CA Jan 4, 5 & 6 (2017)
PM GREETS PEOPLE ON OCCASION OF PRAKASHPARVA OF GURU GOBIND SINGH
Prime Minister NarendraModi has greeted the people on the occasion of PrakashParva of Guru Gobind Singh. In a series of tweets Mr. Modi said, Guru Gobind Singh ji’s entire life was devoted to serving the people and fighting for values of truth, justice and compassion.
Mr. Modi said, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was blessed with indomitable courage and tremendous knowledge and his bravery is etched in the heart and mind of every Indian. The Prime Minister said, he is delighted to be part of PrakashParva celebration of Guru Gobind Singh ji in Patna today.
TRIPURA: 156 HOUSES COLLAPSED & 1,156 BUILDINGS DAMAGED IN EARTHQUAKE
In Tripura, a total of 156 houses collapsed and 1,156 buildings damaged in Tuesday’s earthquake. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Revenue Minister Badal Chowdhury visited affected areas in Northern sector of the state.
Mr Chowdhury said, one woman died and seven persons injured in the quake. He said, the state government will provide 10,000 rupees as ex-gratia to the family of Kamalini Kando, who died in the quake.
Mr Chowdhury said, as per norms of the natural calamity fund, a compensation of four lakh rupees will be given to the family of Kando. The minister also announced financial assistance of 95,000 rupees to each of 156 family whose houses collapsed. The quake has affected six districts of the state.
KIRAN BEDI DECLARES V NARAYANASAMY’S ORDER BANNING USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA ‘NULL AND VOID’
In Puducherry, Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi has declared ‘null and void’ Chief Minister V Narayanasamy’s order banning use of social media for official communication. In her order today, Ms Bedi termed it to be in contravention of the guidelines, rules and policies in force.
On 2nd of this month, the Government had asked its officers to desist from the use of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp for official communication. In his order, the Chief Minister had cautioned them that as servers of these platforms are outside the country, their use is violative of Official Secrets Act.
The Lieutenant Governor had earlier created various Whatsapp groups for speedy communication among officers. Sources said, the Government saw the LG’s move as an attempt to by-pass the elected Government by passing instructions directly to officers.
CENTRE APPROVES ASSISTANCE OF RS 1782.44 CRORE FOR KARNATAKA
The Centre today approved an assistance of over 1782.44 crore rupees for Karnataka. The state will get this sum from the National Disaster Relief Fund as drought relief. The financial assistance was approved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh at a meeting of the High Level Committee in New Delhi today.
The Committee examined the proposal based on the reports of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team which visited the state. Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Dr Arvind Panagariya, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and senior officers of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance and Agriculture were present in the meeting.
NIRMALA SITHARAMAN REQUESTS STATES TO CONSIDER ORGANIZING BI-MONTHLY MEETINGS WITH EXPORTERS FOR THEIR ISSUES
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has requested the States to consider organizing bi-monthly meetings with the exporters in their States to sort out their infrastructure and tax related issues.
Speaking at the 2nd meeting of Council for Trade Development and Promotion in New Delhi today, Ms Sitharaman said, this would go a long way in improving the trade competitiveness. The Minister also requested the States to enhance their co-operation with Central Agencies for setting up common facilities like testing labs, training institutes as well as packaging and storage support to industry.
The Minister said, there is an immediate need to synergize the efforts and jointly take appropriate steps to boost India’s exports – which is the only sustainable way in today’s international trade environment. She, however, said, since last January the government has managed to contain the trade deficit due to controls on imports.
BIRD FLU REPORTED IN AHMEDABAD
In Gujarat, one kilometer area near Hathijan village in Ahmedabad district has been declared bird flu hit. This was announced by State Government after the positive medical report of some dead birds found near the Asha Foundation – a voluntary Organisation working for birds and animals.
The district administration has banned transportation of eggs, dead birds, discharge of birds, farm machinery, equipment or any other infected thing to and from this area. Humans coming into contact with H5N1 bird flu infected birds can catch infection. Bird Flue is found mainly in birds. It spreads through Avian Influenza (H5N1) virus and spread speedily. Birds show breathing related and reddish eyes symptoms.
UPGRADATION OF SKILL OF YOUTH ENGAGED IN AGRICULTURE VERY CRUCIAL IN INCREASING FARM PRODUCTIVITY: RADHA MOHAN SINGH
The government has said, upgradation of skill of youth engaged in Agriculture is very crucial in increasing farm productivity. Inaugurating the national workshop on Agricultural development through skill development in New Delhi today, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, the youth is required to be linked with agriculture in the form of an enterprise.
The Minister said, farmers must engage themselves in production-focused agriculture. He said, sources like those of horticulture, livestock, bee-keeping must be explored to enhance the income of the farmers. He said, employment opportunities have been generated for the skilled youth in the fields of agri-warehousing, cold chains, dairy, poultry and many other allied fields due to the sophisticated development in agricultural arena. Agriculture Ministry has made a budget provision of 3.52 crore rupees for the year 2016-17 for implementation of work related to skill development.
J&K: ARMY LAUNCHES OPERATION TO FLUSH OUT TERRORISTS IN BANDIPORA DISTRICT
In Jammu & Kashmir, Army launched an operation to flush out terrorists in the Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district early morning today.
The area was sealed after the specific input about presence of terrorists in the Madwan area of Hajin town in the district. Soon after army cordoned off the area, gunshots were heard in the area.
Reports said that four terrorists were believed to be present in the identified area. However, there was no report of any gunfight from the area till now.
VETERAN ACTOR OM PURI DIES; PM & MANY BOLLYWOOD CELEBRITIES EXPRESS GRIEF
Veteran actor Om Puri, who gave countless memorable performances in movies of diverse genres, died at his residence in Mumbai this morning after a massive heart attack. He was 66. From Bollywood to Hollywood, from independent to art films, the noted actor, known for his versatility, gave several acclaimed performances.
Puri featured in several Indian, Pakistani, British and Hollywood mainstream commercial films. He was awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian award, in 1990. Prime Minister NarendraModi condoled Puri’s demise and recalled his long career in theatre and films. Bollywood celebrities, including Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, AnupamKher, JavedAkhtar and Mahesh Bhatt expressed grief over Puri’s demise, calling it a huge loss to Indian cinema.
Born in Ambala, Haryana, in a Punjabi family, Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. He was also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama.
He made his film debut in the 1976 Marathi film “GhashiramKotwal”. Some of his most notable films include “BhavniBhavai”, “Sandgate, “ArdhSatya”, “Mirch Masala”, “Dharavi”, “Aakrosh”, “ArdhSatya”, “Maachis”, “Gupt”, “Dhoop”, “Yuva”, “Don”, “Agneepath”, “BajrangiBhaijaan” and others.
He earned international fame in many British films, such as “My Son the Fanatic”, “East Is East”, “The Parole Officer” and others. He also appeared in Hollywood films like “City of Joy”, “Wolf”, “The Ghost and the Darkness” among others
REVENUE DEPT. PROMISES TO REFUND TAX TO EXPORTERS UNDER GST: SITHARAMAN
Commerce and Industry Ministry has said that the Department of Revenue has promised to refund tax claims of exporters within seven days under the new GST regime.
