CA December 14 & 15
AGUSTAWESTLAND SCAM: DELHI COURT EXTENDS CBI CUSTODY OF FORMER IAF CHIEF BY 3 DAYS
Delhi court has extended by 3 days the CBI custody of former-IAF chief S P Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in AgustaWestland chopper case.
Less than a week ago, former Air Force chief S P Tyagi and the two others, were arrested in the Rs 450 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal bribery case. They were sent to four days’CBI custody after the agency said their interrogation was essential to unearth a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.
Besides Tyagi, the court remanded his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also arrested in the case related to procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from UK-based firm during the UPA-2 regime.
71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan arrested last Friday by the agency in connection with the case.
NGT IMPOSES INTERIM NATIONWIDE BAN ON ‘MANJA’FOR FLYING KITES
The National Green Tribunal has imposed an interim nationwide ban on use of glass-coated ‘manja’for flying kites as the sharp string poses a danger to humans, animals and birds. The order was passed today by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar.
The panel also directed Manja Association of India to submit report to Central Pollution Control Board on harmful effects of kite strings.
The direction came after advocates sought the ban, saying that Makar Sankranti festival was approaching and manja would be used for flying kites.
The matter was listed for next hearing on 1st of February, 2017.
LICENCES OF TEN THOUSAND NGOS CANCELLED BETWEEN 2013-2016: GOVT
The government informed the Rajya Sabha today that licences of ten thousand NGOs were cancelled between 2013 and 2016 for not fulfilling the norms under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, FCRA.
They received foreign contributions worth 32 thousand crore rupees. Over 16 thousand associations applied for renewal of registration during this period and licences of more than 15 thousand were renewed.
C GIVES CENTRE 6 MONTHS TO FORMULATE PLAN TO COMBAT DRUG ABUSE AMONGST CHILDREN
The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to put in place within six months a national action plan to curb the rising drugs and alcohol abuse among school children.
A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and DY Chandrachud also asked the Centre to conduct a national survey on the substance and alcohol abuse and use of psychotropic substances among children in schools across the country. The bench observed that Children are encouraged to become drug peddlers once they are addicted. It also asked for a re-look on the school curriculum to make children aware about substance abuse and its ill-effects.
The directions were passed on a PIL filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi. The NGO had sought a direction to formulate a national action plan for children on drugs and substance abuse including all issues of identification, investigation, recovery, counselling and rehabilitation
SUSHMA SWARAJ NAMED GLOBAL THINKER FOR ‘NOVEL TWITTER DIPLOMACY
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been named as one of 15 Global Thinkers. Compiled by the Foreign Policy magazine, Ms Swaraj is named in the decision-makers category for fashioning a novel brand of Twitter diplomacy.
After taking office, the Minister has tirelessly not only responded to tweets seeking help but also took prompt action to ensure people’s problems are solved. She even worked for the public while ailing and from the hospital room.
The external affairs minister has helped both Indians and non-Indians, from evacuating people from Yemen to helping replace lost passports. Ms Swaraj is in the august company of 14 other notable thinkers including Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulate Mrs Swaraj. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, he is proud to see the hardworking External Affairs Minister in the list of the Foreign Policy Global Thinkers. Mrs Swaraj underwent a kidney transplant four days ago and yesterday she was moved out of the Intensive Care Unit. According to doctors she is recovering well.
RAJYA SABHA PASSES RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2014
Rajya Sabha today passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 moved by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot, after a brief discussion. It was moved by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment during Zero hour.
Dr Karan Singh of Congress said the Bill was long overdue and would honour India’s commitment to the UN treaty on the subject. Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP wanted the Bill to be known as the Rights of the Differently Abled Bill. Some members urged the job reservation to be increased to five percent. Later, the Bill was adopted by voice vote.
After passing the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Bill, 2014 following a brief discussion Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm. Immediately after the passage of the Bill, the Opposition members raised the issue of allegations against Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju involving a hydel project in his home state of Arunachal Pradesh. Chairman Hamid Ansari preferred question hour to be taken up but in vain.
32 COMMUNITY RADIO STATIONS SANCTIONED IN NORTH EASTERN STATES SO FAR: GOVT
Government has sanctioned for setting up 32 Community Radio Stations in North Eastern States so far. In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore today informed that out of the sanctioned stations, three community radio stations are now operational.
He said, as per the policy guideline for community radio-2006, eligible organizations can apply for permission to set up Community Radio Stations in any part of country including North Eastern States.
He also informed the House that All India Radio (AIR) is broadcasting programmes in 23 languages and 176 dialects throughout the country. AIR also broadcast programmes in 86 dialects in the North East and 10 dialects in the hilly states of Jammu and Kashmir, 14 dialects in Himachal Pradesh and 2 dialects in Uttarakhand.
Col.Rathore also said the policy guidelines allow Central and State governments to sponsor programmes on Community Radio Stations about government schemes and issues of public interest.
All India Radio also lends active and extensive support to Centrally sponsored schemes launched by the government including Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Swachh Bahrat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Namamai Gange and Housing for All by 2022 and Demonetisation.
VENKAIAH NAIDU INAUGURATES 6TH ASIA PACIFIC MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today inaugurated the sixth edition of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naidu said, urbanization has become irreversible and ensuring disaster resilience in urban area is the key. He said, delivery and execution are the key for success of urban development. He added that housing is one of most important component of civilisation.
