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Business & Economy

PM discusses economic situation with industrialists

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that, given the ample liquidity and low inflation, there was scope for banks to further moderate interest rates.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that, given the ample liquidity and low inflation, there was scope for banks to further moderate interest rates.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the meeting with the Captains of Industry. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group and Sunil Mittal, of Bharti Airtel can also be seen.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the meeting with the Captains of Industry. The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group and Sunil Mittal, of Bharti Airtel can also be seen.

"Domestic credit flow for productive needs has to be definitely maintained at reasonable cost," he said at a meeting at his 7, Race Course Road residence with captains of industry to discuss short- and medium-term steps needed to tackle the effects of the global economic crisis.

The meeting took place just days ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to London to attend the G-20 Summit that will discuss an action plan to cope with the crisis.

Dr Singh said India was in a situation where, on the one hand, it was decidedly better placed than most countries in the world and, on the other, there seemed to be uncertainty on how developments abroad, positive and negative, would affect the country.

"To tackle a regime of low inflation and demand uncertainties across sub-sectors of the real economy, to ensure that the financial sector remains healthy and supportive, to husband foreign exchange reserves responsibly, to sustain a high level of expenditure bearing in mind the need for fiscal discipline, and to act continuously to improve general sentiment are challenges that we confront as a nation," he said.

He said the government and industry needed to be particularly sensitive to the impact of the slowdown on the weakest in the organized as well as the unorganized sectors.

"We must meet the challenge of job losses caused by the slowdown. These are challenges which can be understood and met only if all the stake-holders concerned continuously exchange ideas and support each other with confidence in the future, and concern for the well being of all.

"I have great faith and confidence in India’s entrepreneurs and particularly in the wisdom and experience of captains of industry assembled here today to meet the challenges confronting our economy," he said.

Dr Singh said the world today looked at India with respect and hope: respect for its calibrated reforms which have resulted in growth with justice, and hope that India would be an engine of global growth for the world economy.

"I am confident that we will all work together to fulfil these expectations, and secure the growth essential for our people," he said.

Dr Singh had held a similar meeting with the industrialists in the first week of November last year. He recalled that, at that point, India had also started experiencing the first shock waves of export demand attrition and constriction of capital inflows.

"Besides, the Indian financial sector was facing a liquidity shortage. Overall sentiment had also been dampened by the impact of the crisis on global and domestic capital markets and the consequent attrition of the savings of many individuals and corporates," he said.

He said that meeting had come up with many suggestions relating to the need to maintain adequate liquidity, problems of credit flow and credit cost on the domestic and foreign fronts, special issues of certain stressed sectors, possible fiscal and other measures, and steps to ensure that domestic industry is not adversely affected by the dumping of products by other countries.

After that meeting, the Prime Minister had constituted an Apex Group under his chairmanship to monitor the developments in the economy and take the necessary measures.

Since then, the Government and the RBI have, from time to time, come out with measures which were considered necessary and possible he said.

The RBI has steadily adjusted the policy rates downwards and has announced a number of steps in support of medium and small enterprises, non-banking financial companies, and the housing and export sectors.

Guidelines have also been issued for restructuring of loans, increasing the rates on non-resident deposits and relaxing the criteria for external commercial borrowings.

The Government has announced two stimulus packages, one in December 2008 and the other in January 2009. In these packages, and in subsequent announcements in the Interim Budget, a number of measures have been taken to provide relief to exporters; CENVAT, service tax, and duty concessions to industry; and support to infrastructure projects, and to increase Government expenditure despite an elevated level of fiscal deficit.

The Government has also been in touch with banks and has been monitoring the sectoral credit flows, especially by the public sector banks. The Cabinet Secretary has been interacting with the Chief Secretaries of States, as almost the entire additional budgeted amounts have been released to the States and their role in ensuring expenditures on ground is now crucial.

Dr Singh said that while it needed to be borne in mind that the time taken for these steps to take effect would vary across measures and sectors, there were signs of improvement in sectors like steel and cement. The auto sector after a difficult patch seems to be showing signs of recovery. Food grain production for 2008-09 is likely to be in excess of 228 million tonnes. The rural demand for goods and services appears quite robust and the outlook in the agricultural sector gives room for optimism, he said.

At the same time, he said, the government was aware of the problems that persist in certain sectors and sub-sectors, particularly where export dependence is high.

"We are monitoring these sectors. We are aware that a big push to infrastructure would have a counter-cyclical influence and have taken steps to ensure that this happens in 2009-10 and beyond," he said.

On the credit front, the figures of the Reserve Bank of India at the end of February 2009 indicate that while the credit growth of public sector banks on a year-on-year basis this year has been 23 per cent against 21.9 per cent of the corresponding period of 2007-08, the credit growth of private banks and foreign banks has been of the order of one-third to one-fourth of what it was a year ago, he said.

While public sector banks have reduced the prime lending rates in the last three months between 150 and 200 basis points, other Scheduled Commercial Banks are yet to respond in equal measure, calling for a further moderation in interest rates amnd maintenance of the flow of domestic credit flow for productive needs.

ASSOCHAM President Sajjan Jindal, who was among those who attended the meeting, said the Prime Minister should raise the issue of growing protectionism, surfacing in economies of scale, at the G-20 Summit, emphasising that such tendencies could hamper the spirit of globalisation.

If these tendencies were not curbed, they could  be counterproductive in the long run and, therefore, needed to be arrested before gaining ground to boost demand in the economy, he said.

He also suggested that India should call for joint negotiations with the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to fix a price band for oil to arrest speculation in oil prices.

Referring to Dr Singh's scheduled April 2 meeting with US President Barack Obama, Mr Jindal hoped the Prime Minister would urge him to lift restrictions on issuance of H1-B visa to Indians.

INT

Post-2014, India 'richer' by 601 new billionaires, Mukesh Ambani on top

 File photo of Reliance Industries Limited Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani
File photo of Reliance Industries Limited Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani
India added a whopping 601 new billionaires since 2014, with Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani topping the 'Barclays Hurun India Rich List-2018' for the seventh consecutive year with an estimated wealth of Rs 371,000 crore.
 
As per the report, in 2014, there were 230 billionaires or multi-billionaires, which shot up to 831 in the 2018 in the BHI Rich List.
 
