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Business & Economy

World gold demand softens in Q1 2018 as investment slows

 
World gold demand had a soft start to 2018, reaching 973 tonnes (t), the lowest first quarter since 2008, largely caused by a fall in investment demand for gold bars and gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as a subdued gold price environment hampered demand. 
 
The overall demand in Q1 of 2018 was, at 973t, was 7% lower than 1047t in the same quarter of 2017.
 
According to the Gold Demand Trends Q1 2018 released by the World Gold Council (WGC) today, global jewellery demand was roughly flat at 488t, down 1% from 492t in Q1 2017. 
 
Total consumer demand fell by 6% to 743t, from 790t in the same period last year, while total investment demand was down 27% to 287t compared with 394t in Q1 2017, it said.
 
The report said demand in China was buoyed by holiday demand, and US demand continued to improve in response to the supportive economic backdrop. 
 
In contrast, Indian consumers were discouraged by rising gold prices, exaggerated by a weakening rupee, with demand down 12% compared with 2017, it said.
 
China, Germany and the US drove weakness in bar and coin investment: global demand was down 15% to 254.9t. The range-bound gold price undermined investor interest in these markets, although China’s weakness was partly due to exceptional strength in Q1 2017.
 
A press release from WGC, quoting the report, said ETFs saw their fifth consecutive quarter of inflows. Holdings grew by 32t, due solely to growth in North America. Investment in the first quarter was mixed, with rising interest rates on the one hand, and a sharp spike in stock market volatility on the other. As gold prices were relatively subdued, many investors lacked a clear signal. 
 
Central banks added 116t to global official reserves in Q1 2018. This was the highest Q1 total for four years and in line with average quarterly purchases since Q1 2010 of 115t.  Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan again dominated the list of central banks buying gold, adding 91t between them. 
 
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Demand for gold in the technology sector continued to improve, up 4% on Q1 last year. The wireless sector was a key area of growth as 3D sensors for facial recognition were increasingly deployed in smartphones, gaming consoles and security systems.
 
“Relatively solid global economic growth, coupled with the return of volatility in the capital markets in February, created a stable environment for gold in Q1 – while equity markets around the world came under pressure, the gold price rose," Alistair Hewitt, Head of Market Intelligence at the World Gold Council, said.
 
"Although demand was down year-on-year, we saw encouraging levels of jewellery demand in China, the US and Europe, continued growth in the technology sector, and steady inflows into ETFs, albeit at a slower pace than last year. Solid inflows into central bank reserves also highlight the ongoing relevance of gold as a strategic asset for institutional investors," he said
 
The total supply of gold increased by 3% in Q1 2018 to 1,064t, from 1,032t in Q1 2017, due to increased mine production and net hedging. 
 
Mine production and recycling levels both saw fractional increases compared with Q1 2017, at 770t and 288t, respectively.  
 
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Markets open in green, but move down on cues from global markets

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The key Indian equity market indices on Thursday opened higher despite weakness in Asian stocks.
 
The Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which had closed at 35,176.42 points on Wednesday, opened higher at 35,257.31 points.
 
Minutes into trading, it was quoting at 35,156.56 points, down by 19.86 points, or 0.06 per cent after taking cue from global markets.
 
At the National Stock Exchange (NSE), the broader 51-scrip Nifty, which had closed at 10,718.05 points on Wednesday, was quoting at 10,703 points, down by 15.05 points or 0.14 per cent.
 
Weakness in the global equity markets and profit booking by investors had led the key Indian equity indices to close on a flat note with negative bias on Wednesday.
 
The trade was volatile throughout the day and, according to market observers, selling was witnessed around the closing hour of trade.
 
Heavy selling pressure in metal, consumer durables and auto stocks weighed on the indices.
 
The Sensex was up by 16.06 points or 0.05 per cent at the Wednesday's closing. In the day's trade, the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index had touched a high of 35,357.15 points and a low of 35,072.42 points. The Nifty, however, was down by 21.30 points or 0.20 per cent.
 
On Thursday, Asian indices were showing a negative trend. Hang Seng was down by 1.66 per cent while South Korea's Kospi was also down by 0.37 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite index was trading in red, down by 0.23 per cent.
 
Nasdaq closed in red, down by 0.42 per cent while FTSE 100 was up by 0.30 per cent at the closing on Wednesday.
 
IANS
 
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Cargo hubs to be developed at new airport in Mopa, Goa

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A joint team of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Commerce Logistics Department will visit Goa on May 7-8 to facilitate the development of cargo hubs at the new airport to be constructed at Mopa in Goa. 
 
The team will meet Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries to work together in order to leverage the advantages the State offers in terms of connectivity to the coastal belt of Western India, an official press release said.
 
The four coastal states in the western part of the country -- Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa -- will benefit greatly from the biggest airport, after Mumbai,to be constructed in Mopa.
 
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu had announced last week that Goa will become a logistics hub of India after a second airport becomes functional in 2020 in the state. 
 
The two airports in Goa, at Dabolim and Mopa, will help position the State as a logistic hub, he said.
 
Mopa airport will have  capacity to handle 30 million passengers annually as well as cargo. The Minister stated that the cargo policy to be announced by the Government of India will help to contribute 40 % of India’s GDP from global trading. 
 
Dabolim airport will also be upgraded with an investment of about 600 crores, the release added.
 
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Weak global cues, profit booking keep Indian equities flat

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Weakness in the global equity markets and profit booking by investors led the key Indian equity indices to close on a flat note with negative bias on Wednesday.
 
The trade was volatile throughout the day and, according to market observers, selling was witnessed around the closing hour of trade.
 
Heavy selling pressure in metal, consumer durables and auto stocks weighed on the indices. 
 
The broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 10,718.05 points -- down 21.30 points or 0.2 per cent from the previous close.
 
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on the BSE, which opened at 35,328.91 points, closed at 35,176.42 points -- up 16.06 points or 0.05 per cent from its previous session's close
 
The Sensex touched a high of 35,357.15 points and a low of 35,072.42 during the intra-day trade.
 
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,810 declines and 900 advances.
 
Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager, Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund, said: "It has certainly been a volatile start to May as benchmark indices in India struggled to maintain gains, despite positive macro-economic updates."
 
Markets traded positive in the first half of the day but were unsuccessful in holding on to gains as volatility came to the fore and pushed markets to finally close the day near the flat line, he added.
 
Deepak Jasani, Head, Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS: "Nifty ended lower today as selling emerged from the day's high of 10,784 levels."
 
Said V.K. Sharma, Head, Private Client Group and Capital Market Strategy, HDFC Securities: "Markets corrected in the last 90 minutes of trade on Wednesday as the selloff in commodities accelerated towards the close."
 
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 525.93 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 165.84 crore.
 
