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Updated: 45 min 3 sec ago

Best friend no more: Modi govt's oil luck seems to be running out

45 min 3 sec ago
Oil prices are closely aligned with the Narendra Modi government's fiscal fortunes. When PM Modi was sworn in late May 2014, the price of the Indian basket of crude oil was around $108 per barrel. Within a few months, it fell to below $60. For three years, the price remained at more than half of what it was when Modi took charge as PM.Oil bonanza helped Modi tide over fiscal troubles. But now it seems, Modi's oil luck is running out. Oil rose above $65 a barrel for the first time since mid-2015 on Tuesday as an unplanned shutdown of the UK's biggest North Sea oil pipeline supported a market already tightened by Opec-led production cuts. India is heavily dependent on imports for a large chunk of the crude oil that it consumes. In 2016-17, around 82.1 per cent of the oil consumed in India, was imported. The net rate of exports is one of the contributing factors to a country's GDP. The higher the imports, the bigger negative impact it has on the net rate. So with oil prices on the decline since 2014, it meant that the export metric in GDP calculation did not have as severe a negative hit. Between 2011 and 2014, the average price of crude oil was $108.5 per barrel, and the average between 2014 and 2017 was $59.3 per barrel. In 2014, IMF Chief Christine Lagarde had said that a 30 per cent dip in oil prices would lead to at least 0.8 per cent growth in most advanced economies, since they are all importers of oil. Eventually, crude oil prices fell almost double that rate. A 2014 report from Macquarie Capital Securities India said a $10 per barrel fall in oil prices would reduce India's import bill and the current account deficit by $9.2 billion (0.43% of the then GDP). Due to falling oil prices India's macro-economic indicators such as inflation, current account deficit (CAD), and trade balance improved. On the back of contraction in the trade deficit, the CAD came down to $22.1 billion, or 1.1 per cent of GDP from $26.8 billion, or 1.3 per cent of GDP, in 2014-15. In the last three years, despite the fall in global crude oil prices, the average Indian consumer of petroleum products has not been a beneficiary of it. Instead, increased excise duty and VAT on petrol and diesel has meant that despite the 56 per cent fall in oil prices, the prices of petrol and diesel are at most 5 per cent less than what they were in May 2014. Since June 2014, when international oil prices started declining, India has increased its excise duties from Rs 15.5 per litre to Rs 22.7 per litre as of December 2016 for branded petrol and from Rs 5.8 per litre to Rs. 19.7 per litre for branded diesel. In contrast, the governments of most advanced countries simply passed on the benefits to consumers. Modi now faces a situation critical for his party's fortunes in the next Lok Sabha polls. With oil prices increasing, an unchanged excise duty would mean that the end consumer would have to pay even more, while a cut in excise duty would mean that petroleum companies will not be able to reap the benefits of the revival in the industry. The government thinks the oil prices are within the range where they cannot upset the fiscal math.However, the Economic Survey presented in Parliament earlier this year painted a slightly different picture: "Even if prices rose merely to $60-65/barrel, the Indian economy would nonetheless be affected by way of reduced consumption; less room for public investment; and lower corporate margins, further denting private investment. The scope for monetary easing might also narrow, if higher oil prices stoked inflationary pressure." This is also a time of faltering domestic crude oil and gas production and output cuts announced by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec). India is one of the major Opec consumers. 85 per cent and 94 per cent of India's crude oil and gas imports respectively come from the Opec countries. The IMF has recently advised the Opec nations to move away from oil as the only source of income, which could mean a further increase in the price of crude oil.
Categories: Business News

How a travel agency in Mumbai managed to dupe 50 lakh holiday-goers of over $1 billion

