Business & Economy

India’s forex reserves rise by $. 1.502 billion to $ 400.297 billion

Reversing a three-week downtrend, India's foreign  exchange reserves rose by $ 1.502 billion to $ 400.297 billion during the week ended October 13, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country’s forex reserves had dipped by $ 862.2 million to $ 398.794 billion during the previous week.
In its weekly statistical supplement today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had gone up by $ 1.478 billion to $ 375.274 billion during  the week.
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves remained unchanged at $ 21.240 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) increased by $ 9.5 million to $ 1.503 billion.
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rose by $ 14.3 million to $ 2.278 billion during the week, the bulletin added.

Pradhan launches PNG supply to residents of Bhubaneswar

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launching the piped natural gas supply to residents of NALCO Nagar in Bhubaneswar, on October 20, 2017.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launching the piped natural gas supply to residents of NALCO Nagar in Bhubaneswar, on October 20, 2017.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the commencement of piped natural gas (PNG) supply to residents of Bhubaneswar today.
Mr. Pradhan launched the supply of PNG by the  public sector natural gas company GAIL (India) limited in NALCO Nagar at a function in the presence of Mr. B. C. Tripathi, Chairman & Managing Director, GAIL, Dr. T. K. Chand, CMD, National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO), Dr. Ashutosh Karnatak, Director (Projects), GAIL, Mr. B K Thakur, Director (HR), NALCO and other dignitaries. 
Expressing happiness at the fast pace of work, Mr. Pradhan praised GAIL for the early commencement of the first phase of supply of PNG in 255 houses which was earlier expected to be completed by March 2018. He said GAIL took up the project on a war-footing and commenced supply of natural gas almost six months before the deadline. 
A press release from GAIL said the commencement of supply of natural gas is an important step towards the fulfillment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of developing a gas-based economy and linking Eastern India to the country’s natural gas grid through the ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’, which will pass through five states -- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The longest stretch of the project – 769 kms – will be built in Odisha. This pipeline will lead to industrial development of eastern India, it said.
City Gas Distribution (CGD) projects in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are being taken up in parallel with the Jagdishpur – Haldia & Bokaro – Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline (JHBDPL), popularly known as ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’. 
In Odisha, the natural gas pipeline will be constructed at an estimated investment of Rs 4,000 crore and have a length of about 769 km covering 13 districts -- Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Debagarh, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Khordha, Puri and Kendrapara -- and will connect major industrial clusters of Khurdha, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Angul, Dhenkanal, Kalinganagar, Jajpur and Paradip.
GAIL also plans to provide PNG connections in the near future to adjacent Jeevan Bima Colony and Maitri Vihar Colony covering a total of 1,000 houses. Assessment is also being carried out for PNG supply to leading hotels, hospitals and industrial units of the city, the release said.
Initially, natural gas will reach Bhubaneswar in special containers called “cascades” which will be transported by road from Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh. Later, natural gas will be supplied through the JHBDPL. The pipeline is presently under construction and likely to be completed by 2019.
In Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack, the number of PNG connections will be gradually ramped up in the next three to five years. Moreover, 25 CNG stations will be commissioned in the twin cities to supply compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel to vehicles.
"PNG is not just eco-friendly, but is one of the most convenient and safe fuels. There are no hassles of booking and storing cylinders as gas is continuously supplied through pipes and payment is done after usage on the basis of meter reading. Moreover, in the unlikely incident of leakage, the gas quickly rises and disperses in the atmosphere without causing damage,"
In Bhubaneswar, construction activities of CNG stations have already been taken up at Chandrasekharpur, Patia, Khandagiri and Tamando, and supply will be commenced at the earliest.
 The overall capital expenditure for the Bhubaneswar and Cuttack CGD projects will be Rs. 1,700 crore, of which Rs 400 crore will be spent in the next three to five years.
GAIL (India) Limited is India’s number one integrated natural gas company with a market share of over 75% in natural gas transmission. With over 11,000 kms of natural gas network, GAIL supplies India’s fuel requirements across sectors like power, fertilizer, industrial, automotive and even household consumers. 
Apart from natural gas transmission, distribution and processing, the company has diversified business interests in Petrochemicals, LPG transmission, City gas projects and Exploration and Production activities. The company is committed to expand its current network to 18,000 km within five years, the release added.

Global crude oil price of Indian basket falls to $56.07/bbl

The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, fell to $ 56.07 per barrel (bbl) yesterday from $ 56.59 per bbl on the previous day.
An official press release said that, in rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket decreased to Rs.3648.31 per bbl on 19.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3681.75 per bbl on 18.10.2017. 
The rupee closed unchanged at Rs. 65.06 per US$ on 19.10.2017 as compared per US$ on 18.10.2017, the release added.

Comments, suggestions invited on Amendment of IT Rules on Registration of Charitable/Religious Trusts

The Income Tax Department has invited comments and suggestions on Amendment of Income Tax Rules on Registration of Charitable/Religious Trusts.
Through Finance Act, 2017, a new clause (ab) was inserted in sub-section (1) of section 12A of the Income-tax Act, 1961, to come into effect from  April 1, 2018 that where a trust or an institution, which has been granted registration under sections 12A or 12AA of the Act has subsequently adopted or undertaken modification of the objects and such modification does not conform to the conditions of such registration, then such trust or institution shall be required to obtain registration again by making an application within a period of thirty days from the date of such adoption or modification of the objects.
As per the memorandum related to Delegated Legislation laid on the floor of the Parliament along with the Finance Bill, 2017, the form and manner in which an application of registration u/s 12(1)(ab) shall be made to the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner for registration of the trust or institution subsequent to modification of its objects, is required to be prescribed.
The rules for making an application for registration of charitable or religious trusts under section 12A of the Act are laid down under Rule 17A of the Income-tax Rules, 1962. As per the Rules, the application, for registration of charitable or religious trusts under section 12A of the Act, is to be made in Form 10A.
Accordingly, subsequent to the aforesaid amendment to the Act, Rule 17A and Form 10A is proposed to be amended. In this regard, draft notification providing for the amendment of Rule 17A and Form 10A has been framed and uploaded on the website of the Income Tax Department for comments from stakeholders and the general public.
The comments and suggestions on the draft Rules should be sent by October 27, 2017, electronically at the email address,

