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Why Dilip Buildcon is this week's stock pick

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
Dilip Buildcon surprised the street with a y-o y revenue and net profit growth of 17% and 14% respectively during the fourth quarter of 2020-21. Despite covid related disturbances, Dilip Buildcon was able to deliver 2% revenue growth in 2020-21. However, its net profit fell by 24% during 2020-21 due to cost escalations. The company's effort to increase operational efficiency has started yielding fruits and it was able to reduce the net working capital days by 8 days y-o y and 22 days q-o-q.The government's infrastructural push is helping road construction companies like Dilip Buildcon in the long-term. It received Rs 29,958 crore worth of orders in 2020-21 taking its total or der book to Rs 27,411 crore, around three times its 2020-21 revenues of Rs 9,238 crore. Though order inflow may get delayed in the first half due to the second wave of covid, the company's order inflow is expected to pick up in the second half. It is expecting a robust order inflow of Rs 10,000-12,000 crore during 2021-22. Though execution de lays are impacting its short term revenues, Dilip Buildcon's high order book offers clear long-term growth visibility. As per consensus estimates, the company's revenue and net profit are expected to report a CAGR of 16% and 53% between 2020-21 and 2022-23. 83661406 !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;rDilip Buildcon is also raising resources and bringing down its debt. It has reduced debt worth Rs 293 crore during the fourth quarter of 2020-21 and has recently raised Rs 510 crore at a price of Rs 540 per share through the QIP route. Dilip Buildcon's 12 HAM assets are either committed or at an advance stage of monetisation talks and expects to raise around Rs 900 crore in 2021-22 and Rs 1,100 crore in 2022-23. With these inflows, its net debt / equity ratio is expected to fall further to 0.5 times in 2021-22 versus 0.8 times in 2020-21.Several analysts changed their recommendation from buy to sell after the steep rally in the counter and the same is getting reversed to buy now because the recent correction has brought down its valuations to reasonable levels. Downside risk from current level is low because the market price now is close to its QIP issue price of Rs 540Selection Methodology: We pick up the stock that has shown the maximum increase in "consensus analyst rating" during the past one month. Consensus rating is arrived at by averaging all analyst recommendations after attributing weights to each of them (ie 5 for strong buy, 4 for buy, 3 for hold, 2 for sell and 1 for strong sell) and any improvement in consensus analyst rating indicates that the analysts are getting more bullish on the stock. To make sure that we pick only companies with decent analyst coverage, this search will be restricted to stocks with at least 10 analysts covering it. You can see similar consensus analyst rating changes during the last one week in ETW 50 table.Graphics by Sadhana Saxena/ET Prime
Categories: Business News

An ELSS with a healthy long-term track record

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
ET Wealth collaborates with Value Research to analyse top mutual funds. We examine the key fundamentals of the fund, its portfolio and performance to help you make an informed investment decision.How the fund has performed 83660794Where the fund invests 83660806Basic factsDate of launch: 26 December 2008Category: EquityType: ELSSAUM (As on 31 May 2021): Rs 3,271 crBenchmark: S&P BSE 200 Total Return IndexWhat it costsNAV (As on 15 June 2021)Growth option: Rs 85.91IDCW: Rs 25.07Minimum Investment: Rs 500Minimum SIP amount: Rs 500Expense ratio (As on 30 April 2021) (%): 1.94Exit load: 0%Fund Manager: Daylynn Gerard Paul PintoTenure: 4 YEARS, 7 MONTHSTop 5 sectors in portfolio (%) 83660811Top 5 stocks in portfolio (%) 83660822Recent portfolio changesNew Entrants: Tata Steel, Wabco India, Axis Bank, ICICI Prudential Life.Complete Exits: AIA Engineering, Ipca Laboratories, MRF, Nava Bharat Ventures, ICICI Lombard, ICICI Securities, Wabco India.Increasing allocation: EIH, Axis Bank, PSP Projects, Tata Steel, State Bank of India, CiplaHow risky is it? 83660831Should You BuyThis fund takes a conscious diversified stance across the market cap spectrum. Its aggressive 30-40% allocation to mid- and smallcaps is uncommon in the category. The fund portfolio is diversified, taking large positions in bigger companies but capping exposure to bets in the mid- and small-cap space. The differentiated stance results in large deviation relative to benchmark index. The fund endured a difficult phase in 2018 and 2019 but has picked up since last year. Its history reveals alternating bouts of sharp outperformance and underperformance, but a healthy longer term return profile.Source: Value Research
Categories: Business News

COVID-19 leads to cognitive, behavioural problems

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
COVID-19 patients suffer from cognitive and behavioural problems two months after being discharged from hospital, a new study presented at the 7th Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) has found.Issues with memory, spatial awareness and information processing problems were identified as possible overhangs from the virus in post-COVID-19 patients who were followed up within eight weeks.The research also found that one in 5 patients reported post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with 16 per cent presenting depressive symptoms.The study, conducted in Italy, involved testing neurocognitive abilities and taking MRI brain scans of patients two months after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.More than 50 per cent of patients experienced cognitive disturbances; 16 per cent had problems with executive function (governing working memory, flexible thinking, and information processing), 6 per cent experienced visuospatial problems (difficulties judging depth and seeing contrast), 6 per cent had impaired memory, and 25 per cent manifested a combination of all these symptoms.Cognitive and psychopathological problems were much worse in younger people, with the majority of patients aged under 50 demonstrating issues with executive functions.In the whole sample, the greater severity of COVID-19 acute respiratory symptoms during hospital admission was associated with low executive function performance.Additionally, longitudinal observation of the same cohort at 10 months from COVID-19, showed a reduction of cognitive disturbances from 53 to 36 per cent, but a persisting presence of PTSD and depressive symptoms.The lead author of the study, Prof. Massimo Filippi, from the Scientific Institute and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy, explained, "Our study has confirmed significant cognitive and behavioural problems are associated with COVID-19 and persist several months after remission of the disease.""A particularly alarming finding is the changes to executive function we found, which can make it difficult for people to concentrate, plan, think flexibly and remember things. These symptoms affected three in 4 younger patients who were of working age".No significant relationship was observed between cognitive performance and brain volume within the study."Larger studies and longer-term follow up are both needed, but this study suggests that COVID-19 is associated with significant cognitive and psychopathological problems", concluded Dr Canu, Researcher at the San Raffaele Hospital of Milan and first author of the study. "Appropriate follow-up and treatments are crucial to ensure these previously hospitalised patients are given adequate support to help to alleviate these symptoms."Other COVID-19 findings at the 7th EAN Congress:The study is one of four scientific presentations on the neurological symptoms of COVID-19, an area of research that is fast emerging, from this week's EAN Congress:1. Research, led by Dr Mattia Pozzato of the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan, found 77.4 per cent of 53 patients reported developing at least one neurological symptom and 46.3 per cent presented with more than three neurological symptoms between 5-10 months after being hospitalised with COVID-19.The most common of these symptoms were insomnia (65.9 per cent), daytime sleepiness (46.3 per cent), and walking difficulties. Other less frequent symptoms included headaches, hyposmia (a reduced ability to smell) and hypogeusia (loss of taste). The authors concluded 90 per cent of patients had post-COVID-19 symptoms, and that neurological symptoms form a significant part of these.2. A research project presented by Professor Tamara S. Mischenko, Head of the Department of Neurology and Medical psychology at Karazin University, Ukraine, followed up 42 patients aged 32 to 54 after being hospitalised with COVID-19 after 2 to 4 months, finding that 95 per cent had neurocognitive impairment symptom.All patients suffered from asthenic symptoms, increased fatigue, and anxiety/depression symptoms. Other symptoms included vestibular (balance) disorders, (59.2 per cent), headaches, (50 per cent) and reduced ability to smell (19 per cent). Five patients also suffered ischaemic strokes in the two months after hospitalisation from COVID-19.3. A study that looked at brain stem damage in COVID-19 patients from post-mortems showed a high percentage of neuronal damage and a higher number of small masses (called corpora amylacea) which are abundant in neurodegenerative diseases. Immunohistochemistry tests also revealed the presence of the virus in the brain stem.Measurements were compared with non-COVID-19 ICU patients. The author, Dr Tommaso Bocci, a neurologist and neurophysiologist at the University of Milan's Department of Neurological Science, said the study provides the first neuropathological, neurophysiological, and clinical evidence of the COVID-19-related brain stem involvement, especially at the medullary level, suggesting a neurogenic component of respiratory failure.
Categories: Business News