45 min 3 sec ago
MUMBAI: In perhaps the biggest-ever investment cheating case in the city, the economic offences wing (EOW) took over the probe in PanCard Clubs (PCL) case where more than 50 lakh investors were allegedly duped of approximately Rs 7,035 crore. Earlier, markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had asked PCL, a timeshare company, to not sell its properties. It had also appointed retired Judge R M Lodha for selling PAL's properties and to use the sale proceeds to refund investors who had put in their money in the company's schemes.An EOW officer said the agency has registered a case of cheating under the Indian Penal Code and also invoked sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act against PCL and its six directors. "Their head office at Prabhadevi is now shut," said a police officer. It was Narendra Vataukar (42), a Dadar resident, who lodged a police complaint against PCL on December 10. 62047827 "PCL had come up with schemes for hotel stays. They would enrol members and ask them to invest. It would offer holiday packages at these hotels," said an officer. Several investors who were promised higher returns did not avail of the holiday packages. Meanwhile, an investor complained about this to Sebi, which in turn began an inquiry into the matter. The regulator found that the company ran a collective investment scheme (CIS) for which Sebi's approval was required. The directors, though, did not have any permission to run this scheme. Its probe revealed that merely 1% of the investors had used this facility.Earlier, Sebi had put restrictions on the firm and asked it to shut down its business, saying it cannot accept new deposits and must return investors' funds within three months . Sebi also ordered the firm to not sell any of its properties. PCL challenged this order in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT). SAT, though, upheld the Sebi order.The market regulator has already attached 34 properties of PCL and frozen over 250 bank accounts. The properties include land parcels, resorts, buildings and office spaces across the country."It was an investor who approached Dadar police station and lodged a cheating complaint of Rs 40,000. That apart, 82 more investors approached EOW with similar complaints against PCL. Sebi officials have told EOW that there are 51 lakh investors and PCL collected Rs 7,035 crore as investment. We have just taken over the probe from the police station and will start collecting documents related to the case and recording of victims' statements," said an officer. Most of PCL's investors are from middle-class families and spread across the country. The attachment of properties began after the company failed to comply with Sebi's direction to refund over Rs 7,000 crore to investors raised through illegal CIS.
Categories: Business News

Your money is safe in banks, says PM Modi on FRDI Bill

45 min 3 sec ago
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sought to allay the fears of bank account holders, saying their deposits in banks will be safe and their interests would not be harmed in any way.Addressing the Ficci annual general meeting, he said rumours were being spread by some sections about provisions of the proposed Financial Regulation and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill under which the depositors would suffer."The government is trying to strengthen the banking system by policy initiatives on a daily basis. But on social media rumours are being spread about the FRDI Bill, which is completely opposite to the reality. We are trying to protect the depositors interest and the banks as well," Modi said.He was apparently referring to the raging controversy over a bail-in provision in the FRDI Bill under which banks will be allowed to forfeit major portion of deposits of account holders in case of crisis in the financial institution.The Prime Minister said the UPA government had completely spoilt the banking system of the country. He said the biggest liability passed on by the previous government was the non-performing assets (NPA).Modi said the last government had put pressure on banks and forced them to lend to influential people, which further led to NPAs. "Commonwealth scam, 2G scam and Coal scam, and the biggest scam - the banking scam - all happened during UPA regime."He said the government is working to create a system that is transparent and sensitive.Talking about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Modi said the government's effort is to ensure that maximum businesses register for GST. "The more formal the system becomes, the more it will benefit the poor. It will enable easier availability of credit from the banks, and reduce cost of logistics, thereby enhancing competitiveness of businesses."Modi recalled that around the time of Ficci's founding in 1927, Indian industry had united against the Simon Commission that was constituted by the then British government. He said that Indian industry had joined all other sections of Indian society, in national interest, at that time.He said a "similar atmosphere" exists today when people of the country are coming forward to fulfil their responsibilities towards the nation. Modi said the hopes and aspirations of people are to rid the country of internal problems like corruption, and black money.
Categories: Business News

Rico Auto inks JV pact with Singapore's Fairwood for EVs

45 min 3 sec ago
Auto components maker Rico Auto Industries today said it has inked a JV pact with Singapore's Fairwood PTE to manufacture autonomous electric vehicles to be run on a dedicated track.The two partners would have equal shareholding in the joint venture firm, Rico Auto Industries said in a regulatory filing. Rico and Fairwood would invest in the ratio of 50:50 in the JV entity, it added.
Categories: Business News

Maruti to raise vehicles prices by up to 2% from January

45 min 3 sec ago
Country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) plans to increase prices across its models by up to 2 per cent from January in order to partially offset rise in input costs.The company currently sells a range of models, from hatchback Alto 800 with price starting at Rs 2.45 lakh to crossover S-Cross priced at Rs 11.29 lakh (all prices ex- showroom Delhi).When contacted, a company spokesperson told PTI that the company is revising prices as there has been a gradual increase in commodity prices over the past few months."We were absorbing the impact of small fluctuations till now. But with gradual increase in commodity prices we will have to pass on the increase to the customers from January," the spokesperson said.When asked about the quantum of increase, the spokesperson said: "The prices would go up to 2 per cent across the product portfolio from next month."The quantum of price increase will vary based on the different models and fuel specifications.Various automakers such as Tata Motors, Ford, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Honda Cars India, Skoda and Isuzu have already announced price hikes from early next year.
Categories: Business News