Addressing a press conference after the 2nd meeting of the Council for trade development and promotion in New Delhi yesterday, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, she had raised the issues of exporters in the GST Council meeting.
She also said, that exporters will get interest on the refund if it is delayed beyond two weeks. Ms Sitharaman said, she has also suggested to the GST Council to exempt leather and plantations sector from the GST ambit.
The Minister said, exporters have been demanding ab-initio exemption from payment of taxes under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime arguing that delay in refunds often takes months and also results in blocking the working capital. They also stated that exports need to be encouraged in view of the global slowdown.
TWITTER HANDLE OF MIB ACHIEVES OVER 55,000 VIEWS AS EC ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE FOR ASSEMBLY POLLS
The twitter handle of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry achieved over 55 thousand views on the day Election Commission announced schedule for assembly polls to five states, including Uttar Pradesh.
Election Commission itself does not have a twitter account. In a statement the Commission said PIB’s tweets resulted in 6.5 lakh impressions (views). The Live Stream of the ECI Press Conference on YouTube achieved 1,700 views. The live-streaming of the event on PIB’s Facebook page has reached over 3 lakh people.
GOVT IMPOSES ANTI-DUMPING DUTY ON BANGLADESH, NEPAL JUTE PRODUCTS
The Government today imposed an anti-dumping duty ranging from 6.30 US dollars to 351.72 US dollars per tonne on imports of jute and its products from Bangladesh and Nepal.
This anti-dumping duty has been imposed in order to protect the domestic industry. A revenue department notification said the duty has been imposed for five years.
It further added the import restrictive levy has been imposed on jute yarn, twine, Hessian fabric and jute sacking bags in all forms and specifications.
INDIA & KAZAKHSTAN SIGN PROTOCOL TO AMEND DOUBLE TAXATION AVOIDANCE CONVENTION
India and Kazakhstan today signed a protocol to amend the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Convention between the two countries signed on December, 1996 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
The protocol provides internationally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters. AIR correspondent reports, the information received from Kazakhstan for tax purposes can be shared with other law enforcement agencies with authorisation of the competent authority of Kazakhstan and vice versa.
PROJECTS IN ROAD & SHIPPING SECTOR TO CROSS OVER RS 6 LAKH CRORE BY END OF MARCH: NITINGADKARI
The government has exuded confidence that in value terms, projects in the road and shipping sector would cross over 6 lakh crore rupees by the end of March.
Talking to reporters in New Delhi yesterday, Road and Transport Minister NitinGadkari said, Centre has already alloted work of around 4 lakh 60 thousand crore rupees in the road and shipping sector. He also expressed hope that it would meet its highway construction target of 15,000 kilometre for the current fiscal.
MrGadkari said that the government was slowly moving toward that target of building 40 to 41 kilometre of highways per day. In a bid to decongest traffic in the country, MrGadkari said, government has decided to increase the length of national highways from 96,000 km to two lakhkilometre.
4TH ASSAM INTERNATIONAL AGRI-HORTI SHOW TO BEGIN IN GUWAHATI
Fourth Assam International Agri-Horiculture show has begun today in Guwahati. Inaugurating the show, Chief Minister SarbanandSonowal said his government is committed for the development of farmers. Mr.Sonowal said that Assam government will implement all schemes initiated by Prime Minister NarendraModi.
AIR Correspondent reports that 10 foreign countries have taken part in the show. Nearly 600 farmers of Assam will be trained on doubling farmers’ income, more crop per drop and agri-preneurship development during the show. Over 200 organizations from across the country have taken part in the show. Business meet, exhibitions , discussion are also being organised.
INCENTIVES TO STATES PROGRESSING UNDER UDAY: PIYUSH GOYAL
The government will consider incentives for states whose power distribution utilities are progressing well under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna (Uday).
Power minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday asked power ministry to launch two-three schemes to laud efforts of states that have joined Uday and been able to revive their power distribution utilities losses.
Assam and Telangana on Wednesday joined Uday, taking the count of states that are part of the discom revival scheme to 20. Tamil Nadu, with Discom losses of Rs 50000 crore, is likely to join Uday next week.
INDIGO, SPICEJET RAISE RED FLAG OVER FDI NORMS IN AVIATION
IndiGo and SpiceJetBSE 3.43 % have raised “security” concerns over the government’s decision to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership by non-airline players in the Indian carriers.
Spicejet CMD Ajay Singh and IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh have recently raised this issue during their meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
During the meeting, the two airlines said aviation is a “sensitive sector” and the FDI policy relaxation would have “security implications”, according to sources.
Spokespersons of IndiGo and SpiceJet could not be immediately reached for comments.
The meeting also assumes significance as the government is considering removal of an anomaly restricting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the civil aviation sector.
The sector is faced with a Catch-22 situation where a foreign investor, excluding overseas airlines, can acquire up to 100 per cent stake in a local carrier. However, at present they cannot seek a scheduled operator’s permit since it can only be given to a company where substantial ownership and effective control is in the hands of Indian nationals.
S PADMANABHAN NOMINATED AS CHAIRMAN OF TATA POWER
Tata PowerBSE 0.20 % Company has appointed S Padmanabhan as the chairman of the company after Cyrus Mistry resigned from the post following his ouster from Tata Sons.
In December, Tata Power brought back S Padmanabhan, who was executive director of operations at the company until 2014, as an additional director on the board. He is also the executive chairman of Tata Business Excellence Group and has also been recently appointed as the head of group for human resources for Tata Sons.
Tata Power had called for an extra ordinary general meeting of shareholders to take up the removal of Cyrus Mistry as the chairman on December 26 but Mistry rendered a resignation before that on December 19.
Padmanabhan has been with the Tata group for 34 years, of which 26 were with Tata Consultancy Services.
NON-BINDING RULES LET HOTELS GO SCOT-FREE ON SERVICE CHARGE
Despite the government’s repeated stand that service charge is optional, the fact that eateries across India include this fee in bills of consumers has exposed why central advisories lack bite.
Advisories are not binding on the stakeholders and states hardly pay heed to such stands of the Centre. While consumer affairs ministry officials admit to their advisories falling in deaf ears, they have no other option but to create awareness.
“In western countries, customers are asked how much service charge they would like to pay since it’s a tip. But here, the eateries neither ask nor do they mention how this optional charge is linked to the quality of service,” said an official. The official said that though the eateries’ associations agree with the Centre’s stance, none of their members display prominently this provision in their menu.
Consumer activists said that rather than completing formalities by issuing advisories, the government must come out with practical solutions. “Why can’t they make it mandatory that eateries leave the service charge section blank thereby giving the option to customers to pay or not? At present, consumers have only option of taking such cases to consumer forums, which is a lengthy process,” asked Amit Agrawal, an activist.