Mahindra Lifespaces, HDFC Capital in joint venture for affordable housing projects

Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd. (MLDL), the real estate and infrastructure development arm of the Mahindra Group, has partnered with HDFC Capital Affordable Real Estate Fund-1 (HDFC Capital) – a fund managed by HDFC Capital Advisors Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of HDFC Ltd, to form a platform focused on the development of affordable housing projects in India.  
The platform will look to rapidly scale up in order to address the demand-supply gap in affordable housing in India, with an estimated development footprint of between 5 to 10 million square feet, depending on the locations selected for its projects, under the Happinest name, a press release from MLDL said.
The release said the proposed developments would be undertaken through Mahindra Happinest Developers Limited (MHDL), with a 51:49 equity share between MLDL and HDFC Capital. The first development to be undertaken by the joint platform will be Happinest, Palghar, expected to be launched in the H2 of FY18.
MLDL has been present in the affordable housing segment since 2014, through its category brand, Happinest. Over 1,600 units have been launched across the company’s ongoing affordable housing projects in Chennai (Happinest, Avadi) and Mumbai (Happinest, Boisar), with close to 1,000 homes already handed over till date.  Its products are currently priced between Rs 17 lakh – Rs 27 lakh, and offer strategic connectivity and vibrant community living options, the release said.
"In keeping with MLDL’s focus on sustainable urban development that is resource-conscious and sensitive to the needs of the environment, each Happinest project is certified by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), and utilises environment-friendly and energy-efficient materials and technologies to enable balanced and healthy living.  Happinest, Avadi has been conferred India’s first IGBC ‘Platinum’ certification for Green Affordable Housing," it said.
Anita Arjundas, Managing Director, MLDL, said, “Affordable housing is a critical component of quality urban infrastructure as also a growth driver for the real estate industry in India. We are delighted to partner with HDFC Capital in a venture that will leverage the experience and commitment of each organisation, to develop affordable homes that will create sustainable value for our customers, while also addressing the largely unmet demand in this segment.
Vipul Roongta, CEO, HDFC Capital Advisors Ltd, said “The objective of this platform is to invest in residential affordable housing projects by providing long-term equity. Lack of patient long-term capital is one of the key challenges facing growth and development of low and middle-income housing in India. HDFC Capital’s first fund is dedicated to addressing this funding gap by providing long-term equity-oriented capital for development in urban and semi urban peripheral areas. With the affordable housing segment expected to see healthy growth going forward given the impetus provided by the government through various incentives and subventions, this platform with MLDL is the need of the hour.” 

Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $ 56.59/bbl

The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 56.59 per barrel (bbl) yesterday from $ 56.37 per bbl on the previous day.
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs. 3673.70 per bbl on 17.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3650.26 per bbl on 16.10.2017, an official press release said.
The rupee closed weaker at Rs. 64.92 per US$ on 17.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 64.76 per US$ on 16.10. 2017, it added.

Ensure dignity of living for construction workers, Puri tells builders

Expressing serious concern over the living conditions of a large number of construction workers, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri today urged the builders to ensure a dignified living for them by ensuring necessary basic facilities.
Mr Puri spoke on the issue after releasing a commemorative stamp on the occasion of the 25 years of Indian Builders Congress (IBC) here.
The Minister reminded the 5,100 members of the IBC that it was their solemn responsibility to ensure decent living conditions for workers by providing facilities for cooking, bathing and toilets at construction sites under Clause 19 H of General Contract Conditions and Contract Labour (Regulation) Act.
He said the provisions were not being generally complied with, which was unacceptable. The construction workers make yeomen contribution to economic growth of the country and deserve to be treated with dignity.
Noting that the IBC aims at improving the built environment, Mr Puri said the living environment of workers at construction sites was equally important.
The real estate sector kept evolving with the progress of economic reforms and the resultant economic growth but had run into hurdles due to inadequate self-regulation and lack of regulatory mechanism. This has necessitated the Real Estate Act that was made a reality by this Government last year after eight long years it was first proposed.
He asserted that the real estate sector was finding the going bumpy but will soon settle at a new normal as all the stakeholders were working at enabling such a new normal.

Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $56.37/bbl

The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 56.37 per barrel (bbl) yesterday from $ 55.81 per bbl on the previous publishing day of October 13.
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs.3650.26 per bbl on 16.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3623.97 per bbl on 13.10.2017, an official press release said.
The rupee closed stronger at Rs. 64.76 per US$ on 16.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 64.93 per US$ on 13.10.2017, it added.

Centre takes up issue of supplies of essential commodities with Maharashtra govt.