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE energy and the finance indices were the only gainers during the day, both rising marginally. The S&P BSE energy index inched up 7.56 points and the finance index closed a tad up by 0.54 points. 
 
On the other hand, the S&P BSE metal index plunged 485.59 points, the consumer durables stocks by 296.77 points and the auto index by 280.56 points.
 
The major gainers on the Sensex were Kotak Mahindra Bank, up 3.87 per cent at Rs 1257.25; ITC, up 2.03 per cent at Rs 287.15; Asian Paints, up 1.80 per cent at Rs 1,221.75; HDFC, up 1.37 per cent at Rs 1,910.50; and HDFC Bank, up 1.32 per cent at Rs 1,970.35 per share.
 
The top losers were Tata Steel, down 3.30 per cent at Rs 575.05; ICICI Bank, down 2.58 per cent at Rs 277.10; Hindustan Unilever, down 2.49 per cent at Rs 1,471.50; Sun Pharma, down 2.39 per cent at Rs 515.55; and State Bank of India, down 2.29 per cent at Rs 240.65 per share.
 
IANS
 
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Cabinet approves continuation of Krishonnati Yojana

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the umbrella scheme, "Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana" in agriculture sector beyond the 12th Five Year Plan for the period from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with a Central Share of Rs 33,269.976 crore.       
 
It comprises 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity and better returns on produce, an official press release said.
 
The schemes include the mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) with a total central share of Rs 7533.04 crore. MIDH aims to promote holistic growth of horticulture sector; to enhance horticulture production, improve nutritional security and income support to farm households.
 
The National Food Security Mission (NFSM), including National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP), has a total central share of Rs 6893.38 crore.  
 
It aims to increase production of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and commercial crops, through area expansion and productivity enhancement in a suitable manner in the identified districts of the country, restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level and enhancing farm level economy. 
 
It further aims to augment the availability of vegetable oils and to reduce the import of edible oils.
 
The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), with a total central share of Rs 3980.82 crore, aims at promoting sustainable agriculture practices best suitable to the specific agro-ecology focusing on integrated farming, appropriate soil health management and synergizing resource conservation technology.
 
The Sub-mission on Agriculture Extension (SMAE) has a total central share of Rs.2961.26 crore.  SMAE aims to strengthen the ongoing extension mechanism of State Governments, local bodies etc., achieving food and nutritional security and socio-economic empowerment of farmers.
 
It also seeks to institutionalize programme planning and implementation mechanism, to forge effective linkages and synergy amongst various stakeholders, to support HRD interventions, to promote the pervasive and innovative use of electronic / print media, interpersonal communication and ICT tools, etc.
 
The Sub-Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP) with a total central share of Rs 920.6 crore.  SMSP aims to increase production of certified / quality seed, to increase SRR, to upgrade the quality of farm-saved seeds, to strengthen the seed multiplication chain.
 
It also aims to promote new technologies and methodologies in seed production, processing, testing etc., to strengthen and modernizing infrastructure for seed production, storage, certification and quality etc.
 
The Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) has a total central share of Rs 3250 crore.  SMAM aims to increase the reach of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers and to the regions where availability of farm power is low, to promote ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ to offset the adverse economies of scale arising due to small landholding and the high cost of individual ownership.
 
It aims to create hubs for hi-tech and high-value farm equipment, to create awareness among stakeholders through demonstration and capacity building activities, and to ensure performance testing and certification at designated testing centres located all over the country.
 
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The Sub Mission on Plant Protection and Plan Quarantine (SMPPQ) has a total central share of Rs 1022.67 crore.  SMPPQ aims to minimize loss to quality and yield of agricultural crops from the ravages of insect pests, diseases, weeds, nematodes, rodents, etc.
 
It also aims to shield India’s agricultural bio-security from the incursions and spread of alien species, to facilitate exports of Indian agricultural commodities to global markets, and to promote good agricultural practices, particularly with respect to plant protection strategies and strategies.
 
The Integrated Scheme on Agriculture Census, Economics and Statistics (ISACES) has a total central share of Rs 730.58 crore. It aims to undertake the agriculture census, the study of the cost of cultivation of principal crops, to undertake research studies on agro-economic problems of the country.
 
It also funds conferences/workshops and seminars involving eminent economists, agricultural scientists, experts and to bring out papers to conduct short-term studies, to improve agricultural statistics methodology and to create a hierarchical information system on crop condition and crop production from sowing to harvest.
 
The Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Cooperation (ISAC) has a total central share of Rs 1902.636 crore. It aims to provide financial assistance for improving the economic conditions of cooperatives, remove regional imbalances and to speed up -      cooperative development in agricultural marketing, processing, storage, computerization and weaker section programmes.
 
It also aims to help cotton growers fetch a remunerative price for their produce through value addition besides ensuring supply of quality yarn at reasonable rates to the decentralized weavers.
 
The Integrated Scheme on Agricultural Marketing (ISAM) with a total central share of 3863.93 crore. ISAM aims to develop agricultural marketing infrastructure; to promote innovative and latest technologies and competitive alternatives in agriculture marketing infrastructure.
 
It also provides infrastructure facilities for grading, standardization and quality certification of agricultural produce; to establish a nationwide marketing information network and to integrate markets through a common online market platform to facilitate pan-India trade in agricultural commodities.
 
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP-A) with a total central share of 211.06 crore aims to bring farmer centricity & service orientation to the programmes to enhance reach & impact of extension services.
 
It also seeks to improve access of farmers to information &services throughout crop-cycle; to build upon, enhance & integrate the existing ICT initiatives of Centre and States; and to enhance efficiency & effectiveness of programs through making available timely and relevant information to the farmers for increasing their agriculture productivity.
 
The Schemes/Missions focus on creating/strengthening of the infrastructure of production, reducing production cost and marketing of agriculture and allied produce. These have been under implementation for varying duration during past few years.
 
All these schemes/missions were appraised and approved independently as separate scheme/mission. In 2017-18, it has been decided to club all these schemes/missions under one umbrella scheme 'Green Revolution - Krishonnati Yojana'.
 
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Cabinet approves Restructuring of the Indian Bureau of Mines

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The Union Cabinet today approved the restructuring of the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by upgrading, creating and abolishing certain posts of Joint Secretary-level and above.
 
The total cadre strength of Indian Bureau of Mines will be maintained at the existing strength of 1477.
 
The restructuring would help in enabling the IBM to effectively discharge its function to help reform and transform the regulation of the mineral sector. It will enable the adoption of IT and space technology by the IBM to improve its effectiveness in mineral regulation and development an official press release said.
 
Further, the posts entail a great deal of decision-making and accountability in the functioning of the organization, it said.
 