Earlier, in 2012, the figure was a modest 59 billionaires, which climbed to 141 in 2013. But after notching 230 billionaires in 2014, the list has grown phenomenally with 296 (2015), 339 (2016), 617 (2017) and now 831 billionaires in 2018.
 
Similarly, the number of USD billionaires in India in the past seven years at the prevailing exchange rates has shot up from 59 (2012) to 141 (2018) as the USD's value grew from INR 55.60 to INR 68.40 during the period.
 
Among women, there was only one self-made billionaire in 2013, which increased to 11 in 2018. Women multi-billionaires shot up from just five in 2013 to 136 this year.
 
The cumulative wealth of these 831 individuals featured in the latest list stands at USD 719 billion, or one-quarter of the Indian GDP of USD 2,848 billion as per the IMF's April 2018 estimates.
 
After Ambani, next comes S.P. Hinduja and family of Hinduja Group with estimated wealth of Rs 159,000 crore, Arcelor-Mittal's L.N. Mittal and family at Rs 114,500 crore in the top bracket.
 
Following them are: Wipro's Azim Premji at Rs 96,100 crore, Sun Pharmaceuticals Ltd's Dilip Shanghvi at Rs 89,700 crore, Kotak Mahindra Bank's Uday Kotak at Rs 78,600 crore, Serum Institute of India's Cyrus Poonawalla at Rs 73,000 crore, Adani Group's Gautam Adani and family at Rs 71,200 crore, Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry's Cyrus P. Mistry at Rs 69,400 crore,
 
Five of the Top 10 belong to Maharashtra, one each from Gujarat and Karnataka, two are London-based and one is in Monaco, as per the rich list.
 
As expected, the country's commercial capital Mumbai tops the billionaires' list with 233 names, followed by New Delhi at 163 and IT capital Bengaluru at 70, said Barclays Private Clients CEO S.N. Bansal.
 
The annual list is a compilation of the super-richest Indians having a net worth of Rs 1,000 crore or more. This number has increased by a staggering one-third - from 617 in 2017 to 831 in 2018, said Hurun Report India's Managing Director Rahman Junaid.
 
While 306 new entrants made it to the list this year, 75 of those featured in 2017 failed to find a place in the super exclusive club this year.
 
"The Indian edition of the list is the fastest growing rich list in the world, highlighting the optimism of a young, vibrant and ambitious country," Junaid pointed out.
 
As far as top wealthy business clans are concerned, more than 50 percent of the businesses listed in the 2018 rich list belong to just 10 Indian families - Ambani, Godrej, Hinduja, Mistry, Shanghvi, Nadar, Adani, Damani, Lohia and Burman.
 
Four of these family-run businesses are in the first-generation and second generation, one is in third generation and one in fifth generation of operations.
 
"Wealth creation in India is growing at an unprecedented pace, and the time it takes to accumulate wealth is shorter than before," said Bansal at the report launch.
 
IANS
 

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Prabhu in Bangladesh on three-day visit

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Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu arrived here yesterday on a three-day visit to Bangladesh.
 
Mr Prabhu will hold discussions on Bangladesh-India trade relations with his counterpart Tofail Ahmed. He will also meet business leaders in Dhaka.
 
Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has grown steadily over the last decade. In the five years for the period between FY 2012-13 and FY 2016-17, total trade between the two countries has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.45%, an official press release said.
 
Bilateral trade stood at USD 7.52 billion in 2016-17. India’s exports to Bangladesh for the financial year 2016-17 stood at USD 6.82 billion and imports from Bangladesh during FY 2016-17 stood at USD 0.7 billion.
 
For 2017-18 (April-December), India's exports to Bangladesh was USD 5862.73 million and import figures stood at USD 463.34 million.
 
Earlier today, the Minister visited the Liberation War Museum in Banglabazar, Bhola, which commemorates the Bangladesh Liberation War that led to the independence of Bangladesh.
 
He also visited an old age home in Bhola. The Minister was given a civic reception in the Fatema Khatun Degree College in Bhola.
 
While speaking on this occasion, he referred to the close ties between India and Bangladesh and the commonalities in culture and also on the growing opportunities in bilateral trade and investments.
 
The Minister said India and Bangladesh have recently partnered in the construction of cross-border oil pipeline and new rail projects.
 
During his stay in the Bangladesh capital, Mr Prabhu will also meet Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism AKM Shahjahan Kamal and Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader. 
 
He will also call on President Abdul Hamid.
 
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Bargain buying halts equity market's 5-day losing streak, Sensex up 350 points

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After shuttling between the red and the green through the day, the key Indian equity indices finally ended their five-day losing streak and closed nearly one per cent higher on Tuesday as investors took to bargain buying.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex ended nearly 350 points higher and the NSE Nifty50 was able to regain the 11,000-mark.
 
Although the session was largely volatile, buying picked up in the last hour of trade, which helped the indices close on a positive note.
 
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange provisionally closed at 11,067.45 points, higher 100.05 points or 0.91 per cent from its previous close.
 
The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 36,350.25 points, closed at 36,652.06 points, up 347.04 points or 0.96 per cent from its previous close of 36,305.02 points.
 
It touched an intra-day high of 36,705.79 points and a low of 36,064.10 points.
 
"Benchmark indices opened the day lower and oscillated around the flat line through the day to finally close with gains of over one per cent," said Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager for Equities at BNP Paribas Mutual Fund. 
 
"Global sentiment was muted as well as investors turned cautious, after the latest round of US-China tariffs revived fears that the trade dispute would negatively impact global growth, while crude oil (prices) rose to near four-year highs after Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out immediate production increases," he said.
 
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Brent crude oil is currently around $82 per barrel.
 
HSFC Securities' Head of Retail Research, Deepak Jasani, said Nifty had opened on a negative note, but buying soon resumed as bargain hunting emerged and pushed the index higher. 
 
On the currency front, the Indian rupee closed at 72.69 per US dollar, weaker six paise from its previous close of 72.63 per greenback.
 
Investment-wise, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 1,231.70 crore and domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 2,284.26 crore.
 
The top Sensex gainers were: Axis Bank, up 2.96 per cent at Rs 615.25; HDFC, up 2.95 per cent at Rs 1,771.75; Kotak Mahindra Bank, up 2.88 per cent at Rs 1,182.50; Hindustan Unilever, up 2.72 per cent at Rs 1,634.30; and Maruti Suzuki, up 2.66 per cent at Rs 8,003.30 per share. 
 
