Business en Wed Jul 14 10:38:48 IST 2021 private-airports-likely-to-spend-rs-42000-crore-in-capex-over-5-years-crisil <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, long term prospects of the aviation industry remain strong especially due to the current low penetration in India and the government's continued push to connect smaller towns. Large investments to the tune of Rs 42,000 crore are expected in capacity expansion by private airport operators in the next five years through the financial year 2026, according to forecast credit ratings agency CRISIL.<br> <br> “Economic growth will boost air traffic volumes given the impact on increase in per capita consumption and shift in preference towards an efficient mode of commute. Given that air traffic in India tends to grow faster than the GDP growth, and the government’s push to connect lower-tier cities with metros under its Regional Connectivity Scheme, we expect a robust 8.5 per cent annual air traffic growth at Indian airports till fiscal 2026,” says Ankit Hakhu, director at CRISIL Ratings.<br> <br> India’s air traffic grew at 8 per cent per year between 2016-2020, which led to airports operating at 115 per cent of their design capacity (175 million passengers versus a capacity of 150 million). But, COVID19 hit hard last year and the subsequent economic slump led to air traffic crashing by 65 per cent.<br> <br> Even as the COVID19 pandemic hit hard in April-May this year, as infection rate falls and vaccinations continue to gather pace, the outlook has improved. According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), around 50.07 lakh domestic passengers travelled by air in July 2021, up 61 per cent over the 31.13 lakh people who flew in June.<br> <br> CRISIL expects India’s real GDP will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.4 per cent over the next four years (financial year 2022-2025).<br> <br> An additional 190 million are expected to fly pan-India by FY26 over the pre-pandemic base of 340 million in FY20. This will drive the overall traffic to 530 million passengers by FY26, 70 per cent of which will be handled by private airports, according to CRISIL.<br> <br> This expected demand growth is driving private airport operators to enhance the design capacity to 340 million passengers per annum from the pre-pandemic level of 150 million. Given the strong increase in demand, despite the expansion, the utilisation rates of the airports are likely to remain at around 100 per cent, CRISIL noted.<br> Tue Aug 31 17:30:30 IST 2021 indias-economic-activity-picking-pace-further-upside-to-growth-likely-moodys <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday said the economic activity in India is picking up with the gradual easing of COVID restrictions and there could be further upside to growth as economies around the world gradually reopen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In its August update to 'Global Macro Outlook 2021-22', Moody's retained India's growth forecast for the 2021 calendar year at 9.6 per cent and 7 per cent for 2022. "In India, economic activity is picking up alongside a gradual easing of restrictions that were implemented in response to the second wave. And there is further upside to growth as economies around the world progressively reopen," Moody's said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rating agency said it expects the Reserve Bank to maintain an accommodative policy stance until economic growth prospects "durably improve". "We expect the RBI .... to maintain the status quo until the end of this year. We expect to see an increasing number of emerging market central banks shift to a neutral policy stance amid their gathering growth momentum later this year and early next year," Moody's said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Indian economy contracted 7.3 per cent in 2020-21 fiscal. GDP growth in the current fiscal was estimated to be in double digits initially, but a severe second wave of the pandemic has led to various agencies cut growth projections.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moody's had in June projected a 9.3 per cent growth for the current fiscal ending March 2022.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said the rapid global spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is a stark reminder that the global pandemic is far from over, although some vaccines appear to be highly effective at suppressing the severe disease, reducing the need for hospitalisations and lowering the incidence of fatalities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vaccination rates, the extent of serious infections and mobility restrictions remain the key determinants of where countries find themselves in their economic recovery cycle, it said, adding while the spread of the delta variant has prompted mobility restrictions in Asia, renewed lockdowns are far less likely in other regions of the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moody's estimates that the G-20 economies will grow by 6.2 per cent in 2021, after a 3.2 per cent contraction last year, followed by 4.5 per cent growth in 2022.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>G-20 advanced economies will grow by 5.6 per cent collectively in 2021 while emerging markets will collectively expand by 7.2 per cent in 2021, it added.</p> Tue Aug 31 16:44:47 IST 2021 china-s-manufacturing-sector-slows-as-export-demand-weakens <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>China's factory activity decelerated in August as export demand weakened, a survey showed Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The monthly purchasing managers' index of the Chinese statistics bureau and an official industry group declined to 50.1 from July's 50.4 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity increasing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A sub-measure of new exports fell by a full point from the previous month to 46.7, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics &amp; Purchasing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Officials have warned demand for Chinese exports was likely to weaken in the second half of the year. Factory and consumer activity have been dampened by flooding in July and tighter anti-coronavirus controls.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a report on the latest manufacturing figures, researchers at the Chinese investment bank CICC said they expected the slowdown in demand will continue." Overall the manufacturing industry will show a steady slowdown," it added.&nbsp;</p> <p>(AP)</p> Tue Aug 31 15:42:53 IST 2021 kerala-electricity-board-to-charge-rs-15-per-unit-for-charging-evs-at-their-stations <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Soon, electric vehicle owners will have to start paying Rs 15 per unit for charging their vehicles at the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) charging stations. Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission has given directions to KSEB in this regard, various media reports said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The charging stations were inaugurated last year and the payment mode was initially planned to start within three months. Officials had then said the customers could charge EVs free of cost on a pilot basis for three months and it was planned to collect payments after that.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the payment got delayed due to glitches in the ‘Electrify’ app, which allows the customer to identify the place of charging station, book slot and charge the vehicle and pay the amount digitally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Charging stations in Thrissur and Kozhikode reported more energy consumption and the one in Thiruvananthapuram reported less consumption. The regulatory commission has created LT10, a tariff category applicable only for energy consumption at EV stations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the current rate fixed by the commission, energy charge per unit is Rs 5, besides fixed charge, service charge and GST adding up to around Rs 15 per unit. Kerala has witnessed a jump in registration of EVs following the pandemic. As many as 3,313 EVs were registered in the state till August 16 this year as against 1,324 registrations last year.&nbsp;</p> <p><br> <br> <br> </p> Tue Aug 31 14:48:56 IST 2021 prosus-to-acquire-indian-digital-payments-provider-billdesk-for-dollar47-bn <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Global consumer internet group Prosus NV on Tuesday said PayU will acquire Indian digital payments provider BillDesk for $4.7 billion (about Rs 34,376.2 crore). "...An agreement has been reached between PayU and the shareholders of the Indian digital payments provider BillDesk to acquire BillDesk for $4.7 billion," a statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The proposed acquisition will see PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus which operates in more than 20 high-growth markets, become one of the leading online payment providers globally by total payment volume (TPV) - handling a TPV of $147 billion, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The transaction, which is subject to approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), builds on previous successful acquisitions by PayU in India, including CitrusPay, Paysense and Wibmo, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>BillDesk was founded in 2000.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We have a long and deep relationship with India, having supported and partnered with some of its most dynamic entrepreneurs and new tech businesses since 2005. We've invested close to USD 6 billion in Indian tech to date, and this deal will see that increase to more than USD 10 billion," Bob van Dijk, Group CEO of Prosus, said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He added that the announcement reflects Prosus' desire to build valuable, global consumer internet businesses that provide useful products and services for millions of people in their everyday lives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Along with classifieds, food delivery, and education technology, payments and fintech is a core segment for Prosus, and India remains our number one investment destination," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>M. N. Srinivasu, co-founder of BillDesk, said the company has been a pioneer in driving digital payments in India for well over a decade.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"This investment by Prosus validates the significant opportunity in India for digital payments that is being propelled by innovation and the progressive regulatory framework put into place by the Reserve Bank of India, India's central bank," Srinivasu said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>PayU India and BillDesk run complementary businesses within India's digital payment industry. Together, the two expect to create a financial ecosystem handling four billion transactions annually - four times PayU's current level in India, the statement said.&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 31 13:30:37 IST 2021 sensex-scales-57000-peak-surges-over-4000-points-so-far-in-august <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The 30-share BSE benchmark Sensex has soared over 4,000 points so far this month to scale the 57,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday as the bull run continues in the equity market. The bluechip index reached an all-time intra-day high level of 57,124.78 on Tuesday, the last trading of August, a month that has seen the stock market making many new records.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Reflecting the strong stock market sentiments despite lingering worries over possible tapering by the US Federal Reserve, the market capitalisation of BSE-listed companies jumped to an all-time high of Rs 2,48,34,296 crore in morning trade.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier, on August 4, for the first time, the Sensex sailed past 54,000 points, both at intra-day and closing levels. After nine days, on August 13, the index crossed the 55,000 mark and also closed above this level.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The next 1,000 points-level was scaled in less than a week as the benchmark climbed the 56,000-peak for the first time in intra-day on August 18.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then on August 27, it closed above the 56,000-mark for the first time.&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 31 12:36:53 IST 2021 google-removes-95680-content-pieces-in-july-in-india-compliance-report <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Google received 36,934 complaints from users and removed 95,680 pieces of content based on those complaints in July, the tech giant company said in its monthly transparency reports released on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to reports from users, Google also removed 5,76,892 pieces of content in July as a result of automated detection. The US-based company has made these disclosures as part of compliance with India's IT rules that came into force on May 26.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Tuesday, Google said it had received 36,934 complaints in July from individual users located in India via designated mechanisms, and the number of removal actions as a result of user complaints was 95,680—the highest so far.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In June, Google had received 36,265 complaints and removed 83,613 pieces of content as a result of user complaints. It had removed 59,350 pieces of content in April and 71,132 pieces in May.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Some requests may allege infringement of intellectual property rights, while others claim violation of local laws prohibiting types of content on grounds such as defamation. When we receive complaints regarding content on our platforms, we assess them carefully," Google said on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The content removal was done under several categories, including copyright (94,862), trademark (807), court order (4), circumvention (3), counterfeit (1), graphic sexual content (1), impersonation (1) and other legal requests (1).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google explained that a single complaint may specify multiple items that potentially relate to the same or different pieces of content, and each unique URL in a specific complaint is considered an individual "item" that is removed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms—with over 5 million users—will have to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report must also include the number of specific communication links or parts of the information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google's report showed that it had removed 5,76,892 pieces of content in July as a result of automated detection. This number stood at 5,26,866 in June.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company said for data related to automated detection processes, it has included data where the sender or creator of the content is located in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"In order to attribute a location to an individual sender or creator, we use data signals such as location of account creation, IP address at the time of video upload and user phone number, as available. Please note that senders or creators of content may attempt to evade detection through location-concealing mechanisms," it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Google is committed to revealing any bad actors through industry-leading detection tools, reporting based on location attribution should be interpreted as a directional estimate, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The company noted that when it receives complaints regarding content on its platforms, it assesses them carefully.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"There are many reasons we may not have removed content in response to a user complaint. For example, some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the user wanted us to remove (for example, no URL is listed in the request), or the content has already been removed by the user when we process the complaint," it explained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A removal action may be taken on a complaint if the content violates Google's Community Guidelines, content policies, or local legal requirements, while for automated detection processes, a removal action is taken if content violates its Community Guidelines or content policies, it added.</p> Tue Aug 31 11:59:07 IST 2021 rs-35-of-every-rs-100-raised-by-telcos-goes-to-govt-airtels-Sunil-mittal <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A day after announcing capital-raise of Rs 21,000 crore via a rights issue, telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal on Monday made a passionate pitch for hike in tariffs and a cut in government levies to save the industry.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Mittal, the chairman of India's second largest telecom company Bharti Airtel, said while 35 per cent of industry's revenue goes to the government in taxes and levies, telcos are loaded with an extraordinary debt of AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) dues and spectrum payments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"People are consuming average 16GB of data per user per month. It is time that tariffs do take a tick up to make the industry viable and, more importantly, have decent and appropriate returns on capital to grow into more technology areas, to roll out more networks, and become more viable model of sustainability in the future," Mittal said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;He stressed that the industry needs to have "right economic model", and rued that "for far too long, we have played in this game by growing this industry at a very minimal pricing level".&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Levies are far too high in the telecom sector, Mittal said adding that "levies and load on industry needs to be brought down" for India to truly realise its digital vision. Mittal made it clear that Airtel will not shy away from raising tariffs. He argued that tariff changes effected by Airtel over the last few months are a "testimony" that the company has indeed "run out of patience".&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;In a rare move, the Bharti Airtel Ltd chairman attended about an hour-long investor call, answering queries related to the rights issue as well as those pertaining to the telecom sector.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Asked if Airtel will take a lead in raising tariffs in future, Mittal said that the company has already been doing it in a limited manner by pushing up base tariffs to Rs 79.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"Can this go to Rs 99 eventually, my answer is yes, the question is when...In the end, we are also bound by market forces, we can't be outlier beyond a point. You can be having some premium given strength of the brand but you can't go beyond a point where you start to hurt yourself," Mittal observed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Airtel will be "vigilant" and "happy to take small baby steps which could even be first and foremost compared to others", he pointed out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The industry needs to move "very quickly" to ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) of Rs 200 per user per month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"This industry needs to survive and thrive, we need to get to Rs 200 within this financial year. Eventually this industry needs to be at Rs 300 per user per month and, in that, you can enjoy tons of, entertainment, should be available to customers...we will put in a lot of stuff, but we need to get to Rs 200 points and eventually to Rs 300," he contended.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The industry is granular and segmented, where some customers could to be at a price point of Rs 100 with small amount of data snacking while at other end of spectrum customers could go to Rs 600-800 levels enjoying multiple offerings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"...even then, the tariffs in this country will be lower than anywhere in the world," Mittal said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Mittal exuded confidence that the industry has seen worst in terms of tariff wars and ARPU contraction.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"In September 2016, at the launch of new powerful competitor, we had gone below Rs 100, we are at a mid point...about Rs 145-150...this will start to trend towards Rs 200 within this financial year," Mittal said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The comments came a day after Bharti Airtel's board approved raising up to Rs 21,000 crore by way of the rights issue, at a price of Rs 535 per share.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Airtel hopes that the fund raising would be gamechanger for the company, giving it the firepower to accelerate beyond "business as usual" by grabbing a larger marketshare of mobile services (including agressive positioning on 5G roll outs), fibre to the home and data centres business.