Port authority reduces number of documents to ease business

Jul 23, 2016 0

New Delhi– Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) chairperson Anil Diggikar has said they have reduced the number of documents required by the port to bring down the waiting time for tractor trailers (TT).

“First thing we did was to reduce the number of documents required by the port. Currently, we require only one document from the trade and that too is made online. This obviously helped in reducing the waiting time for tractor trailers (TT),” said an official statement quoting Diggikar.

Stating that the ease of doing business at JNPT is at par with its global counterparts now, Diggikar said: “The major initiatives taken by JNPT are switching over to e-platform for all its commercial procedures and improving its road infrastructure to streamline the traffic.”

“The Port has also started inter-terminal movement of tracter trailers (TTs) and also incentivizes the movement of containers from and to Container Freight Station (CFS) by rail. These two initiatives have taken a lot of pressure off the road,” said Diggikar in the statement.

Among other major steps taken by JNPT, includes commencement of direct port delivery (DPD) from the terminal for ACP clients.

“A lot of transaction time and money is saved by avoiding the earlier format of taking containers to the CFS and getting clearance from there. The port has allotted additional area to the private terminals to facilitate more DPD volumes,” said the statement.

According to the statement, there was significant increase in the number of containers cleared after the facility has come in practice.

“In pursuance of port initiatives, the shipping lines have switched over to e-delivery orders in place of manual orders which has now made container deliveries quick and hassle-free,” said the statement adding that JN Port has also made significant improvements to its road infrastructure, especially on the last mile connectivity.

“JN Port has widened and concretised the critical junctions on the roads to the terminal. The work was completed in June 2016. For the long term, JN Port, through SPV formed by JNPT, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), with NHAI being the implementing agency, has initiated 6/8 lanes road widening project of linkages to national and state highways,” said the statement.

This project will be in four packages with a completion period of two years. In addition to the existing parking areas at JN Port, the Port is developing Centralised Parking Plaza.

JN Port has deployed dedicated team of Officers for coordinating the flow of traffic round the clock with police authorities. JN Port has provided 25 (twenty five) security guards to assist Police for controlling the container traffic at nodal points.

“As a result of these initiatives, the average import dwell time has reduced to 1.5 days, which compares well with international benchmark of 1.5-2 days. Similarly, average export dwell time is reduced to 65 hours from the earlier 88 hours,” said the statement quoting Neeraj Bansal, Deputy Chairman at JNPT.

He also added that Port is constantly striving with plans and initiatives for meeting the increased traffic and business as first phase of its mega fourth container terminal of 4.8 Million TEUs capacity will be ready in Dec 2017.

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Market Roundup: Markets rebound on foreign funds inflow, indices close flat

Jul 23, 2016 0

By Porisma P. Gogoi

Mumbai– Indian equity markets took a breather and consolidated the gains with substantial amount of foreign funds inflow during the week ended Friday, even as weak global cues prompted investors to book profits.

The two key equity indices — the sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE and the Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) — rebounded on value buying after being through a volatile trading week and closed with minimal losses.

The 30-scrip Sensex closed the week’s trade flat, with a marginal loss of 33.26 points or 0.12 per cent at 27,803.24 points.

Bombay Stock Exchange

Bombay Stock Exchange

Similarly, the 51-scrip NSE Nifty also closed flat at 8,541.20 points — down a tad 0.20 points.

“It has been a sedate week for the Indian stock markets, with benchmark indices trading range-bound during the week,” Brijesh Ved, Senior Portfolio Manager, BNP Paribas AMC, told IANS.

“However, despite a sideways moving market, institutional activity during the week has been robust with foreign institutional investors (FIIs) being net buyers and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) being net sellers in all the trading sessions during the week.”

The benchmark indices had a frail start to the week as gloomy quarterly results subdued the risk-taking appetite of investors leading them to book profits.

On the global front, the markets traded higher but amidst volatility, as investors digested a number of geopolitical events in the European region. However, positive bias was partly infused into the markets after better-than-expected Chinese economic data was released, which gave credence to the government’s efforts to stabilize growth in the economy.

Moreover, the Indian markets traded with blended sentiments on the back of mixed domestic cues, such as the government’s announcement of a healthy round of capital infusion in state-run banks and a disappointing decision that oil producers would have to pay royalty to crude oil producing states at pre-discount rates, leading to an erosion in investors’ sentiments.

Some positive momentum was noticed in the markets after global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Monday affirmed India’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings (IDR) at “BBB-“, leading to a slight spurt in value buying.