Tech View: Nifty forms a bearish candle; to see further downside

45 min 3 sec ago
NEW DELHI: Bears continued to dominate on Dalal Street on Wednesday, as 10,300 level acted as stiff resistance for the Nifty50. Selling pressure in the second half of the day erased all the early gains, which forced the index to close in the red. In the process Nifty formed a bearish candle on the daily chart and extended its weakness for a second consecutive session. “Extreme volatile movement resulted in “Long-legged” bearish candle carrying lower High-Low compared to previous session, indicating negative bias. Nifty closed below its 20- and 50-day simple moving average (DMA) support zone, representing weakness ahead in short term,” said Rajesh Palviya, Head – Technical & Derivatives Analyst, Axis Securities said. The US Federal Reserve policy decision and Gujarat election exit polls results are likely to guide market ahead. However, these factors will only have sentimental bearing. On the technical note, the Nifty continued to remain in an intermediate trend of a falling channel that it is currently trading in. “On the hourly chart, Nifty has witness resumption of downtrend forming lower Top lower Bottom formation. This has been also confirmed with RSI and Stochastic indicators negative crossover, which signals losing strength and momentum. On the downside, any violation of 10,160 will cause further weakness towards 10,120-10,100 levels while on the higher side 10,220-10,265 are likely to act as immediate resistance,” said Palviya. Sameet Chavan, Chief Analyst-Technical and Derivatives, Angel Broking said, “For the coming session, 10,140-10,100 levels are likely to be retested; whereas, on the higher side 10,230-10,260 would now be seen as an intraday resistance zone.” On the option front, maximum put open interest stood at 10,000, followed by 9,800 strike, while maximum Call OI is at 10,500 followed by 10,400 strike. “We have seen fresh Put writing at 10,200, while Call writing is seen at 10,400 and 10,500 strikes,” said Chandan Taparia, Derivatives and Technical Analyst at Motilal Oswal Fiancial Services. India VIX moved up by 4.47 per cent to 15.95, its highest levels in the past 11 months. Experts said rising volatility is also ruling out for any smooth ride in the market and they expect swings to continue going forward for next coming sessions. Mazhar Mohammad, Chief Strategist – Technical Research & Trading Advisory, Chartviewindia.in said, “Technically speaking markets should register a fresh breakout on short term charts if it manages a close above 10,352 levels. On such a breakout at least in the near term a sustainable rally for couple of days can be witnessed. Failure to do so in next couple of trading sessions, latest by Monday shall drag down the indices below 10,033.”
Categories: Business News

After Hours: Cement stocks gain strength; Unitech falls on SC order

45 min 3 sec ago
NEW DELHI: As expected, Dalal Street witnessed a big sell-off on Wednesday after both IIP data for October and CPI inflation numbers for November spoiled the investors' mood. This apart, almost a 100 per cent certainty of the US Fed rate hike later in the day also scared investors from taking any fresh position. The BSE Sensex slumped 175 points to settle the session at 33,053 with Kotak Mahindra Bank (up over 1 per cent) being the top gainer and Cipla (down 2 per cent) the worst laggard. The broader Nifty50 index of the NSE slipped below its crucial level of 10,200 to close the session at 10,193 with 34 constituents ending in the red. Here's a look the top stocks and sectors that stole the show during the session. Punj Lloyd on fire Shares of Punj Lloyd climbed over 10 per cent during the day after the company informed bourses it has received orders from GAIL (India) and NHAI. It has also received an order for upgradation of Yargi-Kalewa Road section in Myanmar of two lane with Earth shoulders on EPC mode worth Rs 1,177 crore, in joint venture with Varaha Infra from NHAI. Shares of the company settled at Rs 22 apiece, up 6.57 per cent on BSE. Cementing gains Shares of JK Cement climbed as much as 8.4 per cent while those of Shree Cement and JK Lakshmi Cement gained 7 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively after the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the cement industry to use petcoke as a feedstock, which had been banned last month to clean up the air in Delhi-NCR region. Cement companies heavily rely on petcoke as they are about 15-20 per cent cheaper than coal, which helps them cut down on power costs. PSBs in pain Shares of state-run banks took a heavy beating which saw Nifty PSU Bank slipping nearly 2 per cent to 3,729 with all the 12 constituents ending in the red. Punjab National Bank (down 3.54 per cent), Canara Bank (down over 3 per cent) and Allahabad Bank (down 3 per cent) were the top losers on the pack. Unitech nosedives 16% Realty firm Unitech slipped over 16 per cent after the Supreme Court stayed NCLT order allowing the Centre to take over the management of the embattled firm. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered the statement of Attorney General KK Venugopal that the government should not have moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) when the apex court was seized of the matter. The stock shut the shop at Rs 6.65 apiece on NSE, down 13 per cent. V2 Retail falls after block deals Shares of V2 Retail, one of the fastest growing retail groups in India, plunged over 4 per cent on NSE after multiple block deals. The company on Monday reported a massive 214 per cent surge in net profit at Rs 137.55 crore in September quarter over Q2 September 2016. The small-cap company has equity capital of Rs 33.92 crore, as per Capital Market data. Shares of the company settled at Rs 497 apiece, down 4 per cent on NSE. Spurt in open interest Shares of Pidilite Industries witnessed the biggest spike in open interest at 39.63 per cent, followed by Hexaware (19.18 per cent) and Shree Cements (18.16 per cent).
Categories: Business News