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"As we respond to Government's call to invest more money, accelerate digital vision of India, we also equally expect Government also to respond by having lighter touch regulation, by making life simple for telecom companies. About Rs 35 of every Rs 100 that telcos generate as revenue go into Government levies," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;It is pertinent to mention here that while Reliance Jio has been cementing its lead in the fiercely-competitive Indian telecom market, Vodafone Idea (VIL) is facing existential issues. In fact, industry analysts have sounded an alarm over the risks of Indian telecom market turning into a duopoly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla recently stepped down as chairman of Vodafone Idea Ltd, within two months of offering to hand over Aditya Birla Group's stake in the telco over to the government, in a bid to avert a crisis for the telecom company.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The total gross debt (excluding lease liabilities and including interest accrued but not due) as of June 30, 2021 of VIL stood at Rs 1,91,590 crore, comprising of deferred spectrum payment obligations of Rs 1,06,010 crore and adjusted gross revenue (AGR) liability of Rs 62,180 crore that are due to the government. PTI MBI MKJ 08301920</p> Mon Aug 30 20:36:58 IST 2021 sc-orders-demolition-of-supertechs-twin-40-storey-towers-in-noida <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the demolition of two 40-floor towers built by real estate company Supertech in one of its housing projects in Noida. The apex court noted that the construction was a result of the collusion between the officials of the Noida authority and Supertech.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In its verdict, the Supreme Court said the construction of the twin towers, comprising 915 flats in Supertech Emerald Court in Noida, were done in violation of the rules and must be razed within three months by Supertech at its own cost.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The apex court directed that the entire amount of home buyers be refunded with 12 per cent interest from the time of the booking and the Residents Welfare Association be paid Rs 2 crore for the harassment caused due to the construction of the twin towers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah said that April 11, 2014 verdict of the Allahabad high court, which directed demolition of twin towers, does not deserve any interference.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said the construction of Supertech's twin 40 storey towers and shops was done in collusion with NOIDA authority and the high court was correct in holding that view.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bench said that demolition exercise of the twin towers be carried out within three months under the supervision of NOIDA and an expert agency and the cost of the entire exercise has to be borne by Supertech Ltd.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The top court said that recently it has seen rampant unauthorised construction in metropolitan areas in collusion with planning authorities and it has to be dealt with sternly.&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 31 15:01:37 IST 2021 go-airlines-gets-sebi-nod-for-rs-3600-crore-ipo <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Budget carrier Go Airlines, which has rebranded itself as 'Go First', has received market regulator Sebi's go-ahead for an initial public offer worth Rs 3,600 crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The airline plans to garner up to Rs 3,600 crore through sale of shares, according to the Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP). It also plans to raise up to Rs 1,500 crore by way of a pre-IPO (Initial Public Offer) placement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The carrier, which filed its preliminary papers for the IPO in May, received its observations on August 26, according to Sebi's latest update on processing status of the draft offer documents. The information was updated on August 27 and made public on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Sebi parlance, issuance of observations implies its go-ahead for the IPO. In June, Sebi had kept in abeyance the processing of Go Airlines' draft papers for the initial share sale.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From the net IPO proceeds, the airline plans to utilise over Rs 2,015.81 crore towards pre-payment or scheduled repayment of all or a portion of certain outstanding borrowings, according to the DRHP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An amount of Rs 279.26 crore would be for "replacement of letter of credits, which are issued to certain aircraft lessors towards securing lease rental payments and future maintenance of aircraft, with cash deposit".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, the carrier plan to repay dues of Rs 254.93 crore to Indian Oil Corporation for fuel supplied to it, as per the DRHP.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Wadia group owns 73.33 per cent stake in the carrier while the remaining shareholding is with other entities, including Baymanco Investments Ltd. The latter holds 21.05 per cent stake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other are Sea Wind Investment and Trading Company Ltd (3.76 per cent shareholding), Heera Holdings &amp; Leasing Pvt Ltd, Nidhivan Investments &amp; Trading Company Pvt Ltd and Sahara Investments Pvt Ltd -- all the four entities have 0.62 per cent stake each in the airline.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Global coordinators and Book Running Lead Managers to the issue are ICICI Securities, Citi and Morgan Stanley.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At present, three scheduled carriers are listed on the domestic bourses. They are IndiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jet Airways, which shuttered operations in April 2019, is undergoing insolvency resolution process. In June, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved a resolution plan for the airline by Jalan Kalrock consortium.&nbsp;</p> Mon Aug 30 17:01:39 IST 2021 jiophone-next-to-start-pre-orders-next-week-ahead-of-september-10-launch <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Come September 10, JioPhone Next, the ultra affordable 4G smartphone born from the partnership between Jio and Google, will hit the Indian market on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Now, with little more than a week left for the launch, Jio is already in talks with its retail partners to line up the pre-orders. It is being reported that the pre-orders will start as early as next week.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The phone was announced jointly by Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Google CEO Sundar Pichai at RIL's AGM in June. Ambani had then said JioPhone Next would be a full-featured smartphone, supporting the entire suite of applications from both Google and Jio, as well as the Android PlayStore, through which users will have access to all Android apps.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google Vice-President (Android and Google Play) Sameer Samat had recently said it was working with Jio to "bring a fully-fledged device (JioPhone Next) built with optimisations, Android operating system and Google Play, aimed at serving the needs of many who have never used a smartphone before".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Jio is yet to reveal the specifications, according to various leaks, the smartphone will be powered by Qualcomm's entry-level Snapdragon 215 quad-core processor with a 1.3GHz clock speed. The JioPhone Next is said to be available in two different variants; the 2 GB and 3 GB RAM paired with 16 GB and 32 GB internal storage. Additionally, the JioPhone Next might sport a 5.5-inch HD display with a resolution of 720x1,440 pixels and a 2500 mAh battery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is expected to have a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel shooter for selfies on the front. The Jiophone Next has a polycarbonate rear panel that houses a pill-shaped camera module and a LED flash.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The smartphone is also likely to feature a 3.5mm audio jack and will run on Android 11 (Go Edition). Further, there is the option to change the language of operation of the phone with just the touch of a button.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to several rumours and reports, the smartphone—targeting current 2G users—could be priced at Rs 3,499, a competitive pricing considering the lack of good quality phones in that price range.&nbsp;</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Mon Aug 30 16:44:17 IST 2021 google-deal-or-not-trust-sunil-mittal-to-pull-off-a-magic-for-bharti-airtel <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Offence is the best defence. That may well be the strategy at play as Airtel holds its annual general meeting on Tuesday. After the big ticket announcements earlier this week, all eyes are on whether founder-chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal will pull more rabbits out of the hat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In particular, perhaps a dollar-earned, Google-shaped one.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speculation has been rife over the last few days over a tie-up between the Silicon Valley tech giant and the original big daddy of Indian telecom. So much so that on Monday night, stock exchange authorities asked the Gurugram-based behemoth to clarify if Google was in talks to make large investments in Airtel, as it appeared in some media reports over the weekend.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google or not, it is now pretty clear that Bharti Airtel not just intends to scrape through the current mess that India’s telecom sector finds itself in, but will come out surviving and shining through. And take on Ambani with all his might if the market ends up in a duopoly if Vi (formerly Vodafone-Idea) crashes out. At the Sunday board of directors meeting, the company decided to go in for a Rs 21,000 crore rights issue to beef up its capital. One day later, at an investor call, founder-chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal reiterated his belligerent stand saying more tariff hikes were on the cards, with an eventual aim of hitting Rs 200 ARPU, or average-revenue-per-user, the crucial metric used to evaluate a company’s revenue flow. Currently, Airtel’s ARPU is at Rs 146, having grown just Re 1 from Rs 145 in the March quarter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The already announced decisions of going for a rights issue to raise money signals that Airtel is set to not just flex its muscles, but pump it up in anticipation of future competition. Analysts estimate the fresh capital will help the company in the upcoming spectrum sales, invest in 5G infrastructure, and also ramp up its telecom capacities to cater to customers ditching Vi.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Vi has been labouring not just under massive debts, but a body blow in the form of the Supreme Court’s aggregated gross revenue (AGR) judgement. While AGR is applicable to most operators, it’s the heaviest on Vodafone-Idea, totalling more than Rs 58,000 crore—it has paid nearly Rs 8,000 crore so far, and the remaining Rs 50,000 crore or so is to be paid over a period of 10 years as mandated by the SC. The company’s gross debt as of last financial year was Rs 1.8 lakh crore. However, with subscribers ditching it in droves and stakeholders saying they will not infuse any more money into the company, its survival seems impossible without either a government intervention or a new benevolent investor stepping in.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While that’s an opportunity worth plucking, the collapse of Vi will also put more strain on Airtel, with the telecom sector turning into a two-player field. It is never a comfortable feeling when the sole mighty rival sniping away at you is Reliance Jio, already the market leader with very deep pockets to boot.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But trust Sunil Mittal to land on his feet by pulling one trick or another, as history has shown. Every time the company has been in the doldrums—from when its African expansion did not turn out as expected to when Jio upended the market with dirt-cheap data plans and forced him to reduce his own tariffs—he has whipped out a trick, usually involving fresh funds. The deal with SingTel a few years ago, as well as small stake and asset sales since then, stand testament to his dextrous survival skills. The upcoming stake sale will also dilute promoter holdings by a further 7 per cent, from the current nearly 56 per cent (Airtel holds 24.13 per cent and SingTel holds 31.72 per cent).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the company’s debt of Rs 1.6 lakh crore may look humongous, what works in its favour is the fact that its revenues have been stable and while the future may be challenging, it holds potential. More tariff hikes (the company increased the entry level threshold for prepaid users from Rs 49 to Rs 78 last month) as well as fresh customers (even if they are poached from Vi) will be good news. Having an ally like Google in such a scenario will only be the icing on the cake.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Tue Aug 31 11:34:22 IST 2021 6-times-when-an-online-personal-loan-can-be-a-saviour <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A personal loan can be an effective financial tool for achieving your objectives. When used carefully, it can prove very beneficial in financing significant expenditures, saving money, and even improving your credit history. If you do not have sufficient funds in hand, a personal loan can assist you in achieving your goals faster than by using any other means. Here's a rundown of frequent scenarios in which an <a href=";;utm_campaign=pl">online personal loan</a> can come in handy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>1. Medical Emergency</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Medical emergencies can happen at any time. You never know when you will be burdened with high medical expenses. One may face a situation where savings and health insurance together are not enough to pay off the hefty medical bills. In such a situation <b>online personal loan</b> can help.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In most cases, medical insurance does not provide coverage for medical travel and certain ancillary expenses. Also, there are specific upper limits for hospital room rent expenses. All such expenses may dig a hole in your pocket. However, availing of a personal loan can help you sail through such situations.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>2. Wedding Expenses&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In India, who does not wish for a big fat wedding? However, planning and executing a wedding on a large scale can cause a dent in your budget. Over the last few years, expenses related to weddings have significantly increased. Today, weddings are not just about ceremonies, but celebrations; the more the merrier. One has to spend on a ring ceremony, cocktail party, sangeet, DJ night and whatnot. However, with an <b>online personal loan</b>, you can easily meet all such wedding-related expenses. The best part of availing of this loan is that you do not have to take money from your emergency funds or savings. This way, you can plan your budget more effectively.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>3. Debt Consolidation&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nowadays, it is very difficult to find people who do not have a debt burden on their shoulders. To meet their monthly expenses, people are using multiple credit cards and various other loans. These credit cards come with a high rate of interest. Skipping or missing out on credit card dues payments can impact borrowers in the long run. It deteriorates the credit history of the borrower due to which their future borrowing ability gets hampered. Therefore, to cope up with such situations, one can avail of an <b>online personal loan</b>.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Consider taking this loan to pay off all your outstanding debts in one monthly payment. It is a viable option to consider rather than paying for multiple loans at different interest rates. Online personal loans will make it easier to manage your payments and will allow you to save more money on interest. Furthermore, repaying a personal loan for debt consolidation on time will help you enhance your credit history in the long run.</p> <p><br> <b>4. Home Decor and Renovation&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Who does not like following the latest trend in gadgets, interior renovation and décor? You might want to do some structural changes to your home or create a small garden area behind your house. All such expenses could significantly impact your budget. Apart from these, regular home expenses include repair work, new installations or changing electrical wires. Even such small changes require a substantial amount of money.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Paying for such expenses can disturb your budget if not planned wisely. Taking an <b>online personal loan</b> can help you in covering these expenditures. A personal loan for house remodelling is the perfect option if you are planning to remodel your small or mid-size house.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>5. Higher Education&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The education cost in India and abroad is constantly rising. If you are planning to send your child to a college for an MBBS, MBA, or engineering degree, then you will have to pay a hefty amount as college fees. Also, due to stringent terms and conditions, an education loan may not be a wise option at times. In addition, an education loan may not cover costs such as relocation, boarding and hostel costs, and other charges that might account for a quarter or half of the overall educational costs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By availing of an <b>online personal loan</b>, you can easily pay for the expenses associated with pursuing higher education. It also provides flexibility in EMI repayment. One could also take this loan to pursue an advanced skill certification course.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>6. Vacation Costs</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the gradual lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions, many people are looking forward to a relaxing vacation in India or abroad. However, vacations are a costly affair, especially if you want to visit another country. An <b>online personal loan</b> can help you meet travel-related expenses. With this loan, you need not worry about the expenses.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>To Conclude&nbsp;</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While it is always a good idea to think about your financial circumstances before taking a <a href="">loan</a>, an <b>online personal loan</b> might sometimes be the best way to help you out in a time of need.</p> Tue Aug 31 18:12:17 IST 2021 maruti-suzuki-to-hike-prices-across-models-from-september <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India on Monday said it will hike prices across models from next month amid rising input costs. In a regulatory filing, the company said, ".... over the past year the cost of company's vehicles continue to be adversely impacted due to increase in various input costs."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hence, it has become imperative to pass on some impact of the additional cost to the customers through a price rise, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The price rise has been planned across models in September 2021," Maruti Suzuki India said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At present the company sells a range of models from entry-level hatchback Alto to S-CROSS, priced between Rs 2.99 lakh and Rs 12.39 (ex-showroom prices Delhi) lakh, respectively.&nbsp;</p> Mon Aug 30 12:29:13 IST 2021 airtel-shares-gain-over-2-percent-as-rs-21000-cr-fundraising-plan-gets-board-approval <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Shares of Bharti Airtel on Monday gained over 2 per cent after the company's board approved raising up to Rs 21,000 crore by way of rights issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The stock jumped 2.57 per cent to Rs 609.25 on the BSE. At the NSE, it gained 2.40 per cent to Rs 609.45.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Telecom operator Bharti Airtel's board on Sunday approved raising up to Rs 21,000 crore by way of rights issue, at a price of Rs 535 per share, according to a regulatory filing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mega fundraising is bound to give more firepower to Airtel, as the company takes on rivals in the fiercely-competitive Indian telecom market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Airtel's board, which met to consider the company's capital raising plans, cleared the rights issue price of Rs 535 per fully paid-up equity share, including premium of Rs 530 per equity share.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a BSE filing, Airtel said that the "...board approved the issuance of equity shares of face value of Rs 5 each of the company on rights basis to eligible equity shareholders of the company as on the record date (to be notified later), of an issue size of up to Rs 21,000 crore".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A rights issue is an offer to existing shareholders to buy additional new shares in the company.&nbsp;</p> Mon Aug 30 12:05:21 IST 2021 govt-extends-deadlines-for-various-i-t-compliances-gst-relief <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The government on Sunday extended the deadline for various compliances under the income tax law and availing relief under the GST law to help taxpayers tide over difficulties in filing such forms.