On the other hand, major Sensex losers were: Power Grid, down 3.07 per cent at Rs 192.35; Yes Bank, down 2.83 per cent at Rs 219.85; Coal India, down 2.22 per cent at Rs 275.20; Adani Ports, down 2.04 per cent at Rs 338.70 and Tata Steel, down 1.10 per cent at Rs 599.95 per share. 
 
IANS
 

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Indian economy to grow at 8%: Jaitley

Arun Jaitley (File photo: IANS)
Arun Jaitley (File photo: IANS)
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the new insolvency law, indirect tax regime and demonetization will help drive India's growth rate and sustain it at 8 per cent.
 
He added that there was a need to trust the banking system for meeting the needs of the economy and asked banks to, in turn, ensure clean lending to justify the trust reposed in them.
 
"Banks must strive to be seen always as institutions of clean and prudent lending," he said at the annual review meeting of the public sector banks here.
 
Jaitley said the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), Goods and Services Tax (GST), demonetization and digital payments had enabled better assessment of financial capacity and risks which, coupled with inclusive growth, had unlocked the purchasing power which would drive India's growth.
 
He said this should help India sustain a growth rate of around 8 per cent, an official statement said. 
 
"A growing economy will also help banks grow in strength," he said.
 
Jaitley underscored the need to have trust and confidence in the banking system as a necessary precondition for meeting the needs of the economy. 
 
"With the recent amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, there now need not be any apprehension in the minds of bankers in supporting investments that are in the best interests of the economy, the nation and the banks," he said.
 
He noted that the perception regarding the health of PSBs had become more positive as banks had posted positive results in terms of resolution, recovery, provisioning and credit growth.
 
At the same time, he exhorted the banks to ensure all steps at their end to ensure clean lending and effective action in cases of fraud and wilful default, the Finance Ministry statement said.
 
Noting the positive results from the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code mechanism, Jaitley flagged the need to assess and revisit the efficacy of the Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) mechanism, particularly in view of the long time taken in disposal of cases. 
 
IANS

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Last-hour buying lifts equity indices 1% higher, Nifty regains 11,000 mark

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After criss-crossing between the red and the green throughout the day, the key Indian equity indices closed nearly one per cent higher on Tuesday.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex ended nearly 350 points higher, and the NSE Nifty50 was able to regain the 11,000 mark.
 
Healthy buying activity was witnessed in banking, auto and healthcare stocks, analysts said.
 
Although the session was largely volatile, buying picked up in the last hour of trade, which helped the indices close on a positive note.
 
At 3.30 p.m., the Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange provisionally closed at 11,067.45 points, higher by 100.05 points or 0.91 per cent from its previous close.
 
The BSE Sensex which had opened at 36,350.25 points, closed at 36,652.06 points, up 347.04 points or 0.96 per cent from its previous close of 36,305.02 points.
 
It touched an intra-day high of 36,705.79 points and a low of 36,064.10 points.
 
IANS
 

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ADB to provide $ 500 m for urban water and sanitation services in Tamil Nadu

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The Board of Directors of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved financing of up to $500 million for a multitranche financing facility (MFF) that will develop climate-resilient water supply, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure in at least 10 cities in Tamil Nadu.
 
“With almost half of the state population living in cities, Tamil Nadu is the most urbanized of India’s large states,” said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist Ron Slangen. 
 
“Managing this rapid urbanization is essential for sustaining its economic growth and alleviating poverty. The state suffers from recurring droughts and erratic monsoons linked to climate change resulting in severe water scarcity and urban flooding. ADB’s support will help address these complex urban challenges through innovative and climate-resilient investment and deeper institutional support," he said.
 
An ADB press release said that while Tamil Nadu is a more advanced state in India accounting for the second largest contribution to the country's economy, the rapid influx of people to urban areas is putting severe pressure on infrastructure services and threatening the livability and competitiveness of cities. 
 
"Urban service levels remain low, with less than half of households served by piped water, and nearly a third of supplied water lost through aging distribution networks resulting in an intermittent supply of 2 hours per day. Only 42% of households are covered by a sewerage network, with 43% of sewage disposed directly into waterways untreated.
 
"The ADB program will provide direct assistance in these areas as part of its support to the state’s Vision Tamil Nadu 2023 to provide universal access to water and sanitation and to develop world-class cities in high-performing industrial corridors," it said.
 
The release said ADB’s financing will be provided in three tranches between now and March 2022.
 
"It will develop climate-resilient sewerage collection and treatment and drainage systems in 10 cities, and install the country’s first solar-powered sewage treatment plant on a pilot basis. The program will introduce smart water management systems to reduce non-revenue water and strengthen operational efficiency. Around 4 million people will benefit from piped water and sewerage connections and improved drainage. Beyond physical investments, the program will boost institutional capacity, public awareness, and urban governance as part of a comprehensive approach for developing livable cities," the release said.
 
The first tranche of the program amounting to $169 million will target the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Rajapalayam, Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli, and Vellore. 
 
A $2 million grant from the Asian Clean Energy Fund, established by the Government of Japan, will fund the solar energy pilot project. The Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board, and various urban local bodies will provide $766.4 million toward the total program cost. An ADB technical assistance grant of $1 million will accompany the program to support capacity building. The MFF availability period is up to June 30, 2026.
 
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Amid volatility, equity indices trade flat

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The key Indian equity indices traded on a flat note during the afternoon session on Tuesday amidst a largely volatile trade.
 
Healthy buying was witnessed in healthcare and IT stocks while oil and gas and metal stocks were under selling pressure. 
 
At 1.23 p.m., the NSE Nifty50 traded at 10,966 points, lower just by 1.40 points or 0.01 per cent from the previous close. 
 
The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 36,350.25 points, traded at 36,349.87 points, higher by 44.85 points or 0.12 per cent from the previous close of 36,305.02 points.
 
So far, it has touched an intra-day high of 36,586.38 points and a low of 36,064.10 points.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Key Indian equity indices open in red

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The key Indian equity indices opened on a negative note on Tuesday, owing to a weak rupee and rising crude oil prices.
 
At 9.30 a.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange traded at 10,918.85 points, lower by 48.55 points or 0.44 per cent from its previous close. 
 