Get ready for years of chaos in container shipping

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
The world’s cargo ships just can’t seem to get their act together.First there were the queues at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which left as many as 40 container vessels awaiting a berth in early February amid a flood of traffic. Combined volumes at the terminals hit a record of 1.9 million containers in May, nearly double the Covid-19 low in March 2020.Then the Ever Given, a 20,124-container behemoth, got stuck in the Suez Canal for nearly a week, delaying hundreds of ships on their way between Asia and Europe. Now, the port of Yantian in the Chinese city of Shenzhen is joining the fun, thanks to a coronavirus outbreak that’s thrown out schedules for the entire month.High SeasIf you think this is mostly a bit of local bother that will smooth itself out as the dislocations of a reawakening global economy ease off, you might be in for a shock. The factors that have driven Asia-Europe container rates to record levels of more than $10,000 per 40-foot box aren’t simply a temporary coordination problem. Returning to a semblance of normality could take years. The container shipping industry is usually such a well-oiled machine that we barely notice it. Vessels carrying 10,000 containers can arrive at dawn and depart with new cargo by sunset. Rates have at times drifted so low that in early 2016 you could shift a metric ton of goods from Shanghai to Rotterdam for about $10 — and even then, the world’s biggest shipping line, AP Moller-Maersk A/S, was able to turn a modest operating profit.The flip side of that is that when things go wrong, they go seriously wrong. Boxer RebellionPart of the problem has been that containers aren’t in the right places. In global terms, trade enjoyed a remarkably short and sharp pandemic. By September last year, volumes were already running ahead of their seasonally adjusted levels in January and February, as demand for medical equipment and spending on durable goods picked up in rich countries.Trying to make all those deliveries on time meant that many vessels started making their return journeys empty, saving a few precious hours that would normally be spent picking up vacant boxes to ship back to China. That’s resulted in a glut of containers in European and North American ports and a shortage in Asia, pushing freight rates to astronomical levels on export routes.Those high prices — and the sharp differentials with the cost on the return route — can be seen as price signals that will push the industry to rebalance itself. That already seems to be having an effect. More than 360,000 empty containers were shipped from the port of Los Angeles last month, roughly double usual seasonal rates.Let the Good Times RollThe bigger issue will come once the world’s boxes are where they need to be. Covid dealt a hammer-blow to global merchandise volumes, but the slowdown had been going on for some time before that, thanks to former President Donald Trump’s trade wars on the rest of the world. Traffic had been trending downward ever since late 2018, and only regained its previous levels at the start of this year.As a result, the freight industry has been cutting back on investment in anticipation of a global economy in which trade would be playing a smaller role. Since March 2019, Maersk’s capital investment has come to just $2.9 billion, not much more than it invested in a single quarter during 2014. That’s a problem that will take years of building new ships, berths and port loading cranes to fix.ShipwreckOnce upon a time, shipping lines might have been able to relieve the pressure by ordering their vessels to travel faster, increasing the capacity of the fleet by working it harder. Even that option is less available, though: The latest generation of mega-vessels save energy and costs by having top speeds of around 18 or 19 knots as opposed to 24 knots in the 2000s, Morgan Stanley analysts led by Carolina Dores wrote in a note last week. So there’s not much ability to pick up slack by steaming faster. The shipping industry tends to be as up and down as the sea itself, so even this will correct in time. Analysts expect Maersk to make more profits this year than in the previous seven put together. Inevitably, that will lead to another orgy of shipbuilding, so that at some point down the line, the world will face a glut of container capacity like it did in 2016.In the meantime, though, a world economy where trade is booming will be dependent on a shipping industry that never expected such luck. The chaos and costs on the high seas will eventually turn around. But, as with any big vessel, it’s going to take a while.
Categories: Business News

PM Modi announces launch of M-Yoga app

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
Giving the mantra of 'Yoga se sahyog tak', Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced the launch of the M-Yoga app for yoga training videos that will be available worldwide in different languages and said that the application will play a 'great role' in expanding yoga across the globe.While addressing the nation on the occasion of the seventh International Yoga Day, PM Modi said, "When India proposed the International Yoga Day before the World Health Organisation (WHO), we wanted Yoga to be easily available to the people around the world.""In collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO), India has taken another important step. Now there will be M-Yoga app, which will have yoga training videos in different languages for people across the world," the Prime Minister said."The M-Yoga app will be a great example of the fusion of modern technology and ancient science. I believe that the application will play a great role in expanding Yoga across the world and will make the 'One World, One Health' motto a success," he said.The Prime Minister added, "The mantra of 'Yoga se sahyog tak' will show us the way of new future and make will give power to the humanity."This year, the theme of the occasion is 'Yoga For Wellness', and will focus on practicing Yoga for physical and mental well-being.Since 2014, the occasion has been observed in mass gatherings in different parts of the country.Last year and this year, however, the lead event has been presented in a televised programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The observation of IDY is a global activity and the preparatory activities normally start 3-4 months prior to June 21. Millions of people are introduced to Yoga in the spirit of a mass movement as part of IDY observation every year.
Categories: Business News