ABRAAJ FRONTRUNNER TO BUY MEDALL HEALTHCARE
Dubai investor Abraaj has emerged frontrunner to acquire Medall Healthcare, one among India’s top five diagnostics chains and radiology services provider, in a deal valued at about Rs 1,600 crore, people directly familiar with the matter said. Global long-term risk investors have revved up action in the rapidly evolving diagnostics industry in Asia’s third largest economy buoyed by health insurance and improving healthcare facilities. The Chennai-based Medall has presence in over 70 centres across southern cities besides operating a slew of public-private healthcare partnerships, including a hugely successful outsourcing deal from the Andhra Pradesh government.
Abraaj is holding advanced discussions to acquire the principal shareholder Peepul Capital, an Indian private equity investor that owns 80% in Medall. In 2009, Peepul partnered with serial entrepreneur Raju Venkatraman to acquire Medall, which was earlier known as Precision Diagnostics.
Last year, Abraaj acquired Hyderabad-based Care Hospitals for around Rs 2,000 crore marking the first acquisition of an Indian business by a Middle East investor. “Abraaj is engaged in serious and extensive negotiations, though no exclusivity has been provided to them,” said a person who didn’t wish to be named citing confidentiality clauses. Peepul has been seeking buyers for a while and had held discussions with a consortium involving Manipal Group, Temasek and TPG in the recent past.
An Abraaj spokesperson declined to offer comments. Peepul Capital said it was in conversations with multiple suitors, including Abraaj, while calls and text messages to Medall founder director Venkatraman went unanswered. Investment bank Spark Capital is advising on the sale process.
THE CUTS THAT COMPLICATE EFFORTS TO CAP STENT PRICE
The plethora of price points for coronary stents, offering ample opportunity for cuts for those in the supply chain, could complicate the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority’s (NPPA’s) move to cap stent prices. This is because several options for the price fixation formula involve taking into account current market prices.
A quick look at the way the cost of a stent, estimated to be a few thousand rupees, escalates to between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1.65 lakh by the time it reaches patients reveals the exponential increase at every step (see table). One of the biggest jumps happens at the level of hospitals. Since hospitals implant the stent, they also become de facto retailers as the devices cannot be bought in the open market.
With so many price points, the NPPA is grappling with various formulae to fix the price. Other than the major foreign companies Abbott, Boston Scientific and Medtronic, there are Indian companies like Sahajanand Technologies, Translumina and several smaller ones. In the case of foreign companies, the stents are imported by their India offices and distributed through dealers.With the import being done by the same company , there is the apprehension of transfer pricing, where the company could fix whatever price suits it depending on where it wants to show its profits. In such cases, one of the NPPA’s suggested formulae -a 35% margin over the landed (import) price -would mean offering these companies an official mark-up on the one they have already built in, giving them enough to offer bribes to push up sales.
SERVICE CHARGE ADVISORY WILL CREATE CHAOS: FHRAI
The apex body of restaurants and hotels in India has written to the Department of Consumer Affairs, asking it to withdraw an advisory making service charges optional, saying there was nothing illegal about levying the fee.
Making service charges discretionary will create chaos and disrupt the smooth functioning of restaurants across the country and lead to unnecessary litigation between them and consumers, said the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI).
The department said on Monday that service charges billed by restaurants are optional and it is up to customers to pay them. The department cited complaints that hotels and restaurants are levying an additional 5 to 20% in bills in lieu of tips, regardless of the kind of service provided.
In its letter to the department, FHRAI said service charges – an amount paid to the staff of a restaurant or other establishment by customers and guests – are lawful and that it is up to an establishment to decide whether and how much to collect. FHRAI members met officials in the department on Tuesday and were told the matter would be looked into, said Pradeep Shetty, chairman of FHRAI’s legal matters sub-committee.
BATTLE FOR ACCESS TO TUBERCULOSIS MEDICINE REACHES HC
Patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) can separately import the potentially life-saving ‘bedaquiline’ if they don’t qualify for the drug under India’s conditional access programme with US drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, the government has said.
The issue was brought up on Monday when an XDR TB patient’s father took New Delhi’s LRS TB hospital to the Delhi High Court for refusing to administer bedaquiline because the patient was not a Delhi resident.
The patient, who is from Bihar, is not under LRS’ care anymore, argued the counsel for the hospital at the Delhi court. The counsel said the patient could procure the bedaquiline directly from J&J with the help of Zarir F Udwadia, a Mumbai-based consultant chest physician who recommended its use.
LRS is not in a position to follow the line of treatment suggested by Udwadia, the counsel said. The hospital also doesn’t have the equipment required to conduct the pyrosequencing test sought by the patient’s father, Kaushal Kumar Tripathi, LRS’ counsel told the court. “We will not be able to do it (provide bedaquiline) because we are sticking to the protocol that is prescribed,” said the hospital’s counsel.
KIA, CHANGAN, BEIQI FOTON, DAIHATSU AND OTHER CAR MAKERS KNOCKING ON INDIA’S DOORS
Half a dozen car makers making a beeline to enter India in the next 3-4 years including South Korea’s Kia Motor, Daihatsu from Toyota, PSA Group’s Peugeot Citreon and three car makers from China, Beiqi Foton, SAIC and Changan Automotive, who are devising an India strategy to be part of market set to be the third largest in the world by the end of the decade.
Eight people privy to the launch plans of these car makers ET spoke with said Kia Motor would be the first to announce its entry in India. The company is close to finalising the location in Andhra Pradesh for its plant and is set to launch its cars in India by 2019.
Daihatsu and Toyota has just kicked off the emerging markets compact car company to plan products for the emerging markets like India while PSA Group will finalise its India partnership by 2018 with an eye on 2020-2021 roll-out.
Chinese Beiqi Foton which originally acquired a land in Chakan, Pune, to enter the Indian commercial vehicle space, decided to shift focus and bring in passenger vehicles under Borgward brand. The company has already started discussing with vendors a plan to localise a large Van and clutch of SUVs in India by 2019-2020.
KKR IN TALKS FOR RS 3000-CRORE DEAL WITH SINGH BROTHERS OF RELIGARE
American private equity giant KKR & Co is discussing a Rs 3,000-crore financing deal with the holding company of the billionaire brothers, Shivinder and Malvinder Singh of Religare, to help them rejig the cash-strapped group, people directly familiar with the matter said.
The potential deal with RHC Holding Private, the parent of Religare and Fortis brands, could be a structured debt transaction with promoter shares in some group companies as collateral. “The discussions are underway and the exact contours of the transaction isn’t clear yet,“ said a person who did not wish to be named citing confidentiality norms. RHC Holding controls the promoter interest in Fortis Healthcare, Religare Enterprises, Religare Aviation, SRL, Dion Global Solutions and Religare Wellness among others.
The debt at the holding company is estimated at around Rs 5,000 crore, though this could not be independently confirmed.
The transaction, if it happens, would be similar to KKR’s promoter financing deal with Avantha Holdings, the parent of Gautam Thapar’s Avantha Group. Thapar, who took structured financing from private equity majors KKR and Apollo, restructured the group businesses, including the sale of Crompton Greaves’ consumer unit. The transaction involving structured debt gives the financier up sides on possible share price movements. The two main companies of Singh brothers, Religare Enterprises and Fortis Healthcare, have beaten down share prices.