The proposal will create direct employment opportunities for technical personnel with higher responsibility for contribution in the faster development of the mineral sector, thereby generating more employment avenues in the sector as a whole. The improved and enhanced performance of IBM would benefit the mining sector.
 
The restructuring involves creation of 1 post of Chief Controller of Mines in Level 15 and 3 posts of Controller of Mines in Level 14; upgrading of 11 posts, that is, 1 post of Controller General from Level 15 to 16, 2 posts each of Chief Controller of Mines and Director (Ore-Dressing) from Level 14 to 15.
 
It also involves upgrading of 8 posts (5 posts of Controller of Mines, 1 each of Chief Mineral Economist, Chief Ore-Dressing Officer and Chief Mining Geologist) in the existing Level of 13A to 14.  
 
One existing cadre post of Deputy Director General (Statistics), an officer of Indian Statistical Service in Level 14 in pay matrix, will be abolished.
 
IBM was set up by the Government on March 1, 1948, under the Ministry of Works, Mines and Power, primarily as an advisory body to help in the formulation of policy and legal framework for the mining sector and advising Central and State Governments on development and utilization of mineral resources.
 
The role and responsibility of IBM have changed with emerging needs of the sector as facilitator and regulator of mining sector (other than coal, petroleum and atomic minerals).
 
The Ministry of Mines had constituted a Committee for comprehensive 'Review and Restructuring of the Functions and Role of IBM' in the light of the 'National Mineral Policy' (NMP) 2008 The Committee submitted its report on May 4, 2012, which was accepted in the Ministry.
 
The Ministry of Mines has taken a number of initiatives through IBM for effective facilitation and regulation of the mineral sector. These include implementation of the Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) and Star Rating of Mines for their efforts and initiatives encompassing the scientific, environmental and social aspects of the mining activity.
 
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It also involves the development of Mining Surveillance System (MSS) in association with Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Application & Geo-informatics (BISAG) to detect illegal mining within 500 metres zone of lease boundary of major minerals using satellite imageries.  
 
Thrust is given on R&D activities on mineral processing including process development for the upgrading of low-grade ore and) development of IT enable Mining Tenement System (MTS) for computerizing the mineral sectors activities.
 
The restructuring of IBM was essential to enable it organisationally to take up the responsibilities entrusted in the role with the recent changes in the policy and legislation, the revised charter of function and the new activities and initiatives undertaken by it.
 
IBM is also engaged in handholding the States for the auction of mineral blocks for greater transparency in allocation of mineral concessions. It is helping the States in preparation for auction blocks, publishing of average sale price, assisting in post-auction monitoring and approval process.
 
The relocation of offices of IBM has already been effected for carrying out the responsibilities given to IBM. New Regional Offices at Raipur and Gandhinagar have been opened and the sub-regional office at Guwahati has been upgraded to Regional office.
 
The existing Regional Offices at Kolkata and Udaipur have been upgraded to the Zonal office (East) and Zonal Office (North). For the purpose of Skill Development, an Institute of Sustainable Development FrameWork' at Udaipur and 'Remote Sensing Centre' at Hyderabad and National Level Training Centres 'Institute of Sustainable Mining’ at Kolkata have been opened and Skill Development Centre at Varanasi will also be opened shortly.
 
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Cabinet approves restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the proposal for renaming and restructuring of Multi-sectoral Development Programme (MsDP) as Pradhan Mantri Jan Vikas Karyakram (PMJVK). 
 
The CCEA has also approved its continuation during the remaining period of the 14th Finance Commission.
 
The restructured programme would provide better socio-economic infrastructure facilities to the minority communities particularly in the field of education, health & skill development as compared to the present situation, which would further lead to a lessening of the gap between the national average and the minority communities with regard to backwardness parameters.
 
The flexibility introduced in the programme will enable addressing important issues that would result in speedier implementation leading to the greater inclusiveness of the minority communities.
 
The criteria for identification of Minority Concentration Towns and Clusters of Villages have been rationalized by lowering the population percentage criteria of Minority Communities and fulfilment of backwardness parameters.
 
Earlier, only those towns which were found backward in terms of both in basic amenities and socio-economic parameters were taken up as MCTs. Now, the towns which were found backward in either or both of the criteria have been taken up as MCT.
 
Earlier only those cluster of villages having at least 50% population of the minority community were taken. Now, the population criteria have been lowered to 25%.
 
The rationalization of criteria would facilitate the inclusive growth of communities and social harmony.
 
The area to be covered under PMJVK would be 57% more as compared to the existing MsDP.  The MsDP covered 196 districts of the country whereas PMJVK will cover 308 districts.
 
Funding of the scheme would be from the budgetary provision of the Ministry. The Expenditure Finance Committee, Department of Expenditure has recommended for the continuation of the programme as PMJVK at a cost of Rs 3,972 crore.
 
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Cabinet approves financial assistance to sugar mills for clearing cane dues of farmers

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval to provide financial assistance at the rate of Rs 5.50 per quintal of cane crushed in sugar season 2017-18 to sugar mills to offset the cost of cane, in order to help sugar mills to clear cane dues of farmers.
 
The assistance will be paid directly to the farmers on behalf of the mills. It will be adjusted against the cane price payable due to the farmers against Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) including arrears relating to previous years.
 
Subsequent balance if any, will be credited to the mill’s account. Assistance will be provided to those mills which will fulfil the eligibility conditions as decided by the Government.
 
Due to higher sugar production against the estimated consumption during the current sugar season 2017-18, the domestic sugar prices have remained depressed since the commencement of the season.
 
Depressed market sentiments and crash in sugar prices had adversely affected the liquidity position of sugar mills, leading to accumulation of cane price dues of farmers which have reached to more than Rs 19,000 crore.
 
In order to stabilize sugar prices at a reasonable level and to improve the liquidity position of mills thereby enabling them to clear cane price dues of farmers, the Government has taken a series of steps in past three months.
 
It has increased customs duty on import of sugar from 50% to 100% in the interest of farmers. It Imposed reverse stock holding limits on producers of sugar for the months of February and March 2018.
 
The Government has also fully withdrawn the customs duty on export of sugar to encourage sugar industry to start exploring the possibility of export of sugar.
 
In view of the inventory levels with the sugar industry and to facilitate achievement of financial liquidity, mill-wise Minimum Indicative Export Quotas (MIEQ) have been fixed for sugar season 2017-18.
 
Export quotas of 20 lakh tonnes of all grades of sugar -- raw, plantation white as well as refined -- have been prorated amongst sugar factories by taking into account their average production of sugar achieved by them during the last two operational sugar seasons and the current season (up to February, 2018).
 
Further, to facilitate and incentivize export of surplus sugar by sugar mills, the Government has allowed Duty-Free Import Authorization (DFIA) scheme in respect of sugar, the release added.
 