The Government of Maharashtra has informed the Centre that it has issued strict instructions on October 10 to all Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs) in the state to carry out the sale and pruchase of agricultural produce of agriculturists without any interruption.
The assurance came after reports appeared in the media that APMCs in Nashik, Maharashtra such as Lasalgaon, Pimpalgaon and so on may remain closed for a period of 7-9 days during the Diwali festival.
To ensure that the supplies of essential commodities are maintained in consumer interest, the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India had taken up this with the Maharashtra government.
"In this context, Government of Maharashtra has informed that vide directions dated 12.10.2017, the State Government has issued strict directions to all Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees in the State to carry out the sale-purchase business of agricultural produce of agriculturists without any interruption. 
"The State Government has issued directions under the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 1963 that business of sale-purchase of all agricultural produce in Agricultural Produce Market Committees in the State may remain closed, if necessary, during the holidays between 19.10.2017 to 22.10.2017.
"All the Agricultural Produce Market Committees shall continue with the business of sale-purchase of all agricultural produce on preceding and succeeding days of aforementioned dates. These directions shall be implemented scrupulously by all Agricultural Produce Market Committees. The Director Board of concerned Agricultural Produce Market Committees shall be held responsible for any violation of these directions and any market functionary responsible for closure of business and violation of these directions shall be dealt with under the relevant provisions in the Act," the release added.

Airtel offers iPhone 7 at down payment of Rs 7777 and 24 instalments with built-in post-paid plan

Telecom services provider Bharti Airtel today announced the launch of its Online Store
that will offer a range of premium smartphones with affordable down payments, instant credit verification and financing, and bundled monthly plans.
The store went live today with Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus variants and the company plans to add devices from all leading brands to its offerings in the near future, a press release from the company said.
According to the release said the iPhone 7 (32 GB) is available at a down payment of just Rs 7777 and 24 monthly installments of Rs 2499. The monthly installments have a built-in high-end postpaid plan which offers 30 GB data, unlimited calling (local, STD, national roaming), and Airtel Secure package that covers the device against any physical damage and offers cyber protection.
The company said the online store is part of its Project Next, which is aimed at transforming customer experience across all of its services and touch points. Airtel plans to invest up to Rs 2000 crore under Project Next to launch several "exciting digital innovations" to step change the simplicity and interactivity of the Airtel customer experience.
"Airtel’s Online Store is an integrated digital platform aimed at making it easier for customers to upgrade to smartphones they always aspired for, without the constraint of high put-down prices and cumbersome financing schemes. All smartphones on the platform will come with down payments that are a fraction of the market price of the device and the convenience of easy monthly instalments with a built-in postpaid plan. The postpaid plan will offer large bundles of data, unlimited calling and device protection package, allowing customers to enjoy the device to the fullest on India’s leading smartphone network," the release said.
"The entire Online Store journey is digitally enabled, right from purchasing the device to instant financing and plan activations, all within a few clicks over a computer or a smartphone/tablet. The device will get delivered to the customer’s doorstep," it said.
Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO & Director – Engineering, Bharti Airtel said, “This is yet another exciting digital innovation from Airtel to delight customers. Not only are we making it easier for millions of customers to upgrade to devices they always wanted, we are also making the entire process seamless and simple through digital technologies. Imagine getting your dream device, instant credit to purchase it and a great plan to go with it, all available in one place with a few clicks. All this is a product of some cutting-edge digital engineering by the in-house teams at Airtel. We would also like to thank our partners for integrating their APIs seamlessly with our platform to enable a great customer experience.” 
Airtel has partnered with Apple Inc., HDFC Bank, Clix Capital, Seynse Technologies, Brightstar Telecommunications and Vulcan Express to enable the digital experience on its Online Store.
Airtel’s Online Store services are currently available to customers in 21 cities across India and will be expanded to other cities and towns shortly.

NIIF and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority sign investment agreement worth $1 billion

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India has signed an investment agreement worth $1 billion with a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India has signed an investment agreement worth $1 billion with a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
As part of the comprehensive partnership agreement, ADIA will become the first institutional investor in NIIF’s Master Fund and a shareholder in National Investment and Infrastructure Limited, the NIIF’s investment management company.
Mr. Sujoy Bose, Chief Executive Officer of NIIF, said: “This agreement marks the culmination of an extensive process of collaboration with ADIA to develop an investment structure that is attractive to international investors while remaining closely aligned with the NIIF’s objectives. We are proud to have ADIA as our founding partner, and grateful for its support and contributions to date, and we now look forward to announcing further agreements with other investors.”
Mr. Khadem Al Remeithi, Executive Director of the Real Estate & Infrastructure Department at ADIA, said: “The NIIF is set to play an important role in facilitating the flow of foreign capital into India’s infrastructure sector. As a long-standing investor in India and in infrastructure globally, ADIA welcomes the opportunity to be the first to partner with NIIF in a platform that is sure to be of interest to other long-term institutional investors.”
An official press release said that the agreement was signed pursuant to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, Government of India and the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) to mobilise long term investment into NIIF.
Six domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) -- HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited, HDFC Asset Management Company Limited, Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited, ICICI Bank Limited, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Limited, Axis Bank Limited -- will also be joining the NIIF Master Fund alongwith ADIA, apart from Government of India (GOI), the release said.
Mr. Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, said, "This is a significant milestone in operationalisation of NIIF. This Agreement paves the way for creating significant economic impact through investment in commercially viable infrastructure development projects."
The NIIF was created, after a decision by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2015 and was envisaged to be established as one or more Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) under the SEBI Regulations. The proposed corpus of NIIF is Rs. 40,000 crore (around $ 6 billion). GOI’s contribution to the NIIF shall be 49% of the total commitment at any given point of time. NIIF has been mandated to solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners, like overseas sovereign/quasi-sovereign/multilateral/bilateral investors.
Two companies -- NIIFTL, the trustee of the fund and NIIFL, the investment management company -- were incorporated in 2015. A Governing Council has been set up under the chairmanship of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to act as an advisory council to NIIF.
A few investors such as the Government of UAE, RUSNANO, QIA, RDIF and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN) have signed MoUs with the NIIF. In addition, DEA has signed terms for cooperation on the NIIF with the US Treasury and the UK Treasury. 
An India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) has been announced in April 2017. The fund shall be set up under the fund of funds vertical of NIIF, and shall have anchor commitments of GBP 120 million each from Government of India (through NIIF) and Government of UK.
NIIF is a fund manager that seeks to create long-term value for domestic and international investors seeking to invest in energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India. NIIF, an institution sponsored by the Government of India, is a collaborative investment platform for international and Indian investors. 
ADIA has, since 1976, been prudently investing funds on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi, with a focus on long-term value creation.  ADIA manages a global investment portfolio that is diversified across more than two dozen asset classes and sub-categories. With a long tradition of prudent investing, ADIA’s decisions are based solely on its economic objectives of delivering sustained long-term financial returns, the release added.