Yoga Day: A guide to get the lazy person started

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
My yoga journey, like that of many, has had different phases– starting off in a place where I thought yoga was boring, to rediscovering yoga, partially propelled by my favourite Hollywood stars, understanding that yoga went beyond a physical practice and so on.Somewhere on this journey were also a few “advanced asana” phases where I was determined to accomplish the most difficult of asanas– Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrkshasana) Scorpion (Vrikschasana) and others– usually followed by injury of some kind. Part of the motivation for doing these asanas was the social media posts that would follow (not a good reason).It was only a decade into my yoga journey that I realised that yoga asanas were neither meant for fitness, nor toning, nor achieving shapes with the body. A daily yoga asana practice was fundamentally about aligning the body, the breath and the “prana,” “chi” or “life-force.” This neither took hours nor did it need to be complicated. After twenty years of practice, I know that the most effective asanas are the most basic, the most fundamental ones; the asanas that can be accomplished by nearly everybody, especially with the use of simple props like cushions, a strap or a block.A complete yoga practice does not have to take more than 30 minutes of your time and is best practiced in the morning so that you can face the day and the inevitable challenges that come with it, with a balanced body and mind. Yoga in the evening is fine too– but you can’t reap the benefits of a morning practice that gives you an entire day to work with the benefits achieved in a short practice.What does a complete and safe yoga practice consist of?Here are a few suggestions from what I like to include in my daily morning practice.Simple Warms UpsWe have to warm up our bodies and gain some strength and stamina to prepare ourselves to do asanas.- Stretching the arms over and above the head- Rolling on the spine after making a small ball with the body- Twists to the right and left along with the breath.Find what feels good to you, and make accommodations based on your body and its requirements.PranayamaMake sure to do these in a clean environment, ideally with fresh air available. Two are enough.Kapalabhati (stomach pumping exercise) This is technically a kriya. It is a great way to improve blood circulation and strengthen the lungs.Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) helps in clearing the nasal passages and increases oxygenation.Surya NamaskarsThis is a complete warm-up. It really wakes up the body. The twelve different postures help increase flexibility and strength.InversionIdeally, this should include a headstand or shoulder stand (followed by Hal asana and Matsya asana) but even something as simple as placing the legs against the wall would work. 83705329Forward BendAny sort of forward bend works, my favourite is the classical Paschimotanasana or sitting forward bend. Padhastasana (standing forward bend) is a good choice too.These would help soothe the endocrine glands and give a good stretch to the intervertebral joints.TwistMy favourite is the Bharadvaj asana and the Ardha Matsendrya asana. These asanas would be a great addition to relieve any spinal, hip and groin problems.BackbendsChoose what feels right for your body. Bhujang asana, chakra asana, Shalabh asana are are options. They help in circulating blood deep into the vertebrae and keep the lungs healthy.If your daily practice includes these movements, then you are all set to go.Remember that ultimately disease is energy trapped in the body and yoga prevents disease by allowing the energy to flow freely in our nadis or astral bodies.A few more points to keep in mind:The longer you hold the asana the better it is. It is through long holds that the asanas start to work on various levels of the body– the physical, the emotional and the mental.Each asana needs to be combined with the breath, else it is not yoga, merely gymnastics or stretching. The breaths need to be long and slow.Asanas are defined in the Yoga Sutras as steady and comfortable, so you should not be overwhelmed with discomfort in any of the asanas.Lastly, there is no better time to start yoga than now. This practice has transformed my life in so many ways, and this magic is open to everybody. With yoga going online, there is no excuse anymore so find your favourite online yoga class and get started, even if it’s for 30 minutes a day.I hope you find your yoga bliss as I did.- The author is an author, columnist and a Yoga Acharya. She is the founder of Yog Love - a yoga studios, and also Master at ThinkRight.me, a meditation and mindfulness app. 83690452
Categories: Business News

Covid-19: Why India needs more foreign vaccines

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
With the pandemic waning and vaccinations rising, the urgency to bring vaccines from Pfizer, J&J and Moderna, among others, may not be there. Yet, the situation can change quickly and the experts fear a third wave. Vaccine supply should remain a high priority and this may be a good time to negotiate with foreign manufacturers when there is no urgency. ET's Teena Thacker takes a look at the case:8370466983704674
Categories: Business News

PNB Housing Finance appeals against Sebi order

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
PNB Housing Finance has appealed against The Securities & Exchange Board of Indiaorder barring the lender seeking shareholders' nod for its Rs 4000-crore capital infusion deal with the Carlyle group and other investors."The company has filed an appeal before the Securities Appellate Tribunal against the letter issued by Sebi on June 18," it said in a regulatory filing.ET had on Sunday highlighted this possibility.Sebi had said that resolution related to the deal violates the company’s Articles of Associations and the company must undertake an independent valuation of the business. A shareholders' meeting was scheduled to be held on June 22 to approve the deal.Following the proposed capital infusion, Carlyle and Salisbury Investments, a family investment vehicle of former HDFC Bank chief executive Aditya Puri, are set to be the new promoters of the company, besides the original promoter Punjab National Bank."The company and its board of directors continue to believe the pricing of the deal is in compliance with all relevant laws and rules," PNB Housing had said on June 19.“Preferential allotment is in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and all relevant stakeholders,” it had said.The deal has come under the lens of the regulators after certain sections of the investment industry, including a proxy advisory firm, raised doubts about the neutrality of the PNB Housing board.
Categories: Business News