RAJEEV SETHI NAMED CCO OF AIRTEL AFRICA
Bharti AirtelBSE 2.21 % has appointed Rajeev Sethi as the chief commercial officer (CCO) for its Africa operations. In his new role, Sethi will be responsible for formulation and implementation of customercentric commercial strategies across the 15 African countries where AirtelBSE 2.21 % operates, the telecom operator said in a statement on Wednesday.
He will report to Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava. Till recently, Sethi was the CEO of Grameenphone, Bangladesh’s leading telecom operator.
Sethi’s key focus will be on consumer and enterprise businesses covering products and pricing, distribution, brand and customer experience.
“With his vast experience across arange of developing markets, Rajeev will contribute immensely in accelerating our growth journey,” Mandava said. Before joining Grameenphone, Sethi was chief marketing officer of Telenor India.
$1B AND COUNTING, XIAOMI REVENUES ZOOM
Xiaomi India clocked over $1 billion (about Rs 7,000 crore) revenue in 2016, within two years of its entry into the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, a bright spot for the Chinese company that’s facing competitive challenges globally.
Smartphone sales doubled from 2015 as it expanded into the offline market, Xiaomi India head Manu Jain told ET.
The smartphone maker, ranked at four in India, plans to scale up its investment in the country this year to expand its manufacturing facilities and widen the product range. It will also direct some of this money to startups, Jain said.
“Whether you look at big business houses, or FMCG companies, electronic manufacturing companies, IT companies, social media giants, no company has achieved such numbers in the history of India,” Jain said, adding that local operations were profitable.
Apple and India’s Micromax, both of which have been present in the country for longer, posted revenue of Rs 10,000 crore each in the year ended March. Chinese rival Huawei, which has been present in India for more than 15 years, peaked at $2 billion in 2010 but has since declined to about half that.
TATA POWER APPOINTS S PADMANABHAN AS CHAIRMAN
Tata PowerBSE 1.32 % Co has appointed S Padmanabhan as its chairman, in place of Cyrus Mistry who resigned last month.
In December, Tata Power brought back S Padmanabhan, who was executive director of operations at the company until 2014, as an additional director on the board. He is also the executive chairman of the Tata Business Excellence Group and has recently been appointed as Tata Sons’ group head for human resources.
Tata Power had called for an extra ordinary general meeting of shareholders to take up the removal of Mistry as the chairman on December 26, but he rendered his resignation before that on December 19.
Padmanabhan has been with the Tata Group for 34 years, of which 26 were with Tata Consultancy Services BSE -1.85 %.
HERE IS WHY ‘THE FLAVOUR OF THE SEASON’, MOBILE WALLETS WILL DIE
The smartphone is mightier than the wallet, the one that holds cash and cards – that’s what demonetisation has proved. For all kinds of needs – buying candy to transferring money – there are more digital options available than paper. It’s also time-saving – why stand in bank and ATM queues to get cash when a few seconds of tapping a wallet app on a mobile phone are enough to make a payment? There is an alphabet soup of options available, leaving many confused about the best way to pay. Should it be net banking, credit cards, UPI, NEFT, RTGS, IMPS, USSD, Aadhaar-linked BHIM or a combination of them?
So far, people have grabbed whatever is easily available to pay for coffee, bills, movie tickets, cab rides and just about anything, and here, m-wallet Paytm has scored over others. “In the near term, wallets will do well as they are more popular,” said Niren Shah, MD of Norwest Venture Partners, an investor in technology and financial services startups.
However, as alternatives to cash payments evolve, users comfortable with mobile wallets today could shift to an easier digital platform. “Frictionless payments is the future,” said R Venkatachalam, managing director for India & South Asia at FIS Global, a global provider of financial services technology. “That is, any payment mechanism which is effortless, without requiring users to remember too many passwords, PINs etc, perhaps biometrics-enabled.” There’s more to providing a smooth digital payment experience than aspects such as security and ability to attract customers who are used to transacting in cash and are reluctant to change. “Three things are important for any payment option – access, interoperability and financial sustainability of the operator,” said Anant Bhagwati, partner, Bain & Company.
FINANCE MINISTRY SENDS JOINT SECRETARY TO COORDINATE RBI CASH OPERATIONS
In an unusual move, and in another sign of the government’s effort to be on top of demonetisation management, the finance ministry has sent a joint secretary to Reserve Bank of India to coordinate the central bank’s currency chest operations.
Currency chests are branches of select banks authorised by Reserve Bank to hold notes and coins. The central bank manages currency chests.
RBI’s circular to banks on Tuesday directing them to ensure that at least 40% bank notes are supplied to rural areas is also said to have come after suggestions from the finance ministry. ET spoke to senior finance ministry officials for this report. They spoke off record. Questions sent to RBI didn’t receive any response.
A senior finance ministry official said both the central bank and the government are jointly working on issues related to demonetisation. And that deputing the joint secretary was part of that broader effort.
DEMONETISATION RESULTS IN CONTRACTION IN BANK LOAN BOOK IN THIRD QUARTER
A major fall out of demonetisation of high value currency notes has been on bank credit. Commercial banks’ loan book contracted by 2.3% in the third quarter between October 01 and ending December 23’16 compared to a growth of 2.7% in the same period a year ago. But with banks lowering their lending rates, they expect a pick upin credit towards the end of the fiscal.
The latest data released by the Reserve Bank shows that bank credit amounted to Rs 73.48 lakh crore as of December 23. On annualized basis, the growth in credit works out to 5.1%, a 54 year low. But it has contracted by 2.3% or Rs 1.72 lakh since end September’16, compared to a growth of 2.7% in the same period previous year.
Banks have been anyway struggling to grow their loan book on account of weak corporate demand. But the government move to scrap the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes on November 08 has resulted in contraction of credit in the quarter during which almost 50 days were devoted by banks is collecting banned notes from the public and surrendering them to the central bank. “ we had no time to entertain borrowers for more than a month since note ban” said a branch head of public sector banks in a busy business zone in Mumbai.
From the borrowers side, many traders and small and medium sized businesses were seen repaying their loans through their deposits of the stock of high value notes. But they were not seen borrowing due to general contraction in demand.
TRAI TO MEET TELECOM CEOS ON FRIDAY; BROADCASTING HEADS ON JANUARY 10
In a first-of-its-kind exercise, regulator TRAI is scheduled to meet CEOs of all telecom companies, including Bharti AirtelBSE 2.21 %, Vodafone and Reliance Jio, on Friday to discuss and identify important issues that need to taken up during the year.
A similar meeting is slated with top executives of cable and broadcasting companies, multiple-system operators (MSO) and DTH operators on January 10, TRAI sources said.
This is the first-of-its-kind exercise by TRAI as part of efforts to improve “regulatory predictability” in the sector, and is in tune with the best practices followed by regulators across the world, including the US, Canada, and parts of Europe.
“We have invited the CEOs of all telecom companies including Bharti AirtelBSE 2.21 %, Vodafone, Idea CellularBSE 0.81 %, Reliance Jio and others for a discussion on January 6. Similarly, we have invited top executives of broadcasting companies, MSOs, and DTH companies on January 10,” sources said.