India’s seafood export soars to 2,51,735 MT worth Rs 9,066 crore in Q1

Spurred by soaring demand for its frozen shrimp and frozen squid in international markets, India’s marine products industry exported 2,51,735 MT of seafood valued at $ 1.42 billion (Rs 9,066.06 crore) in  the first quarter (Q1) of 2017-18, ended June, as against 2,01,223 MT and $ 1.17 billion dollars, respectively, a year earlier.
The United States and South East Asia retained their position as the major importers of India’s seafood, followed by the European Union (EU) and Japan, while the demand from China saw a healthy surge during the period, a press release from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said.
The release said frozen shrimp continued to be the top export item of marine products basket, accounting for a share of 50.66% in quantity and 74.90% of the total earnings in dollar terms. Shrimp exports increased by 20.87% in terms of quantity and 21.64% in dollar terms.
Frozen squid was the second largest export item, accounting for 7.82% in quantity and 5.81% in dollar earnings, registering a growth of 40.25% in dollar terms.
Besides frozen shrimp and frozen squid, India’s other major seafood product was frozen fish, which recorded a growth of 24.96 per cent, 17.55 per cent and 21.75 per cent in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar earnings, respectively.
 “Healthy harvests of shrimp, drastic reduction in the rejection rate by the EU countries, sustained measures to ensure quality and improved infrastructure facilities for production of value added products were chiefly responsible for India’s surge seafood exports,” said Dr. A Jayathilak, Chairman, MPEDA. “What is satisfying is that growth in exports was achieved in the face of continued uncertainties in the global seafood trade.”
The USA imported 54,344 MT of Indian seafood worth $ 499.28 million, accounting for a share of 35.05% in dollar terms, with exports to that country registering a growth of 39.56%, 33.66% and 38.93% in terms of quantity, value in rupees and US dollars, respectively.
South East Asia continued to be the second largest destination of India’s marine products, with a share of 31.26% in dollar terms, followed by the EU (14.70%), Japan (6.68%), the Middle East (3.47%), China (3.06%) and Other countries (5.79%). Overall, exports to South East Asia increased by 50.37% in quantity, 28.84% in rupee value and 33.87% in dollar earnings.
The EU continued to be the third largest destination for Indian marine products with a share of 15.23% in quantity. Frozen shrimp was the major item of exports, accounting for a share of 38.85% in quantity and 53.17% in dollar earnings out of the total exports to the EU.
Japan, the fourth largest destination for Indian seafood, accounted for 6.68% in earnings and 7.26% in quantity terms. Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to Japan with a share of 39.49% in quantity and 73.32% in US dollar value out of the total exports to that country.
The overall export of shrimp during the first quarter of the current fiscal was pegged at 1, 27,521 MT worth $ 1066.97 million. USA was the largest import market for frozen shrimp (50,630 MT), followed by the South East Asia (41,934 MT), EU (14,893 MT), Japan (7,222 MT), the Middle East (3,753 MT), China (2,804 MT) and other countries (6,285 MT).
The export of Vannamei shrimp, a major seafood delicacy, improved from 82,193 MT to 92,341 MT in April-June 2017, registering a growth of 12.35%in quantity. In value terms, 51% of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to USA, followed by 25.99% to the South East Asian countries, 9.87% to the EU, 4.26% to Japan, 2.23% to the Middle East, 1.58% to China and 5.08% to other countries.
Japan was the major market for Black Tiger shrimp with a share of 49.12% in value terms, followed by South East Asia (23.84%) and USA (17.77%).
Frozen shrimp continued to be the principal export item to USA with a share of 95.83% in dollar terms while Vannamei shrimp to that country showed an increase of 35.20% in quantity and 36.44% in dollar terms.
As for exports to South East Asian markets, Vietnam was the biggest importer with a share of 84.45% in dollar terms, followed by Thailand (7.33%), Taiwan (3.13%), Malaysia (2.01%), Singapore (1.76%) and South Korea (1.11%). Vietnam alone imported 69,988 MT of Indian seafood, the quantity being much more than that of any other individual markets like the US, Japan or China.
Export of frozen cuttlefish showed an increase in quantity terms, rupee value and dollar terms by 5.07%, 20.84% and 25.51%, respectively.
Indian ports handled a total marine cargo of 2,51,735 tons worth Rs 9066.06 crore (1424.46 million dollars) in the first quarter of FY 2017-18 as compared to 2,01,223 tons worth Rs 7699.61 crore (1166.59 million dollars) in the corresponding period  of the previous fiscal.
Vizag, which handled marine cargo of 43,315 tons worth Rs 2,481.03 crore, was the leading port, followed by Krishnapatnam (19,917 tons, Rs 1096.33 crore), Kochi (29,630 tons, Rs 1,027.39 crore), Kolkata (21,433 tons, Rs 993.74 crore), JNP (37,011 tons, Rs 971.77 crore), Pipavav (49,334 tons, Rs 831.83 crore), Tuticorin (10,986 tons, Rs 582.50 crore), and Chennai (11,300 tons, Rs 516.09 crore), the release added.