Traders mount bullish bets on RIL ahead of AGM

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
Mumbai: Traders have mounted bullish bets on Reliance Industries (RIL) ahead of its annual general meeting on Friday, with expectations that India’s most valuable company will give more details of the plans for its retail and digital businesses — and an update on the Saudi Aramco deal.Open interest in Reliance Industries futures is at a five-month high and options data suggest that the stock may rise to Rs 2,300-Rs 2,350 in the coming days.The stock ended up 0.43% at Rs 2,225 on Friday, taking the last one month's gain to 12%. The series has so far seen an addition of 27,852 contracts in futures, taking the total open interest to 143,342 contracts. Open interest is up 6.6% in the June series.Volume in the stock on Friday was higher than the 20-day average and also saw high delivery of around 50%."The short-term momentum is strong and the stock can head to Rs 2,350 in the next couple of weeks," said Abhilash Pagaria, assistant vice president, Edelweiss Alternative Research.ExpectationsSeveral large investors have bought stakes in Reliance's digital and retail business at the subsidiary level over the last year. The company has formed partnerships with Google, Facebook and Microsoft among others. There are expectations that the company will give an update on the direction of these businesses. Other reports have suggested that the company may announce a new smartphone in partnership with Google.HSBC said the stock has seen an average surge of 140% in trading value on its AGM days compared to the volumes traded a month prior to the AGM.“Over the past 10 years, in the week and month post the AGMs, the stock has outperformed the Nifty 6/10 and 7/10 times, potentially implying that the speech managed to give more confidence," said HSBC.StrategySiddarth Bhamre, director-alternative investments and research at InCred Equities, pointed out that the outstanding positions are mostly bullish bets. Reliance’s implied volatility is slightly on the higher side at 40% and has risen in the last one month compared to Nifty’s implied volatility, which has come down."This surely makes its options expensive. Reliance has given a breakout and is consolidating post that. Taking these factors into consideration, we suggest selling a strangle option and 2,300 call option," said Bhamre.Rajesh Palviya, head-technicals and derivatives at Axis Securities, recommends a call ladder strategy for RIL in the June series, which involves buying of one lot of 2,220 call option at Rs 44.85 and selling one lot each of 2,300 call at Rs 18.35 and one lot of 2,340 call at Rs 10.60."The maximum profit of Rs 16,000 (64 points) will be attained at Rs 2,300 - Rs 2,320 levels, while (this) strategy will start making losses above 2400," said Palviya.“The cost of the strategy involves outflow of Rs 3,975 (16 points) which is the maximum loss if Reliance trades and remains below Rs 2,230 levels. However, above Rs 2,400, it is advisable to exit the strategy in total to avoid unlimited losses. Breakeven points of the strategy are Rs 2,404 on the upside and Rs 2,235 on the lower side," he said.
Categories: Business News

Sebi may allow FPIs to trade commodity futures listed on local exchanges

June 21, 2021 - 11:49am
Mumbai: At a time China is allowing more offshore investment into commodities, India is mulling over a plan to let foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) trade commodity futures listed on local exchanges.The Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) recently held a meeting with leading international commodity trading firms, FPIs which are large commodity investors in other markets, banks, and one of the bourses to understand their views on the subject, according to two persons who attended the meeting.Unlike other financial products like stock, bond, gilt, and currency, foreign firms are restricted from taking positions in exchange traded commodity derivatives.‘Foreign eligible entities’ are allowed to ‘hedge’ their positions in a domestic commodity exchange after submitting all documents to demonstrate their export or import of commodities with an Indian party. But these are one-way trades limited to the extent of their exposure to the physical markets — with regulations disallowing them to freely buy and sell commodity futures.Allowing FPIs or other foreign investors to have position limits in commodity futures (beyond pure hedging) will only require changes in Sebi’s regulations — and not any amendment of laws. Commodity futures (like equities and corporate bonds) are already recognised as ‘security’ under the Securities (Contracts) Regulation Act.“We got the impression that the regulator is open to the idea. While one of the commodity exchanges took an active interest in the meeting, the invitations came from Sebi. So, they may be weighing the pros and cons of allowing FPIs in some non-agricultural and non-sensitive commodities like gold, silver etc... China too is making it easier for foreign funds to trade in commodities,” a source told ET.In November 2020, China came out with new rules to give foreign institutional investors easier access to the commodity futures market. Compared to earlier regulations which allowed foreign funds to invest in stock index futures, under the new framework the range of products was widened to include bond futures listed on the China Financial Futures Exchange and commodity futures and options traded on exchanges in Dalian, Shanghai and Zhengzhou. From June18, 2021, RBD palm olein options became the first option product for foreign investors to trade in China. 83704345The daily traded volume on Indian commodity exchanges is Rs 30,000-40,000 crore.“In global markets, the position limits are huge. So, to draw FPIs, the government and the regulator have to increase the limits. They should do away with documentation requirements for trade. Besides, there should be greater clarity on tax. Since a foreign fund has no presence in India, a foreign fund would go for cashsettled deals (that do not result in actual delivery of commodities). An FPI is not looking at hedging but may want to diversify its portfolio with commodity futures,” said a senior banker.Even in other securities, FPIs do not aggressively hedge their exposure. While they do hedge against the risk on foreign exchange losses on a large part of bond holdings where the gains are limited, not more than10-20% of their equity exposure is hedged.Besides aiming greater transparency and price discovery through higher volumes and liquidity, the regulator may have a plan to see India emerge in the long run as a price-settler in some commodities.But, deregulation of commodity futures has run into hurdles in the past due to fears, though unfounded, of prices of futures influencing prices in the physical market. Under the circumstances, FPI could be allowed in a way that inflows do not push up the headline and consumer inflation. Many countries, including China, have had to carry out a delicate balancing and take a calibrated approach while opening up commodity futures to foreign funds.According to a May 31, 2021, report in ‘Materials Risk’, a commodity news portal, “Chinese commodity futures markets are very poor at fundamental price discovery — momentum base trading can take prices significantly further away from fundamentals than other global commodity markets. The government is prone to frequent crackdowns should trading activity threaten economic, financial or social stability.”
Categories: Business News

Yoga remains 'ray of hope' against Covid: Modi

June 21, 2021 - 8:49am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said yoga remains a "ray of hope" as the world fights the coronavirus pandemic and asserted that in these difficult times it has become a source of inner strength.Addressing the 7th International Yoga Day programme, Modi also said that in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), India has taken another important step and now the world is going to get the power of M-Yoga application, which will have many videos of yoga training based on Common Yoga Protocol available in different languages of the world.This will help us in making the 'One World, One Health' motto successful, he said."At a time when the whole world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, yoga remains a ray of hope," Modi said.The prime minister noted that there may not have been any major public events in countries around the world and in India for around a year and a half, but the enthusiasm for Yoga Day has not diminished.For most of the countries of the world, Yoga Day is not their age-old cultural festival and in this difficult time, people could have forgotten about it and ignored it, but on the contrary, people's enthusiasm for yoga has increased, he said."When the unseen coronavirus knocked on the doors of the world, no country was prepared for it in terms of resources, capability and mental state. We all have seen that in such difficult times, yoga has become a great source of inner strength," he said.Yoga shows us the way from stress to strength and from negativity to creativity, he asserted.Modi noted that the medical science focuses as much on "healing" as on treatment, and said yoga plays a role in healing.Many schools now begin their online classes with yogic exercises like pranayam, he said, adding that this prepares children physically to deal with Covid.The prime minister expressed confidence that yoga will continue playing its preventive, as well as promotive role in healthcare of masses.
Categories: Business News