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Cabinet approves Mutual Recognition Agreement between ICAI, South African counterpart

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The Union Cabinet today approved the Mutual Recognition Agreement between the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
 
An official press release said this had been done to establish a mutual co-operation framework for the advancement of accounting knowledge, professional and intellectual development, advancing the interests of their respective members and positively contributing to the development of the accounting profession in South Africa and India.
 
The agreement will facilitate recognition of Indian accountancy professionals with local accountancy qualification in addition to existing ICAI qualification, which will increase their professional avenues in South African markets.
 
It will foster strong working relations between the two accounting institutes. The agreement will increase the mobility of professionals at either end and would herald a new dimension for small and medium businesses in both countries, the release said.
 
Strategically, it is very important for the ICAI to maintain a close relationship with SAICA. It will significantly help the Institute to further the interests of its members and strengthen the ICAI brand in the region, it said.
 
The relationship developed over the past few years is strategic in nature and of Mutual benefit. The MRA is likely to lead to greater employment opportunities for the Indian Chartered Accountants in the region and also lead to greater remittances from them to India, it said.
 
ICAI is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949', to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India. SAICA is the foremost accountancy body in South Africa and one of the leading Institutes in the world.
 
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CCEA okays expansion, upgrading of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati, Lucknow airports

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the expansion and upgrading of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati and Lucknow Airports, at a cost of Rs 2467 crore, Rs 1383 crore and Rs 1232 crore, respectively.
 
An official press release said the new integrated terminal at Lucknow airport will have an area of 88,000 sq.m, along with the existing terminal building with 16292 sq.m, with an annual capacity to handle 2.6 million international and 11 million domestic passengers.
 
The new terminal building will cater to passenger growth up to the year 2030-31, the release said.
 
Total built-up area of the proposed terminal building at Chennai airport, including the present proposal measuring 197000 sq.m, will be 336000 sq.m with an annual capacity to handle 35 million passengers per annum (MPPA). The new terminal building incorporates green building features with an aim to achieve GRIHA-4 Star rating. The building will cater to the requirement of passenger growth up to the year 2026-27, it said.
 
The new terminal building at Guwahati airport will have an area of 102500 sqm to handle combined annual capacity (old and new terminals) of 9 MPPA. The building would cater to the requirement of passenger growth up to the year 2026-27. This will encourage investment and tourism in North East Region with thrust on ‘Act East’ Policy, it said.
 
According to the release, India has witnessed phenomenal growth rate in the range of 18 to 20% in the last three years in the aviation sector. According to IATA Traffic Study, India, at 7th position as of now, is likely to take the 3rd position by 2023-24 by overtaking the UK, Japan, Spain and Germany. The current rate of the growth in the domestic aviation sector of India is the highest globally.
 
To meet the growing demand, the Government has launched a new initiative of NABH Nirman (NextGen Airports for Bharat), wherein systems and processes are geared to provide enhanced airport capacity to handle 1 billion trips in the next 10 to 15 years.
 
Airport capacity upgrading and expansion require both the development of new greenfield airports and expansion of existing brownfield airports and same will be funded by the Indian private sector and Airports Authority of India by leveraging its balance sheet.
 
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Airports Authority of India is in the process of implementing plans for development of infrastructure to meet growing aviation demand by creating additional capacity at AAI Airports including Chennai, Guwahati, Lucknow, Agartala, Patna, Srinagar, Pune, Trichy, Vijayawada, Port Blair, Jaipur, Mangalore, Dehradun, Jabalpur, Kolhapur, Goa, Rupsi, Leh, Calicut, Imphal, Varanasi and Bhubaneswar with a capex of Rs 20,178 crore in the next 4 to 5 years.
 
AAI has already awarded the works at Agartala, Calicut and Port Blair towards construction of new state-of-the-art integrated terminals and is in the process of awarding the works for upgrading and expansion of capacity at Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati Airports.
 
Similarly, upgrading of airside capacity by way of strengthening and extension of runways, construction of new apron bays has been taken up to cater to the demand from airline operators who have placed confirmed orders for almost 900 aircraft in the coming 10 years.
 
Under New Greenfield Airport Policy, many major cities are expected to have multiple airports. The government has granted approval for Noida International Airport (Jewar), Mopa (Goa), Purandar Airport (Pune), Bhogapuram Airport (Visakhapatnam), Dholera Airport (Ahmedabad) and Hirasar Airport (Rajkot).
 
Capex outlay of Rs 50,000 crore is expected in the development of New Greenfield Airports, wherein approval of Government of India has been given. In the private sector also, upgrading and expansion are in the offing for Delhi and Bengaluru, Hyderabad Airports at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years, the release added.
 
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Nikkei India Manufacturing PMI rises to 51.6 in April

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The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 51.6 in April, 2018 from 51 in March, indicative of a faster improvement in the  health of India's manufacturing economy than in the previous month, but pointed to a modest upturn that was weaker than the series trend.
 
"A key factor contributing to the upward movement in the headline PMI index was a solid rise in output. Output growth was solid and picked-up from March’s five-month low, but remained slightly below the average for the current nine-month period of expansion," a press release from Nikkei said.
 
The release said manufacturing conditions improved for the ninth consecutive month in April, supported by faster expansions in output and new orders. Greater production requirements stimulated job creation and encouraged companies to engage in input buying. 
 
On the price front, inflationary pressures continued to ease in April, with the softest increases for input costs and output charges reported since September 2017 and July 2017, respectively, it said.
 
According to panellists, favourable demand conditions supported the latest upturn. Greater production in consumption and intermediate groups outweighed the decline in investment goods.
 
"New business rose for the sixth consecutive month. Although modest, the rate of expansion accelerated since March. Panellists reported that stronger market demand led to greater client wins. As was the case with output, growth was registered in consumption and intermediate goods.
 
"New orders from overseas rose for the sixth successive month in April, albeit only marginally. Moreover, the rate of expansion moderated to the weakest since November 2017. 
 
"Following a marginal decline in March, outstanding work rose during April. Delayed payments from clients partly led to the latest increase in backlogs, according to anecdotal evidence," the release said.
 
According to it, improvements in demand conditions and rising production resulted in job creation during April. However, growth was marginal, it said.
 
Reflecting sustained growth in production and new orders, Indian manufacturers were prompted to raise their purchasing activity for the sixth consecutive month in April. Despite being modest, the rate of increase accelerated to the strongest since January.
 
Meanwhile, divergences were recorded for both pre- and post-production stocks. The former rose at the fastest pace in 2018 so far, while inventories of finished goods were depleted at the joint-fastest rate in the survey history.
 
Indian manufacturers faced higher input costs during April, thereby extending the current period of inflation to just over two-and-a-half years. Although solid, input cost inflation moderated for the second month in a row to the weakest since last September, the release said.
 