Mr Naidu said, the present government has introduced a new lexicon in urban governance. He said, fostering competition among cities, ranking of cities, comprehensive planning have resulted in a new consciousness. The Minister said, a new urban renaissance is taking place in India. Ministers and senior officials from 60 countries in the region are deliberating on challenges of urban planning and management.
The conference seeks to address issues ranging from crowded city centres to peripheral expansion, metropolitan based urban population growth, megacities and urban corridors, among others. The conference will come out with a Delhi Declaration and implementation plan for aligning urban development strategies of member countries with the New Urban Agenda adopted at Quito, Eucador for the next 20 years.
During the conference, five working groups will deliberate on different sub-themes like Integrated Planning, Management and Governance Structures and on ensuring sustainable and natural disaster resilient urban development including climate change. The conference assumes significance considering that Asia Pacific Region region accounts for 60 per cent of the world population and 55 per cent of global urban population.
SC BANS LIQUOR SHOPS ON NATIONAL, STATE HIGHWAYS ACROSS INDIA
The Supreme Court has ordered a ban on all liquor shops on national as well as state highways across the country. The Apex court made it clear that licenses of existing shops will not be renewed after March 31 next year.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur today also directed that such shops must be at least 500 metres away from highways. The bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and L NageswaraRao directed that all ads indicating presence of liquor vends will be prohibited on national and state highways.
The court was hearing petitions challenging various high court verdicts which held that liquor shops be located at a distance from state highways so that they are neither visible nor accessible to the commuters.
60 CITIES SELECTED NATIONWIDE TO IMPLEMENT ‘SOLAR CITIES’ PROGRAMME: GOVT
Union Minister of State for Power PiyushGoel has said, the Centre has selected 60 cities nationwide to implement the ‘Solar Cities’ programme. He informed the LokSabha in a written reply today that cities having a population of 50-thousand to 50-lakh are selected under the scheme.
It is aimed at promoting sustainable energy initiatives. At least one city has to be included from every state and a maximum of seven cities per state are permitted.
The scheme provides for a central financial assistance of upto 50 lakh rupees for each city. An equal amount has to be provided by the local bodies or the state government concerned to implement the scheme. MrGoel said, in the last three years, the Centre has sanctioned about 30 crore rupees and released 13 crore rupees so far under the scheme.
FORBES RANKS PM MODI 9TH AMONG WORLD’S 10 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE
Prime Minister NarendraModi has been ranked among the top 10 most powerful people in the world by Forbes. MrModi ranks 9th on the list of 74 topped by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a fourth straight year.
Forbes said, India’s populist Prime Minister remains hugely popular in his country of 1.3 billion people. It said,MrModi has raised his profile as a global leader in recent years during official visits with Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.
Forbes said, he has also emerged as a key figure in the international effort to tackle climate change, as planetary warming will deeply affect millions of his country’s rural and most vulnerable citizens. It also took note of MrModi’sdemonetisation decision.
On Mr Putin, Forbes said, the Russian President has exerted his country’s influence in nearly every corner of the globe, from the motherland to Syria to the US Presidential elections.
Second on the list is US President-elect Donald Trump who rose from number 72 last year. Outgoing US President Barack Obama dropped from number two to 48.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was third, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at fourth, and Pope Francis at fifth.
Forbes said, there are nearly 7.4 billion people on Earth, but these 74 men and women make the world turn.
7 RESEARCH PROJECTS AWARDED TO EVALUATE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON RIVER FLOWS: GOVT
The government has awarded seven Research Projects to evaluate the consequences of climate change on river flows and groundwater characteristics as well as to identify adaptation strategies.
In a written reply to a question in the LokSabha, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti said, these projects are related to Mahanadi, Mahi, Luni, Tapi, Subarnarekha and Sabarmati river basins and western basins from Tadri to Kanyakumari.
She said, the Dynamic Ground Water Resource Assessment of India shows over one thousand ground water units in 18 States as over exploited out of nearly 6600 assessed units in these States. She also informed that the Ministry has taken up the National Groundwater Improvement Programme as Central Sector Scheme with a total outlay of six thousand crore rupees out of which half of the amount will be available as World Bank loan.
MsBharti also informed that the government has established National Water Mission under National Action Plan on Climate Change for conservation of water, minimising wastage and ensuring more equitable distribution of water both across and within the States.
VIJAY GOEL TO LEAD TORCH MARCH IN SUPPORT OF DEMONETISATION, DIGITAL BANKING
Sports Minister Vijay Goel will lead a Torch March of sportspersons from Major Dhyanchand national stadium to Ambedkar stadium in New Delhi today in support of Demonetisation and Digital Banking. MrGoel will also participate in the Digital training campaign on mobile banking for the sports persons.
The Sports Ministry said, the idea of the march is to promote the benefits of online banking and boost the methods of cashless transactions among youth and sports persons to gradually move towards less cash society.
JEE EXAM: STUDENTDS TO SHOW AADHAR CARD AS IDENTITY PROOF
Students appearing for next year’s Joint Entrance Examination (Main) for engineering will have to show their Aadhaar card as proof of identity. Minister of State for Human Resource Development MahendraNathPandey said this in a written reply in the LokSabha yesterday.
