India’s excess power capacity an aberration, should export: Minister

Feb 13, 2018 0

New Delhi– The excess power capacity in India is an aberration in a situation where large parts of the country are yet to get electricity, Power Minister R.K Singh said on Tuesday.

Adressing the Indian Power Stations conference here, he also said that India can explore export of power to neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, which were viable markets for export of power as the per unit cost of electricity was very high in these areas.

“If you look at the entire power sector, the demand has been suppressed because not everyone is connected.

“We have just started taking-off and are going to enter double digit growth. What we see as excess capacity today may not turn out to be enough if we unlock that demand,” he said.

The minister also said the rise in power demand will lead to an increase in demand for coal, for which India needs to be prepared.

“The unlocking of demand will come but with some constraints. We don’t have a shortage of coal but we need to put in place mechanisms to get coal from underground to over ground and then to the power stations,” he said.

The Minister said that state-run generator NTPC, earlier known as National Thermal Power Corp, must aim to become the biggest power producer globally.

“Globally, NTPC is currently ranked 12th in terms of power generation. But in my view, NTPC hasn’t reached its limit.

“Why can’t NTPC set up power plants in other nations and why can’t the company emerge as our multinational? Why can’t NTPC become world’s largest power generator,” he asked.

In this connection, Singh said that neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh were viable markets for power and the government is looking at sending teams to these countries to assess the demand. (IANS)

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PFRDA crosses 2 cr subscribers, expects them to grow 28% next year

Feb 13, 2018 0

Kolkata– The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which achieved a two crore subscribers’ base on Monday, is looking at a 28 per cent growth in subscriber base in the next year, an official said here on Tuesday.

The PFRDA also expects that its asset under management (AUM) would grow by 45-47 per cent in the next year.

“Our subscriber base is growing by 27-28 per cent a year. Yesterday (Monday), we have touched two crore subscribers’ mark. In the last March, there were about 1.54 crore subscribers. Going forward, we expect same pace of growth to continue in the next year,” PFRDA’s Chairman Hemant G. Contractor told reporters here.

He said: “The corpus is currently at Rs 2.25 lakh crore. The asset under management has been growing by about 45 per cent annually in the last three years and in the last year, the growth was 47 per cent. Next year, we expect similar trend to continue i.e. 45-47 per cent growth.”

He, however, said the proposal of long term capital gains tax will not have much impact on it.

“It does not have much impact on us. The investments in National Pension System are made by our trust (NPS Trust) which is a tax exempted body. As far as pension investments are concerned, LTCG will not have impact,” he said.

However, Contractor said it has two types of accounts — tier I and tier II.

“Tier II has no tax benefits. Tier II account would be impacted but investments in tier II are much smaller,” he said.

Tier-I account is “the non-withdrawable” permanent retirement account into which the accumulations are deposited and invested as per the option of the subscriber.

Tier-II account is a “voluntary withdrawable” account which is allowed only when there is an active tier I account in the name of the subscriber. The withdrawals are permitted from this account as per the needs of the subscriber as and when claimed.

Responding to a query on how volatility in the equity market impacts it, he said that volatility was higher in the equity markets and its portfolio in equity was only about 15 per cent.

The PFRDA would be “less impacted with volatility in equity markets”, he said.

Speaking on the Atal Pension Yojana, he said the pension fund body has the target of reaching one crore subscribers under the Yojana by March 31.

“We are currently at about 88 lakh subscribers and we are trying hard in the remaining days of the year to touch the target. Next year, we will try for another 50 lakhs,” he said, adding that the corpus for the Atal Pension Yojana was around Rs 4,000 crore.

He also said the PFRDA brought changes in terms of partial withdrawal.

“Earlier, there was a restriction that a person had to be in the system for 10 years before he or she could avail this facility of partial withdrawal. Now, we have reduced it from 10 years to three years. After three years, subscribers can avail partial withdrawal. Up to 25 per cent of a subscriber’s own outstanding contribution will be allowed to be partially withdrawn after three years,” he added. (IANS)


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Foodpanda India to invest Rs 400 cr to boost delivery network

Feb 12, 2018 0

New Delhi– Food ordering and delivery chain Foodpanda India on Monday said it would invest Rs 400 crore to strengthen its network and hire 25,000 delivery riders in the next 12 to 15 months.

According to a company statement here, the investment would focus on scaling up technology and a dense logistics network which would ensure better services for customers.

“Creating a strong delivery ecosystem backed by technology is one of the most fundamental needs of the Indian food tech industry. We at Foodpanda recognise this and are investing Rs 400 crore to further strengthen our delivery network across all the metros and other key cities,” said Pranay Jivrajka, CEO, Foodpanda India.