The BSE Sensex which had opened at 36,350.25 points, traded at 36,183.86 points, lower by 121.16 points or 0.33 per cent from its previous close of 36,305.02 points.
 
So far, it has touched an intra-day high of 36,454.03 points and a low 36,180.16 points. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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NBFCs' default risk, high oil prices pull indices into red

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Fears of major repayment defaults in the non-banking financial sector, along with rising crude oil prices and broadly negative global markets on trade protectionist measures, dragged the key Indian equity indices deep into the red on Monday.
 
Accordingly, the wider NSE Nifty50 closed below the 11,000 points-mark, down 175.70 points or 1.58 per cent at 10,967.40 points, from its previous close of 11,143.10 points.
 
Similarly, the S&P BSE Sensex closed in the red. It opened at 36,924.72 points, closed at 36,305.02 points, lower by 536.58 points or 1.46 per cent from the previous close of 36,841.60 points.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex touched a high of 36,945.50 points and a low of 36,216.95 points during the day's trade.
 
"The weakness came on the back of weak global cues following renewed uncertainty over US-China trade relations," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
 
"Major Asian markets have closed on a negative note, barring the Straits Times index. European indices like FTSE 100, DAX and CAC 40 are trading in the red." 
 
According to Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services: "This turmoil which was triggered last week by housing and NBFC's continued to trouble the market as panic spread. In spite of assuring statements by key government and institutional leaders, market was concerned about the near-term headwinds like quality & increased cost of funds along with tighter liquidity."
 
"At the same time consolidation in Emerging Markets, continued increase in oil prices and high valuation further aggravated the anxiety."
 
Sector-wise, an upward trend was seen in IT and TECK (technology, entertainment and media) stocks along with slight gains in energy scrip, despite an all round sell-off led by auto, banking and finance counters.
 
The auto index was down 872.16 points, banking 679.92 points and finance lost 197.30 points during the days trade. Finance stocks hold the most weightage among all the sectors.
 
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"Broad market indices like the BSE Mid Cap and Small Cap indices lost more,thereby under-performing the main indices. Market breadth was negative on the BSE/NSE." Jasani said.
 
On the currency front, the Indian rupee closed at 72.63 per US dollar, declining 43 paise from its previous close of 72.20 per greenback.
 
Investment-wise, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 523.94 crore and domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 1,527.67 crore.
 
In a major stock-wise development, share price of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) touched a record high of Rs 2,214.15 on the back of a weak rupee.
 
Shares of TCS closed at Rs 2,198.70 per share, higher by Rs 94.90 or 4.51 per cent from its previous close.
 
The other major Sensex gainers were: Coal India, up 2.10 per cent at Rs 281.45; Infosys, up 1.56 per cent at Rs 717.30; Reliance Industries, up 1.27 per cent at Rs 1,232.30; and NTPC, up 0.57 per cent at Rs 168.30 per share. 
 
On the other hand, Sensex losers were: Mahindra and Mahindra, down 6.46 per cent at Rs 895.40; HDFC, down 6.22 per cent at Rs 1,721.05; IndusInd Bank down 4.94 per cent at Rs 1,674.65; Adani Ports, down 4.49 per cent at Rs 345.75 and Bharti Airtel, down 4 at Rs 357.50 per share. 
 
IANS
 

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Congress moves CVC over Rafale, wants FIR

Intensifying its battle against the Modi government over the Rafale deal, the Congress on Monday moved the Central Vigilance Commission seeking a probe and FIR as well as seizure of relevant documents pertaining to the deal which it claimed caused loss to the exchequer.

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Intensifying its battle against the Modi government over the Rafale deal, the Congress on Monday moved the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) seeking a probe and FIR as well as seizure of relevant documents pertaining to the deal which it claimed caused loss to the exchequer.
 
An 11-member delegation led by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, met CVC K. V. Chowdary and submitted a memorandum asserting that the deal announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at an "escalated price of about 300 per cent" and done in violation of the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP). 
 
The move to the CVC follows the Congress approaching the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for a special and forensic audit. It also comes amidst an intense political dogfight between the Congress and the BJP-led government over the deal. 
 
"This is the biggest defence scam of the century and we have asked the CVC to take cognisance and register a first information report against those guilty," Congress leader Anand Sharma said after the meeting the CVC. 
 
"It is the duty of the CVC to seize all the relevant documents," he said, expressing apprehension that they may be destroyed. 
 
The party also quoted revelations by former French President Francois Hollande in the memorandum, saying he has "exposed the web of corruption".
 
"Neither the French government nor the Indian government including Defence Ministry and Prime Minister have contradicted the truth of Hollande's assertions," the Congress said, citing Hollande's interview to a French website saying that India "proposed Reliance Defence for the offset contract and the French government didn't have a choice but to accept it.
 
"In fact, the current French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, has admitted the fact that PM Modi had asked Hollande to give Rs 30,000 crore to Reliance by calling it an ‘observation' in an interview to Radio J of France," the party said annexing a copy of the news clipping in the memorandum. 
 
"Tracks of corruption are getting unravelled by the day with repeated disclosures getting no answers from the Defence Ministry of the day. 
 
"The stench of corruption and cronyism in the Rafale deal is nauseating, requiring urgent intervention by your good self," the party said in the memorandum to the CVC. 
 
It blamed the Modi government for causing a loss to the public exchequer of Rs 41,205 crore.
 
It said the "deliberate enrichment" of a private entity at the cost of defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for off set contracts worth Rs 30,000 crore and life cycle contract worth Rs 100,000 crore was "stark crony capitalism" that needed to be investigated. 
 
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The party sought a probe by the CVC claiming the "nearly 300 per cent cost increase in the price of Rafale aircraft smacked of causing loss to public exchequer in a malicious manner".
 
The party also mentioned former Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) chief T. S. Raju's claims of the undertaking having signed a work-share contract with Dassault (manufacturer of Rafale jets) and endorsed his demand for making public the files of the agreement.
 
The Congress also targeted Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for not disclosing the purchase price of the 36 aircraft citing confidentiality.
 
"Their disclosure is even more intriguing when both Dassault and Reliance have disclosed the price in the Annual Report, 2016, and the press release dated February 16, 2017," it said. 
 
"The entire story weaved by Modi and Sitharaman for non-disclosure of purchase price reeks of a huge scam," the party said, adding that the "shoddy cover-up, the self-defeating assertions and the deliberate lies have exposed the scam which needs to be investigated.
 
