among the panic of an economic decline, the Indian start-up had molded themselves to a post pandemic world. With more than thousands of employees being laid off from several start-ups, it has created an air of concern among the various stakeholders invested in the startup ecosystem,” said K.R. Sekar, president, BCIC And Partner, Deloitte.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Start-ups are very challenging and dynamic in nature, due to this unstable nature drop in cash-flows results in layoffs unlike larger enterprises and corporates where they weigh a lot as they can always adjust their resources with other departments or compensate with helpful severance packages. The safety of working in a start-up also depends on the individual and their individual goals. Post pandemic, the market has always been in a volatile state which has allowed professionals to understand and anticipate the future of their careers. Expecting to sustain a start-up job despite the recent turn of events will equal to no learning from the lessons of pandemic,” he said.</p> <p><br> “Profitability over retention of buyers, taxing expansions and low investments has spiked the costing. As these start-ups continue to chase profitability as is the case this trend is likely to continue in the next quarter as well.&quot;</p> Fri May 27 20:34:29 IST 2022 coal-india-will-start-to-import-as-fuel-shortage-hits-home-report <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Coal India, under the Central Government, will start import the fuel for use by utilities, news agency Reuters quoted a letter from the power ministry. This comes at a time amid fears of shortage of the fuel. The report noted that it would be the first time since 2015 that Coal India has imported the fuel, highlighting efforts by state and central officials to stock up to avoid a repeat of April, when India faced its worst power cuts in more than six years. "Coal India would import coal for blending on government-to-government (G2G) basis and supply to thermal power plants of state generators and independent power producers (IPPs)," the letter claimed, according to the report. THE WEEK could not independently corroborate the contents of the report.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The union power ministry has asked reticent power generating companies, both state and private-owned, to better fix up and import the necessary coal from international markets within June to deal with the deficiency. The state government-owned utilities are to import 2.2 crore tonnes of coal while private power plants have to import nearly 1.6 crore tonnes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 70 per cent of electricity in India is from thermal energy produced primarily by burning domestic coal that is mixed with imported coal. One of the primary reasons for the critically low coal stock at many power plants presently has been because power companies, strapped of cash particularly since COVID-19, have been dragging their feet from importing coal from the international markets, where the prices have shot up dramatically in recent times.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The domestic situation has been compounded by international developments—the post-Covid logjam in global shipping and supply chain has seen international coal prices soaring high—many Indian power distribution companies, especially state DISCOMs of Maharashtra, Jharkhand etc., are in a bad state financially to buy them at such prices. For example, all state-owned power plants and coal-based power plants in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan are facing critical shortage of coal. In fact, Rajasthan faced a shortage of a whopping 28 crore units in April, resulting in power cuts lasting as long as 8-9 hours across the Congress-ruled state. The situation could just get worse before it gets better.</p> Sun May 29 09:42:05 IST 2022 rbi-annual-report-global-recovery-to-suffer-significant-loss-of-momentum-but-india-better-placed <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the global economy in the past two years. Now, the recovery is expected to suffer a “significant loss of momentum” this year amid multiple headwinds including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Reserve Bank of India said on Friday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The global recovery is expected to suffer a significant loss of momentum in 2022. Risks are large and to the downside - war escalation; shortages; resurgence of the pandemic; slowdown in China; and climate stress overshooting the Paris agreement goals,” the central bank said in its annual report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The International Monetary Fund recently slashed its global growth forecast to 3.6 per cent in 2022, from 6.1 per cent in 2021.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Reserve Bank warned in its annual report that “policy trade-offs are becoming increasingly complex going forward” and risks, including stagflation, “loom large” in several countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite the headwinds, India remains better placed, the RBI felt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Amidst these adverse international developments, the Indian economy is relatively better placed to strengthen the recovery that is underway and improve macroeconomic prospects going forward,” it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The future path of growth will be conditioned by addressing supply-side bottlenecks, calibrating monetary policy to bring inflation within the target while supporting growth and targeted fiscal policy support to aggregate demand, especially by boosting capital spending, the central bank said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the pandemic ravaged worldwide in 2020-2021, central banks globally slashed interest rates and pumped huge liquidity into the system. But, in the last few months, a surge in inflation has forced them to tighten their policies and raise interest rates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The persistence of high inflation is forcing countervailing monetary policy action at a time when supporting the economic recovery should have been assigned priority,” it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So far in 2022, more than 40 central banks across advanced and emerging market economies have raised policy interest rates and/ or scaled back liquidity, the annual report noted.