He said, the decision to use the Aadhaar was taken by the Joint Apex Board, which oversees conduct of JEE (Main) exam. The decision aims to make use of Aadhaar number for the exam to prevent impersonation and ensure fair practice.
However, students from the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir can use other valid Government identity number like ration card or bank account instead of Aadhaar as Aadhaar coverage is low in these states.
SUSHMA SWARAJ NAMED IN TOP 100 GLOBAL THINKERS LIST
Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister has been named among the top 100 global thinker by the US based Foreign Policy magazine
She was named in the Global Thinkers of 2016 List under the ‘Decision-makers’ category
The magazine listed the co-founders of Sampark Foundation, Anupama Nayar and Vineet Nayar, under the ‘the Moguls’ category
Moguls category is for transforming learning techniques in schools
INDIA’S DEFENCE MINISTER ON A THREE DAY VISIT TO MAURITIUS
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was on a three days visit to Mauritius
To strengthen close political and bilateral strategic ties between the two countries
This was the first ever visit by a Defence Minister of India to Mauritius
He will commission a fast patrol vessel, CGS Victory, for the Coast Guard of Mauritius
CGS Victory, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WFAC), was manufactured by the Goa Shipyard Limited and funded by a Government of India Line of Credit
Hand over upgraded two Cheetah helicopters to local police
Also board INS Darshak which is a hydrographic survey ship of the Indian navy
INDIA AND MALDIVES JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE READY TO COMMENCE
EKUVERINE, 7th edition will be held from 15th to 28th Dec at Kadhdhoo, Laamu Atoll, Maldives
The 14 day exercise between Indian Army and Maldives National Defence Force conducted on a yearly basis
The previous exercise was held at Trivandrum, Kerala last year
WORLD’S 4TH LARGEST DEFENCE SPENDER
India becomes the world’s fourth largest defence spender, claimed the 2016 Jane’s Defence Budgets report
India is now behind the US, China and the UK
With an expenditure of over Rs.3 lakh crore in 2016
India has surpassed Russia, France, Japan and Saudi Arabia
The report further estimated that India will surpass the UK in defence spending by 2018
MALAYSIA’S NEW KING : SULTAN MUHMMAD V
Malaysia has its 15th king, Sultan Muhammad V
Ceremony marked by honour guards and Islamic prayers in the national palace in Kuala Lumpur
The Sultan is reportedly known for his relaxed persona, and is interested in reading and extreme sports
The ruler of Malaysia is changed every five years between rulers of its nine states
FORBES LIST OF US’ RICHEST ENTREPRENEURS UNDER 40
Two Indian-origin men in Forbes magazine’s second annual list of wealthiest entrepreneurs under the age of 40
Topped by Facebook founder Mark Zuckeberg with $ 50 billion
Vivek Ramaswamy, a successful biotech entrepreneur has been ranked 24th with a net worth of 600 million dollars.Apoorva Mehta stands at 31st spot with a 360 million dollars net worth.
CONTROVERSIAL KAFALA LABOUR SYSTEM ENDS IN QATAR
Labour Minister of Qatar, Issa bin Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi announced the end of its controversial “kafala” system
It is a system used to monitor migrant labourers, working primarily in the construction and domestic sectors of Qatar and other gulf countries
It was the biggest ever labour reform in Qatar
This system was replaced with new contract-based system that aims to improve and protect the rights of the worker along with providing freedom of movement, right to change the job
Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022
INDIA’S CONTRIBUTION TO UN EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND
India will contribute $500,000 to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the year 2016-17
This fund will be used to provide relief materials to emergency evacuation arises in any countries
The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is a humanitarian fund, launched in March 2006
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked the CREF to raise its annual target of $450 million to $1 billion by 2018
BABUR CRUISE MISSILE TEST FIRED IN PAKISTAN
Pakistan Army test fired an enhanced version of Babur cruise missile
The missile can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy
Named after the first Mughal emperor, Babur
It can hit targets located at 700 km with all kinds of warheads
It is equipped with navigational technologies of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all time Digital Scene Matching & Area Co-relation (DSMAC)
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE STATUS TO RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro entered into the UN’s list of world heritage sites because of its soaring granite cliffs, urban rainforest and beaches
UNESCO status was announced in 2012
The UN cultural body, UNESCO given this status to Rio to highlight the “extraordinary fusion” of man-made and natural beauty
Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil
NGT IMPOSES INTERIM NATIONWIDE BAN ON MANJA
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an interim nationwide ban on use of glass-coated ‘manja’ for flying kites
Because the sharp string poses a danger to humans, animals and bird
The ban order will apply on nylon, Chinese and cotton manja coated with glass
GOOGLE AND CUBA SIGNED AGREEMENT FOR FASTER INTERNET ACCESS
Google and Cuba signed a deal to have faster access to internet content
Signed between Mayra Arevich, head of Cuban state telecommunications company Etecsa and executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, Eric Schmidt
Google had no direct data link to the Cuba island
The internet giant will install servers called Google Global Cache
Enable users in Cuba to reduce access time for Google internet content, and bringing better speed and quality
Google had its headquarters in Mountain View, California, United States
TATA AND AMBANI JOIN BILL GATES FOR $1 BN CLEAN ENERGY FUND
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has joined hands with Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and Bill Gates, among others, to set up Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV)
A $1 billion fund to fight climate change through innovations in clean energy
BEV will collaborate with other investors, governments, research institutions and corporate partners,a long-term horizon, and a tolerance and understanding of the investment risks required to transform energy markets
OPERA ONLINE SHOPPING SURVEY FINDS 70% INDIANS PREFER GETTING GIFT VOUCHERS
Most young Indians would rather receive an online shopping voucher instead of a gift, and large number of them prefer to shop using their mobiles, either through a dedicated shopping app or a mobile browser. These were some of the findings of an online shopping survey done by browser maker Opera. 43% of the Indian’s surveyed said that they preferred receiving a gift voucher as against a third who said that they would be happy to get a gift selected by the giver. 85% shop using the mobile, with only 15% using the desktop, unlike the US where the desktop still accounts for over two-thirds of all e-commerce sales.