However, upcoming risks of global events, such as reduced chances of further monetary policy easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) in its monetary policy review and lower growth forecast for India by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to sluggish recovery in private investments, disheartened investors.

Although the key indices tried to recover on the back of value buying, marginal recovery in global markets, healthy progress of monsoon season and a firm rupee, the upward trajectory was hampered by profit booking, disappointing quarterly results and weak global crude oil prices.

Nevertheless, a couple of other domestic cues that included short covering and reinforced hopes on the passage of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) bill in parliament’s ongoing monsoon session, supported by continued inflow of foreign funds, supported prices at the lower levels and kept the markets buoyant.

“Markets remained buoyant as a good monsoon season so far has lifted hopes of a revival in farm output and incomes, which in turn is likely to give a fillip to consumption,” Ved added.

“Indian markets will continue to take cues from the developments during the monsoon session, along with the quarterly results. Participants are likely to keep their ear to the ground with respect to the dialogue on the passage of the GST bill and any developments on this are likely to impact investor sentiment.”

According to Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit BNP Paribas, the markets opened on a weak note due to subdued quarter one (Q1) results as well as weak global cues.

“The Nifty index stuck at a range of 8,500-8,600 levels for the whole week, which indicated indecisiveness. But positively, the midcap and smallcap indices continued to outperform with one per cent gains for the week,” Nair said.

“After the tepid start, the main index (Sensex) held up to gains of previous week owing to better Q1 results in the later part of the week by some large caps in banking, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), and oil and gas. Additionally, greater expectation on the passage of GST supported the market.”

Sector-wise, the BSE oil and gas index was up 2.51 per cent, the healthcare index was up 1.91 per cent, and the automobile index was up 1.09 per cent.

On the other hand, the telecom index was down by 1.91 per cent, the banking index was down 1.58 per cent and consumer durables index was down 1.22 per cent.

Among the individual Sensex stocks, Coal India was the top gainer (up 3.39 per cent at Rs 330.50), followed by Tata Consultancy Services (up 2.75 per cent at Rs 2,509.15), Tata Motors (up 2.74 per cent at Rs 506.40), Sun Pharmaceuticals (up 2.25 per cent at Rs 787.75) and Adani Ports (up 2.14 per cent at Rs 224.50).

The losers were led by Axis Bank (down 4.82 per cent at Rs 537.55), Hindustan Unilever (down 3.91 per cent at Rs 902.90), State Bank of India (down 3.48 per cent at Rs 223.45), ONGC (down 3.47 per cent at Rs 222.45) and Wipro (down 3.10 per cent at Rs 537.45).

The week witnessed an appreciable influx of foreign funds. Provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that FIIs purchased stocks worth Rs 2,222.20 crore.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) showed that foreign portfolio investors were net buyers of equities worth Rs 5,235.42 crore, or $780.63 million from July 18-22.

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ITC Ltd aspires to be multinational, national champion

Jul 22, 2016 0

Kolkata– ITC Ltd aspires to become a multinational company and a national champion, company’s Chairman and CEO Y.C. Deveshwar told shareholders on Friday. ITC has planned multiple projects with an outlay of Rs 25,000 crore over the next five years, he added.

“Indian companies become multinational. That is our aspiration.. to make ITC one such multinational,” he said while replying to shareholders’ queries in the 105th annual general meeting.

Y.C. Deveshwar

Y.C. Deveshwar

“The company is going to have plants all over India. And you (shareholders) should hope thatAwe should have plants all over the world. But charity begins at home,” he said.

Deveshwar aid that there are inspiring examples of national champions worldwide who enrich their economies in many dimensions and bring honour to their countries by their innovative excellence.

“Apple in the US, Samsung in Korea, Toyata in Japan are some of these exemplary corporations. Can we in India not dream of building our own institutions that stand amongst the finest in the world? I believe we can, and we must,” he told shareholders.

Deveshwar said although he hoped to continue to address the shareholders in the coming years as chairman of the company, it was the last time he was addressing them in the joint capacity of chairman and CEO.

“There is unfinished agenda. I am very happy to say that we have a world-class youthful team at the company and that is going to take this company forward and will outdo what we did in the past,” he said.

Deveshwar said, “First we must play in the Indian global market and overcome the disadvantage that the Indian companies have…and after we tested our strength with the global markets here, then we will go overseas.