India's wholesale inflation falls to 2.6% in September 2017

India's headline annual rate of inflation, based on the revised monthly wholesale price index (WPI), with base 2011-12=100, cooled down to 2.60% in September, 2017 as compared to 3.24% in the previous month and 1.36% in the corresponding month of the previous year, thanks to a fall in food and fuel prices.
An official statement, quoting provisional data, said here today that the official WPI for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) for September, 2017 declined by 0.4% to 114.3 from 114.8 for the previous month.
The statement said build-up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 0.97% compared to a build-up rate of 3.44% in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index consisting of ‘Food Articles’ from Primary Articles group and ‘Food Product’ from Manufactured Products group decreased from 4.41% in August, 2017 to 1.99% in September, 2017.
The rate of inflation for Fuel and Power, which has a weight of 13.15 in the index, fell to 9.01% in September from 9.99 in August, the statement said.
The statement said that, for July, 2017, the final WPI for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2011-12=100) and annual rate of inflation remained unchanged at its provisional level of 113.9 and 1.88 percent, respectively, as reported on August 14.

Bharti Airtel, Millicom announce deal closure to combine operations in Ghana

Telecom services provider Bharti Airtel Limited and Millicom International Cellular S.A., through their respective subsidiaries, today announced the closure of the deal to combine their operations in Ghana.
Under the agreement, Airtel and Millicom will have equal ownership (50:50) and governance rights in the combined entity, which will have revenues of approximately $ 300 million, a press release from Airtel said here.
Both Airtel and Millicom will have board representations and management positions in the merged entity. The Ghana National Communications Authority (NCA) granted approval for the merger proposal early this month, the release said.
According to the release, the merged entity will become Ghana’s second largest mobile operator with close to 10 million subscribers. 
"The combined networks of the two companies will cover more than 80% of Ghana’s population, in particular in villages and far flung areas, and serve customers with affordable world-class voice/ data services, affordable global roaming and mobile banking services. It will also have one of the largest sales and distribution network to enhance customer convenience.
"The significant synergies from this merger will help the combined entity achieve profitability and cash-flow levels faster. In addition, the merged entity with its robust optic fibre footprint and increased number of data centres will bring significant benefits to diverse portfolio of enterprise customers - including both large corporations and SMEs," it said.
Roshi Motman, the current CEO of Tigo Ghana, will be the new CEO of the joint entity. The merged entity will be deconsolidated and treated as a strategic asset in the form of a joint venture and the company will continue to operate both brands - Airtel and Tigo. The process of business consolidation will take place over the next few weeks, the release said.
The Airtel and Millicom teams will work together to ensure smooth transition, streamlining of operations and realization of synergies to ensure swift accrual of the merger’s benefits to all stakeholders, it said.
Tigo started operations in Ghana in 1992 as the first mobile network operator. It is part of Millicom International Cellular (MIC) which provides mobile, voice, data, cable television, broadband and financial services to over 50 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America. In Ghana, it was first launched under the brand name, Mobitel and in 2002 it was rebranded to Buzz. This later changed to Tigo in 2006 to reflect the standard brand name within the Millicom Group.

Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $ 55.81/bbl

The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 55.81 per barrel (bbl) on October 13 from $ 55.08 per bbl on the previous day.
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket increased to Rs. 3623.97 per bbl on 13.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3585.78 per bbl on 12.10.2017, an official press release said.
The rupee closed stronger at Rs. 64.93 per US$ on 13.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 65.10 per US$ on 12.10.2017, it added.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016 brought into force from October 12

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016, notified on March 22, 2016, that establishes BIS as the National Standards Body of India has been brought into force with effect from October 12.
The Act has enabling provisions for the Government to bring under compulsory certification regime any goods or article of any scheduled industry, process, system or service which it considers necessary in the public interest or for the protection of human, animal or plant health, safety of the environment, or prevention of unfair trade practices, or national security, an official press release said.
Enabling provisions have also been made for making hallmarking of the precious metal articles mandatory. The new Act also allows multiple types of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self-declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get a certificate of conformity, it said.
The Act enables the Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services to a standard and issue certificate of conformity. Further, there is provision for repair or recall, including product liability of the products bearing Standard Mark but not conforming to the relevant Indian Standard, the release said.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said yesterday that the new Act will further help in ease of doing business in the country, give a fillip to Make In India campaign and ensure availability of quality products and services to the consumers.

Exporters should take care of artisans’ welfare, says Irani

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani has urged the exporting fraternity to take care of the welfare of artisans who are the backbone of the sector. 
Speaking at the inauguration of IHGF - Delhi Fair Autumn 2017 here yesterday, the Minister said design and product development play a crucial role in value realisation and the benefit that the artisans and producers are able to reap from their products. 
IHGF, the world’s largest handicrafts and gifts fair, is being held at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida, from October 12 - 16.
Ms. Irani noted that handicraft exports had witnessed a year-on-year growth of 13.15% in 2016-17 and touched touched Rs 24,392 crore. She lauded the role of the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH).  She also appreciated the launch of schemes by EPCH under their CSR programme, for the education of children of artisans. 
The scheme provides full support to the education of children of artisans through open schools. While 75% of the expenditure will be borne by EPCH, member exporters have to bear the remaining 25%.
The Minister appreciated the introduction of “Design Register” scheme by EPCH, which allows hassle-free registration of designs by member exporters.  EPCH design services will definitely help the sector in a big way and will augment the exports of handicrafts from the country, ultimately increasing employment opportunities to artisans.
EPCH has an integrated programme of development of NER handicrafts and handlooms, under which support is provided for design, marketing and skill development, she noted.
For the first time for handicrafts sector, an initiative is being taken to promote Foreign Direct Investment and opportunities for joint ventures for both exporters and importers.  A symposium on “Investment Opportunities in Handicrafts Sector” is being organised. This initiative will give opportunities for overseas buyers to bring technical know-how, investment and marketing networks to form joint ventures for promoting Indian handicrafts in the world market, Ms Irani said.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, EPCH, OP Prahladka spoke of EPCH’s vision for the next five years on technology upgradation.  He said EPCH has just started the “Design and Product Development Technology Mission”. Prahladka also appreciated the support received from Ministry of Textiles and Ministry of Commerce for the smooth implementation of GST.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by a large number of overseas buyers. According to Executive Director, EPCH Rakesh Kumar, about 2,980 exhibitors of home, lifestyle, fashion, textiles and furniture are participating in the IHGF Delhi Fair.  Over 6,000 buyers from 110 countries are visiting the fair.  Mr Kumar said that special attractions of this fair include designers’ forum and recycled products.