“Online shopping has become popular due to the increasing usage of smart phones, roll out of high-quality networks, and the ease of access and convenience of having goods delivered to your doorstep. Opera today has over 75 million monthly users in India and we see that e-commerce is one of the top categories of content viewed by Opera users,” said Sunil Kamath, Vice President – South Asia & Southeast Asia at Opera. The survey was conducted across over 1500 participants across 30 cities in India in the 16-55 age group. Of this, 70% were 19-30 years old, while 60% respondents were from the five major metros.
The study also finds that 70% of the shoppers research apparel and electronics online while only 30% check it out in a store before actually buying it. Half of them research and buy it online.
Indian shoppers also seem to be a patient lot, with one in ten preferring to wait a few days to let the urge die or ask their friends and family to stop them from over-spending. 59% of respondents only shop when they need something in particular, as compared to 22% who set themselves limits to resist ´shopping online.
DIESEL DEMAND BOOSTS RARE IMPORTS OF THE FUEL
A rise in diesel demand is boosting India’s rare imports of the industrial and transport fuel, helping to mop up some of the excess supply of the fuel in Asia, traders said on Wednesday.
Indian Oil Corp sought up to 80,000 tonnes of 40ppm sulphur diesel for delivery in late December, according to a tender document seen by Reuters.
The company seldom enters the spot market unless there is a spike in domestic demand or refinery maintenance that is curbing supply, traders said.
“(IOC) is importing mainly due to demand being good,” a source with an Indian refiner said, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak with the media. IOC did not immediately respond to Reuters on the matter.
India’s fuel demand rose 12.1 per cent in November, compared with the same month last year, the latest data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed. Diesel sales jumped 10.5 per cent from a year ago.
“The increase in diesel demand is seasonal but it looks to be stronger this year compared with last year,” a second source based in India said. India is taking over from China as the driver of global oil demand growth as its economyexpands, boosting the use of diesel in vehicles.
INDIA GOVERNMENT BODY NOT IN FAVOUR OF SAFEGUARDS ON UNWROUGHT ALUMINIUM
An Indian government body has decided against imposing safeguards on some aluminium products citing lack of evidence over imports hurting profitability of domestic industry.
The Directorate General of Safeguards, which comes under the finance ministry, said imports had come down while production and sale of unwrought aluminium that is extracted from primary metal or scrap, had gone up.
“There exists an injury to the DI (domestic industry) but there exists no serious injury or threat of serious injury to the domestic industry in the POI (period of investigation) and hence no protection under the safeguard law is required,” the directorate said in a notification dated Dec. 13.
POLLUTION AUTHORITY ORDERS BS-IV SWITCH BY APRIL 1, AUTO INDUSTRY SAYS IT’S DIFFICULT
To check toxic emissions from heavy diesel vehicles, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) recently directed manufacturers that all vehicles sold from April 1, 2017 should be BS IV compliant. This would mean no BS-III compliant vehicle is sold or registered beyond April 1. But Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has informed EPCA that it will be “very difficult” for firms to comply with this order.
EPCA observed that switching to BS IV as early as possible will have an enormous air pollution benefit—80% reduction in particulate matter (PM) emissions. But with the firms still unprepared for this transition, the enforcement of the BS IV norm is likely to slow down. TOI has accessed the minutes of EPCA’s meeting with the ministry of transport and SIAM held on October 19, 2016 and copies of letters the industry body and EPCA wrote to each other.
EPCA member Ajay Kumar Bhagi said the meeting was called to tell manufacturer to plan in advance. According to the minutes of the meeting, the manufacturers have to exhaust their stocks before April 1, 2017,
The minutes further indicate that EPCA had flagged the fact that heavy vehicles, particularly trucks and diesel taxis, continue to be registered on BS III platform, which is adding greatly to the air pollution crisis.
“EPCA will be writing to chief secretaries of all states informing them not to allow registration of BS III compliant vehicles as of April 1 2017,” the minutes read. SIAM had, however, clarified that according to the transport ministry’s notification, the industry would manufacture only BS IV vehicles from April 1, but it would not be able to comply with EPCA’s order on stopping sales of BS III vehicles.
VOLVO, IISC JOIN HANDS FOR R&D FUTURE AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Volvo Group Trucks Technology (GTT), the global research, development and engineering arm of Volvo, and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) today joined hands to undertake R&D in future automotive technologies.
Volvo Group and IISc will collaborate on long-term research collaboration in selected technology areas under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Volvo Group in India said in a statement.
IISc will join a list of international universities, including, Penn State University, US, INSA in France and Chalmers University of Technology, Malardalen University and the University of Skovde in Sweden with which the Volvo Group collaborates globally.