Meanwhile, firms raised their selling prices at the weakest rate in the current nine-month sequence of inflation.
 
"Finally, business sentiment was at the strongest level seen since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in July 2017. Optimism reflected expectations that new business and demand conditions will improve over the coming 12 months, according to panellists," it said.
 
“The Indian manufacturing economy started the quarter on a slightly stronger footing as growth picked-up from March’s five-month low, buoyed by stronger demand conditions," Ms. Aashna Dodhia, Economist at IHS Markit and author of the report, said.
 
“Putting the PMI data under a magnifying glass, consumer goods was again the bright spot, with output growth being the fastest among all the three market groups. Meanwhile, investment goods was the weakest performing category as both production and new orders declined during April.
 
“Encouragingly, PMI data highlighted inflationary pressures moderated for the second month in a row, with input cost and output charge inflation at the weakest since September 2017 and July 2017, respectively.
 
“Business sentiment was at the strongest level seen since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in July 2017, driven by expectations that underlying demand will improve further over the next 12 months, and subsequently firms reported a renewed increase in job recruitment," she added.
 
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Markets open on a higher note on Wednesday

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The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a positive note during the morning session of the trade.
 
The Sensex of the BSE after opening at 35,328.91 points and touched a high of 35,357.15 points and a low of 35,261.75 points.
 
On Monday, the Sensex closed at 35,160.36 points. Tuesday was a trading holiday.
 
The Sensex was trading at 35,249.01 points up by 88.65 points or 0.25 per cent.
 
On the other hand, the broader 51-scrip Nifty at National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 10,783.85 points after closing at 10,739.35 points.
 
The Nifty was trading at 10,774.30 points in the morning.
 
IANS
 
 
 
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India, Japan to work together for energy security, access and on climate change issues

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India and Japan today agreed to work together for energy security, access and also on climate change issues.
 
The decision was taken at the 9th India Japan Energy Dialogue here. Both the countries also agreed to initiate the discussion on Electric Vehicles (EVs) and to commit themselves to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets.
 
Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy R K Singh and Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Hiroshige Seko signed a Joint Statement at the conclusion of the meeting.
 
Japan and India, as the third and the seventh largest economies, respectively, recognized that having access to reliable, clean and economical energy is critical for their economic growth.
 
Both Ministers agreed on further strengthening of bilateral energy cooperation for energy development of both countries, while also contributing to worldwide energy security, energy access and climate change issues.
 
With a view to implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), both countries recognized the importance of development and deployment of next-generation technologies including hydrogen to realize de-carbonization.
 
The two countries appreciated the relevance of the grid stability given the high penetration of variable renewable energy. They agreed to initiate the discussion towards the development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) by collaborating with "Policy dialogue on next generation/Zero emission vehicles".
 
Reiterating the continued importance of coal-based electricity generation in the energy mix, they also agreed to promote the cooperation on environmental measures for coal-fired power plants.
 
Both the countries further confirmed their commitment to work together in promoting well-functioning energy markets and to promote transparent and diversified Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) market through the relaxation of destination clause.
 
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Sindhudurg Airport will be a boost for aviation sector in Maharashtra

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Maharashtra will get a new airport at Parule Chipi in Sindhudurg district in 2018.
 
Work on the project is expected to be completed in June this year, before the onset of monsoon and the Ganesh Festival, which will begin in September this year.
 
The airport is being constructed by IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt. Ltd. on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis for the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).
 
Sindhudurg airport will have a 2500-meter runway which has provision for future development. The airport will be built at an approximate cost of 520 crores.
 
Sindhudurg airport will have the capacity to handle 200 departing and 200 passengers arriving during peak hours with expansion facilities to serve up to 400 departing and 400 arriving passengers without additional construction.
 
Although the airport will be serving domestic travellers it will be equipped with facilities to serve international charter flights.
 
Agreement for construction of the airport has already been signed between Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt. Ltd. in 2009.
 
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has given in-principle approval and environmental clearance has also been granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest.
 
Construction of taxiway, apron and isolation bay has been completed and work on the airfield ground lighting in on. Construction of passenger terminal building, ATC tower and the technical building is on in full swing. Construction of other ancillary buildings is in progress and will be completed on time.
 
An airport in Sindhudurg was necessary in order to provide better connectivity to the Konkan region of Maharashtra, parts of Goa, North Karnataka and Western Maharashtra. At present, the state of Maharashtra has three functional international and 13 domestic airports.
 
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L&T to divest Electrical & Automation Business to Schneider Electric for Rs. 14,000 crore

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Engineering, technology and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had signed, subject to regulatory approvals, definitive agreements with Schneider Electric, a global player in energy management and automation, for strategic divestment of its Electrical and Automation (E&A) business for an all-cash consideration of Rs. 14,000 crore.
 
L&T’s E&A business offers a wide range of low and medium voltage switchgear, electrical systems, marine switchgear, industrial and building automation solutions, energy management systems and metering solutions, a press release from the company said. 
 
Its manufacturing facilities are located at Navi Mumbai, Ahmednagar, Vadodara, Coimbatore and Mysore in India as well as in Saudi Arabia, UAE (Jebel Ali, Dubai), Kuwait, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the UK. 
 
"Over the years, the E&A business has built strong research and development capabilities and has a wide network of channel partners across India and international markets," the release said.
 
According to it, the E&A business reported net revenue of Rs. 5,038 crore during FY2016-17.
 
Mr A.M. Naik, Group Chairman, Larsen & Toubro said: “L&T’s E&A business has had a strong presence for decades and is well-positioned to continue its growth trajectory with outstanding technologies, brands, people and global presence. We believe the partnership with Schneider Electric, which has a strong product and geographic presence, would further enhance the business prospects for E&A business and its employees.”
 
Mr S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, Larsen & Toubro said: “The divestment of E&A business is in line with L&T’s stated intent of unlocking value within the existing business portfolio to streamline and allocate capital and management focus for creating long-term value for our stakeholders. We believe the partnership with Schneider is win-win for our employees, business partners, and shareholders.”
 
The transaction includes all the current business segments of E&A except marine switchgear and Servowatch Systems.
 
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India's eight core industries grow by 4.1% in March, 2018

A coal power station.
A coal power station.
India's eight core industries, which have a combined weight of 40.27 percent in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), grew by 4.1 percent in March, 2018 as compared to the same month in the previous year, an official statement said here today.
 
The core sector had registered a growth of 5.3% in the previous month, February, 2018.
 
The statement said the combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 138.0 in March, 2018. Its cumulative growth during April to March, 2017-18 was 4.2%.
 