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The RBI itself sprang a surprise earlier this month, by unexpectedly raising the benchmark Repo Rate by 40 basis points to 4.40 per cent, while also increasing the cash reserve ratio.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Retail inflation in April surged to an 8-year high of 7.79 per cent in April. With inflation well above RBI’s targeted band of 2 per cent to 6 per cent, it is widely expected to raise interest rates further in the upcoming monetary policy committee meeting in June.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a TV interview earlier this week, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that expectation of rate hike was a “no-brainer.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>RBI said in the annual report that its monetary policy remains accommodative, but focused on withdrawal of accommodation.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Priority has been assigned to containing inflation within the target going forward, while supporting growth,” it said.&nbsp;</p> Fri May 27 18:54:59 IST 2022 tesla-wont-manufacture-india-unless-allowed-sell-service-cars-musk <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>American electric carmaker Tesla, which has been seeking reduction in import duties to sell its vehicles in India, will not manufacture its products locally unless it is allowed to first sell and service its cars in the country, company founder and chief executive Elon Musk has said.</p> <p>In a tweet responding to a user asking about Tesla setting up a manufacturing plant in India, he said, "Tesla will not put a manufacturing plant in any location where we are not allowed first to sell &amp; service cars."</p> <p>Last month, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said if Tesla was ready to manufacture its electric vehicles in India then there was 'no problem' but the company must not import cars from China.</p> <p>In August last year, Musk had said Tesla may set up a manufacturing unit in India if it first succeeds with imported vehicles in the country.</p> <p>He had said Tesla wanted to launch its vehicles in India "but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!" Currently, India imposes 100 per cent import duty on fully imported cars with CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value more than USD 40,000 and 60 per cent on those costing less than the amount.&nbsp;</p> Sat May 28 15:24:09 IST 2022 rbi-annual-report-bank-frauds-on-the-rise-but-total-value-involved-halved <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Banking sector frauds, which had reduced in 2020-21 are on the rise again. According to the Reserve Bank of India’s annual report, the number of frauds reported by banks and financial institutions rose 23 per cent in 2021-22. At the same time, the total amount involved in frauds fell by more than half, showed the report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the annual report, banks (includes state-owned banks, private banks, foreign banks, financial institutions, small finance banks, payment banks and local area banks) reported a total of 9,103 frauds in the year ended March 2022. In comparison, banks had reported 7,359 frauds in 2020-21 and 8,703 frauds in 2019-20.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the same time, the total amount involved in frauds in 2021-22 declined to Rs 60,414 crore, from over Rs 1.38 lakh crore in 2020-21 and Rs 1.85 lakh crore in 2019-20.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“An assessment of bank group-wise fraud cases over the last three years indicates that while private sector banks reported maximum number of frauds, public sector banks (PSBs) contributed maximum to the fraud amount. Frauds have been occurring predominantly in the loan portfolio (advances category), both in terms of number and value,” the central bank said in its assessment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PSBs reported 3,078 frauds in 2021-22, with the total amount involved at Rs 40,282 crore. In 2020-21 the state-owned lenders had reported 2,901 frauds with the total amount involved at Rs 81,901 crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Private sector lenders, meanwhile, reported 5,334 frauds in 2021-22, sharply higher than 3,710 frauds they had reported a year earlier. However, the total amount involved in these frauds was much lower at Rs 17,588 crore last year, compared with Rs 46,335 crore reported in the year before that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of frauds reported by private sector banks were mainly on account of small value card/ internet frauds, but, the fraud amount reported by public sector banks was mainly in loan portfolio, RBI said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Importantly, Reserve Bank also noted a significant gap between when the fraud occurred and when it was actually detected.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“An analysis of the vintage of frauds reported during 2020-21 and 2021-22 shows a significant time-lag between the date of occurrence of a fraud and its detection. 93.73 per cent of the frauds in 2021-22 by value occurred in previous financial years as against 91.71 per cent recorded in 2020-21,” it said in the annual report.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>RBI said it continues to remain engaged with scheduled commercial banks in implementing a system driven identification of non-performing assets (NPAs), with a view to ensuring prompt and error-free recognition of asset impairment.</p> Fri May 27 18:06:18 IST 2022