"The government is bound to disclose the price of 36 aircraft to scrutiny by CVC, in light of the serious allegations of corruption and loss of money to public exchequer," the Congress said, urging Chowdary to examine the records threadbare.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex ends 536 points lower, Nifty below 11,000-mark

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Slump in the financial stocks along with a weak rupee and high crude oil prices dragged the S&P BSE Sensex down 536 points on Monday and the NSE Nifty50 lost nearly 170 points to close below 11,000-mark -- slipping into the red for the fifth consecutive session.
 
On the other hand, the rupee weakened during the day to trade around 72.59 (4.15 p.m) per US dollar against the previous close of 72.20 per greenback. 
 
With all the major sectors contributing to the sell-off, top sectoral losers were banking, auto and finance.
 
At 3.30 p.m, the wider NSE Nifty50 provisionally closed at 10,974.90 points, lower 168.20 points or 1.51 per cent from the previous close of 11,143.10 points.
 
The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 36,924.72 points, provisionally closed at 36,305.02 points, lower 536.58 points or 1.46 per cent from the Friday's close of 36,841.60 points.
 
The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 36,945.50 points and a low of 36,216.95 points.
 
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Sell-off in finance stocks pull Sensex, Nifty 1% lower

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The key Indian equity indices traded in the red on Monday afternoon, with the S&P BSE Sensex losing over 400 points and the Nifty down 140 points.
 
The sell-off was led by the banking and finance stocks, analysts said. Almost all other major sectoral indices traded lower so far in the day.
 
At 1.02 p.m., the NSE Nifty50 traded at 11,009.45 points, lower by 133.65 points or 1.20 per cent from the previous close. 
 
The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 36,924.72 points, traded at 36,395.62 points, lower by 445.98 points or 1.21 per cent from the previous close of 36,841.60 points.
 
So far, it has touched an intra-day high of 36,945.50 points and a low of 36,239.57 points.
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, ONGC, Coal India, and NTPC, while the major losers were Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, HDFC, Bharti Airtel and IndusInd Bank.
 
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L&T Technology Services wins $ 40 million Engineering Content Management deal in Europe

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L&T Technology Services Limited, a pure-play engineering services company, today said it had won a multi-year deal to provide digital content management services to a leading technology company’s industrial products segment.
 
The deal is expected to run for a period of five years with an aggregate revenue potential of $ 40 million, covering Engineering Content Management (ECM) programs in the US and European regions.
 
"LTTS will leverage centers in Europe, US and India while assuming complete ownership and talent to manage content for all current and future product suites for the customer. This would include technical design specifications, diagnostic solutions for service engineers and product training for customers and engineers, thereby supporting the entire ECM cycle from product conceptualization to developing digital content platforms," a press release from the company, a listed subsidiary of infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro, said.
 
“With engineering content becoming one of the cornerstones of digital transformation, this deal win highlights LTTS’ consulting capabilities to key customers in the US & European markets.  LTTS will provide expertise and support in building content management capabilities with the help of new technologies such as AI & Virtual Reality, thereby enhancing the overall customer experience,” said Dr Keshab Panda, CEO & Managing Director, LTTS.
 
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Petrol crosses Rs 91 a litre, diesel at Rs 80 in Maharashtra

File photo of a petrol pump
File photo of a petrol pump
Petrol retail rates finally breached the Rs 90 mark in Mumbai by touching Rs 90.08 per litre here on Monday, but stood much higher elsewhere in the state, industry officials said.
 
Federation of Maharashtra Petroleum Dealers Association (FAMPEDA) President Uday Lodh said that the new rate became effective after a hike of 11 paise effected on Monday.
 
Parbhani District Petrol Dealers Association (PDPDA) President Sanjay Deshmukh said the petrol rates soared to Rs 91.91 in the districts.
 
The highest petrol prices logged in various cities included: Nanded Rs 91.61, Amravati Rs 91.31, Ratnagiri Rs 91.14 and Jalgaon Rs 91.01, said Lodh.
 
Similarly, diesel prices also shot up by five paise per litre in Parbhani where it sold at Rs 79.15, said Deshmukh.
 
However, Aurangabad notched the highest prices when diesel crossed the Rs 80 mark and retailed on Monday at Rs 80.53 per litre, followed by Amravati at Rs 79.90 and Solapur at Rs 79.25.
 
An official said that there was no fall in demand with the festival season currently on, and the upward trend was likely to continue for some time.
 
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Indian equity indices open in red

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The key Indian equity indices opened on a negative note on Monday with heavy selling pressure in consumer durables, auto and banking stocks.
 
At 9.25 a.m, the wider Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 11,088.80 points, lower by 54.30 points, or 0.49 per cent from its previous close 11,143.10 points.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex, which had opened at 36,924.72 points, traded at 36,774.17 points, lower by 67.43 points or 0.18 per cent from the previous close of 36,841.60 points.
 
It has touched an intra-day high of 36,945.50 point and a low of 36,679.03 points so far.
 
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Petrol rises to Rs 89.97 in Mumbai, diesel up again

File photo of a petrol pump
File photo of a petrol pump
As transport fuel prices continued their upward run across the metros, petrol was selling three paise short of the psychological Rs 90 per litre mark in Mumbai at Rs 89.97 on Sunday.
 
The price of diesel also continued to scale new highs on Sunday under India's dynamic pricing regime, after remaining unchanged for four successive days. 
 
In the financial capital of the country, petrol went up 17 paise on Sunday, up from Rs 89.80 per litre on Saturday, data on the Indian Oil Corp's website showed.
 
Similarly, in other three cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, the fuel was priced at Rs 82.61, Rs 84.44 and Rs 85.87 per litre respectively, compared with Rs 82.44, Rs 84.27 and Rs 85.69 respectively.
 
Diesel prices in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai rose on Sunday to Rs 73.97, Rs 75.82, Rs 78.53 and Rs 78.20 respectively, as against Rs 73.87, Rs 75.72, Rs 78.42 and Rs 78.10 respectively on the previous day. 
 
Transport fuel prices are the lowest in Delhi owing to the lower taxes imposed by the state government. 
 
The continuous rise in transportation fuel prices has been in tandem with the increase in crude oil prices. Brent crude oil is currently priced at $78.80 per barrel.
 