<br> </p> <p>While the income tax compliances, including the filing of statement for equalisation levy and remittances, reporting by multinational enterprises etc, have been extended mainly due to difficulties in electronic filing on the new I-T portal, the deadline for GST amnesty scheme and also filing of GST return electronic verification code (EVC) have been extended until November 30 and October 31 respectively to assist taxpayers in the time of Covid-19 pandemic.<br> </p> <p>The deadline for filing the Equalisation Levy statement in Form-1 for the Financial Year 2020-21 has been extended till December 31, against the original due date of June 30, the income tax department said in a statement.<br> </p> <p>The quarterly statement in Form 15CC to be furnished by dealers in respect of remittances made for June and September quarter, can now be filed by November 30 and December 31, respectively. The original due date for filing this statement was July 15 and October 15, respectively.<br> </p> <p>The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said on consideration of difficulties reported by the taxpayers and other stakeholders in electronic filing of certain forms it has been decided to further extend the due dates for e-filing of these forms.<br> </p> <p>In a separate statement, the CBDT announced extending the deadline for making payments under the direct tax dispute resolution scheme Vivad Se Vishwas (VsV) by a month till September 30. However, taxpayers have the option to make payments till October 31, with an additional amount of interest.<br> </p> <p>Also, the due dates for electronic filing of forms related to intimation by pension funds and sovereign wealth funds too have been extended.<br> </p> <p>Intimation to be made by Pension Fund and sovereign wealth fund in respect of investment made in India for the June and September quarter, which is required to be furnished by July 31 and October 31, would now have to be furnished by November 30 and December 31 respectively.<br> </p> <p>The CBDT also extended the due date for uploading of declarations received in Form 15G/15Hfor the June and September quarter till November 30 and December 31 respectively. The original due dates were July 15 and October 15 respectively.<br> </p> <p>Nangia &amp; Co LLP Partner Shailesh Kumar said considering the technical glitches in the new Income tax portal, taxpayers have been facing a lot of problems in meeting compliance timelines under various provisions, be it filing of Equalization Levy return, making application for registration of charitable trusts and other institutions for income tax exemption, quarterly statements by Authorized dealers in respect of foreign remittances, filing of necessary intimation by Sovereign wealth funds, CbCR reporting by multinational enterprises etc.<br> </p> <p>"Thus, the due dates for all such compliances have been extended by the Government. The extension has been made not only to address immediate filing requirements due within August/ September 2021, but also a medium-term relief has been given to taxpayers for some compliances, which were due in the month of November/ December 2021," Kumar said.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>The extension will provide much-needed relief to taxpayers and will also save them from penal consequences for not being able to comply with the earlier timelines due to technical glitches in the IT portal, he added.<br> </p> <p>Technical glitches marred the functioning of the Infosys-developed income tax portal since its launch on June 7.<br> </p> <p>The Finance Ministry had last week "summoned" Infosys CEO Salil Parekh to explain why issues continued to plague the portal developed by the software major.<br> </p> <p>Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the meeting with Parekh on August 23, expressed "deep disappointment" over persisting glitches for more than two months after portal launch and gave him time till September 15 to resolve all issues.<br> </p> Sun Aug 29 22:02:13 IST 2021 ola-looking-to-raise-up-to-15-billion-via-ipo-sources <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Ride-hailing major Ola is looking at raising $1-1.5 billion (Rs 7,324-10,985 crore) via an initial public offering (IPO) and is expected to file the DRHP (Draft Red Herring Prospectus) in the December quarter, according to sources.<br> </p> <p>Ola is working with select banks, including Citigroup Inc and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, to manage the public offering, two people close to the development said.<br> </p> <p>One of the persons said the details of the offering by ANI Technologies (which runs Ola), including size and timeline, could still change given that deliberations are still ongoing.<br> </p> <p>E-mails sent to Ola did not elicit a response.<br> </p> <p>Recently, Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal had said the company -- which competes against US-based Uber -- is planning a public offering sometime next year, but has not yet set a date.</p> <p>Ola had previously talked of a possible listing as well. An IPO will help Ola investors like SoftBank, Tiger Global and Steadview Capital to exit or partially sell their stake in the company to return funds to their shareholders.</p> <p>Founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola offers services in India, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It is estimated to have raised over USD 4 billion in funding so far.</p> <p>In July, Ola had announced an investment of USD 500 million (about Rs 3,733 crore) from Temasek, Warburg Pincus affiliate Plum Wood Investment and Bhavish Aggarwal.</p> <p>At that time, Aggarwal had said the company has made its ride-hailing business "more robust, resilient and efficient" over the last 12 months.<br> </p> <p>"With strong recovery post lockdown and a shift in consumer preference away from public transportation, we are well-positioned to capitalise on the various urban mobility needs of our customers," he had said.<br> </p> <p>In the same month, Ola had also announced the expansion of its employee stock options (ESOP) pool to Rs 3,000 crore and allocation of an additional Rs 400 crore worth of stocks to employees.<br> </p> <p>A number of internet-led businesses in the country are gearing up to launch their IPOs, including Nykaa, Paytm, PolicyBazaar and Droom.<br> </p> <p>Last month, Zomato made a stellar debut on Dalal Street with its shares zooming nearly 53 per cent against the issue price of Rs 76, and its market valuation crossing the Rs 1-lakh-crore mark. Recently, CarTrade also made its debut on the stock market.&nbsp;<br> </p> Mon Aug 30 20:19:25 IST 2021 fresh-fundraising-to-help-airtel-boost-balance-sheet-create-5g-war-chest <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>India’s second-largest telecom company Bharti Airtel has announced plans to raise Rs 21,000 crore via a rights issue and has received board approval for the same.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The board of directors of the company comprehensively reviewed the industry scenario, business environment, financial/business strategy of the company and approved the company’s plan to raise further capital,” said the telecom operator.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rights issue has been priced at Rs 535 a share and shareholders will be entitled to 1 equity share for every 14 shares they held. Bharti Airtel shares were up 1.3 per cent to Rs 601.85 in afternoon trading on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The promoter and promoter group of the company will collectively subscribe to the full extent of their aggregate rights entitlement. In addition, they will also subscribe to any unsubscribed shares in the issue. The promoters—Bharti Telecom and Singapore’s Singtel—hold 55.86 per cent stake in the company.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Airtel had earlier raised Rs 25,000 crore in its previous rights issue in 2019. Overall, its raised over $9 billion via equity and debt, stake sales in units and asset sales in the last few years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the company hasn’t disclosed the plans on how it aims to use the proceeds from the planned Rs 21,000 crore fundraising, as per the terms of payment of the issue price, only 25 per cent will be upfront with the balance over three years. This suggests that there may not be any immediate significant requirement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For India’s incumbent telecom companies Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, the going has been tough in recent years, given the intense price competition with Reliance Jio, the huge payments in adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and deferred spectrum payments that they need to pay the government. These are in addition to the recurring expenses and investments that the companies need to make to maintain and expand their network and infrastructure. On top of it, 5G is around the corner and companies will need to start planning for and earmark funds for 5G auctions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the AGR front alone, Airtel has dues of Rs 43,980 crore, while VIL has dues of Rs 58,000 crore, according to the government. Airtel has debt of around Rs 1.6 lakh crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the last few months, the companies received a big setback from the Supreme Court after it said there would be no further recalculation of AGR. Although, both VIL and Airtel have filed review petitions, the apex court verdict has raised prospects that the sector would be heading towards a duopoly, given the troubles at Vodafone Idea. VIL is finding it tough to raise additional capital, and both Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group have no plans to further invest in it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In case, VIL were to fold up, there will be huge opportunities for Airtel and Jio, in terms of onboarding VIL’s subscribers, which stood around 273 million in June.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Bharti Airtel has over 352 million subscribers and Jio has around 441 million subscribers. The fundraising in the last three years has helped Airtel compete aggressively and gain market share in a hyper-competitive environment and has seen a steady rise in 4G subscriber growth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With this another round of planned fundraising, Airtel is clearly bolstering its resources, so that it is ready for the upcoming opportunities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The proactive capital raise could be partly justified as it ensures Bharti Airtel is well funded for targeting any large-scale opportunity in the ongoing market consolidation, competing with deep-pocketed peer Jio and creating war chest for 5G technology upgrade,” said analysts at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Airtel could gain “disproportionately” from VIL’s significant subscriber share, offering incremental revenue of Rs 17,700 crore and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of Rs 8,900 crore, which is equivalent to a 20 per cent tariff hike, the analysts added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Recent reports have also suggested that <a title="Google eyes stake in Airtel a year after investing in rival Jio" href="">Google is also in talks</a> to make substantial investments in Airtel, although neither company has officially commented on it. The tech giant already has investments in Jio, which is set to launch its ultra-affordable smartphone Jio Phone Next in partnership with Google later in September.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Jio Phone Next could help Jio target entry-level and 2G subscribers away from Airtel and VIL.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google’s potential investment in Airtel will strengthen the latter’s balance sheet. Google’s strong data analytics and data-monetisation capabilities could also aid Airtel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India’s telecom and internet industry remains under-penetrated, despite strong growth in the last few years, and thus has huge growth potential. Airtel is keeping the fuel ready, so that it can step on the gas as and when the opportunities arise.&nbsp;</p> Mon Aug 30 14:22:36 IST 2021 goldman-sachs-j-p-morgan-chase-among-10-merchant-bankers-to-manage-lic-ipo <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The government has shortlisted 10 merchant bankers, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J P Morgan Chase &amp; Co, and ICICI Securities, to manage the mega initial public offering (IPO) of the country's largest life insurer LIC.<br> </p> <p>As many as 16 domestic and international firms had made presentations before the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) on August 26 to act as book running lead managers (BRLMs) for the IPO -- touted to be the biggest share sale in the country's history.</p> <p>"Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co, ICICI Securities Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital Co, JM Financial Ltd, Citigroup Inc and Nomura Holdings Inc are among the 10 BRLMs that have been shortlisted," an official said.</p> <p>With the merchant bankers in place, once the embedded valuation of LIC is arrived at, the government will go ahead and file draft IPO papers with market regulator Sebi.</p> <p>Actuarial firm Milliman Advisors LLP India is working out the embedded value of LIC, while Deloitte and SBI Caps have been appointed as pre-IPO transaction advisors.<br> </p> <p>The government aims to come out with the IPO and subsequent listing of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) on the bourses in the January-March quarter of 2022.</p> <p>The government is also mulling allowing foreign investors to pick up stakes in the country's largest insurer LIC. As per Sebi rules, foreign portfolio investors (FPI) are permitted to buy shares in a public offer.</p> <p>However, since the LIC Act has no provision for foreign investments, there is a need to align the proposed LIC IPO with Sebi norms regarding foreign investor participation.</p> <p>The DIPAM on July 15 had invited applications for appointment of up to 10 merchant bankers for LIC IPO. The last date for bidding was August 5.</p> <p>The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs last month cleared the initial public offering proposal of Life Insurance Corp of India.<br> </p> <p>The ministerial panel known as the Alternative Mechanism on strategic disinvestment will now decide on the quantum of stake to be divested by the government.<br> <br> "The potential size of the IPO is expected to be far larger than any precedent in Indian markets," the department had said.</p> <p>The listing of LIC will be crucial for the government in meeting its disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for 2021-22 (April-March).</p> <p>So far this fiscal, Rs 8,368 crore has been mopped up through minority stake sales in PSU and sale of SUUTI stake in Axis Bank.&nbsp;</p> Sun Aug 29 13:02:09 IST 2021 air-india-asks-us-court-to-dismiss-cairn-petition-to-seize-assets <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Air India has asked a New York court to dismiss a petition filed by Britain's Cairn Energy for seizure of its assets to enforce $1.2 billion arbitral awards against the Indian government, saying the litigation was premature as an appeal against the arbitration award was still pending.</p> <p>The petition by the airline, which is separate to the Indian government's plea in a Washington court seeking dismissal of Cairn's lawsuit to seek confirmation of the arbitral award, said the New York district court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate a &quot;mere hypothetical question&quot; or one that depends upon contingent future events that may or may not occur.</p> <p>Cairn first moved a court in the US District Court for the District of Columbia seeking confirmation of the arbitration award and then filed a petition in the New York court to seek declaration of Air India as &quot;alter ego&quot; of the Indian government and so it should be made liable to pay the $1.26 billion arbitral award.</p> <p>An international arbitration tribunal in December last year set aside the levy of capital gains tax, using a 2012 retrospective legislation, on a 2006 reorganisation of India business that Cairn carried before listing it on local stock exchanges. It ordered India to return the value of shares seized and sold, dividend confiscated and tax refund withheld to enforce levy.</p> <p>With India refusing to pay, Cairn moved courts in the US.</p> <p>&quot;Cairn's petition to confirm the award is pending in the District Court for the District of Columbia,&quot; Air India said in the August 23 petition seen by <i>PTI.</i></p> <p>It went on to state that the Indian government has filed before a court in The Hague—the seat of the international arbitration tribunal—a motion to stay and a motion to dismiss the arbitral award.</p> <p>&quot;In effect, the complaint (by Cairn Energy) is a premature enforcement action dressed up as a declaratory judgment action, invoking this court's federal jurisdiction to get a head-start on executing the award before the D.D.C. has had the opportunity to address the Republic of India's immunity defenses and its claims that the award is not subject to enforcement under the New York Convention,&quot; Air India said.</p> <p>&quot;Such an attempt is improper, and the complaint should be dismissed,” Air India said.</p> <p>It sought dismissal on three counts—first because the court lacks jurisdiction &quot;to issue a declaratory judgment because the alleged controversy is not ripe”, second &quot;Air India is immune from suit because none of the exceptions to sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) applies to a premature collection proceeding of a hypothetical judgment”, and third &quot;the complaint, which presupposes an enforceable judgment that does not exist, fails to allege a cognizable cause of action.&quot;</p> <p>The Indian government had earlier this month asked the US District Court for the District of Columbia (DDC) to dismiss the case, arguing that it lacks jurisdiction since the country never agreed to arbitrate tax disputes. Meanwhile, litigation filed by New Delhi in the Netherlands to have the award set aside also remains pending.</p> <p>&quot;Cairn asks this court to issue a declaration that Air India, as alleged alter ego of [India], will be liable on a judgment that does not, and may never, exist,&quot; the airline said in the August 23 petition.</p> <p>&quot;Unless and until the court in the Cairn confirmation action determines the threshold question of the enforceability of the award against (India), whether Cairn can then enforce that judgment against Air India under an alter ego theory is purely academic and not ripe for adjudication.&quot;</p> <p>This comes within weeks of the government enacting a legislation to scrap the tax rule that gave the tax department power to go 50 years back and slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed hands overseas, but business assets were in India. That rule had been used to levy a cumulative amount of Rs 1.10 lakh crore of tax on 17 entities, including Rs 10,247 crore on Cairn.</p> <p>The Indian government and Air India are defending their positions as rules for withdrawal of such tax demands are in the process of being framed.</p> <p>&quot;One of the requirements for the dropping of the retrospective tax demands is that the parties concerned have to give an undertaking for withdrawal of all cases against the government/tax department. So, while all this is in process, the government is obligated to respond in any legal matter where there is a time bar for doing so,&quot; an official explained.</p> <p>The government, in the dismissal motion filed on August 13 before DCC, cited protections afforded by the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976.</p> <p>India in the filing said the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction under the FSIA because India never waived its sovereign immunity and, “likewise, never offered—let alone agreed—to arbitrate the present dispute with petitioners&quot;.</p> <p>&quot;India also never &quot;clearly and unmistakably&quot; excluded judicial review or delegated exclusive competence to decide these questions to an arbitral tribunal&quot;, implying that Cairn couldn't satisfy any exception to sovereign immunity under the US law, the filing said.</p> Sun Aug 29 11:41:41 IST 2021 macro-data-global-trends-to-dictate-stock-markets-this-week-analysts <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Domestic equities will be guided by macroeconomic data, auto sales numbers and global trends this week, analysts said.</p> <p>Equity benchmark indices scaled new closing highs on Friday, with the 30-share BSE index closing above the 56,000-mark for the first time. The market capitalisation of BSE-listed companies jumped to an all-time high of Rs 2,43,73,800.36 crore on Friday.</p> <p>"Markets could be impacted by an eventful economic calendar, which begins with quarterly GDP growth rate numbers, followed by auto sales numbers and manufacturing PMI data," according to a note by Samco Securities Research.</p> <p>Markets would also continue to watch COVID-19 trends and pace of vaccination.</p> <p>During the last week, the BSE benchmark gained 795.40 points or 1.43 per cent.