Commenting on the development, Volvo Group Vice President Advanced Technology and Research Jan-Ove Östensen said: “This initiative demonstrates Volvo Group’s commitment to continually work with academic institutions to innovate in research and to strengthen industry-academia collaboration globally.”
He further said: “With the agreement, Volvo Group and IISc will collaborate to strengthen the eco-system of innovation while undertaking important research in the automotive sector which is of mutual interest.”
IISc Chair (Division of Electrical Sciences), Prof Y Narahari said: “This MoU is a significant event to foster strong linkage between Volvo Group and IISc, which is mutually beneficial with an aim to transform the landscape of transportation for societal and environmental benefit.”
GODREJ NATURE’S BASKET TO TARGET RS 1000 CRORE REVENUE BY 2020
Godrej Nature’s Basket plans to double store count and target Rs 1,000 crore in revenue by 2020. In 2015-16, Godrej Group’s premium food retail chain reported sales of Rs 271 crore, with a net loss of Rs 63 crore, from about 37 stores across five cities.
“Our growth levers are very well-defined. One is penetration into markets where we believe we have invested in supply chain, logistics and technology. Other one is to make our business truly omnichannel and investments in our own six brands,” said Avani Dawda, managing director, Godrej Nature’s Basket. “The aim is to have sustainable profitable growth,” she said.
Private label sales grew four times to 15% of total sales during the fiscal, which the company plans to increase to 25% in an effort to shore up margins. Online retailing, which accounted for about 4.5% of total sales, is expected to contribute 10-15% by the end of the decade.
The retailer that started operations over a decade ago said that several of its stores were profitable and its strategy to target three times growth by FY20 will help it turn profitable at company level.
SMALL FINANCE BANKS NEED UPTO RS 60,000 CRORE OF NON-EQUITY FUNDS BY FY20: REPORT
Small finance banks funding mix will be different and complex after their transition from non-banking finance companies and microfinance institutions (NBFC-MFIs) and they are likely to need Rs 60,000 crore of non-equity funding by the financial year 2019-2020, according to a report.
The current funding mix for MFIs includes bank debt, other borrowings and equity, with bank debt being the largest proportion in the mix.
Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) prefer funding MFIs because these advances qualify as priority sector lending (PSL) for them.
SCBs are also significant buyers in the securitisation market (mostly for PSL qualifying loans) besides business correspondent channels.
“The improved profile and acceptability of the sector and the fact that some of the MFIs will transform into banks increase the funding complexity mainly because SFBs may not be able to directly borrow from banks,” the rating agency India Ratings and Research said in a report today.
It said although at the beginning of the transition (one to three years), SFBs are likely to be comfortable on the short-term liquidity front, they will need to replace their amortising bank loans and fund the incremental book growth by customer deposits (1-1.5 years and that too primarily wholesale deposits) and certificate of deposits (CDs).
AIRCEL OFFERS UNLIMITED VOICE CALLS, 2G DATA ACROSS ALL NETWORKS
Aircel on Wednesday said it has launched two new offers for its customers with unlimited data usage and calling facilities across all networks.
According to the company, under the new offer — RC249 — customers will be given the facility of unlimited calls (local and STD) across all networks and unlimited 2G data usage, with extra 1.5GB 2G data for 4G handset users.
Similarly, the other “RC14 offer” will provide the customers with the facility of unlimited calls (local and STD) calling across all networks with a validity of one day.
DOT ISSUES DEMAND-CUM-SHOW NOTICES TO 6 TELCOS FOR RS 29,474 CRORE
DoT has issued demand-cum-show cause notices to 6 telecom companies including Bharti AirtelBSE -2.24 %, Vodafone and Idea CellularBSE 0.19 % for under-reporting revenues amounting to Rs 29,474 crore, Parliament was informed today.
“Department of Telecom has issued demand-cum-show cause notices to six private telecom companies on the basis of C&AG Report No 4 of 2016, for four financial years ie 2006-07 to 2009-10 for a total amount of Rs 29,474 crore on account of licence fee (LF),” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha today said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
This includes Rs 6,490 crore of LF, Rs 13,751 crore in interest, Rs 3,178 crore of penalty and Rs 6,055 crore for interest on penalty from the six operators, he added.
“The figure of Rs 6,490 crore is the revised LF demand which includes Rs 3,794 crore of LF demand already raised by DoT on account of Regular and Special Audit Demands,” he said.
The notice has sought Rs 8,162 crore from Bharti Airtel, Rs 7,701 crore from Reliance Group, Rs 5,718 crore from Tata TeleservicesBSE -1.74 %, Rs 4,695 crore from Vodafone, Rs 2,708 crore from Idea Cellular and Rs 490 crore from Aircel.
The LF is calculated as a percentage of Adjusted Gross Revenue. The definition of AGR is under litigation since 2003. The matter is presently pending in the Supreme Court. As per orders of the SC, DoT has been barred from taking any coercive step to recover the dues.
“One of the telecom service providers ie Reliance Communications Ltd has challenged these demands in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) vide petition no. 71 of 2016. Matter is pending in TDSAT,” he said.