Latest available data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that its basket of crude oils sold at $77.13 per barrel on Thursday. 
 
Sector experts say the high excise duty in the country has also added to the high prices
 
Cost of the fuel in all the key cities are at their record levels. On Sunday, Kolkata again reached its all-time high price of diesel at Rs 75.82 as recorded on September 11.
 
Earlier this week, the West Bengal government reduced the excise on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each.
 
The Karnataka government has also announced a reduction in cess on transport fuels by Rs 2 per litre each across the state effective from last Tuesday. 
 
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Infosys to design new forms for filing GST returns

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The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) has directed its software vendor Infosys to design new forms for filing returns by traders, said its Group of Ministers (GoM) Chairman Sushil Kumar Modi on Saturday.
 
"We have directed Infosys to design new forms as suggested by the GST Council to simplify filing returns by traders on the network," Modi told reporters here after the 10th meeting of the GoM, held here to review the working of the network.
 
"We plan to roll out the new simplified GST returns form in the next 4-6 months for the benefit of dealers or traders paying the indirect tax through the network," said Modi, who is also Bihar Deputy Chief Minister.
 
The new forms will enable all businesses to file their annual returns with details of sales, purchases and input tax credit benefits in a consolidated format.
 
Returns filed in the new forms (GSTR 9 and GSTR-3C) will enable the tax authority to detect evasion and false claims under the GST unlike in the current forms (GSTR 3B and GSTR-1), which do not have a provision to match invoices.
 
Last date for filing GSTR-1 has been extended up to October 31 and late fee waived off till then.
 
"Infosys is developing a mobile app for field staff (tax inspectors) to verify accounts of traders during spot inspection and file reports with photos and location," said Modi.
 
The GoM has identified 18 companies across the country to develop a uniform accounting software for the smaller tax payers.
 
"The new software will be given to all small traders to ensure uniformity in filing GST returns," said Modi.
 
As decided by the GST Council, e-commerce firms will pay Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collected at Source (TCS) with effect from October 1.
 
The Union government on September 13 notified October 1 as the date for implementing the TDS and TCS provisions under Section 52 of the Central GST (CGST) Act.
 
The e-commerce companies have to deduct TDS up to 1 per cent state GST and 1 per cent central GST on intra-state supplies of over Rs 2.5 lakh.
 
In the case of inter-state supplies of over Rs 2.5 lakh, the TDS will be 2 per cent of the integrated (state and central) GST.
 
The Council had earlier deferred implementing the TDS and TCS after e-commerce players like Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra expressed concerns on compliance burden.
 
Claiming that GST revenue was improving after the procedures and rules were reformed, Modi said revenue deficit of states had declined to 13 per cent from 17 per cent earlier.
 
"We are hoping the combined revenue will soon touch Rs 1.3 lakh crore per month with greater compliance by all the stakeholders," reiterated Modi.
 
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The data and business intelligence by the network is helping the Council to track tax evasions and warn dealers filing fake invoices.
 
The GST Council's 30th meeting will be held on September 28 in New Delhi through video conferencing.
 
For the fiscal 2018-19, 15.71 crore returns have been filed since April 1, with 5.34 crore making tax payment.
 
About 50.6 lakh new traders have registered under the GST in the last five months.
 
"We have issued 23.61 crore e-way bills since April 1. Till September 17, 11.38 crore inter-state bills were generated, accounting for 48 per cent of total bills," added Modi.
 
According to returns filed so far, 92 per cent of taxpayers have turnover below Rs 5 crore and 20 per cent have filed nil returns.
 
As the state-run NIC (National Informatics Centre) software on e-way bill enables tracking of goods, tax authorities can detect any mismatch easily.
 
Till August 8, 65,000 e-way bills were verified and 3,588 inspection reports filed.
 
The electronics and equipment sector has generated highest e-way bill, followed by textiles sector and iron and steel sector.
 
The GoM was set up in September 2017 to address the IT-related issues of the GSTN, operated by Infosys since the new tax regime was introduced across the country on July 1, 2017.
 
Besides Modi, other GoM members are Chhattisgarh Minister for Commercial Taxes Amar Agarwal, Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Krishna Byregowda, Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac and Telangana Finance Minister Etela Rajendar.
 
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Petrol prices continue to rise; Rs 89.80 in Mumbai

File photo of a petrol pump
File photo of a petrol pump
Petrol prices continued the upward movement across the metro cities on Saturday with the cost inching closer to the Rs 90-per-litre mark in Mumbai.
 
In the financial capital of the country, petrol was sold at Rs 89.80, up from Rs 89.69 per litre on Friday, data on the Indian Oil Corp's website showed.
 
Similarly, in the other three cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, the fuel was priced at Rs 82.44, Rs 84.27 and Rs 85.69 per litre, against Rs 82.32, Rs 84.16 and Rs 85.58 per litre.
 
The continuous rise in transportation fuel prices has been in tandem with the increase in crude oil prices. Brent crude oil is currently priced around $78.80 per barrel.
 
Further, sector experts say, the high excise duty in the country has also added to the high prices.
 
In contrast to petrol, prices of diesel were unchanged on Saturday for the fourth consecutive day.
 
Diesel prices in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were unchanged at Rs 73.87, Rs 75.72, Rs 78.42 and Rs 78.10 per litre, respectively.
 
Cost of the fuel in all the key cities except Kolkata are at their record levels. The all-time high price of diesel in the West Bengal capital was Rs 75.82, as recorded on September 11.
 
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NSE, London Stock Exchange Group sign MoU for dual listing of masala bonds

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The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) here on Friday to work towards a dual listing route for "masala" bonds and foreign currency bonds of Indian issuers.
 
They also agreed to explore the launch of ELITE, LSEG's successful business support and capital raising initiative for Small and Medium Enteprises (SMEs), in India in 2019.
 
The MoU was signed by Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO, NSE and Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange Plc.
 
Mr. M. K. Das, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, was among those present on the occasion.
 
London Stock Exchange is the leading international listing venue for Masala bonds, having listed 46 Masala bonds which have raised over $5 billion equivalent. 
 
"Together, LSEG and NSE will look to provide a route for Masala Bonds and foreign currency bonds of Indian issuers listed on London Stock Exchange to be dual listed on NSE’s International Exchange, NSE IFSC Limited, in Gujarat International Finance Tech (GIFT) city. Similarly, Masala Bonds and foreign currency bonds of Indian issuers listed on NSE IFSC in GIFT City will be dual listed on London Stock Exchange," a press release from NSE said.
 