</p> <p>"Domestically, the result season is over with better-than-expected delivery and now with vaccination drive going on in full swing, economic recovery is expected to gain pace. However, sharp outperformance in the past 18 months had led to concerns on valuation front. From the long-term perspective, the overall trend of the market remains positive led by opening up of the economy, improving economic data points and pickup in vaccinations," Siddhartha Khemka, Head, Retail Research, Broking &amp; Distribution, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd, said.</p> <p>Movement in equities will also depend on trends in the rupee and Brent crude. Markets may also react to the outcome of the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium.</p> <p>Wall Street rallied to record highs on Friday after the US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell said that the central bank was still far from pulling interest rates off the record low.</p> <p>Powell, however, mentioned that the US economy has met one big milestone the central bank had set to slow the $120 billion in bond purchases it's making each month.</p> <p>Investors, who were keenly awaiting the US Fed chief's speech at Jackson Hole Symposium for further cues, termed his comments as ''dovish'' and expressed hope that the Fed will keep supporting the market with low interest rates.&nbsp;</p> Sun Aug 29 11:09:52 IST 2021 future-retail-moves-sc-to-stay-hc-orders-says-if-not-liquidation-inevitable <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail Ltd on Saturday said it has approached the Supreme Court against orders passed by the Delhi High Court to maintain the status quo in relation to its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail and directing it to enforce the order of the Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;In a regulatory filing, Future Retail said, &quot;Please be informed that the company has filed a special leave petition before Hon'ble Supreme Court of India against the impugned orders dated 2nd February 2021 and 18th March, 2021 passed by 'Ld. Single Judge'...The SLP will be listed for hearing in due course.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;In its petition, the company stated that &quot;here is extreme urgency to hear&quot; and &quot;stay the Impugned Orders&quot; passed by the single-member bench of Delhi High Court, failing to which the company would go into liquidation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Future Retail, in its petition, said the scheme of amalgamation, which will be listed before the NCLT, cannot go through due to the orders of the High Court.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;&quot;.... and as a result of which the Scheme which benefits all the stakeholders, including the public at large and various public sector banks may fall through; If the Scheme falls through, it is inevitable that FRL will go into liquidation,&quot; it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Besides &quot;approximately Rs 28,000 crore of public money in the form of bank loans and debentures issued by FRL and its group companies is also be at risk,&quot; said the Future group firm in its appeal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The magnitude of damage that may be caused to the public at large is &quot;unimaginable&quot; as livelihoods of more than 35,575 employees of FRL and various companies that are part of the Scheme may be lost, it added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;&quot;The solvency of over 8,050 SMEs (excluding SMEs of Future Enterprises Limited) and their employees is at stake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The scheme filed before the Mumbai bench of NCLT, entails consolidation of Future Group's retail and wholesale business, and the logistics and warehousing business into one entity Future Enterprises Ltd and then transferring it to Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) as per the Rs 24,731 crore deal with Reliance Industries Ltd.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The deal is contested by Amazon, an investor in Future Coupons that in turn, is a shareholder in FRL.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Amazon, had approached Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), where an Emergency Arbitrator (EA) had on October 25 last year restrained the Future group from going ahead with its Rs 24,731 crore deal with RIL.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Later, the matter was taken to the Delhi High Court, where on February 2, a single bench of Justice J R Midha had directed FRL to maintain status quo in relation to its Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Justice J R Midha said the court was satisfied that an immediate interim order was required to be passed to protect the rights of Amazon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Later, on March 18, the court upheld the Singapore Emergency Arbitrator's (EA) order restraining Future Retail Ltd (FRL) from going ahead with the Rs 24,713 crore deal with Reliance Retail to sell its business, which was objected to by US-based e-commerce giant Amazon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Justice J R Midha directed Kishore Biyani-led FRL not to take further action on the deal with Reliance and held that the group willfully violated the EA's order. The high court rejected all the objections raised by Future Group and imposed a cost of Rs 20 lakh on it as well as its directors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Appealing against it, FRL said it has requested the Supreme Court to admit its petition and &quot;against the Impugned judgment and interim Orders dated February 2, 2021 and March 18, 2021 passed&quot; by the single member bench of the high court&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;It has also requested the apex court to &quot;pass an ex-parte interim order/ interim order and stay the Impugned judgment and interim Orders dated 2 February 2021 and 18 March 2021 passed by the High Court of Delhi' and any &quot;such other directions as to balance the interest of the parties, till the issues raised herein are finally decided.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Earlier this month, Future group promoters, including Kishore Biyani and several group holding companies, had approached the Supreme Court against an order passed by the Delhi High Court directing to enforce the order of the Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;In a regulatory filing by Future Retail Ltd on August 12, the company had stated that Kishore Biyani, Rakesh Biyani and other family members of the Biyani family along with the holding companies Future Coupons, Future Corporate Resources, Akar Estate and Finance had filed SLP against NV Investment Holdings LLC before the Supreme Court.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Passing an interim order, the EA of Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) on October 25 last year restrained the Future group from going ahead with its Rs 24,731 crore deal with Reliance Industries to sell its retail and wholesale business, and the logistics and warehousing business.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The apex court had on August 6 upheld Amazon's plea. It had ruled in favour of Amazon and held that an award of an EA of a foreign country is enforceable under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act.&nbsp;</p> Sat Aug 28 22:10:50 IST 2021 google-eyes-stake-in-airtel-a-year-after-investing-in-rival-jio <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>After pumping in thousands of crores in Reliance's telecom arm last year, US tech giant Google is eyeing an investment in Jio's rival Bharti Airtel. The move will amp up the competition between the rivals in the Indian telecom space that is currently headed towards a duopoly of sorts with the future of Vodafone Idea, the third largest market player, in question.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a <i><a href="" target="_self">TOI</a> </i>report, "Google could well be on its way to making substantial investments, running into several thousands of crores of rupees”, into Bharti Airtel. The Sundar Pichai-led company is in “advanced stage of negotiations" with Airtel for the "past nearly one year", and the deal size could be “substantially large”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The contours of the partnership are being worked upon for months as top executives from both companies, and their internal and external legal and M&amp;A teams are thrashing out the finer points of the arrangement.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It remains to be seen if Jio Jio places any restrictions on the company from making a tie-up with a rival.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Airtel will hold its board meeting on August 29 to consider various capital raising options. The fund raising options entail equity or equity linked or debt instruments, the company said in a regulatory filing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It did not divulge the quantum of fund raising under consideration or give other details.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If Google picks up a stake in Airtel, it would come as a breather for the company that has been hit by the Supreme Court's verdict on AGR. Airtel's total AGR dues amounts to over Rs 43,000 crore. The Bharti group has already paid Rs 18,004 crore in AGR-related dues to DoT by March 31, 2021.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The top court in September last year had given a time period of 10 years to telecom service providers struggling to pay Rs 93,520 crore of AGR related dues to clear their outstanding amount to the government.</p> <p><br> <br> <br> <br> </p> Sat Aug 28 16:14:06 IST 2021 ed-summons-wb-cms-nephew-abhishek-banerjee-his-wife-in-money-laundering-case <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and his wife for questioning in a money laundering case linked to an alleged coal scam in the state, officials said on Saturday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Abhishek Banerjee, 33, represents the Diamond Harbour seat in Lok Sabha and is the national general secretary of the Trinamool Congress (TMC).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has been summoned to appear before the investigating officer of the case here on September 6, while his wife Rujira has been sent a similar summon under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for September 1.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rujira had earlier been grilled by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and a lawyer linked to Abhishek Banerjee have also been summoned to appear on different dates next month in the same case, the officials said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This case, registered under criminal sections of the PMLA, was filed by the ED after studying a November, 2020 FIR of the CBI that alleged a multi-crore coal pilferage scam related to Eastern Coalfields Ltd. mines in the state's Kunustoria and Kajora areas in and around Asansol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Local coal operative Anup Majhi alias Lala is alleged to be the prime suspect in the case.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED had earlier claimed that Abhishek Banerjee was a beneficiary of funds obtained from this illegal trade.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He has denied all charges.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The agency has made at least two arrests in this case. One of them is Vikas Mishra, the brother of TMC youth wing leader Vinay Mishra. Vinay Mishra is stated to have left the country sometime back and probably has also renounced his Indian citizenship.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second person arrested by the ED in the case early this year is former Inspector in-charge of Bankura police station Ashok Kumar Mishra.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ED had earlier claimed that the Mishra brothers received "proceeds of crime worth Rs 730 crore on behalf of some influential persons and for themselves" in this case involving an estimated amount of Rs 1,352 crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A "deep system" of political patronage and a "well-oiled" machinery was used to brazenly carry out certain unlawful coal mining in West Bengal, the ED has claimed before a court while seeking the remand of Inspector Mishra in April.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A charge sheet was also filed by the ED in May this year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Quoting the recorded statement of an unidentified "close associate" of Majhi, the ED had earlier alleged that prime suspect Majhi had been running his "illegal coal mining business smoothly by managing senior functionaries of political party of West Bengal though Inspector Mishra."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The statement of this unidentified "witness" furnished by the ED in the remand note stated that "it is known fact that Vinay Mishra collected money from illegal coal mining of Majhi and his associates for his closely associated political boss in present ruling party; that Vinay Mishra is youth leader of TMC and he is very close to Abhishek Banerjee and that he (Vinay Mishra) is the eyes and ears of Abhishek Banerjee."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The agency had claimed that documents seized by it show that "Majhi assisted in transferring substantial funds derived from the proceeds of crime to Shri Abhishek Banerjee's close relatives (wife and sister-in-law) at London and Thailand."&nbsp;</p> Sat Aug 28 15:50:30 IST 2021 new-vehicle-registration-bh-to-simplify-moving-between-states <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Centre has announced BH, a new vehicle registration mark that would apply across the country. Standing for 'Bharat series', the new registration code can be voluntarily opted by defence personnel, Central, state and PSU staffers, as well those in the private sector whose companies have branches in more than four states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apart from registration for armed forces vehicles, and discounting diplomatic and UN registrations, this is the first centrally-issued registration mark. While road transport is in the concurrent list of the constitution, personal transport is a state subject.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a note by the ministry of road transport issued this week, the new BH series has been introduced since vehicle owners moving from one state to another on transfer are faced with a “cumbersome process” that “varies from state to state”. The IT-based BH series can be registered and all requisite taxes paid in one go for up to two years to “facilitate seamless transfer of vehicles.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“This scheme will facilitate movement of personal vehicles across state/UTs of India upon relocation to a new state/UT,” according to the government note.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The registration format will be (year of first registration) followed by BH followed by a mix of randomised alphabets (2) and numbers (4). It is not clear whether state RTOs will issue the BH registration mark also, or whether a separate central government mechanism will be used for the same. If the latter, it will also be interesting to see how state governments will react, considering the already burning matter of the central government encroaching into areas that are the prerogative of states, like health and co-operative societies.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Sat Aug 28 14:56:08 IST 2021 us-projects-dollar312t-budget-deficit-for-this-year-down-dollar555b <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Biden administration is forecasting that this year's budget deficit will be $555 billion lower than it estimated back in May, helped by an economy that is rebounding more quickly than had been expected.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But even with the improvement, the administration said Friday that it is forecasting a deficit of $3.12 trillion for the budget year that ends September 30. That would be the second largest deficit in history, exceeded slightly by last year's $3.13 trillion deficit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And for the next decade, the administration never sees the annual deficits falling below $1 trillion. For the 2022 budget year, which begins October 1, the administration is projecting a deficit of $1.54 trillion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts an even lower deficit of $1.15 trillion next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the CBO forecasts are based on current law and do not take into account what the impact will be of two massive spending bills that have yet to pass Congress, a bipartisan measure of around $1 trillion in spending on traditional infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges and a $3.5 trillion measure backed only by Democrats to offer expanded health care, pre-school and junior college education and climate change initiatives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even with the added infrastructure and social spending, the Biden administration said Friday that it sees the deficits over the next decade coming in $684 billion below its earlier forecast. However, that improvement would still leave deficits over the next decade totalling $12.49 trillion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the last two years, deficit totals have worsened as the government approved trillions of dollars in support for individuals and businesses caught in an economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last year's deficit of $3.13 trillion surpassed the previous record-holder of $1.4 trillion set in 2009 during the Obama administration, when the government was spending heavily to deal with a severe recession after the 2008 financial crisis.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The administration's Mid-Session Review said much of the improvement in the deficit forecast for this year stemmed from a strong economic rebound, reflecting the impact of President Joe Biden's economic policies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The review upgraded the administration's economic forecasts to show an economy expanding this year by 7.1 per cent, when measured from the fourth quarter of last year. That is up from the administration's previous projection of growth this year of 5.2 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to boosting growth this year, the administration's new forecast increases inflation, predicting consumer prices will rise 4.8 per cent this year compared to last year, up from an earlier forecast of just a 2 per cent price increase. Officials said the increase reflected the higher inflation the country has seen so far, stemming in part from supply-chain bottlenecks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The administration sees inflation pressures easing next year, with prices projected to rise 3.3 per cent in 2022 and then falling further to a 2.2% rise in 2023. The Federal Reserve seeks to manage its monetary policy to achieve 2 per cent annual gains in inflation.</p> Sat Aug 28 12:17:07 IST 2021 hc-asks-centre-to-respond-to-pleas-by-fb-whatsapp-challenging-it-rules <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre to reply to pleas by Facebook and WhatsApp challenging the new IT rules for social media intermediaries requiring the messaging app to trace chats and make provisions to identify the first originator of information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pleas have challenged the new rules on the grounds that they violate the right to privacy and are unconstitutional.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice asking the Centre, through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, to file reply on the petition as well as the application for stay on the implementation of the rules.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court listed the matter for further hearing on October 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The counsel for the Centre said the main advocate was not available and sought an adjournment which was opposed by senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook respectively.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Facebook owned company, WhatsApp, in its plea said the requirement of intermediaries enabling the identification of the first originator of information in India upon government or court order puts end-to-end encryption and its benefits "at risk".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WhatsApp LLC has urged the high court to declare Rule 4(2) of the Intermediary Rules as unconstitutional, ultra vires to the IT Act and illegal and sought that no criminal liability be imposed on it for any alleged non-compliance with Rule 4(2) which requires enabling the identification of the first originator of information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WhatsApp said the traceability provision is unconstitutional and against the fundamental right to privacy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The plea said the traceability requirement forces the company to break end-to-end encryption on its messaging service, as well as the privacy principles underlying it, and infringes upon the fundamental rights to privacy and free speech of the hundreds of millions of citizens using WhatsApp to communicate privately and securely.