Government to expand BPO subsidy scheme; RS Prasad

45 min 3 sec ago
In order to promote its ambitious rural business process outsourcing (BPO) scheme, the ministry of electronics and IT will soon list its services on the government e-marketplace portal (GeM) -- which has become a one-stop destination for all government buying -- said union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday. The National BPO Promotion Scheme was flagged off soon after the Modi government came to power in 2014 and had an outlay of almost Rs 500 crore.Aimed at creating thousands of job opportunities in smaller cities, the scheme had a total target of 48,000 seats. Prasad said that so far around 35,000 seats have been taken up so far. "I have also given instructions to further expand the scheme beyond the 48,000 seats given the huge job opportunities that it provides for people in small towns of the country," said Prasad. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Amazon and Karvy Data Management among others have set up operations under the policy.He added that apart from listing the services of the BPOs on GeM in the next two months, he will also seek support from other government ministries and departments to provide potential business to the entreprenuers. "I am writing to the ministry of agriculture, ministry of health etc," he said.Under the scheme the government provides subsidy of upto Rs. 1 lakh for each BPO seat set in a tier II or tier III town. According to officials, the fifth round of bidding has just concluded and has received better response that all the past rounds so far. While in the first four rounds almost 18,160 seats had been allocated in the fifth round closed last month, 68 companies submitted bids for around 17,000 seats, which are currently under evaluation."The government has tweaked the policy in the latest round significantly which has led to a very good response from companies," said a ministry official requesting anonymity. He added that the changes include allowing for subsidy on operational expenditure and lease and rent of space instead of just on outright purchases in capital expenditure. Most of the companies opt for leasing of not just office space but also network and infrastructure which has made the policy more lucrative for them now. Other changes include relaxation of norms for bank guarantee. The ministry has also waived off the limit of only one-third seats for one company in each location to provide more flexibility.Prasad said that the scheme has resulted in initial employment for 10,297 people.
Categories: Business News

Deadline to link Aadhaar with PAN, bank account extended till March 31

3 hours 45 min ago
NEW DELHI: Those who have not linked their Aadhaar with the required financial accounts, documents can now breathe a slight sigh of relief. The government has extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar with financial investments/instruments to March 31, 2018, stated a finance ministry press release issued on Wednesday.

It has been decided by the Government to notify 31st March, 2018 or six months from the date of commencement of bank account based relationship by the client, whichever is later, as the date of submission of Aadhaar number& PAN or Form 60 by the clients to the reporting entity.

— Ministry of Finance (@FinMinIndia) December 13, 2017 "After considering various representations received and inputs received from Banks, it has been decided to notify 31st March, 2018 or six months from the date of commencement of account based relationship by the client, whichever is later, as the date of submission of the Aadhaar number, and Permanent Account Number or Form 60 by the clients to the reporting entity. Necessary notification in this regard has been issued," stated the release. Earlier, the government had set a deadline for providing Aadhaar to financial institutions as December 31, 2017, which meant that the individuals were required to link their Aadhaar to bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, equity and mutual fund investments, small savings schemes like Public Provident Fund, Kisan Vikas Patra, National Savings Certificate, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana and so on. You are also required to submit your Aadhaar details if you have taken a loan from a bank, housing finance company, or non-banking finance company. Government has asked banks, financial institutions, and intermediaries to ensure that all their customers are know-your-customer (KYC) compliant which, as per new rules, requires verification of their Aadhaar. An amendment has been made in the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules (Maintenance and Records), 2005 to this effect. As per the earlier rules, one had to mandatorily submit his/her Aadhaar and PAN details to be KYC-compliant. If this was not done before December 31, 2017, his/her account will become inoperable till the time the required details are submitted. Now this deadline has benn pushed to March 31, 2018.
Categories: Business News

