IndUS Business Journal

Coal India likely to offtake record 581 mn tonnes in FY18

Mar 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– Coal India Ltd (CIL) is expected to carry out a record offtake of 581 million tonne coal in 2017-18 (April-March) due to improved cooperation between the mining company and Indian Railways, the Ministry of Coal said on Friday.

“With the continuing cooperation from Railways, CIL is expected to achieve record offtake of about 581 mt (million tonne) during the current fiscal, registering a growth of 7 per cent,” a Ministry statement said.

It added: “Having realised the potential for moving over 340 rakes of coal (in a day), increased thrust is being made to carry forward the momentum to bring the power sector out of criticality and to meet the demands of other sectors of consumers.”

On March 28, the state-run company recorded the highest offtake in a day, of 2 million tonnes and the Indian Railways helped movement of 344.5 coal rakes the day, surpassing the target of 342 rakes, the Ministry said.

The synergy between Coal India and Indian Railways has improved in order “to overcome the crisis faced by thermal power plants from the month of July 2017”, it said.

“The daily average despatch to power plants during the last 10 days has also crossed the target of 1.4 million tonnes,” it said. “As a result, the stocks at the power stations’ end which had plunged to the lowest level of about 7 mt during October 2017 has now improved to 16 mt, despite rapid increase in coal consumption.”(IANS)

Read More

First LNG shipment from US reaches Maharashtra

Mar 30, 2018 0

Ratnagiri (Maharashtra)– The first shipment of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Cheniere Energy Inc., Louisiana reached GAIL (India) Ltd’s Dabhol Terminal here on Maharashtra’s Konkan coast on Friday, an official said.

The shipment is part of the two 20-year LNG supply agreements worth around $32 billion for US LNG Exports, signed by GAIL with the Dominion Energy Cove Point project in Maryland and the Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass Project in Louisiana.

The first of the shipments under the agreement was received from Cheniere Energy Inc., at Dabhol, in the presence of US Minister Counsellor for Commercial Affairs Patrick Santillo, US Consul-General to Kolkata Craig Hall and Union Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan.

“The US continues to partner with India across the broad range of energy collaboration, whether through traditional energy sources like oil – the first crude oil shipment from US to India arrived in October 2017 in Odisha – or LNG or others like coal and renewables,” said Santillo on the occasion.

He said US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster has remarked that the US is uniquely positioned to offer India a comprehensive energy partnership and energy exports are emerging as a promising means of addressing the bilateral trade deficit while simultaneously promoting India’s energy security.

Friday’s LNG shipment is expected to set the stage for the upcoming visit by US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for the upcoming US-India Strategic Partnership meeting scheduled next month (April), said Santillo.

Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, the US administration continues to work to promote free, fair and reciprocal trade with all its trading partners including India, he said.

The bilateral trade between the US and India shot up by $11 billion in 2017 to touch $125.6 billion now, Santillo added. (IANS)

Read More

India’s Forex reserves rise by $1.19 bn

Mar 30, 2018 0

Mumbai– India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves increased by $1.19 billion as on March 23, official data showed on Friday.

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) weekly statistical supplement, the overall Forex reserves rose to $422.53 billion from $421.33 billion reported for the week ended March 16.

India’s Forex reserves comprise of foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs) and the RBI’s position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Segment-wise, FCAs — the largest component of the Forex reserves — increased by $1.13 billion to $397.29 billion during the week under review.

Besides the US dollar, FCAs consist of nearly 20-30 per cent of major global currencies. It also includes investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments and deposits with foreign central and commercial banks.

In addition, the country’s gold reserves value rose by $52.7 million to $21.61 billion.

Similarly, the SDRs value increased. It inched up by $3 million to $1.54 billion, while the country’s reserve position with the IMF edged up by $4 million to $2.08 billion. (IANS)

Read More

RBI fines ICICI Bank Rs 59 cr for securities’ sales violation

Mar 29, 2018 0

Mumbai– The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Thursday it has imposed a penalty of Rs 58.9 crore on ICICI Bank for non-compliance of its directions on direct sale of securities.

The bank clarified its position saying its held-to maturity (HTM) sales happened “due to a genuine misunderstanding on the timing of the applicability of RBI’s direction in this matter.”

An RBI statement said the penalty had been imposed in “exercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(c) read with Section 46(4)(i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, taking into account failure of the bank to adhere to the aforesaid directions/guidelines issued by the RBI.”

The apex bank said the action was based on the deficiencies in regulatory compliance and was not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

“RBI has imposed a penalty on the Bank for continued sale of government securities classified as HTM. ICICI Bank had continued with the sales from HTM category for a few weeks during the quarter ended March 31, 2017, due to a genuine misunderstanding on the timing of the applicability of RBI’s direction in this matter,” ICICI Bank said in a statement.