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said WhatsApp enables government officials, law enforcement, journalists, members of ethnic or religious groups, scholars, teachers, students, and the like to exercise their right to freedom of speech and expression without fear of retaliation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WhatsApp also allows doctors and patients to discuss confidential health information with total privacy, enables clients to confide in their lawyers with the assurance that their communications are protected, and allows financial and government institutions to trust that they can communicate securely without anyone listening to their conversations, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no way to predict which message will be the subject of such a tracing order. Therefore, the petitioner would be forced to build the ability to identify the first originator for every message sent in India on its platform upon request by the government forever. This breaks end-to-end encryption and the privacy principles underlying it, and impermissibly infringes upon users' fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech, the petition said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It claimed that Rule 4(2) infringes upon the fundamental right to privacy without satisfying the three-part test set forth by the Supreme Court in K S Puttaswamy judgement -- legality, necessity and proportionality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It said the rule violates the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression as it chills even lawful speech and citizens will not speak freely for fear that their private communications will be traced and used against them, which is antithetical to the very purpose of end-to-end encryption.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rule 4(2) states that a significant social media intermediary which provides services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource as may be required by a judicial or government order.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per data cited by the government, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram users, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new rules were introduced to make social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram—which have seen a phenomenal surge in usage over the past few years in India—more accountable and responsible for the content hosted on their platform.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Social media companies will have to take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Notably, the rules require significant social media intermediaries—providing services primarily in the nature of messaging -- to enable identification of the "first originator" of the information that undermines sovereignty of India, security of the state, or public order.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This could have major ramifications for players like Twitter and WhatsApp.</p> Fri Aug 27 15:22:03 IST 2021 is-a-gst-cut-on-automobiles-really-going-to-happen <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A tax cut for the beleaguered automobile sector has been a clamour for such a long time that it had virtually started sounding like a stuck record that somebody forgot to turn off. An annual demand before the Union budget is announced, and always getting a statutory mention every time the ever-declining sales data of the industry is released, or when the industry bodies like SIAM get into a huddle.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Snubbed at the altar for far too long, even the auto sector must have been taken aback when the government itself ventured to put the issue on centre stage this week. At the annual convention of the auto manufacturers body SIAM, none less than revenue secretary Tarun Bajaj dragged the topic in, ostensibly declaring that the government wasn't averse to "tinkering" with the GST rates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Automobiles come in the highest GST slab of 28 per cent. It had been a longstanding call from auto majors for a reduction in the rate that they say could help in boosting sales. The call had gotten shriller, particularly after the slowdown in the economy seen since 2019, which has seen a directly proportional drop in across-category sale of vehicles in the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the auto conclave on Wednesday, Bajaj said, “I would be very happy to engage with you to see what we can do even on tax rates, what is the tinkering we can do to see to it that certain (vehicle) segments get the encouragement they deserve.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, there is a reason why there's been a pregnant, cautiously optimistic silence on the part of the industry since this out of the blue bonanza. For one, Bajaj's speech also set the cat among the pigeons by asking auto companies to introspect on the actual reasons for the decline in automobile sales—whether it was only due to high taxes or whether there were "other reasons" as well.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Before the pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had famously attributed the decline in auto sales to millennials opting for shared mobility solutions like Uber and Ola instead of buying their own vehicles.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite Bajaj dropping a bomb, the fact that the industry is not popping the bubbly is an indicator of the realistic attitude it seems to have adopted after repeatedly being buffeted by one crisis after another over the last three years—from the forced upgrade to BS 6, the government's active promotion of the electric vehicle industry with tax cuts and other incentives, and refusal to heed to most of the demands of the combustion engine manufacturers, and the hard lessons they've learned after Covid seem to have the turned the once flamboyant auto majors cautious and disenchanted in equal measure.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were no welcoming statements to the revenue secretary's comments. When THE WEEK reached out, no one wanted to stick their neck out with a comment.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The reasons aren't too far out. This is the third year in a row that a comment on the auto industry tax cut has been made from the government. In 2019, it was Sitharaman herself who publicly announced that the proposal will be considered at the GST Council meeting. A year later, it was the turn of the heavy industries minister Prakash Javadekar who hinted at "good news" and said the details of the GST rate cut proposal were being worked out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Again this year, though this time from the revenue secretary. Interestingly, all these public pronouncements happened in the end-August-early-September period, ahead of the big festive shopping seasons start.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is also likely that even if the idea is taken through, it is likely to apply only to certain categories. Like, for example, tractors or commercial vehicles, indicators of economic activity and have been badly affected in recent years. Or perhaps for two-wheelers, the mass category that the lower middle-class and rural India uses. Otherwise, for a revenue-strapped government trying hard to deal with the twin-challenges of low-revenue due to Covid ravage even while trying to kickstart the economy by infusing stimulus by pumping in cash into the system, an across-category GST cut on automobiles sounds next to impossible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat Aug 28 15:34:37 IST 2021 apple-loosens-app-store-payment-rules-in-lawsuit-settlement <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Apple has agreed to let developers of iPhone apps email their users about cheaper ways to pay for digital subscriptions and media by circumventing a commission system that generates billions of dollars annually for the iPhone maker.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The concession announced late Thursday, which covers emailed notifications but does not allow in-app notifications, is part of a preliminary settlement of a nearly 2-year-old lawsuit filed on behalf of iPhone app developers in the US. It also addresses an issue raised by a federal court judge who is expected to soon rule on a separate case brought by Epic Games, maker of the popular video game Fortnite.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apple also will set up a $100 million fund that will pay thousands of app developers covered in the lawsuit sums ranging from $250 to $30,000. App developers will get more flexibility to set different prices within their apps, expanding the options from about 100 to 500 choices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under long-standing Apple rules, makers of iPhone apps were forbidden to email users with information on how to pay for services outside the app, which would circumvent Apple commissions of 15 per cent to 30 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The concession now opens one way for app developers to be more aggressive about encouraging its users to pay in other ways, so long as they get consumer consent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The compromise also addresses a concern that US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers repeatedly raised while presiding over the high-profile Epic-Apple trial. She openly wondered why Apple couldn't allow developers to display a range of payment options within their apps, much like brick-and-mortar retailers can show a range of different credit cards they accept in addition to cash.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apple still isn't allowing developers to use in-app notifications to prod consumers to explore different payment options.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But just being able to email users to explain why they should pay outside the app is a breakthrough for developers who have complained about Apple's commissions as a form of price gouging for years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Richard Czeslawski, one of the app developers that filed the lawsuit Apple is settling, hailed the freedom to email users as a game changer" in a declaration field with the court in Oakland, California. App developers will take fill advantage of this change in customer communications as a way to further reduce the commissions paid to Apple,'" predicted Czeslawski, CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball.&nbsp;</p> Fri Aug 27 11:20:11 IST 2021 dgca-lifts-737-max-ban-spicejet-plans-to-start-operations-with-it-by-sept-end <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>India's aviation regulator DGCA on Thursday lifted the ban on Boeing 737 Max planes' commercial flight operations after almost two-and-half years.</p> <p>&nbsp;On March 13, 2019, all Boeing 737 Max planes were grounded in India by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane on March 10 near Addis Ababa which had left 157 people, including four Indians, dead.</p> <p>&nbsp;Currently, in India, only SpiceJet airline has Boeing 737 Max aircraft in its fleet. The budget carrier, in a statement on Thursday, said it expects to start operations of Max planes around the end of September, subject to regulatory approvals.</p> <p>&nbsp;Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been modifying the 737 Max plane since March 2019 so that various countries' regulators, including the DGCA, permit its commercial flight operations again.</p> <p>&nbsp;The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had in October last year declared the Max aircraft safe to fly. A month later, US aviation regulator FAA cleared Max aircraft to fly.</p> <p>&nbsp;In its order dated August 26, 2021, the DGCA said that since the orders issued by FAA and EASA in October and November last year, it "has been closely monitoring the global trend with regard to un-grounding" of 737 Max planes.</p> <p>&nbsp;Total 34 airlines across the world have operated 1.22 lakh flights using 345 Max aircraft -- since the plane was un-grounded in late last year -- without "untoward reporting", India's aviation regulator said.</p> <p>&nbsp;Therefore, the DGCA stated that the operation of Boeing 737 Max planes in India are permitted "only upon satisfaction of applicable requirements for return to service".</p> <p>&nbsp;A senior DGCA official confirmed that the ban on 737 Max planes' commercial flight operations has been lifted on Thursday.</p> <p>&nbsp;The March 10, 2019 accident near Addis Ababa was the second in a period of five months. On October 29, 2018, a 737 Max plane operated by Lion Air had crashed in Indonesia, killing 180 people.</p> <p>&nbsp;On March 13, 2019, SpiceJet had to ground 12 Max planes, forcing it to cancel a significant number of flights on that day as well as on the next day.</p> <p>&nbsp;Jet Airways also had five Max planes in its fleet but they were already grounded as on March 13, 2019 due to non-payment of dues to the lessors. A month later, the full-service carrier had shut down its operations due to lack of funds.</p> <p>&nbsp;In March 2019 itself, several countries grounded 737 Max planes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;According to Boeing's statement in April 2019, the preliminary report of Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau contained flight data recorder information indicating that the Ethiopian Airlines' aircraft had an erroneous sensor that activated the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) function during the flight, just like what happened during the Lion Air 610 flight on October 29, 2018.</p> <p>&nbsp;MCAS was designed to automatically push the nose of the plane downward whenever it's activated.</p> Thu Aug 26 21:55:19 IST 2021 how-the-growing-last-mile-delivery-space-rides-on-the-indian-e-commerce-boom <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Last-mile delivery firm Dunzo is on a mission to deliver convenience, choice, and control to everyday living. It wants to deliver a grocery buying experience far better than any offline experience that requires one to wait or walk to one's local store or wait for slots from other online platforms.&nbsp;<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kabeer Biswas, Dunzo's CEO and co-founder, says that by leveraging micro-fulfilment centres it can facilitate the delivery of the top 2000 products users want on a daily or a weekly basis, in flat 19 minutes. “This is currently the fastest and the most efficient way to get daily and weekly groceries delivered in Bengaluru. We are seeing users shop through Dunzo Daily an average of two times per week. As demand from users continues to grow 25 per cent week on week, it has assured us that the Dunzo Daily experience we building is going to shape the grocery buying experience of 2021 and beyond,” says Biswas&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The last-mile delivery segment is seeing huge traction due to the rise in e-commerce transactions. There are reports that the last mile delivery firm Delhivery is planning to launch its $1 billion IPO in October. Earlier, the company acquired Bengaluru-based Spoton Logistics.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Last-mile delivery is set to grow on the back of increasing penetration of e-commerce, especially during the pandemic. Alongside growth, the market will also see increasing penetration of connected vehicles, telematics technologies as well as the increasing influx of Electric Vehicles. In terms of player actions, while most will benefit from the growth of the market, it is also vital to think about differentiated offerings to be able to command a premium in the segment and this differentiation is bound to come through the intersection of the service offering, the underlying cost structure and the enabling use of technology,” Ashim Sharma, Partner and Group Head, Nomura Research Institute (NRI) Consulting and Solutions India Private Limited, told THE WEEK.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last-mile logistics is a part of the supply chain that caters to issues caused by freight traffic in the city by governing distribution patterns based on the characteristics of the city. The urban logistics and last-mile logistics spaces aim to optimize the delivery of goods and identify solutions to lower fulfilment costs and cater to customers' demands. These spaces operate primarily for e-commerce, grocery, non-grocery, retail and omnichannel players.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The e-commerce sector is expected to grow three times its current size by 2027. As of 2020, out of the entire global trade, e-commerce is increasingly moving towards faster delivery. 'Last mile is the costliest Mile’, when it comes to the cost of transportation. According to JLL research, 10-15 per cent of total vehicle kilometres travelled in urban areas contributes to 47 per cent of total transportation costs. Last-mile delivery centres can significantly reduce that,” observed Chandranath Dey, Head -Operations, Business Development, L&amp;I Consulting and PAGI Logistics and Industrial, JLL, India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts observed that over the last decade, buying behaviours of people are changing because of multiple reasons such as convenience, ability to research information online and seek inputs from social media. The practice of shopping from physical stores has been changing at the same time as more sellers have been offering door delivery to compete with the online platforms. COVID-19 has accelerated the shift towards online purchases.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;“In the months ahead, COVID-19 will be ubiquitous as a flu-like disease. However, the buying behaviours are unlikely to transition back to the pre-COVID-19 days. FMCG, electronics, food, clothes, footwear, jewellery and many others would be bought online. Companies will revamp their sales and marketing strategies to include a significant focus on online channels. Hence, supply chain management functions and processes will undergo major changes. Last-mile delivery efforts would become more remarkable and significant than what they are today,” remarked Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts say that though the volumes have surged the biggest challenge in fulfilling the supply chain is the last mile which is the most expensive of all its components as the parcel volume begins to dwindle when last-mile segregation starts taking place.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Industry in this space is not able to find a solution out of the traditional methods of delivery. The use of technology assumes immense importance. Last-mile delivery firm Delhivery is aiming to be not just a services company but is aiming to offer solutions to address this important concern. Small and medium businesses will find it very difficult to deliver directly to a consumer in the absence of a technology platform. Dominant players such as Amazon may have an advantage unless an alternate is in place,” said Subramanyam Sreenivasaiah, CEO at Ascent HR&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Increasing use of technology in last-mile delivery is also seeing huge traction and many players are adopting new high-end automation and other scalable technology solutions. There have been attempts to reduce costs for last-mile delivery and make it more agile. “We have always been intrigued by the potential of automation and using analytics to identify opportunities to optimize and reduce costs in the supply chain. Automation has positively impacted our supply value chain far beyond the walls of the warehouse and sorting centres and has changed the pace and how parcels flow across our system. As we move forward with new end consumer habits, the upward trend in online shopping will continue, and with it, our supply chain will take significant steps towards automation and further improvement to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers,” pointed out Manju Dhawan, Co-founder, Ecom Express Private Limited that specialises in last-mile delivery.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the growing significance of the last mile delivery segment in India, the ecosystem will further expand as many of the e-commerce giants are not experts in last-mile delivery and rely heavily on these firms to deliver their packages to the end consumers. “Covid has exposed the fragility of the last-mile supply chain &amp; distribution, specifically for rural India as we relied largely on centralised models. With distributed models emerging, thrust on hyperlocal commerce and acceleration of digital access, the last mile will play a much more pivotal role in connecting villages and growing the economy,” observed Madan Padaki, Chair—Rural Mobility, IET Future of Mobility and Transport Focus.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The future of the last mile delivery segment looks very positive in the future in the country and will further grow in the time to come. “The last mile logistics output has become extremely promising in the country as a result of the increased at-home consumption. The perception towards it has seen a major change- from being a mere comfort provider to being a necessity now. The last-mile logistics industry is currently valued at around $40 Billion and is projected to reach $100 Billion by 2024,” said Ratnesh Verma, Founder and Leader, Pidge.