According to it, coal production, which has a weight of 10.33% in the IIP, increased by 9.1% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 2.5% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Crude oil production (weight: 8.98%) declined by 1.6% in March, 2018 as compared to March, 2017. Its cumulative index declined by 0.9% during April to March, 2017-18 as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Natural gas production (weight: 6.88%) increased by 1.3% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 2.9% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
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Petroleum refinery production (weight: 28.04%) increased by 1.0% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 4.6% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Fertilizers production (weight: 2.63%) increased by 3.2% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 0.03% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Steel production (weight: 17.92 per cent) increased by 4.7% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 5.6% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Cement production (weight: 5.37%) increased by 13.0% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 6.3% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
Electricity generation (weight: 19.85 per cent) increased by 4.5% in March, 2018 over March, 2017. Its cumulative index increased by 5.2% during April to March, 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
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Telecom panel gives nod to in-flight connectivity in Indian airspace

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Calling and texting from aircraft will soon become a reality as the Telecom Commission on Tuesday approved in-flight connectivity, facilitating both voice and data calls and data surfing in Indian airspace, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said here.
 
"Almost all recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on this have been accepted. We are expediting the process (to start) and within 3-4 months it should be ready. We will be operationalising this decision immediately," she told reporters after the meeting on Tuesday.
 
She said there were only two exceptions to TRAI's recommendations. The sector regulator said that foreign satellites and foreign gateways should also be permitted, "but there had been an earlier committee of secretaries meeting that decided that it should be an Indian satelllite or a Department of Space approved satellite and the gateway should be in India."
 
Sundararajan said: "We have to create a separate category of licencee, called In-Flight Connectivity Provider. This will also be applicable for ships. Re 1 will be the token licence fee. It is applicable above 3,000 metres." 
 
She also said that the matter need not go to the Cabinet for approval. 
 
In addition, keeping in view that grievance redressal in the telecom sector, which has been a long pending demand, the panel approved the proposal of forming a Telecom Ombudsman.
 
"We get 10 million grievances per quarter. A three tier mechanism has been proposed. First will be within the telecom service providers the first level of complaints can be lodged. Then if the consumer is not satisfied with the response, each TSP will set up an appellate mechanism within itself to which the person can complaint. After that if it does not work they can move to consumer grievance redressal forums," Sundararajan said.
 
"On top will be a Telecom Ombudsman cretaed by TRAI. The TRAI has said they do not have the powers to create, therefore, it has now been proposed to give them powers to create an ombudsman mechanism. The idea is they can have one ombudsman per TSP, or one ombudsman per region or as many ombudsman as they feel are necessary. This will bring in much better and more satisfactory grievance redressal into the telecom sector. This will be done in priority basis. It will require amendment of TRAI Act," she added.
 
Among other important decisions, the panel also approved the decision on internet telephony. "It will be operationalising it immediately. We expect that this will give a fillip to voice telephony through the data networks," the telecom secretary said.
 
It also approved 12 major recommendations of TRAI on ease of doing business.
 
She said proliferation of broadband through public Wi-Fi network, has also been accepted. 
 
"Except that we have asked TRAI to work out an operational framework and all the members of the Telecom Commission felt that this is an extremely important recommendation because it will give a big fillip to the growth of public Wi-Fi hotspots in India and will create a new category of service providers through the public data office aggregators (PDOA)," Sundararajan said.
 
"The PDOs will be a significant job creation opportunity because right now we do not have many wi-fi hotspots and the idea is to proliferate this in a very large scale. So this was seen as a huge catalyst in that direction. We will be working with TRAI to operationalise it with immediate effect," she added.
 
The panel also approved two items related to Universal Service Obligation Fund and eight state detailed project reports on BharatNet project were approved.
 
"The setting up of the Ombudsman for the telecom sector is a great milestone but how it will be implemented is a big challenge considering 100 crores plus users. The approval for Ease of Doing Business too reflect the DoT's strong resolve the revolutionize and streamline the Telecommunication services in India. However data pricing through Wi-fi is likely to reduce tariffs but the good news that the Wi-fi will be chargeable can be very good opportunity to increase revenues," said Hemant Joshi, Partner Deloitte India.
 
IANS
 
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BHEL bags Rs. 536 crore order for largest hydro power project in Nepal

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said that it had, amidst stiff international competition, secured a Rs. 536 crore order for executing the 900 MW Arun-3 Hydroelectric Project from SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company (SAPDC), Nepal. 
 
Once completed, this will be the largest hydropower project in Nepal, a press release from the company said. 
 
Located in the Sankhuwasabha district, this project will substantially enhance Nepal’s present installed power capacity and will contribute significantly to its vision of utilising its vast hydro potential for accelerated economic development.
 
"This prestigious order is a testimony to BHEL’s proven technological prowess in executing power projects of this magnitude. The order will also provide a fillip to the company’s focus on globalization as a driver for growth," the release said.
 
The order envisages design, engineering, manufacturing, supply, erection and commissioning of electro-mechanical equipment involving supply of four vertical Francis turbines and generator sets, each rated 225 MW.
 
BHEL’s journey in Nepal started with supply & commissioning of 2x30 MW Hydro Generating sets for Kulekhani-I Hydro Power Project in 1980. Thereafter, BHEL also successfully completed setting up of 3x5 MW Devighat Hydro Power Project, besides executing a number of contracts for supply and services.
 
The Turbines, Generators, Generator Transformers, Control System, Bus ducts and other associated equipment will be manufactured at BHEL’s manufacturing units in Bhopal, Bangalore, Rudrapur and Jhansi. Erection and commissioning will be undertaken by BHEL’s Power Sector Northern Region and 400 KV GIS will be executed by Transmission Business Group, Noida, the release added.
 
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Unemployment to be main issue in 2019 polls: Chidambaram

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Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Monday that the biggest issue in the 2019 Lok Sabha election will be unemployment and Narendra Modi government's "incompetence to create jobs".
 
Addressing the national executive meeting of the Indian Youth Congress here, Chidambaram said the Modi government did not know how to create jobs.
 
"There will be many issues but the biggest issue of 2019 election will be unemployment. The government is so incompetent that they don't know how to create jobs," he said.
 
There were vacancies across sectors and thousands of jobs could be further created, he said.
 
Citing instances, Chidambaram said there was just one teacher in one lakh government schools. "If at least five teachers are recruited in these one-teacher schools, millions of jobs will be created."
 
He said there were vacancies of doctors, clerks, peons and safai karamcharis in various departments. 
 
The former Minister said nearly 6,000 teaching posts were vacant in central universities, while in the higher judiciary 410 posts of judges were vacant. 
 
He said if the Congress came to power, it would focus on creating jobs in MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), besides paying attention to exports and off-farm jobs, such as poultry, food processing and diary farming.
 
"We will not do anything that this government is doing," he said. 
 