UP government mulls population control measures

June 21, 2021 - 8:49am
The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has begun the groundwork for a draft law that will seek to limit the benefits of state government schemes only to those with two children or less. The law is aimed at incentivising people to help in population control in the most populous state in the country.The move comes almost in tandem with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's announcement that it will now also gradually extend norms of its existing two child policy to prohibit those with more than two children from availing state government welfare schemes. Currently, its policy places restrictions only on government jobs and contesting local elections.Speaking to ET, chairman of the UP State Law Commission, AN Mittal, said the draft law which will be prepared in two months after consultations with the relevant stakeholders, factoring in of public opinion etc, will be aimed at state government programmes like subsidies on certain products and services, ration distribution, employment in state government services, and other state welfare schemes like affordable housing schemes. 83704297A cut-off date will be decided for its implementation, Mittal said. The law will be implemented prospectively and not restrospectively, he said adding that the nine-month pregnancy room will also be factored in while deciding the cut-off date.Further, it will not be “punitive” in any sense but a couple that decides to not limit their family to two kids will have to forego the benefits of the schemes, he said. The commission is studying existing policies in Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, as well as those of foreign countries like China and Canada for reference.“Whatever we lay down, will be within constitutional limits. For example, the right to education is a fundamental right, so the law will certainly not be applied to enrollment in state government educational institutions,” Mittal said. According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, UP had a total fertility rate (TFR) of 2.74 children per woman, as against a national TFR of 2.2 children per woman. It was second only to Bihar which had a TFR of 3.41.The chairman of the commission which had also drawn up the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion Act passed last year in the state, said the proposed two-child law will be different from the population policy implemented in 1976 which, he said, was compulsory, where teachers were not given salaries. Once prepared, the draft will be sent to the government which will decide if it wants to include more schemes under the draft’s purview or exclude some persons. “For example, the SC/STs in Assam are exempted from the twochild policy,” he said.Health minister Jai Pratap Singh had last year spoken about such a policy being on the anvil that had sought to include the clause of debarring people with more than two kids from contesting panchayat elections. However, this was before Covid-19. Hence, the health department had to prioritise pandemic management over any other plan. Mittal however said the commission has taken it up on its own and no communication has taken place between the government and the commission on the law.The issue of population explosion has been often spoken about by the BJP with BJP MP from Rajya Sabha Rakesh Sinha having introduced a Population Control bill in 2019.
Categories: Business News

IT rules: Twitter, FB staring at higher tax bills

June 21, 2021 - 8:49am
Mumbai: As Twitter, Google and Facebook appoint nodal officers to comply with India’s new information technology (IT) rules, they could see their domestic tax bills jump from this year onward, said people with knowledge of the matter.Top digital companies do not have a presence or permanent establishment (PE) in India and hence don’t pay domestic taxes on their entire income. The Indian government introduced the equalisation levy—6% on advertising revenue and 2% on digital transactions—to capture the domestic income of these companies. The companies pay tax on a ‘cost-plus basis,’ on about 8-10% of total revenue, similar to an outsourcing unit in India.That could change this year. The tax department could argue that appointing a nodal or compliance officer in India under the new rules implies the company has a permanent establishment in India, experts said. And that they should therefore pay the appropriate taxes—at least 25% but possibly as much as 42%--on the entire income generated in the country.Over the last two weeks, the digital giants have again reached out to their tax lawyers and advisors seeking a way around this. ET had first written on March 15 that these companies were looking to create structures to circumvent the tax impact. They had been looking to outsource compliance functions but that has been disallowed.“The government has specifically denied this request. Our client was told that the nodal officer has to be part of the US entity or a separate entity, and neither can this function be outsourced nor can they hire anyone on a temporary or consulting basis,” a lawyer advising one of the three digital giants told ET.Twitter declined to comment on queries linked to possible tax implications. Google and Facebook didn’t respond to queries. Tax experts said this requirement would lead to the companies having a permanent establishment in India.“Appointment of a nodal officer could create a permanent establishment for these digital giants in India and have a huge tax impact from paying 6% equalisation levy to paying about a higher tax on entire income. Also, some of these companies are already litigating the PE aspect in Indian courts, and even that could have a larger impact,” said Girish Vanvari, founder of tax advisory firm Transaction Square.Another lawyer advising one of the three social media giants told ET that they expect tax demands propping up on this basis “very soon.”“Our defence is going to be that any compliance that’s mandated by the government doesn’t create a PE for us, because we do not require these functions to operate smoothly. The only reason why we have these functions in India is because we have been forced to have them,” the second lawyer told ET.PE is a concept in taxation that determines which country has the right to tax a multinational’s income and to what extent. These companies have offices in India but as per tax regulations, it doesn’t bring the entire money made in India under the tax net due to various structures under which they operate. In most cases, income tax is paid by an Indian entity, which can be typically defined as a captive and only charges fees or margins from the foreign subsidiary. Tax is merely levied on fees charged by the Indian entity.
Categories: Business News

Companies helping staff warm up to office life again as Covid cases decline

June 21, 2021 - 8:49am
Several fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), auto, consumer electronics and retail companies have begun getting employees back to their corporate offices in small batches for a few days a week — referred to as “warm-up days”. Others are planning to do this as well, in order to get staff used to the habit of working from office again as Covid numbers decline. They include Parle Products, LG, Hyundai Motors, Kia India, Tata Consumer Products, Future Group and Panasonic among others.Now that most employees and their families have received their first Covid jab, it’s expected that offices will be fully reopened in October-November with everyone completely vaccinated by then, the companies said. They also expect states will by then allow offices to reopen for all employees who have got both doses. Also, a possible third wave will be over by then as per their estimates. Most companies expect staff to get at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of this month.“Work from home has been a compulsion and employees are feeling fatigued. There is pressure for them to prove that they are working by sending emails or reports, even post midnight, which disrupts work-life balance,” said Krishnarao Buddha, senior category head at Parle Products, the largest biscuit maker. “People are missing the kind of ‘chill-out,’ which happens in office.”Flexible RostersSome employees will start coming back to the workplace for a few days of the week, said Amit Chincholikar, global chief of HR at Tata Consumer Products, which makes Tata Salt and Tata Tea.“We believe that more than the way the work gets done, the physical workplace fosters an environment of social connect, innovation and camaraderie, which we see as being critical to the business,” he said.After the first pandemic wave, most companies had only asked senior leadership and reporting managers to attend office.Parle, Future Group and Panasonic have asked vaccinated staff to attend office on one or two days a week and plan to increase this. Hyundai Motor and Kia India started work from office with 50% staff and an alternate-day arrangement starting June. Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors have announced a hybrid work system, with some working from home and others from the office. They are likely to step up office attendance as all employees get at least the first shot this month, said people with knowledge of the matter.TVS is using flexible attendance rosters. Some functions are categorised under alternate week patterns while others have alternate days, which will continue until the situation normalises.ITC is evaluating vaccination status, local infection rates and government guidelines. Mahindra & Mahindra will decide next month. 83704547‘Physical Presence must in Some Processes’At this point, the company doesn’t envisage permanent work from home, said Amitav Mukherji, head of corporate HR at ITC.“Certain processes are perhaps better enabled with physical presence in office and help build social capital, reinforce connections and contribute to fellowship,” he said.India’s largest appliance company LG is deciding on reopening offices along with interventions aimed at making this an enjoyable experience in such trying times, said Sunil Ranjhan, director, HR. Future Group is trying to rebuild office work culture with in-person meetings or breakout tea or meals.Several companies have been facing punctuality issues on the warm-up days with employees having gotten used to waking up late during more than a year of work from home.Hybrid Work ModelsSome like Vedanta, Sony and Amway are opening offices but said employees can continue working from home for now.Vedanta chief of HR Madhu Srivastava said employees can choose whether to attend office or work remotely. “Workplace flexibility and hybrid work models are the future of work we are aiming at,” she said.Amway CEO Anshu Budhraja said the second wave of the pandemic has further reinforced work from home and employees have the liberty to decide. Sony India chief of HR Sanjay Bhatnagar said work from home will continue but employees can attend office if they need to while observing Covid protocols. Globally, Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that employees should return to offices in September for at least three days a week. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are also seeking to get staff back to the office.
Categories: Business News