</p> Thu Aug 26 19:15:43 IST 2021 second-wave-of-covid-infections-increased-banks-asset-quality-risks-moodys <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Moody's Investors Service on Thursday said second wave of Covid infections has increased asset risks for Indian banks, but a severe deterioration is unlikely. It said that the second wave of coronavirus infections in India has exacerbated stress among individuals and small businesses that were hit the hardest by the initial outbreak. Still, a number of factors will prevent sharp increases in problem loans, and banks have sufficient buffers to absorb anticipated loan losses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The country's economic recovery, a tightening of loan underwriting criteria and continued government support will prevent a sharp spike in problem loans, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“A severe deterioration of banks' asset quality is unlikely, despite an expected rise in new loan impairments particularly among individuals and small businesses that were hit hardest by the virus outbreak. This is because government initiatives like the emergency credit linked guarantee scheme (ECLGS) have been effective in providing immediate liquidity for businesses,” Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer Alka Anbarasu said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition, accommodative interest rates and loan restructuring schemes will continue to mitigate asset risks, such that the coronavirus resurgence will delay but not derail the improvements in banks' balance sheets that had begun before the pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Moody's baseline expectation is that newly formed non-performing loans (NPLs) at public sector banks will increase nearly 50 per cent to about 1.5 per cent of gross loans annually in the next two years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nevertheless, banks' average NPL ratios will remain largely stable, driven by the resolution of legacy NPLs and an acceleration of credit growth, Moody's added.&nbsp;</p> Thu Aug 26 16:18:01 IST 2021 cairn-energy-has-to-respond-to-indias-plea-by-oct-20-us-court <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A US court has ordered that Cairn Energy file its response to the Indian government's plea that the UK firm’s original petition for enforcement of the $1.2 billion arbitration award be dismissed, reported ET.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cairn had approached the District of Columbia court in February to confirm the arbitration award it had won against India in a retrospective tax case. In response, India had pleaded before the court in August to stay and to dismiss Cairn’s petition.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Petitioners (Cairn) shall file their response to respondent's motion to stay no later than September 10, 2021; respondent (India) shall file its reply in support of its motion to stay no later than October 1, 2021; petitioners shall file their response to respondent's motion to dismiss no later than October 20, 2021; and respondent shall file its reply in support of its motion to dismiss no later than December 20, 2021,” Judge Richard J. Leon ordered on Wednesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cairn Energy, which won $1.2 billion in an arbitration award against India, is looking to settle the dispute and could meet the officials possibly as early as Wednesday, the report stated citing people with knowledge of the matter. The company says the amount is now $1.7 billion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To enforce the award, Cairn has filed petitions in several countries, and is aiming to seize Indian assets overseas including properties and airplanes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has indicated that the rules that will lead to the scrapping of the retrospective tax demands made on companies such as Cairn Energy Plc and Vodafone Plc will be framed soon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parliament earlier this month passed a bill to scrap a tax rule that gave the tax department power to go 50 years back and slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed hands overseas but business assets were in India. The 2012 legislation was used to levy a cumulative of Rs 1.10 lakh crore of tax on 17 entities, including UK telecom giant Vodafone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The bill provides for the government to refund the retro tax to companies provided all legal challenges are withdrawn.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Aug 26 15:34:08 IST 2021 yahoo-shuts-down-news-sites-in-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Yahoo has shut down its news websites in India due the new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules that limit foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This includes Yahoo News, Yahoo Cricket, Finance, Entertainment and MAKERS India. This, however, will not affect users' Yahoo e-mail, and search experiences in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"As of August 26th, 2021 Yahoo India will no longer be publishing content. Your Yahoo Account, Mail and Search experiences will not be affected in any way and will operate as usual. We thank you for your support and readership," a notice on the Yahoo website said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>US tech major Verizon had acquired Yahoo in 2017.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the FAQ section, Yahoo said effective August 26, 2021, the company has ceased publication of content in India and has shut down Yahoo's content operations in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We did not come to this decision lightly. However, Yahoo India has been impacted by changes to regulatory laws in India that now limit the foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India. Yahoo has had a long association with India and we're really proud of the premium, local content we have provided our users here for the last 20 years," it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It added that given that Yahoo Cricket has a 'news' component, "it was impacted under the new FDI regulations that limit foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India in the 'News and Current Affairs' space".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanking all its users in India for the "support and trust" over the past two decades, it noted that it remains "open to opportunities that connect us to users here".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the new FDI regulations that will come into effect in October, digital media companies in India can accept up to 26 per cent investment in the form of foreign investment, subject to approval from the central government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"In case you are a Yahoo Mail user, this change does not affect you in any way. This development does not impact our products Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Search, where we will continue to serve users in India as before, without any change," it said.</p> Thu Aug 26 15:05:36 IST 2021 how-will-nse-move-to-stop-sale-of-digital-gold-affect-investors <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The purchase of digital gold has been on the rise in India in the last few years, given the convenience, safety and assured purity it offers over conventional methods like buying gold from local jeweller and then keeping it at home. India’s digital gold market is estimated to be around Rs 5,000 crore. But, now the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has instructed its members and stock brokers to stop selling digital gold on their platforms.</p> <p><b>Why has NSE taken this decision?</b></p> <p>The exchange cited Rule 8 (3)(f) of Securities Contracts (Regulations) Rules which restricts all members from engaging, either as principal or employee, in any business, other than that of securities or commodity derivatives, except as a broker or agent, not involving any personal financial liability.</p> <p>SEBI, in a letter dated August 3, wrote to the exchange that certain members were providing a platform to their clients for buying and selling digital gold, which was in contravention to the above rule and members would have to refrain from undertaking such activities.</p> <p>“Members, currently engaging in the activity, shall cease to undertake all activities in this regard, within one month from the date of this circular during which necessary communications, regarding the discontinuation, shall be made to the respective clients,” the NSE said.</p> <p><b>What happens now?</b></p> <p>Broking firms like Motilal Oswal Financial Services, Groww and Upstox among others were offering digital gold products to their clients. They must now wind this down by September 10.</p> <p>According to Vijay Singhania, chairman, TradeSmart, a discount broking firm, digital gold does not come under the definition of securities as defined in the Securities Contracts (Regulations) Act, so SEBI-registered entities are prohibited from offering these products. TradeSmart was not selling digital gold.</p> <p><b>Should investors be worried?</b></p> <p>To answer this, one needs to understand how digital gold buying works. One can buy digital from various platforms today – fintechs like PhonePe and Paytm sell digital gold as do some stock brokers and even banks. But, these entities don’t essentially store gold, but only offer a platform to buy gold from refiners like MMTC-PAMP and Augmont Gold. When someone buys digital gold, 24 carat gold equivalent to the amount invested is stored under his/her name in high security vaults by the refiners.</p> <p>Kishore Narne, head of commodity and currency at Motilal Oswal Financial Services, which was selling digital gold in partnership with MMTC-PAMP, said the broking firm was only a distributor of the product. It will now be discontinue the distribution.</p> <p>Existing investors who have already bought gold, should note that MMTC-PAMP will continue to own the product. The underlying gold will also be continued to be held by MMTC-PAMP.</p> <p>MMTC-PAMP is a joint venture between India’s state owned MMTC and Switzerland’s PAMP SA, the world’s leading bullion brand. It has the largest BIS-certified refinery for gold and silver in India. So, to that extent the purity of the gold won't be an issue.</p> <p>However, Singhania of TradeSmart cautioned that "there is no method to check whether the digital gold certificate is backed with the physical gold."</p> <p><b>Alternate platforms for digital gold?</b></p> <p>The recent circular prohibits only SEBI-registered entities from selling digital gold. So, while stock brokers and securities firms may not be able to sell it, “it may be continued to be sold by other unregulated entities, subject to RBI directions, if any,” said Singhania of TradeSmart.</p> <p>Digital gold could also be bought through a few banks. Fintech platforms like PhonePe and Google Pay also offer digital gold products. For players others than brokers, it could be business as usual, said people in the know.</p> <p>Just like the case with Motilal Oswal, these fintech platforms and banks are also typically only distributors of the product.</p> <p>“Gold purchased on PhonePe is stored in a free bank-grade insured locker facility maintained by the providers, SafeGold and MMTC-PAMP India” PhonePe said in a blog.</p> <p>Google Pay also allows one to digitally buy and store gold from MMTC-PAMP.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu Aug 26 18:41:47 IST 2021 semiconductor-shortage-a-big-opportunity-for-local-auto-component-firms-siam-chief <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Semiconductor shortage is a big challenge for the automobile industry right now but the situation could also turn out to be a big opportunity for the domestic auto component manufacturing industry, SIAM President Kenichi Ayukawa said on Thursday.</p> <p>Speaking at the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) annual session, Ayukawa, who is also the Managing Director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki India, said the demand for the technology-based equipment has increased manifold in various sectors alongside the automotive segment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The challenge of COVID-19 continues globally. Different regions are being impacted at different times. While the global supply chain is already very complex, such disruptions and uncertainties further add to the challenge. Hence our preparation has to keep pace with the growing challenges," Ayukawa noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The global semiconductor supply chain has become increasingly at risk due to several factors and it has impacted the domestic auto industry since last year and continues to be a big challenge, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"While the semiconductor shortage appears to be a challenge, it also brings in an opportunity. Of course, semiconductor manufacturing requires very huge investments. The Indian automobile industry alone can-not assure full viability of such an investment in semiconductor projects. Hence, there is a need for consolidation across sectors," Ayukawa said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rising to this critical challenge, the government is taking few long-term measures, he stated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The invitation by the government for expression of Interest for manufacturing semi-conductors in India is a much needed, long-term step, in the right direction. I am sure global investors will take advantage of this opportunity in India," Ayukawa noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the meantime, the domestic component industry would have to tackle the current challenge of semiconductor shortage, by deeply engaging with the chip suppliers, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Semiconductors are silicon chips that cater to control and memory functions in products ranging from automobiles, computers and cellphones to various other electronic items.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The usage of semiconductors in the auto industry has gone up globally in recent times with new models coming with more and more electronic features such as bluetooth connectivity and driver-assist, navigation and hybrid-electric systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On government''s Aatmanirbhar Mission, the industry leader stated that aligning with the government, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and ACMA have jointly developed a localisation roadmap for the automobile industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"This roadmap details key components across segments and the corresponding opportunity for localisation. Look forward to the support of each industry member in this initiative to make India Aatmanirbhar," Ayukawa said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Such an initiative could succeed only with full support from the government, he noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We would jointly approach the government to seek support for this roadmap," Ayukawa said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Touching upon the development of new age technologies, he said that all across the world, there is a huge focus on reducing carbon emissions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"As a responsible industry, it is our duty to move as close as possible to Carbon Net Zero with local manufacturing. For this, we have to develop multiple alternate powertrain technologies," Ayukawa noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While lauding the support and encouragement from different government ministries on multiple technology solutions including e-mobility, CNG, LNG, Bio-gas and Ethanol, he urged the auto component industry to enhance its focus, investments, research and development on all such powertrain technologies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"I am sure, only the combination of all these technologies will help us be closer to Carbon Net-Zero. Many of these technologies are new for the industry and have their own challenges of viability and infrastructure. While our talented engineers work on these solutions, we would keep coming back to the government for guidance and support," Ayukawa stated.&nbsp;</p> Thu Aug 26 13:49:12 IST 2021 new-drone-policy-notified-no-security-clearance-required-before-registration <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on Thursday notified a new drone policy. The Drone Rules 2021 have done away with the requirement for security clearance before registration or licence issuance. The fees for permissions have also been reduced to nominal levels.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, the maximum penalty has been reduced to Rs 1 lakh, and not applicable to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The coverage of drones under Drone Rules 2021 has increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The following requirements for approvals have also been abolished under the new policy: unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, operator permits, authorisation of R&amp;D organisation, remote pilot instructor authorisation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The policy also speaks about setting up an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime. The import of drones will be regulated by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries, under Drone Rules 2021.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The types of fee have been reduced from 72 to four.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Quantum of fee reduced to nominal levels and delinked with size of drone. For instance, the fee for a remote pilot license fee has been reduced from Rs 3,000 (for large drones) to Rs 100 for all categories of drones; and is valid for 10 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Digital sky platform shall be developed as a user-friendly single-window system, the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Interactive airspace maps with green, yellow and red zones shall be displayed on the digital sky platform within 30 days of publication of these rules.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No permission required for operating drones in green zones. Green zone means the airspace upto a vertical distance of 400 feet or 120 metre that has not been designated as a red zone or yellow zone in the airspace map; and the airspace upto a vertical distance of 200 feet or 60 metre above the area located between a lateral distance of 8 and 12 kilometre from the perimeter of an operational airport.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Yellow zone was reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No remote pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use) and nano drones.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No requirement of Type Certificate, unique identification number and remote pilot licence by R&amp;D entities operating drones in own or rented premises, located in a green zone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>No restriction on foreign ownership in Indian drone companies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Requirement of import clearance from DGCA abolished.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>DGCA shall prescribe drone training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Aug 26 13:01:12 IST 2021 puducherry-government-cuts-vat-on-petrol-by-3 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Puducherry government on Wednesday said the territorial administration has cut value-added tax (VAT) on petrol by three per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The decision on the reduction was taken by the Chief Minister N Rangasamy at a meeting of the territorial cabinet earlier today and was approved by Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, said an official press release here.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the cut, the price of petrol would be reduced by Rs 2.43 per litre in Puducherry and Karaikal regions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Thu Aug 26 11:34:20 IST 2021 google-announces-slew-of-privacy-features-indian-users <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>“We are becoming an India first company.” Saying this, Google India country manager Sanjay Gupta unveiled a host of features and resources to up the safety quotient of the world's de facto search engine and email service.</p> <p>The initiative, announced Wednesday afternoon in India, includes added safety features in its upcoming 12th version of Android, the accessibility of Google's Safety Centre in eight Indian languages as well as expanding the company's Trust &amp; Safety teams in the country.</p> <p>Google also announced educational and public awareness initiatives, including the 'Be Internet Awesome' programme for children, families and teachers which educates young net users on safety measures to be taken while online.</p> <p>“We are committed to protect our users every day by using the world’s most advanced security infrastructure, treating their data with the utmost responsibility, and giving them complete control over their data,” said Gupta, quipping, “We believe that building a safer internet for everyone is not one more thing to do, it is the one thing to do!”</p> <p>The moves come in the wake of two post-Covid double whammies – as the pandemic restrictions pushed more and more activities, from work to education to virtually all social life, online, it has also sparked off increased phishing and hacking attempts, often targeted at gullible internet users. A recent report had said that India was the most targeted by cyber attackers amongst all Asia-Pacific nations.</p> <p>Google's Safety Centre will now be available in Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu, with three more languages to be added in by the year-end – Bengali, Tamil and Gujarati.</p> <p>“Since the pandemic broke, there is a heightened need to strengthen safety and security, reliability and privacy, and the overall resilience of the internet and its applications,” said Vint Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist, Google. “In addition to helping users build better digital skills, we need to develop tools to aid them in their quest for safety, so that companies, individuals, researchers, and governments can harness the internet for good, whilst protecting themselves from harm.”