IndUS Business Journal

E-commerce in India to invest $8 billion in infrastructure, logistics: Study

Jun 29, 2016 0

New Delhi–With the growing popularity of online shopping in India, the e-commerce companies are expected to invest close to $6-8 billion in logistics, infrastructure and warehousing in the next few years, an Assocham-PwC study said here on Wednesday.

The e-commerce market in India is expected to touch $80 billion by 2020.

D S Rawat

D.S. Rawat

At present, there is a very low level of air cargo penetration and only a few airports are equipped to handle large volumes of express delivery parcels.

As e-commerce gathers momentum and moves to the tier-II and tier-III cities, there will be increasing demand of expanding air cargo connectivity to smaller towns. The industry would invest about $8 billion by 2025, the study noted.

“Innovations are very important in this sector, as the demand is always for more reach and faster shipping at lower costs. The companies will need to invest in automation, while utilising existing resources well,” said D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham.

The overall e-commerce industry, valued at $25 billion has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of about 35-40 per cent each year, the study said, adding that it is expected to cross the $100 billion mark in five years.

“India is successful in becoming the largest e-commerce market in the world. The rapid transformation in logistics, innovation, consumerism and productivity prove to be an interesting case study for other emerging economies,” Rawat added.(IANS)

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Amul to expand milk processing capacity

Jun 29, 2016 0

New Delhi– The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets the Amul brand of milk and dairy products, on Wednesday said it plans to expand its milk processing capacity by 2017.

According to the new plans, the company will increase its milk processing capacity to 320 lakh litres per day (LLPD) by March 2017 from 280 LLPD.

“Our plants have a milk handling capacity of 280 LLPD. Last year, Amul produced almost 170 LLPD,” said R.S. Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF.

“The production is at its peak during winter. We are aiming at increasing our production to 320 LLPD by March,” Sodhi told reporters at the sidelines of an event here.

The company said the rise in milk prices had not eroded its market share.

“The trust in Amul brand is blind faith. We always sell fresh milk,” Sodhi said.

In 2015-16, Amul achieved a growth of 67 per cent to clock a turnover of Rs 23,004 crore.

Besides the increase in milk processing capacity, the company plans to launch new products in the Indian sweets category.

“We are launching Rasmalai and Rasgulla… This is the first time Rasmalai will come in a branded form in India, with a shelf life of one year. It will be in frozen form,” Sodhi added.

In addition, the company aims to engage youth by leveraging the connection between energy of milk and sports.

Amul announced that it has invested an amount of Rs 1 crore on account of being the official sponsor of the Indian contingent at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“Amul is committed to strengthening the Olympic movement in India and encourage young generation from all over the country to take up Olympic sports,” Sodhi added.

“I take great pleasure and pride in announcing our sponsorship of the Indian contingent to the Olympic Games Rio 2016.”

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Black money window will not be extended: Jaitley

Jun 28, 2016 0

New Delhi– Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday made it amply clear that the window to disclose unaccounted wealth will not be extended beyond the four month period, ending on September 30.

“(We) will not extend compliance. This is a last chance for people to declare their unaccounted income. Government will run it as a mission. Later whoever will come under the purview of the law, will have to bear consequences,” Jaitley told reporters after meeting representatives of trade and industry and professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India, Delhi Tax Bar, etc. to discuss the compliance window.

Jaitley-USThe one-time compliance window – Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) 2016 – opened from June 1 till September 30, as mentioned earlier by the finance minister in the Union Budget.

Jaitley said that suggestions were taken from all business chambers, industry associations, professional bodies.

“Various suggestions came in. One of the ideas is to hold meetings with assessees and professionals, particularly tax consultants, CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) officials and ministers of the government to educate the people on the scheme, so that maximum number can avail of it,” he said.

Another suggestion was the facility of tax to be paid in instalments, he added.

Jaitley however emphasised that IDS 2016 was not an immunity as the people, who fall under the category, will need to pay a penalty.

“This is not immunity scheme, there is a tax penalty. We are expecting that all those who have such unaccounted income, will bring it in the purview of law. Any declaration made under this law is protected. The information will not be made public and will not be shared with any other authority,” he said.

CBDT on Monday had issued a fresh set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the disclosure window. (IANS)

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Most Indians ready to take debt for child’s education: Study

Jun 28, 2016 0

New Delhi– A vast majority of Indian parents, as many as 71 per cent, are willing to take debt to fund their children’s higher education, said a study conducted by a leading international bank on Tuesday.

In case of foreign bound students, the parents’ willingness to avail debt for financing their children’s education rose to 76 per cent.

S. Ramakrishnan

S. Ramakrishnan

“The financial sacrifices that parents are willing to make to fund their children’s education are proof of the unquestioning support…,” said HSBC India Retail Banking and Wealth Management Head S. Ramakrishnan in a statement.