“We are not satisfied with where we are. Because it is the constructive force of dissatisfaction gives you the energy to move forward. And we always have found ways of getting the constructive force of dissatisfaction so that we can make fine ways to make improvement in the future.”

The strategy to pursue multiple drivers of growth has led to a 17-fold growth in company’s non-cigarette businesses since 1996, registering a net segment revenue of Rs 23,000 crore.

“Compared to the size of ITC in 1996, the non-cigarette businesses along represent a size akin to creating 5 ITCs of that time,” he said.

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Indian Supreme Court refuses to put on hold Adarsh demolition for now

Jul 22, 2016 0

New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Friday refused to put on hold, for now, the demolition of the controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society building in Mumbai and told the director of military estates (army) to take the custody of building and secure it.

Asking the army estate branch to take the possession of the building and the land on which it has been constructed, the bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre said an inventory of documents currently kept in the office of the building society would be prepared under supervision of the registrar of the Bombay High Court before being handed over to the society office bearers .

Supreme Court-IndiaThe bench said that the possession of the Adarsh building would pass on to director of military estates or his nominee by August 5 and simultaneously the documents would be handed over to the representatives of the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society.

While issuing notice and refusing to pass any interim order on the plea for the stay of the April 29 judgment of the Bombay High Court ordering the demolition of the controversial building, the bench said that the government would take its possession.

The court gave the custody of the Adarsh building to the director of military estate, after ascertaining that none of the flats in 31-storey building was occupied.

The court also said that the furniture that some of the flat owners had kept in their flats after getting the possession too would be handed over to the representatives of the society. The possession letters were later cancelled.

Initially the bench had said that it will ask the central government to take the possession of the building and maintain and protect it. However, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar urged the court to hand over the possession of the building to Naval command in the area.

The court order came in the course of the hearing of a plea by the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society challenging the April 29 Bombay High Court judgment directing the demolition of the controversial building which it held was illegally constructed.

The high court had also ordered the initiation of criminal proceedings against the politicians and bureaucrats for misusing their positions.

While court asked the director of military estate to take the possession of the building and secure it, senior counsel Shekhar Naphade expressed the apprehension that Mumbai Municipal Corporation may go ahead with the demolition of the building as directed by the High Court.

But the bench sought to dispel the apprehension expressed by Naphade saying that they have directed the director of military estate to take the custody of the building and secure it.

However, the matter was put to rest after the Solicitor General told the court: “We will secure the building and the land and there will be no demolition.” (IANS)

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Rise of fiscal frauds are sore point for foreign investors in India

Jul 22, 2016 0

New Delhi–A rise in financial frauds has become one of the sore points for foreign investors and needs to checked by a global standard regulatory framework coupled with the companies’ in-house mechanisms, a study has said.

“With the increased prevalence of fraud and the negative consequences associated with it, there is a strong argument that companies should invest resources and time to tackle it,” a paper authored jointly by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and global consultancy firm Grant Thornton said.

“Cases of financial fraud have risen in India over the last few years and have become one of the main factors deterring foreign companies from investing in India,” it said.

Sunil Kanoria

Sunil Kanoria

As the Indian economy is growing, increasing corporate frauds will prove to be disastrous for India, the paper said.

Noting companies’ inability to perform an effective fraud risk assessment, the paper said, “As technology is advancing, fraudsters are able to find ways to use it and perpetrate a fraud. Tech-savvy fraudsters are using technology in a variety of ways to commit fraud.”

“Devious ingenuity of the human brain is now leveraging technology to indulge in more sophisticated methods of crimes which are very much capable of creating systemic instability,” Assocham President Sunil Kanoria was quoted as saying.

“Putting restrictions on what your employees have access to will limit the potential of misappropriation of assets but if an employee has access to all aspects of an organisation, the potential for fraud is significantly increased,” the paper said.

Vidya Rajarao, Partner, Grant Thornton India, said the initiative to stop frauds must come from the senior management.

“The responsibility of preventing, detecting and investigating corporate and financial frauds rests squarely on board of directors. The top management should define their anti-fraud strategy, establish appropriate fraud mitigation steps and train their employees to combat financial and corporate frauds,” Rajarao said.

It is not to suggest as if there are no financial frauds taking place in rest of the world, said the paper that enumerated several big-time scandals that have hit the international headlines.

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Kochi among India’s 100 best start-up incubators

Jul 22, 2016 0

Kochi– The Kochi Startup Village has been ranked top among the 100 best startup incubators in India by the India edition of Entrepreneur Magazine.