TRAI Chairman R S Sharma had earlier told PTI that move to draw up and publish an ‘agenda’ of important issues in advance would improve the “regulatory predictability” in the sector.
TRAI TO FORM JOINT PANEL WITH TELCOS TO REVIEW TARIFF RULES, NUMBERING PLAN
Telecom regulator Trai will soon form a joint committee with telecom operators to review tariff rules, telephone numbering plan and work towards making its monitoring more transparent.
“We will form a committee consisting of Trai officers and telecom operators’ representative to suggest which are the provisions that have become obsolete and need to be changed. This includes tariff order, regulations, licensing and others,” Trai Chairman RS Sharma told reporters after meeting telecom operators.
Trai has put forward five subjects before telecom operators that need to be reviewed. BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said that regulatory intervention is required in the area of infrastructure sharing to bring cost of operations down and improve service quality.
AIRASIA COMES UNDER CBI LENS
A month after Enforcement Directorate registered a case of foreign exchange violations against AirAsia India, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday claimed that it is also examining the matter in which there are allegations of fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore involving non-existent entities in India and Singapore.
Sources in the CBI said that they have not registered a preliminary enquiry or regular case (FIR) in the matter but they are looking into the matter to see if it calls for registering a criminal case. “We are scrutinising the AirAsia documents right now,“ said the CBI officer.
When contacted, an AirAsia India spokesperson said, “AirAsia India has not heard from the CBI. Should we receive a call from CBI, AirAsia India will furnish all information that they seek. As you are aware, the airline has already put it in the public domain that it is pursuing the ongoing investigation. AirAsia India subsequently filed a private complaint with the Bangalore police in this regard.“
TOYOTA KIRLOSKAR MOTOR SALES UP 16% IN NOVEMBER-DECEMBER
Toyota Kirloskar Motor witnessed over 16 per cent rise in sales during November-December period last year on account of robust demand for Innova Crysta and new Fortuner.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor Director and Senior Vice President (Marketing and Sales) N Raja said, the sales figure in December was the highest in last five years.
In November and December, sales stood at 11,309 units and 12,747 units, respectively, compared to 10,278 units and 10,446 units in the last two months of 2015 in the domestic market.
“December is usually a high selling month as most manufacturers try and liquidate the year-end stock and come up with schemes offering huge discounts on products…the number of walk-ins at the dealership and enquiries have been impacted due to demonetisation in the past two months,” Raja told PTI.
DGCA PANEL TO CHECK AIRLINES’ OTP CLAIMS AFTER INDIGO COMPLAINS OF IRREGULARITIES
Your airline may not be sharing the correct on-time performance (OTP) figures, believes the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has constituted a panel to look into the fudging of OTP data by airlines.
“In view of some discrepancy observed in computation of OTP data, the DGCA has constituted a committee to look into the matter so as to ensure the correctness by end of February ,” DG of DGCA BS Bhullar told ET on Thursday.
Bhullar said the OTP data, in the meantime, for December 2016 will be published as per practice. The committee will be headed by joint director general Lalit Gupta. The panel was formed after IndiGo complained to the DGCA that there are discrepancies in the way airline data is collated by airlines and airport operators. IndiGo had, in a letter to the DGCA, complained that the procedure to compute OTP data has irregularities and need to be corrected.
CITI REDUCES HOME LOAN RATE TO 8.8% FROM 9.5%
Citi India today announced it will reduce its home loan rate to 8.80 percent from 9.50 percent, effective January 9, 2017.
“The reduction in the home loan rate is reflective of our commitment to consumers who may be interested in purchasing under-construction or ready-to-move-in property,” Rohit Ranjan, Head of Secured Lending, Citi India said.
BOEING CLOSE TO $10.1 BILLION ORDER FROM SPICEJET
Indian budget airline SpiceJetBSE 0.63 % Ltd is poised to order at least 92 Boeing Co 737 jetliners as the carrier plots rapid expansion in the world’s fastest growing aerospace market.
The transaction, which would more than double SpiceJet’s 49-plane fleet, may be closed within weeks after lengthy talks that pitted Boeing against rival Airbus Group SE, people with direct knowledge of the decision said.
The deal includes firm orders for at least 50 of Boeing’s 737 Max, and renegotiated terms for 42 of the single-aisle jets that SpiceJet originally ordered in 2014, said the people, who asked not be identified because the discussions are private. The 92 Max jets would be valued at about $10.1 billion at current list prices, before the discounts that are customary for large purchases.
BAD NEWS FOR FUEL CONSUMERS: GET READY TO PAY MORE FOR PETROL, DIESEL SOON
You will have to pay more for fuel in the new year. Opec powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iraq, which supply nearly 40% of oil India imports from West Asia, on Thursday initiated steps to bring the world’s honeymoon with low oil prices to an end.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter which two years ago sparked the oil price crash with hefty discounts, raised premium on grades of crude shipped to Asia and the US and initiated talks with buyers to cut supplies by 3-7% in February . Simultaneously, news agency reports said Iraq, the second major Opec exporter and currently among India’s top two oil suppliers, has initiated steps to pare output.Both the developments indicate the November agreement among Opec members and other major oil exporters such as Russia is well on its way to being implemented, proving sceptics wrong.
LG MOVES TOWARDS HIGH END, ENERGY-EFFICIENT ACS
LG Electronics India is exiting the regular split air-conditioners, which run on fixed speed compressors and account for almost 80% of the market, to focus on premium inverter split ACs. The move is driven by intense competition and as part of a global strategy to focus on more energy-efficient products, three senior industry executives said..
LG has also drawn up an aggressive pricing strategy that it claims will bring the price of the inverter AC lower than that of a five-star regular split AC. The industry expects this to lead to a price war in inverter ACs. Also, the company risks losing market share — LG and Voltas are the leaders — since entry-level consumers still prefer two- or three-star regular split AC because of the lower price.
LG India’s business head for air conditioners, Vijay Babu, said the company will sell the inverter AC lineup at a slightly higher price than a three-star AC model. For a consumer buying through finance, the EMI won’t increase beyond Rs 600-700, he added. “We will build awareness about more energy efficiency and savings for the consumer and expect to gain and consolidate market share.” LG has priced its 1.5-tonne inverter split AC at Rs 35,000 this year, compared with Rs 46,000 last year, and expects the price to fall further next year as volume gains.
TAKE OFF THE DEBT, AIR INDIA WILL BEAT EVERYONE HOLLOW: ASHWANI LOHANI
We achieved operational profits for the last financial year which means we were at least able to meet our expenditure. We used to attract a lot of negative vibes and reporting in the media. That has tapered down. Our services have improved. That is what I am told by people whenever I travel myself: and these are people outside of Air India. But I am using the word partly, because the legacy problems remain. The big burden — our debt — remains.
But you have made operating losses in the first two quarters of the current financial year. Industrywide, yields have been impacted due to price wars.
There’s too much competition. The costs are rising and yields are falling. You can’t do much about it. You can only try to fly the aircraft more and fill seats as much as possible.