Visa plans to enter cross-border corp payment segment, seeks RBI nod

June 21, 2021 - 8:49am
Mumbai: Global payments company Visa Inc has sought the central bank’s permission to offer a new cross-border payments system to process trade flows to and from India, offering a potentially cheaper – and quicker - blockchain-based solution now on trial.Visa is likely to partner a private sector bank for this offering, three people familiar with the plan told ET.Visa expects to gain market share in the high-value cross-border corporate payments segment currently monopolised by Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), which is both time-consuming and expensive – at times, at least.Swift processes trillions of dollars worldwide through its system and Visa hopes to use its global network to process these transactions faster and at a lower cost to gain a good chunk of the market. “Currently, if a bank in India wants to send money to a UK-based bank on behalf of a client, it has to route it through a bank with which it holds a nostro account,” said a person aware of the plan. “That bank then settles the transaction with the final destination bank where money has to be sent ultimately. All this is time consuming and sometimes because the success of a transaction depends on the settlement between the two foreign banks, the Indian bank and the customer here has no visibility of when it will go through.”Visa is expected to leverage its relationships to plug the gap.“Since Visa has a relationship with almost all banks in the world, it can settle trades quickly, saving a lot of time and improving visibility,” said the person cited above.Visa's plan is global. Earlier this month, it tied up with US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs to use Visa's B2B Connect, a corporate payments network that allows financial institutions to process high-value, cross-border payments in 97 markets. The system is based on blockchain technology that allows information to be exchanged in a secure manner. 83698094More such tie-ups with banks in other countries are in the offing, the people cited above said.Visa did not reply to a mail seeking comments.Earlier this year, Visa applied to RBI’s Department of Payment & Settlement Systems (DPSS) to start this venture. The central bank asked Visa to apply to its Foreign Exchange Department accompanied by an Indian bank since it involves cross-border remittances.RBI did not reply to an email seeking comment.“RBI approval for a bank is a must to offer this service. After that, the central bank may allow Visa to take more banks into its fold to offer this service,” said a second person involved in the deal.Visa will have to comply with local norms on foreign exchange payments and remittances to offer these services.
Categories: Business News

Fed’s rate sword puts markets on notice

June 21, 2021 - 8:49am
Mumbai: Will the global markets see a sharp sell-off in the coming days similar to the taper tantrum of 2013? Have the popular reflation trades — bets on a rebound in the economy — run their course? Is the bull run over? These are some of the questions that jittery investors are asking after the US Federal Reserve unsettled markets late last week with its unexpectedly hawkish tone on interest rate forecasts, a contrast to the more accommodative stance some months ago. For a market thriving on liquidity, the Fed remarks came as a jolt to some of the hot investment wagers that had attracted speculative money in recent months.Reflation trades have been the biggest casualty of the Fed’s change in stance on Wednesday, with the global unwinding of commodity prices, sell-off in value stocks and rise in long-term yields late last week triggering margin calls at global hedge funds punting on bonds and commodities. The likely liquidation of several such leveraged trades could lead to some more pain in global markets, leading to some sharp swings and heightened uncertainty in the near term. Wall Street witnessed a sell-off on Friday after comments from Fed official James Bullard that the central bank might raise interest rates sooner than previously expected. But seasoned market watchers are of the opinion that this won’t mean a reversal of the bull market. The Fed, they reckon, has merely put down a roadblock to check the runaway prices of various assets, mainly commodities, but in the process introduced a new risk parameter for global financial markets.The American central bank abruptly signaled on Wednesday that an interest rate increase could happen as early as 2023 — considered an acknowledgement of growing inflationary pressures. The outlook spooked investors because in March the Fed said it saw no hikes at least till 2024.The ultra-loose monetary policy by global central banks led by the Fed – including zero interest rates and keeping the system awash with liquidity through huge monthly bond purchases – coupled with fiscal policies by various governments have prompted investors to bet on economic recovery. That’s driving up appetite for metals, cement, industrials and other beaten-down stocks, broadly part of the reflation trade. The launch of Covid vaccines late last year resulted in this strategy dominating the global investment landscape over the past six months, replacing growth stocks such as technology and consumer-facing businesses.Amid the gush of liquidity and supply chain constraints following Covid, investors also anticipated a resurgence of inflation. But repeated assurances from Fed chairman Jerome Powell that the central bank would be tolerant of rising prices prompted investors to persist with reflation bets despite recent indicators of accelerating inflation. Reflation is the turning point in economic growth leading to a pick-up in inflation. Investor confidence has been shaken with the Fed reversing its stance abruptly.Market participants are now expecting a pause in the momentum in reflation trades but insist such bets have not run their course. The resilience in oil prices after the Fed’s remarks is perceived to be an indicator of faith in renewed economic activity.That said, the undertone has turned from cautious to skittish as investors are now waiting to assess the extent of damage the Fed’s remarks might cause to the markets, confidence and liquidity.Fund managers are gearing up for a few scenarios to play out. One is the market could react strongly to Powell’s comments in the coming days, similar to the taper tantrum of 2013, when comments by the then-Fed chairman Ben Bernanke on cuts in bond purchases sparked panic in the global financial markets.Many investors would not mind this. In the past few weeks, informed investors — mainly institutions and big traders — have been piling up cash and holding back from fresh equity purchases as pricey share valuations had made it tougher for them to deploy money. A drop will be a perfect opportunity to deploy cash in the markets.The other scenario that could play out is that the market swings wildly in a range in the next few days.Market watchers said this makes the outlook hazy beyond the next few weeks. This could lead to faster rotation of money in the market. Money managers under pressure to keep portfolio returns ticking could churn their holdings more often as the days of making easy money might be over.The new risks might require investors to take a more measured approach towards equities.
Categories: Business News