It further added: “As per RBI guidelines, the Bank had disclosed in its annual report for FY2017 that it had sold more than 5 per cent of investments categorised as HTM. However, the bank had not made the specified additional disclosure at that time. The Bank has subsequently been making the specified disclosure as directed by RBI in the audited financial results since the quarter ended June 30, 20″7.”

The RBI guidelines require banks to classify investments into three categories — Held For Trading (HFT), Available For Sale (AFS) and Held to Maturity (HTM).

The securities acquired by the banks with the intention to hold them till maturity can be classified under HTM. If the value of sales of securities from HTM category exceeds 5 per cent of the HTM investments, banks are required to disclose in the audited annual financial statements, the market value of the HTM investments and indicate the excess of book value over market value.

The ICICI Bank also clarified: “During the current year, that is, FY2018, the bank has sold less than 5 per cent of securities from its HTM portfolio. The Bank would like to re-iterate that it continues to give utmost importance to regulatory compliance and endeavors to meet supervisory expectations.” (IANS)

Read More

Telcos’ 2016-17 pre-tax losses broaden to Rs 38,153 cr

Mar 29, 2018 0

New Delhi–  Pre-tax losses of telecom companies have broadened to Rs 38,153 crore during financial year 2016-17 from Rs 1,699 crore in the previous fiscal, the Parliament was informed on Wednesday.

“Based on audited/unaudited information submitted by telecom service sector companies to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), the profit before tax (PBT) for the telecom service sector companies has decreased from Rs (-) 1,699 crore for the financial year 2015-16 to Rs (-) 38,153 crore for the financial year 2016-17,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

He said for the financial year 2016-17, 24 out of a total of 50 companies have shown losses before tax.

“Government ensures healthy competition in telecom sector. Recently, TRAI has reiterated the regulatory principles of non-predatory, non discrimination and transparency in tariff offers vide Telecommunication Tariff (63rd Amendment) Order, 2018 on February 16, 2018,” Sinha said.

According to data provided by Sinha, losses of MTNL for 2016-17 stood at Rs 2,941.08 crore and that of BSNL at Rs 4,793 crore. (IANS)

Read More

HCAH looks at Rs 1,000 crore revenue by 2020

Mar 29, 2018 0

Kolkata–  HealthCare atHome (HCAH), backed by Dabur promoters Burman family, is looking at a Rs 1,000 crore revenue by 2020 with increasing demand for home healthcare services in India.

“Our revenue has grown by 70 times since 2014 till date. We started in NCR region and have now expanded our services in Punjab, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and many other cities and towns. We are targeting about Rs 1,000 revenue by 2020,” company’s co-founder and CEO Vivek Srivastava said.

The company has witnessed a significant growth in ICU space. Since inception in September 2012, it has done over 25,000 oncology or immunology procedures and more than 20,000 ICU days at home and served over 4 lakh patients across 40 cities.

“For our hospital at home services business, about 40 per cent of it comes from the ICU space and while in terms of total revenue, the ICU services contribute about 20 per cent. Our integrated pharma business which has also grown rapidly contributes a sizeable share in total revenue,” Srivastava said.

Currently, the company has been doing about 500 oncology procedures a month and it is expected to grow manifold, he said.

Depending on the services, the prices vary from as low as Rs 500 for injection administration, wound dressing and others to Rs 20,000-Rs 25,000 a day for high-end services including ICU care, he said.

Entering into the Kolkata market, the home healthcare service provided is looking to make the metropolis a base to cater to other eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand and northeastern states, he added. (IANS)

Read More

India to export 65-70 lakh bales of cotton in 2017-18

Mar 29, 2018 0

By P.K. Jha

New Delhi– India will export 65-70 lakh bales of cotton in the ongoing cotton season 2017-18 (October-September) amid aggressive demands from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and China, said an official on Thursday.

Atul Ganatra, President, Cotton Association of India (CAI), said that apart from the neighbouring countries, India has also been receiving demands for cotton from several other countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia and Turkey.

According to the CAI, India had exported 63 lakh bales of cotton last year. Each bale has nearly 170 kg of cotton.

Foreign buyers are interested in sourcing cotton from India as they find it cost effective and less expensive in comparison to other countries, said Ganatra.

India has already shipped nearly 53-55 lakh bales in the current season and contracts have been signed for another 8-10 lakh bales scheduled for shipment in April-May.

According to him, Indian cotton exports would reach 65 lakh bales by May-end as Bangladesh, the world’s largest cotton importer, does not have much of its own production and its spinning mills largely depend on imports.