“We are also ramping up our last mile connect by hiring 25,000 delivery riders. This is in line with our go to market strategy to make a difference in the food ordering experience of our restaurant partners, customers and riders,” he added.

In December 2017, Ola acquired Foodpanda with a commitment to infuse Rs 1,300 crore ($200 million) from parent company ANI Technologies. (IANS)

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Global indices, stock-specific buying lift Indian equities

Feb 12, 2018 0

Mumbai– Positive global indices, coupled with healthy buying in capital goods, auto, banking, healthcare and metal stocks, lifted the key Indian equity indices on Monday.

Market observers said investors awaited the retail and industrial inflation data due to be announced in the evening which is expected to give direction to the central bank’s next course of action on raising interest rates.

The wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange held the 10,500-mark and closed higher by 84.80 points or 0.81 per cent at 10,539.75 points.

On the BSE, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) closed at 34,300.47 points — up 294.71 points or 0.87 per cent from its previous close.

The Sensex touched a high of 34,351.34 points and a low of 34,115.12 points during the intra-day trade.

The BSE market breadth was bullish as 2,050 stocks advanced as against 764 declines.

In terms of the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index edged higher by 1.31 per cent and the small-cap index by 1.60 per cent.

“Markets bounced back on Monday after the correction seen on last Friday. The gains came on the back of strong global cues,” Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.

“Major Asian markets closed on a positive note, barring the Hang Seng index. European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 traded in the green,” he added.

Last week on Friday, the key equities had plunged into the negative territory amid a global sell-off, with the Sensex shedding 407.40 points or 1.18 per cent and the Nifty50 was down 121.90 points.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: “On Monday, market reversed from previous day’s losses owing to positive global cues and expectation of marginal decline in January CPI (Consumer Price inflation) inflation today.”

“Mid and small-caps outperformed the benchmark indices as investors start accumulating the over sold stocks. The economy is forecast to improve in the long-term with strong earnings growth which is likely to provide a safety to the ongoing consolidation,” he added.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) is slated to release the macro-economic data points of the CPI and IIP (Index of Industrial Production) on Monday evening.

On the currency front, the Indian rupee strengthened by nine paise to close at 64.31 against the US dollar from its previous close at 64.40.

In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 814.11 crore while domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 1,342.70 crore.

Sectorwise, the S&P BSE capital goods index surged by 317.88 points, followed by auto index by 266.55 points and banking index by 197.62 points.

On the other hand, the S&P BSE IT index edged lower by 52.47 points and the Teck (technology, media and entertainment) index by 22.59 points.

Major Sensex gainers on Monday were: Tata Steel, up 4.22 per cent at Rs 712.50; Yes Bank, up 2.89 per cent at Rs 334.95; Power Grid, up 2.51 per cent at Rs 198.05; IndusInd Bank, up 2.12 per cent at Rs 1,686.45; and Hero MotoCorp, up 1.94 per cent at Rs 3,615.

Major Sensex losers were: State Bank of India, down 2.67 per cent at Rs 288.50; Infosys, down 0.72 per cent at Rs 1,103.80; ITC, down 0.53 per cent at Rs 269.85; Mahindra and Mahindra, down 0.43 per cent at Rs 746.70; and ICICI Bank, down 0.23 per cent at Rs 326.

The Indian equity markets will remain closed on Tuesday (February 13) for Mahashivratri. (IANS)

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Mamata requests Ford to set up plant in Bengal

Feb 12, 2018 0

Kolkata– West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she has requested Ford Motor Company’s Alfred Ford to setting up a manufacturing unit of the car manufacturer in her state.

She also said that great-grandson of Henry Ford, founder of US auto giant would look into the proposal.

“I have requested Ford (Alfred Ford) to plan for a new manufacturing unit here in West Bengal. They have one in Chennai. He said he will look into it,” Banerjee said while visiting Mayapur ISKCON temple in Nadia district.

Ford India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, has an integrated manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu. (IANS)


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India’s retail inflation for January eases to 5.07%

Feb 12, 2018 0

New Delhi– India’s retail inflation for January has eased down to 5.07 per cent compared to 5.21 per cent in December 2017, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office on Monday.

On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the CPI inflation last month was 3.17 per cent in January 2017. (IANS)

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Committee recommends discounted fare in trains with low occupancy: Gohain

Feb 7, 2018 0

New Delhi– The government on Wednesday said that the eight-member committee formed to review the ‘flexi fare’ scheme in the railways has recommended offering discounted fares in trains with low occupancy.