Chidambaram said there was "massive open unemployment" in the country and "jobs can be created when there is demand for more goods and services".
 
"More goods and services will be produced with more investments which will come when there is a climate friendly to investment," he said.
 
The Congress leader said investment had gone down drastically in the last four years. "Tragedy for India is that investment ratio at this stage is lowest since liberalisation."
 
He said sectors such as IT, which were booming in the past, had also shed jobs.
 
Slamming the Modi government, he said demonetisation and faulty implementation of Goods and Services Tax had destroyed jobs in the MSME sector.
 
Chdiambaram also referred to the BJP leaders claiming credit for about 100 per cent electrification of villages as "another jumla".
 
He said electrification of a vast majority of villages was done during Congress governments and the BJP-led government had completed electrification of only over 18,000 villages which were pending. 
 
IANS
 
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Sensex ends near 3-month high, at over 35,000 points

The barometer 30-scrip Sensex on Monday ended at over 35,000 points, nearly a three-month high level, riding on the back of firm global cues along with robust buying in the capital goods, IT and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks.
 
However, selling pressure on oil and gas and energy stocks restricted further gains. 
 
The broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 10,739.35 points -- up 47.05 points or 0.44 per cent -- from the previous close.
 
The Sensex, which opened at 35,021.20 points, closed at 35,160.36 points -- up 190.66 points or 0.55 per cent -- from its previous session's close.
 
It touched a high of 35,213.30 points and a low of 35,004 points during the intra-day trade.
 
The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,379 advances and 1,279 declines.
 
In the broader markets, the S&P BSE mid-cap index close 0.56 per cent and the small-cap index rose by 0.89 per cent.
 
"Indian markets continued to dominate the uptrend and traded near three-months high," said Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer, Tradebulls. 
 
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 385.47 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 261.98 crore.
 
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE capital goods index surged by 284.68 points, followed by the IT index which rose 192.94 points, and the fast moving capital goods (FMCG) index by 150.60 points.
 
On the other hand, the S&P BSE oil and gas index fell by 157.06 points, the energy stocks by 82.69 points and the consumer durables index by 28.66 points.
 
The major gainers on the Sensex were Yes Bank, up 3.90 per cent at Rs 362.05; Hindustan Unilever, up 2.34 per cent at Rs 1,509.05; Tata Consultancy Services, up 2.22 per cent at Rs 3,531.40; Kotak Mahindra Bank, up 1.83 per cent at Rs 1,210.35; and Larsen and Toubro, up 1.73 per cent at Rs 1,400.60 per share.
 
The top losers were Axis Bank, down 3.87 per cent at Rs 518.05; Reliance Industries, down 3.18 per cent at Rs 963.10; ICICI Bank, down 1.25 per cent at Rs 284.45; Coal India, down 0.60 per cent at Rs 283.85; and ONGC, down 0.14 per cent at Rs 180.50 per share.
 
On Tuesday, trade on the NSE and BSE would remain closed on account of Maharashtra Day.
 
IANS
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Equity indices trade in green during afternoon session

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The key Indian equity indices traded higher on Monday afternoon, tracking firm cues from Asian indices.
 
Healthy buying was witnessed in the IT, banking and capital goods stocks so far in the day.
 
At 12.50 p.m., the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded at 10,751 points -- up 59.05 points or 0.55 per cent -- from the previous close of 10,692.30 points.
 
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at 35,021.20 points, traded at 35,192.10 points -- up 222.40 points or 0.64 per cent -- from its previous session's close of 34,969.70 points.
 
The Sensex has touched a high of 35,213.30 points and a low of 35,004 points during the intra-day trade.
 
The BSE market breadth was bullish with 1,366 advances, compared to 1,023 declines.
 
"Indian markets opened on a positive note on Monday taking cues from their global peers. Corporate earnings, economic data and global cues will decide the market trend in this holiday short week," said Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer, Tradebulls. 
 
On Monday, the major gainers so far on the BSE were Yes Bank, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Hindustan Unilever, State Bank of India and Tata Motors (DVR) while Axis Bank, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, and ONGC were the losers.
 
On NSE, the top gainers were Yes Bank, Vedanta and Hindustan Unilever. The major losers were Asis Bank, UPL and Reliance Industries.
 
IANS
 
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Key Indian equity indices open with gains

Key Indian equity indices opened with appreciable gains on Monday with healthy buying in banking, auto and FMCG stocks.
 
Around 9.16 a.m., the broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded 27.15 points or 0.25 per cent higher at 10,719.45 points
 
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at 35,021.20 points, traded at 35,116.33 points -- up 146.63 points or 0.42 per cent -- from its previous session's close.
 
The Sensex has touched a high of 35,116.33 points and a low of 35,004 during the intra-day trade so far.
 
The BSE market breadth indicated a bullish trend as 327 stocks advanced as compared to 153 declines.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Q4 results, macro-data to dictate equity indices trend

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Macro-economic data points, coupled with fourth quarter (Q4) earning results, are expected to influence the Indian equity markets during the upcoming truncated week.
 
According to market observers, the US Fed's open market committee meet along with the trajectory of global crude oil prices and the rupee's movement against the US dollar can trigger volatility during the week's trade sessions.
 
"The earnings momentum would again be critical since HDFC, Kotak Bank and Dabur will be releasing their numbers. For PSU and other banks, the key question is whether the peak in NPA (non-performing assets) reporting cycle is near," Devendra Nevgi, Founder and Principal Partner, Delta Global Partners, told IANS.
 
Companies like HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HCL Technologies, Hero MotoCorp, Interglobe Aviation, Marico, Welspun Corp and Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone are expected to announce their Q4 earning results next week.
 
"Earnings and (the Karnataka) election will be the main triggers for the market while investors will have to keep an eye on domestic headwinds like rise in oil price and rupee movement," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
 
"On the other hand, the earnings season has started on a positive note led by private sector banks and IT companies. Global market sentiment will be based on the outcome of two-day FOMC meet which is scheduled to start from May 1."
 
Apart from Q4 results, investors will look out for upcoming macro-economic data points such as the eight core industries' (ECI) output, the country's fiscal deficit numbers and PMI manufacturing and services' figures which will be released during the week starting April 30.
 
"Next week, the fiscal deficit for the full financial year would be available and the data would be scrutinised in detail for any slippages, especially in the month of March," Nevgi said.
 
"The PMI would be tracked, too, for the economic progress. Crude prices would be tracked closely for any spurt."
 
Nevgi added that DIIs (domestic institutional investors) have supported the market as they remained net buyers, whereas FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) have been net sellers since April 13.
 
The provisional figures from the stock exchanges showed that during last week, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold scrips worth Rs 3,060.41 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 2,649.61 crore.
 