There could be a serious threat to your job in the next 5 years

3 hours 45 min ago
62053363 By 2022, 37% of the Indian workforce would be employed in new job roles, says a FICCI-NASSCOM & EY- Future of Jobs- report.According to the report, 9% of India's 600 million estimated workforce would be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today. 60%-65% of Indian workforce in the IT-BPM would be deployed in jobs that have radically changed skill sets, followed by 55%-60% in BFSI and 50%-55% in the automotive sector.Exponential technologies in advanced markets is expected to improve productivity by 15-20% in the next five years, it adds.FICCI and NASSCOM had jointly commissioned a report on 'Future of Jobs in India' with EY. The report provides insights into the future of jobs and vision of change for the job market in India by 2022. The report highlights the impact that various primary forces such as globalisation, demographics, and Industry 4.0/exponential technologies, are expected to have on the key sectors of the economy. It also provides an overview of the job creation rates across various sectors and the new jobs that will emerge in the next few years.The future of jobs in 2022 would be determined by the country's response to 12 megatrends captured by the EY framework, which includes, under globalisation - i) the level of exports of India based companies, ii) rapid adoption of exponential technologies in the advanced markets and its impact on offshoring, iii) increasing/shrinking overseas job market for Indian workforce and iv) level of FDI flows. Under adoption of exponential technologies by Indian companies - i) business innovation, ii) creation of highly optimized supply chains, iii) launch of smart connected products/services, iv) new work arrangements, and v) the demand for resourceful planet and sustainability. Lastly, under demographic changes - i) increasing urbanization, ii) rising middle-class and iii) high proportion of young population including millennials. In India, creation of highly optimised supply chains under exponential technologies and rising middle-class under demographic changes at 68% and 64%, respectively shall be the key influencers.Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI, said in a statement, "Since there is no India based empirical study which highlights the impact of advanced technologies on key manufacturing and services sectors that create the bulk of jobs and contributes majorly towards GDP, FICCI and NASSCOM initiated the study on 'Future of Jobs' with EY. The report examines the global megatrends, its impact on Indian economy and recommends the way forward."Mr. R. Chandrasekhar, President, NASSCOM, said, "The report attempts to present a 2022 picture - a time when no one can afford to 'rest on one's laurels' but needs a continuous learning culture. Another important fact being seen is that non-tech firms are increasingly emerging as the source of information technology roles; for eg. automotive, aerospace, BFSI, telecom, retail, healthcare, etc."In the organised manufacturing and service sector, the employment is expected to increase from the current 38 million to 46-48 million by 2022. All the new forms of employment are expected to add a further 20% - 25% to the workforce of the current de?ned "organized" sector in 2022. This would increase the share of the organised sector in the overall economy to 10% from current level of 8%, i.e. approximately 60 million in a workforce of 600 million.The new forms of employment would include:Contract employees in infrastructure sector, Micro entrepreneurs supported by MUDRA schemes , employer-entrepreneurs in technology enabled employment models, freelance workers on online platform models, "Uber" workers, SME and artisan entrepreneurs on ecommerce platforms, Delivery workers and service providers in the ecommerce ecosystem And Employees in tech start-ups.
Categories: Business News

Is Mukesh Ambani as excited about a possible Jio IPO as you are? Read on

3 hours 45 min ago
By Andy Mukherjee Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, can consistently squeeze more than $10 a barrel in refining margins out of crude. Expect no less from him when it comes to monetizing Reliance Industries Ltd.'s investment in Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., the fourth-generation mobile network that's taken the nation's digital landscape by storm. What kind of an equity market valuation should Ambani put on Jio? The company may be an IPO candidate in late 2018 or early 2019, according to Bloomberg News. With only one quarter of financial performance to go on, estimates vary wildly. Besides, if history is limited, future prospects are uncertain. Just how much data people in India will consume five years from now, at what price, and from whom, are all up in the air. Revenue from a possible e-commerce foray is also hard to predict. Even with those caveats, Jio should still be worth around $20 billion, putting it in the league of Sprint Corp. in the U.S., SK Telecom Co. in South Korea and Telecom Italia SpA in Italy. To see where that number comes from, start with Bharti Airtel Ltd., India's No. 1 mobile operator. Bharti's $33 billion market capitalization is already factoring in an assimilation of Norwegian carrier Telenor ASA's Indian unit as well as Tata Group's airwaves and 40 million customers. Strip out those deals, along with Bharti's sizable African business and tower infrastructure, add net debt, and the enterprise value of the wireless network works out to $29 billion, according to analysts at HDFC Securities Ltd. That yields an EV-to-Ebitda multiple of 9 for 2019. Now, suppose Ambani is able to attract 280 million customers by 2022, up from 139 million at present, and almost the same as Bharti's current clientele. Assume it's able to raise its average revenue per user to 200 rupees ($3.10) a month, from 156 now. That's $10.4 billion in annual revenue, or, at a 40 percent profit margin, more than $4 billion in Ebitda. That might appear too rosy: Based on last quarter's numbers, Jio's current Ebitda run rate is less than $1 billion. But the street is even more bullish. Assign a conservative EV-to-Ebitda multiple of 8 to the fully grown Jio. Its enterprise value works out to $32 billion, or 1 time its current fixed-asset base -- at the lower end for global telecom firms. Take away $7.5 billion in borrowings, and another $4 billion in spectrum liabilities, and the market value is still north of $20 billion. Whether Reliance shareholders can monetize a chunk of that will depend on how eager the market is to buy into Ambani's vision of "data as the new oil," versus how anxious the tycoon is to sell. With the energy-and-petrochemical firm's credit default swaps headed resolutely south, there's no reason to rush anything. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Categories: Business News