RIL reports 12.5% growth in net profit to Rs. 8109 crore in Q2

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today reported a 12.5 percent growth in its consolidated net profit in the second quarter (Q2) of financial year 2017-18, ended September 30, to Rs. 8109 crore over Rs. 7,209 crore in the same quarter of the previous financial year.
Reporting its financial performance for the quarter, the company said its revenue had gone up by 23.9% to Rs. 101,169 crore.
On a standalone  basis, the company said its net profit had gone up by 7.3% to Rs. 8,265 crore and its revenue by 16.8% to Rs. 75,165 crore.
The company said it had achieved a gross refining margin (GRM) of $ 12/bbl for the quarter.
The company also announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, telecom services provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, had made a net loss of Rs. 270.59 crore in the quarter.
RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh D. Ambani said, “Our company reported another quarter of robust performance. I am delighted to share that this includes the financial performance of Reliance Jio which had a positive EBIT contribution in its first quarter of commercial operations."
"The results also reflect strong underlying fundamentals of our refining and petrochemicals businesses. Sustained demand growth coupled with supply disruptions further tightened demand-supply balances globally during the quarter. The benefits of optimizing our business through new projects are beginning to emerge. The structural strength in energy and materials business environment augurs well for our new capacities which are coming on-line this year," he said.
Mr. Ambani said the company's retail business had delivered broad based, sustainable and profitable growth through improved operational excellence.
"The world is transforming, turning digital and India is not going to be left behind. India is ready to go digital, move from voice to data and Jio is creating the foundation of data for the next generation business. The rapid uptake of Jio services reflects the latent need of the society. We are confident that Jio will bring significant benefits to the Indian economy and the Indian customers and will take India to a much higher pedestal. We are focussed on providing multi-layered digital services on top of the basic connectivity service to optimally utilise our world class infrastructure.
"The strong financial results of Jio demonstrates the robust business model of Jio and the significant efficiencies that the company has built through its investment in the latest 4G technology and right business strategy. As always, the group has demonstrated excellence in execution, vision and commercial acumen," he said.
A press release from RIL said the increase in its revenue was primarily on account of increase in prices and volumes in refining, petrochemicals and retail businesses.
"Further, the consolidated revenues reflect the commencement of commercial operations of RJIL’s Wireless Telecommunication Network during the quarter.
"Exports (including deemed exports) from India refining and petrochemical operations were higher by 10.2% at Rs. 41,560 crore ($ 6.4 billion) as against Rs. 37,717 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year due to higher volumes and product prices. Other expenditure increased by 35.8% to Rs.  12,323 crore ($ 1.9 billion) as against Rs. 9,073 crore in corresponding period of the previous year primarily due to network expenses and access charges pertaining to the digital services business post commencement of commercial operations.
"Operating profit before other income and depreciation increased by 39.4% to Rs. 15,565 crore ($ 2.4 billion) from Rs. 11,164 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. Strong operating performance was driven by the refining, petrochemicals, retail businesses and positive contribution from digital services starting from this quarter," it said.
The company said its outstanding debt as on 30th September 2017 was Rs. 214,145 crore ($ 32.8 billion) compared to Rs. 196,601 crore as on 31st March 2017. Cash and cash equivalents as on 30th September 2017 were at Rs. 77,014 crore ($ 11.8 billion) compared to Rs. 77,226 crore as on 31st March 2017. These were in bank deposits, mutual funds, CDs, Government Bonds and other marketable securities.
The capital expenditure for the quarter ended 30th September 2017 was Rs. 15,653 crore ($ 2.4 billion) including exchange rate difference capitalization. Capital expenditure was principally on account of ongoing projects in the petrochemicals and refining business at Jamnagar and digital services business.
Reporting its first quarterly financial performance, Reliance Jio said it had notched consolidated value of services of Rs. 7213 crore and consolidated EBIT of Rs. 261 crore. The standalone revenue from operations was Rs. 6,147 crore.
RJIL said its subscriber base as on September 30 was 138.6 million, with a net subscriber addition of 15.3 million during the quarter.