“In the early six months of this cotton production and marketing season 2017-18 (October-March), India has sold 55 lakh bales of cotton, of which 17 lakh bales have been shipped to Bangladesh followed by 11 lakh bales to Pakistan, 10 lakh to Vietnam, seven lakh to China, 7 lakh to Indonesia and Taiwan, and 3 lakh to other countries including Sri Lanka, Turkey and Thailand, among others,” the CAI chief told IANS.

In case China’s demand shifts from the US to India, its largest supplier, it will be a win-win situation for both cotton growers and suppliers as the prices of Indian cotton will move up, he said.

“But at present China has huge stocks in its government vault for current year’s consumption, therefore, it will not source much. However, by the end of season, India’s cotton exports to China may touch 10 lakh bales,” Ganatra added.

The CAI had pegged India’s cotton crop at 362 lakh bales for 2017-18 in its monthly report on March 9, 2018, down five lakh bales from the previous month as pink ball worms infestation and dry weather caused severe damage to the cotton crop this year in the Maharashtra and Telangana regions — the two key cotton producers in India.

As per the Association estimates, the consumption of local mills is 330 lakh bales. Taking into account the export figure of 65-70 lakh bales, the aggregate demand works out to nearly 400 lakh bales.

As for the supplies, it is pegged at 412 lakh bales, with 362 lakh bales of the current year’s production and 30 lakh carry-forward bales, while imports are expected to be around 20 lakh bales. Hence, the closing stocks would be around 12 lakh bales.

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures, India is the largest producer of cotton in the world with 365 lakh bales this year, followed by China (353 lakh bales), the U.S. (273 lakh bales), Pakistan (105 lakh bales) and Brazil (103 lakh bales).

The five largest exporters of cotton are the U.S. (186 lakh bales), Australia (56 lakh bales), Brazil (54 lakh bales), India (54 lakh bales) and Uzbekistan (15 lakh bales).

As per the US agency, five major consumers of cotton are China (513 lakh bales), India (314 lakh bales), Pakistan (134 lakh bales), Bangladesh, (92 lakh bales) and Turkey (90 lakh bales).

The five major importers are Bangladesh (93 lakh bales), China (64 lakh bales), Vietnam (54 lakh bales), Indonesia (45 lakh bales) and Turkey (45 lakh bales). (IANS)

Read More

India, Japan call for free, stable, prosperous Indo-Pacific

Mar 29, 2018 0

Tokyo– India and Japan on Thursday called for a peaceful, stable, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region following the Ninth India-Japan Strategic Dialogue co-chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono here.

“Our Special Strategic and Global Partnership has acquired a broader significance in the current global context,” Sushma Swaraj said while jointly addressing the media with Kono.

“Our growing convergence on economic and strategic issues is important for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

Kono said India was Japan’s most important partner in its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.

“Our Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and India’s Act East Policy should be further merged,” he said.

The remarks assume significance given China’s belligerence in the South China Sea and attempts to increase its footprint in the Indo-Pacific region.

India and Japan, along with the US and Australia, are also part of the recently revived quad that seeks to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

In her address, Sushma Swaraj said that in Thursday’s Strategic Dialogue, she and Kono discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Stating that India has emerged as the fastest-growing large economy in the world, she said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is strongly committed to improving the “ease of doing business” and has “set into motion many far-reaching changes to build infrastructure, reform the business environment and promote education, skills and economic development”.

“In my discussions with Foreign Minister Kono, I emphasized that in India’s transformational journey, we regard Japan as a natural partner.”

Sushma Swaraj said that India welcomes Japanese entrepreneurs with new opportunities in flagship initiatives such as Smart City, Digital India, Start-Up India and many others.

“Foreign Minister Kono and I had very productive discussions on how India and Japan are today working closely to build robust ties in high speed rail, information and communications technology, innovation, space science, healthcare and food processing, to name just a few.

“We also exchanged views on some new areas of focus in our engagement, such as skills development, Japanese language training in India and the possibility of Indian professionals working in Japan under the Technical Intern Training Programme.”

She said that both sides appreciated the growing people-to-people ties between the two countries and “also expressed our satisfaction over growing role of states in India and prefectures in Japan as active stake-holders in our partnership”.

Stating that both sides exchanged views on some important global issues where India and Japan have growing convergences, she said: “We shared the view that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is a global scourge that requires global action in the spirit of azero tolerance’, including by rooting out terrorist safe havens, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists.”

Sushma Swaraj also said that both sides emphasised the need for concerted global action to deal with other common challenges such as climate change.

She said she believed the Strategic Dialogue has laid a sound foundation for the annual bilateral summit between Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to be held later this year.

Following the talks, the two sides signed loan agreements on projects being implemented in India with Japanese aid, including on connectivity in northeastern India, Mumbai Metro Line 3, construction of Chennai Sea Water Desalination Plant and Himachal Pradesh forest ecosystem management.