Our yields have fallen by 7%, and domestic yields are down by 15%-16%. But our revenues have still risen by 3%. So, actually we have made a 10% impact on our revenues with improved efficiency. We increased utilisation of our fleet. For instance, we introduced four new international flights last year — three were operated by using old planes.
WOMAN SCIENTIST NOMINATED FOR SWARNAJAYANTI FELLOWSHIP
Jyotirmayee Dash, associate professor at the Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Jadavpur, Kolkata has been nominated for the prestigious Swarnajayanti fellowship award instituted by the Department of Science and Technology for the year 2015-16.
She is the only woman scientist among the 11 nominated for the fellowship this year.
Dr. Dash has received the award in the chemical science discipline.
Dr. T. Govindaraju from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru is the other person who has been nominated in the same discipline.
Dr. Kausik Chakraborty from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi and Dr. Dasaradhi Palakodeti from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, NCBS, Bengaluru have been nominated in the life sciences discipline.
NARENDRA MODI INAUGURATES INDIAN SCIENCE CONGRESS AT TIRUPATI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed on Tuesday that the union science and technology department is working on launching a Deep Ocean Mission to explore, understand and harness energy, food, medicine and other resources available in the deep oceans that surround the Indian peninsula.
The oceans, he said , have over 1300 of our islands, giving 7,500 km coastline and 2.4 million square kilometres of exclusive economic zone.
“They (the oceans) contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources. The ocean economy should be a significant dimension of our sustainable future,” the PM told a huge gathering of over 12000 scientists from across the country a some foreign scientists at the 104th Indian Science Congress.
SCIENTISTS DISCOVER MESENTERY, A NEW HUMAN ORGAN IN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Scientists from Ireland have claimed discovery of a new human organ named the mesentery that exists in the digestive system. It will be human body’s 79th organ. Mesentery connects the intestine to the abdomen. The organ was previously thought to consist of fragmented and disparate structures. Key Facts Mesentery is a fold of the peritoneum which attaches the stomach, small intestine, pancreas, spleen,and other organs to the posterior wall of the abdomen. Its discovery will help in better understanding and further scientific study of the mesentery which could lead to less invasive surgeries, fewer complications, faster patient recovery and lower overall costs. The reclassification of this organ will also aid better understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive diseases.
GOOGLE LAUNCHES MY BUSINESS AND DIGITAL UNLOCKED TOOL FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES
Internet giant Google launched two new initiatives My Business and Digital Unlocked to train and help small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India capitalise on the digitisation wave faster. These initiatives were launched by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in New Delhi in presence of Union IT and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in New Delhi. Key Facts My Business Websites: Under it, Google will provide free websites and web tools to small businesses in order to bolster their digital presence. This will help SMBs create a free, mobile optimised website.
AIR MARSHAL SB DEO TAKES OVER AS VICE CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF OF INDIAN AIR FORCE
Air Marshal SB Deo, PVSM AVSM VM VSM ADC paid homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate this morning before taking over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) at Air HQ, today.
On his arrival at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan), the Air Marshal was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
Air Marshal SB Deo was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the IAF on 15 Jun 79.
He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He is a FCL (Fighter Com.
AIR MARSHAL ANIL KHOSLA TAKES OVER AS AOC-IN-C EASTERN AIR COMMAND OF IAF
Air Marshal Anil Khosla AVSM VM took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command on 01 Jan 2017.
Born on 09 Apr 59, Air Marshal an alumni of the National Defence Academy, was commissioned in the fighter stream of Indian Air Force in Dec 79.
Air officer has to his credit over 4000 hours of accident free flying mainly on different variants of Jaguar, Mig-21 and Kiran aircraft. He is equally experienced on both Ground attack and Air Defence roles with specialization on mari .
AIR MARSHAL C HARIKUMAR AVSM VM VSM TOOK OVER AS AOC-IN-C, WESTERN AIR COMMAND (WAC).
The Air Marshal was accorded a ceremonial guard of honor on his arrival at HQ WAC.
Air Marshal Harikumar was commissioned in the IAF in the year 1979.
A Qualified Flying Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader, he has over 3300 hours of flying.
He has done instructional tenures at Fighter Training Wing (FTW), Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and College of Air Warfare (CAW).
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL BS DHANOA BECOMES 25TH CHIEF OF INDIAN AIR FORCE
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC took over as the 25th Chief of the Air Staff at a ceremony held at Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan).
In his address to the IAF, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said “I feel honoured and privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility to lead one of the finest Air Forces in the world.
I will certainly be inspired by the exceptional achievements and the leadership of so many of my illustrious predecessors.
INDIAN NAVY LAUNCHES 4, COMMISSIONS 3 SHIPS IN 2016
India’s push for indigenous shipbuilding resulted in the commissioning of three and launching of another four ships for the Indian Navy in 2016.
INS Chennai, a P 15A Guided Missile Destroyer, was commissioned into the Navy by the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on November 21.
The event marked the formal induction into the Navy of the third and final Kolkata-class destroyer.
INS Kadmatt, the second ship of Project 28 (P-28) class anti-submarine warfare corvettes, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, Kolkata, was commissioned at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam .
INDIA READY TO DEVELOP PROTOTYPE OF NEW ‘STEALTH FIGHTER JET’ – AWAITING GOVT. NOD
With the induction of light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas into the Indian Air Force this year, the Aeron-autical Development Age-ncy (ADA) which has jointly developed the fourth generation aircraft with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is now ready to develop the stealth fighter aircraft.
“The concept and feasibility study for the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has completed and submitted to the government.
We are awaiting the government’s approval to develop prototype vehicles (PVs),” P.Ramachandra, director, admin and planning, Aero-nautical Development Agency told this newspaper on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress.
It is designed to be the 25-tonne class aircraft whereas the Tejas is weighing only about 10 tonnes. It will have the range of 2,800 km.
UNION CABINET APPROVES AGREEMENT BETWEEN INDIA AND URUGUAY FOR COOPERATION IN CUSTOMS MATTERS
The Union Cabinet has approved signing and ratifying an Agreement between India and Uruguay for cooperation and mutual assistance in Customs Matters.
The Agreement will help both countries in the availability of relevant information for the investigation and prevention of Customs offences.
Key Facts The Agreement is also expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between both countries.
It also takes care of concerns and requirements of Indian Customs particularly in area of exchange of information on correctness of the Customs value declared, description of the goods traded between the two countries and the authenticity of certificates of origin of goods.
NEW DELHI WANTS TO ASCERTAIN PRODUCTION, EXPORT RIGHTS OF RUSSIA-INDIA FGFA PROJECT
India and Russia are expected to sign the detailed design and development contract of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) in the next two to three months.
This will enable Moscow to retain its position as the prime supplier of Indian Air Force’s fighting strength.
India has signaled that negotiations on R&D are almost final except for some issues related to rights over export to third countries. “Secondary round i.e.
R & D round is almost finalized except some issues related to the future of the aircraft.
Because, when R&D phase will get over and you are not able to produce and sell, what is the point in developing? Whether we will have right to produce because there will be some IPRs over which Russia will have claimed.