India's exports grow by 25.67% to $ 28.613 billion in September 2017

Continuing their uptrend for the 13th consecutive month, India's merchandise exports grew by 25.67 percent to $ 28.613 billion in September 2017 from $ 22.768 billion during the same month of the previous year, an official statement said here today.
In rupee terms, the exports went up by 21.35 percent to Rs. 184387.36 crore in September this year from Rs. 151950.74 crore during the corresponding month of 2016, it said.
The statement said that, during September 2017, all the top ten commodity groups of export exhibited positive growth over the corresponding month of last year, accounting for 82.14% of the total exports. 
These are Engineering Goods (44.24%), Gems and Jewellery (7.10%), Petroleum Products (39.69%), Organic & Inorganic Chemicals (46.06%), RMG of all Textiles (29.39%), Drugs & Pharmaceuticals (14.67%), Cotton Yarn/Fabs./made-ups, Handloom Products etc. (15.20%),Marine Products (32.73%), Rice (45.66%) and Electronic Goods (14.32%).
The cumulative value of exports for the period April-September 2017-18 was $ 147.188 billion (Rs 947532.73 crore) as against $ 131.984 billion (Rs 883370.86 crore), registering a growth of 11.52% in dollar terms and 7.26% in rupee terms over the same period last year.
According to the statement, non-petroleum and non-gems & jewellery exports in September 2017 were valued at $ 20.238 billion against $ 15.731 billion in September 2016, an increase of 28.65%. Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports during April -September 2017-18 were valued at $ 107.676 billion as compared to $ 95.354 billlion for the corresponding period in 2016-17, an increase of 12.92%.
Imports during September 2017 were valued at $ 37.598 billion (Rs 242282.96 crore) which was 18.09% higher in dollar terms and 14.02% higher in rupee terms over the level of imports valued at $ 31.839 billion (Rs. 212486.28 crore) in September, 2016. 
The cumulative value of imports for the period April-September 2017-18 was $ 219.317 billion (Rs. 1411872.70 crore) as against $ 175.34 billion (Rs. 1173664.70 crore), up 25.08% in dollar terms and 20.30% in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Major commodity groups of imports showing high growth in September 2017 over the corresponding month of last year are Petroleum, Crude & products (18.47 %), Electronic goods (40.90 %), Pearls, precious & Semi-precious stones (56.91%), Machinery electrical & non-electrical (16.36%) and Coal, Coke & Briquettes (48.00%).
Oil imports during September 2017 were valued at $ 8.188 billion which was 18.47% higher than oil imports valued at $ 6.911 billion in September 2016. Oil imports during April-September 2017-18 were valued at $ 46.965 billion which was 18.82% higher than oil imports of $ 39.527 billion in the corresponding period last year.
The statement noted that the global Brent prices ($/bbl) have increased by 19.42% in September 2017 vis-à-vis September 2016 as per World Bank commodity price data.
Non-oil imports during September 2017 were estimated at $ 29.409 billion, which was 17.98% per cent higher than non-oil imports of $ 24.928 billion in September, 2016. Non-oil imports during April-September 2017-18 were valued at $ 172.352 billion which was 26.90%  higher than the level of such imports valued at $ 135.812 billion in April-September 2016-17.
As far as trade in services was concerned, the statement said exports during August 2017, the latest month for which data is available from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), were valued at $ 13.701 billion (Rs. 87643.08 crore), registering a growth of 3.97% in dollar terms as compared to a decline of 1.57% during July 2017.
Imports of services during August 2017 were valued at $ 8.658 billion (Rs. 55383.83 crore) registering a growth of 18.05% in dollar terms as compared to negative growth of 1.65% during July 2017.
In the case of merchandise, the trade deficit for September 2017 was estimated at $ 8.984 billion which was 0.95% lower as against the deficit of $ 9.071 billion during September 2016. The trade balance in services for August 2017 was estimated at $ 5.043 billion.
Taking merchandise and services together, the overall trade deficit for April-September 2017-18 is estimated at $ 43.814 billion as compared to $ 16.467 billion during April-September 2016-17, the statement added.

India’s forex reserves dip by $ 862.2 million to $ 398.794 billion

Maintaining a downward trend for the third consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 862.2 million to $ 398.794 billion during the week ended October 6, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
The country’s forex reserves had fallen by $ 2.59 billion to $ 399.656 billion during the previous week. 
With the latest figures, the foreign exchange reserves have gone down by $ 3.714 billion in the last three weeks after touching an all-time high of $ 4012.509 billion during the week ended September 15.
In its weekly statistical supplement today, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the forex reserves, had fallen by $ 1.391 billion to $ 373.795 billion during the week.
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves went up by $ 548.6 million to $ 21.240 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDRs) went down by $ 7.9 million to $ 1.494 billion.
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreased by $ 11.9 million to $ 2.264 billion during the week, the bulletin added.

Global crude oil price of Indian basket rises to $ 55.08/bbl

The international crude oil price of the Indian basket, as computed and published today by the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, rose to $ 55.08 per barrel (bbl) on October 12 from $ 55.07 per bbl on the previous day.
In rupee terms, the price of the Indian basket decreased to Rs. 3585.78 per bbl on 12.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 3594.65 per bbl on 11.10.2017, an official press release said.
The rupee closed stronger at Rs. 65.10 per US$ on 12.10.2017 as compared to Rs. 65.27 per US$ on 11.10.2017, it added.

Inland Waterways Authority of India raises Rs. 660 crore through bonds

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has raised Rs. 660 crore as “GOI Fully Serviced Bonds” and the proceeds will be utilized exclusively for capital expenditure for development of National Waterways (NWs) under National Waterway Act, 2016 during 2017-18.
The resources raised by way of bonds are in addition to the budgetary support from the Government of India (GOI), an official press release said.
The Government had taken a decision to enable IWAI to raise Rs 660 crore through GOI Fully Serviced Bonds in 2017-18.
The IWAI had engaged arrangers, credit rating agencies, registrars and trustees prior to raising the Bonds. Both CRISIL and CARE rated the proposed instrument of IWAI as “AAA: STABLE”. The e-bidding for raising the bonds was organized on 11th October, 2017 on the BSE Portal with an issue size of Rs. 300 crore and a green shoe option of Rs. 360 crore. 
The issue was oversubscribed and the entire amount of Rs.660 crore has been raised in single tranche at a coupon rate of 7.47 percent, the release said.
The principal and interest in respect of the EBRs worth Rs.660 crore shall be financed by the Government of India by making suitable budgetary provisions in the Demand for Grants of the Ministry of Shipping to meet the bond servicing requirements as and when the need arises. The interest payment will be on semi-annual basis and the principal on maturity, it added.