India’s current account deficit doubles to 1.2% of GDP

3 hours 45 min ago
A pick up in the remittances has failed to salvage the current account deficit- a major component in India's external sector balance sheet.India's current account deficit, excess of imports over exports doubled to 1.2% of GDP in the second quarter ending September'17 from 0.6% of GDP in the September quarter of 2016 as merchandise imports picked up more than exports, preliminary data released by the Reserve Bank of India indicated."The widening of the CAD on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis was primarily on account of a higher trade deficit of $ 32.8 billion on account of larger increase in merchandise imports relative to exports" a release by the Reserve Bank said.Private transfers largely comprising remittances by Indians employed overseas, amounted to $ 17.4 billion, up 14.7% per cent from $15.2 billion a year ago.Portfolio investment recorded net inflow of $ 2.1 billion in Q2 of 2017-18, lower than $ 6.1 billion in Q2 last year on account of net sale in the equity market RBI said.Net receipts on account of non-resident deposits amounted to US$ 0.7 billion in Q2 of 2017-18, lower than US$ 2.1 billion a year ago.In Q2 of 2017-18, there was an accretion of US$ 9.5 billion to the foreign exchange reserves (on BoP basis) as compared with US$ 8.5 billion in Q2 of 2016-17 and US$ 11.4 billion in the preceding quarter.
Categories: Business News

Wi-Fi in India skies soon: TRAI to issue rules in 15 days

3 hours 45 min ago
NEW DELHI: Surfing the net while flying in Indian skies is soon going to be reality. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman R S Sharma Wednesday said "inflight connectivity (IFC) shall be allowed" and the way how that is to be done will be given by the month-end. "We are working on that and will issue the parameters for IFC of by the end of this calendar year, which means in the next 15 days or so," Sharma said.The aviation ministry had about two years back recommended that IFC be allowed Indian skies and since then the proposal has been shuttling between various ministries like home (for security clearances) and then telecom for working out the way it has to be done.Once TRAI issues IFC rules, individual airlines can set up infrastructure in accordance with them and ensure that flyers can surf the net, receive and send emails while flying in Indian skies.About two months back, had issued a consultation paper on IFC to frame rules for the same. The regulator is examining whether on board Internet should be allowed to flyers from the moment they board aircraft to when they alight or when the aircraft has reached an altitude of 3 km. And finally, whether Indian flyers should have access to both internet services and mobile communication services."Given the rapidly expanding demand for IFC, there is a proposal to introduce (it) for voice, data and video services over Indian airspace for domestic, international and overflying flight in Indian airspace. Department of Telecommunications (DoT), through its reference dated August 10, 2017, has requested TRAI to furnish its recommendations on licensing terms and conditions for provision of IFC for voice, data and video services and associated issues such as entry fee, licence fee, spectrum related issues including usage charges and method of allocation," the TRAI paper had said.
Categories: Business News

Mahindra World City Jaipur attracts Rs 3325cr from 78 firms

3 hours 45 min ago
Realty firm Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd today said its industrial township in Jaipur has attracted investment of Rs 3,325 crore from 78 companies from India and overseas.Mahindra World City (MWC) Jaipur has added 10 customers in the last one year, generating about Rs 500 crore investment, the Mahindra group's realty firm said in a statement.Mahindra World City Jaipur Ltd is a joint venture between Mahindra Lifespace Developers and Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation (RIICO).The ten companies signed in last one year comprise a combination of new clients and business diversification by existing customers, and are expected to create employment for more than 1,600 persons when fully operational."With strategic connectivity, a progressive policy environment, competitive operating costs and good availability of trained manpower, Rajasthan is today one of India's most favoured business destinations," said Sanjay Srivastava, Business Head, Mahindra World City, Jaipur.He said this industrial township remains committed to driving economic growth of the state.The new companies that have been signed up represent a variety of sectors, ranging from IT/ITeS, manufacturing and warehousing, to skill development.Established in 2006, MWC Jaipur has created employment for more than 29,000 persons (direct and indirect) and generated cumulative exports worth Rs 6,400 crore so far.The companies that have signed up at MWC Jaipur range include Ball Corporation, Deutsche Bank, Gravita, Infosys, Jaipur Crafts, JCB, KnitPro International, Laxmi Ideal, Manu Yantralaya, Metlife, Mahindra Group, Perto, Poly Medicure and TTK Healthcare, among others, the statement said.Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd is the real estate and infrastructure development business of the USD 19 billion Mahindra Group.The company's development footprint spans 22.93 million sq ft of completed, ongoing and forthcoming residential projects across seven Indian cities and over 4,960 acres of ongoing and forthcoming projects under development/management at its integrated developments in four cities.
Categories: Business News