All these important aspects are being clarified properly,” says Manohar Parrikar, India’s Defense Minister in New Delhi.
STATE DECLARES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD TO MARUTI CHITAMPALLI
Maharashtra Government’s Department of Marathi Language, on Tuesday, declared Vinda Karandikar Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award to renowned ornithologist-author ‘Aranyarishi’ Maruti Chitampalli.
Maharashtra Rajya Sahitya va Sanskruti Mandal and State Institute for Marathi Language will confer upon Chitampalli the coveted award in a ceremony to be held on February 27, on the occasion of Marathi Bhasha Gaurav Din. Vinod Tawde, Minister for Marathi Language, made the announcement.
Maharashtra Government announced other awards .
HYDERABAD UNIVERSITY VC RECEIVES AWARD FROM PM MODI AT INDIAN SCIENCE CONGRESS
Appa Rao Podile, Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad University who was in the eye of a storm following suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, Tuesday received an award for outstanding contribution in the field of bio-tech and higher education from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rao was conferred with the ‘Millennium Plaques of Honour’ at the Indian Science Congress here along with several scientists who were awarded for their contribution in the field of science.
PV SINDHU, SAKSHI MALIK, DIPA KARMAKAR AND JITU RAI AWARDED RAJIV GANDHI KHEL RATNA
It was a celebration of woman power in sports as Olympic stars PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar were on Monday conferred India’s highest sporting honour — the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna — along with shooter Jitu Rai in a gleaming awards ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
For the first time in the history of National Sports Awards, four athletes were chosen for the Khel Ratna honour, owing to the three girls’ superlative show at the Rio Olympics.
In 2009, three athletes — boxers Vijender Singh and M C Mary Kom and wrestler Sushil Kumar — had been given this award together.
AISHWARYA WINS BEST ACTRESS OF THE YEAR AWARD FOR HER PERFORMANCE IN SARBJIT
With the awards season having officially kickstarted, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has had her first acting acknowledgement already.
The beautiful actress won the Best Actress nod at the Lions Gold Awards ceremony that had been held at a suburban auditorium on Wednesday.
The function was attended by many Bollywood celebrities as well as eminent personalities of the nation.
But the humble actress made sure that she greeted the guests personally as she addressed the audience.
She was handed over the Best Actress Award by Mrs. Amruta Devendra Fadnavis wife of the Maharashtra chief minister.
PREMIER LEAGUE: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR HOST RECORD-CHASING CHELSEA IN CRUCIAL CLASH
Antonio Conte knows Chelsea will face a fierce challenge from fired-up Tottenham as the Premier League leaders bid to set a new record winning streak on Wednesday.Conte’s side would become the first team to win 14 successive English top-flight games within the same season if they emerge victorious from what will be a red-hot atmosphere at White Hart Lane.Clashes between these London rivals have always been volatile, but they have become even more explosive of late, with a combination of Chelsea’s record chase and Tottenham’s revenge mission making the latest instalment not one for the faint-hearted.Tottenham need no reminding of how Chelsea brought their own title challenge to an end last season, when a bad-tempered 2-2 draw that included 12 yellow cards and numerous ugly clashes confirmed Leicester would be champions.Harry Kane, the Tottenham and England striker, admits he and his team-mates have been plotting their revenge.”We definitely don’t want to be the team that lets Chelsea break that record,” Kane warned.”Of course, we know that’s in our mind, we were just talking about it there in the changing room.”We don’t want to be that team they break the record against so we’re fully focused. It’s going to be a great game and we’re excited for it.”Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge in November completed a run of one win in 10 matches in all competitions that suggested they would struggle to repeat last season’s exploits.But since then Mauricio Pochettino’s side have rediscovered their rhythm, winning five of their last six league games and scoring 18 goals.Sunday’s 4-1 win at Watford, which followed a 4-1 success at Southampton, briefly took Spurs into the top four, only for Manchester City to supplant them by beating Burnley on Monday
PBL 2017: PV SINDHU INSPIRES CHENNAI SMASHERS TO BIG WIN OVER BENGALURU BLASTERS
Rio Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu won her trump game after facing some anxious moments as Chennai Smashers drubbed Bengaluru Blasters 5-0 in a Premier Badminton League contest at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.After Kashyap gave Chennai a 1-0 lead by outclassing his less experienced but currently higher ranked rival Sourabh Varma, Sindhu secured two points for her team by winning the trump game against Cheung Ngan Yi, also in straight games, to help Chennai take 3-0 lead.The victory was Chennai’s first of the season as they had lost to Hyderabad Hunters 3-4 in the tournament opener on January 1 in Hyderabad. It was Bengaluru’s first loss in two ties, after their 4-3 win over Delhi Acers.The top match of the day was Sindhu versus her Hong Kong rival Cheung. Although the Indian star won in straight games (12-10 11-6) she, with a current world ranking of 6, had to come from behind in both games. The Indian shuttler trailed 0-5 and then 0-3 against her Hong Kong rival who is ranked 19.Sindhu had to save a game-point to win the first game over extra points and then fought back wellin the second after trailing her rival before taking full control of the match.”This was a good game for me. Though I conceded a lead in both the game, I came back strong. I am happy to get my first win of the season. Against Marin too, I won the first game, but she bounced back wonderfully. In this match, I didn’t look to change much, but stick to my aggressive style of play,” Sindhu said after her win.Sindhu’s superior smashing power against the dogged retrieval of her rival enthralled the crowd.It was the lanky Indian star’s first win in this PBL season after her lost to Olympic Games gold medal winner Carolina Marin, who plays for Hyderabad Hunters, in her home town Hyderabad in Chennai Smashers’ first encounter.In the first game, Sindhu fell behind early on, narrowed the gap to 4-6 but then trailed again before catching up her rival for the second time at 9 with a winning smash.She was a game-point down by netting the ‘bird’, but drew level at 10 with another smash winner. A nervous Cheung netted the ‘bird’ twice in succession to concede the opening game.Then the husband-wife doubles pair of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock from Britain provided the Smashers with the winning 4-0 lead by edging out Bengaluru’s Korea-India combine of Yeon Seong Yoo and Ashwini Ponnappa in three games in a thrilling mixed doubles match, to render the last two matches in the tie inconsequential.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic made a sticky return to action before recovering from losing the opening four games to beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(1), 6-3 at the Qatar Open on Monday.