In terms of currency, the rupee weakened by 54 paise to close at 66.67 against the dollar on last Friday.
 
On technical charts, the underlying trend for the National Stock Exchange's (NSE) Nifty remains bullish.
 
"Technically, the near-term trend of Nifty is positive and one may expect further upside in the early part of next week. Nifty could face resistance at the 10,750-10,800 band for the next week," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research for HDFC Securities.
 
Last week, healthy Q4 earnings lifted the benchmark equity indices as they settled at their highest closing levels in over three months.
 
On a weekly basis, the barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) rose by 554.12 points or 1.61 per cent to close at 34,969.70 points.
 
Similarly, the wider Nifty50 made gains during the week ended April 27. It closed trade at 10,692.30 points -- up 128.25 points or 1.21 per cent from its previous week's close.
 
The Indian equity indices will remain closed on Tuesday to observe Maharashtra Day.
 
IANS
 
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Bata scion in pursuit to break brand's 'old fashioned' tag

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This footwear company has an 85-year-old legacy and a wide global presence, including in India. Thomas Archer Bata, the fourth-generation scion of the family that owns Bata Shoe Co., wants to break the perception of those customers who tag the brand as "old fashioned" with his ideologies as well as growth and expansion plans.

"I think it's an asset to take care of the company which has such a strong legacy. I know that many feel that the company is old-fashioned because they don't change quick enough, but this is what I want to change. You have to take good things from the past and add that in future planning and make it fresh," Thomas told IANS here during an interaction on the sidelines of the second edition of Bata Fashion Weekend (BFW).

Moving from Prague to Milan in the second edition, BFW is a platform to bring customers closer to the brand and introduce to them their most updated and fashionable line in the form of fashion shows, concept stores and announcements.

Bata, the Chief Marketing Officer at the Lausanne, Switzerland-based company, is carrying on the legacy of the famed name. He says that with Bata's current 'Red Label shoe collection', the brand is targeting the youth who are somehow going away from the brand.

"With this line, we wanted to show that how cool and glamorous we can be. We saw that youth somehow are moving away from our brand and we can't afford to lose them. We have delivered great and durable designs in the past and we want to add to that with cool and glamorous pieces.

"We want to bridge that gap. We want to tell people to give us a chance. I think I will convince them to be believers," Thomas told IANS.

The Indian youth too is important to the brand.

"We just started working with actress Kriti Sanon who has been roped in as our brand ambassador. She is the perfect fit as she appeals to the youth. We have common grounds," he said.

India is Bata's second largest market after Italy, and Thomas has big plans for the Indian market in days to come.

They have opened their first few red store concepts in India. The concept is to have red and white stores inspired by the Bata logo and are pillar-less to give a shopper a clear and complete view of the offerings.

"That is working really well. So, the reception of Indian consumers for more global collections has been very good. We are planning to continue that and give more diversity to the products to the Indian customers," he said.

"I think I am very optimistic as our brand has an amazing history. The future is fantastic. There is an Increasing appetite in young to younger consumers... They want good things and we are making them."

IANS

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NITI Aayog announces the launch of Atal New India Challenges

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NITI Aayog has announced the launch of the Atal New India Challenges with grants of up to Rs 1 crore and winning ideas to be incubated under the aegis of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM).
 
The launch event on Thursday saw the presence of Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation S S Ahluwalia, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and AIM Mission Director Ramanathan Ramanan.
 
Applicants showing capability, intent, and potential to productize technologies will be awarded grants up to Rs 1 crore, an official press release said.
 
"This grant support will be supplemented by mentoring, handholding, incubating and other support as needed at various stages of commercialisation," it said.
 
Dr Rajiv Kumar highlighted the need to ensure inclusive and innovative solutions.
 
“India has accelerated its growth potential by leveraging technology in various spheres. This initiative will focus our efforts towards solving problems in core areas, which would have a direct impact on improving lives of our citizens and will also generate employment.
 
“The topics placed in different phases are aligned with the country’s needs and through the support of innovation, we are ready to make a giant leap towards a New India,” he added.
 
Partnering with the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways, Housing and Urban Affairs, Agriculture and Family Welfare, Drinking Water & Sanitation and the Railway Board, AIM will attempt to harness the potential of India’s innovators.
 
Mr Gadkari spoke of the need to approach policy and economic activity with a scientific outlook. He added that innovative policies will help fulfil the Prime Minister’s dream of a New India.
 
Mr Ahluwalia stressed the need to identify affordable solutions to problems of groundwater recharge and ensuring every citizen has access to safe drinking water.
 
Mr Kant emphasised the need to identify unique technological solutions to problems unique to India. He said, “Bringing more innovations to the service of Indian citizens will require more individuals and entities to innovate for Indian needs, and take innovative products to market through several mechanisms, such as startups, government schemes, or other deployment mechanisms.”
 
He also highlighted the fact that the challenges were being issued after rigorous consultations and discussions with the partner ministries.
 
Mr Ramanan, said, “these innovations will be deployed to make lives of all Indian citizens better. This programme will bring a technological revolution in the lives of the common man, solving India’s technological challenges locally.”
 
It should be noted that these grants will not be mutually exclusive - multiple grants may be given in a focus area, based on the Selection Committee’s perception of potential. Furthermore, the winning grantees will be supported with mentoring, go-to-market strategies by leading incubators, accelerators and experts, technical support, and other means.
 
The programme is currently accepting applications here and the last date for applications is June 10, 2018.
 
Under the Atal New India Challenge, which shall be run in collaboration with five ministries, AIM will invite prospective innovators/MSMEs/start-ups to design market-ready products, using cutting-edge technologies or prototypes across 17 identified focus areas.
 
These are Climate-smart agriculture, Fog vision system for road and rail, Prevention of Rail failure using emerging technologies, Predictive maintenance of Rolling Stock, Alternate fuel-based transportation, Smart Mobility, Electric Mobility, Safe transport,       Instant Portable Water Quality Testing.
 
They also include Affordable Desalination/Recycling Technology, Waste management recycling/reuse, Garbage composition devices,  Quality of compost, Decentralized composting, Mixing blades for composting, Waste in public spaces and Dissuading public littering.
 
The programme is open to Indian companies registered under the Companies Act 1956/2013, primarily a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as defined in the MSMED Act, 2006.
 
It is also open to Start-Ups, as defined by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Government or private R&D organizations (other than a Railway R&D organization), academic institutions, academicians, or even individual innovators, provided they partner with entities with appropriate manufacturing capabilities.
 
Grants will be awarded in up to 3 tranches within 12 – 18 months, contingent on achieving milestones and up to a total of 50 grants in the fiscal year 2018 – 19 may be given out. The grants will not be mutually exclusive - several grants may be given in a focus area.
 
NNN
 
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