</p> <p>The Google for India initiatives are part of a series of changes being brought in on Google products around the world like YouTube, Search, Location History, Play and Google Workspace. It includes more privacy features, stricter age-appropriate advertisement content, limit advertisement targeting of minors etc. The upcoming version 12 of Google's mobile operating system Android is also expected to focus much on privacy and internet security, and will have features like a privacy dashboard as well as camera and microphone indicators.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Wed Aug 25 16:31:03 IST 2021 indian-auto-industry-facing-many-immediate-medium-term-challenges-maruti-suzuki-md <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Indian automobile industry is going through a deep structural slowdown and the COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted the sector pushing it back by many years, SIAM President Kenichi Ayukawa said on Wednesday. Speaking at industry body SIAM's 61st Annual Convention, Ayukawa noted that all auto segments like passenger vehicles and two-wheelers have witnessed a drastic drop in growth rates over the last 5-10 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Even before COVID started, the Indian automobile Industry was facing a deep structural slowdown," Ayukawa, who is also the MD and CEO of country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India, noted in the online event.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He further said that "in all four segments of the industry -- passenger vehicle, two-wheelers, commercial vehicle, and three-wheelers, the long-term growth rate has come down drastically in the past 5 to 10 years even before COVID started."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has further caused negative growth for the industry pushing volumes back by many years, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ayukawa said that the industry is currently facing many immediate and medium-term challenges.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Some of the immediate short-term concerns for the industry are: pandemic-related uncertainties and health of our people, global shortage of semiconductors, rising commodity prices, upcoming fuel-efficiency and BSVI Phase-2 regulations, shortage of shipping containers, and import restrictions," he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Besides, the industry is also facing some medium-term challenges like ensuring a sustained demand, affordability for customers, localisation, preparing for long-term regulations, and new powertrain technologies, Ayukawa noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To overcome these challenges and bring back industry on the track of growth, focused action is required through some key enablers, he stated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"SIAM and ACMA have together worked out a localisation roadmap with a target of about 15-20 per cent further localisation in next 2 to 5 years," he noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second enabler is having a long-term regulatory map, the industry leader noted. "SIAM has prepared an approach paper for a long-term regulatory roadmap that takes care of all aspects and gives clarity on future investments," Ayukawa stated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The auto industry is also working hard on new powertrain technologies, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ayukawa also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for rolling out a fitness-based scrappage policy just a few days ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"We will work with the Ministry of Road Transport &amp; Highways for improvement and early execution. I would like to express my gratitude to the government for announcing a Production-Linked Incentive scheme for the auto industry and advanced chemistry cells," he noted.&nbsp;</p> Wed Aug 25 13:03:44 IST 2021 IIFCL-Paving-way-for-Infrastructure-Development-and-Economic-Growth <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><b>Infrastructure Sector as Enabler for Economic Growth:</b>&nbsp;Infrastructure sector, with its forward and backward linkages to other sectors of the economy, is critical for the economic growth of the nation. The sector being highly labor-intensive leads to significant boost in the employment leading to income generation and spurring domestic demand. The development of infrastructure also leads to operational efficiencies in the economy creating a cycle of higher investments, growth, employment generation and increased demand. The Government is cognizant of the role of infra development to achieve higher economic growth. The National Infrastructure Pipeline and emphasis on the infrastructure sector in Budget 2021-22 is a step in the direction of leveraging infrastructure sector to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>IIFCL’s Role and Impact:</b>&nbsp;IIFCL is a specialist infrastructure financing entity, set up by the Govt. of India in 2006, to provide long-term financial assistance to viable infrastructure projects in India. IIFCL has been playing an instrumental role in the promotion, development and financing of the Infrastructure sector in India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is also actively involved in providing inputs and policy support on the infrastructure financing space to the Government through various forums.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On a standalone basis, till March 2021, IIFCL has provided financial assistance to ~ 620 projects with a total project outlay of ~ ₹10.87 Lakh Crore. This includes IIFCL Sanctions and Disbursements of around ₹1.65 Lakh Crore and over ₹83,500 Crore respectively. During FY21, the Company posted record performance with highest ever sanctions and disbursements at ₹20,892 Crore and ₹9,460 Crore, respectively. The company’s Gross NPAs and Net NPAs have reduced to 13.90% and 5.39% (from 19.70% and 9.75% in previous year).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">Gearing for the Future:</b><br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>IIFCL is in the process of bringing in a market-oriented dynamism in all its activities, with an improved credit policy, segmented risk-based pricing, enhanced efforts for recovery, an active treasury management and digitalisation of monitoring of projects for ensuring progress linked disbursements in projects. Aligning itself with the market conditions, IIFCL has reduced its base rate to 7.40% from July 2021, and has put in place a segmented risk-based pricing structure. To strengthen the monitoring and surveillance systems through digitalization, IIFCL is in the process of building an Online Project Monitoring System (OPMS), a first of its kind in India, for real-time project monitoring during construction phase by integrating high end solutions like Drones, AI etc.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Key Achievements in FY 21</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>13% &nbsp; INCREASE IN CONSOLIDATED CUMULATIVE SANCTIONS FROM ₹1,75,281 CRORE TO ₹1,97,469 CRORE</p> <p>12% &nbsp;INCREASE IN CONSOLIDATED CUMULATIVE DISBURSEMENTS FROM ₹90,540 &nbsp;CRORE TO ₹1,01,094, CRORE</p> <p>8% &nbsp; INCREASE IN CONSOLIDATED LOANS TO ₹48,328 CRORE</p> <p>136% &nbsp;INCREASE IN CONSOLIDATED SANCTIONS FROM FY 20 TO FY 21</p> <p>74% &nbsp;INCREASE IN CONSOLIDATED DISBURSEMENTS FROM FY 20 TO FY 21</p> <p>246% &nbsp;INCREASE IN CONSOLIDATED PAT</p> <p>461% &nbsp;INCREASE IN STANDALONE PAT</p> <p>₹&nbsp;629 Crore &nbsp;HIGHEST EVER RECOVERY FROM NPAS</p> Thu Aug 26 17:42:18 IST 2021 icici-bank-files-cheating-case-against-karvy-stock-broking-ltd <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A case has been registered against Karvy Stock Broking Ltd promoter C. Parthasarathy and others for allegedly cheating ICICI Bank to the tune of Rs 563 crore. According to a press release issued by the police on Tuesday night, the case was booked under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420, r/w 34 ( cheating) of IPC against the accused.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Funds raised by KSBL by pledging shares of its six bankers were transferred to the firm’s own bank accounts, and not into ‘Stock Broker Client Account’, which is in contravention with the SEBI guidelines, the police said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Further, all pledges on securities were closed without approval… and securities were transferred to end clients of KSBL thereby severely impacting security of all lenders including ICICI Bank,” it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The case was transferred to Economic Offences Wing of Cyberabad and a special team was formed for the investigation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parthasarathy was arrested by the city police here on August 19 on charges of defaulting on a Rs 137 crore loan taken from IndusInd Bank.&nbsp;</p> Wed Aug 25 11:00:36 IST 2021 here_s-why-rohit-reddy-feels-hyderabad-is-a-real-estate-hotspot- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Hyderabad has the dual distinction of being known as the City of Nizams and the City of Pearls. But its glorifying history isn’t the only thing that makes Hyderabad such an exciting city to live and invest in. The city is home to some of the leading multinational companies from around the world, along with startups and entrepreneurs who continue to invest in this city - making it a tech, manufacturing, and commercial hub. No wonder Hyderabad has led to the generation of millions of jobs and migration of thousands of people from nearby cities. Hyderabad is a real estate hotspot for investors. It’s also a city <a href="">Rohit Reddy</a>, the founder and managing director of Signature Developers, calls his home.</p> <p><b>Greater investment push by Telangana: Enabling ease of doing business for FDI and FII</b></p> <p>For investors looking for opportunities to put money into real estate, Hyderabad promises many advantages. In many states, real estate investments can be complicated by difficult laws, bureaucracy, and challenges of getting permissions and getting past the red tape.</p> <p>But the Telangana government is committed to enable ease of doing business and ensure highly responsive administration and management at all levels and for all categories of investors - for business people, founders, entrepreneurs, and women. It also wants to attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Foreign Institutional Investment (FII) in the coming years to make Hyderabad a modern city.</p> <p>Moreover, the possibilities arising out of increased investments will be greater than the sum of its parts. It will boost sectoral jobs and demand, pushing up demand for a skilled workforce and trained professionals. It will also help the state build capabilities, drive indigenous and home-grown companies in industries we are hugely dependent on, such as technology and infrastructure imports from various high-tech-enabled countries.<br> </p> <p><b>Why invest in real estate in Hyderabad?</b></p> <p>Being part of real estate, Rohit Reddy understands that only a handful of people step into the real estate management and development space - an opportunity whose value only appreciates with time. Hyderabad is one of the most advanced and ideal destinations to invest your moolah in and nobody knows it better than him. According to <a href="">Rohit</a>, no time could be more opportune than the present - when the repo rate is stable and home loan rates are not likely to increase in the near future.</p> <p>Many IT/ITES, bio-pharmaceutical, aviation, aerospace, defense, and manufacturing companies are setting up offices and leasing properties in Hyderabad to accommodate their employees. Others have been established and present in the city for many years. Some of these conglomerates are Boeing, Hyundai, Google, IBM, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Tech Mahindra, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services), Maruti Suzuki, and many others. The senior management and employees of all these companies require homes to stay in – which whether purchased or leased, the demand pushes up the prices of residential developments.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The COVID-19 impact: Is it positive or negative for real estate investment?</b></p> <p>As per Rohit Reddy, as more population steadily gets inoculated and we move the needle towards universal vaccination against COVID-19 , the world will slowly open to physical offices, travel, and tourism. Travel and hospitality will come back with a vengeance, backed by revenge travel. People will soon be able to travel to Hyderabad’s natural locales as well as its various famous landmarks like Charminar and Golconda Fort.</p> <p>Additionally, according to a survey by NoBroker, 82% of people are planning to buy a home in 2021. This demand is generated mostly by the millennials, who have after the Coronavirus-led pandemic realized the importance of having living resources. Rohit Reddy is positive about the future of investing in Hyderabad and is planning further investments.</p> <p>Irrespective of whether you are a first-time buyer or a nuanced investment tycoon, it’s always a prudent measure to weigh your risk profile and finances before deep diving into real estate. And Hyderabad offers a lot to a potential buyer.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Aug 27 18:24:34 IST 2021 icici-prudential-value-discovery-fund-delivers-20-03--cagr-in-ov <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p><i>ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund celebrates 17 years of ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund</i></p> <p>One of the largest and oldest value funds in the Indian mutual fund industry, ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund has completed 17 years in existence. The Scheme has witnessed significant investor interest over the years and has thus emerged as the largest scheme in the value category, with a total asset under management (AUM) of Rs 21,195 crore. Data as of July 31, 2021.</p> <p>Furthermore, the scheme accounted for nearly 30% of the total AUM in the Value Category. Data as of July 2021. Source: Value Research</p> <p>The scheme follows a value investment style by investing in diversified portfolio of stocks that have attractive valuations but are quoting at a discount to their intrinsic value.</p> <p>Speaking on the occasion of 17 years completion, Nimesh Shah, MD &amp; CEO of ICICI Prudential AMC says, “We are happy that through our product offering we have been able to contribute to favourable investment outcomes of wealth creation for our investors over a long term.”</p> <p>“Global experience has always been that value as a strategy will not work all the time but tends to deliver sizeable returns in the long run. Until September 2020, value was out of favour which was also the case even during 1988-89 and 2007-2008. In value style, we have seen that investments made in 1999 did very well because at that point in time markets were largely focused on technology stocks. Similar was the case in 2007 when infrastructure was in focus. Hence, we believe that value investing &nbsp;at a time when market are elevated tends to do well as value focuses on investing in sectors which are out of favour but offer long term potential,” says S Naren, ED &amp; CIO, ICICI Prudential AMC. He further adds, “Even in current times, there are select sectors where valuations are attractive and many of such pockets are yet to deliver returns since 2008. Most of the sectors which are cyclical in nature, we believe, present good value till the time central banks tighten monetary policy.” &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If an investor had invested a lumpsum of Rs. 1 lakh at the time of inception (August 16, 2004), as of July 31, 2021, that investment would have been worth Rs. 22.13 lakh i.e. a CAGR of 20.03%. In the same time frame, the Nifty 50 TRI (Additional benchmark) has delivered a CAGR of 15.91% and the corresponding worth of investment would be Rs. 12.24 lakhs. (As the scheme was launched before the launch of the benchmark index, benchmark index figures since inception or the required period are not available). &nbsp;</p> <p>With value investing being suited for long-term investing, SIP emerges as the ideal investment pathway. In terms of SIP performance, a monthly investment of Rs 10,000 via SIP since the inception, which would amount to a total investment of Rs 20.4 lakh, would have grown to Rs 1.08 cr as of July 31, 2021 i.e. a CAGR of 17.5%. A similar investment in Nifty 50 would have yielded a CAGR of 13.22% for the same period. (The returns are calculated by XIRR approach assuming investment of Rs 10000/- on the 1st working day of every month. XIRR helps in calculating return on investments given an initial and final value and a series of cash inflows and outflows with the correct allowance for the time impact of the transactions.)</p> <p>During the past three years, the fund has invested across market capitalisation with predominant allocations to large cap stocks.&nbsp; Large cap allocation averaged 71.24% during this period while allocations to mid-cap and small cap stocks averaged 13.58% and 3.42% respectively. During the period, it held 18 stocks consistently which accounted for average 51.91% of the portfolio allocation.</p> <p>For further information, please contact Adil Bakhshi - 91-9920010203</p> <p><b>Riskometer &amp; Disclaimer</b></p> <p>Notes:</p> <p>1. Different plans shall have different expense structure. The performance details provided herein are of ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund.</p> <p>2. The scheme is currently managed by Sankaran Naren and Dharmesh Kakkad. Mr. Sankaran Naren has been managing this fund since Jan 2021. Total Schemes managed by the Fund Manager is 20.&nbsp; (20 are jointly managed). Mr. Dharmesh Kakkad has been managing this fund since Jan 2021. Total Schemes managed by the Fund Manager is 9 (7 are jointly managed).</p> <p>3. Date of inception:16-Aug-04.</p> <p>4. Past performance may or may not be sustained in future and the same may not necessarily provide the basis for comparison with other investment.</p> <p>5. Load is not considered for computation of returns.</p> <p>6. In case, the start/end date of the concerned period is a non-business date (NBD), the NAV of the previous date is considered for computation of returns. The NAV per unit shown in the table is as on the start date of the said period</p> <p>7. The benchmark of this scheme has been revised from S&amp;P BSE 500 TRI to Nifty 500 Value 50 TRI w.e.f. February 17, 2020.</p> <p>8. As the scheme was launched before the launch of the benchmark index, benchmark index figures since inception or the required period are not available.</p> <p>9. The performance disclosed above is of ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund. Performance of merging scheme i.e ICICI Prudential Value fund series 18, ICICI Prudential Value fund series 19 and ICICI Prudential Value Fund - Series 20 will be made available to investors on request.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>SIP Performance</b></p> <p>Past performance may or may not be sustained in future</p> <p>*Inception date is 16 Aug 2004. **Scheme benchmark is Nifty 500 Value 50 TRI.</p> <p>The performance of the scheme is benchmarked to the Total Return variant of the Index.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Click Here to view performance of other schemes managed by fund managers of the scheme.</p> <p>(An open ended equity scheme following a value investment strategy)</p> <p>It may be noted that risk-o-meter specified above is as per scheme’s portfolio as on July 31, 2021.. The same shall be updated in accordance with provisions of SEBI circular dated October 5, 2020 on Product labelling in mutual fund schemes on ongoing basis.</p> <p>*Returns mentioned are of Nifty 50 TRI, benchmark of the scheme is Nifty 500 Value 50 TRI. As the scheme was launched before the launch of the benchmark index, benchmark index figures since inception or the required period are not available.</p> <p>The portfolio of the scheme is subject to changes within the provisions of the Scheme Information Document of the scheme. Please refer to the SID for investment pattern, strategy and risk factors.</p> <p>Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.</p> Fri Aug 27 16:30:39 IST 2021 hyundai-unveils-i20-under-n-line-aims-to-bring-in-more-models-in-next-few-years <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;Hyundai Motor India on Tuesday unveiled i20 N Line, its first model under the performance-oriented N Line product range in the country, as it looks to cater to the customers who yearn for sporty vehicles.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The car comes with various exterior and interior changes to give it a sporty styling, inspired by motorsport.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The i20 N Line is powered by a 1-litre petrol Turbo GDI engine mated with six-speed iMT (intelligent Manual transmission) and seven-speed DCT transmission options.