JOZEF KOVALIK GOES FOR MARIN CILIC AT CHENNAI OPEN
The crowd at the SDAT Tennis Stadium for top seed Marin Cilic’s match against qualifier Jozef Kovalik on Wednesday was less than the turnout for the Ramkumar Ramanathan-Yuki Bhambri match the day before.Cilic was eventaully stunned by Kovalik, while Chennai’s favourite son Ramkumar too bit the dust, and organisers must have been in a quandary over to how to sustain interests of fans. This has not been the case when the tournament started. People used to scramble for tickets and almost every seat in the stadium used to be occupied. The romance of watching Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya and to an extent, Stan Wawrinka seems to have waned. The crowd turnout, especially to watch Cilic on Wednesday is quite a shocker and of course disappointing. Organisers are now pinning hopes on the five Indian doubles pairs.“It was a shock for us, no one expected a player of Cilic’s class to crash out. It’s certainly a dampener, but Yuki is still there, and we have quite a few guys in doubles, with Leander Paes leading the pack. Hope they do well,” said a key member of the organising committee.In the biggest upset of the tournament, Croatian World No 6 Cilic was knocked out in the second round by Kovalik in a marathon match that took three sets and lasted two hours and 48 minutes, thus sending shockwaves into the stands. Cilic lost 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 to the World No 117. And Kovalic said it was a special feeling. “It’s a great feeling to beat Cilic. The win was possible due to the good mental and physical shape I was in,” the 24-year-old said.Kovalik said that since he did not have anything to lose, he went all out. “I just concentrated on each ball, and tried to win each and every point. There was no pressure on me, so I went flat out,” opined Kovalik.Cilic struggled with his serve to begin with, and seemed mentally exhausted, as he was stretched by a rookie. This gave Kovalik an opportunity to go for the kill and try to make it his day.“Kovalik played well today. His returns were spot on. I did not return well in the first set,” noted Cilic.“After the second set, I got some momentum. At 5-all in the third set, I should’ve been a little more aggressive. Guess it was lack of concentration,” summed up the Croatian.“This win gives me the confidence to beat top players. Cilic was not up to his best here, and he wasn’t his usual self today,
PREMIER BADMINTON LEAGUE 2017
The Premier League Badminton 2017 match-up on Thursday will witness Awadhe Warriors take on Delhi Acers. World no.2 men’s singles star Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark will lead the line for the defending champions Delhi while Saina Nehwal will fly the flag for the Lucknow side Delhi Acers have not won a tie and are currently bottom of the table but the team which boasts of Jwala Gutta, All England champion pair of Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov and also world No.3 Jan O Jorgensen, will be tough nut to crack.Awadhe Warriors started their campaign on a high by thrashing Hyderabad Hunters in the first game and thereby accumulating five points. They will look now look to get one over the defending champs and extend their lead and reach at the top of the points table.Apart from Saina, the Warriors have World No.1 in Men’s/Mixed doubles Goh W Shem, young star Kidambi Srikanth and Vincent Wong Wing Ki.
KARAN IN QUARTERFINALS
Karnataka’s Karan Somu Kumar defeated Andhra Pradesh’s Iqbal Mohammad 6-4, 7-6 to enter the boys under-16 singles quarterfinals of the D.R. memorial all-India National Series tennis championship at Visvodaya Technical Academy, Kavali on Wednesday.
VIRAT KOHLI APPOINTED AS INDIA’S NEW LIMITED OVERS CAPTAIN
Virat Kohli was appointed India’s limited overs skipper on Friday after the resignation of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as selectors announced the squad for the upcoming series against England.The swashbuckling batsman, who has presided over an 18-match unbeaten run as Test captain, will lead India in three one-day internationals starting from January 15 before the sides play three Twenty20 matches.Dhoni, who led India to victory in the 2011 World Cup as well as the 2007 World Twenty20, kept his place in both 15-men squads, the Indian board’s chief selector M.S.K Prasad announced in a televised press conference.With India missing several key players, including middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, the selectors also announced the surprise recall of the big-hitting veteran Yuvraj Singh.”Virat was with us on Skype” for the selection meeting in Mumbai, Prasad told reporters.”After discussing with him, this is the best possible team we have. It’s a fantastic team.”The new 28-year-old skipper, whose nickname is ‘King Kohli’, is the world’s number one-ranked batsman in T20 cricket and is also second in the rankings for the 50 over and five-day formats.Since taking over from Dhoni as Test skipper in early 2015, Kohli has been in scintillating form, leading India to five successive series victories and scoring three double centuries in the last six months.He was also the outstanding player in both last year’s World T20 tournament and the Indian Premier League (IPL) when he smashed the previous record for run-scoring.
His appointment means that Kohli is likely to captain India in the next 50 over World Cup finals which are due to be hosted by England in 2019.Since making his debut in 2008, Kohli has scored 7,570 runs in 176 ODIs, including 26 hundreds and 38 half-centuries, at an average of 52.94. He also averages over 57 in T20 internationals.Kohli has made clear his high regard for Dhoni who was his captain when he was part of the Indian team which won the 2011 World Cup on home soil.Writing on Twitter shortly before Friday’s announcement, Kohli said: “Thanks for always being the leader a youngster wants to have around him. You’ll always be my captain @msdhoni Bhai.”Kohli’s first major assignment will be to lead India’s defence of the Champions Trophy which begin in England in June.While India have built up a big lead over their rivals at the top of the Test rankings, they are second in the table in ODI cricket and third in the T20 format.ODI squad: Virat Kohli (capt), Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bhumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
PBL 2017: SAINA NEHWAL SHINES IN AWADHE WARRIORS’ THRASHING OF DELHI ACERS
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal defeated Nitchaon Jindapol as Awadhe Warriors spanked Delhi Acers 6- (-1) to register their second win in the second edition of the Premier Badminton League at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium, in Lucknow on Thursday.The 26-year-old Saina outplayed Nitchaon 14-12 11-7 in a trump match to register her first win of the league and helped the Warriors take advantage over the Acers.By virtue of this win, Saina has extended her unbeaten run to eight games against the Thai shuttler.Turning out in the second match of the tie, Saina was slow to start as she conceded a 2-5 lead to Nitchaon.After initial hiccups, Saina got her composure back and staged a comeback to draw level at 6-6.Saina then took two more points and seemed on course to run away with the match when Nitchaon made a comeback riding on her fine serve.But the Thai shuttler faltered at the end stage as Saina took advantage off the laxity to stay in the game.It was a neck and neck fight between the two shuttlers but in the end Saina kept a cool head to prevail over opponent 14-12.In the second game, Saina was again slow to start off the blocks as Nitchaon took a crucial 3-0 lead.But the Indian slowly got back into the game and grew in confidence at the tie progressed. The Indian dished out her exquisite forehand shots to win the game 11-7.Saina’s win in the trump match not only extended the Warriors lead but also earned them extra points.Earlier in the opening tie of the day, mixed doubles pair of Akshay Dewalkar and Vladimir Ivanov defeated Goh W Shem and Markis Kido 11-4 11-4 to give Warriors the initial advantage.Later, ace Indian men’s singles shuttler Kidambi Srikanth beat Jan O Jorgensen 11-9 11-13 11-9 to ensure Warriors’ hold over the tieThen mixed doubles pair of Savitree Amitrapai and Bodin Isara got the better of Jwala Gutta and Vladimir Ivanov 12-10 11-5 to hand Warriors an unassailable lead.In the last match of the tie, Vincent Wong Wing of the Warriors beat Ki Son Wan Ho 11-8 11-6 in another trump game to complete the formalities.
Seventh seed Cheng-Yu Yu of Chinese Taipei proved too strong as he outplayed Karunuday Singh 6-2, 6-1 in the pre-quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF Futures tennis tournament here on Wednesday.