By 2020, Artificial Intelligence will create more jobs than it eliminates: Gartner

3 hours 45 min ago
NEW DELHI: Downplaying fears of jobs getting wiped out with Artificial Intelligence (AI), research firm Gartner said more jobs will be created than lost. The firm says 1.8 million jobs will be eliminated by 2020, but 2.3 million new jobs will be created by then.2020 will be a pivotal year in AI-related employment dynamics, according to Gartner, as AI will become a positive job motivator. The number of jobs affected by AI will vary by industry; through 2019, healthcare, the public sector and education will see continuously growing job demand while manufacturing will be hit the hardest. Starting in 2020, AI-related job creation will cross into positive territory, reaching two million net-new jobs in 2025, Gartner said in a release."Many significant innovations in the past have been associated with a transition period of temporary job loss, followed by recovery, then business transformation and AI will likely follow this route," said Svetlana Sicular, research vice president at Gartner, quoted in the release.AI will improve the productivity of many jobs, eliminating millions of middle- and low-level positions, but also creating millions more new positions of highly skilled, management and even the entry-level and low-skilled variety."Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation — that overshadows the greatest AI benefit — AI augmentation— a combination of human and artificial intelligence, where both complement each other."IT leaders should not only focus on the projected net increase of jobs. With each investment in AI enabled technologies, they must take into consideration what jobs will be lost, what jobs will be created, and how it will transform how workers collaborate with others, make decisions and get work done."Now is the time to really impact your long-term AI direction," said Sicular. "For the greatest value, focus on augmenting people with AI. Enrich people's jobs, reimagine old tasks and create new industries. Transform your culture to make it rapidly adaptable to AI-related opportunities or threats."By 2022, one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine tasks will rely on AI to do a job.AI has already been applied to highly repeatable tasks where large quantities of observations and decisions can be analyzed for patterns. However, applying AI to less-routine work that is more varied due to lower repeatability will soon start yielding superior benefits. AI applied to non-routine work is more likely to assist humans than replace them as combinations of humans and machines will perform more effectively than either human experts or AI-driven machines working alone will.Through 2022, multichannel retailer efforts to replace sales associates through AI will prove unsuccessful, although cashier and operational jobs will be disrupted. Leveraging technologies such as AI and robotics, retailers will use intelligent process automation to identify, optimize and automate labour-intensive and repetitive activities that are currently performed by humans, reducing labour costs through efficiency from headquarters to distribution centers and stores. Many retailers are already expanding technology use to improve the in-store check-out process.However, research suggests that many consumers still prefer to interact with a knowledgeable sales associate when visiting a store, particularly in specialized areas such as home improvement, drugstores and cosmetics, where informed associates can make a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Though they will reduce labour used for check-out and other operational activities, retailers will find it difficult to eliminate traditional sales advisers."Retailers will be able to make labour savings by eliminating highly repetitive and transactional jobs, but will need to reinvest some of those savings into training associates who can enhance the customer experience," said Robert Hetu, research director at Gartner "As such most retailers will come to view AI as a way to augment customer experiences rather than just removing humans from every process."In 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.
Categories: Business News