"Through the approval of a single listing document , an issuer will be able to obtain a dual listing on London Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market and GIFT City, gaining access to an enhanced investor base of global institutions based in London, as well as domestic and regional investors registered on NSE IFSC," it said.
 
 GIFT City, a special economic zone, is India’s first International Finance Centre (IFC).
 
"NSE and LSEG also agreed to explore the launch of ELITE in India in 2019. The MoU outlines the parties’ commitment to engage with growing companies, leading financial institutions and the broader SME community across the country to integrate them with the global ELITE community.
 
"This is with ultimate goal of raising awareness of the investment opportunities in India and helping to attract more international capital into domestic capital markets. The ELITE global community today is made up of over 900 private, ambitious companies from 32 countries and over 30 sectors," the release said.
 
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Limaye said: “India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Investors across the world are keen to invest in India and benefit from its growth story. Dual listing of Masala Bonds and foreign currency bonds of Indian issuers would enhance visibility, increase liquidity in secondary markets and enhance efficiency of price discovery for the bond issuers. This would also reduce the cost of raising capital for all issuers and encourage the participation of a wider variety of issuers in the masala bond market."
 
"NSE has focused on developing an ecosystem where the SMEs can showcase their growth stories and launched EMERGE platform for the SMEs in India to raise equity funding. By jointly launching ELITE in India, we aim to enhance our offerings for SMEs by providing training, support and capacity building for these growth companies. ELITE will bring a more in-depth and formalised process to help SMEs scale up their businesses and integrate them with the global ELITE community.
 
"NSE and LSEG have collaborated over the years and I am confident that this partnership would strengthen the capital markets in both the countries and create global awareness of the opportunities that exist in India," he said.
 
Rathi said: "Today’s MoU signings demonstrate LSEG’s and NSE’s commitment to promoting the interconnectedness between the UK and Indian capital markets, supporting global awareness of the opportunities that exist in India’s first international financial services centre, GIFT City, and championing the development of the country’s SMEs."
 
"Today also underlines the strength of the economic and financial partnership between the UK and India, reinforcing London’s position as a complimentary and valued funding partner to India," he added.
 
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Amid volatility equity indices end in red; banking, financial stocks bleed

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High volatility, following a likely credit crisis in the infrastructure lending and development sector, dragged the market in the red, with the S&P BSE Sensex swinging in around 1,500-point range on Friday.
 
A plunge of over 1,100 points was witnessed on the BSE Sensex around 1 p.m, only to recover from the day's low within few minutes. Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 also recovered after dropping below the 11,000-mark.
 
Analysts described the slump as a result of panic sell-off and said the recovery came on the back of buying at lower levels.
 
Index-wise, the wider NSE Nifty50 closed at 11,143.10 points, lower 91.25 points or 0.81 per cent from the previous close of 11,234.35 points.
 
The S&P BSE Sensex, which had opened at 37,278.89 points, closed at 36,841.60 points, lower 279.62 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 37,121.22 points.
 
The volatility in the market could be judged by a near 1,500-point swing during the day's trade on the Sensex as it touched a high of 37,489.24 points and a low of 35,993.64 points. 
 
"This negative sentiment led to a plunge in many stocks such as DHFL, Yes Bank, Indiabulls group... Firesale of financial units by IL&FS for repaying its CPs (commercial paper) added fuel to fire," said Mustafa Nadeem, CEO, Epic Research.
 
He further said: "It was basically widespread to multiple companies, specifically to NBFC (non-banking financial companies) space, as there were concerns over credit risk." Coupled with that, fall in private banks, NBFCs and infrastructure housing finance companies also aided the slump, he added.
 
The Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) stocks led the sudden fall losing half its share price within few hours during the afternoon session of the trade. It closed at Rs 351.55 on BSE, lower 259.05 or 42.43 per cent from its previous close of Rs 610.60 a share. 
 
Sector-wise, only energy, oil and gas stocks showed resistance while sell-off was witnessed in almost all sectors on Friday. The S&P BSE Energy index gained 35.47 points and oil and gas index gained 221.73 points.
 
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On the other hand, very heavy selling pressure was witnessed in the banking and finance stocks. The S&P BSE Banking index lost 926.19 points, the finance index was down 146.78 points and the auto index down 276.89 points from its previous close.
 
On the currency front, the Indian rupee closed at 72.20 per US dollar, appreciating 17 paise from its previous close of 72.37 per greenback.
 
Investment-wise, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 2,184.55 crore and domestic institutional investors bought stocks worth Rs 1,201.30 crore.
 
In a major stock-wise development, shares of Yes Bank lost 28.71 per cent to end at Rs 227.05 per share, after the Reserve Bank of India on Thursday decided not to extend the tenure of the bank's CEO, Rana Kapoor.
 
The other major losers were Kotak Mahindra Bank, down 3.86 per cent at Rs 1,179.65; Tata Motors (DVR), down 3.79 per cent at Rs 131.85; Adani Ports down 2.94 at Rs 362; and IndusInd Bank, down 2.38 per cent at Rs 1,761.70 per share. 
 
The top gainers on the Sensex were ONGC, up 1.95 at Rs 180.10; Wipro, up 1.38 per cent at Rs 337.35; ITC, up 1.37 per cent at Rs 303.75; TCS, up 1.30 per cent at Rs 2,103.80; and Asian Paints, up 1.07 per cent at Rs 1,303.10 per share.
 
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Petrol continues to climb, diesel prices unchanged

File photo of a petrol pump
File photo of a petrol pump
Petrol prices in Mumbai inched up to the psychological Rs 90 a litre-mark and sold at Rs 89.69 in the country's financial capital on Friday, even as the fuel climbed to fresh highs across the four metros, while diesel rates were unchanged for the third consecutive day.
 
In the national capital, petrol was sold at Rs 82.32 per litre, up from Rs 82.22 per litre on Thursday, data on the Indian Oil Corp's website showed.
 
In the other key cities of Kolkata and Chennai, the fuel was priced on Friday at Rs 84.16 and Rs 85.58 per litre, respectively, up from Rs 84.07 and Rs 85.48 per litre.
 