Earlier, Sushma Swaraj addressed the Indian community at the Vivekanand Cultural Centre here during which she lauded the contribution of the diaspora in strengthening India’s relations with Japan and creating a positive image about India in Japan.

She met former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is Chairman of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Policy Research Council, and discussed ways to take the bilateral relationship forward. (IANS)

Read More

India should open up solar PV market: Chinese manufacturer

Mar 29, 2018 0

By Biswajit Choudhury

Changzhou (China)– Trina Solar of China, the largest manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels globally and India’s biggest supplier, awaits further easing of business conditions for the sector to begin production in the country for which the company has acquired land in Andhra Pradesh, according to Chairman and CEO Gao Jifan.

In an exclusive chat here with Indian reporters on the sidelines of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Chinese solar giant, Gao said he also had occasions to speak about the importance of developing the Indian solar market with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a time the country is in a mission mode on solar energy as a co-founder of the Gurugram-headquartered International Solar Alliance.

The sheer scale of Trina’s achievements testify to its pride of place in China, which has been struggling with its own emission problems. Founded in 1997, it became the first solar PV maker to be listed in the New York Stock Exchange in 2006. The company has already shipped 32 gigawatt (GW), or 32,000 megawatt (MW), of modules to the rest of the world. Its products are available in 70 countries and shipments last year alone amounted to 9 GW.

Trina, which specialises in the manufacture of crystalline silicon PV modules and system integration, currently has about 10 per cent share of the global market. It also produces ingots, wafers and solar cells. It has over 20 per cent share in the Indian market and has cumulatively supplied 3 GW of equipment.

Gao explained that while India will continue to be a prime market for Trina, module-making is a high-investment activity and costs of manufacturing in India are very high. Solar power tariffs, as discovered through competitive bidding, have, however, been falling at the same time and are currently below Rs 2.50 per unit.

“Unfortunately, PV manufacturing lacks a supply chain in India and we prefer to import equipment from overseas,” Gao said.

“If costs of making in India do not support the economics of production for the customer, it makes our job difficult. Our basic principle is to provide value for the customer. If the local customer cannot afford our products, that makes it difficult for us to produce,” he said.

Another gap in India is the lack of reliable power supply for production, he said.

The company has signed an MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government to set up a manufacturing plant with an investment of Rs 2,800 crore. Around 90 acres of land have been earmarked for the proposed unit at Atchutapuram in Visakhapatnam district. State Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has said the factory would create employment opportunities for 3,500 people.

Trina had, in 2014, supplied 600,000 panels for India’s largest solar project of 151 MW at Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh.

“I hope India opens up the PV market,” Gao said, underlining the importance of producing locally if Trina wants to grow in the country. However, the lack of a developed domestic supply chain means that production is not cost-competitive. Nearly 90 per cent of India’s solar panels are imported, while Indian manufacturers have to depend on accessories from China.

India’s national solar programme, launched in 2010, has a domestic content requirement clause in order to protect and encourage local industry. It mandates that a solar power producer compulsorily source a certain percentage of solar cells and modules from local manufacturers in order to be able to benefit from the government guarantee to purchase the energy produced.

In this connection, a World Trade Organisation panel has earlier ruled that India’s domestic content requirement for the solar sector is inconsistent with its treaty obligations.

Besides, cheaper Chinese imports have provoked industry bodies like the Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association to demand safeguard levies and anti-dumping duties.

On the other hand, with the sharp fall in solar and wind tariffs in India, as well as in equipment costs, government incentives had dried up, according to solar stakeholders.

A recent report by global accounting firm KPMG says that in the absence of strong local manufacturing, India will need to import $42 billion of solar equipment by 2030, corresponding to 100 GW of installed capacity.

The latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance report on the Indian solar sector, titled “Trade Dispute Overshadows Rising Market”, projects India’s solar cells and PV market, currently at 8.6 GW, to cross 12 GW by 2020. Around 90 per cent of Indian imports of PV cells and modules last year came from China and were worth over $3 billion.

Gao also said that Trina has set up a new business vertical to develop the rooftop solar market for the residential segment, as well as for big and small industry, the total size of which in India is around 1 GW. (IANS)

Read More

Government committed to data protection: Minister

Mar 29, 2018 0

New Delhi– The government is committed to data protection and is taking steps in the reported data leak through Facebook, Union Law and IT Minister Ravi Shakar Prasad said on Thursday.

“We have given notices to both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. We will wait for their response before initiating action,” Prasad told the media.

“We have said it earlier too that we are fully committed to data protection and will take any breach very seriously,” he added.

Cambridge Analytica is a British firm that harvests voters’ data to be used to its clients’ advantage in elections. The firm had harvested data of 50 million Facebook users and influenced several elections across the globe, including the 2016 US presidential polls. (IANS)

Read More