Little-known rule lets Indian techies work for more than one US firm

6 hours 45 min ago
Foreign workers in the US on a H1B work visa, the most sought after among Indian IT professionals, may work for more than one company, the country's immigration agency has said.The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China."In general, H1B workers may work for more than one employer but must have approved I-129 for each," the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency which receives and determines the successful applications for H1B visas, tweeted yesterday.."New employer must submit an I-129 petition before you may begin working," the USCIS said.Form I-129 is a form submitted for a non-immigrant worker to the USCIS used by employers or prospective employers to obtain (or amend the details of) a worker on a non-immigrant visa status.While this is not a new rule, but very few people know about it.The H1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the cap.Additionally, H1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organisation or a government research organisation are not subject to this numerical cap.Meanwhile, an American think-tank, the Cato Institute in a report said that in 2015, a total of 56 per cent of all supposed employment-based green cards went to the family members of workers. The other 44 per cent went to the workers themselves.If family members were exempted from the quota or there was a separate green card category for them, an additional 76,711 highly skilled immigrant workers could have earned a green card in 2015 without increasing the quota.According to the institute, about 85 per cent of those who received an employment-based green card in 2015 were already legally living in the US."They were able to adjust their immigration status from another type of visa, like an H-1B or F visa, to an employment-based green card. Exempting some or all of the adjustments of status from the green card cap would almost double the number of highly skilled workers who could enter," it said.In a blog post, Immigration Attorney Tsion Chudnovsky said immigration lawyers are seeing a big change in how visas are being processed in 2017 and many expect denial rates to increase to 40 per cent in this year's H1B cap. The USCIS has started challenging H1Bs which would have no problem being approved in the past, she said.
Categories: Business News

Tax department turns heat on bitcoin exchanges across country, checks for evasion

6 hours 45 min ago
62049817 62019468 62032571 The Income Tax Department today conducted survey operations at major Bitcoin exchanges across the country on suspicion of alleged tax evasion, official sources said. They said various teams of the sleuths of the department, under the command of the Bengaluru investigation wing, today visited the premises of nine such exchanges in the country including in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi and Gurugram, since early morning. The survey, under section 133A of the Income Tax Act, is being conducted for "gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transaction undertaken by them, identity of counterparties, related bank accounts used, among others," they said. The survey teams, sources said, are armed with various financial data and inputs about the working of these exchanges and this is the first big action against them in the country. Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is not regulated in the country and its circulation has been a cause of concern among central bankers the world over for quite a while now. The Reserve Bank of India has also cautioned users, holders and traders of virtual currencies, including bitcoins. In March, the Union finance ministry had constituted an Inter-Disciplinary Committee to take stock of the present status of VCs both in India and globally and suggest measures for dealing with such currencies.
Categories: Business News

December 31 Aadhaar deadline for bank accounts, financial dealings may be extended

6 hours 45 min ago
NEW DELHI: The government is likely to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar with other financial investments/instruments beyond December 31. This is clear from the amendment in the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules made via a notification yesterday. The amendment removes the deadline of December 31, 2017 and replaces it with 'a date to be notified by the government'. This means that now the government can simply extend the date for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, mutual funds, insurance, PF accounts, post office schemes, and so on by issuing a notification. The amendment makes it clear that if the linking of Aadhaar is not done by the date to be notified by the government, the account or folio of the individual would be blocked. Earlier, the government had set a deadline for providing Aadhaar to financial institutions as December 31, 2017, which meant that the individuals were required to link their Aadhaar to bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, equity and mutual fund investments, small savings schemes like Public Provident Fund, Kisan Vikas Patra, National Savings Certificate, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana and so on. You are also required to submit your Aadhaar details if you have taken a loan from a bank, housing finance company, or non-banking finance company. Government has asked banks, financial institutions, and intermediaries to ensure that all their customers are know-your-customer (KYC) compliant which, as per new rules, requires verification of their Aadhaar. An amendment has been made in the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules (Maintenance and Records), 2005 to this effect. As per the earlier rules, one had to mandatorily submit his/her Aadhaar and PAN details to be KYC-compliant. If this was not done before December 31, 2017, his/her account will become inoperable till the time the required details are submitted.
Categories: Business News

After SpiceJet, Indigo wants no financial support for regional flights

6 hours 45 min ago
After SpiceJet, IndiGo has also bid to operate regional flights without any viability gap funding (VGF) during the second phase of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), said a senior aviation ministry official. SpiceJet was the only carrier, who had bid to operate regional routes without any VGF during the first phase of the regional connectivity scheme. During the second phase of the regional connectivity scheme, the government has received about 25 proposals, who are not seeking any VGF. The government has received a total of 141 proposals from 17 airlines and also received counter bids for 55 proposals from 10 airlines. The second phase of the bids for regional connectivity scheme has also seen Jet Airways bidding for regional routes.
Categories: Business News

JB Chemicals & Pharma gets USFDA nod for hypertension tablets

6 hours 45 min ago
NEW DELHI: JB Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals has received US health regulator's nod for Atenolol tablets, used in treatment of high blood pressure."The United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has approved the company's supplementary Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Atenolol tablets USP 25mg, 50mg and 100 mg," J B Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals said in a BSE filing today.The company, which plans to commercialise this product in the next quarter, said the market for the approved product is about USD 70 million."The company is focused on US business and this approval will help the company grow its exports," it added.The stock was trading at Rs 301, up 0.87 per cent on BSE.
Categories: Business News

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