HUMSAFAR EXPRESS: AFFORDABLE LUXURY WITH NO CONCESSIONS, LAUNCHES TOMORROW
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise to revamp railways comes closer to the aam aadmi with Humsafar Express. While it doesn’t have the speed or luxury of a Gatiman, a Tiger or a Talgo, it still gives you far more than you get in the AC-3 tier coach of old trains. The Bollywood ring to the name suggests it is targeted at middle-class travellers, keeping their aspirations as well as pockets in mind.
Announced by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during this year’s Rail Budget speech, Humsafar is likely to be on track from 16 December, 2016, when Prabhu flags it via video conference. With 16 coaches of 72 seats each and two power cars, Humsafar will run at 110 to 130 kmph between Anand Vihar in Ghaziabad to Gorakhpur, stopping at Chipyana Buzurg, Gonda, Kanpur Central, Lucknow (NR), Barabanki and Basti, covering the distance in 13 hours.
AIRTEL PAYMENTS BANK LAUNCHES PILOT SERVICES IN KARNATAKA
Airtel Payments Bank on Thursday launched its pilot services across 12,000 retail outlets in Karnataka, in addition to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana the southern market.
70% of these retail outlets, which are essentially banking points, are in rural areas, the company said.
“The mobile phone has emerged as a powerful device to drive financial inclusion and advance cashless transactions in the country. I wish that the unbanked make use of the occasion to adopt digital payments,” Siddharamaiah, CM of Karnataka, said in a statement.
‘KIMBERLY-CLARK TO FOCUS ON ITS BROAD-BASED MARKET IN INDIA’
Describing Asia as the most promising growth market for the multinational, a US-based company for health & hygiene products has said it is focussing on providing superior quality products for babies, women in its broad-based market in India.
Kimberly-Clark is focussing on new demands for consumers in its broad-based market development plan for India.
“Our focus is on providing superior quality diapers for babies, sanitary pads for women and repairing toilets in Government schools in India as part of our global sanitation campaign called ‘Toilets Change Lives’,” Achal Agarwal, President for Asia Pacific at Kimberly-Clark, told PTI.
“Babies, youth and women; we see them as India’s future,” said the consumer market veteran who was honoured with the CNBC Asia Business Leader of the Year, an award that honours the best leaders in the industry across Asia.
VODAFONE’S MPESA EYES LION SHARE IN $800 BILLION OFFLINE MERCHANT PAYMENT MARKET
Vodafone’s plans for mPesa have got a big boost with the RBI’s decision to allow merchants use digital wallets to accept payments up to Rs 50,000 a month without complying with “know your customer” norms. Ahead of the mPesa payments bank launch in March 2017, Vodafone has launching a new service where retailers can accept wallet payments.
Announcing the launch of its solution for offline merchants, Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood said that the company is following an open system where any mobile company’s customer can use the mPesa app whether Airtel, Jio or any rival network. ‘We support interoperability among wallets,” said Sood. He added that demonetisation will provide a boost to cashless transactions.
SIMPLILEARN INTRODUCES MASTERS PROGRAMS IN AWS AND AZURE CLOUD
Simplilearn, the professional certification training company, has launched another Masters Program in AWS and Microsoft Azure Cloud.
The company currently offers 13 Masters Programs that are targeted at professionals looking to build careers in fields like cloud computing, mobile, data science, big data Hadoop, and digital marketing.
“Cloud computing is one of the fastest growing fields today, driven by accelerated adoption by enterprises worldwide. This has led to a spike in the demand for qualified professionals in this space,” said Kashyap Dalal, Chief Business Officer, Simplilearn. “We launched Masters Programs across our key categories last year. These training programs are structured around comprehensive learning paths, helping professionals’ master relevant technologies and skills.”
EMERALD MEDIA ACQUIRES MINORITY STAKE IN MEDIA TECH FIRM AMAGI LABS
Leading global investment firm KKR-backed Emerald Media, which focuses on investment opportunities in the media and entertainment sector across Asia, has acquired a significant minority stake in Bengalurubased media technology company Amagi Media Labs.
Emerald, along with existing shareholder Premji Invest, is investing $35 million in this combination of primary and secondary series D round. Premji Invest is the investment arm of Wipro chairman Azim Premji.
Demonetisation: Worthless cash turning into gold for state-run banks
BY NUPUR ACHARYA AND SANTANU CHAKRABORTY
Shares of India’s biggest state-run lenders are on a roll, thanks to a government ban on high-value notes that took almost four-fifths of the nation’s currency out of circulation.
Since the so-called demonetisation policy was introduced on November 8, State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda have risen at least 4 per cent amid speculation they will benefit more than private-sector peers from the influx of deposits that followed the cash ban, according to IDBI Capital Market Services Ltd. Private-sector rivals HDFC Bank Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd dropped 7 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively.
PERNOD RICARD’S INDIAN ARM POSTS 19% GROWTH IN FY16 GROSS SALES
The Indian unit of Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest distiller, recorded 19% growth in gross sales for the year to March 2016, boosted by invigorating demand for its premium brands.
The maker of Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal Scotch posted a 22% year-on-year rise in net profit to Rs 1,083 crore, accounting for nearly 12% of its French parent’s global profit. Gross sales stood at Rs 12,112 crore.
In the same period, rival United Spirits, which is nearly double in size with sales of Rs 22,679 crore, posted a profit of Rs 968 crore, while the country’s overall spirits market grew 2%. Experts said Pernod Ricard’s strategy of focusing on higher price points and avoiding competing at the bottom end of the market has paid off in India with its premium brands finding a lot of buyers.