MPEDA discusses ways of boosting exports with Gujarat’s seafood industry stakeholders

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, organized a first-of-its-kind interaction with stakeholders from the seafood sector in Gujarat in Somnath on Thursday as part of its efforts to increase the share of value added products in marine exports from 17 percent to 30 percent.
Gujarat state government officials, aquaculture farmers, exporters and hatchery owners were among those who participated in the meeting, a press release from MPEDA said.
As many as 20 aquaculture farmers participated in the event, which also offered a platform for them to establish direct linkages with exporters.
MPEDA Chairman A Jayathilak said that such meetings would benefit farmers directly and keep intermediaries out of the scene.
“Seafood export in 2016-17 reached a record 5.8 billion US dollars. The trends in the ongoing financial year are just as encouraging, with a projected increase of 10 per cent to 12 per cent,” Dr. Jayathilak told the meeting.
MPEDA has formed 600 farmer clusters across the country under the National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA).
“These clusters are completely under the guidance of MPEDA and they will help us to export quality marine products. Moreover, the set-up is such that it provides 100 per cent traceability to quality issues in the farms. Such initiatives will help give a major fillip to the export of quality seafood,” Dr. Jayathilak added. 
Observing the prospects of the seafood export industry, Dr. Ajay Kumar, District Collector, Veraval said the district administration would extend every kind of support possible to enhance the sea food trade from the state.
Mr  Piyushbhai Fofandi of All India Sea Food Exporters Association also spoke during the event.
The formal meeting was followed by buyer-seller interactions, the release added.

Leasing of vehicles purchased and leased prior to 1st July, 2017 to attact GST @65% of applicable rate

The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council, at its 22nd meeting held here on October 6, decided that leasing of vehicles purchased and leased prior to July 1, 2017 would attract GST at a rate equal to 65% of the applicable GST rate (including Compensation Cess).
This has been done to provide relief to old/existing leases of motor vehicles, an official press release said.
Such vehicles when sold shall attract GST of 65% of the applicable GST rate (including Compensation Cess), it said.
Sale of vehicles by a registered person who had procured the vehicle prior to 1st July, 2017 and has not availed any Input Tax Credits of Central Excise duty, VAT or any other taxes paid on such motor vehicles, would also be subject to 65% of applicable GST rate (including Compensation Cess).
These rates would apply for a period of three years with effect from 1st July, 2017.
Notifications to give effect to the above would be issued shortly, the release added.

Tata, Bharti to combine Consumer Telecom Business

Telecom services provider Bharti Airtel Limited and Tata, India's leading conglomerate, today announced that they have entered into an understanding to merge the Consumer Mobile Businesses (CMB) of Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited (TTML) into Bharti Airtel.
The merger is being done on a debt-free cash-free basis, except for Bharti Airtel assuming a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata’s towards the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which is to be paid on deferred basis, a press release from the two groups said. All past liabilities and dues will be settled by Tata, it said.
The acquisition is subject to requisite regulatory approvals. Bharti Board which met this afternoon has approved this transaction. The Boards of Tata Sons, TTSL and TTML have approved this transaction, it said.
The release said that, as part of the agreement, Bharti Airtel will absorb Tata CMB’s operations across the country in 19 circles (17 under TTSL and 2 under TTML).  "These circles represent bulk of India’s population and customer base," it said.
"The proposed merger will include transfer of all the customers and assets of Tata CMB to Bharti Airtel, further augmenting Bharti Airtel’s overall customer base and network. It will also enable Bharti Airtel to further bolster its strong spectrum foot-print with the addition of 178.5 MHz spectrum (of which 71.3 MHz is liberalised) in the 850, 1800 & 2100 MHz bands. 
"Bharti Airtel will ensure quality services to Tata CMB’s customers, while offering them the added benefits of its innovative product portfolio, access to superior voice & data services, mobile banking, VAS and domestic/ international roaming facilities. Tata CMB’s operations and services will continue as normal until the completion of the transaction," the release said.
According to it, Tata and Bharti Airtel will work together to further explore other mutual areas of cooperation, that will be value accretive for both the groups.
The transaction will also provide Bharti Airtel with an indefeasible right to use (IRU) for part of the existing fibre network of Tata.
"The employees of Tata will be demerged on the lines of the two businesses i.e. CMB and EFL (Enterprise and Fixed Line and Broadband), and post an optimal manpower planning will be moved accordingly," the release said.
"Tata is also in initial stages of exploring combination of its Enterprise Business with Tata Communications and its Retail Fixed Line and Broadband business with Tata Sky. Any such transaction will be subject to respective boards and other requisite approvals. Tata will retain its stake in Viom, and will take care of the liabilities associated with it," it said.
Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, said, “This is a significant development towards further consolidation in the Indian mobile industry and reinforces our commitment to lead India’s digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust technology and solid spectrum portfolio. On completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration, both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position in several key circles. The customers of Tata will be able to enjoy India’s widest and fastest voice & data network, and bouquet of Airtel’s best-in-class products and services.”
“The acquisition of additional spectrum made an attractive business proposition. It will further strengthen our already solid portfolio and create substantial long term value for our shareholders given the significant synergies," he said.
Mr. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said, “We believe today's agreement is the best and most optimal solution for the Tata Group and its stakeholders. Finding the right home for our longstanding customers and our employees has been the priority for us. We have evaluated multiple options and are pleased to have this agreement with Bharti.”
Goldman Sachs (India) Securities Private Limited is financial advisor to Tata, the release added.
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