The Entrepreneur Magazine survey report, that came out on Friday, assessed the incubators on the basis of several criteria, including the number of graduating startups, their success in raising funds and funding-equity and the duration of the programme.

Since 2012, Startup Village has supported nearly 590 physical and virtual incubatees in Kochi and 200 in Vizag.

Kris Gopalakrishnan

Kris Gopalakrishnan

“It is a great honour for Startup Village to be named the country’s best incubator just as it gears up for even bigger challenges in its search for a billion dollar campus startup,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infosys co-founder and chief mentor of Startup Village.

The latest accolade for Startup Village comes on the heels of the National Award for Technology Business Incubator from the government in 2015.

“The PPP model of Startup Village gives its tremendous ability to create deeper impact and it has been changing the whole culture of student entrepreneurship across the nation,” said H.K. Mittal, head of the National S&T Entrepreneurship Development Board.

Last week, Startup Village launched into its second phase with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launching the online platform SV.CO that aims to provide a fully digital incubation framework to five million students in 3,500 engineering colleges across the country.

“SV.CO is the next big iteration of Startup Village, to give a world class student startup ecosystem to around five million engineering students in India, who will build the future of our nation. Our success in first phase was due to the support from public and private sector partners” said Startup Village chairman Sanjay Vijayakumar.

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India introduces new processes to fast track allotment of account and tax numbers for companies and individuals

Jul 22, 2016 0

New Delhi– The government here on Friday said it has introduced new application processes to fast-track allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Tax deduction Account Number (TAN) for individual and company applicants.

“For fast tracking the allotment of PAN and TAN to company applicants, Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) based application procedure has been introduced on the portals of PAN service providers NSDL eGov and UTIITSL,” Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Under the new process PAN and TAN will be allotted within one day after completion of valid on-line application.

“Similarly, a new Aadhaar e-signature-based application process for individual PAN applicants has been made available on the portals of PAN service provider NSDL eGov,” the statement said.

Introduction of Aadhaar based e-signature not only ensures paperless-hassle-free PAN application process but also seeding of Aadhaar in PAN which will curb the problem of duplication of PAN to a great extent.

The links for the above applications are available on the homepage of the income tax website. (IANS)

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7 India firms in Fortune 500, Rajesh Exports replaces ONGC

Jul 21, 2016 0
Mukesh Ambani

Mukesh Ambani

New York– Seven Indian companies figure in the latest Fortune 500 list, released on Thursday, of the world’s biggest companies in terms of revenue.

Among Indian companies, state-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is ranked highest at 161st with revenues of $54.7 billion, although the other public sector firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp has moved out of the rankings for 2016.

ONGC has been been replaced by gems and jewellery firm Rajesh Exports, which makes its Fortune 500 debut this year at 423rd position.

Of the state-run firms, IOC is followed by State Bank of India (SBI), Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is the highest ranked, though it has slipped down to 215th position, from 158 last year.

Tata Motors follows at number 226, up from 254th last year, with new entrant Rajesh Exports bringing up the rear.

Bharat Petroleum fell from 280th to 358th this year, while Hindustan Petroleum is at 367th, compared to its 327th place last year.

SBI has improved its position to 232, from being at 260 last year.

The overall list was topped by retail giant Walmart with revenue of $482,130 million.

The world’s 500 largest companies generated $27.6 trillion in revenues and $1.5 trillion in profits in 2015, Fortune said.

Others in the global top 10 companies are State Grid (second, $329,601 million), China National Petroleum (third, $299,271 million), Sinopec Group (4th, $294,344 million), Royal Dutch Shell (5th, $272,156 million), Exxon Mobil (6th, $246,204 million), Volkswagen (7th, $236,600 million), Toyota Motor (8th, $236,592 million), Apple (9th, $233,715 million) and BP (10th, $225,982 million).

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India’s new National Civil Aviation Policy to impact original equipment manufacturers

Jul 20, 2016 0

New Delhi– Global aircraft manufacturer Boeing on Wednesday said that the recently approved National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) will have an impact on the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as the US-based aviation major.

“The NCAP is adding regional connectivity, it is allowing airlines to fly internationally. All that will have an impact on OEMs like Boeing,” Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told IANS.

Dinesh Keskar

Dinesh Keskar

Last month, the central government passed the long awaited civil aviation policy which envisages to promote regional connectivity via several measures such as incentives, capping of air fares for a limited number of seats, and revival of existing air strips and airports.