The problem with new barometer of economy

June 21, 2021 - 2:48am
India’s statistical system is in bad shape. One aspect of this is the paucity of national household surveys. The National Sample Survey’s (NSO) latest consumption survey, ignoring the suppressed 2017-18 round, goes back to 2011-12. The District Level Household Surveys and Annual Health Surveys have not been heard of since 2013. The latest National Family Health Survey, NFHS-5, is now oddly partitioned between some states where the survey was duly completed in 2019-20 and others where it has been delayed if not derailed. The decennial census and the second Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) were due this year. But there is no news of them.In this statistical vacuum, all eyes are on the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) and its Consumer Pyramids Household Survey (CPHS). CMIE is a private agency engaged in the collection and compilation of Indian statistics, for sale. CPHS is a periodic survey, conducted three times a year in successive four-month ‘waves’ since January 2014. It is based on ‘an all-India representative sample of over 170,000 households’ according to CMIE’s website. Further, this is meant to be a panel dataset, largely tracking the same households over time, though response rates vary, and new households are frequently added to compensate for attrition.Except for its hefty price, the CPHS dataset is – or, at least, sounds -- like a researcher’s dream. It has become a veritable barometer of the Indian economy, closely watched for data on income, expenditure and employment in particular. Research papers based on CPHS data are also mushrooming. CPHS even stayed the course, we are told, during the Covid-19 crisis. The country owes a handsome debt to CMIE for coming to the rescue of its battered statistical system.Is it really true, however, that CPHS is a ‘robust, nationally representative and panel survey of households,’ as a June 2021 World Bank discussion paper puts it, echoing many similar descriptions of this survey in influential articles?Consider this: according to CPHS, adult literacy (15-49 years) was 100% in urban areas and 99% in rural areas in late 2019. That is too good to be true. It suggests that CPHS is biased towards better-off households.The plot thickens when we compare literacy rates at different points of time. Four years earlier, in late 2015, the literacy rate in the same age group was only 83% according to CPHS data. Could it really be that adult illiteracy was wiped out within four years? Seems unlikely.We can pursue this matter by looking at literacy for the same cohorts over this period. For instance, we can compare the 15-49 age group in late 2019 with the 11-45 age group in late 2015. These two groups correspond to the same cohort. If CPHS is mostly a panel dataset, the literacy rate of this cohort should be much the same in 2015 and 2019. But, in fact, it rises in successive waves, from 84% in 2015 to 99% in 2019. This suggests that the CPHS sample became towards better-off (or better-educated) households over time.The bias already applied in late 2015, judging from a comparison with the earlier NFHS-4. The CPHS estimate of adult literacy (15-49 years) at that time is 6 percentage points higher than the NFHS-4 estimate for 2015-16, for both men and women. The bias is also evident from data on household assets. According to CPHS, for instance, 98% of households had electricity in late 2015, 93% had water within the house, 89% had a television, and 42% had a fridge. The corresponding figures from NFHS-4 are much lower: 88%, 67%, 67% and 30% respectively.There is no guarantee that NFHS-4 is more reliable than CPHS. But at least we know that it is a nationally representative survey, and the NFHS-4 figures also look more plausible than their CPHS counterparts. Further, the NFHS-4 literacy figures are consistent with 2011 census data for the same cohorts, but CPHS literacy figures are not -- they are too high.As stated earlier, it seems the CPHS bias towards better-off households increased over time. By 2019, the bias was truly embarrassing, judging from similar comparisons with NFHS-5 data for the 11 major states where that survey is on track. Consider Bihar. According to CPHS, 100% of households in Bihar had electricity in late 2019, 100% had water within the house, 98% had a toilet, and 95% had a TV. Paradise! The corresponding NFHS-5 figures are much lower, and far more plausible (96%, 89%, 62% and 35% respectively). Bihar is just one state. But a similar contrast emerges for these 11 states together (see table).83697312Another clue emerges from comparisons with the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2018-19 presented in the Azim Premji University State of Working India 2021 report (bit.ly/2SQvcqO). These suggest that CPHS overestimates average labour earnings by a long margin -- perhaps 50% or so in rural areas.In short, far from being nationally representative, the CPHS sample is heavily biased towards better-off households, and quite likely, the bias is growing over time. The bias is, perhaps, not surprising, since the sampling method apparently consists of surveying the ‘main street’ first in each sample village or enumeration block, and proceeding to inner streets only if the sample size requires it. If only for this reason, poor households are bound to be under-represented.Incidentally, we noticed this bias in CMIE data in a recent review of evidence on the economic impact of Covid-19. A series of household surveys focusing on informal sector workers and their families strongly suggest that employment, income, expenditure and food intake remained well below pre-lockdown levels throughout 2020. CPHS, by contrast, suggests fairly rapid recovery soon after the national lockdown. This apparent contradiction is readily resolved if we bear in mind that poor households are grossly under-represented in CPHS data.All this is just a sample of statistical issues that call for urgent scrutiny, given the prominent role of CMIE data in economic discussions today. The first step is for CMIE to reassert or retract its claim that CPHS is a nationally representative survey (a fair expectation, surely, from an agency that charges $180,000 per wave for adding a one-minute question in the survey). After that, let a hundred voices boom.
Categories: Business News

Developers may face liquidity crisis on NBFC woes: Fitch

June 21, 2021 - 2:48am
MUMBAI: Liquidity risk is increasing for Indian-based real-estate developers, as non-bank financial institutions (NBFI; including housing finance companies) are shying away from lending to the sector, said Fitch Ratings.Developers that rely on refinancing from NBFIs, particularly those with weak financial profiles, will be affected the most should conditions persist. The availability of unencumbered assets among large developers may be of limited use, as NBFIs are looking to shed their already-high exposure to the sector, especially to large borrowers.NBFIs have disproportionately increased their share of real-estate sector credit in the previous few years, owing to heightened risk aversion by banks; banks have been cutting exposure due to their own funding challenges that began in late 2018, which have become more acute in the previous few months; domestic bank exposures fell to 2.3% of loans in the financial year ending March 2019 from 2.8% in 2015-16.NBFIs are now also shying away from refinancing maturing debt of even large, proven developers to limit concentration risk to the sector. This is pushing developers towards alternative funding channels, such as private equity. The availability of such funding could be more limited than the value of maturing debt and may only be available to established developers with sufficient unpledged assets. It would also come at a higher cost. We believe banks may still consider exposure to quality real estate, but overall exposure continues to decline.Developers that are focused on high-end projects may face higher risk, as sales of such projects have slowed in the last two years. We believe these developers would be wary of taking sharp price corrections on unsold inventory to boost sales, except in extreme circumstances, as this could diminish the value of unsold inventory and weaken collateral cover for existing lenders.In addition, any boost in sales would be temporary. Meanwhile, developers with substantial exposure to affordable housing may still benefit from marginal access to lenders in light of healthy pre-sales growth, supported by India's substantial housing deficit and government incentives for buyers via the credit-linked subsidy scheme as well as for developers, including tax deductions and grant of infrastructure status, which entitles companies to some benefits and concessions.The government has announced measures to improve NBFI-sector liquidity, but their efficacy remains to be seen. For example, we believe the government's July 2019 announcement to provide a first-loss guarantee of 10% on securitised assets issued by NBFIs to banks could ease funding pressure for NBFIs in the short term. However, the provision refers only to financially sound issuers and there is a lack of clarity about the duration of the guarantee and the definition of what comprises a 'financially sound' entity. In addition, most of the actions by the authorities to alleviate the liquidity squeeze will benefit the largest and least risky NBFIs and is unlikely to address the pressure on the more property focused players.Defaults by two NBFIs - Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) in September 2018 and Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) in June 2019 - have contributed to the sector-wide liquidity squeeze, as investors have become more risk averse. Banks' low appetite for lending to real-estate developers is evidenced by the usually high risk weights attached to such loans. These are due to developers' typically low credit ratings amid high leverage, making exposure to the sector an inefficient use of banks' already-limited capital.Substantial bank recapitalisation to increase lending capacity could benefit NBFIs as well as real-estate developers, subject to the banks' risk appetite. Although a structural improvement in NBFI asset books would take time. Nonetheless, even under better conditions we expect NBFI's to tighten credit standards, with developers facing funding pressure until there is a broader improvement in their operations, with better end-user demand and pricing support.
Categories: Business News