CEA SCALES DOWN POWER DEMAND FOR NEXT 10 YEARS, ANALYSTS DISAGREE
The Central Electricity Authority has scaled down India’s peak power demand over the next 10 years due to energy conservation measures, reduced the estimated coal requirement and ruled out the need for fresh investment in thermal power generation.
The projected peak demand at the end of 2021-22 is 235 GW, which is about 17% lower than the projection made in the 18th Electric Power Survey (EPS) report, the CEA said in the Draft National Electricity Plan 2016.
Peak demand at the end of 2026-27 is estimated at 317 GW which is 20.7% lower than the earlier projection. The CEA is the apex technical organisation that facilitates development of the power sector in the country to provide quality electricity for all at affordable rates.
MYNTRA BROKERS BETTER DEAL WITH FOREIGN BRANDS FOR JABONG
Online fashion retailer Myntra has renegotiated some contracts signed by Jabong, the rival it acquired barely five months ago, after it found that they required high levels of minimum orders from top foreign brands, including Arcadia Group-owned labels Dorothy Perkins, Topshop and Topman, according to two people with direct knowledge of the development.
“Now it (minimum guarantee) has been reduced. Plus, they now can sell these brands on all three platforms – Jabong, Myntra and in some cases on Flipkart as well,” one of the people said, adding that Topshop won’t be available on Flipkart.
Myntra was acquired by Flipkart, India’s biggest ecommerce company, in 2014.
MICROSOFT LAUNCHES INDIA’S FIRST CYBERSECURITY ENGAGEMENT CENTRE IN NEW DELHI
Software giant Microsoft India has launched its first full-scale Cybersecurity Engagement Centre (CSEC) in New Delhi.
It is Microsoft’s seventh Cybersecurity Centre in the world. It will function as a satellite to the its Redmond Digital Crimes Unit (DCU).
The first-of-its-kind centre in India will bring together Microsoft capabilities to foster deeper cybersecurity collaborations with public and private sector organisations.
It will help to build a trusted and secure computing environment, a critical enabler for India’s digital transformation.
It will provide protection across all end-points from sensors to the data centre, detection of attack using targeted signals, machine learning and behavioural monitoring.
It will eventually help in closing the gap between discovery and action taken to neutralise the attack.
It will enable and empower enterprises to manage modern security threats effectively. It will also expand Microsoft’s public-private partnerships in India.
The centre will also enable customers tap into a pool of resources such as security specialists and technologies at Microsoft.
INDIA-INDONESIA MUST WORK TOGETHER IN MARITIME SECURITY: PRESIDENT PRANAB MUKHERJEE
Underlining strong historical ties between the two countries, President Pranab Mukherjee has said India and Indonesia must work together in maritime security area to achieve strategic stability and security in the Indo-Pacific and safety and security of sea lanes.
Welcoming Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is on his first State visit here, Mukherjee said India and Indonesia have age-old bilateral ties and they share a common experience of struggle for freedom from the colonial rule.
Mukherjee said he sees India and Indonesia as two countries providing a bulwark against radicalism and intolerance.
SUZIE BATES SWEEPS ICC WOMEN’S PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates swept both the ICC Women’s ODI and T20I Player of the Year 2016 awards on Wednesday (December 14).
The evaluation was based on the performances during the 12 month-period between 14 September 2015 and 20 September 2016, a period which included the 2016 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in India.
Bates scored 472 runs in eight one-day Internationals at an average of just over 94. She also took eight wickets with a strike-rate of 22.50 and economy of 3.75. Bates was also the highest run-scorer during the period a tally of 429 runs at an average of 42.90 and a strike-rate of over 115.Apart from her exploits with the bat and ball, she also captained New Zealand to a third-place finish in the ICC Women’s ODI Championship 2014-16, apart from leading her side to the World T20 semifinals.
PYROTECH UDAIPUR RECEIVES QUALITY EXCELLENCE AWARD AT EEPC INDIA AWARDS
Pyrotech Electronics Pvt Ltd., has done Udaipur proud by securing the Intertek Quality Excellence Award under the 48th EEPC All India Award for Excellence in Exports for 2014-15.
In a glittering ceremony held at the Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi on 13th December.
Amit Talesra, Director, Pyrotech, received the award on behalf of his company. The award was presented by Rita Teaotia, Secretary Dept of Commerce and Industry, Govt of India. Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Railways was the Chief Guest at the event.
The Intertek Quality Award is given to only 2 selected companies, out of the 139 Awards given under the EEPC Awards scheme.
The presentation of the EEPC India awards is special in terms of the platform, ambiance and opportunity provided to the exporters for showcasing their strengths and credentials.
MURRAY AND KERBER WIN BIG AT ITF AWARDS
The men’s and women’s world number ones, Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber were named ITF World Champions on Tuesday.
Murray, whose brother Jamie was named doubles World Champion along with Brazil’s Bruno Soares, won Wimbledon in July before becoming the first player to win two Olympic singles gold medals when he retained his crown in Rio de Janeiro in August.
He won nine titles in a milestone year that ended with him beating rival Novak Djokovic to win the ATP Tour Finals and seal the year-end rankings top spot.
“It means a lot to me to be named ITF World Champion. I have had such a memorable year,” Murray said in a statement.
Kerber enjoyed an equally impressive season, winning the Australian and U.S. Open titles as well as an Olympic silver medal in Rio.