“The committee has submitted its report on January 16, 2018. Important recommendations are to rationalise the ‘flexi fare’ scheme based on the occupancy of the train,” Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

He said that the committee also recommended to “offer discounted fare in trains having low occupancy”.

“The report along with recommendations have been put up for consideration of the Railways Board,” the Minister said.

The eight-member committee comprising Railway Board officials along with Ravinder Goyal, Adviser Niti Ayog, Meenakshi Malik, Executive Director, Revenue Management, Air India, S Sriram, Professor of transport economics and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi on December 11, 2017.

Railways introduced ‘flexi fare’ for premier trains — Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi — on September 9, 2016. Under this scheme, the base fare increases by 10 per cent with every 10 per cent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for 1AC and EC class of travel.

But on December 19, 2016, Railways started to provide 10 per cent rebate on any seat left vacant after the preparation of the chart.

Gohain said that the committee was formed to examine the impact of implementation of ‘flexi fare’ in its current form with respect to revenue generated for the railways, impact on passenger in terms of their choice of railways as a means of transport and competitiveness of flexi fare viz-a-viz other means of transport. (IANS)

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Draft NTP 2018 to be in public domain in 2-3 weeks: Sundararajan

Feb 7, 2018 0

New Delhi–Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan on Wednesday said the draft National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018 is likely to be in the public domain in the next two to three weeks.

“A draft National Telecom Policy 2018 that is liberal and non-prescriptive in its licensing approach in machine to machine (M2M) communication is being given final touches,” Sundararajan said at the launch of a FICCI-EY report on “M2M — Changing lives of 130 crore Indians”.

“The policy should be in the public domain in the next two to three weeks for discussion and responses from stakeholders,” she said.

The Telecom Secretary, while launching the report — which provides inputs to the government on M2M communications to help formulate the M2M policy framework — said NTP 2018 would be transformative in harnessing the full benefits of M2M communications.

Last week, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released the recommendations for the NTP 2018 in which it has set a target to attract an investment of $100 billion in communication by 2022 and planned to leapfrog the country into the top-50 nations in the ICT Development Index released by the International Telecommunication Union every year.

It also aims to create 2 million additional jobs in the ICT sector by 2022. (IANS)

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Indian professionals feel less strategic but more skilled

Jan 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– Words like “strategic”, “excellent” and “certified” have dropped off the chart for Indian professionals and “skilled” has entered the “2017 Top 10 Buzzwords” list for the first time, professional networking platform LinkedIn said on Tuesday.

LinkedIn analysed the most popular words across 45 million member profiles in India and found that professionals are highlighting skills over personal strengths in describing themselves this year.

“Our Buzzwords data corroborates that Indian professionals are keen on highlighting their experiences and skills over personal qualities to gain a competitive advantage over other candidates,” Deepa Sapatnekar, Head of Communications for India, LinkedIn, said in a statement.

Words “oriented” and “innovative” are also new entries to the list.

“Interestingly, recruiters are also using keywords to identify candidates so professionals should use the right words to bring them closer to the right job,” Sapatnekar added.

The word ‘experienced’ moved from the ninth spot to the first spot in comparison to last year’s list.

“The emphasis on the words ‘experienced’ and ‘skilled’ over ‘certified’ also highlights that recruiters are looking for talent with years of practical experience within a role, and not necessarily only for talent that is academically certified,” the data showed.

The word “passionate” also gradually dropped down the ranks, from No 2 (in 2015) to No 5 (in 2016) to No 6 this year and “excellent” has dropped off this year’s list completely — alluding to the fact that your personal qualities may not be enough to land your dream job.

The change in vocabulary shows that Indian professionals are keen on using specific and simple words to describe what they are good at and are deploying ways to quantify the use of broader terms, the data revealed. (IANS)

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India, ADB sign $250 mn loan agreement for rural roads

Jan 30, 2018 0

New Delhi– The Indian government and the Asian Development Bank on Tuesday signed a $250 million loan agreement to finance construction of roads in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, an official statement said.

The loan would be utilised to construct 6,254 km of “all-weather roads” in the five states under the Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Programme, said the Finance Ministry release.

“The first tranche loan is part of the $500 million Second Rural Connectivity Investment Programme for India approved by the ADB Board in December 2017.

“In view of increased rainfall and storm surges in the project states, the road designs will take into account these climate risks with measures such as greater elevation of road embankments, slope protection, and better drainage in flood-prone areas,” the ministry said. (IANS)


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