Decision over flex-fuel engines in 8-10 days: Gadkari

June 20, 2021 - 11:48pm
The government will take a decision over flex-fuel engines in the next 8-10 days as it is considering making these engines mandatory for the automobile industry, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Sunday while asserting that the move will help farmers and boost the Indian economy. Addressing Rotary District Conference 2020-21 virtually, Gadkari said that the price of alternative fuel ethanol is Rs 60-62 per litre while petrol costs more than Rs 100 per litre in many parts of the country, so by using ethanol, Indians will save Rs 30-35 per litre. "I am transport minister, I am going to issue an order to the industry, that only petrol engines will not be there, there will be flex-fuel engines, where there will be choice for the people that they can use 100 per cent crude oil or 100 per ethanol," he said. "I am going to take a decision within 8-10 days and we will make it (flex-fuel engine) mandatory for the automobile industry," he further said. The Road Transport and Highways Minister mentioned that automobile makers are producing flex-fuel engines in Brazil, Canada and the US providing an alternative to customers to use 100 per cent petrol or 100 per cent bio-ethanol. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the target date for achieving 20 per cent ethanol-blending with petrol has been advanced by five years to 2025 to cut pollution and reduce import dependence. The government last year had set a target of reaching 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and 20 per cent doping by 2030. Currently, about 8.5 per cent ethanol is mixed with petrol as against 1-1.5 per cent in 2014, Gadkari said adding ethanol procurement has risen from 38 crore litres to 320 crore litres. Gadkari said that ethanol is a better fuel than petrol, and it is import substitute, cost effective, pollution-free and indigenous. "It (making flex-fuel engines mandatory) is going to boost the Indian economy because we are a corn surplus, we are a sugar surplus, and a wheat surplus country. We don't have places to stock all these foodgrains," he noted. Noting that the surplus of foodgrains is creating problems, he said, "Our minimum support prices (MSP) of crops is higher than international prices and domestic market prices, so the government has taken the decision that you can make ethanol by using foodgrain and sugarcane juice." Petrol price in the national capital crossed Rs 97 a litre and diesel neared Rs 88 after fuel prices were raised yet again. The hike on Sunday was the 27th increase in prices since May 4, when state-owned oil firms ended a 18-day hiatus in rate revision they observed during assembly elections in states like West Bengal. In 27 hikes, petrol price has risen by Rs 6.82 per litre and diesel by Rs 7.24 a litre International oil prices have firmed up in recent weeks in anticipation of demand recovery following the rollout of vaccination programme by various countries. Also, the rupee has weakened against the US dollar, making imports costlier.
Categories: Business News

Bus, Metro Rail services to resume in Chennai

June 20, 2021 - 11:48pm
The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday announced more relaxations in lockdown norms for 27 districts and bus services are all set to resume in four districts including Chennai from Monday, after a gap of 42 days. Dispensing with the e-registration requirement in Chennai and three other nearby districts, the government said people could travel in autorickshaws and taxis without such prior approval. Metro Rail services would resume with 50 per cent occupancy and similarly intra and inter district bus (non- airconditioned) services also shall become operational in four districts including Chennai with 50 per cent seat occupancy, the government said in an official release. Categorising 38 districts into three separate groups for the purpose of easing curbs, the government allowed more relaxations for 23 districts in the second category and four districts in the third slot got the most of relaxations that includes resumption of bus services. The first group of 11 districts, seven in western region including Coimbatore and four in Cauvery delta areas including Thanjavur have not been given additional relaxations, but would continue to have the current easing like nod for shops selling essential commodities. Chennai, and its nearby Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Chengelpet districts in northern region falls under the third category. Southern districts including Tuticorin, Ariyalur and Tiruchirappalli in central delta region are among the 23 districts in the second group. The government extended by one more week, other restrictions as part of the lockdown norms till 6 AM on June 28 and this includes a bar on public entry to places of worship. Cinemas would continue to be closed down across the state though film shoots are permitted with a maximum of 100 personnel. Schools, colleges and universities, though could carry on admissions related administrative work, these institutions would in effect remain closed for regular classes for students. For a visit to hill stations including Kodaikanal and the Nilgiris district, e-pass from district collectors is necessary. Relaxations common to 27 districts include extension of time for a variety of retail shops including standalone provision and vegetable stores besides salons till 7 pm from 6 AM and previously such shops were allowed to be open from 6 AM to 5 PM. All kinds of construction activities are allowed in these 27 districts. Nod to travel without e-registration are among the additional relaxations for Chennai and three other districts. In the second group of districts, essential government departments would function with 100 per cent workforce, other wings with 50 per cent and private firms with 33 per cent. As regards third category areas, all government offices would work with 100 per cent employees and private companies with 50 per cent staffers. In the second category regions, for travel in autos and taxis, e-registration is necessary. Effective June 14, the government allowed more relaxations for 27 districts and it includes re-opening of government run retail liquor outlets and salons. With a spike in coronavirus cases, the state government clamped a lockdown from May 10 and most services including public transportation came to a halt. The Southern Railway has been operating 'workmen special' suburban train services for those in essential services alone. Tamil Nadu recorded its highest single day spike (36,184 cases) on May 21 and since then the cases began to gradually decrease and government in a phased manner has been easing restrictions. On Saturday, the state recorded 8,183 new COVID-19 cases and 180 deaths.
Categories: Business News

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