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"The N Line range will introduce customers to a car that truly epitomises driving passion, making sure sporty and fun driving experiences are accessible to all," Hyundai Motor India MD and CEO SS Kim told reporters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;N Line is made for everyday fun of young millennials, who view the world as their playground and have a different way of doing things, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Kim noted that the company would bring in additional models under the range over the next few years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Elaborating further Hyundai Motor India Director (Sales, marketing and Service) Tarun Garg told PTI that i20 already has a very strong Motorsports legacy because the i20 Coupe is the World Rally Championship (WRC) car for Hyundai. "Even the base model of the model is equipped to have exceptional driving dynamics. The i20 N Line builds on it further, amplifying the sporty, fun experience," he noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The models are accessible in terms of purchase and yet they stand out in terms of driving experience, Garg said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The car comes with 120 PS of peak power, enabling it to a dash of 0-100 km per hour in less than 10 seconds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The car's exhaust has a roaring and grunting sound, the suspension is sporty enabling great handling while it also comes with four disc brakes, over 50 connectivity features, a sunroof, six airbags, among others.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Garg noted that customers are now clearly becoming more and more aspirational and are looking for features and personalisation in their cars.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"So not only functionality, they want to choose cars matching their lifestyle, personality. We feel because of the changing customer the time is about right to launch this new range of cars which would really fulfil the need of such customers," he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;When asked if the company has set some sales target for the model, Garg noted: "It is a niche segment and we are not looking at volumes here, its more of giving such customers a special feel".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;He further said: "Since last 2-3 years, Hyundai is trying to cater to more and more young customers. We are catering to customers who are forward-looking, modern, so we feel this range would further enhance our brand value".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Elaborating on the shift that is taking place in the domestic auto market, Garg noted that the company's accessory range has doubled to over 5,500 products from about 2,800 two years earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"When we look at the preference for sunroof it used to be just 13 per cent in 2018 and now it has gone up to 30 per cent in 2021," he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Garg said that Internet usage and e-commerce is increasing in the country, so the shift is happening everywhere.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;"We feel going forward when the range is established, as we plan to have more products, it would give us a unique set of customers, which would be very useful going ahead," he noted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The company has commenced bookings of the i20 N Line from Monday, while the price is expected to be announced in the first week of September.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Garg said the model would be retailed through 188 Signature outlets spread across 97 cities in the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;The company sells models like Tucson, Elantra and Signature trims of Alcazar from such outlets currently.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;When asked about which models could be launched under the range, Garg said: "Going ahead, we will study the market to know customer preferenceSUVs may be there as well with the way they are growingwe will explore that which other model we can bring we have many options".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Hyundai currently sells N Line in various regions like Europe, South Korea, the US and Russia, among others.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;Its first N-branded vehicle was the i30 N, which made its debut in 2017.&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 24 22:59:54 IST 2021 govt-not-selling-off-any-asset-congress-misleading-people-nirmala-sitharaman <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Facing criticism over the National Monetisation Pipeline, under which the government plans to raise Rs 6 lakh crore over four years, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday stated that the government was not selling off national assets and that it had already been made clear that there would be no change of ownership of the assets planned to be monetised.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had hit out at the NMP, stating the Narendra Modi government was in the process of selling India’s crown jewels built by previous governments with public money over 70 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sitharaman, who was speaking with reporters in Mumbai on Wednesday, hit back saying the Congress was misleading the people. Citing the example of the Mumbai-Pune Express way, the finance minister said it was the Congress government that had monetised it and floated request for proposal for the New Delhi railway station.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“I wish the opposition questions with some homework done. Who actually monetised the Mumbai-Pune corridor? Is it not the Congress party? Rs 8,000 odd crore was raised by that… New Delhi Railway station? Who called for the RFP on it? Was it not the Congress somewhere between 2008?,” questioned Sitharaman.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We are not selling-off. There will be a strict handing back,” she stressed further.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sitharaman who was on a two-day visit to Mumbai, met the heads of the public sector banks earlier in the day. During the meeting, she took stock of the performance of the state-owned lenders as well as how the various packages announced under Atmanirbhar Bharat were being implemented.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The finance minister said that “collectively the public sector banks had done well”. Several PSBs had come out of the RBI’s prompt corrective action framework and were now showing profits. They were also in a position now to raise funds from the market, the minister added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, she didn’t give any update on the proposed privatisation of two PSBs.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Department of Financial Services Secretary Debashish Panda pointed that state owned banks have earned a net profit of Rs 30,000 crore, the net non-performing assets have fallen to 3.1 per cent from 9 per cent two years ago, and these improved fundamentals have given investors the confidence in PSBs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Banks have gone to the market and raised Rs 69,000 crore, including Rs 10,000 crore of equity capital. Therefore, the capital requirement is being met by the banks themselves. In the first five months of this financial year, more than Rs 12,000 crore in fund raising is already in the process,” said Panda.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In order to boost the credit growth in the economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sitharaman said there will be a credit outreach programme that banks will undertake in every district of the country this year. There was a similar credit outreach programme that banks undertook in 2019 and around Rs 4.94 lakh crore was distributed between October 2019 and March 2021 through this outreach, said Sitharaman.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the finance ministry has approved an increase in family pension for state-owned bank employees. Also, the employer contribution to National Pension System has been raised from 10 per cent to 14 per cent in case of PSBs, Panda informed.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also said that “substantive” work had been done in relation to the proposed bad bank. Earlier this week, the Indian Bank Association approached the Reserve Bank seeking a licence for the National Asset Reconstruction Company, which Panda said is expected to come soon.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He further said that assets that are to be transferred to the NARCL had also been identified and the staff had also been put in place. On the asset management company front, the company registration work was in the process, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, a proposal to allow direct listing of securities on overseas platforms “is under consideration of the government,” Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said. Such a move, if allowed, will help Indian entrepreneurs to list on foreign stock exchanges, which are far more bigger and deeper. So far, Indian companies have been able to issue American Depository Receipts (ADRs) or Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) on foreign markets.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“To make it a success, there would be some requirement of amendments in some legislation to ensure there is a smooth trading of these securities outside the territory of India. We are in discussion with players who are asking for this,” Bajaj told reporters.</p> Wed Aug 25 17:41:35 IST 2021 pf-numbers-drop-indicate-dismal-state-of-post-covid-job-market <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The stark drop in PF numbers indicate the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on the job market in the country. The number of subscribers to EPFO, the government-mandated scheme for employees provident fund in both public and private sectors, show that the number of new PF joinees, indicating new jobs, dropped to its lowest in the one year since PF data tabulation began.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the one-year period beginning April 2020 when the surging cases saw a full-scale national lockdown till March 2021, the number of new PF subscribers was at 85.48 lakh, the lowest since data began to be kept five years earlier. Interestingly, the number of new PF subscribers were much higher in the years preceding this – in the financial year ending March 2020, the number was at 1.10 crore, while in 2019 it was even higher at 1.39 crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The figures prepared by the National Statistical Office (NSO) were released by the government on Wednesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The monthly data for the first three months of this financial year also clearly demonstrate the effect of the second wave on new job generation. In the month of May, the peak of the second wave in most of the country, new EPF subscriber numbers plummeted to just above 6 lakh, falling from 7.63 lakh the previous month (when the second wave was slowly taking hold).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If it is any solace, the numbers show an uptick the very next month, indicating at least a start of return to normalcy. The number of new provident fund subscribers in June, the last month for which figures were released by the NSO, showed a quick rise to above 8 lakh, from just above 6 lakh in the previous month.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Aug 25 14:07:40 IST 2021 govt-may-allow-fdi-in-lic-report <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahead of the planned IPO for Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), the government, which plans to divest part of its stake in the firm, is considering allowing foreign direct investment in the same.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to a Bloomberg report, any strategic investment by a foreign partner could be capped. Existing limits on investments in state-run banks are at 20 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>LIC is the largest insurer in India and has around 29 crore policy holders. Its upcoming IPO could value it at around $261 billion, based on its assets under management.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report comes ahead of a presentation by bankers seeking to arrange the IPO on Thursday.&nbsp; A decision will be taken on which investment banks will handle the IPO this week. 16 book-running lead managers are set to make a presentation before an inter-ministerial group on Thursday. Some of the banks in contention include BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets India Pvt Ltd., BofA Securities, Goldman Sachs (India) Securities Pvt Ltd, HSBC Securities and Capital Markets (India) Pv Ltd, J.P. Morgan India Pvt. Ltd, Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities (India) Pvt Ltd, Axis Capital, DAM Capital Advisors Ltd, HDFC Bank, ICICI Securities, IIFL Securities, JM Financial Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Capital Company Ltd, SBI Capital Market Ltd, Yes Securities India Ltd.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The IPO is expected to take place within the current fiscal year ending March 2022.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As per the amendments to the LIC Act, the Centre plans to hold at least a 75 per cent stake in LIC for the next five years, and will hold at least 51 per cent stake following this period.</p> Tue Aug 24 18:41:17 IST 2021 chip-shortage-to-slowdown-automakers-sales-growth-amid-strong-demand-for-cars <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In the last few years, technology has become increasingly integral in passenger cars. That has, in turn, made semiconductors a key component. A shortage of these semiconductors is hitting automakers’ production as well as sales at a time there is strong demand for cars due to COVID-19 and the festive season is expected to further drive up sales.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The domestic auto sector could continue to face supply chain headwinds, especially due to semiconductor chips shortages, over the remainder of the financial year 2022. This is likely to curtail the sales growth expected for the auto industry in FY22, particularly in the passenger vehicles (PV) segment, and also adversely impact profitability,” said Pallavi Bhati, senior analyst at Fitch-owned India Ratings and Research.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The chip shortage is a spoilsport for the automobile industry, which is seeing strong demand for cars post the second wave of COVID-19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India Ratings now expects sales volumes in the PV segment to grow 15-18 per cent in the year ending March 2022, compared with the 18-22 per cent growth that it had forecast earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The country’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki, had said in its quarterly analysts call that the company faced supply side issues, including global semiconductor shortage in the first quarter. Companies like Maruti have been aligning production to tide over this shortage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“What we have been doing is adjusting our production with those variants which may not require the specific chips which are in shortage,” said Shashank Srivastava, executive director at Maruti Suzuki India.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Others like Tata Motors have even undertaken spot buying of semiconductors from the market and developing alternate supply sources. The company also built an inventory of critical semiconductor-based parts in the April-June quarter, when demand had fallen due to the second wave of COVID19 across the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Semiconductor availability continues to be a focus area, so we are managing it from a war room perspective. And we are looking at almost every component where semiconductor goes in and tracking it on a daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly basis, depending upon how important that part is or what is the inventory with us,” said Girish Wagh, executive director, Tata Motors, in a conference call with investors.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Still, supply side pressures are likely to weigh during the crucial festive season in the third quarter for automakers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Average PV inventory at dealers was around 30-35 days at the end of July, yet the waiting time for some of the popular models in the market exceeds three months.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Furthermore, the steps taken by companies, including spot buying or pushing low-end models that don’t require semiconductors are, in turn, expected to hurt the earnings of companies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The semiconductor chips shortage could affect the profitability of OEMs due to production disruption, and premium paid on procurement from existing/alternate suppliers to ensure adequate availability of semiconductor chips, and higher sales of non-premium models, which do not require the chips in shortage,” said Bhati of India Ratings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Automakers have already raised prices this year due to a sharp rise in raw material costs and the chip shortage may necessitate another increase.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chip shortage is a global issue currently that is affecting sales. While worldwide automobile sales are expected to rebound and grow 12 per cent in 2021, compared with a contraction of 14.5 per cent in 2020, volumes will still be well below the pre-pandemic levels, Fitch has estimated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Given that the usage of semiconductors in automobiles is only going to increase, India Ratings expects automakers could also explore strategic investments to secure their supply chains.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 24 16:36:46 IST 2021 domestic-aluminium-makers-to-forge-decade-high-profitability <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Domestic aluminium makers in the country are expected to forge a decade-high profitability, thanks to a robust demand outlook and limited global capacity additions and efficient cost structures. It is expected that the operating margins of the domestic aluminium makers are set to touch a decadal high of around 30 per cent in the current financial year, says a CRISIL report.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report said global aluminium demand was expected to rise by 6-7 per cent this year, helped by the low base of 2020, when output had contracted 2 per cent following the Covid-19 pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The CRISIL report points out that the aluminium industry growth will also be driven by global economic recovery and increased spending on construction, infrastructure and electrification. With governments stepping up on green initiatives and sales of electric vehicles increasing, annual global aluminium demand will rise 3 per cent over calendar years from 2021-2025. However, global capacity addition is expected to trail at 1 per cent through 2025 on environmental concerns and emphasis on reducing emissions. It is also expected that limited capacity addition, amid the demand pull, will improve utilisation rates of aluminium smelters globally to 85 per cent this year from 80 per cent in 2020, and support healthy aluminium prices.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report observes that domestic demand for aluminium is expected to grow by 10-12 per cent this fiscal after contracting 13-14 per cent during the last fiscal. Growth is expected to be propelled by higher demand from the construction, automotive and power sectors. As per the report, improved demand outlook and healthy realisations is expected to benefit domestic aluminium companies, which are interestingly among the lowest cost producers in the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Over the past three fiscal years, cost-competitiveness has resulted in Indian aluminium exports increasing to more than 50 per cent of annual production. There was a notable step-up last fiscal to offset declining domestic demand, which supported healthy utilisation rates. Overall, low cost of production and higher realisations will lift operating margins by 500 basis points this fiscal from 25 per cent seen last fiscal," the report notes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"With a strong profitability outlook resulting in an annual operating profit of Rs 20,000 crore, and current operating rates close to 95 per cent, domestic producers will see increased capital expenditure intensity over the next 2-3 years,” said Manish Gupta, Senior Director, CRISIL Ratings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts at CRISIL state that domestic aluminium producers are looking to increase&nbsp;</p> <p>the share of downstream capacities to more than 35 per cent from 20 per cent over the medium term. This will burnish realisations and strengthen business profiles. Experts point out that despite surplus aluminium production, India imports 30 per cent of its consumption, mainly finished products, whereas exports are mainly in the form of semi-finished products fetching lower realisation. CRISIL experts also point out that additionally, downstream capital expenditure will lead to higher, and more stable, profitability for aluminium producers that will also drive improvement in credit metrics. Experts say that a sharper than expected correction in global aluminium prices, weaker global demand, or lower-than expected supply tightness would be main factors to watch out for the aluminium players.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Aug 24 16:20:31 IST 2021