Besides incentives, the new integrated civil aviation policy has changed the controversial norms known as the 5/20 rules — that is an airline must have five years of domestic flying and a fleet of 20 aircraft to fly abroad.

The policy has done away with the first five-year wait, but new airlines will need 20 aircraft or fly 20 per cent of their total capacity on domestic routes to start international operations.

“If we see a bigger impact of the policy which is possible, we will update this next year again,” Keskar said here at an event organised for the release of the company’s annual “Current Market Outlook” (CMO).

According to the CMO 2016, the global aircraft manufacturer expects a demand for 1,850 new airplanes in India, valued at $265 billion, over the next 20 years.

The current CMO data shows an optimistic uptrend in the sales of aircraft in the country.

In fact, the company has increased the number of aircraft it expects to be sold in the country from last year’s projected demand of 1,740 new airplanes, valued at $240 billion, over the next 20 years in India.

Keskar elaborated that the rise in expected demand was based on a number of factors such as lower fuel prices, enhanced profitability of the sector and healthy economic and passenger traffic growth in India.

Recently, passenger traffic data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that India has achieved the fastest domestic passenger growth in 2015.

However, Keskar cautioned about the pace of infrastructure development which is required to meet the exponential rise in passenger traffic and growth in the industry.

“One of the only thing we need to watch out for carefully is infrastructure. If the infrastructure does not stay in pace with the growth that is happening then we would have to relook at the situation,” Keskar said.

Segment-wise, the company’s annual CMO pointed out that single-aisle airplanes such as the “Next-Generation” 737 and 737 MAX will continue to account for the largest share of new deliveries.

The company expects the airlines in India to need approximately 1,560 single-aisle airplanes in the next 20 years.

The global aircraft manufacturer explained that these new airplanes will continue to support the growth of low-cost carriers and replace older, less-efficient airplanes.

In addition, Boeing projected a worldwide demand for 39,620 new airplanes over the next 20 years, with India passenger carriers needing more than 4.6 per cent of the total global demand.

The company’s CMO is the longest running jet forecast and regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the aviation industry. (IANS)

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India to fully facilitate small oil, gas fields auction winners

Jul 20, 2016 0

New Delhi– At a roadshow in Calgary, Canada, to promote the auction of India’s discovered small hydrocarbon fields the Indian government has assured eventual operators of fully facilitating the monetization of these fields, an official said on Wednesday.

“The Indian government delegation informed the participants that they look forward to foster harmonious collaborations with industry to help in taking the E&P (exploration and production) reform process forward by facilitating the bidders at every step towards monetization of these discovered small fields,” a Petroleum Ministry statement here said.

The event was an interactive session at Calgary on Monday for the “Discovered Small Fields Bid Round 2016” under which India is offering for auction 67 discovered small hydrocarbon fields in the country.

Earlier, roadshows for this bid round have been held in Mumbai, Guwahati, and last week in Houston in the US, the statement added.

The Houston roadshow consisted of detailed presentations and one-on-one meetings with the companies.

The 67 Discovered Small Fields (DSF) being offered for international bidding are those of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Oil India that could not be monetised during the previous years.

Bidding is open between July 15 and October 31.

The previous exploration licensing round ended in March 2012.

The auction will be under the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) approved in March, based on a revenue-sharing model as opposed to cost-and-output-based norms earlier.

The new model will replace the controversial production sharing contracts — by which oil and gas blocks are awarded to firms which show they will do maximum work on a block — that has governed the bidding under the earlier nine NELP rounds.

The government is offering bids for the 67 discovered small fields in 46 contract areas spread over nine sedimentary basins on land and in shallow and deep water areas. The offered fields hold 625 million barrels of oil and gas reserves.

Of the 46 small fields, 26 are on land, 18 offshore in shallow water and two in deep water.

While 28 discoveries are in the Mumbai offshore, 14 others are in the east coast’s Krishna-Godavari basin.

Eventual operators will be issued a single licence for exploration of conventional and non-conventional hydrocarbons and will have the freedom to sell oil and gas at “arms length” market prices. There would be no cess on crude oil.

The production sharing contracts regime, which allows operators to recover all investments made from sale of oil and gas before profits are shared with the government, was criticised by India’s official auditor, who said it encouraged companies to keep inflating costs — “gold plating” — so as to postpone giving higher share of profits.

The change in model is designed to help keep the government share in cases of windfall from both steep rise in prices as well as quantum jump in production.

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