According to the study conducted by HSBC Bank, fathers and young parents aged 34 or below (77 per cent) are more likely to consider debt than mothers and parents aged 35 and above (68 per cent).

“Of the total number of parents surveyed in India, 41 per cent felt that funding their child’s education was more important than contributing to their own retirement savings,” said the study.

Besides, mothers (45 per cent) are more likely to believe than fathers (37 per cent) that contributing to retirement savings is less vital than funding their children’s education.

Nearly 65 per cent parents said that paying for thier child’s education is making it hard for them to meet other financial commitments as college and university education costs around Rs 2,05,000 a year on average.

Though 97 per cent parents are the principal contributors of funds for their children’s education, 13 per cent parents expected their children to bear the cost of their higher education.

Only one per cent children at the universities are helping fund their own education.

Interestingly, India is in third position across the world with 71 per cent of parents willing to take debt to fund their children’s education, topped by China (81 per cent) and Mexico (74 per cent).

“However, parents need to make sure that this financial investment is not made to the detriment of their own future well-being,” added Ramakrishnan. (IANS)

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Banks’ bad loans may rise to 8.5% of assets by March: RBI

Jun 28, 2016 0

Mumbai–Gross non-performing assets (GNPAs), or bad loans, of commercial banks may rise to 8.5 per cent of total assets by March 2017, from 7.6 percent in March 2016, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Tuesday based on “stress tests” it has conducted.

“Risks to India’s banking sector have increased since the publication of the last Financial Stability Report (FSR) in December 2015, mainly on account of a further deterioration in asset quality and low profitability,” RBI said in its latest FSR 2016.

“The gross non-performing advances rose sharply to 7.6 per cent of gross advances in March 2016 from 5.1 per cent in September 2015, largely reflecting re-classification of restructured advances to NPAs following an asset quality review (AQR).

“The macro stress tests suggest that under the baseline scenario, the GNPA ratio may rise to 8.5 per cent by March 2017 from 7.6 per cent in March 2016,” it said.

“If the macro situation deteriorates in the future, the GNPA ratio may increase further to 9.3 per cent by March 2017,” the report added.

Banks are currently focusing on cleaning their balance sheets following the AQR that showed up around $35 billion of new bad loans since September, pushing gross bad loans to 7.6 per cent in March from 5.1 per cent in September 2015.

Overall stressed assets – consisting of bad loans as well as restructured assets – rose to 11.5 per cent in March from 11.3 percent six months earlier.

“The stress in the banking sector, which mirrors the stress in the corporate sector, has to be dealt with in order to revive credit growth,” RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, who had ordered the banks’ AQR last year, wrote in the report.

Instead, non-banking finance companies (NBFC) have reported an improvement in most of their performance metrics, the FSR said.

The gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio for the NBFC sector declined to 4.6 per cent of the total advances in March 2016 from 5.1 per cent in September 2015.

“While the regulatory norms for the NBFC sector are sought to be brought closer to those applicable to banks, the performance of this sector (return on equity and return on assets) seems to be much better as compared to that of banks,” the report said.

It noted that loan growth of the NBFC sector was at 16.6 per cent for fiscal 2016, nearly double compared with the 8.8 per cent growth in aggregate credit across the banking sector. The aggregate balance sheet of the NBFC sector expanded by 15.5 per cent for fiscal 2016 compared with 15.7 per cent the previous year.

The study, covering the 11,682 NBFCs operating as of March 2016, also found the capital adequacy ratio for NBFCs as a whole improved to 24.3 per cent as of March 2016 from 23.85 per cent in September 2015.

In the connection, the report said stressed companies are deleveraging fast and number of “weak” companies are declining.

The RBI survey showed the proportion of private non-financial leveraged companies that have negative net worth, or debt to equity ratio of more than 2, declined sharply from 19 per cent in March 2015 to 14 per cent in March 2016. The share of these companies in the total debt also declined from 33.8 per cent to 20.6 per cent.

Similarly, the proportion of “highly leveraged” companies, with debt to equity ratio of more than 3, declined from 14.2 per cent to 12.9 per cent.

Further, the share of “weak” companies — defined as those having interest coverage ratio of less than 1 — declined to 15 per cent as on March 2016, compared with 17.8 per cent in March 2015. (IANS)

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Haryana declares tourism as industry

Jun 28, 2016 0

Chandigarh– To support growth of tourism sector in the state, the Haryana government on Tuesday declared tourism as an industry for land use purpose.

The decision to this effect was taken in-principle in a meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here on Tuesday.

Manohar Lal KhattarThe move has been made to attract big investment in tourism projects in Haryana.