She becomes the first German to win the award since Steffi Graf claimed the last of her seven in 1996.
LUCKNOW METRO RAIL CORPORATION GETS ESQR INTERNATIONAL AWARD IN BERLIN
In yet another recognition for its ethics and initiatives demonstrating exceptional success in quality management, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) has been awarded with the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR) Choice Prize Award 2016 under the Gold category.
On behalf of Lucknow Metro, Daljeet Singh, Director (Works & Infrastructure), Lucknow Metro received this international award on December 12 in a function organised by the European Society for Quality Research (ESQR) in Berlin (Germany).
The ESQR’s Quality Choice Award 2016 recognises the organisations, companies, public administrations and individuals with ethics and initiatives that demonstrate exceptional success in quality management and that maximize the full potential of their services through quality oriented practices.
DEEPAK SINGH CAUSES HUGE UPSET AS DEVENDRO SINGH FALTERS AT NATIONALS
As soon as the bout between Devendro Singh and Deepak Singh ends, the latter’s coach throws his hands in the air, prematurely celebrating the win of his ward. A couple of minutes later, he does it again but this time, it is confirmed.The 20-year-old emerged as the new national champion in the 52kg category upsetting 2012 Olympian Devendro after a win by an unanimous decision at the men’s Senior Nationals in Guwahati.Devendro, who had shifted to the 52kg category from 49kg, was surprised by the attacking nature of his opponent but also said that he is yet to attain full fitness. He had recovered from an ankle injury just before the tournament.“I was a bit nervous before the bout against Devendro as he is a big name but once I entered the ring it was all normal. I had practiced hard for this tournament and the result are a proof of that,” Deepak said after the bout.This was Deepak’s first senior tournament and he has never represented his state at any other level.
VATSAL ENTERS QUARTERS
Vatsal Chauhan defeated Abhay Mohan 1-6, 7-6(1), 7-5 in the under-18 boys’ pre-quarterfinals of the AITA Championship series junior tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Tuesday.Calvin Golmei bt Uddayvir Singh 7-6(2), 6-3; Divyansh Agrahari bt Avik Chaudhary 6-3, 6-1; Savneet Bajwa bt Kaivalya Rawal 1-6, 6-1, 6-3; Bhupender Dahiya bt Himanshu Dulian 6-3, 6-2; Shashikant Rajput bt Yuvraj Singh Kooka 7-5, 3-6, 6-3; Vatsal Chauhan bt Abhay Mohan 1-6, 7-6(1), 7-5; Naresh Badgujar bt Karan Bhalla 6-3, 6-2; Abhimanyu Rozra bt Dhruv Tangri 6-3, 6-3.
ANANTH WINS TITLE
P.S. Ananth of Bengaluru won the 40-plus men’s title defeating K. Sudhir of RBI (Bengaluru) 11-8, 9-11, 2-11, 12-10, 13-11 in the final of the MTTC & PTTA State-ranking veterans’ table tennis tournament, conducted in memory of M.R. Mukunda, here recently.A century by L.R.Chethan (100, 14×4) helped Future CC register a facile 105-run win over Navajyothi CC and sail into the semifinals in the KSCA Mysuru Zone T20 tournament for clubs here on Monday.
KOHLI JUMPS TO SECOND SPOT
Indian captain Virat Kohli climbed to a career-best second place in the Test rankings on Tuesday after his third double century of the year helped the host seal a series victory over England.Kohli jumped a place in the Test table and is in line to top the rankings in all three formats of the game.Kohli, who is currently ranked second in ODIs and tops the T20 chart, is just 11 points behind Australia captain Steve Smith in the ICC Test ratings. While India consolidated its ranking as the top Test side, England is in danger of losing the second spot if it loses the fifth and final Test at Chennai starting on Friday.Third-placed Australia and fourth-ranked Pakistan will be looking to displace England during thethree Test series starting with a day-night match at Brisbane on December 15. Indian spinner R. Ashwin comfortably held on to the top spot in the Test bowlers’
INDIAN TEAM BAGS SILVER
India-A won the silver at the ultimate World School’s team chess championships at Sochi. Uzbekistan was first with 36.5 points, followed by India-A with 32.Team India-A comprised B. Harshini and B. Savitha Shri (both TN), Rishab Shah (Maharashtra), Ayush Pattnaik (MP), and Dhyana Patel (Gujarat). Kush Bhagat finished on top in the u-7 age-group in Blitz Championships.
DE VILLIERS STEPS DOWN AS TEST CAPTAIN
Star batsman A.B. de Villiers confirmed on Monday he has stepped down as captain of the South Africa Test team with immediate effect as he recovers from an elbow injury.de Villiers, 32, was appointed in January following Hashim Amla’s resignation, and led the team in two Test matches against England before injury forced him to miss the series against New Zealand and Australia.South Africa lost one Test and won one under de Villiers. In his absence Faf du Plessis impressed with his leadership as stand-in skipper during back-to-back Test wins over Australia. “The interests of the team must always outweigh the interests of any individual, including me,” said de Villiers, who backed Du Plessis.“It was a fantastic honour for me to be asked to captain the Test side but I have missed two series and I am still in doubt for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. Following the squad’s outstanding performances in Australia, it is clearly in the greater interests of the team that Faf du Plessis should be confirmed as the permanent Test captain.