The cost of transportation fuel has been on the rise since August 1, largely because of high crude oil prices and a falling rupee. Depreciation in the Indian rupee against the US dollar makes the import of crude oil expensive as transaction is done in dollars.
 
Inflationary risks along with broadly negative global cues depressed the Indian rupee to a new low of 72.91 against the US dollar on Tuesday.
 
Prices of the other key transportation fuel, diesel, however, was unchanged on Friday for the third day in a row.
 
Diesel prices in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were unchanged at Rs 73.87, Rs 75.72, Rs 78.42 and Rs 78.10 per litre, respectively.
 
Sector experts feel that high excise duty in the country also aided the high prices.
 
Cost of the fuel in all the key cities except Kolkata are at their record levels. The all-time high price of diesel in the West Bengal capital was Rs 75.82, recorded on September 11.
 
Earlier this week, the West Bengal government reduced the excise on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre each.
 
The Karnataka government also announced on Monday that petrol and diesel would be cheaper by Rs 2 per litre each across the state from Tuesday following the reduction in cess on these fuels.
 
As per the country's pricing mechanism, the domestic fuel prices depend upon the international fuel prices on a 15-day average and the value of the rupee.
 
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Sensex swings 1,500 points, closes 280 points lower

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High volatility, following a likely credit crisis in the infrastructure lending and development sector, dragged the market in the red, with the S&P BSE Sensex swinging in around 1,500-point range on Friday.
 
A plunge of over 1,100 points was witnessed on the BSE Sensex around 1 p.m, only to recover from the day's low within few minutes. Similarly, the NSE Nifty50 also recovered after dropping below the 11,000-mark.
 
The sudden sell-off took place across the board with banking and financial stocks losing the most. 
 
At 3.30 p.m, the wider NSE Nifty50 provisionally closed at 11,143.10 points, lower 91.25 points or 0.81 per cent from the previous close of 11,234.35 points.
 
The BSE Sensex, which had opened at 37,278.89 points, provisionally closed at 36,841.60 points, lower 279.62 points or 0.75 per cent from the previous close of 37,121.22 points.
 
The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 37,489.24 points and a low of 35,993.64 points.
 
The fourth consecutive session's slide was triggered also by other factors, including lower possibility of the Reserve Bank of India cutting its key lending rates, analysts said.
 
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World Bank Group to provide $ 25-30 billion of support to India over next four years

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The World Bank Group (WBG) Board of Executive Directors today endorsed a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for India which aims to support India’s transition to a higher middle-income country by addressing some of its key development priorities – resource efficient and inclusive growth, job creation and building its human capital.
 
"The India CPF represents the largest country program of the WBG, reflecting the strong collaboration between India and the Group’s institutions: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)," a press release from the World Bank said.
 
The Group expects to deliver $25-30 billion during this CPF period, ending in FY2022.
 
“With a fast growing economy, global stature, and its unique experience of lifting the highest number of poor out of poverty in the past decades, India is well-positioned to become a high middle-income country by 2030,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank South Asia Vice President. “This CPF charts a path for how the World Bank, IFC and MIGA, will leverage their relative strengths to deliver stronger development outcomes for this dynamic country, half of whose population is under the age of 25.” 
 
Welcoming the CPF, Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India said, “I compliment the World Bank Group for aligning the CPF with India's development and investment objectives of high, sustainable and inclusive growth. I hope that the World Bank Group would be able to use their global experience and expertise in assisting India to achieve her objectives."
 
The CPF is underpinned by the Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD), the World Bank Group’s comprehensive analysis of the opportunities and challenges for India to achieve poverty reduction and shared prosperity in a socially and environmentally sustainable way, and builds on extensive consultations with the government, the private sector, civil society and academic experts from across the country.
 
The WBG will focus on three broad areas under the new CPF: promoting a resource efficient growth path, particularly in the use of land and water, to remain sustainable; enhancing competitiveness and enabling job creation; and investing in human capital - in health, education, skills – to improve quality and efficiency of service delivery. Within these, some areas of deeper WBG’s engagement will include addressing the challenge of air pollution, facilitating jobs for women, increasing the resilience of the financial sector and investing in early years of children’s development.  Across the sectors, the WBG will invest in harnessing the impact of new technology.       
 
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The CPF has emphasized not only the areas of engagement but how the WBG will engage in India. The CPF highlights the shift from a “lending” to a “leveraging Bank”, emphasizing the growing potential and need to draw in capital markets in the financing of development priorities. Complementing transformational national programs, the Bank will also develop strategic state partnerships to address state-specific development priorities and support implementation capabilities at the state and local level.
 
“The future of India lies in the states of India. The country’s transition to high middle-income status will be determined in large part by the effectiveness of India’s federal compact,” said Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India. “In this context, an important focus of the CPF will be to deepen engagement with India’s states and invest in the institutions and capabilities of the states and local governments to address their development priorities.” 
 
The CPF also places emphasis on India’s global leadership role in promoting renewable energy and disaster resilient infrastructure development, which holds significant impact for India as well as the global economy. Through an initiative labelled “Lighthouse India” the WBG will leverage India’s development experience to support the development efforts of other countries especially in Africa and Central Asia.
 
The emphasis on a “leveraging Bank” is reflected in the CPF in the potential role of private sector finance and expertise to meet India’s development needs at scale. 
 
“The Indian economy has evolved to a level where the private sector can be counted on to close large developmental gaps. Through this CPF, the WBG will help India leverage additional resources from the private sector to help India realize its full potential,” said Jun Zhang, Country Head, IFC, India.
 
India is the largest IBRD client of the World Bank. Between 2015 and 2018, the World Bank lent around $10.2 billion to India. As of mid-September 2018, total World Bank assistance stood at $27.2 billion representing 104 projects, of which IBRD was $18.1 billion (52 projects) and IDA $9.0 billion (46 projects). At the end of July 2018, IFC’s India portfolio contained 281 projects, amounting to a committed exposure of $6.4 billion.
 
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Sensex sheds over 1,000 points, recovers around 700

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Reversing all the gains made earlier in the day, key Indian equity indices slumped on Friday afternoon, with the BSE Sensex losing over 1,000 points.
 
It touched an intra-day low of 35,993.64 points, against the previous close of 37,121.22 points.
 
However, it recovered to trade at 36,825.92 points (1.12 p.m.), lower by 295.30 points or 0.80 per cent from the previous close.
 
 
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