“The components that have been classified as land use under industry include all tourism projects and activities with the exception of activities like hotels, tourist resorts, eat streets or outdoor dining areas or promenades or food courts or restaurants and commercial components within recreational or commercial activities,” a Haryana government spokesman said here.

“These provisions would be applicable to mega projects only involving investment of Rs 100 crore or above or employing more than 500 people. These would be applicable with prospective effect to all new as well as expansion projects involving an investment of Rs 50 crore,” he added.

Haryana was the pioneer state in highway tourism in the 1970s and 1980s with government-run and private outlets along highways running successfully. However, in the absence of further impetus, the state has lagged behind on the tourism front despite having a rich historical background and being the land of the Mahabharata battle. (IANS)

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Air India offers seats at same fare as Rajdhani Express

Jun 28, 2016 0

New Delhi– Air India on Tuesday said it will offer ‘Super Fares’ seats to those who are unable to get confirmed bookings on Rajdhani Express at a price equivalent to first class seats in the train.

“Under the (Super fares) scheme, passengers can book the tickets four hours prior to the flight departure at a fare which is equivalent to that of Rajdhani Express (1A),” it said in a statement.

Air IndiaThe airline said passengers can avail an all-inclusive economy class one way fare on select domestic routes from June 26 to September 30.

At present, 21 Rajdhani Express trains run across the Indian Railways network and close to 20,000 passengers travel with the train on daily basis.

The airline said thousands of passengers are unable to get confirmed tickets due to non-availability of seats.

“We will bridge this gap as passengers can book the tickets through Air India booking offices or from and reach their destination at the same cost of Rajdhani Express, but in much lesser time,” the airline said.

While booking the tickets through Air India website, customers need to apply promo code ‘SPOT’, it said.

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Dalmia Bharat looks at increasing capacity utilisation of cement units

Jun 28, 2016 0

Kolkata–Amid growing demand, the Dalmia Bharat group expects capacity utilisation of its cement plants in the eastern region will increase, a top official of the group said on Tuesday.

“The eastern market is expected to grow at around 10-12 per cent this year. We aim to grow at almost double that rate.

“In Bengal the growth has been robust and the trend is expected to continue. Demand is also growing in Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. Planned investment in infrastructure, especially in roads in the rural sector and housing will boost demand for cement,” said group company OCL India director and CEO Amandeep.

The group installed around 9 million tonnes capacity in the eastern part of the country with plants located at Odisha, Bengal and Jharkhand. It sold around 6.8 million tonnes the eastern market in the last fiscal and expects to achieve nearly full capacity this year.

It has also around 3 million tonne capacity in the northeast.

The company would focus on utilising its existing assets before adding more capacity. “In times to come we would require more capacity. But as of now, nothing is finalised,” he said.

Bengal’s cement market is at around 15 million tonnes per annum and grew at 6 per cent last year. In addition to its plant at Salboni in the state, the company also leased capacity at a cement plant in Siliguri.  (IANS)

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US dollar falls against most major currencies

Jun 28, 2016 0

New York– The US dollar declined against most major currencies after soaring for two sessions on Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

In late New York trading on Tuesday, the euro rose to $1.1046 from $1.1019 in the previous session, while the dollar bought 102.77 Japanese yen, higher than 101.99 in the previous session, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Senator Chuck Grassley Asks Obama Administration to Discontinue Issuing Visa to Indians and Citizens of 22 Other Nations

Jun 28, 2016 0

WASHINGTON: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has asked the Obama Administration to discontinue issuing immigrant and non-immigrant visas to citizens from 23 countries, including India.

He blamed the Obama administration for its failure to use authority provided to it by Congress to hold accountable countries that won’t take back their own citizens who have been ordered removed from the United States, which has allowed thousands of criminals to be released into U.S. communities.

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032

“Many times, these individuals have criminal histories in addition to entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.  “Dangerous criminals, including murderers, are being released every day because their home countries will not cooperate in taking them back.  In fiscal year 2015 alone, 2,166 individuals were released in the United States because of this decision and the non-cooperation from recalcitrant countries; more than 6,100 were released in the preceding two years.”

Currently, 23 countries are labeled as uncooperative, with the top five most recalcitrant countries being Cuba, China, Somalia, India, and Ghana.  In addition, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is monitoring another 62 nations where cooperation is strained, but which are not yet deemed recalcitrant.

In the letter to Johnson, Grassley reminded him that, “Congress addressed this problem when it enacted section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Under section 243(d), the Secretary of State is required to discontinue granting immigrant or nonimmigrant visas to a country upon receiving notice from you that the country has denied or is unreasonably delaying accepting a citizen, subject, national or resident of that country.  This tool has been used only once, in the case of Guyana in 2001, where it had an immediate effect, resulting in obtaining cooperation from Guyana within two months.”

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